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This Post Makes Me Want to Jump, Jump

Thanks to an insightful jumping analysis from a fellow Gamasutra blogger, I was inspired to share a few corresponding thoughts on whether to jump at all and how many times to jump.

Game Developer

August 30, 2014

2 Min Read

An insightful article from Mohan Rajagopalan, Creative Director at AtomJack, was posted recently that discusses jump design in 2D games. The full article can be found on Gamasutra.

One branching thought is that the consideration of whether or not to include jumping at all in a game should be made. In particular, games that do not follow the traditional side-view platforming style or that involve exploration across a land mass are often good candidates for exclusion of the jump mechanic. The Zelda series is an exceptional example of an action and exploration game that has long refrained from including the jump mechanic in both 2D and 3D versions (barring a major release that was partially a 2D platformer and some oddball rare releases). It's quite easy to design a game and automatically default to making the jump a core component, but it exists much more often than necessary. Have you ever felt the disappointment of playing a game where you've spent too much time jumping all around just-too-high walls for naught?

Another consideration regards the now all-too-common usage of double jump in games. Rajagopalan's insights reveal this all the more. A double jump fails to achieve the expected parabola, variable height, and super-human height that make the player feel as if the characters are miniatures being played with. In other words, the perceived naturalness, smoothness, and pleasure of jumping are defiled when the typical double-jump mechanic is applied. Can you imagine a child playing with the hero figure, who upon reaching an obstacle, makes a feeble attempt at a jump, then another feeble attempt at a jump in midair to barely cross the obstacle? Alternatively, can you imagine a child launching the hero towards the obstacle, emitting some thrusting sound of flight, and landing clear on the other side?

Leave the sickly double jumps behind and allow your players to revel in the glory of a heroic leap.

...But, perhaps you want to experiment with a new mechanic. So far as I know, the double faceplant is up for grabs.

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