Help! I’ve Fallen Up And I Can’t Get Down!

Ah yes, the bitter taste of defeat with its aftertaste of despair. It’s That Time of the Game again, hitting a seemingly impassable wall of technical difficulty I feel entirely unequipped to deal with. After fighting a very good fight against (certainly not with!) Box2D, I’ve run into a small suite of issues that are preventing me from making progress on the new game – they’re kind of fundamental and unpleasantly Catch-22ish.

In brief, I’m running into this issue of, uh, walking. The avatar cannot walk properly along the ground. The two scenarios I hit are that either it kind of bounces along in this hideous way, or it literally just gets “stuck” while moving along on a flat surface. This is actually due to a really unfair aspect of combining Box2D with tilemaps. Basically, if you make the floor out of a series of squares, even if the squares are exactly the same size and positioned at exactly the same height, Box2D acts like the floor is uneven and your little avatar “trips” on it. Or doesn’t move at all.

It’s hard to express how saddening this is. It’s all the worse because the idea of this game is so damn simple, but does rely on a reasonably okay physics simulation to work out. If I can’t get the simulation running, the game no longer makes sense. I find myself wondering if I should step into the realm of writing my own physics, but that currently sounds like way too much hard work. Way too much.

Anyway, I just wanted to signpost this important moment in game development, that I can only assume (if not hope) happens to everyone, the pit of despair and “I can’t do this”. I’ll sleep on it and see what happens.

26 January 2012
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