Although these side-discussions have produced some interesting and useful posts, only a handful of people have addressed the point that Stealth made in his original post:
Stealth, on Nov 20 2008, 09:18 PM, said:
Take these, and rank them in order of most important, to least important. Be very specific about why, and before posting, read any other posts that have already been made for better perspective. If you're unsure, wait for more posts to come in and read all arguments to better determine your own position
- Faithfulness in technical design - The game has to be reproduceable on the Genesis. The graphics must conform to the 4bpp 64-color palette nature of the Genesis VDP. Graphical tricks must be limited to that which could be performed on the Genesis with some skill. On-screen objects must not excede the Genesis sprite limit, and objects and gimmicks may only appear to be complex in such a way that they can still be produced within the original game without noticeable slowdown. It will take thought and work, but good things can happen
- Faithfulness in spirit - The game must play exactly like a Genesis Sonic game, but must conform to limitations only of the target platform, not necessarily the Genesis. Suitable art, "story", and gameplay mechanics must be created based on progression or the original series
- Something new - Any significant deviation from any of the original concept for the sake of "improvement". Any idea that you think may be "pushing it" in terms of following the same basic formula probably is. Radical changes aren't really necessary to make a good game, but there may be merit in well-thought ideas. This heading should also include the prospect of using any post-S3K concepts, since the project is seemingly already based largely on the original Genesis series
- Accessibility - Unfortunately, there are many different platforms that not everyone has access to, and some of them are ridiculously variant within their own category (PC..). It's not any one person's fault, or the project's fault, so it shouldn't necessarily "suffer" in some way for that fact, but at this point, it's not impossible to take measures to maximize the number of end-users. Weigh the pros and cons of determination of platform based on accessibility concerns
- Development time - What will get this project completed faster? Determine how to manage contributors and development platform such that they will have an easier time developming quality material more quickly. That doesn't necessarily mean "what's easy for absolutely everyone to do", because there are people that have little-to-no trouble with "more complicated" tasks, who could be beneficial to the quality of the project. When determining how best to manage this aspect, consider the other factors, and search for available, skilled people
Based on the listed items and the posts in this topic, I'd say that the following order is what I'd strive for:
1.) Faithfulness in Spirit
2.) Something New
3.) Development Time
5.) Faithfulness in Technical Design
And here's a bit of the why:
The Faithfulness in Spirit seems blindingly obvious as a first choice to me; above all else we want the end product to feel
like a Sonic game, don't we?
The Something New bit I had not considered very much before reading this topic, but the posts by Jayextee and STHX got me thinking and I agree with them wholeheartedly.
Limiting ourselves to the mindset of WWSD (What Would Sega Do?) will only hamper creativity and hurt us in the end.
Development Time is a tough one to place; a part of me is saying "oh boy this is exciting let's get this awesome game done so we can all play and enjoy it!" but at the same time I know that rushing does not produce quality work. In any case, we really need to get someone on the issue of determining how to manage contributors; as-is it comes off as a giant clusterfuck. If we can get someone to step in and organize things we will be able to get more quality work finished faster.
Accessibility is another tough one to place; I was under the impression that this was to be a (Windows) PC game with ports to other OSes likely following. This is an issue that has not been discussed very much, however, and I really feel like my assessment is more of an assumption than anything based on solid decisions. We really need to discuss this one amongst ourselves and decide what to do here, but not before we tackle the things I've previously listed.
Faithfulness in Technical Design is rather low on my list for the same reason that the Something New bit is high: If we are not developing for the Genesis, why make the game with its limits in mind? Don't get me wrong here; I'm not suggesting we create something on the level of F.E.A.R. or Crysis, either. We should be shooting for something along the middle; a game that will run on the majority of users' PCs.
...although that is again going with the assumption that this project is to be PC-based.
And we move on to the next part of Stealth's original post:
Stealth, on Nov 20 2008, 09:18 PM, said:
As of this posting, E02 was chosen as the target platform, but that may or may not change based on the discussion of the above aspects. Given your stand, rank these options in order of most preferred, to least, and explain:
- Genesis - This is the system for which the series this project is based on was developed. Development for this platform won't directly influence the style of this project to follow the originals more closely, but it could be a great way to pay homage. The limitations likely will prevent the style from appearing too "grandiose", and will help keep developers from getting TOO terribly carried away with gimmicks. One of the things that progressed throughout the series' development was Sonic Team's attempt to push the hardware limits, and without limits, anything particularly fancy may lose some of it's substance. There are, however, few people that can really do good work with this platform, but there might be others who are willing to learn. This platform is also "portable" in that it's emulated on many different systems
- E02 - E02, in combination with "Mettrix Engine", is capable of creating any Sonic game that could be developed on the Genesis, but also has additional features, such as a larger, 8bpp (as opposed to Genesis' 4bpp) color palette. It's structure and it's nature as a PC program also allow for more complicated gimmicks, enemies, obstacles, etc. It's script system will take some reading to understand, but whether it's any "simpler" for anyone than another language is entirely dependant on that person. It's not without it's own limits, though, which is basically anything that is NOT listed in the current documentation. The documentation IS incomplete, but all unlisted enhancements to the current release are made relatively obvious by playing the current demo and reading the current scripts. As stated above, E02 and "Mettrix Engine" are two separate items that work together. E02 is developed for general-purpose and not anything too terribly specific, least of all this project. The current version and any future versions are available for use, but I will not make any special modifications for the sole benefit of a single project. I don't accept feature requests, and I don't discuss release timetables. Any mention of such generally only makes me angry - that's just how it works. Also, E02 is only available natively for PC (Windows DirectX 7 and DOS). I do not have the equipment to create "ports" for any other system, and I am not willing to have them done for me. If the group finds it important enough to fund my acquisition of such equipment, SOME systems may be viable, however, I would find myself under obligation ONLY to ATTEMPT any such port, in my own (reasonable) timetable, and would NOT find myself obligated to change my policies on feature requests, timetables, or source codes. Choices of target platform are subject to limitations of running such a complicated system
- Custom engine - This is the possibility of finding anyone willing to create a new engine from the ground up, custom-tailored specifically for this project, and, presumeably, completely portable. The person is not inherently under any obligation to open sourcecode to peer review and alteration, but taking that subject into account is a possibility
- Other - There may be other options. Suggest and discuss
I don't mean this as ANY sort of insult to E02 as from what I've seen at SAGE it looks like it is a very nice tool for creating games, but I'd really like to get a Custom Engine if at all possible.
The advantages of using an engine tailor-made for this project are that we could easily request features within reasonable limits [If we changed our mind hundreds of times over things then any sane programmer would up and quit] and it could possibly be completely portable.
The disadvantage is that nobody has stepped forward to create an engine for us, and rightfully so! Creating a game engine from scratch isn't exactly something that your average person does in their spare time! It takes lots of planning, time, and energy.
After all, look at how long it took the Sonic 2 HD project to find a programmer!
E02 of course would be my second choice; it doesn't have the advantages of creating our own engine from scratch, but it does have the advantage of being available to us right now.
An aspect of this that I haven't seen covered is that we would still need our own scripting team to actually create the game itself, but this should in theory be much less work than creating an entire engine from scratch; I only briefly played around with E02 at SAGE, and even then all I did was read up on as many of the files as made sense to me at the time.
Genesis would be my last choice; I see no benefits to this option other than previous Sonic games being on it, and even that one is questionable as a benefit.
Indeed, while the community does have some information on programming for the Genesis' processors, there is much more information available on programming in higher-level programming languages for PC.
What does everyone else think about these topics?
This post has been edited by SoNick: 01 December 2008 - 02:29 AM