Hard Light Productions Forums

Off-Topic Discussion => Gaming Discussion => Topic started by: Ghostavo on November 27, 2012, 07:36:09 am

Title: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: Ghostavo on November 27, 2012, 07:36:09 am
I was just discussing the idea with a colleague of mine during lunch that many gameplay mechanics and elements were standardized in ways that were arbitrarily made.

One extremely common one is the progression of 2D games that happens from left to right. As examples you have Super Mario, Sonic, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage and an endless number of platform games. I was left wondering how this came to be. An idea was that this was an artifact from the way we read, also left to right, but that idea suffered from other cultures/languages having a different progress when read. As an example of this we have Japanese, where the writing is done right to left.

Another progression that happens is bottom up in games. The player/situation starts at the bottom and progresses up. Examples of this are Tetris, Space Invaders and scroll-down shooters by definition among others. This may have a number of explanations such as concepts of gravity (Tetris), situation (Space Invaders) but in case of scroll-down shooters, apart from the name of the genre, doesn't seem to have any special reason why this happens. Perspective might explain some, but it feels copping out to use this as a reason.

So, any interesting ideas or explanations about why progression in 2D games happens mostly in a left to right, bottom up manner?
Title: Re: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: headdie on November 27, 2012, 07:51:05 am
Left to right is how many, especially western, cultures read so it is a more natural eye patern

as for bottom to top not a clue
Title: Re: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: Darius on November 27, 2012, 07:59:53 am
Bottom-up could be derived from the position of the player when playing arcade machines: if the sprite is at the bottom of the screen, it mirrors the viewpoint and position of the player. Forward motion is most naturally simulated by moving upwards.
Title: Re: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: Ghostavo on November 27, 2012, 08:01:58 am
Left to right is how many, especially western, cultures read so it is a more natural eye patern

as for bottom to top not a clue

But like I said before, other languages do not have left to right but the opposite. The example I gave, Japanese is particularly relevant because many of the games that use this standard originated there. So... what gives?
Title: Re: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: pecenipicek on November 27, 2012, 08:05:45 am
Left to right is how many, especially western, cultures read so it is a more natural eye patern

as for bottom to top not a clue

But like I said before, other languages do not have left to right but the opposite. The example I gave, Japanese is particularly relevant because many of the games that use this standard originated there. So... what gives?
western consumers? :p
Title: Re: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: Ghostavo on November 27, 2012, 08:07:48 am
Left to right is how many, especially western, cultures read so it is a more natural eye patern

as for bottom to top not a clue

But like I said before, other languages do not have left to right but the opposite. The example I gave, Japanese is particularly relevant because many of the games that use this standard originated there. So... what gives?
western consumers? :p

So are eastern games right to left?

Another example of this left to right progression is how players are displayed in fighting games, first player is always on the left, and the second player on the right. Again, are these games in eastern markets inverted?
Title: Re: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: headdie on November 27, 2012, 08:53:39 am
perhaps its a simple as the majority of the world is right handed and that is influencing the "logic" in this situation
Title: Re: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: Mongoose on November 27, 2012, 11:22:02 am
Modern Japanese printing does use the traditional Western left-to-right horizontal text flow fairly commonly, especially in writing that includes Western words.  Traditional Japanese is actually read top-to-bottom in vertical columns, with the columns progressing from right to left.
Title: Re: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: Pred the Penguin on November 27, 2012, 08:03:23 pm
Same way in China and other parts of Asia that are Chinese-speaking. Left to right took over quite a while ago.

Edit: Add Korea to that.
Title: Re: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: BloodEagle on November 27, 2012, 11:10:06 pm
I was under the impression that traditional Japanese was read left-to-right, but you read the pages in the opposite direction of how Western books are written.
Title: Re: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: Mongoose on November 27, 2012, 11:25:07 pm
Nah, the traditional way is via columns, though for all I know there might be some publishing standard that combines left-to-right text with the reverse book order.

Just to throw another aspect into this, even going back the original Donkey Kong, Shigeru Miyamoto was developing games for an international audience.  So when he created the original Super Mario Bros., I'd imagine he went with the option that would be most intuitive for a universal audience, not just a Japanese one.  I wonder if he's ever been asked about the choice in an interview, though.
Title: Re: Progression in 2D games: Perspectives
Post by: Nuke on November 28, 2012, 01:40:53 am
i think the whole left to right progression was a result of the technology in use at the time. sorta like how some video codecs can play forward but not so easily in reverse. games were not initially set up to allow the player to go back. youd need to clear all the background blocks, to free memory for new ones. and i bet the direction of walking had more to do with the memory mapping in the framebuffer than preference for one direction over the other. later on as game developers got better at exploiting the capabilities of the console or arcade machines, you saw games where you had to backtrack or move vertically as well as forward. super mario brothers 2 is a good example of this.