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I would like to implement free-running as popularized by Assassin's Creed, albeit in 2D. What are some specific techniques or algorithms that I can use to achieve free-running in 2D without having to reinvent everything?

I tried to Google for resources, but couldn't really find any leads (no surprise there). Ideally, I'd like to know how did Assassin's Creed did it.

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I don't know what you mean when you say "free-running". Probably because I never played Assassin's Creed. Could you specify what you mean by that? Maybe post a link to a video? –  bummzack Apr 26 '11 at 16:13
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@bummzack Assassins Creed uses Parkour, free running is more stylistic. It's the new fun thing for games. See Infamous, Prototype (Kinda), Mirrors Edge. It's pretty fun in real life also. youtube.com/watch?v=1fouvwilGWc –  Noctrine Apr 26 '11 at 16:37
    
Might be worth looking at canabalt: adamatomic.com/canabalt and trying to find out how they did free running. Or N: thewayoftheninja.org/n.html –  thedaian Apr 26 '11 at 17:37
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Isn't free running kinda not so free at all when it's 2D? =D –  Nailer Apr 26 '11 at 18:41
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What is your specific difficulty? The parkour system in Assassin's Creed combines a broad range of technologies. Are you asking about the automatic targeting of jumps? The animation system that lets the character's hands find handholds? The physics of momentum? Something else? –  Gregory Avery-Weir Apr 26 '11 at 19:04

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I'm not so sure how looking at Assassin's creed could help, being as it is very firmly rooted in the 3D world when it comes to movement. If you want something like AC's "reach out and grab holes" system, you could look at QWOP's sequel "GIRP" - it's probably too gimmicky to copy for a more traditional game, but the core idea is there. Aside that, Creed had a lot of gap jumping, grabbing onto ledges and shimmying, all of these could probably translate well to 2D in their own style. Prince of Persia might be a good source of inspiration as well.

Also I definitely recommend looking at Super Metroid and the "metroidvania" genre in general if you're looking for traditional side scrolling "free running". There are tons of implementations of wall jumping, trick jumps, etc.

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+1 for the Prince of Persia reference. There are several articles online which discuss its gameplay mechanics and animation. –  TreDubZedd Apr 27 '11 at 3:41

First figure out what specific actions you want to support (e.g. wall-jumping, wall-climbing, sliding, hanging from various parts of the environment, etc.). Then for each of those actions figure out what its constraints should be (e.g. can they only hang from something for a certain amount of time? Do they have to keep moving when they're climbing a wall or they'll fall?) Work out whether they need to manually activate the maneuver or whether it'll happen automatically (e.g. do they have to push a button to grab a rope while they're jumping, or will they grab it automatically as they go by it?) Figure out how close you want them to be to something to grab it or kick off of it. Figure out whether you're going to include the rotation of the player as well as their position and velocity (it'll look better if you do, but it might be frustrating to the player if you make it too challenging to get the rotation right).

Also, try to do the animation really well--watch a lot of reference material (or just find one or two really good examples of what you're doing) to see how bodies actually move when they're doing these things. It can make a world of difference.

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