View Full Version : Tutorial:Create a timer players can dynamically increase using a powerup system!(56k)

08-10-2009, 12:53 AM
DISCLAIMER: First things first, I would like to say that the following ideas/concepts are entirely my own and no part of the machine has been copied or "inspired" by another player's work. That includes this guide. However, this is not to say I am the first and only person to devise the concept and develop a prototype. If you already have built a machine of your own which achieves similar results to mine, or even just thought up a concept, I did not know this and am not trying to rip anyone off. On the contrary, you are welcome and encouraged to share your design.

Okay, so you want your level to have a timed element, but want players to earn their time? No problem. I will be showing you how to create a machine which will allow you to do just that, with a robust powerup system where all you have to do is grab a powerup and the system will add a predetermined amount of time onto your limit. I call it the CMTS, or Culmulative Modular Timing System. Culmulative because several powerups can be collected to add to the total amount of time available, and Modular because the system is extremely versatile and can be incorporated into all manner of systems with great ease. The variant of the CMTS family you will learn to build is the CMTS2m. (2 means it's my second working design of CMTS, and the m means that each module will run for 1 miniute when fully activated and using factory settings.) Feel free to use this design in your levels, my only request is that you credit me in the level description and don't try to pass the CMTS2m off as your own. If you do, I will hunt you down and greif you. If you're in a hurry or don't want to read through the whole guide, ask here or on PSN (PSNID: DuffyBox) and I will send you one (a snazzy mini version) along with a handy instruction guide, all for the low low price of one Author Heart!!!

Building The CMTS2m
-The Frame-
The very first thing we need to build is the frame that will house all the components. Start off in Front View with a Big Grid on. Create a wafer-thin rectangle 14 Big Squares up and 6 Big Squares along (or 140 units up and 60 along for you clever happy gadders)

like the one in Fig.1. This will be the Back Piece, and it goes in the rearmost layer. Next, we need to create a 'frame' to go around it, by painting a 1-layer fat line around the back piece. The line is drawn with 1 Big Gid square (10x10 units) Look at Fig 2 to get an idea of what I mean.


To complete the basic structure of the frame, line the back piece up with the frame and make it just big enough to glue onto the frame in front of it
-Tip: hold L1 while sticking to do this.
To complete the frame, we have to cut EVENLY SPACED notches into the side of the frame. Switch on Front View and Medium Grid. Starting from the bottom of the inner side of the frame
-Note: Not the back piece, the frame
count 4 squares up (including the one you started on) and cut the 5th square. Go up 4 times and cut the 4th one this time. Continue up the inner side of the frame until you have cut 6 notches. There should be 7 medium squares left up till the top. Mirror what you have done on the other (also inner) side of the frame.
-Note: You can optionally neaten this up by detaching the back piece, going to Front View and making it big enough to cover the gaps that appear behind the notches.
What you have now is the basic shape of the frame.
--SAFETY CHECK-- There's nothing worse than being on the verge of completing a creation, only to realise you made a mistake in the first few minutes, requiring a total rebuild. These safety checks ensure this doesn't happen and provide a quick recap to keep you on track. Anyway, check the notches are all directly opposite each other, and check they're evenly spaced.
-Save Level Here-

-The Board-
Now the frame is complete, it's time to make the main moving part; the board. Switch the Big Grid on and create a metal rectangle
Note: Yes, I know it's cardboard in the pictures, but use metal.
9 and a half big squares horizontally (19 medium squares or 185 units) and 2 big squares vertically. (the whole thing is 20x185 units.) Switch back to Medium Grid and, starting 1 medium row in, cut 6 evenly-spaced squares out of the rectangle. Then, grab some Emitters and, using Small Grid, place one exactly above each opening. Finally, get a Magnetic Key and make it purple. Place it on the bottom middle of the board.


Save the finished Board as an object.
Now we create the items that will be used by the emitters on the board. Make 6 1x1BigGrid CARDBOARD cubes 1 layer thick. Place a Magnetic Key on each one.
Tip: You can get the Magnetic Keys in the dead centre by switching out of Big Grid into Medium Grid. The keys will snap to the centre of the blocks if they are the right size. Don't forget to switch back to Big Grid once you've placed them!
From left to right, the key colours are: Light Green (bottom right on colour selection grid), Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, and Pink on the right.
--SAFETY CHECK-- Make sure the holes are evenly spaced, ensure the board is only 1 layer thick and is in the same layer as the frame. Make it the exact same as it is in the picture (except yours will be metal instead of cardboard. Ensure everything is 1 layer fat, and is on the same plane.)
-Save Level Here-

-The Frame (continued)-
Simple so far, right? OK, now onto the slightly more complicated bits. Take six Emitters and place them just above each notch on the frame.
Note: One side only.
Now to create something for the emtters to emit. Select Metal, switch on Medium Grid and create a rectangle 14 medium squares horizontally and just 1 square vertically. Save this as an object and, using the Medium Grid, make each emitter emit the bar in between it's respective notches, with the following settings:

-O+ 0.1s (Frequency)
*8. 10.0s (Lifetime)
>& 1 (Max Emitted)
Leave all other settings as they are.
--SAFETY CHECK-- Double check that the emitter settings have applied, and that they have NOT emitted anything yet (as the Max Emitted is set to 1)

Moving on, take out six Magnetic Key Switches and place them onto the back piece of the frame, one above each pair of notches (the key switches go in the centre). The highest one should be Bright Green, then moving lower each time it goes Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Pink. Tweak these so they sense up to JUST below the above pair of notches (Don't worry about the top one, that shall be explained.) Wire each of these switches to the nearest Emitter BELOW it. Finally, place a purple Magnetic Key Switch at the very bottom centre of the frame. Make sure the trigger radius does not reach any further than the lowest pair of notches. The CMTS is taking shape!!!
--SAFETY CHECK-- Just go through everything so far, you may want to set off the emitters to check they all work properly before rewinding to reset them. (Deleting the bars will not work in this case because remember the Max Emitted is set to 1.
-Save Level Here-

-The Powerups-
These will be the player's means of extending the amount of time the timer will run for. They can be of any design, as long as there are a max of 6 powerups per CMTS module and they are made of Dissolve. To give the powerup it's power, simply place a grab switch on it. Wire the switch to both the powerup itself and one of the emitters above the holes on the board. (one powerup for each Emitter) Go wild decorating them, here is the design I use:


-The Finishing Touches!!-
Right now, we don't have a way of triggering the timer, or knowing when the timer is finished. To create a starting lever, first take the Board and place it in the top middle of the frame, and use Small or No Grid to create small holders made of Dissolve on either side.
-Note: Make sure they actually hold the board up, but don't glue the board to the frame or Back Piece in your haste.
Wire the lever up to both Dissolve holders.


So we know that the timer is finished, we can take a buzzer
-Note: Of course, this doesn't have to be a buzzer. It could be a bomb, an LED, heck, it could even time the release of a rabid monster which chases Sackboy. Be creative.
Wire up the purple Key Switch at the bottom to the buzzer (or dog cage door), wire up the six powerups to the six Emitters on the board, and hey presto! The CMTS2m!
--SAFETY CHECK-- Obviously, now is the time to test. Save, switch to play mode (you might want to put a jetpack at the level entrance, for testing purposes), grab a few Powerups and pull the lever! If built correctly, the powerups should dissolve when grabbed and trigger one of the Board Emitters to emit a block onto it's respective slot. When the lever is pulled, the Key Switches should detect said block and spawn a bar which will delay the timer from triggering for another ten seconds. If it doesn't work first time, don't be too disenhearted as usually, all it takes to fix is a few tweaks to the Back Piece Key Switches. And if you're completely stumped, heart me as an author and a professionally-made CMTS2m(Mini) will wing its merry way to you through the PSN.
-Save Level Here-


Modular Aspect
The best thing about the CMTS2m is that it's completely and utterly modular. This means that with just 7 button presses, you can have 2 CMTS' linked together for double the amount of powerups and time. It's incredibly easy.
-Step 1: Place 2 CMTS2ms and delete the buzzer on the first one.
-Step 2: Delete the starting handle on the second one.
-Step 3: Wire the purple Key Switch at the bottom of the first one to the Dissolve Holders on the second one.
That's it.
It's also extremely easy to tweak individual properties such as how much time each powerup is worth. To do this, change the Frame Emitters' Lifetime setting from 10 seconds to anything you want. However, when you do this the CMTS2m becomes a CMTS2VIc (Culmulative Modular Timing System Mk.2, Six Slot Custom.)

Any Other Business:
I would like some help.
I'm working on hooking this up with a 13-LED display I made. It shall display minutes and seconds (seconds in 10-sec groups) How can I reset my seconds counter when the Minutes one changes? Demitters? Too complicated. Flipper Motion? Hmm. If anyone is interested in helping out with this, contact me.

Also, if anyone would like to try, I think combining my time powerup system with that Slow-Mo powerup system could make for a reeeally innovative and interesting level. I smell a collab!! Post any ideas below.

Well I'd like to wish you good luck with your CMTS2m, and I look forward to seeing some cracking levels incorporating it! (As long as they credit me.)

Regards, DuffyBox.

08-10-2009, 01:00 AM
wow thats a pretty in depth guide, good work and thanks for sharing this

08-10-2009, 03:20 AM
This is amazing! Just what i needed! I was thinking of a Underwater level where you swim down the ocean and needed to collect oxygen bubbles otherwise you die, this is brilliant just what i needed! But I'm currently trying to finnish a mine level of mine (no pun intended) so i guess this will stay in my idea box for a while :P

08-10-2009, 10:16 AM
Sounds good, I am currently working on a low thermo version, the CMTS3. If you are interested in this version, ask and if I get enough interest I will post it.

08-10-2009, 03:01 PM
I'm interested.

08-11-2009, 02:52 AM
I made one similiar to this, but then I just made a moving box attached with a magnetic key switch, and when it moves to a magnetic key, the music will go louder and more musical-ish.

It works only in the INTMusic.

08-11-2009, 05:03 AM
I can help out with the Timer, I can even give you a mini-timer I made (I will have to re-make it though, since my save file went corrupt =\)! :D

08-11-2009, 11:55 AM
OK everyone, my CMTS3 plans involve a single-layer track of Dark Matter, with a car hanging by the wheels from it. (wheels go on top of the track, rest of it is supported by a thin layer going behind the track which the wheels are attached to.) The 'car' sets off the buzzer when it reaches the end of the track. The powerups are hooked up to emitters which emit a red mag key for 10 secs. While the key is present, a red mag switch activates a piston which shoves a block of rubber onto the underside of the track. This 'grips' the track and stops the car from advancing for the 10 secs the key is present. I like this design as it can be extended even after it has started. However, I'm thinking of scrapping this concept as all the protos I built failed horribly. Crazy, unfixable stuff, like the car actually slid backwards when the piston was gripping - even when I used cog wheels and a toothed track! What do you guys think?

08-11-2009, 02:44 PM
Moved to Tutorials.

That looks quite interesting, I'll read it later when I have time.

08-26-2009, 09:53 PM
i made a much easyier version once. you grab somthing to start, a dissolve peice in a skybox (a box in the sky made of dark matter) and the dissolve peice dissolves when you grab the start button, with a magnetic tgriiger and swich setup on it, it triggers a a box with a magnetic key on it to go across another long skybox. the megnetic key triggers a buzzer at the end, and intensifise the music as it goes. if theres 7 time power ups, there is 7 boxes before the one that triggers the buzzer & music. (ill call this the timer box) with pistons connecting the dark matter to the first, from the first to the second, second to thrid, to the second, and so on. (the 7th one also connects to the timer box) all the pistons have a small (not to samll) length. there also out all the way, so when you grab the pwer up, they go back to make it like a power up. i didnt make an end to the side of the skybox where the timerbox ends, so incase no power ups were triggered, it would breake. and, if you want, you can make a door that closes at the end of the race by another magnetic key near the buzzer.

Edit: this is not in any of my levels, but i've done somthing very simaler in my published combanation lock level.

09-11-2009, 08:47 PM
Im confused.... does the box just fall?