Platformer Question

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by VinceA, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. VinceA

    VinceA New Member

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    Why are most platform games from left to right? What emotional respond would it give to move the other way.
    Can anybody come up with a game to contradict this rule?
     
  2. chillypacman

    chillypacman Guest

    We read left to right, therefore it's easier for us to comprehend the character is going from left to right.
     
  3. VinceA

    VinceA New Member

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    That could very well be. – Good point
    However is there a; from – to, and a to – from thing going on.
     
  4. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I blame Mario ;)
     
  5. MarcusM

    MarcusM New Member

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    This is a question I have asked myself. One could blame Mario, but the blame really falls to the multitude of game following. Even a game like Karateka progressed from right to left.

    I concur that this phenomenon can be attributed to the way we read, but that doesn't stand up in all countries. Nonetheless, I think it just "feels right" to go from right to left because of years of games just following precedent. I can't think of any true design reason you can't go the other way.

    Marcus
     
  6. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Unless your native language is a semitic language such as Arabic, which accounts for pretty much half a billion people globally. :p

    Incidentally, classic platformer Jet Set Willy, although multi-directional, began in a room (The Bathroom) where the only exit was to the left.
     
  7. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    The left to right thing, if you think about it, is probably down to the designers writing out the level designs from left to right on paper.

    If you think about early level designs, no doubt they were paper based.

    So its likely that it IS the writing thing, only a bit more subtle and to do with the designers psychology than any specific thinking.

    This is conjecture of course, but it sounds plausible to me.
     
  8. ZeHa

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    It's the same thing with other stuff, for example / looks rising and \ looks falling. Just because of the reading direction.

    I also once saw a very good example for this, I just can't remember where it was. A website was shown where some company talked about progress, and they had an accompanying picture with some soccer players, you only saw the feet and they were running to the left. It somehow didn't look good. When you flipped the picture, so that they were running to the right, it looked better and more like "progress". For the same reason of course: the reading direction.

    Of course it's the opposite way for those languages where reading and writing is done in the other direction.
     
  9. Bad Sector

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    So this is why in arabic windows everything looks like is mirrored (not only the letters go from right to left, but also the scrollbars are at the left side and even the "3D" highlights are at top-right instead of top-left corners) ? :)
     
  10. lexaloffle

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    I like the reading order theory, but consider that many early (left to right) platformers were designed by Japanese people who read from top down, right to left. Then again, the right-to-lefters I can think of are Japanese.

    Another influence might be the coordinate space. It feels more natural for x to start close to zero and then increase.
     
  11. Grey Alien

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    Perhaps the Japanese programmers copied the direction from Western games?

    Thundercats on C64 occasionally made you run back the other way on some levels, it was a bit confusing though...
     
  12. VinceA

    VinceA New Member

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    lateral motion perception

    I found a paper form Standford Dep. Of Psychology on the topic of reading direction.
    The study actually concluded that; reading habits can influence directionality in lateral motion perception.
    It showed that left to right readers are bias towards perceiving lateral motion in that direction whereas right to left readers showed no bias towards a direction.

    I think that there is also a theatre rule about side of entry, but I forget the rule. :confused:
     
  13. MFS

    MFS New Member

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    We read left to right yes, and I'm sure that had a lot of effect on how early levels were designed. However for me, the left to right thing has been more mathematical as the X axis typically moves positive in the right direction. So you essentially start at world location 0 and progress to world location whatever. Maybe just me though.

    EDIT:
    Missed lexaloffle's post.
     
  14. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    I think you're putting the cart before the horse here. Cartesian coordinates were invented by Rene Descartes, who read from left to right, which is presumably why the X-axis values increase from left to right. If they'd been invented by an Arabic mathematician, they'd probably go the other way.
     
  15. oNyx

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    >Can anybody come up with a game to contradict this rule?

    Balloon Kid for the GameBoy. It auto scrolls to the left.

    I guess the preference for scrolling to the right does indeed come from the reading direction. In Japan horizontal text is usually read left to right (and vertical is top to bottom and right to left). Or maybe it's the coord space... or a bit of both.
     
  16. GolfHacker

    GolfHacker Member

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    Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle. The very first level goes from right to left. Many of the other levels do too, though not all.
    Commander Keen 5: The Armageddon Machine. Ditto.
    Crystal Caves (old DOS game).
    Secret Agent (old DOS game).

    A number of my Dirk Dashing levels also go right to left (though not in the trial version levels).
     
  17. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Walker. Wasn't technically a platformer, but it scrolled from right to left.
     
  18. Pyabo

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    Why do vertical shooters always go up... that wouldn't seem to have anything to do with reading.
     
  19. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    Because if you take a horizontal plane and tip it up to make it vertical, then 'away from you' becomes 'up' and 'towards you' becomes 'down'. Imagine picking a map up off a table. The ship/plane/whatever that represents 'you' is obviously going to be heading the same way you are, i.e. up. The enemies coming towards you are therefore going to be coming down.
     
  20. Pogacha

    Original Member

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    It is like walking viewing your feet.
     

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