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Author Topic: Castlevania III -- Improved Controls and Improved Stairs -- Opinions requested  (Read 7717 times)

Zynk

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I can't actually remember any game with staircases like in castlevania. What games are there?
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WebSlinger

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YESS!!  The Rondo Stair jump!!  You are doing awesome so far!!  This is will be the best CV3 hack!!  :D

zstandig

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I like it so far

NaOH

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I like it so far

YESS!!  The Rondo Stair jump!!  You are doing awesome so far!!  This is will be the best CV3 hack!!  :D

Thank you! I'm really glad to hear that people are interested in this.

Which "most games" are you talking about ? "Most games" does not have the awful stairs system Castlevania has, including even later Castlevania games. You mention Super Smash Bros but it's completely different from Castlevania so it makes no sense comparing them.

My philosophy here is that I should disregard the way that CV3 was intended to be played in favour of making the controls (and the way the player interacts with the world) standard and intuitive. As such, CV3 should have the same control scheme that any sensible modern platformer game would have. Smash Bros. is, in my opinion, the greatest platforming engine ever devised; movement in Smash Bros. is absolutely flawless and is completely intuitive. Even though the in-game objectives of Smash Bros. and CV3 are quite different, they are both -- at the fundamental engine level -- platformers in my mind, and therefore warrant similar control schemes.

In Smash Bros., there are not "stairs" as such, but there are slanted ramps that one can jump and fall through. In my mind, this is actually exactly the same as a stair and I see no reason to treat stairs and ramps differently at all. They are both slanted platforms the player can stand on, walk along in either direction, and fall through.

Therefore, stairs in CV3 should function in precisely the same way that ramps do in Smash Bros.

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My only point of comparaison is later Castlevania games who DO have stairs, those are Super Castlevania IV, Rondo of Blood and Castlevania Bloodlines. You'd want to behave
like those whenever possible.

Of these, I've only played SCV4, which as I recall had an annoying control scheme as well. I wouldn't personally want to model the controls off of that game. I suspect that most people who haven't played any Classicvanias would prefer a Smash Bros.-style control scheme, and some people who have gotten used to the SCV4-style control scheme would prefer that to a Smash Bros. style.

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The original CV3 has consistent and predictable behaviour, yet we both agree it's controls suck.
How does it make the controls inconsistent ? SCV4 probably does exactly that. If the stairs go "down", you autoland on them, as this avoids falling through stairs like shown in this video. If they go "up", you don't autoland and simply pass through. This is absolutely consistent and makes sense. If you jump in front of stairs going up, you just do it as if the stairs weren't here. If you jump over stairs going up and fall in a bottomless pit, and die which is the correct behaviour. If you jump hop onto stairs going down, you land on them, as opposed to the original game, again the correct behaviour.

I suggest checking the vertical position as a simple way to distinguish stairs going "up" from stairs going "down" but if there is another preferred method, go for it.

Firstly, "up" and "down" are not properties of the stair, but of the player -- any stair could be either an "up" or "down" stair depending on perspective. The only difference in stairs is whether they are parallel to y=x or y=-x.

Secondly, even assuming your other premises, sometimes "up" stairs ought to be solid/auto-catching, such as the stairs just before Dracula. So "up"/"down" is not a good qualifier for whether a stair should be auto-catching.

Thirdly -- the reason I would consider that proposed behaviour "inconsistent" is that it depends not only on the current state of the character (x,y coords, velocity, health points, subweapon) but also on the path the character has taken to get there (i.e. whether the player used to be higher or lower). Look up "State function vs Path function" for a more rigid definition of these terms.

I believe controls should always be sensitive to the state of the player, but not the path. I would call path-sensitive controls "inconsistent" because the player would not always predict how their controls will influence the game based solely on the information presented to them on-screen.

Players generally assume that controls are state-sensitive and not path-sensitive; as a result, I believe they would find controls to be less learnable if they actually did depend on state as you suggested. Instead, the player would be confused why sometimes they fall through stairs by default and sometimes they land on them by default.

And that would be horrible.

Bregalad

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Well, you got a point. I think it would be nice if it was impossible to fall in the stairs before Dracula. But jumping in front of stairs and being catched on them still sounds wrong to me. I don't know what to say.

You should definitely play Bloodlines and/or Rondo of Blood if you have a chance.

PresidentLeever

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Cool!

I would vote for solution 2, but just the "land on stairs after jumping" and "jump down through stairs with down+jump" parts, so really a third option? Not a fan of auto-latching onto stairs just from a left or right d-pad press as there are situations where you want to grab an item like in the above screenshot, or where you're fighting enemies near stairs and don't want to accidentally latch onto one. And yes, I want to be able to jump onto the "ascending" stairs; it is consistent and also fun to do.

Sub weapon use on stairs would definitely help in some parts with enemies on the platforms you're walking towards. Or better enemy placement.

These things already vastly improve the game imo; only thing left would be some sub weapon switching mechanic. Either the one from Rondo or an added inventory (dunno how though since you switch chars with select).
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 10:06:06 am by PresidentLeever »
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Ar8temis008

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Cool!

I would vote for solution 2, but just the "land on stairs after jumping" and "jump down through stairs with down+jump" parts, so really a third option? Not a fan of auto-latching onto stairs just from a left or right d-pad press as there are situations where you want to grab an item like in the above screenshot, or where you're fighting enemies near stairs and don't want to accidentally latch onto one. And yes, I want to be able to jump onto the "ascending" stairs; it is consistent and also fun to do.

Sub weapon use on stairs would definitely help in some parts with enemies on the platforms you're walking towards. Or better enemy placement.

These things already vastly improve the game imo; only thing left would be some sub weapon switching mechanic. Either the one from Rondo or an added inventory (dunno how though since you switch chars with select).
sorry for the bump, just thought I'd add to this. You could have select open up a menu like SOTN and on said menu would be the option to switch characters and an option to switch sub weapons. This would be character switching significantly faster and allow you to approach levels in a multitude of different ways. My only concern is that it might be a little op.

So on the other hand, having them drop on the floor like Rondo/Dracula X would be more balanced than the other option and would be easier to implement.

The last thing that you could do is make it so if you switch characters while a sub weapon is on the ground it switches to what ever the other character would get from it. That way you wouldn't have to switch characters just to whip a few candles.

With all that said and done I seriously think this is the most balanced and fun castlevania experience. The levels are all still very challenging, but now the challenge comes from how well you know the level design and not from shitty controls.

Would it be possible to do this to the other games? Rondo would be awesome with this and Castlevania II desperately needs it. The original I don't really mind with out as much, but it would still be nice.

Sephirous

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Has this patch been made for the American CV3 yet? Or is it still Japan only?

Apollyon

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I don't think you should fully modernize CV3 controls. By modding the existing game and not creating a new one, you hereby undergo a social contract, thereby promising the old players a less annoying experience whilst keeping most of the game intact. If you were to introduce an all new control scheme, many would be alienated, as all the survival maneuvers they learned would have to be modified and/or discarded. Point is, you let them keep what they want, and take what they despise.

So, in spirit with the original controls, here is my suggested scheme:

There are essentially two locomotion modes, ground and stair.

When in ground mode, everything is as it already were: You can walk and jump straight through stairs, nothing is solid. Now, if you were to land on downwards stairs, you then autocatch.

Pressing Up changes you into stair mode. If you are on ground, it does nothing. If you are on the air, the game checks for a collision with stairs. If it happens, you cling onto them.

If you are near stairs, you climb them.

Up till now the game behaves like the original, except that downward stairs also catch you, and you can also hop onto stairs from anywhere.

As soon as you are in stair mode, you cannot get out of it until you press Down+Jump or step on ground.

During stair mode, you cannot fall off. Left Right moves you on the stairs. If you jump, you land on the stairs again.

Down+Jump switches you to ground mode, so stairs are no longer solid and you fall through them. When that happens, you should just fall without a jump also occurring. This is because you instinctively want to avoid the danger, and the jump would probably get you in the line of fire of the danger you were trying to get away from.

This scheme also negotiates the crossing stairs, as you can now just jump from one to another.

I think you should keep the paralyzing knock-back. With the amount of control you give the player, it is essentially balanced, because if the player gets hit, now it is more of their fault and less the game being cheap.

Vanya

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I have to agree. If you go with a Smash Bros. style of controls, you are alienating some fans of Castlevania that are already used to the controls of classicvania. If you use the modernized SCV4/Dracula X controls, you may confuse some Smash Bros. players that have never played a classicvania ever.

In cases such as this, I usually think it best to err on the side of 2 alternative patches. More choices make for more happy customers.

As an old school gamer, I have few issues with the controls in the original Castlevania games. However, I greatly appreciated how they were updated in SCV4.

Also, I want to point out that SCV4 doesn't auto catch stairs ever. What they did to make things easier on people was that created a special stairs object that auto triggers going down stairs. These are used on stairs that descend down from the end of a ledge which was the most common situation where players accidentally fall off ledges. That alone made me ecstatic when I first played the game back in 1992.

What Dracula X / Rondo of Blood added was the ability to jump down off stairs directly. It was actually Bloodlines that introduced Jumping up off of stairs, but even if you pressed down and jump in that game, you would still jump up before you could go down through the stairs.

Just having it so stair tops that are placed at the end of ledges automatically put you in stairs mode without having to press down is more than enough to eliminate 99% of all accidental deaths. Being able to jump onto and off of stairs is just icing on the cake. I don't need Trevor and Sypha to be able to control their jump trajectories. It's more realistic that way. Removing it makes the characters less differentiated, too. I'd rather have the stairs as a separate patch.

WebSlinger

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I like the hack, but its JUST for the Jap version, right?  Didja abandon the project?  :-\

SCO

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It works on the recent translation and the Japan version is simply the best (the music).

In fact this hack wasn't so much abandoned but he started doing equivalent hacks for castlevania 1 and 2 (which already exist and work with some hacks).

It's pretty sweet, the staircase drops aside.