Platform Masters - Will you be the world's next platform master?
Last updated: Feb 2, 2011 (first version)
Level 2 update on Mar 17, 2011 (noted on the world 13 platform complexity boundary)
Level 2 update on Jan 18, 2012 (11 platform types and slight proofreading)
Level 3 update on Jun 13, 2012 (controlled elevator platforms declassified, minor grammatical corrections)
Level 1 update on Apr 26, 2014 (general proofreading, clarity enhancements, and minor updates)
1 What are platforms?
Platforms are pieces of solid land suspended above the ground. What would the platformer genre (2D and 3D) be without platforms anyway? Platform Masters uses platforms, lots of them. A typical level may have about 50 to 150 platforms present, depending on the design. The largest of supersize levels can approach 1000 platforms, the maximum possible.
2 Types of platforms
Platform Masters has 11 types of platforms. All platforms have a checkerboard pattern. Except for the start and goal platforms, their colors are otherwise randomized.
- Start platform. The start platform is where every level in the game begins from. Each level only has one such platform present. The start platform is twice as thick as the standard platforms and has "START" written on it in spectral form. The checkerboard pattern resembles that of the finish line in races. Any time a life is lost, you'll always return to where the start platform is.
- Goal platform. The goal platform is the most important of all. Except for boss levels, every level has a goal platform - land on it before time runs out to complete each level. Boss levels are completed by defeating the boss and landing on any solid ground that isn't underwater afterward. This platform is otherwise the same as the start platform as far as what it looks like, except that it has "GOAL!" written on it instead.
- Static platforms. Static platforms are just that - they're static. They never move. Static platforms often have a sloped surface or enclose areas. Static platforms are the most common types of platforms present.
- Dynamic platforms. Dynamic platforms are platforms that move on their own following a predefined path. Early on, dynamic platforms are wide, slow, and easy to handle. You might think that difficulty will influence their speed. This is not the case because of one small detail in the game's physics. If you jump while on a platform going up at 12 mph, you'll go up at 33 mph (assuming jumping hasn't been improved yet; this more than doubles the jumping height). If difficulty was raised 6 notches higher (going from 0 to 6 or 2 to 8), this might mean 48 mph, causing a jump of 69 mph, making the jump go much higher, over 10 times higher than a regular jump or a bit over 4 times higher than what the 12 mph speed would've had, opening up unexpected shortcuts or simply wasting time. It's rare that you'll see dynamic platforms going much beyond 24 mph horizontally or 48 mph vertically. The ultimate challenge that world 20 is can have them going as fast as even 96 mph though the limit is 192 mph!
- Elevator platforms. At first glance, elevator platforms look just like any other static platform. However, once you step on one, it'll rise upwards like a dynamic platform. Upon jumping off or walking over the edge, elevator platforms will go back down and return to their original position.
- Vanishing platforms. Upon landing on these platforms, which resemble static platforms, they disappear right before your eyes, starting to flash upon landing on them. The rate of flashing increases with less time remaining before they disappear. In the last half second, they fade away. The amount of time they take to disappear varies. At first, however, the duration is quite long giving plenty of time to react and prepare a jump. Once they disappear, they become completely passable, as if they weren't there. They do, however reappear after some time, delayed only if you're right in the area where they appear.
- Controlled elevator platforms. These platforms are like elevator platforms, except you can control where they go (at least within their predefined range). While on such a platform, simply press up to move these platforms up and down to move them down. Upon jumping off of such a platform, it will, after a pause, return to its original position.
3 The node system - complex movements
Most platformers have platforms that have very simple movements - they move in one direction, stop at a predetermined point, return to the starting position, stop, and so forth. A few games have ciruclar motions, and others form the shape of a bracket (the "["). Although Platform Masters can do that as well and it's what you'll see in the early worlds, Platform Masters is unique in the extreme complexity that dynamic platforms can have for how they move. Some platforms can trace the shape of a square, triangle, or hexagon. Think that's advanced? Platform Masters, thanks to the node-based system, goes even further - some platforms may trace the shape of a star, a shoe, a car, an airplane, even truly random shapes. Each platform can use up to 100 nodes but it's rare to see anything going much beyond only 4 until world 13. After world 13, it's still rare to see much going beyond 12 nodes. Regardless of the complexity, all platforms always follow the same pattern so at least they're always predictable.