Throughout development of Double JUMP, I have been worried that perhaps my game is too similar to another game I love called Super Meat Boy (probably obvious if you’ve seen the video from my previous post Double JUMP – Pre alpha Playtest video).
Anyway, I’m just going to admit it openly because it is clear that my inspiration came from SMB but I’m going to explain some of the ways I think the two are different.
Before I get into it though I just want to point out that Double JUMP actually started out as a sequel to my previous game (under the old developer name Gemi Interactive) SuperCube on Android ( Direct Dropbox download )
The main reason I guess I went with a similar style is because I’m a hardcore fan of Super Mario games and I just love pure skill games in general so Super Meat Boy naturally became one of my favourite games of all time, reaching old school Mario and Perfect Dark heights of awesome.
Although DJ started out as a straight port of SuperCube, I quickly found out that the slow response controls from trying to adapt a platformer to an accelerometer and touch screen weren’t going to cut it for a PC or Xbox. The control pad (and even the keyboard really) allow a high degree of precision and this boost in player control needed a counter balance which lead me to make the game faster paced since that made the game more fun. It became faster and faster until it pretty much converged to a SMB style of gameplay. So despite everything applied to player movement is different to SMB, as far as I can tell, I did take 2 features from it eventually, that I just couldn’t leave out. One is 100% air control or very close to and the other is high acceleration.
I forced myself to not play SMB (or any other platformer for that matter) during early development of the game (except for a few times to borrow some editor features and a bit from the editor layout. Sorry but GUI programming makes me very lazy :)). Once I got my control system set up and knew roughly where I wanted the controls to be at, I simultaneously compared DJ to SMB and was pleasantly surprised that the feel of them are very different to each other.
I can’t explain exactly why they feel different but on paper the acceleration is slightly lower on DJ and not constant as is the case with SMB, again as far as I can tell. Gravity is stronger in DJ which makes the jumping feel more responsive. Obviously, there’s no wall jumping although I have a level mechanic planned that’s similar but won’t function the same.
Smaller things like moving platforms give the player momentum to help reach new places or a path system whereby paths nodes can be ramp/tweened. Other tweaks that aren’t present in SMB, but I feel create a better experience for DJ, are allowing players a short window where you can press jump imminently before touching the ground to jump again straight away or being able to change direction and double jump simultaneously to change direction faster. Another is the ability to perform your ground jump shortly after leaving the ground so that you can jump and still have your double jump to use, which rewards daring players with extra distance. Even the way the player values are clamped I wanted to feel different so I rubber clamped them which is a term I just made up for allowing some give around the maximum value based on how far past the value is to the threshold.
Hopefully, all those are enough to make it escape the “clone game” genre but I am planning to find a few testers once the controls are finalised so I might release the demo openly and people could hopefully let me know if my perspective is skewed or if I can lay my concerns to rest. One last point about the two being separate and that is I’m tweaking and changing 80% – 90% of the textures for a thematic upgrade. I had a nice idea on how to “tie” the theme together in a pretty “ribbon” so once I have a level or two “knitted” out with the new textures I’ll share a few screenshots.
I would have to end a post with terrible puns. Sorry about that but thanks for reading.