Platform Masters - Will you be the world's next platform master?
Last updated: Feb 2, 2011 (first version)
Level 1 update on Mar 17, 2011 (small descriptive additions to 4 sentences)
Level 6 update on Sep 18, 2011 (time info updated, sections 5 and 6 added, various updates and grammar corrections)
Level 3 update on Jan 18, 2012 (a few extra details added, some proofreading)
Level 3 update on Feb 1, 2012 (new section added explaining this game's extremes)
Level 3 update on Apr 22, 2014 (all 10 actual stats have been declassified - details added)
1 What is on-screen information for?
Pretty much every video game I've played has it - information displayed on screen, usually numbers, sometimes an image, often dynamic. This information informs the player to important game variables, such as health, lives, score, or timers. Platform Masters is no exception... to some extent.
2 The main on-screen information
Platform Masters isn't like other games when it comes to displaying this information, or even the values themselves. Unlike other games, I use the full range of variables as much as possible, even if it means needing hundreds of years to reach that point. Yes, you read that right: "hundreds of years". Not only that, but the information on screen can be moved around as you see fit and even made invisible or partially invisible. A few items cannot be hidden at all.
- Lives. This indicates how many lives remain. When this is 0, game over occurs. Grabbing extra lives and racking up big points will earn you extra lives. Most games limit lives to 99. There are a few odd balls that go to 127 or 255, and only one that I'm aware of that goes even higher (I've had 1400 in that one). Platform Masters takes the number of lives you can have to the unimaginable limit of 4,294,967,295 (nearly 4.3 billion). You initially start with the video game standard of 3 lives. This can be made to only appear when it changes but not completely disappear.
- Boss HP. When playing a boss level, an HP meter appears below the lives info. As the boss loses HP, the life bar shrinks and when completely depleted, the boss is defeated. This element must always be visible but only when playing a boss level.
- Time. Time indicates how much time remains to complete the level, and it's accurate to the millisecond, a rare sight in video games. If time runs out, a life is lost and it's back to the start platform. If this happens frequently, lower the difficulty setting. Tutorial and story-based levels have infinite time, noted by an infinity symbol instead of a number. There are 4 ways to gauge how much time remains - the digital value is the primary. The animated clock icon uses the other 3. The clock face fades from green to yellow to bright red and it also fills increasingly white as time runs low. When time is almost out, you'll only see a small sliver of red. The hands on the clock are also animated, best used when playing large levels and/or a very low difficulty setting. The timer must always be visible.
- Score. How many points you have is noted by the score. Every 20 million points earns you an extra life. Platform Masters is probably the most unusual on this front. Most games limit scores to things like 9,999,990 or perhaps 99,999,900 (the highest I've seen outside pinball machines). I've seen pinball getting out to about 3 billion. Platform Masters rivals even pinball machines - not 3 billion but an incomprehensibly large 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 (9 2/9 quintillion (a quintillion is a billion billions). Why such a huge number? The fastest scoring possible is 23.1 billion points per minute, that I'm aware of. An unsigned 32-bit integer is limited to the maximum limit that the lives data uses, about 4.3 billion, of which is far too small. The next higher step is a 64-bit integer (since variable sizes are limited to powers of 2). At the fastest scoring I'm aware of, that's still over 700 years of nonstop play of doing the same thing over and over and over again. Another method may potentially be even faster shortening that to 500 years. I don't know of anyone in today's times that can live to even 1/4 of that duration. Score can be hidden completely.
- Air. While traveling underwater, keep an eye on the air meter. When this depletes, the character drowns, losing a life. Be sure to surface often to replenish the air. The maximum limit for air is 4,294,967,295 cycles (4,473,924.3 seconds, about 51.78153 days or about 14.177% of a year), enough to essentially live underwater in the water itself. This will take over 10,000 years to reach. This element can be mostly hidden, showing only when very low at the most extreme end (20% or less air remaining).
- Speed. How fast the character is moving relative to stationary scenery objects is indicated by the speed. The units of measure can be configured to any of 9 choices: mph (the default), ft/s, km/h, m/s, CU/cy, CU/fr (the game's basic units), CU/s, bl/fr, bl/s, and Kbl/h. Unlike most games which otherwise cap at 999 and the like, Platform Masters caps at 11 significant figures, or 9,999,999.99 at the default verbosity. This requires so much height that it'll take countless decades to accomplish. This element can be completely hidden.
- Height. Height can refer to one of 2 things. The first, and the default, is elevation above sea level. The second is height above the ground or, for water worlds, height above the water's surface (based on the background). Like with speed, the units of measure can be customized, but to 9 different settings instead: inches, feet (the default), miles, centimeters, meters, kilometers, coordinate units (CU, the game's basic units), blocks (32 CU, the thickness of regular platforms), and kiloblocks (1024 blocks, 32,768 CU). Like with speed, this caps at a phenomenally high 11 significant figures (or 99,999,999.99 with the default verbosity) and would take about 10 years to reach. This element can be completely hidden.
- Current level. This indicates what world and level you're currently playing. The world number is on the left and the level number is on the right, as is traditionally done in video games. There are special notations to represent special level types outside the regular levels. Boss levels have "Bo" at the end instead of a level number (essentially level 11; worlds 19 and 20 don't use this), jumbo levels have "Jx" where x is the jumbo level number (J2 for the second jumbo level, essentially level 13 (level 12 in worlds 19 and 20)), "SS" is for supersize levels (level 15), "Tu" is for tutorial levels, and "St" is for story levels. This element can be completely hidden.
- Hit points. HP, hit points, is the character's health. When this drops to zero, a life is lost. Grabbing hearts restores HP. HP is represented by both a health bar and digits. The left number is how much HP the character has remaining. The right number is the maximum that the character can have (think of the slash, /, as "out of" - read "17/20" as "seventeen out of twenty"). When HP drops to 50% or less remaining, the digits change to yellow. As HP depletes further, yellow will fade to orange and eventually red. This offers a warning to restore the missing HP by grabbing hearts. The maximum amount of HP you can have is not the familiar 4,294,967,295, but rather 999,999,999, due to the limited space. This limit, even though it's lower, will still take tens of thousands of years to reach. Having that much though would make the character essentially invincible, able to walk neck deep in lava for miles. This element must always be visible.
3 A game of extremes
Going for stats and extremes like these is only for the die-hards.
You've probably seen other video games' limits: 99 lives, 9,999,999 points, 9999 HP, 999 mph max display speed, and other such things. Platform Masters is a game of extremes which seriously adds to the replay value. The screenshot above might be a case from about 2500 hours in on total game play. Just look how long that score is! Yet, the score can still get over 40,000 times higher yet! Care to spend all 104,726 lives? ... And that speed is crazy! That guy is already going about as fast as the Concorde and still picking up speed! Yet, if you think this is crazy, you can still go higher and for decades down the road, literally millions of game play hours! Talk about taking things to an extreme! Oh, and don't forget infinite time as well - note the infinity symbol.
4 Other character stats
Air and HP are already mentioned, but there are 8 other stats that the character has and are split into 2 different sections - power-related and agility-related.
4.1 Power-related stats
- Power. This determines how much HP will be removed from an enemy that's been hit with a cast or bopped. If power is 3 and the enemy's HP is 5, a hit will reduce the enemy's HP to 2 and another hit will defeat it.
- Cast rate. This determines how frequently casts can be made by holding down the cast button, the recharging time essentially.
- Range. This determines how far a cast can go before it expires.
- Air. This determines how long you can stay underwater, in seconds.
- Hit points. HP is the character's health. The stat refers to the max HP and not the total.
4.2 Agility-related stats
- Jumping. This determines the speed at which a jump will leave the ground at the fastest possible. Remember that doubling the speed means 4 times the height.
- Mid-air jumps. This determines how many times the character can jump in mid-air. Water is treated differently with this. If the swim ability is learned and you are underwater, a jump when not on solid ground means you'll start swimming instead of doing a mid-air jump. Otherwise, a mid-air jump is used.
- Top speed. This determines the maximum horizontal speed in which you can reach without the use of aids. Aids include downhill slopes, gliding and other certain special abilities. With just the game starting stats and abilities, it's entirely possible to experience possibly 600 mph with the Sentus Mountains with the right level.
- Acceleration. This determines how fast the character will accelerate toward the top speed. At the top speed, acceleration stops outside aids. Acceleration has the added advantage of making it possible to climb steeper slopes.
- Braking. This determines how effective braking is for stopping. It's simply a multiplier on acceleration and only applies when slowing down on the ground.
There are nearly a dozen special abilities available to aid and sometimes hinder the character's journey to the goal platform. Although the character initially can't glide, swim, levitate, or bounce, they can eventually be learned. All abilities have advantages and almost all have disadvantages to make up for the advantages. Every single level can be completed without any of these and also with only starting stats; however, having the special abilities will generally make things easier and open up shortcuts or side paths otherwise inaccessible without them. There are numerous special abilities and some of them even have upgrades that makes them even more effective. Here are a few examples:
- Glide - convert the downward force of gravity into forward acceleration. The acceleration is constant and cannot be controlled while gliding. There is a gradual descent as well, very gradual. Gliding is only possible if facing the direction the character is moving in and only when moving horizontally at a fast enough speed. The big advantage is that the top speed is an incredibly fast 800 mph although it is a fixed limit. Gliding is less effective in worlds 17 and especially 18 due to the reduced gravity.
- Fall-glide - weakens gravity, allowing for a very gradual downward acceleration descent. This ability can only be used when falling and is canceled when landing on something.
- Bounce - amplifies gravity, allowing for very rapid downward acceleration. However, with too great of an impact speed, a bounce occurs and if the bounce is on a sloped surface, movement can become uncontrollable and may cause a death from falling into a bottomless pit or a lot of wasted time due to going too far out of bounds. Sometimes, this may unexpectedly lead to useful shortcuts. Once bouncing starts, it cannot be stopped until firmly on the ground and it means, in water, you'll only sink so use with care.
- Leviburst - levitate in mid-air and quickly accelerate horizontally and downward and move at high speeds. Upwards movement is severely limited and extremely slow though.
- Swim - swim in water rather than sink in it. This also allows for faster acceleration and top speeds in water as well. This is one of the few skills that has no downsides to it.
6 Level stats
Besides the character, there are several other pieces of information tracked during play. One set relates to each individual level. This information is only visible on the overworld. Here is a partial list of what information you'll find available and not all of these will be included either.
- Times played. This is how many times you've played this level and serves no real use. This maxes out at 4.3 billion.
- Fastest clear time. This is how long you've taken to clear the level at the fastest. This is not based on how much time was remaining, but the actual time spent in total.
- Slowest clear time. This is how long you've taken to clear the level at the slowest. This is not based on how much time was remaining, but the actual time spent in total.
- Highest clear score. This is the greatest score you've obtained in this level in one clear. This does include the difficulty multiplier but does not include special one-time-only bonuses.
- Lowest clear score. This is the smallest score you've obtained in this level in one clear. This does include the difficulty multiplier but does not include special one-time-only bonuses.
- Treasure chests found. This tells you how many treasure chests you've found and how many there are in total. A percentage follows, indicating what this is. Should no treasure chests be found in that level, the percentage is marked as 100%.
- Valuables found. All levels, except boss levels, have several valuables present. Valuables include all jewels and the gold bullion. Hearts, extra lives, etc. don't count. A percentage follows as well.
- Items collected. All levels, except boss levels, also have other items. This is where hearts, extra lives, etc. count. The usual percentage follows.
- Enemies defeated. All levels have enemies present. This indicates how many enemies you've defeated in that level, with the usual percentage following. Enemy projectiles don't count though some can be destroyed.
- Overall completion. This is a combination of all of the above attributes, showing a percentage of completion. Can you get 100% completion for each level?
7 Global stats
These stats are similar to the level stats, except they relate to the entire game. These stats are only seen on the overworld. Tutorial and story levels don't count here. Can you get 100% on every aspect here? You may have to search high and low, wet and dry to find every game object there is to collect.
- Play time. This is how long you've spent playing the game. Time spent navigating menus, loading, waiting for "go", level completion stats, watching the story, etc. all count on here as well as normal play. Unlike other games which cap at 99 hours or 999 hours, Platform Masters takes this to an extreme no other game would even bother with. The 4.3 billion value is only 4,473,924 1/4 seconds or 1242 3/4 hours. Players who are highly addicted to this game and have owned it for a long time can easily get that. Thus, since a 32-bit integer isn't enough, a 64-bit integer is used instead and this sets the maximum to a bit over 304 million years. By then, we'd be colonizing other galaxies.... The animated clock icon is used here. The color-changing clock face is used for this as well, only with 4 hands. The extra one is for days. The color-changing clock face will likely represent an entire years' worth (this is not yet decided on).
- Treasure chests found. There are 400 total treasure chests in Platform Masters. Can you find them all?
- Valuables found. There are 10,000 (estimated) total valuables in Platform Masters to collect.
- Items collected. There are 3000 (estimated) total other items to collect in Platform Masters.
- Enemies defeated. There are 2000 (estimated) total enemies to defeat in Platform Masters.
- Overall completion. This is the overall completion of everything in the game. Can you get 100% completion?