Any two people who have played the enjoyable, acrobatic 2D PlayStation 3 downloadable game "PixelJunk Eden" might be wondering the same thing I’ve been wondering since I first played the game co-operatively:
How does :Eden" determine which character to lock its camera onto when one of those characters is falling to their doom and the other had been an inch away from collecting a valuable Spectra?
I got an answer from a very good authority...
If you haven't played the game, this question means nothing to you. But if you have played it in its single-screen co-op mode with a friend then the answer to this question could determine whether you win your next session -- or whether you suffer another loss due not to your flawed skills (of course not!) but to the otherwise stellar game's seemingly random camera.
Sometimes the game keeps its camera focused on the character who is higher in the "Eden" forest. This makes the other player's fall a minor nuisance that's quickly rectified in seconds once the player's character re-spawns next to the higher player. But sometimes the camera follows the character who plummets, effectively killing the higher character and leaving them both to respawn lower in the game's level, farther from any goals.
I shot this question over to Dylan Cuthbert, lead creator at Q Games, the small studio behind the “PixelJunk” series. I wanted to know how the camera determines who to follow. His explanation:
"To stop the camera jumping about, every half a second or so it decides based on which player is highest on the screen and gripping something. So if one of you stays put gripping a plant the camera should stay on you.
"Also there are reasons why the camera is the way it is - 'Eden' requires huge leaps from time to time and not always upwards, and there is no way for us to determine if you are leaping for a Spectra (or a time crystal, or a plant) that is just off screen or if you are falling to your death. So sometimes it gets it wrong. But we found it kind of fun having to leap down after your friends/wife etc., in a vain attempt to save them. It all depends on how well you get on with your playing partner. "
Cuthbert added that those at 1Up and Gamespot who have been complaining about the camera have likely based their remarks on a "buggy" pre-release version of the game. He asked me to ask them to keep that in mind. Play the finished game, fellow reporters. And now, armed with Cuthbert's insights, the camera should no long mystify.
I'll head back to the newest garden I’ve unlocked, #6, and see what I can do now that I know the secrets.