Flame Sword #25: Hover Bike + Auto Scrollers


In an update five or six months ago, I had experimented with vehicles. The tumbler vehicle was more of a prototype bound to the character with a cheat than a vehicle to play with in game. The tumbler could go up walls, dash, and grind through foes and destructible objects. When the player jumps on a vehicle and holds up, the character will mount the vehicle. It’s the same for a dismount, hold up and jump. Very simple and feels good.

Over this past week, the Blue Bullet hover bike was added along with a more proper vehicle system that lets the player hop on, and hop off. It can even be used as a double jump and when the player dismounts it continues going, but reduces speed once it’s on the ground. The vehicle is almost 3x as fast as the character for better or worse. There is an issue with it being too fast to really see what’s coming ahead.

Other limitations come in the form of no wall jump or ledge clinging. While it is a hover bike, it doesn’t hover much off the ground and bobs up and down. There are currently no weapons with the Blue Bullet, but I imagine forward firing guns.

The bike moves so fast that a center view becomes difficult to dodge things, and having the camera pan further ahead of the bike may cause camera whip motion sickness. For long distance travel, everything will just go by the player to give a sense of speed without being too tough to control. That and it gives an illusion that you’re traveling a long distance when you can’t go back to where you came from. During these style areas, the player won’t be able to dismount.


The auto-scrollers work different when the player isn’t using a vehicle. Instead it turns into a more traditional method where the player needs to keep up with the screen’s speed and won’t just be held in the same position of the screen. This dual use of auto-scrollers should make for some different types of levels when the screen can auto-scroll up, down, left, right, and diagonally.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, behind the scenes of the game, it uses invisible helpers that come in the form of strength squares and directional guides. Strength squares have strengths 1 – 10. In this case, when the auto-scroller hits a strength square, it will take on that square’s strength. So strength 1 would change the speed to 1 pixel per frame. A strength of 10 would change the speed to 10. Thankfully not at once. There is a gradual increase or decrease, which I should probably do for the moving platforms as well. Then there are guides. The auto-scroller touches a guide and will change direction according to the direction of the guide. This allows for some great flexibility with an auto-scroller in a giant room. Pan the screen right, then up, then left, then up, then right again at changing speed intervals.

Another invisible trigger is the capture releases. The player is basically stuck on the screen with an auto-scroller. While the player can go up or die from falling beneath the screen, the player is prevented from going left or right off screen. At the end of scroller when it turns off, it will trigger a capture release that will let the player off the left or right of the screen to continue playing the level. Sure it would be good to have an auto-scroller be an entire level, but I designed it to function in a room of its own.

The last twist of the auto-scroller system is that it won’t start auto scrolling until the player has found it or activated it.


I have a feeling that no matter what, half of platform players out there absolutely dislike any kind of auto-scroller. This might be more of a feat that I actually made it, rather than adding it to the game, even if it gives a bit more level diversity.

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