Camera systems get a lot of attention in 3D games. Reviewers often write something like, “The gameplay is great, but the camera needs work,” or “The sequel drastically improves on the original’s camera system.” The camera can easily make or break a 3D experience. However, in 2D, cameras are usually taken for granted. They are normally relatively simple to design, because as long as they are looking ahead in the general direction of the player’s interest, not much can go wrong. In fact, I can’t think of any situation in a 2D game where I thought about the camera at all!
However, for better or for worse, Pizza Vs. Skeletons will not be lucky enough to get away with a simple camera. Three main factors necessitate a more robust approach: 1) The pizza’s 288 pixel radius consumes 90% of vertical screen space and 60% of horizontal space. I’m willing to claim that this makes the pizza one of the largest playable characters ever to star in a 2D game. 2) The diverse set of goals from level to level means that different vantage points are important at different times. 3) Our 2D engine, significantly enhanced for Pizza Vs. Skeletons, now fully supports scaling and rotation of the camera, so we have to think in dimensions that didn’t exist in 2D’s 16-bit golden age.
Following is an explanation of how we are currently tackling the camera system for each of the ten modes we showed off in last week’s video.
In the game’s “core” level type, players in a flat arena crush marching armies of land- and air-based skeletons as they attack from both directions:
In this mode, which will be used mainly for boss battles, the player attempts to push a very large skull off of a platform:
Wrecking Ball Mode
In this mode, the pizza is suspended on a chain being lowered between two apartment high-rises. The player must smash skeletons when they appear, and avoid smashing civilians:
Puppy Rescue Mode
In this mode, the player must traverse a warzone, breaking puppies free from cages, and returning them to their doghouse:
Bounce Castle Mode
In this mode, the pizza must bounce springy enemies off the bounce castle while avoiding hazards like arrows:
Ski Slopes Mode
In these levels, the pizza rolls downhill, crushing snowboarding skeletons and collecting airborne cash.
In this mode, the pizza bounces on successive springy enemies to gain more and more height, in order to smash through a stack of wooden planks at the end of the level.
In aquatic levels, the player swims underwater, eating smaller skeletal fish, and avoiding being eaten by larger ones.
In this mode, the player crushes through a fortress in order to destroy small, circular, skulls within:
Balance Ball Mode
In these levels, the player must keep the pizza balanced on a rolling skull as it traverses a bed of spikes: