Falling from a great height in diffenrent classic games

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Falling from a great height in diffenrent classic games

Post by SupFanat » Mon Mar 31, 2014 13:52

In Commander Keen it is harmless. Even in the tallest level "Korath III base" where the Keen falls 220 tiles down - nothing happens. Only enemies, hazards and bottomless pits are able to kill Commander Keen. Bottomless pits don't seem to be a bug - it's used in the level "Pyramid of the Gnosticene Ancients" in CK4 - the top title of tar isn't lethal, the bottom lethal tile is missing in the end of level but falling down is lethal. It's no possiblity to "get hurt" - Commander Keen is either alive or dead.

In Prince of Persia falling one tile down is harmless. Falling two tiles down hurts Prince but it's possible to climb these two tiles down - without hurting or dying of Prince. Getting down three or more tiles at once is deadly - both falling and climbing down. There is an item which slows the falling down - and makes it possible to survive falling from any height. Falling Prince can also catch a wall - and survive without getting hurt.

In Rise of the Triad every level is a flat platform which hangs above bottomless pit. Falling within this platform is harmless (even if the level is very fall - looks as tens of metre height) but falling outside this platform is deadly - exactly as in Commander Keen.

In Aladdin the falling from any height is harmless.

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Post by tulip » Mon Mar 31, 2014 19:23

I noticed that, this is why I had two categories in my mind for platformers:

1. Based on the Mario tradition:
It's generally less realistic more action focus: Falling doesn't hurt, jump heights are superhuman, there is no delay when starting an action, like firing, jumping, running, all are instant.
The controls are usually very simple, 2 action buttons, 4 at most

Examples are Mario, Keen, Duke Nukem, Sonic, Rayman and lots of others

2. Based on the Prince of Persia tradition (or maybe Pitfall in some aspects):
With more focus on realism: Falling a certain distance hurts you or even kills you, jump heights are mostly just one tile level, maybe less, the character needs to start to run, or take a step back to do futher jumps.
The controls are usually much more complicated: there's several kinds of jumping and walking/running, ledge grabbing and all kinds of stuff.

Examples are Prince of Persia, Blackthorne, Oddworld, Flashback and the like.

Interesting but not entirely unexplainable is that the second variant didn't utilize screen scrolling for many years, even oddworld didn't have much iirc.
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Post by DHeadshot » Mon Mar 31, 2014 23:07

Fall damage didn't hurt occur in Chuckie Egg, unlike most similar games from the early '80s (such as Manic Miner) where the influence of Donkey Kong could be felt strongly.
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Post by Levellass » Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:27

I have a mechanic I'm thinking of for WIE where falls of 10+ tiles kill you quite messily.


But think of it, how are jumps any better? How high can *you* jump? Your own height? I highly doubt even half your height. Keen has booster shoes of some kind. They cushion falls.
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Post by Keening_Product » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:36

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Post by guynietoren » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:03

Hmm. Do we have confirmation that Keen falls at the same rate as earth gravity? Like as far as in game physics are concerned.

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Post by VikingBoyBilly » Thu Apr 03, 2014 13:15

With Hexen being the game I played the most out of the 2.5D fps genre, it's so weird to think that it's falling damage was the exception instead of the norm. That and the oddity that the games that had no falling damage are the ones where you can't even jump, but the games that let you jump (and only a tiny height at that) added falling damage and pitfalls of death.
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Post by DHeadshot » Thu Apr 03, 2014 21:31

guynietoren wrote:Hmm. Do we have confirmation that Keen falls at the same rate as earth gravity? Like as far as in game physics are concerned.
Well, Keen falls at a constant velocity, whereas gravity doesn't work like that until you hit terminal velocity. Come to think of it, none of the original games are set on Earth anyway! We could work out the gravitational pull of Korath III etc!
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Post by MoffD » Fri Apr 04, 2014 0:54

DHeadshot wrote:We could work out the gravitational pull of Korath III etc!
And so it begins... Although this might be less of a nerd-fest than figuring out if the BWB Megarocket was plausible... 8)
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Post by chrissifniotis » Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:44

MoffD wrote:And so it begins... Although this might be less of a nerd-fest than figuring out if the BWB Megarocket was plausible... 8)
Sounds like a job for the Mythbusters!

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Post by Levellass » Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:21

guynietoren wrote:Hmm. Do we have confirmation that Keen falls at the same rate as earth gravity? Like as far as in game physics are concerned.
Actually a few years back I tested this; at roughly the same time I checked Keen's height (Which, assuming he's an average American kid would be about 128cm, see http://www.chartsgraphsdiagrams.com/Hea ... -boys.html ) Given that 1 pixel = 4cm (So each tile is a bit over half a meter high.) Keen falls 140.8m in the Korath base.

He can do this in around 10 seconds. This means his terminal velocity (reached in about a second or so) is 14m/s On earth this is 54m/s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_velocity ) and this speed is identical in all Keen Galaxy games.

What this suggests is that the planets have a lower gravitational force than earths, but also that their atmospheres are very, very thick, quite possibly so thick that oxygen would become toxic to human life. (It happens! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_tox ... y_toxicity )


So yeah, interesting questions are raised.
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Post by MoffD » Fri Apr 04, 2014 16:51

Levellass wrote: What this suggests is that the planets have a lower gravitational force than earths, but also that their atmospheres are very, very thick, quite possibly so thick that oxygen would become toxic to human life. (It happens! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_tox ... y_toxicity )


So yeah, interesting questions are raised.
Given gravitational pull and a few other factors, can we calculate Korath III's Diameter/Radius assuming a few things about the composition of it's crust and core?
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Post by guynietoren » Fri Apr 04, 2014 18:21

Could perhaps calculate planet mass, but not size without knowing the planet's average density. But that low of terminal velocity might be like walking through oil.

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Post by DHeadshot » Fri Apr 04, 2014 19:07

The fact that Keen hits terminal velocity pretty much instantly implies that the gravitational pull is perfectly strong enough and the slow speed of descent is caused entirely by the oxygen-soup thing. The fact that Keen can breathe implies either that he has breathing apperatus or that that the air is thick without being unbreathable. I don't know enough about the subject to contemplate how the latter one could work.

A new theory occurs to me: could Korath III be a gas giant?
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Post by Levellass » Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:24

MoffD wrote:
Levellass wrote: What this suggests is that the planets have a lower gravitational force than earths, but also that their atmospheres are very, very thick, quite possibly so thick that oxygen would become toxic to human life. (It happens! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_tox ... y_toxicity )


So yeah, interesting questions are raised.
Given gravitational pull and a few other factors, can we calculate Korath III's Diameter/Radius assuming a few things about the composition of it's crust and core?

*Cricks*


Ok now. We actually can do a pretty good estimation of Korath's radius as planets are 'much of a muchness'; they're usually made of rock, ices or gas.

Korath is too warm to be an ice world, Keen would freeze otherwise. Is he on a gas giant? This too is ruled out as the sky is blue, and he can breathe.

Gas giants must be made from hydrogen and helium with plenty of reducing elements. Their skies are thus oxygen free and filled with organic sludge. That is, very cloudy. Also, they tend to lack solid surfaces.

So Korath is a rocky planet. What's more it is likely to be quite a bit smaller than Earth. How can we tell this?


Keen's terminal velocity is about 1/4 that on Earth. Since object on Earth reach (nearly, not exactly!) terminal velocity in about 6 seconds we can expect Keen's acceleration time to be about 1 1/2 seconds, which is about right, IF the atmosphere is four times as thick as Earth's and the gravity is the same.

But that's not a unique solution; halve the atmospheric density, halve the gravity. It IS reasonable to give Korath an Earthlike diameter and gravity with a thicker atmosphere, but other things suggest Korath may be smaller with a more earthlike atmosphere. What things?

Firstly, Korath is dry. The amount of water on a planet is determined largely by its mass. (Getting water is not a problem, forming planets get a massive amount, they all start as water worlds.) Earth has some water, Mars has lost most of its. A planet much larger than earth would be totally covered in water. (The loss is exponential, half the size, twice the rate of water loss for a given temperature.) Korath appears to have no vegetation or seas as such; it's a bland yellowish-brown, much like Venus or Mercury. This suggests that most of its water has long since been lost leaving a marslike environment behind. (This wouldn't be inhospitable to life as such, but would stop it being exuberant.)

If the planet *were* the size of mars it would have an atmosphere less than half as dense as earths. Survivable but tricky. But Korath is likely more dense...


Korath appears to be cracked; planetwide brown markings are seen on it, far larger and deeper than anything on Earth. It's as if the crust is too small for the planet, like it shrunk in the wash and cracked.

This has happened to Mercury, a planet with a large iron core around which the crust has shrunk and cracked. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... pacecraft/

This would make sense; having lost its water Korath would not have plate tectonics. being smaller than Earth it would cool faster (and it might well be older as well, giving even more time for its water to escape.) So how heavy is it, what kind of gravity would it have and what kind of air?

A range is again possible, but a good guess would be a planet around half earth's size, with gravity hitting .8 or ours and an atmosphere about three times as dense. (Likely high in oxygen left over from the water; did I mention water is lost as its hydrogen atoms escape? I should have.) It would likely be quite a bit older than Earth, maybe a billion years older and heading towards a time when it would be inhospitable to life. A slight improvement on Mars, but not much.

It would have a massive and solid iron core with no magnetic field to speak of. keen would quickly get a radiating if he spent long on the surface.
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