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Sonic 2 sharing assets I'm starting to wonder if it did this with more zones

#1 User is offline Hez 

Posted 29 May 2019 - 03:44 PM

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So I was casually looking through old concept sketches of sonic 2, until I came across this.

Posted Image

Notice how Green Hill has a line, then Hill top is underneath it. They both share assets. We know Brenda Ross said that the desert level would have a pallete swapped ice level, which is also clearly show in this sketch. Death Egg, not shown, shares assets with Chemical Plant. What throws me off here is that "Secret Palace" has Oil Ocean zone under it. Was there more asset sharing planned? Seeing the odd floating triangles and what not in Oil Ocean does seem a bit odd. Was this zone actually a secondary zone pulled from Secret Palace?

I'm trying to dig more into concept art to see if anything would even match. Seems very early in development, but interesting none the less.

#2 User is offline Blue Spikeball 

Posted 29 May 2019 - 09:41 PM

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Well, the artist who drew HPZ's level art stated that it was due to poor communication that he made the level look more like a cavern than a subterranean palace. And I would think this document predates the production of HPZ's level art, especially seeing how it calls it Secret Palace. So they probably had something different in mind for the look of HPZ and OOZ. Then when HPZ ended up looking like a cavern, they likely realized its art couldn't be used for OOZ, so they changed plans, opting to produce exclusive art for the latter.

Perhaps the tubes in HPZ were a remnant of original HPZ concepts, and when reused in OOZ, they would be filled with oil? I'm also guessing that the rocky elements would only have been present in the background, to allow for reuse of the foreground art. Kind of like S&K's HPZ, which you wouldn't know was underground if it weren't for the background (well, and the starting area).
This post has been edited by Blue Spikeball: 29 May 2019 - 10:11 PM

#3 User is offline biggestsonicfan 

Posted 29 May 2019 - 10:26 PM

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GHZ was also in the earliest S2 beta, just not accessible by normal means and had broken collision data.

#4 User is offline Hez 

Posted 29 May 2019 - 11:55 PM

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View Postbiggestsonicfan, on 29 May 2019 - 10:26 PM, said:

GHZ was also in the earliest S2 beta, just not accessible by normal means and had broken collision data.

I assumed GHZ was still referring to emerald hill. Sonic 1s green hill was left for testing I assumed?

#5 User is offline Sid Starkiller 

Posted 30 May 2019 - 12:06 AM

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View PostHez, on 29 May 2019 - 11:55 PM, said:

View Postbiggestsonicfan, on 29 May 2019 - 10:26 PM, said:

GHZ was also in the earliest S2 beta, just not accessible by normal means and had broken collision data.

I assumed GHZ was still referring to emerald hill. Sonic 1s green hill was left for testing I assumed?

I always assumed they just hadn't written over it yet.

#6 User is offline Flygon 

Posted 30 May 2019 - 02:46 AM

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I always felt there was some odd aesthetic similarities between Hidden Palace and Oil Ocean, but I never wanted to pipe up about it - blame my many years of the earlier era of these forums.

It makes perfect sense their assets were suppose to be reused between each other. The colour schemes for the foreground are fairly close.

#7 User is offline McAleeCh 

Posted 30 May 2019 - 03:48 AM

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View PostSid Starkiller, on 30 May 2019 - 12:06 AM, said:

View PostHez, on 29 May 2019 - 11:55 PM, said:

View Postbiggestsonicfan, on 29 May 2019 - 10:26 PM, said:

GHZ was also in the earliest S2 beta, just not accessible by normal means and had broken collision data.

I assumed GHZ was still referring to emerald hill. Sonic 1s green hill was left for testing I assumed?

I always assumed they just hadn't written over it yet.

It's definitely there for testing of some sort - for starters, it's been converted to use 128x128 chunks rather than the old 256x256 standard, so it was probably used to test out the new chunk format. It's clear they weren't actively maintaining it by the time of the prototype we have, though, as like Hidden Palace the monitor assignments haven't been updated to account for the reordered monitor IDs (hence HPZ's infamous Tails 1-up), and it also hasn't had its collision redone to match the collision index in use at that point in development. If I recall correctly, the old Sonic 1 collision index is present separately within the ROM - repointing it to use that makes the stage pretty much fully functional, barring a few graphical glitches and (I think) a missing camera lock at the end of one of the Acts.

Incidentally - the whole monitors-not-being-updated thing... I'm sure we probably discussed this back when the prototype surfaced, but that was a long time ago now so forgive me for forgetting. Hidden Palace's object layout surely reached its current state pretty early in development for it to still be using the Sonic 1 monitor definitions - do any of the other stages in that build (aside from EHZ, which was the cleaned-up 'public-facing' stage from the look of things) have any obviously wrong monitor assignments, or is it just HPZ? I find it bizarre that the stage was already in its most recognisable form at that early point and doesn't seem to have changed significantly since... yet "Beta 4" and the new CENSOR prototype contain updated debug lists for the stage adding the Stego badnik, and cleaned-up artwork for it to match? Especially as they bothered to make a level select icon for it much later in development, surely some work on the stage must have happened behind the scenes, even if it was never compiled into a working build of the game?
This post has been edited by McAleeCh: 30 May 2019 - 03:49 AM

#8 User is online Neo 

Posted 30 May 2019 - 06:31 AM

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View PostHez, on 29 May 2019 - 11:55 PM, said:

I assumed GHZ was still referring to emerald hill. Sonic 1s green hill was left for testing I assumed?

Pretty sure GHZ has 2P mode support, so I've always imagined it was something Naka did by himself before any of the Sonic 2 levels entered production.


View PostMcAleeCh, on 30 May 2019 - 03:48 AM, said:

Hidden Palace's object layout surely reached its current state pretty early in development for it to still be using the Sonic 1 monitor definitions - do any of the other stages in that build (aside from EHZ, which was the cleaned-up 'public-facing' stage from the look of things) have any obviously wrong monitor assignments, or is it just HPZ? I find it bizarre that the stage was already in its most recognisable form at that early point and doesn't seem to have changed significantly since... yet "Beta 4" and the new CENSOR prototype contain updated debug lists for the stage adding the Stego badnik, and cleaned-up artwork for it to match? Especially as they bothered to make a level select icon for it much later in development, surely some work on the stage must have happened behind the scenes, even if it was never compiled into a working build of the game?

I think it was Naka who said that they really wanted to get it in the game, but they just ran out of time1 2. Wing Fortress still had a broken layout just days before they went gold, so it was really down to the wire.

1 And storage space, but I'm intentionally overlooking that to make my point.
2 EDIT: Naka quote.
This post has been edited by Neo: 30 May 2019 - 08:34 AM

#9 User is offline Hez 

Posted 30 May 2019 - 08:08 AM

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I've also wondered about code management back in the day. Nowadays we have version control and code pushes, but back then it could have been all over the place. There could have been a separate build with changes that never made it. I wouldn't be surprised if there were branches off of other betas testing certain things, and then they kept going with a "master" or more common build, and kept building off of that. There very well could be a complete hidden palace out there in branched build, but that build might have not had Death Egg or Wing fortress in it, so that wouldn't have been the desirable branch to go with. This makes sense in my head...

#10 User is offline HEDGESMFG 

Posted 30 May 2019 - 10:48 AM

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I doubt Hidden Palace was ever developed beyond what we saw, despite the minor updates to the concept.

It was likely dropped due to some complication in coding a gimmick related to it... I.E. Accessing it only after getting the emeralds, developing a cut-scene that shows the transformation, creating an ending part of the map that leads to this.

Nowhere else in the game is any sort of cutscene code/function added, yet Naka's interview hints that this might have been the intention here. Programming this sort of function may have taken time they didn't necessarily have, especially as it would require extra story-boarding, and possibly specialized animation too. We already know from the CENSOR/Beta 4 ROMs how last second of an addition Super Sonic was.

It also was a low priority most likely because it may not have ever been intended to be a full 2 act zone, so its own gimmicky nature may have just rendered it a low priority, and therefor easy to cut at the last second. Why go to all that trouble when you can just have Sonic jump up after grabbing 50 rings?
This post has been edited by HEDGESMFG: 30 May 2019 - 10:49 AM

#11 User is offline XRick 

Posted 30 May 2019 - 11:08 AM

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Excuse me for asking... Super Sonic was a last-minute addition? Could you tell me more about it?

#12 User is online ICEknight 

Posted 30 May 2019 - 11:42 AM

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I'm guessing that it's already been attempted to just swap the Hidden Palace and Oil Ocean palettes around, to see it their graphics fit somewhat?

#13 User is offline HEDGESMFG 

Posted 30 May 2019 - 12:41 PM

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View PostXRick, on 30 May 2019 - 11:08 AM, said:

Excuse me for asking... Super Sonic was a last-minute addition? Could you tell me more about it?


Read up on his implementation through Beta 4 onward here.

Given that even in the CENSOR prototype, most of the map layouts are complete, but Hidden Palace was removed and Super Sonic is 'not' yet complete... it becomes clear that much debate was had in the final months regarding his implementation mechanics, which we've been told were originally tied to Hidden Palace Zone. Remember, CENSOR/Beta 4 are likely from around September 1992, as little as 2 months before release date. By that stage in development, bug testing and putting together the final tweaks would be top priority before going gold.

Hidden Palace was probably dropped first, then the decision was made to just implement Super Sonic and the Special Stages in a simplified Sonic 1 style to save on time/resources. Implementing Super Sonic at all was probably a low priority compared to building the main 12 stages, so when time ran low, it had to be simplified, even though the concept likely existed since early 1992.

Quote

Super Sonic

The Super Sonic transformation is in various stages of completion:

Beta 4 has no code to handle the Super Sonic transformation or ring drain, though the actual Super Sonic code is partially implemented. Use PAR code FFF65F:0001 to enable the Super Sonic palette, FFFE19:0001 to enable the Super Sonic sprites and increased jump height, and FFB02B:0006 to enable invincibility and speed shoes.

Super Sonic doesn't produce any invincibility sparkles when he runs.
The increased speed and acceleration are not enabled -- this is set by the transformation sequence in later versions -- but the player can get the increased speed / acceleration if they either get a speed shoes monitor and let it expire, or go into the water and then jump back out.

Beta 5 implements the transformation, but it's bugged: The game checks if RAM address FFB0 (A boolean that is set after a special stage is cleared) is seven, when it should be checking FFB1 (Chaos emerald count). Use PAR code FFFFB0:0007 and get 50 rings to enable the transformation.
From Beta 6 on, the Super Sonic transformation is properly enabled.

This post has been edited by HEDGESMFG: 30 May 2019 - 12:44 PM

#14 User is offline grap3fruitman 

Posted 30 May 2019 - 12:52 PM

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View PostHez, on 29 May 2019 - 03:44 PM, said:

We know Brenda Ross said that the desert level would have a pallete swapped ice level, which is also clearly show in this sketch.

Am I stating the obvious in the Sonic Adventure snowboarding ice/dust swaps being a connection/reference to this?

Quote

What throws me off here is that "Secret Palace" has Oil Ocean zone under it. Was there more asset sharing planned? Seeing the odd floating triangles and what not in Oil Ocean does seem a bit odd. Was this zone actually a secondary zone pulled from Secret Palace?

Don't they use the same bridge? The HPZ gems and the OOZ triangles always seemed reminiscent of each other to me.


View PostBlue Spikeball, on 29 May 2019 - 09:41 PM, said:

Perhaps the tubes in HPZ were a remnant of original HPZ concepts, and when reused in OOZ, they would be filled with oil? I'm also guessing that the rocky elements would only have been present in the background, to allow for reuse of the foreground art. Kind of like S&K's HPZ, which you wouldn't know was underground if it weren't for the background (well, and the starting area).

I mean the OOZ tubes are basically the transporters from S3k's HPZ/SSZ so... seeing more and more connections here.

#15 User is offline Overlord 

Posted 30 May 2019 - 01:07 PM

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View PostNeo, on 30 May 2019 - 06:31 AM, said:

Wing Fortress still had a broken layout just days before they went gold, so it was really down to the wire.

It still does even in the final, don't forget the conveyor belt that doesn't move you.

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