Fancy Pants Adventures - review-supplemental
August 06, 2011

So, Fancy Pants first made it's debut on Armorgames.. or maybe Newgrounds, I'm not sure which. But Brad Borne gets sponsorship money from ArmorGames, so maybe it was there.

Then again, it uses TommyLM's music and API's soundbank from Newgrounds - so maybe Newgrounds has an amount of ownership as well. It doesn't really matter, I suppose.

It's a flash-based game, but when it showed up it was a level above the other games on the portals - and really above most of the professionally made flash-games as well.

Like mentioned in the review, it's basically a two-dimensional drawing, and the edges and curves are the platforms you run on.

Here's the first thing that will give you pause. Not flat surfaces to run on. I think, though I'm not sure, that the way Brad did this was to place one point ahead and behind the animation, and then let the plane between the two points create the normal for the animation orientation.

So if there's a bump, the animation will lean backwards and follow the orientation of the ground. And then track the ground downwards, etc.

On top of this, the character has physics, so if you run fast enough on the bump, the toon will jump into the air from the momentum. It will lean backwards into a jump if you lean backwards, etc. There's some other narrative physics going on here as well - an amount of traction into the ground even if the toon is running upside down. So if you run up a wall, and the wall curves backwards, you will hang on to it (very fancy) until you stop running and fall down.

The rotation comes from that. There's a direction you're running, and if you were curving as you ran off a wall, you continue the rotation. It's very clever -- and you should all be extremely impressed that the math for calculating this happens in faster than 1/60th of a second.

Object interference is much in the same way, with curves and hits being dependent on speed and direction on any object on the screen.

Most platformers will not have anything like this, and instead have physics that take a pause when it hits a wall, or simply let objects fall off the grid during the first (static lookup) curve.

In the same way the platformers tend to have completely flat objects, or slightly curved ones. So that even if the actual animation is very complex, it could just as well have been a floating square block that can jump.

Actually, that's what Super Mario is, for example. Or Sonic, even if Sonic gained the ability to run straight up a wall in Sonic 2. And then it actually just switches the direction in 45 degree increments, very fast. The round curves you run through actually don't have multidirectional animation orientation, but is a scripted sequence (or it's simply a round ball that rolls around in the same animation regardless of orientation).

In other words, Brad Borne actually did something completely unique here. That also looks and feels very pleasing. And that's of course why the game became such a hit on Newgrounds and Armorgames.

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fleinn fleinn - August 07, 2011 (10:48 AM)
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