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A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 5:28 am
by Authentic
Recently I re-watched the kickstarter gameplay video for Yooka-Laylee, and I noticed something that I hope changes before the game's release. Firstly, I would like to mention that I'm aware that a lot of work has left to be done on the game and I don't mean to say that I think the game is awful just by looking at it. Perhaps since the gameplay video was released, this has already been changed. I'm only hoping that the developers see this comment and consider what I have to say.

The problem is the shadows under the main characters. In all great 3D platformers (Banjo Kazooie, Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, etc.) I've noticed that what really helps my understanding of the space that I'm walking and jumping around in is the shadow underneath the controllable character. If the shadow is located directly underneath the character, it's a lot easier to tell where I am relative to the ground below. Currently in Yooka-Laylee, the shadows are cast based upon an angled light source.

This causes two big problems. For one, when making a jump, the shadow will travel across the ground away from the characters, making spatial relationships confusing. The other big problem I imagine is the characters' shadows disappearing into the environment's shadows. In the shade of the trees, the shadow completely disappears. If I were playing the game, it would probably cause me a lot of grief trying to understand the size of the characters relative to the scenery before I could make accurate jumps.

It seems that the developers already knew this because, of course, they've made awesome 3D platform games in the past in which the shadow intentionally stays under the character all the time. Whereas I can see that this is a choice between which looks aesthetically appealing and which is better for gameplay, I think that sacrificing pleasing visuals for a more enjoyable experience is worth it.

I appreciate if you've read to the end of my post. If you're a passerby who agrees with my concern, a simple "I think so too" would help identify how many people would like to see this changed. I have a lot of faith in the developers to make the right choices for the gameplay, even (and especially) if I'm off base here. I can't wait to play the finished product.

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 7:21 am
by Scrubber
No we're moving on with the times, it'd look better with realistic shadows rather than a circle one that stays below the character. It was always too easy using shadows as a landing guide, time for a challenge.

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 8:57 am
by chameleojack

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 10:52 am
by Rueckkoppler
Isn't there also a thread for this topic? I think we don't really need a blob shadow, as others said. Depth perception became much better in modern games & realistic shadows look nicer than a blob under the main character. However, looking at games like Wind Waker HD or Majoras Mask 3D, there are moments where a symbol under the player helps to aim for the ground (using the Deku Leaf). But since we're talking about platforming games, they shouldn't make it that much easier, imo. We don't even know if they learn some kind of gliding, while we don't need this function for flying or simple flatter moves...

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 11:27 am
by dotEXE
There is a thread on this already. The people saying blob shadows don't matter have never developed a game before. Having made platformers and read several theory books on platformer development I'm firmly in the "yes blob shadows are necessary for accurate platforming in a 3D space" camp. Without a shadow below the player there is no way to tell if you're about to land on the platform below you, or fall straight I to a pit. The further above the platform you are the more true this becomes*. Of course Playtonic has made many more and more successful platformers than I have, but those games all had blob shadows and are in fact references for most other industry platformers.

We'll see where it goes, but Nintendo isn't still using them for no reason. I imagine the game will be more frustrating than expected without them.

Edit: * and to all of you guys who want speedrunning friendly Yooka-Laylee, speedrunning Banjo Kazooie would be impossible without the blob shadow. Many tricks require using that shadow to check your landing, or to check if you will slide off a slope or not.

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 3:07 pm
by Scrubber
I'm sure there can be some kind of marker underneath the characters ground position for this purpose WITHOUT having it as the characters shadow making the game look off of the 90's

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 3:26 pm
by croissant

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 6:03 pm
by Authentic

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 10:00 pm
by Pirulo
To look nice or to play nice... that is the question.

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 10:06 pm
by Dracul JOSHI

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 10:35 pm
by Taylor

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 10:39 pm
by Pirulo

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 11:59 pm
by lebowski
Never had a problem with the real-time shadows in banjo-tooie.

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 12:28 am
by Authentic

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 1:17 am
by dotEXE

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 2:16 am
by Mobius Whitetalon
We don't need to even discuss the yes or no to the shadow effect. the 1.1 million pound goal was in part for an N64 Shader Mode, which one would expect to include blob shadowing. So, you can swap between a better looking shadow, or one which is easier to make jumps with.

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 8:30 am
by lebowski

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 9:06 am
by chameleojack
The blob-shadows in Galaxy are probably just negative-lights configured to track a character and inversely illuminate the ground beneath them...or even more simply, darken whatever texture is beneath them. It's not really the result of a total, dynamic lighting system, is what I mean.

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 1:32 pm
by Waverunner
No matter how advanced 3D games become graphic wise, depth perception while platformingis always going to be an issue.

There are 2 solutions to a problem like this. The subtle and barely noticeable to most people shadows perfectly underneath a character, which helps act as a non-distracting aiming reticle in a way. A second solution is to have the camera perfectly overhead at all times or at all jumps. Here's is an example at a famous 3D Platformer that does this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sM52h3QhJQ
As you can see, the Bubsy also has a shadow and fails to see the use of it.

Shadows underneath a Character are to 3D Platformers are what aiming crosshairs are to First Person Shooters and what Z-Targeting is to 3D Action Games. Without it, the game would be almost unplayable, due to having no gage on what you are doing.

Re: A Gameplay Concern

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 2:59 pm
by Jellyfunk
Blob shadows are a form of hand-holding, which gaming already has enough of. Bring on the challenge.