Author Topic: Big Hand Bear's PPG Guide - make a good game (level design, placement, graphics)  (Read 533 times)

Offline Tritertitan

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Greetings everyone, i'm Big Hand bear. Im a bear wearing a cape, and I have some useful tips for any people looking to impress at egd this year. More tips will come later, but for now, i've made a general guide for everyone. The most important aspects of a game. Specifically a platformer; the level design, the placement, the art style and graphics/scenery. Along with one more i'm going to go over real quick before the real guide

CONTROLS:
Please, i beg of you, when you make a PPG, the real most important things are the controls and hitboxes, and the game being winnable. Your game can be amazing, but if the controls and hitboxes suck, the game sucks (cough cough oddworld cough).

For good controls, you need to mess around with the different materials in the creator. What i like to do is make two separate objects; one for the sprite of the player, and one for the actual hitbox. The player and sprite are pinjointed together, while the sprite has no collision layers, no sensor layers, nothing, and the hitbox object has all the actual layers that you want. The controls and pretty much everything go on the hitbox. I suggest using a light material for the sprite object because you dont want the hitbox to be pulled down by the sprite. Other than that, you just need to play around with it and fix the controls to your liking and fit them around your game. You generally want responsive controls that are more on the stiff side, because the ppg's peak for control quality is only so high.

Besides that, lets get onto the guide



Welcome one welcome all, big hand bear is here on time, look at the clock, not only with a big
hand, but a big.........knowledge of the ppg creator! Its sick! So heres my........guide ive wanted to show you for so long! Yes so long it is......my ppg guide that is!



The PPG has a lot of potential, and for this last EGD i would love to give some tips for people to make some great games. It has the biggest chance to make a "real game" as to say in my opinion, and i wish more people would use it for big projects. But anyway, heres what i have to say boys. MMmmmmmmm boys....lets get this bread.

PLACEMENT:
Placement is a very important aspect of a game, not only real touchable objects, but the background and scenery as well. Heres an example of some trash placement -



As you can see here, the player starts out on a area with lots of empty space. Unused potential that is. Now dont be afraid of using empty space in your games, it can be very useful, you want to have a good medium. However, you also want to squeeze as much as you can out of the level space without making it feel cluttered.

Now look at the image again. What do you see? What i see is a bogus platforming section with bad enemy placement on top of a small platform. The very uninteresting and boring platforming section and all it is is "jump twice over spikes to safety" then with an enemy thrown on top of a platform, and boom! Trash level design. You want to avoid put enemies on top of platforming sections, and while their are exceptions, you want to leave hazards like falling blocks or other projectiles onto these platforming sections. Level design like this makes the game feel very typical and boring. Not a whole lot of fun. In this level here, it doesnt feel like you have a lot of freedom. Avoid making your placement like this.

Lets fix it up a bit...
Ah, there we go



Not a giant difference here is there? It might seem like a small change, but it makes the difference. The platforming here feels a lot more fair and free. The player sits on a small platform from the start, because why waste space on something you dont do anything around? Once you land on the enemy, or shoot it, or whatever your games thing is, you have room to navigate while still maintaining the danger of the spikes.

LEVEL LAYOUT:
Lets take a look at some examples of level layout.

Here is some garbage ass level layout right here-



Trash. Tons of unused space and generic platforming sections. Obviously not a very developed example, but you get the idea. The two biggest problems here is that this layout is simply done in so many games and is just lazy. So much open space with no depth.

So lets fix it...



A lot more fun looking isnt it? The big thing here is that the layout maintains a sense of freedom and space, while still having lots to do. Many places to go, and most importantly; there is choice. You dont have to get that heart at the bottom, but you can if you need that extra life, and there are two different ways to get to the end goal. You have freedom in choosing how you want to play the game, along with the level just being fun and well designed in general.

BACKGROUNDS:

Backgrounds are the major factor in people wanting to actually play the game in the first place. Imagine super mario world, except they took away all the sprites and backgrounds and made them into red and white objects with green outlines. The game would still be great as a platformer, but it would look like garbage and feel like garbage to play. Because the game would be oversaturated with these backgrounds that scream "look at me! I stick out like a sore thumb and im bright and neon and dont belong. Stare at me the whole game!"

You want the backgrounds to look nice, and you want them to LOOK LIKE BACKGROUNDS. Make sure they do not blend in to the actual platforms, because that will be a major problem.

Heres some awful background work



Not much to say here that you arent already saying to yourself. It's bad. The colors are bad, they are presets from the creator, theyre badly placed, and mosti importantly, it doesnt LOOK LIKE A BACKGROUND. It looks like it's right up in your face. This is what we call depth perception, something that is prebuilt into your brain. It's pretty much how you process the distance between you and an object. You want long range depth between your backgrounds and your platforms.

Heres an example of good background placements-



Now yes, its not a great selection of graphics together, but it looks like a background. It looks farther away, opposed to seeming to be right there with you in the level.

GRAPHICS AND SPRITE MAKING:
So, if you want to create a vibe for your game in the graphics department, you are all good to go. Everyone is different and therefore draws differently. Putting in the effort and actually learning how to blend pixels together and add lighting and shadows is what puts the cherry on top. Now, i cant teach you how to draw, thats something you have to just do, and eventually you'll get decent enough at it to start drawing good sprites. But here are some general tips

Lets take a look at a bad example for a block-


It's actually not that bad, but it seems very random, theres no lighting effects, and its pretty much just all over the place. You dont want to get into the habit of just drawing a bunch of random shades of the same color around each other. It can work with the right artist, but you'll have to make everything in your game the same style as this block, because it does not go well with anything else. and that is very tedious and boring.

Now here is a good example-



This is a very basic block design, but you can actually tell what it is. You can see the shadows, and you generally know the idea of what it is supposed to be. Some kind of dirt or soft stone, whereas the other sprite, i dont know what it even is. Im serious, when i drew it 2 years ago, i literally didnt know what i was drawing besides a block. It looks like some kind of stone, yet it doesnt, it could be anything if you tell yourself.

Whether or not you want to outline with black, outline with a color fitting the sprite, or no outline at all is your choice and what blends well with your art style. There really is no right way to draw graphics, you just have to look at it and go "yea, that fits well and it looks good."

Before i hop off of this guide. Im going to show you a few more good and bad examples of different graphics.

CHARACTERS SPRITES AND DRAWINGS:

Good:



Bad:



Good:



Bad:



Good:



Thats all folks! This is more of a general guide taking the most important aspects of a game and giving you a good guideline on whats good and what isnt. If you are looking for a more in depth guide, or how to do certain things with widgets or physics or what not, there are many good guides in the archives!

Other than that, big hand bear out! I hope you learned something.


 
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Offline Tritertitan

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Any questions anyone has about anything PPG comment below!
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Offline Awesomefinnz

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Woah, amazing ppg guide!

I was going to make my own but on the technical side explaining on what the widgets, controls and physics do.


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Offline Awesomefinnz

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yo this helped me a lot, I will bookmark this thread when I'm making my games, Thanks!


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Offline Tritertitan

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Woah, amazing ppg guide!

I was going to make my own but on the technical side explaining on what the widgets, controls and physics do.
Yea i thought about this too, but honestly the best way to figure those things out is by yourself, and its a lot of work to effectively explain that stuff to people on a forum.
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Offline Tritertitan

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yo this helped me a lot, I will bookmark this thread when I'm making my games, Thanks!
Any questions?
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Offline Awesomefinnz

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Any questions?
Would rectangle characters be good hitboxes for platform type ppgs?

http://www.sploder.com/games/members/awesomefinnz/play/splodervania-demo/ <- I made it in this one


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Offline Tritertitan

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Would rectangle characters be good hitboxes for platform type ppgs?

http://www.sploder.com/games/members/awesomefinnz/play/splodervania-demo/ <- I made it in this one
They can be if you make them small. If youre going to use a rectange for a hitbox make it lenient compared to the sprite.
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Offline Awesomefinnz

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They can be if you make them small. If youre going to use a rectange for a hitbox make it lenient compared to the sprite.
Aight, thanks!


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Offline Rocky

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Wow this is a guide on PPG platformers.. maybe it'll help me. Good job

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