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How do you like your scrolls?

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Poll: Screen-based or free-scrolling?

Which do you prefer for Zelda-like games?

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#1 NoeL



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Posted 09 July 2024 - 09:20 PM

As some of you may know, I'm making a Zelda-like game. At the moment it has screen-to-screen scrolling like Z1 (and Zelda Classic by default), but player feedback hasn't been too good with this approach. It seems most people would prefer a seamless, free-scrolling camera.
Since you guys are maybe closer to my target audience, I'm curious to get your opinion.
And if you're interested, my demo can be viewed here and played here.

#2 Anthus


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Posted 09 July 2024 - 11:04 PM

I personally prefer a mix like LttP. For example, I didn't like how they did it in LAHD cause there are never any hard edges, and you can see into other areas and it looks kinda jank imo (also the huge performance hit on a remake of a Gameboy game caused by loading in huge chunks at a time to make it "seamless"). Being able to see the tops of houses in the village from the woods just feels... unpolished?


But yeah I like how LttP (and by extension, ZC regions/ scrolling) do it where you can have different sized rectangles of screens that still have boundaries, and transitions.

#3 Moosh


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Posted 09 July 2024 - 11:37 PM

Tried out the demo for a bit to see how it felt. Initially my impression was that screen-based is best, but looking at the way the world is being generated it wants to be fully free camera. There's a lot of spots where I'd get stuck in dead ends that I couldn't see and have to quickly scroll back and forth between two screens. This could probably be fixed by tweaking the generation to have better awareness of screen space, but just locking the camera to the player seems like the more efficient solution. For a hand crafted game I like the feel of ALttP's scrolling best, but I am skeptical if procedural generation could work to its strengths. 

#4 Russ


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Posted 10 July 2024 - 12:14 AM

I'm gonna say a mix. I'm intentionally not playing the demo before answering to avoid being biased by how it's done, but if we're talking overworlds, a free scrolling screen lets you more easily create the illusion of large areas to explore. You can do cool stuff with screen by screen, but it can be tricky to design for. Even in this setting though, I'd argue for having some screen transitions, for the reasons Anthus mentioned. Flipping the script though, in dungeons, sometimes seeing the entire screen at once can be useful for involved puzzles or combat rooms. Boss fight especially can be problematic in bigger rooms. On the one hand, it gives more space to work with, but on the other, especially bosses that lean into bullet patterns and the like, you may have difficulty keeping the boss in the camera long enough to figure out what to do with it.


Edit: Now having seen the video, I stick by my answer. A lot of the OW screens (especially the one just after 40 seconds) feel like they're encouraging you to look over to the side, but you can't. The way enemies get bunched up against an open border is also a little silly. Screen by screen OWs can work, but you gotta do something more like... well, more like what a lot of ZC quests do. The screens (enough of them, at least) need to be interesting enough on their own as well as contribute to the whole. A lot of the screens here look like areas meant for free scrolling that were then chopped into smaller pieces. I think you'll definitely run into issues with that approach.

#5 NoeL



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Posted 10 July 2024 - 05:48 AM

Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like the options are to pivot to free-scrolling or improve the terrain generator (which was planned anyway).

I guess I'll do the former. Significantly less work, and the more popular option. 🤷‍♂️

#6 Jambu



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Posted 10 July 2024 - 07:23 AM

I prefer the fourth option auto scrolling stages.

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#7 NoeL



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Posted 10 July 2024 - 08:00 PM

For those saying "a mix", is there any advantage to doing this when biomes are continuous (like Minecraft) rather than discrete (like LttP)?

#8 Jambu



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Posted 10 July 2024 - 09:47 PM

imho there should be a transition between biomes.

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