zero's a life

An extra chance.

A Grammar of Procedural Platformer Levels

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Brief post this week linking to a couple of great articles about elements of platformer game design. I think these articles make great resources for a procedural platformer level generator. Brevity and procedural focus stem at least partially from the release of the captivating No Man’s Sky.

Platformer Level Design

Ken Bowen’s 2012 article covering 2D Sidescroller Level Design has some great tips. I especially like the section called Define your Building Blocks. I think this will require some revisiting in a future post.

Fundamental Physics for Platformers

Zachary Burke’s article about Platformer Physics is a nice resource that explains the fundamentals in great mathematical detail. It also provides inverse solutions for deriving physics based on descriptive parameters for jump height and timing.

Taken together these articles suggest, to me, that we could achieve a fully descriptive grammar of platformer games to generate a variety of levels constructed from basic building blocks, with constraints ensuring fun and responsive gameplay physics.

How I Am Setsuna Uses a State Stack: Combat

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The previous post looked at how I am Setsuna uses a state stack to allow players to move around on a map and interact with NPCs via dialog. This time around, I’ll show you how combat can be handled by adding another state to the stack.

Mobile Frame Football Association

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I asked myself the question, in a universe where mecha are used for primarily for military-industrial applications, how did the technology get to that point?

Sure, some routes for technical advancement are funded purely by governments, but think of the racing sport’s influence on the automobile industry.

So I asked the question, what if mecha became a dominant technology because of sports applications?

In which kind of sports could mecha thrive? There have previously been pugilistic representations of robots, but I deemed these as too costly and too on the nose for the future military application.

Likewise, pure racing, while plausible, seemed to be ground that had already been explored.

I settled on the possibility that the military-industrial applications mecha technology and piloting ability of the Mobile Frame Zero universe grew out of a pursuit of the world’s (universe’s?) most popular sport, (Association) Football a.k.a. Soccer.

Thus, the Mobile Frame Football Association, a rules mod for Joshua AC Newman’s Mobile Frame Zero, was born.

Redesign Exercise

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From The Game Design Workshop book:

One good way to train yourself in the design of game mechanics is to challenge yourself with controlled design exercises in which you take an existing game system, set a new player experience goal, and make changes to the system to meet that goal.

What Makes a Game Feature Complete?

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Of course, the makeup of a list of game features depend on the particular project in question. This list of features required to make Threes feature complete comes from early on in the published emails about the game’s development.


  • Core Game
  • Tutorial
  • Menu Flow
  • Music
  • SFX
  • Monster Animation
  • Game Rotation (for the iPad/PC)
  • Leaderboards
  • Achievements
  • Twitter
  • Skin Packs
  • IAP
  • (Undos?)
  • Puzzlejuice Cross-promotion

The final product has certainly received many times over more polish than the time spent implementing these features and the list may have changed. But, from time to time, it’s nice to see what other successful projects have deemed necessary to get a better sense of how to plan for your own projects.