Platform Masters - Will you be the world's next platform master?
Last updated: Feb 1, 2011 (first version)
Level 1 update on Jan 17, 2012 (basic grammar fixes and one sentence added at the end of section 3)
1 What are the controls like in Platform Masters?
The controls require the use of a minimum of 9 buttons. You'll need 4 directionals (how else are you to move?) along with one for jumping, gliding, fall-gliding, casting energy beams, and pausing. Some buttons have multiple functions, such as jump being used to select menu options and glide being used to cancel menu options. The menus are mutually exclusive from standard game play, allowing one button to have multiple functions.
2 High-precision movement
Pretty much every game I've seen runs at either 30 fps or 60 fps (odd balls when the CPU load gets too high where frames have to get dropped). Movement and drawing revolve around this in these games. Platform Masters is an exception to this. It uses 60 fps, though only for drawing. Input is based on 240 fps and movement is even more extreme at 960 fps. 1 movement frame, 1/960 of a second, is referred to as a "cycle". 1 input frame, 1/240 of a second, is referred to as an "input cycle". 1 drawing frame, referred to as just "frame" is 1/60 of a second. This extreme precision allows for very fine movements and controls.
There are 2 reasons for this high precision. The first and primary is collision detection. If I went with the standard most games use, of 60 fps, there's a chance you'll fall through platforms when going beyond 276 mph (123.38 m/s). 276 is easy to get, especially in the Sentus Mountains or when jumping is upgraded to an extreme, especially thanks to the bounce ability. The only solution to this was to provide more frames, a lot more. Drawing 960 times is pointless and a waste of CPU and GPU usage. By keeping drawing at 60 frames per second and making movement 16 times finer, that threshold becomes 4416 mph (1974.1 m/s). Reaching that speed requires at least 1,218,816 CU (33.856 miles, 54.486 km) above the object, so high that the clouds are all but gone, completely off the screen on the bottom, even for the highest visibility worlds (and by a significant amount too). That's only the minimum. Double the speed and 4 times the height still only yields a 50% chance of falling through an object. Note: all of this assumes the bounce ability, since it requires significantly less height due to having a smaller bounding box and the acceleration is very extreme.
The other reason is because of the time bonus. Since each millisecond on the clock counts as 5 points, even milliseconds count. A standard drawing frame is 16.67 ms. By using 960 movement frames per second, the precision is down to a measely 1.04 ms.
3 Controllers and joysticks
At this moment, Platform Masters will not have any direct support for the use of controllers or joysticks. However, if you have a controller with a feature where you can map keys to a certain button, this should work. I have no experience on this front so I can't answer directly. Only through the public beta will I know this answer.