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Sonic Mania (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC) - WARNING, SPOILERS Developed by Christian Whitehead, Headcannon and PagodaWest

#9886 User is offline .Luke 

Posted 19 September 2017 - 03:00 PM

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View PostJen, on 19 September 2017 - 01:31 PM, said:

View PostDissent, on 18 September 2017 - 11:48 AM, said:

We will never see another Sonic game like Mania and this thread is why.

Almost every page has someone complaining about some classic Sonic mechanic that they don't like. The latest argument is that death pits should be clearly marked or removed entirely. Gamers have changed for the worse :colbert:

Honestly, I imagine that sales figures and review scores will have one hell of a lot more impact on SEGA than a small bunch of internet users.

As long as it sells well and doesn't get panned by the professional critics, it really doesn't matter what a couple of forum-goers might think. It's been said before, but the online fandom represents only a tiny little portion of the overall audience.


This. While publishers are able to have a hyper-awareness of what their customers/fans are saying now, via social media, it's still up to them if they want to listen.

Mania itself didn't happen through SEGA listening to their fandom's incessant nagging for such a game for two whole decades. It happened because Taxman already had a very healthy business relationship with SEGA, and a good reputation to boot, well before he and his team presented a prototype. (For the kind of Sonic game he, and by extension the fandom, wanted.) Falk said as much in his NeoGAF post.

Game developers have a choice to listen as well. They freely accept good ideas and ignore "dumb" ideas given to them all the time, or ideas that can't fit into their artistic vision without compromising it. So, I don't see Taxman taking in ideas to water down Sonic's playstyle in a way that obviously wouldn't be for its benefit.

It's not a bad concern to have, Dissent, but I don't see having a little faith in Taxman and Co. as a bad thing either. They reached this point in their careers because they are outstanding people who do outstanding work. They know what they're doing. :)

View PostDark Sonic, on 19 September 2017 - 06:58 AM, said:

That being said there was a bottomless pit in Chemical Plant Act 1 that I did not expect, particularly because similar holes had either spikes or secrets. Seemed a smidge cheap but eh. And I'll actually let Mirage Saloon Knuckles slide. It's like a desert canyon and the pits are there to add challenge for a character who can easily climb/glide. Since that was the focus of the level and the trope kind of implies deep pits, those bottomless pits make some sense.


I stumbled across maybe one death pit in my first playthrough. (As Tails.) It took me some time to realize there were death pits in the game at all, like when I played as Sonic and Knuckles. My number of death pit falls and crushes shot up dramatically. :v:

Sonic's taller hitbox doesn't do him any favors in Titanic Monarch, for instance.
This post has been edited by .Luke: 19 September 2017 - 03:03 PM

#9887 User is offline TimmiT 

Posted 19 September 2017 - 05:34 PM

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View PostHEDGESMFG, on 19 September 2017 - 01:40 PM, said:

That element shows something that fan-raised devs get that many professional devs miss; catering your gameplay to work for speedrunners. Speedrunning requires advanced levels of skill and extreme precision, along with a super tightly refined engine that allows skilled players to exploit these elements for maximum effect. AM2R for example catered to this brilliantly by not only designing as close to pixel perfect collision as possible, but by even adding hidden pats exclusively for speedrun use, this made the stage design not only good, but a step above the usual nintendo fare. I've yet to see if Samus Returns puts quite the same foresight into its stage design, and they indeed might, but the fan made project absolutely did and it is better for it.

So the fact that Mania devs understood and catered to this implicitly shows a level of knowledge and foresight that's often rare among professionals; catering to every single kind of skill level, from the most basic, to including highly advanced players, and using your engine to do it.

Tbh I'm a bit bothered by this argument. Mainly because it's very possible that with a lot of failed or cynical looking game projects the developers were huge fans of the franchise or kind of game as well. Being a fan doesn't mean knowing how to best make a game in the franchise. Heck, knowing how to best make a game in a franchise you're a fan of doesn't even guarantee that the game will be good, cause outside of that a lot of shit can go wrong. There can be bad leadership, there can be executive decisions that cause there to be major design changes that you don't want, there can be lots of things going wrong.

Sonic Mania isn't just as good as it is because it was made by fans. It was as good as it is because it was made by people who know how to design a good Sonic game, because they were allowed the freedom to design it the way they want, because they managed to make it as good as it turned out to be under incredible stress of what working in the game industry normally is like, because nothing game ruining went wrong during the development, and probably because of a lot of other reasons I can't think of or don't know about.

There's also that the only reason people can argue that Sonic Mania is good because it's made by fans because we know that it was made by fans. Like you talk about Samus Returns as if it's a game just made by professionals who don't care about the Metroid franchise instead of fans like with AM2R. Except it's very possible that the people at MercurySteam care about the franchise just as much. And that just like with AM2R, Samus Returns is made by people who have a very good idea of what makes a Metroid game so good and how it can be improved without abandoning what makes Metroid so good in the first place. But because the team behind Samus Returns presumably didn't spend a ton of time on internet forums we probably won't know. (Though similarly like with Sonic Mania, their game happened after pitching a new game in the series to Nintendo.)

Sonic Mania's devs are just as much professionals as the developers you're talking about. And the professionals you're talking about could very well be just as big fans of the series they're working on as Sonic Mania's developers.

(EDIT: Also I should mention that the article you're responding to is with a level designer who afaik wasn't even really a part of Sonic fan communities so there's that as well.)
This post has been edited by TimmiT: 19 September 2017 - 05:36 PM

#9888 User is offline Muscle Wizard 

Posted 19 September 2017 - 07:06 PM

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View PostTimmiT, on 19 September 2017 - 05:34 PM, said:

View PostHEDGESMFG, on 19 September 2017 - 01:40 PM, said:

That element shows something that fan-raised devs get that many professional devs miss; catering your gameplay to work for speedrunners. Speedrunning requires advanced levels of skill and extreme precision, along with a super tightly refined engine that allows skilled players to exploit these elements for maximum effect. AM2R for example catered to this brilliantly by not only designing as close to pixel perfect collision as possible, but by even adding hidden pats exclusively for speedrun use, this made the stage design not only good, but a step above the usual nintendo fare. I've yet to see if Samus Returns puts quite the same foresight into its stage design, and they indeed might, but the fan made project absolutely did and it is better for it.

So the fact that Mania devs understood and catered to this implicitly shows a level of knowledge and foresight that's often rare among professionals; catering to every single kind of skill level, from the most basic, to including highly advanced players, and using your engine to do it.

Tbh I'm a bit bothered by this argument. Mainly because it's very possible that with a lot of failed or cynical looking game projects the developers were huge fans of the franchise or kind of game as well. Being a fan doesn't mean knowing how to best make a game in the franchise. Heck, knowing how to best make a game in a franchise you're a fan of doesn't even guarantee that the game will be good, cause outside of that a lot of shit can go wrong. There can be bad leadership, there can be executive decisions that cause there to be major design changes that you don't want, there can be lots of things going wrong.

Sonic Mania isn't just as good as it is because it was made by fans. It was as good as it is because it was made by people who know how to design a good Sonic game, because they were allowed the freedom to design it the way they want, because they managed to make it as good as it turned out to be under incredible stress of what working in the game industry normally is like, because nothing game ruining went wrong during the development, and probably because of a lot of other reasons I can't think of or don't know about.

There's also that the only reason people can argue that Sonic Mania is good because it's made by fans because we know that it was made by fans. Like you talk about Samus Returns as if it's a game just made by professionals who don't care about the Metroid franchise instead of fans like with AM2R. Except it's very possible that the people at MercurySteam care about the franchise just as much. And that just like with AM2R, Samus Returns is made by people who have a very good idea of what makes a Metroid game so good and how it can be improved without abandoning what makes Metroid so good in the first place. But because the team behind Samus Returns presumably didn't spend a ton of time on internet forums we probably won't know. (Though similarly like with Sonic Mania, their game happened after pitching a new game in the series to Nintendo.)

Sonic Mania's devs are just as much professionals as the developers you're talking about. And the professionals you're talking about could very well be just as big fans of the series they're working on as Sonic Mania's developers.

(EDIT: Also I should mention that the article you're responding to is with a level designer who afaik wasn't even really a part of Sonic fan communities so there's that as well.)

This is a really good post. Taxman and Stealth weren't just considered for their fangame roots, but because they had in the past delivered with their mobile ports and their commissioned work prior with SEGA. They have a history of living up to and even exceeding requirements in their projects, and their track records are clean and professional. Long story short, they were before anything else qualified professionals in game development. It's just really cool that they also happened to be prominent in this community and I think that it should be championed that it's this way, but it's worth celebrating the fact that they're not just fans anymore, they're professionals and have been since the very first port of Sonic CD using the Retro Engine was launched.

#9889 User is offline Effexor 

Posted 19 September 2017 - 08:28 PM

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So is there a way to hit phase 2 of the Titanic Monarch 1 boss as Knuckles if it decides to move the elevator up that I'm not seeing, or are you at the mercy of RNG before it decides to move the elevator down? It's probably the one design decision I'm not thrilled at all with as far as the bosses go. That and Oil Ocean 1's blind spike ceiling.
This post has been edited by Effexor: 19 September 2017 - 08:29 PM

#9890 User is offline Josh 

Posted 19 September 2017 - 09:25 PM

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I just want to give a shout-out to the developers for leaving the TURBO MODE in the PC version, when the dev menu is enabled. I'm using Joy2Key with my USB Saturn pad, and I bound backspace to the R button, same as I do on emulators. It's wonderful to be able to skip over all the results screens and cutscenes on my two-dozenth time through the game. Thank you!

#9891 User is offline Felik 

Posted Yesterday, 12:29 AM

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Now if only 2xsai or a similar filter was an option. 2xsai became my defacto filter when playing classic games over the years.

#9892 User is offline tokumaru 

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View PostFelik, on Yesterday, 12:29 AM, said:

Now if only 2xsai or a similar filter was an option. 2xsai became my defacto filter when playing classic games over the years.

I personally despise these upscaling filters, they completely botch the picture trying to come up with detail that isn't there, while ruining details that are already there, such as gradients, dithering and other types of patterns.

My favorite filter is true NTSC emulation, that encodes and decodes the picture using accurate formulas (as opposed to the generic blurring some emulators call TV simulation), so the color blending and all other artifacts look the same as they would on an actual console connected to a CRT TV through composite. This normally results in a richer image than the pixel-perfect version, with more color and more texture.

As far as I can tell, Mania's CRT filter doesn't do anything to simulate an analog NTSC signal, but it's still quite nice because it tries to mimic the physical characteristics of a CRT screen, and the result is pretty cool. It adds a little texture and flare to the picture.

I'm not opposed to the addition of new filters though, since they're all optional, but I don't see the team wasting any time on that kind of thing at this point. Maybe extra filters can be added through modding?

#9893 User is online HedgeHayes 

Posted Yesterday, 11:37 AM

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View PostEffexor, on 19 September 2017 - 08:28 PM, said:

So is there a way to hit phase 2 of the Titanic Monarch 1 boss as Knuckles if it decides to move the elevator up that I'm not seeing, or are you at the mercy of RNG before it decides to move the elevator down? It's probably the one design decision I'm not thrilled at all with as far as the bosses go. That and Oil Ocean 1's blind spike ceiling.

Either they have a really bad RNG for that boss, or there's some invisible influence from player's actions, because it was going up almost all the time when I played, and I started to believe it was because I kept jumping all the time to try land some hits as quick as possible to end that boring fight.

#9894 User is offline JoePro 

Posted Yesterday, 08:10 PM

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View Posttokumaru, on Yesterday, 08:37 AM, said:

View PostFelik, on Yesterday, 12:29 AM, said:

Now if only 2xsai or a similar filter was an option. 2xsai became my defacto filter when playing classic games over the years.

I personally despise these upscaling filters, they completely botch the picture trying to come up with detail that isn't there, while ruining details that are already there, such as gradients, dithering and other types of patterns.

My favorite filter is true NTSC emulation, that encodes and decodes the picture using accurate formulas (as opposed to the generic blurring some emulators call TV simulation), so the color blending and all other artifacts look the same as they would on an actual console connected to a CRT TV through composite. This normally results in a richer image than the pixel-perfect version, with more color and more texture.

As far as I can tell, Mania's CRT filter doesn't do anything to simulate an analog NTSC signal, but it's still quite nice because it tries to mimic the physical characteristics of a CRT screen, and the result is pretty cool. It adds a little texture and flare to the picture.

I'm not opposed to the addition of new filters though, since they're all optional, but I don't see the team wasting any time on that kind of thing at this point. Maybe extra filters can be added through modding?


I personally never understood why you would ever want to use a filter. The emulator filters seem to just either blur the image or make it look like vaseline was smeared over the screen, while every CRT filter I've looked at never truly captures the feeling on playing on an old TV or PVM.

Now playing with sharp pixels upscaled without any sort of blurriness, now that's where it's at!

#9895 User is offline ICEknight 

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View PostJoePro, on Yesterday, 08:10 PM, said:

I personally never understood why you would ever want to use a filter. The emulator filters seem to just either blur the image or make it look like vaseline was smeared over the screen, while every CRT filter I've looked at never truly captures the feeling on playing on an old TV or PVM.

Now playing with sharp pixels upscaled without any sort of blurriness, now that's where it's at!
CRT filters make the games closer to what they used to look like until flat screens arrived, sharp pixels look like old emulators.

That's why.

#9896 User is offline LordOfSquad 

Posted Yesterday, 08:50 PM

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CRT filters look damn near close to the genuine article on 4K displays, they're pretty nice. Now if only more could be done about input lag...

#9897 User is offline Frostav 

Posted Yesterday, 10:37 PM

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While speedrunning CPZ2 in Time Attack mode I encountered another testament to how finely crafted this game's level design is.

You know how the second green gel pool you encounter sends you flying into a ramp that funnels you into the first of the dna-helix things? If you hold left as soon as you bounce off the pool, you'll always land directly in the helix thing and save time. That CANNOT be unintentional.

#9898 User is offline RikohZX 

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Bloody hell, I got Sonic Mania on Steam a week ago but for some reason my save keeps getting reset back to fresh. The file in my userdata clearly isn't what it's basing itself off of, and it does it independently of mods I've installed. Lose all my Blue Spheres progress too, and I don't have Steam Cloud turned on.

#9899 User is offline .Luke 

Posted Today, 02:25 AM

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I think Sonic Mania on Steam is using Steam Cloud with no option to turn it off, or some other service to sync saves. It always syncs after I quit the game, and my saves stay consistent between my desktop and laptop. Pretty convenient, but it's neither obvious or has a handy off switch. Some answers here would be nice.

So, if I had to guess, it's save syncing snafus. Games on Steam have issues with cloud syncing sometimes.

View PostLordOfSquad, on Yesterday, 08:50 PM, said:

CRT filters look damn near close to the genuine article on 4K displays, they're pretty nice. Now if only more could be done about input lag...


Seconding this, I was legitimately amazed by the CRT filter. It doesn't look like a cheap nostalgia filter at all and might be convincing enough on a real TV. As much as I prefer clean pixel art, with nothing in the way, I might turn it on here and there.
This post has been edited by .Luke: Today, 02:25 AM

#9900 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted Today, 07:33 AM

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It really made a difference even on my parents' terrible plasma TV, once I found the correct resolution for it.

I'm just kinda missing the NTSC color blending effect. Would have been nice to have as a curiosity, maybe accessible through the debug menu if SEGA didn't want it as an official option because it "looked bad" to them.
This post has been edited by ICEknight: Today, 07:34 AM

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