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Quirky features in MM/JSW
I keep a catalogue of quirky features in MM/JSW (which I add to whenever I think of
another one) so that I can systematically incorporate them into my MM/JSW games. I play
through all the MM/JSW games specifically to look for such patterns to make a note of in
my catalogue. I look for both patterns that are deliberately exploited, and those that
occur unintentionally (e.g. I have noticed several unintended Innocent-Looking Blocks in
JSW Ivy, and the Adam Britton triptych). I also think laterally about new patterns to
invent (e.g. "I just cut that jump much closer than I needed to. What if I put a
static nasty there so that you /have/ to cut it that close?").
I originally posted this list to comp.sys.sinclair
last year. I intend to add some more features in the near future (not all of the ones in We
Pretty were on the comp.sys.sinclair list, as I wanted to keep them secret
until I released the game).
Here is the list so far (it's very bitty, because it's difficult to come up with a
systematic, comprehensive list):
- Jumping from the edge of a block. There are two varieties that are very common in my
(1) #.....# (`.' = background; `#' = wall (or floor etc.))
(2) .....# (this is also an ILB if the player doesn't get the jump right!)
- Jumping through ramps: when precisely you can jump through the ramp, and when it catches
- Jumping through wall blocks - I identify four variants:
(1) ......# (as in "Ballduins Ballhaus" in MM2)
(2) .....#. (the Innocent-Looking Block, as in JSW:The Deadly Mission,
....... which dumps you slap through the floor - one of my favourites! :-) )
(3) .....#. (a blocked ILB)
(4) ......# (a bit like an ILB - see "The Road to Isengard" in JSW:LOTR)
- Walking through wall blocks at head-height right-to-left, as you have to do several
times in JSW In Space (this works in JSW but not MM):
- A related phenomenon: the way you can jump onto the ledges on the left of "The Wine
Cellar" because the wall catches you, but not if you laterally inverted "The
Wine Cellar" or converted it to Manic Miner. I hypothesise that Matthew Smith hacked
the game engine to fix "The Wine Cellar", and in doing so introduced the
- Jumping right-to-left through overhead wall blocks:
(1a) #.. (1b) ### (you wouldn't think you could jump up on top of this wall
... === (as in "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit" in JSW:LOTR), but you can! :-))
... === (`=' = floor)
- Walking through walls using ramps. Interestingly, if you have a ramp under wall, the
effect depends on whether the ramp goes up to the left or to the right:
../. You get stuck here, but can walk through the ramp if you hold down a jump key.
.\.. You can walk up through the floor!
- `Off' and `sticky' conveyors (which have a direction of 2 or 3 respectively, rather than
the standard 0 and 1 for left and right).
- Turning around on a conveyor and jumping straight up (as you have to do in "Sex and
the Church" in MM: The Buddha of Suburbia).
- Stopping under a wall by holding jump, while on a conveyor, e.g. to avoid vertical
guardians (e.g. "The Final Barrier" in the original MM):
>>>>>>>> (`>' = conveyor - better not be a sticky conveyor :-> )
- Awkward jumps over static nasties, such as:
.....*. (`*' = nasty)
- Jumping over a static nasty and landing inside a block, as in "Eugene's
Lair" in the original MM, or "The Hotel Gardens" in JSW:Willy's Holiday:
###**... or ...*.=..
######## ======== (`=' = floor, although it could be wall)
- Jumping from under a static nasty from four pixels in, as in JSW Ivy's "Dizzy
Heights", or the following example I've made up:
.....>>>> (carries you to certain death if you jump from the very edge)
=.....=== (can safely land on here)
- Awkward jumps for items in the presence of static nasties, such as:
#$ (`$' = item)
(2) #$* (incredible, but true!)
- Impossible manoeuvres, such as jumping the spider in "To the Kitchens Main
Stairway", or the nasties in a JSW I conversion of JSW II's "The Garden".
- Having white-ink guardians collect items for you, e.g. an arrow collects an item in
JSW:LOTR's "Three is Company". An item is collected if it is printed over
anything with white ink, e.g. the white-ink background in "Swimming Pool"). A
counterexample is the Eugene in Manic Miner - it kills you if it touches an item in its
path, because the item is drawn before the Eugene.
- Avoiding arrows by standing inside a block (this effect can be seen in J4's "Nights
in White Satin"). This works because arrows collide with any character block that has
white ink, and with nothing that doesn't.
- Effects of ropes when they hit non-background characters (e.g. if a rope hits a Floor
block, you get picked up from wherever you are in the room!)
- Entering a room inside a static nasty such that you can escape from it if you move
immediately. e.g. If you were to enter the following room from the left, you would die if
you stayed still but live if you moved right immediately. This works because there is no
collision detection on the 0th time frame of a room (i.e. the one before the first time
frame that you can pause it on):
- Being able to jump a gap of six spaces when you enter a room, e.g.
You could jump onto this floor block from the room to the left, but you couldn't jump
back into the room to the left.
- Being able to jump an even longer gap if that room is Room 35, with all the items
collected, and it's from the left that you are entering - see Willy fly!
- Here are some that are specific to Manic Miner:
- Putting items over crumbling floor blocks, so that you can only collect them after the
floor has crumbled (as in Buddha's "Untitled No.1") - in both MM and JSW, you
can only collect items that are on background blocks.
- Fast-crumbling floors - both `proper' (as in MM4's "A Hole in the Ocean") and
those that leave `ghosts' (as in the first room of Buddha).
- The switches in Rooms 7 and 11, and the Kong Beast.
- Skylabs (understanding where a Skylab reappears after crashing and thus being able to
anticipate whether it's safe to jump near the top of the screen).
- Solar beams (understanding how they are deflected off guardians helps you avoid them).