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Old 04-24-2020   #1
Moose the Fat Cat
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Default How SRB2 approaches 2 Button gameplay

This was a tangent discussion from the S.A.D. locked thread that I find to be interesting and curious to your thoughts. There's two prompts at the bottom - a question about how the game functions in 2.2, and a hypothetical.

Classic Sonic is famously "1 button gameplay." Unlike in Mario, there is no run button. Your run speed is determined by your momentum. Rolling is caused by directional input; ie. down.

1 button = jump.

It was then added down+button was a charged roll jump. Then it was added that Jump+Jump was a jump ability, different for Sonic, Tails and Knuckles.

3D Sonic is 2 button gameplay. This is true of both SRB2 and the Adventure games.

1 button = jump
2 button = spin/roll

Obviously with 3D movement, down input can no longer point to the ground, it points backwards. Sonic needs to roll/spin dash, so the second button becomes necessary.

Where SRB2 and Adventure diverge is "Jump Spin." Adventure provides the character a default ability, and SRB2 does not. Sonic's jump/jump in SRB2 is thok, in adventure it's homing. Sonic's jump/spin in adventure is bounce, in SRB2 it's nothing without a shield.

The Dev view of SRB2 is that "Jump Spin" is inherently antithetical to classic Sonic, because classic jump abilities are based around 1 button. But SRB2 is already 2 button, and "Jump Spin" is an input, but only for Shield Abilities. If the input is already in use, why deny the player a default ability?

SA and SRB2 both have camera controls that work along the same axises. Functionally they are completely different. But SRB2 thankfully does not deny camera control to the player, despite Classic Sonic never having buttons for the camera.

1. How is the player supposed to know "Jump Spin" activates a shield in v2.2?

Based only on the game design, it's an illogical assumption. You need text in the tutorial. Otherwise, the player has already realized before finding a shield that "Jump Spin" is not a valid input other than "cancel", and "Jump Jump" ability doesn't change with the shield power (as it does in Classic Sonic), so the game design suggests that the shield's only ability is its passive ability. The player needs to arbitrarily guess a button combination that is otherwise not used, rather than the shield being a trade-off for an existing ability, like it is in Classic Sonic (at least for Sonic).

If you agree that's illogical, then how do you fix the design so it doesn't require an explanation and instead is supported by the logic and intuition of the game design itself?

One is to move the shield ability to cancel out the jump+jump ability, like it does in Classic Sonic. Though the 2nd button is still needed for roll/spin dash, this more accurately imitates the 1 button design of 2D Classic.

The other is to add a default "jump spin" secondary ability for each character, one that is replaced by the shield. The secondary ability is a bonus move, essentially; the levels are built without their use in mind obviously. The point of them is to (a) empower the player character, and (b) fill the incomplete button combination and logic gap in the design, while still maintaining that shields work as they already do.

2. Hypothetically if you were to assign "Jump Spin" to characters, what abilities would be useful or interesting or additive to the experience as the character?

Adventure Sonic is bounce, which doesn't really work for SRB2 since that's for Fang, so it ought to be something new. IMO it should be Thok instead of Thok being removed from Sonic entirely, but you knew that one.

Adventure Knuckles is drill-claw. I think it's a great ability for the character conceptually, and it'd be more fun with the SRB2 level & enemy layouts than the SA levels. Similarly, I like "Punch" instead of Spin Dash for Knux, preferring to keep Spin Dash to only Sonic & Tails.

Obviously, the rest of the SA abilities don't really translate as well, but most of the SRB2 cast do have implied abilities they have when they're not playable.

Tails -> There's the "tail spin" attack from adventure, but I think it's truer to classic Tails if this ability is "Carry". He can pick up monitors above his head, or carry them in the air if jump is pressed repeatedly. He's able to carry around Sonic so why not other things.

Fang -> Bomb. He drops or throws a black bomb. Cancels out bounce.

Amy -> Spins like a top swinging the hammer in a circle around her.

Metal -> Charge blast like the boss fight.

Last edited by Moose the Fat Cat; 04-24-2020 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 04-24-2020   #2
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1. How is the player supposed to know "Jump Spin" activates a shield in v2.2?

That's what the tutorial is there for! When you play SRB2 for the first time, the game offers for you to go through a tutorial that introduces the basics of the game, and I don't see anything wrong with that. It makes sense for this game to have a tutorial because it's quite a deviation from the gameplay of official 3D titles many are familiar with.

2. Hypothetically if you were to assign "Jump Spin" to characters, what abilities would be useful or interesting or additive to the experience as the character?

Since you asked, I'll come up with some on the spot.

Sonic - drop dash
Tails - downwards flight. Not really a new ability, just a form of flying that's initiated by what spin does instead of what jump does. You can still use jump and spin to control flying height as usual. Could be useful if you want to carefully fly down to somewhere below?
Knuckles - drill drive
Amy - how about jump/jump makes the hammer jump on enemies and monitors while jump/spin makes Amy hit the ground with a slightly wider-range attack? Hammering on springs or on the ground would work the same either way.
Fang - throw a bomb, like he does in the boss fight
Metal Sonic - aerial spin dash. I imagine this would compensate for not being able to enter boost mode while hovering while still being challenging, and it could perhaps make Metal Sonic's gameplay more like his boss fight.

Hey, coming up with these abilities was actually pretty fun. I don't think the game really needs abilities like these, but if shield abilities were to be reworked into a third button leaving room for one more regular ability per character (or if there was a second ability overwritten by shields, which I don't think would be good), these might be good ideas.
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Old 04-24-2020   #3
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There's something I don't understand here, why are you comparing SRB2, a classic Sonic game to Adventure which is a modern Sonic one?


Both are different and SRB2 doesn't need the things added in Adventure.
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Old 04-24-2020   #4
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There is a tutorial that explains that Jump+Spin activates the shield abilities.

As for why characters don't have a jump+spin ability is so nothing is lost when you grab a shield. Technically, Sonic and Metal are unique in that they are the only characters with Jump+Spin ability in that they transform. Amy technically also can do this with Hammer Spin but this can also be activated with the Jump+Jump prompt so it's a little different.

I think in general this design philosophy is incredibly smart, as it keeps everything simple and allows easier transition between characters. The only think I could be played well off of this is when a Jump+Jump+Spin ability. Currently this is unique to Tails as he can fall faster with flight by holding Spin. But the thing is I think going this route over complicates things.
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Old 04-24-2020   #5
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1. Definitely the tutorial! It's something I already highly recommend to new players due to SRB2 in general having its default controls be slightly unorthodox for a platformer.

2.
Sonic- The Drop Dash, it's definitely the move that makes the most sense to map to jump+spin due to exactly what it is; initiating a Spin Dash while jumping. Would probably come at the cost of replacing the Thok, as they're both moves used for maintaining/redirecting momentum.

Tails- I'm not sure, there's not much I can think of that wouldn't be on either extreme of "is useless due to flight" or "makes flight useless."

Knuckles- These ideas are more extensions of his jump moves than a standalone jump+spin move. Pressing spin while gliding would make him descend slightly faster, as an equivalent to Tails being able to do the same. Pressing spin while climbing would initiate a Wall Spin Dash (I remember this being in one of the Advance games?), which would shoot you upwards along the wall at the cost of losing the free control you had while normally climbing.

Amy- Jump+jump would still do the normal aerial spin like usual, but jump+spin would initiate a Hammer Drop-like move instead, with her quickly dropping to the ground and sending out a small shockwave upon impact.

Fang- While having the bombs would be cool, I think it would make more sense to just give him the ability to shoot in the air.

Metal Sonic- I agree with the Air Spin Dash idea, as in my head it would work as sort of a reimagining of the Thok. It would also be a unique equivalent to the Drop Dash as a momentum redirection tool, signifying Metal's role as a counterpart to Sonic.
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Old 04-24-2020   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
There's something I don't understand here, why are you comparing SRB2, a classic Sonic game to Adventure which is a modern Sonic one?


Both are different and SRB2 doesn't need the things added in Adventure.
The discussion centered between SRB2 and Adventure isn't to propose additions based on the Adventure games, but rather to see what people think of Jump+Spin abilities in SRB2. As he stated, it came to his mind after reading the thread about Sonic's Thok. Not only that, he explains where SRB2 and the Adventure games are alike with their control schemes. See here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose the Fat Cat View Post
3D Sonic is 2 button gameplay. This is true of both SRB2 and the Adventure games.

1 button = jump
2 button = spin/roll

Obviously with 3D movement, down input can no longer point to the ground, it points backwards. Sonic needs to roll/spin dash, so the second button becomes necessary.
Personally, I think we can do without Jump+Spin abilities in SRB2. As it is, we have move sets that fit the "Classic Sonic" esque game type that the game has. Sonic can boost in the air, Tails can fly, Knuckles can glide and climb, Amy has her hammer, Fang can bounce and pop lead, and Metal can hover.

If we were to add Jump+Spin abilities, it wouldn't really have an effect as there are not really many additions that would be beneficial or harmful. Basically, it would be pointless. Does Sonic really need the drop dash? Does Tails require his spin from SA1? And what does Knuckles gain out of being able to punch or dive? After playing SMS, it's become quite clear that making characters more "Modern" in SRB2 will only lead to bloated, complicated messes that raise the learning curve far more than it needs to be.

2-button gameplay is nice, but for players on controller, those additions are niche due to lack of ability to be fully utilized and players on keyboard will only end up with arthritis at a young age.
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Old 04-24-2020   #7
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Shouldn't the goal be for the game to not need a tutorial (as a requirement)? Classic Sonic doesn't need a tutorial, because it's intuitive. It's 1 button, they all do the same thing. There's no need for a 2nd button for the shield in Classic Sonic; it's on the same 1 button.

SRB2 keeping the 1 button philosophy with 2 buttons requires text explanation in the tutorial; ie, it's not intuitive by the design alone.

Icarus, the Adventure comparison is because both are "the first 3D Sonic" and both make the necessary compromise to include a 2nd button for the additional dimension (to roll).
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Old 04-24-2020   #8
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Eh... I avoid shields in Sonic Mania on purpose because I don't want to lose the drop dash. I don't think I want to have to do that in SRB2 as well.
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Old 04-24-2020   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose the Fat Cat View Post
Shouldn't the goal be for the game to not need a tutorial (as a requirement)? Classic Sonic doesn't need a tutorial, because it's intuitive. It's 1 button, they all do the same thing. There's no need for a 2nd button for the shield in Classic Sonic; it's on the same 1 button.

SRB2 keeping the 1 button philosophy with 2 buttons requires text explanation in the tutorial; ie, it's not intuitive by the design alone.
To play devil's advocate, why propose or discuss the addition of Jump+Spin abilities if they won't have tutorials? Following your logic, the player should be able to boot up SRB2, play as Sonic, and immediately know how to move, look around, Jump and Thok, spindash, and Jump+Spin all without any assistance.

I find it hard to believe anyone would just immediately pick all of that up without either a normal-scale tutorial or Omochao hints.
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Old 04-24-2020   #10
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T
If we were to add Jump+Spin abilities, it wouldn't really have an effect as there are not really many additions that would be beneficial or harmful. Basically, it would be pointless. Does Sonic really need the drop dash? Does Tails require his spin from SA1? And what does Knuckles gain out of being able to punch or dive? After playing SMS, it's become quite clear that making characters more "Modern" in SRB2 will only lead to bloated, complicated messes that raise the learning curve far more than it needs to be.
Well, yes they're pointless, in the sense that they're unnecessary, and in the sense that they are a freebie bonus. As useful/optional as a shield ability but one is there by default.

Shields are variations/tradeoffs that are made in context of the level situation, as they always are in Classic Sonic.

Quote:
2-button gameplay is nice, but for players on controller, those additions are niche due to lack of ability to be fully utilized and players on keyboard will only end up with arthritis at a young age.
I play on controller only, as well. The game is 2 button, as in it already is, otherwise there's no way to make Sonic roll/spin dash.
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Old 04-24-2020   #11
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There are few things in SRB2 more disappointing than accidentally picking up a Force Shield while using a Whirlwind Shield, replacing one's infinitely useful double jump with a flow-crushing midair halt.

But losing an ability I'd otherwise have access to for the whole game to the Force Shield. That might be worse.
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Old 04-24-2020   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jona View Post
To play devil's advocate, why propose or discuss the addition of Jump+Spin abilities if they won't have tutorials? Following your logic, the player should be able to boot up SRB2, play as Sonic, and immediately know how to move, look around, Jump and Thok, spindash, and Jump+Spin all without any assistance.

I find it hard to believe anyone would just immediately pick all of that up without either a normal-scale tutorial or Omochao hints.
To play devil's advocate's devil's advocate, why is that impossible? That's how any Classic Sonic game works. You boot it up, move around, press the buttons, figure it out as you go. Classic Doom doesn't require a tutorial either, right? You just start the game.

---------- Post added at 10:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:39 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by cookiefonster View Post
Tails - downwards flight. Not really a new ability, just a form of flying that's initiated by what spin does instead of what jump does. You can still use jump and spin to control flying height as usual. Could be useful if you want to carefully fly down to somewhere below?
I really like the idea of downward flight for Tails... that's almost how it works already (spin lowering your flight height) but I'm imagining it working a little more like the cape in Super Mario World, like a downward/diagonal swooping kind of motion?
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Old 04-24-2020   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose the Fat Cat View Post
To play devil's advocate's devil's advocate, why is that impossible? That's how any Classic Sonic game works. You boot it up, move around, press the buttons, figure it out as you go. Classic Doom doesn't require a tutorial either, right? You just start the game.
I've seen people play Sonic 1 without knowing how to roll into the breakable walls in GFZ3, play Sonic 2 without knowing how to spindash, play Sonic 3 without knowing how to use the Insta-Shield. All three of these games came with manuals back in their day, and for good reason: The average player doesn't just "figure it out as they go". That's what the Tutorial tries to cover up for.
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Old 04-24-2020   #14
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The reason shield abilities in SRB2 are on jump-spin is because we don't want to overwrite your abilities with them. We are not considering giving characters jump-spin abilities by default because that would completely defeat the point of putting shield abilities there to begin with. We are aware that Amy causes problems here and that's something we intend to correct in the future.

Also, 2.2 is the first version we've had that contains a tutorial. That's due to the fact that we've got 20 years of experience that has proven, without a shadow of a doubt, that it's necessary. Jump-spin activating shields is absurdly minor compared to the other things we need to explain about the game, but since we were setting up a tutorial, we had the opportunity to explain it, too. The fact of the matter is that 3D gameplay is simply significantly more complicated than 2D gameplay, and there were plenty of things that classic Sonic did a terrible job of explaining anyways. The true villain of classic Sonic is the damn Carnival Night barrel mechanic.
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Old 04-24-2020   #15
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While we're on the subject of the tutorial, I played through the tutorial again and noticed two things:

1. The "keep the camera on the Eggman statue" section seems to be impossible to complete with Ficklecam. Even when trying to use manual camera controls while Simple is enabled, the camera seems to do something automatically that causes the test to fail.

2. I think Springs are the only major sticking point for new players that the tutorial doesn't currently cover. A lot of new players reach the first spring chain in GF2 and hold forward instinctively after they hit the spring, throwing them off course. Some of them still manage to get through the section by moving into the springs and never learn to let go of movement after touching a spring in a chain.
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Old 04-25-2020   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnemania View Post
While we're on the subject of the tutorial, I played through the tutorial again and noticed two things:

1. The "keep the camera on the Eggman statue" section seems to be impossible to complete with Ficklecam. Even when trying to use manual camera controls while Simple is enabled, the camera seems to do something automatically that causes the test to fail.

2. I think Springs are the only major sticking point for new players that the tutorial doesn't currently cover. A lot of new players reach the first spring chain in GF2 and hold forward instinctively after they hit the spring, throwing them off course. Some of them still manage to get through the section by moving into the springs and never learn to let go of movement after touching a spring in a chain.
Though I agree that the GFZ2 spring chains shouldn't be so easy to mess up, I think springs are one of those game mechanics that's far better taught within the game's levels than in a tutorial. There isn't really anything about springs that needs to be said in text, other than that Amy can hammer on them to get more mileage out of them.
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Old 04-25-2020   #17
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Though I agree that the GFZ2 spring chains shouldn't be so easy to mess up, I think springs are one of those game mechanics that's far better taught within the game's levels than in a tutorial. There isn't really anything about springs that needs to be said in text, other than that Amy can hammer on them to get more mileage out of them.
For sure. The opening acts of the game function well enough as tutorials.
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Old 04-25-2020   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnemania View Post
1. The "keep the camera on the Eggman statue" section seems to be impossible to complete with Ficklecam. Even when trying to use manual camera controls while Simple is enabled, the camera seems to do something automatically that causes the test to fail.
That was probably programmed based on the player object's angle and not updated for Simple controls, which separates the camera's angle from that. You might be able to do it with lock-on toggled since that keeps the player facing in one direction.
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Old 04-25-2020   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose the Fat Cat View Post
I play on controller only, as well. The game is 2 button, as in it already is, otherwise there's no way to make Sonic roll/spin dash.
I apologize, I'll rephrase.
Controller players would not be able to utilize Jump+Spin abilities as effectively as most PC players, unless you play claw or have a different control scheme like using the controller's triggers to jump and spin...which is evil.

To answer your devil's advocate devil's advocate,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zipper View Post
I've seen people play Sonic 1 without knowing how to roll into the breakable walls in GFZ3, play Sonic 2 without knowing how to spindash, play Sonic 3 without knowing how to use the Insta-Shield. All three of these games came with manuals back in their day, and for good reason: The average player doesn't just "figure it out as they go". That's what the Tutorial tries to cover up for.
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The reason shield abilities in SRB2 are on jump-spin is because we don't want to overwrite your abilities with them.

Jump-spin activating shields is absurdly minor compared to the other things we need to explain about the game, but since we were setting up a tutorial, we had the opportunity to explain it, too. The fact of the matter is that 3D gameplay is simply significantly more complicated than 2D gameplay, and there were plenty of things that classic Sonic did a terrible job of explaining anyways. The true villain of classic Sonic is the damn Carnival Night barrel mechanic.
I second these statements, they pretty much cover what I would have said.

To discuss with everyone else, I think that tutorials should be simple and not overly complicated with every possible thing a player can learn. To quote cookiefonster,
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookiefonster View Post
I think springs are one of those game mechanics that's far better taught within the game's levels than in a tutorial.
and that's what Greenflower Zone is for.

SRB2 is a platformer and not a fighting game, so advanced techniques like spindash jumping and spring momentum shouldn't have to be taught through the tutorial. Jump+Spin abilities would clog up that tutorial even more given that the tutorial only covers Sonic. So, even if a new player did the tutorial, they would be left in the blue entirely by what abilities the other 2 default characters have, and later on the 3 unlock-able characters.

I think the safest point of discussion for this thread is your 2nd question, since if we spend all day talking about why Jump+Spin abilities are a terrible idea or why they shouldn't be done would lead to this thread being locked.
Quote:
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2. Hypothetically if you were to assign "Jump Spin" to characters, what abilities would be useful or interesting or additive to the experience as the character?
Personally, the only "Jump+Spin" ability that I would want would be Metal Sonic charging an air dash like in the boss fight, and as opposed to coming to a screeching halt when hitting the wall he bounces off of whatever he hits.

It would be super fun.
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Last edited by Jona; 04-25-2020 at 01:46 AM.
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Old 04-25-2020   #20
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Quote:
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[...] Controller players would not be able to utilize Jump+Spin abilities as effectively as most PC players, unless you play claw or have a different control scheme like using the controller's triggers to jump and spin...which is evil. [...]
Long (but hopefully informative) wall of text ahead:
Spoiler:
Why wouldn't they be able to utilize Jump+Spin as effectively? It's just one button after the other, in both cases.

I agree that using triggers for jumping/spinning is evil, since it doesn't "click" the same way as other buttons do, making them feel off for on/off inputs like jumping and spinning.



But when not jumping/spinning with the triggers, there are still 3 "main" SRB2 control schemes for modern twin-stick gamepads:


1 - Using the left stick to move, the right stick to aim, and the bumpers (not triggers) to jump/spin.
This way, you'll always have a thumb on the camera control and index fingers on Jump/Spin at the same time.
Pressing Spin while jumping is nice and easy this way.
I think that SRB2 uses this gamepad setup by default (depending on your gamepad type), and also that SRB2 suggests this gamepad setup in the tutorial, if I recall correctly.


2 - Using the left stick to move, the triggers and/or bumpers to aim, and the face buttons (A/Cross, X/Square) to jump/spin.
This way, you'll always have index fingers on the camera controls and a thumb ready to jump/spin at the same time.
Pressing Spin while jumping is nice and easy this way.


3 - Using the left stick to move, the right stick to aim, and the face buttons to jump/spin.
This way, you'll have a thumb on the camera control or ready to jump/spin, though it's pretty hard to use both the right stick and face buttons at the same time.
But pressing Spin while jumping is still nice and easy anyway (I say this from experience with the Whirlwind shield in v2.1), just slightly less so if you also have to manipulate the camera at the same time while in the air... but that applies to pressing Jump, too, not specifically Spin, so I don't actually think that that's a completely valid argument for specifically "Jump+Spin" ease.




In all 3 cases, pressing Spin while jumping is nice and easy.


In the third setup listed above, it's a little cumbersome to press Jump or Spin while simultaneously also manipulating the camera, yes, but again, that doesn't affect specifically "Jump+Spin", but both Jump and Spin, whether combined or not, so I don't find that to be too valid of an argument against specifically "Jump+Spin" ease.

(If I remember correctly, then at least one of SRB2's developers have actively discouraged that third setup at one point, too, for what it's worth, instead recommending the first and/or second of these setups, in which camera control doesn't get in the way of jumping/spinning at all.)

TL;DR: Gamepad players can press Spin while jumping nice and easily.

(But before replying, please read the wall of text for my arguments as to why I think so.)
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