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2013 - 2 - 25 / 2:13 pm / games

Dev Log: Platforming Camera

Dev Log: Platforming Camera

Chipping away at things in my remake of my Global Game Jam game. Now that I have more than 48 hours to make the game, I've been taking some time to figure out some things that I've been neglecting for the past couple years of making short form game jam games.

In Offspring Fling, there is very little scrolling. I think only one level actually scrolls both horizontally, and vertically. On top of that there are still only a few levels that scroll at all. This means that I didn't really have to worry about a complex camera, I just have the camera follow the player with a little bit of a drag and it works out mostly fine.

For this new game I'm working on, there's a bit more platforming, and almost every level will have scrolling in it, and there will be some big and open rooms... so I want to have a better camera system in general to handle platforming.

What do I mean by this? Take a look at this breakdown of the camera system from Mario World.

This kind of camera system is pretty crazy. There's a lot going on behind the scenes to make sure that the camera is showing the player exactly what they need to see. This is definitely one of those things where if you do it right, nobody will notice you're doing anything at all, but it is incredibly difficult to get this kind of stuff right.

I spent most of yesterday experimenting with a camera system like this. The last time I actually did any sort of complex camera system was Jottobots, and honestly the system in that game is very simple compared to something like Mario World. The main thing in Jottobots is the camera blocking techniques, and not following the player too much when they're jumping.

For now, this is what I'm currently working with:

I still have some work to do on the horizontal movement stuff because I'm not quite happy with it yet, but it seems to be working pretty well in the vertical side of things. The camera only tracks to the player vertically when they've been standing on a platform for a little while, and if they fall off a platform without jumping then the camera will follow them directly. I'm pretty pumped that this only took a few hours to put together! Back in my Multimedia Fusion days something like this would take me a week to figure out how to do.

One last thing! I made that gif of the game running with LICEcap and Photoshop to compress the gif a little bit. Turned out pretty good I think! ALSO check out this follow up video to that Mario camera system break down that shows some behind the scenes stuff on a rad camera system. Shout outs to Shaun Inman!


2013 - 2 - 26 12:32 PM


hey kyle, great post, i had never realised how the camera in Mario worked, its more complex than i thought.

I have a question for you, in this game you are making now, are you using AIR?


2013 - 2 - 26 7:56 PM


Howdy! I am indeed using AIR!


2013 - 2 - 27 4:50 PM


Thats nice!

I dont know if this is the right place to talk with you about this, but i would like to know your opinion about the flash future? ( i'm still using it too^^)


2013 - 2 - 28 11:18 PM


I don't think Flash is going anywhere any time soon to be honest. HTML5 feels mega hyped to me and I'm curious to what things will be like maybe a year from now, but I think flash will still be solid. Even if Flash becomes obsolete, alternatives like HAXE will still be good stepping stones for Flash developers.

I'm planning on transitioning away from Flash in the near future just because of performance issues. If Flashpunk 2 comes out and it's as good as Flashpunk 1, and the performance from Stage 3d is good enough then I'll go back and check it out... but I'm going to see how MonoGame and C# treat me later this year. I'm finishing out one more project in AS3, and then I'm going to switch for awhile.


2013 - 3 - 1 3:15 AM


Thanks for the answer.

Yeah, after Adobe said that they wouldn't make the as4 and the new avm I'm feeling that it's really time to change.
I like flash a lot, but performance its really something...
I dont like HTML5 xD and i want some more powerfull for PC gamming, and for now theres no way to go for C++.

I have a friend who tested flashpunk 2 and said that it was awesome
I started to learn c# to go with Monogame, for me it seen like the best option for now.
Just like you, finishing my as3 projects and moving on.

And by the way, if you want to check there's one trailler avaiable for now of that project


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Hi! My name's Kyle, and I make video games most of the time in Denver, Colorado. Here you will find my thoughts, games, websites, doodles, and other stuff like that. I worked on Snapshot, Offspring Fling, and a whole bunch of other games. I also created and maintain Otter, a 2d game making framework. If you want to get a hold of me use the form on the bottom of the page, leave a comment, or just tweet at me. I try to post three times a week. Thanks for stoppin' by! You're the coolest.

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