A Mario Clone

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 11.51.14 PMXbox_Jumpman

I’ve just finished reading the incredible book, Game Feel by Steve Swink. In it, he describes specific examples of how tight, responsive feedback coupled with expectation-altering cues can create experiences that quickly feel second nature, like a virtual extension of the self. The original Super Mario Bros. did this effortlessly and I could never articulate why the dozens of platformer clones that followed never felt as right as Mario did until reading this book. I decided to use Mario as my next lesson to dissect and recreate from scratch.

I built all the assets/systems to be as modular as possible so that creating new levels would be as drag-and-drop as possible. I built this in the TFB Tool for the PC. From this little cross section of 1-1, I learned a ton! I now know how to:

  • Restrict backwards traversal
  • Create the sensation of pressure sensitive jumps
  • Modify top speed with an acceleration button
  • Manage powerup modes
  • Update spawn/checkpoints based on the player’s progress
  • Tie coin count to extra life bonuses
  • Control particle FX
  • Design central system managers (coins, blocks)
  • Tag assets for unique behavior (hidden powerups, hidden coin blocks)

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