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Will we ever get another good 3D entry?

#16 User is offline Laughingcow 

Posted 03 November 2018 - 06:19 AM

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View PostYeow, on 03 November 2018 - 04:14 AM, said:


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The problem with this fairly accurate depiction is that it is disingenuous in that it doesn't show these effects in a 3d space. Worse is that such things are possible in the adventure era games (I made note of this in Shadow the Hedgehog where I launched myself off slopes with the spindash just to see that I could) but due to the nature of being in a 3d space, don't have the utility they have in a 2d space i.e. as a way to direct the player vertically at a given angle. You'll find speed boosters placed at slopes simply for the reason that having to charge up a spindash before slope in many of the cases is cumbersome granted the later games took this to its logical extreme and suffer because of it. There are also the multiple characters who don't have the spindash but let us forget about them for a moment. Yes, launching off of slopes into space with the spindash is FUN. In a 2d space, this has minimal issues but in a 3d space you end up with a possibility of bypassing the entire level if this is unchecked. While not a perfect example, this happens in the boost games

There are less bullshitty examples in Unleashed but this is what happens in a 3d space. To counter this effect, Sonic Adventure has a built in deceleration effect when in the air but it feels incredibly unnatural as a result. You could argue that the games aren't built around that but that would mean the levels would be designed either as A) Interior areas with roofs to stop this or B) Open island areas with deathpits in all the "off-path" areas. It is this exact design philosophy which makes Cloudbuilt work so well without having the player break the level design.

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The highlight of the core gameplay of the Genesis games has been about the focus of building, maintaining, and essentially playing around with momentum; and this is very important to note because this style of design was what set the series apart from many other platforming games back then and even today. The ability to toy with momentum is reflected in Sonic's base controls, his mechanics, and the level design; and the underlying physics engines allows these elements to work in tandem with each other. Rolling's the main star that showcases this best (and not without good reason--in the original games, rolling is the only way to hit maximum speed in the classics, this is most visible with the running speed caps in Sonic 1 and CD have; but it's true for all of the original games), but this extends to Sonic's basic movement (walking, running, rolling while jumping*, jumping, and bouncing) as well as secondary mechanics (the insta-shield, the drop dash, Tails' flying, Knuckles' gliding, Mighty's ground pound, Ray's flight). They allow Sonic to interact with the general environment in a wide array of options.

Correct, it is what I deem the "Roller Coaster effect" on which Sonic slows down when going uphill and speeds up when going downhill (Mario has this in Odyssey). This is how Sonic reacts in the games of the Adventure era (granted far more poorly in Heroes and Shadow) but we come to the same problem as before: Working in a 3d space. Sonic bouncing up and down and all around in a 2d space doesn't:

1) Cause the players' controls to shift as a result there only being "Left" and "Right"
2) Mess with the player's perception i.e. the camera

This was a problem going as far back as Sonic R where Resort Island has a loop which you can see first hand what happens when you go through a loop in 3d. Hell, they put a speed booster before hand because they understood this problem. There is also the camera which is a presentation issue i.e. what is the point of a spectacle piece if the player cannot see it? The solution to this was automation which brought about a different problem yes, but I've yet to see anyone give a viable solution to this. Going through a loop in say Sonic Utopia feels like busy work because the camera just stays behind me. It seems to be an argument of either keeping control or keeping the spectacle sight where the only possible solution is to have a "Run" button like a racing game.

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Where the post-Adventure games differ from the Genesis games is that there is not only hardly any interest in momentum-based play like the original titles did; the gameplay is highly static and and heavily directed by the designers. Genesis-era mechanics like rolling, the spindash, etc. have been gradually dumbed down and/or stripped out entirely. Level objects that offered some sort of dynamic activity have been changed so interactions are entirely scripted (i.e. springs that players needed to jump on >>> springs the players just need to run into). The various new mechanics that have been introduced do not provide any meaningful momentum play in their design whatsoever (homing attack, light dash, grinding rails* boost, slide, etc). The structure of the level design has zero say on how Sonic reacts; they are also at parts even scripted--ramps that the player could freely move off of in any way they pleased, are now programmed to have the player move in a pre-defined arc.


You argue about dumbing down but you don't take into account the consequence of having an additional "Z-axis" i.e. why you can hit a spring from any angle and still bounce. The momentum in a 2d Sonic game exists on a practical level as a way for Sonic to be launched in the air via spindash or booster in order to get to a higher path. In a 3d space, this itself is depreciated in that you have an additional Z-axis to place routes along with the Y-axis. This is most visible in Sonic Adventure 2's version of Green Hill Zone which adapts the level to this new found freedom in design.

You argue for the need for momentum but don't understand what this means in a 3d space. A perfect example is the morphball sections in Metroid Prime which use a static camera in such areas in that "building momentum" involves going from one direction then another repeated in sequence. Sonic's spindash cheats this a bit and using a slope to build speed is present in the Adventure era games but are inherently less useful without vertical paths in the level design which is why the player would want to launch themselves in the first place. In the end, level gimmicks which build momentum would be relegated to a static camera in a 3d space as this is the only way they could work.

#17 User is offline Yeow 

Posted 03 November 2018 - 12:46 PM

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View PostLaughingcow, on 03 November 2018 - 06:19 AM, said:

The problem with this fairly accurate depiction is that it is disingenuous in that it doesn't show these effects in a 3d space. [...]

You argue about dumbing down but you don't take into account the consequence of having an additional "Z-axis" i.e. why you can hit a spring from any angle and still bounce. [...]

You argue for the need for momentum but don't understand what this means in a 3d space. [...]


You're right in that my post doesn't address those factors, but that wasn't the point of my first reply. You asked for what the differences that defined the Genesis gameplay and post-Adventure gameplay are, and that is what my reply was focused on. Whether Genesis gameplay can be properly adapted into a 3D space is a valid discussion, but that's more of a different topic from the current thread (and also different from the current tangent we are now).

With that said, however, I will push this quick rebuttal that my comparison of the pre-Adventure and post-Adventure gameplay does not apply exclusively towards the 3D games. These design elements are also present in the 2D games that have followed--even though the Genesis games survived just fine without them (and as of Mania, still hold up), they gradually overwrote 2D Sonic gameplay to support these changes, all the way up to where we are now with the sidescrolling gameplay as designated by Rush/Unleashed. To the point that the designers/studio heads thought they could get away with marketing a random Sonic game with this gameplay as a long-awaited direct sequel to the Genesis games that promised an "unrivaled classic Sonic feel". That to me reads as the managers in charge of Sonic gameplay making the changes they did on both sides of the aisle (2D and 3D) not because they are actively trying and failing to make the ideal changes for them in a new environment; but because they simply aren't trying at all and they just don't give a damn. I am emphasizing this particular point because the design changes I've pointed out are usually justified as necessary for a 3D environment. Why they also exist in a 2D environment, however, seems to be a total mystery.

Moreover, I also note that both contemporary and former major (pseudo-)platforming series, 2D and 3D, don't rely on this type of heavily automated gameplay the post-Adventure Sonic titles have either, which makes the post-Genesis Sonic titles a true auteur in that sense (rather than merely contrasting with the classics). Mario, Crash, Spyro, Donkey Kong, Banjo, Rayman, Jak & Daxter (namely referring to first game, IDK about the sequels), Knack, Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper; none of those series bank on heavily automated gameplay in their design in the same way post-Adventure Sonic does. And considering the historical reception of the 3D Sonic games and that I hardly if ever see Sonic games praised for their automation, I'm also going to reply no to the usual response that because Sonic is a special exemption on this subject, solely on the basis of being a fast character with fast gameplay.

On a final note, I will also add that when I talk about bringing Genesis gameplay into 3D, I'm not talking about wanting a pixel-perfect conversion of physics and controls, desiring something like Marble Madness as a Sonic game. I'm talking more about wanting a 3D game that is correct in the core components that the original titles are built upon. I've already described as Adventure 1 in this and past threads as an example that gets some of the basic ideas right, while also being interested in doing other things.
This post has been edited by Yeow: 03 November 2018 - 12:52 PM

#18 User is offline Dr. Mecha 

Posted 03 November 2018 - 06:05 PM

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I think fangames, such as Sonic Utopia or Sonic World, have a better shot at this than whatever SEGA ever produce.

#19 User is offline SuperSnoopy 

Posted 04 November 2018 - 05:16 AM

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View PostDr. Mecha, on 03 November 2018 - 06:05 PM, said:

I think fangames, such as Sonic Utopia or Sonic World

Uh, about that...

But seriously, the only thing I want them to do in the future is ditch the boost formula. Unleashed is the only game that really benefited from it in my opinion. All the other boost games tried their damn best to make the boost as useless as they can (expect maybe Forces)
I also think it's time for a new team to take the torch. I know it's been said time and time again, but both Odyssey and BotW were made by newbies, and it showed. And it seems like Pokemon is going to follow the same path, with Junichi Masuda stepping down as a director from gen 8 onward. Meanwhile, Izuka has been here since 94, and while I don't have a hate boner against him unlike a lot of people online, I still think he should step back as a producer. He just don't get Sonic anymore.

#20 User is offline DigitalDuck 

Posted 04 November 2018 - 10:59 AM

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View PostSuperSnoopy, on 04 November 2018 - 05:16 AM, said:

But seriously, the only thing I want them to do in the future is ditch the boost formula. Unleashed is the only game that really benefited from it in my opinion. All the other boost games tried their damn best to make the boost as useless as they can (expect maybe Forces)


I half-agree, but I love the boost games and want them to keep going; as I said, the problem with Colours and Generations is that they tried to force it to be a platformer with sections that just don't work with the boost gameplay.

If they stick with the boost, they need to let it loose and stop trying to make it superficially like a classic Sonic game. If they want something like a classic Sonic game, they need to ditch the boost.

They could pick one, or do each in two separate sub-series, but trying to do both in the same game is essentially saying ,"Hey, you know that game you want? Here's half of it mixed with another game!" (much like the Adventure series, Unleashed, and Generations did more directly with its characters)

#21 User is offline Dr. Mecha 

Posted 05 November 2018 - 10:35 AM

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View PostDigitalDuck, on 04 November 2018 - 10:59 AM, said:

View PostSuperSnoopy, on 04 November 2018 - 05:16 AM, said:

But seriously, the only thing I want them to do in the future is ditch the boost formula. Unleashed is the only game that really benefited from it in my opinion. All the other boost games tried their damn best to make the boost as useless as they can (expect maybe Forces)


I half-agree, but I love the boost games and want them to keep going; as I said, the problem with Colours and Generations is that they tried to force it to be a platformer with sections that just don't work with the boost gameplay.

If they stick with the boost, they need to let it loose and stop trying to make it superficially like a classic Sonic game. If they want something like a classic Sonic game, they need to ditch the boost.

They could pick one, or do each in two separate sub-series, but trying to do both in the same game is essentially saying ,"Hey, you know that game you want? Here's half of it mixed with another game!" (much like the Adventure series, Unleashed, and Generations did more directly with its characters)

I think that's where the wisps comes in, to differate Post-Modern from Classic.

Now that I think about it, it all boils down to how to improve the Post-Modern Sonic games as a whole, as it became apparent that SEGA has made both them and the classic separate entities. Thus, I don't think that they're going to ditch the boost formula, or the wisps.
This post has been edited by Dr. Mecha: 05 November 2018 - 10:36 AM

#22 User is offline Quarterman 

Posted 05 November 2018 - 02:25 PM

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I somewhat feel that Unleashed and Colors were the only good 3D entries. The Adventure series never struck me as the juggernaut that some fans seem to think of it as.

Generations was also quite good, but that was mostly on the strength of the Classic Sonic stages.

#23 User is offline Modern 

Posted 05 November 2018 - 02:35 PM

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View PostQuarterman, on 05 November 2018 - 02:25 PM, said:

I somewhat feel that Unleashed and Colors were the only good 3D entries. The Adventure series never struck me as the juggernaut that some fans seem to think of it as.

Generations was also quite good, but that was mostly on the strength of the Classic Sonic stages.


While I agree that in terms of modern gameplay Unleashed was superior to Generations, the latter was overall a more enjoyable experience from from beginning to end. I still had fun playing through Classic Sonic's stages after each Modern level, whereas in Unleashed I would groan every time I finished a daytime stage because it signaled the arrival of another slow, boring nighttime stage to trudge through.
This post has been edited by Modern: 05 November 2018 - 02:36 PM

#24 User is offline Quarterman 

Posted 05 November 2018 - 02:47 PM

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View PostModern, on 05 November 2018 - 02:35 PM, said:

While I agree that in terms of modern gameplay Unleashed was superior to Generations, the latter was overall a more enjoyable experience from from beginning to end. I still had fun playing through Classic Sonic's stages after each Modern level, whereas in Unleashed I would groan every time I finished a daytime stage because it signaled the arrival of another slow, boring nighttime stage to trudge through.

While I understand your point of view, the modern stages in that game didn't do much for me, save a few. Chemical Plant Zone and Sky Sanctuary Zone do come in mind as enjoyable stages, however.

#25 User is offline Laughingcow 

Posted 06 November 2018 - 11:35 AM

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View PostYeow, on 03 November 2018 - 12:46 PM, said:

View PostLaughingcow, on 03 November 2018 - 06:19 AM, said:

The problem with this fairly accurate depiction is that it is disingenuous in that it doesn't show these effects in a 3d space. [...]

You argue about dumbing down but you don't take into account the consequence of having an additional "Z-axis" i.e. why you can hit a spring from any angle and still bounce. [...]

You argue for the need for momentum but don't understand what this means in a 3d space. [...]


You're right in that my post doesn't address those factors, but that wasn't the point of my first reply. You asked for what the differences that defined the Genesis gameplay and post-Adventure gameplay are, and that is what my reply was focused on. Whether Genesis gameplay can be properly adapted into a 3D space is a valid discussion, but that's more of a different topic from the current thread (and also different from the current tangent we are now).

With that said, however, I will push this quick rebuttal that my comparison of the pre-Adventure and post-Adventure gameplay does not apply exclusively towards the 3D games. These design elements are also present in the 2D games that have followed--even though the Genesis games survived just fine without them (and as of Mania, still hold up), they gradually overwrote 2D Sonic gameplay to support these changes, all the way up to where we are now with the sidescrolling gameplay as designated by Rush/Unleashed. To the point that the designers/studio heads thought they could get away with marketing a random Sonic game with this gameplay as a long-awaited direct sequel to the Genesis games that promised an "unrivaled classic Sonic feel". That to me reads as the managers in charge of Sonic gameplay making the changes they did on both sides of the aisle (2D and 3D) not because they are actively trying and failing to make the ideal changes for them in a new environment; but because they simply aren't trying at all and they just don't give a damn. I am emphasizing this particular point because the design changes I've pointed out are usually justified as necessary for a 3D environment. Why they also exist in a 2D environment, however, seems to be a total mystery.

Moreover, I also note that both contemporary and former major (pseudo-)platforming series, 2D and 3D, don't rely on this type of heavily automated gameplay the post-Adventure Sonic titles have either, which makes the post-Genesis Sonic titles a true auteur in that sense (rather than merely contrasting with the classics). Mario, Crash, Spyro, Donkey Kong, Banjo, Rayman, Jak & Daxter (namely referring to first game, IDK about the sequels), Knack, Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper; none of those series bank on heavily automated gameplay in their design in the same way post-Adventure Sonic does. And considering the historical reception of the 3D Sonic games and that I hardly if ever see Sonic games praised for their automation, I'm also going to reply no to the usual response that because Sonic is a special exemption on this subject, solely on the basis of being a fast character with fast gameplay.

On a final note, I will also add that when I talk about bringing Genesis gameplay into 3D, I'm not talking about wanting a pixel-perfect conversion of physics and controls, desiring something like Marble Madness as a Sonic game. I'm talking more about wanting a 3D game that is correct in the core components that the original titles are built upon. I've already described as Adventure 1 in this and past threads as an example that gets some of the basic ideas right, while also being interested in doing other things.

I agree with this on several levels. However, if I were to play the devil's advocate, is it possible that the Genesis gameplay translated into 3d (by whatever metric you choose) would simply not be as fun as the 2d counterpart? While it's kind of a moot question in the grand scheme of Sonic Team and their attempts, I believe this is a possible scenario for the continued misfortune of 3d Sonic.....Yeah, it's a really fucked up situation when I think about it.

Automation seems like one of the easier things to fix in a Sonic game because the Classics already have the solution to that. Set pieces (tubes, loops, spirals, etc.) shouldn't take control away from the player for more than 1 second and should be followed by a platforming section. In the Adventure games (this doesn't apply to Unleashed and later) the running/spectacle sections were just being used in the same way long hallways were used in Unreal Engine 1 type games i.e. Anti-portal placement. I won't bore you with technical details but I will state that such things are no longer necessary (and haven't been for over a decade) with proper map optimization.


On the "pixel perfect" translation bit, that may work better than you realize (aside from the getting launched in the air bit). I've mentioned this before but 3d Mario games are running very much like their 2d counterparts. This works because his movements are locked in a 2d space i.e. he can only move in 8-directions instead of a full range of movements. This is most apparent in Mario Odyssey where switching to his flat pixel self feels no different than his 3d self. It makes Sonic look bad in that his "3d" sections are now just him running forward in hallways meaning there isn't any rational reason for him to NOT revert back to the genesis physics when a 2d section happens.

#26 User is offline UpCDownCLeftCRightC 

Posted 07 November 2018 - 03:48 PM

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How can anyone have any idea of what to expect from the franchise whatsoever at this point?

I'm not angry at them and wish them the best. However, as a consumer it doesnt seem like they have any particular plan for sonic at this time. It's been 20 years of full on 3D sonic and they have yet to produce a title that could be considered a resounding success. Theyve had small successes here and there but been stuck in the same position essentially this entire time, which is not knowing what to do with sonic gameplay in 3 dimensions. There was a mini streak between unleashed and generations that went fairly well, until of course they realized the limitations of that gameplay and abandoned it....only to bring it back again out of desperation! (Which somewhat unsurprisingly did worse than before)
Until they solidly figure out the 3D sonic gameplay problem, this question is fairly pointless.

#27 User is offline Glaber 

Posted 11 November 2018 - 09:15 AM

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well they could try going back to an Adventure like formula. It's working for SRB2, why can't it work for Sonic Team?

#28 User is offline Quarterman 

Posted 11 November 2018 - 03:01 PM

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View PostGlaber, on 11 November 2018 - 09:15 AM, said:

well they could try going back to an Adventure like formula. It's working for SRB2, why can't it work for Sonic Team?

I'm not quite certain that the Adventure formula has aged terribly well. Perhaps I am biased because I am not much of a fan of those entries, but I can't see it working now.

#29 User is offline Aerosol 

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View PostGlaber, on 11 November 2018 - 09:15 AM, said:

well they could try going back to an Adventure like formula. It's working for SRB2, why can't it work for Sonic Team?


Arguable. Are you sure you're not just forgiving it's shortcomings because of your familiarity with the source material?

#30 User is offline UpCDownCLeftCRightC 

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View PostGlaber, on 11 November 2018 - 09:15 AM, said:

well they could try going back to an Adventure like formula. It's working for SRB2, why can't it work for Sonic Team?

What do you mean it's working for SRB2? Is this some fully realized game concept I'm not aware of, or another fan community tech demo which doesnt do anything but show the physics engine?

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