Platform Masters Title
Platform Masters - Will you be the world's next platform master?






Air Taxi - platform levels drifting by 2


Date: Aug 20, 2011
Screenshot #171: This is the closest of all the platform levels. This platform level is only 400 feet (121.92 meters) in the distance. Even then, it's so big that it nearly fits the entire screen. At least you can get an idea of another platform level that you might see. At least here, you can see the parts underwater quite well.




Air Taxi - closest island and an air taxi


Date: Aug 20, 2011
Screenshot #172: This is a part of the closest island in the entire scene. It's so close, but still so far that the character otherwise cannot jump across (going into the distance is not possible). Note the odd part in the sky in the center right. That is an air taxi, only going in the other direction.




Air Taxi - volcanic island


Date: Aug 20, 2011
Screenshot #173: Do you remember this island from Sentus Reef (back when it was called Keveran Reef)? This is that very tall and very hilly island. I've decided that it should be a volcanic island. If you stay in the air taxi worlds for at least 28 or so minutes, it'll start to come into view. Repeatedly dying, clearing levels, advancing the levels, etc. will all count towards the time. As soon as you return to the overworld, the timer resets. It's independent on the time remaining to reach the goal platform though. Of course, you could also find a high spot and glide way out of bounds to see it earlier and faster. There's a lot of height available in this world so you've got plenty to mess around with though a long enough glide won't be possible unless playing the jumbo or supersize levels on difficulty 0. 4 minutes to get this far out gives you the general idea, but that's nothing to 28 minutes.




Animated timer - short range


Date: Sep 17, 2011
Screenshot #174: Since the time part of the onscreen data is critical to keep an eye on, especially with high difficulty settings (5 and above in particular), I figured that I'd enhance this game feature by animating it. Previously, the icon was only fixed and fairly small. This time, it moves though there's more to it than just knowing how much time remains by just looking at the number itself. There are actually 3 other visual cues to use.

The first visual cue is the color of the clock's face. The clock starts with the entire face being all green. As time gets low, that green fades to yellow-green, yellow, orange, then bright red. When the clock face starts turning red, head for the goal platform immediately! Not only does the color change, but the coverage also changes - as time depletes, the clock face also turns white instead of colored which gives you another visual cue, to gauge relatively how much time remains. At first, the whole clock face is green with a sliver of white that slowly gets bigger. When time is running short, only a sliver of bright red remains with the rest of the clock face being white. This screenshot shows a typical case where these 2 cues are best used - for levels in this world based on difficulty 5 where you might be expected to complete the level in 2 minutes. With 38 1/7 seconds left, the clock face is yellow-orange with slightly more than 2/3 of it being white. However, with low difficulty settings and jumbo or supersize levels, this color changing and relative remaining time cases aren't of much use as levels can be completed with nearly the entire clock face still colored quite easily.

The lakes and rivers in the scene here are in the works of being replaced. Farm fields, forests, small towns, roads, a few lakes, and a few rivers will be present here.


Animated timer - long range


Date: Sep 17, 2011
Screenshot #175: This is where the third visual cue is best used - the hour, minute, and second hands. This is best used when playing at very low difficulty settings (especially 0) and/or playing the jumbo or supersize levels. Though typical levels in this world may only take 100 seconds to complete at difficulty 6, this becomes 400 for playing at difficulty 0. Supersize levels provide 4 times as much time simply because of their sheer size, which turns that already high 400 seconds into 1600, nearly a half hour. The hour, minute, and second hands constantly update based on how much time remains. Some of this game's largest supersize levels played at difficulty 0 can easily gives you 25+ minutes of time, perhaps even peaking as high as 45 minutes. This kind of time makes the first and second visual cues not all that effective as a good fraction of a minute needs to go by before they'll even change and the goal platform may only be a minute away from the start platform to begin with. When all 3 hands, however, point to the 12, you'll know that time is up. When this happens, you'll lose a life and you'll be sent back to the start platform (or restart a boss level from the beginning). Thus, keep a close eye on the clock when you're out exploring.

The hour hand may not seem very useful here as 45 minutes tops would only require the use of a minute and second hand. When in the overworld, however, the "time played" value will also use this clock. It's easy to rack up 5 hours of play so the hour hand makes perfect sense here. The clock face will represent either an entire month (about 731 hours) or 120 days (2880 hours). Thus, if the clock face is nearly all green, you've logged nearly a whole months' worth of continuous play. I'm only expecting around 10 or so hours of play for the game so not much of the clock face will be filled for most. Still, there are some that can get extremely addicted to a game and easily rack up hundreds of hours in only a few months (I, myself, have done this with a few games - 625 hours in 3 months being my most extreme to date and 850 in 5 1/3 also quite extreme). Like the other game stats, the "time played" element won't see a maximum for a rather surprising 300 million years. Good luck playing for that long!




Sentus Mountains - ground decals early bottom


Date: Sep 25, 2011
Screenshot #176: This is only a start on the remake of the ground decals in the Sentus Mountains world. Previously, it was just lakes and rivers. Now, it's an amazing blend of forests, roads, farm fields, a city, and, yet to be done, 2 platform levels in the background, bridges, a train, and, though undecided, traffic (cars, 18-wheelers, minivans, trucks, etc.). There are ground decals beyond the closest mountains as well and still more beyond this.

This screenshot gives an early look at the ground decals for the closest part. My favorite part is the city. The farm fields are my next favorite part. You can see a 4-lane highway going out into the distance and a 2-lane road running parallel with the scene that has a train track right next to it. You can see the rough locations where you'll see the bridges in a later screenshot. You can also see the forests and buildings in the distance casting shadows. If you look to the right of the city, near the closest mountains, you'll see 2 rivers splitting. Upon seeing this in the game engine, and the fact I overlooked something in Jeremy's House, I need to redo the ground decals. This redo isn't a quick one as I'm expecting about 2 or 3 days. I could also take the city design here and use it for the city in the background in Jeremy's House. I wanted the resolution of the texture for Jeremy's House to be double the normal 6 kiloblock repeat width but the inconsistent texture resolution messed me up.




Sentus Mountains - ground decals early low


Date: Sep 25, 2011
Screenshot #177: From a bit higher up, in a break through the clouds, it's very easy to see the city. The city alone took me 5 days to do as it wasn't particularly motivating. However, once I saw the end results in the game engine, I was very impressed. I found that my efforts were definitely well worth it.









Sentus Mountains - finished ground decals low


Date: Sep 29, 2011
Screenshot #178: With the Sentus Mountains world now otherwise 100% finished as far as scenery goes, the showcase can begin. From the lowest point, through a gap in the clouds, the closest parts of the ground decals are easily visible. You can see a maglev freight train here moving at 192 mph toward a suspension bridge. There's also a highway, though the traffic has been left out as, at the 2-mile distance this has, the family sedan is but a very tiny fraction of a pixel making it very hard to make out. Even 18-wheelers are hard to make out, unlike the train which is still hard to spot but it's the length and number of cars it has that makes the train much more easily visible than traffic. Crossing the river near the closest part of the city is where a small bridge is, but it's extremely difficult to see as it's more than 3 miles (5 kilometes) away.

On the left side of the screen, you can see a platform level that goes a little into the clouds. It's more than a mile away (6400 feet or 1950.72 meters) so it's rather difficult to make out the individual details. Tall wall platforms are easily visible here. Levels in the Sentus Mountains are intended to be highly vertical so these levels in the background also mimic what you'd see.




Sentus Mountains - distant platform levels


Date: Sep 29, 2011
Screenshot #179: First known to the public since air taxi was declassified, you'll sometimes find platform levels in the background. Unlike air taxi, however, these are not spaced in the distance like a whole world would be. In this case, the path splits in 2 different directions. The path you follow heads to the north-northeast toward a town named Osa. The platforms in the background are heading due west toward a town named Ryanara. With this screenshot, it's very easy to get a sense on just how far apart platform levels are spaced. If you look very closely above the fairly gentle slope of the closest mountains on the left, you can see a platfrom level here. You have to remember that it's over 4 miles away (22,400 feet or 6827.52 meters) so it's going to appear very tiny, so tiny that JPG compression artifacts at quality 80 have a pretty strong effect on its visibility.




Sentus Mountains - on top of the highest mountain


Date: Sep 29, 2011
Screenshot #180: Ever wonder what things would look like on top of a mountain? This is the kind of view you might see. The sky would be darker though - I haven't added this functionality in yet. If you look into the gap beyond the closest mountains in the background, you can see yet more ground decals. These ground decals are visible through normal means - trying playing the area around level 3, 8, or 13 (not yet known, but based on my plans and some calculations).






Footnotes:
None.