What is up Runners!
Here is a small window into the game development struggles that we face on day to day basis that you might not even think about. I’m sure you have noticed and perhaps even played the Xmas Challenge. In case you haven’t you can check this video.
The level was build from the Christmas presents and they had a very specific height that shed light onto one issue that I have personally been trying to solve for a long time. Here is the problem both for casual and pro player:
Casual player problem
Why does Ricky keep wall running when I want to climb?
Pro player problem
Why does Ricky keep trying to grab the edge when I want to wallrun?
Why is it happening?
This issue happens because of the “climb assist”. Each time you hit a wall, the player automatically checks if it possible to climb that wall and if so, it gives you that few seconds you need to react and hit the spacebar to climb up. This is an issue for pro players because they can’t use these walls for wall running – which is way faster than climbing. And they have no option but to wallrun lower than the “climb assist” distance. We got around this “climb assist” issue on the map “Bay Watch” by not allowing the player to climb on top of those blocks – it works, you can wallrun up to the edge, but we certainly can’t do this on every map… clip provided by Toppack
The obvious solution
would be to disable the “climb assist” for pro players, but that actually does not work, because the second you touch the wall, the player starts doing wallrun and the camera starts aligning to either left or right, which if you want to climb gives you a really dizzy feeling (trust me, it is not good).
The second obvious solution
would be to have a button for wallrun, so only if you press it you go to wallrun, otherwise you climb, but if you are wish us long enough, you might remember we already tried this and the game was just too much pain to play, consecutive wallruns were just impossible. Even for the pro players.
More problems and a partial solution
Up until now I gave up on solving this issue but when introducing the new character Zoe, which is still a work in progress but you can already check her out on our discord the problem got emphasized, because Zoe (and all the upcoming characters for that matter) is slightly taller than the original character Ricky (which had very cartoonish and childish proportions). Zoe can still jump the same height as Ricky could, but since she is visibly taller we had to increase the amount she can climb (roughly by 0,5m) so it does not look like she is less competent.
This means there is now even less space for wallrunning, but it actually fixed the issue for casuals, as now they don’t get that annoying wallrun they didnt ask for and the game is so much smoother and easier at their level.
Simple and genius solution!
The problem with that is that it kinda left the Pro players hanging. Well not anymore, when discussing this issue for the billionth time, Petr came up with a simple and genius solution, we’ve already talked about why we can’t use any button for wallrun, but we reversed the logic and came up with a concept that by holding a certain button you could cancel the “climb assist” when you needed. The question was – which button, certainly not “Jump” as that is the same button as “Climb” and the only other option we had – because we really don’t want to end up having 50 buttons was the “Slide / Pack” button and surpringly it works really well and fits right into our moveset and logic that the shift button always modifies your current movement!!
Casual players now have much smoother experience because the game supports them in their straight forward platforming and Pro players have more control over the character and more options to navigate the environment in order to reach a better score. Isn’t that just awesome win-win situation?