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Important Project Structure Discussion

#31 User is offline Jordanime 

Posted 21 November 2008 - 03:53 PM

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Sounds like Jayextee would be a fantastic subject-matter expert, of course since I'm new here I can't form a valid opinion on the leadership abilities of anyone, and I certainly wouldn't nominate myself for a number of reasons, so whoever the majority thinks is best, I think would be the best option, this is a fan-project after all.

Quote

As a part of the series we need to design this as if it was a sort of breakoff game like Sonic CD or Chaotix.


So we'll end up with a sub-standard game? And isn't the classic argument there that Choatix is the end end product of what Sonic 4 was supposed to be?

I just don't understand the mentality. Sonic Adventure is almost a completely different game experience than the classic 2D Sonic game, and Sonic Advance lost the sort of divine spark.

#32 User is online STHX 

Posted 21 November 2008 - 06:05 PM

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View PostGameNerd Advance, on Nov 21 2008, 09:43 PM, said:

I think we need to break from the whole "If they actually released Sonic 4" ethos.

Sonic Adventure was the natural progression of the series. It continued the Angel Island saga, gave it a fitting finish, and continued with many themes of the series. To simply wedge a stand-alone game between S3K and SA and trying to pass it off as "natural" would be sheer ignorance.

As a part of the series we need to design this as if it was a sort of breakoff game like Sonic CD or Chaotix.

You know, I was one of the supporters of the name Sonic 4, but after the return to Sonic Retro and the name change I changed idea too.

I originally saw many good things on the name Sonic 4, but then I realized its limitations too. The whole thing of the "if SEGA" was cool but...

Hey, I have nothing against SEGA, they made a lot of good Sonic games, and this is the problem: they made some really good Sonic games on the Genesis, maybe too good. The problem is that some games like Sonic 3 & Knuckles really uses almost all of what the Genesis can offer (hell, they even divided it in 2 games!) and if we follow those limitations too we will end in something who will be like that game (or even something not good like that game at worst). You all know that the knowledge gathered in this forum can't be compared to the one of anyone else, and you know that here we have the best programmers, artist, level designers and composers of all the Sonic fans. I really believe that, if we all work together, we can truly make a game who can rival, if not surpass, S3K. But to do this we'll need to eliminate all the limitations of the true Sonic games. And unfortunately some of them are also the technical ones.

But that's not the only problem. Some of the concept posted here and in the old forum are really amazing, but ask yourselves: Do you truly believe SEGA would have used them? The answer is, unfortunately, no.
For example do you truly think SEGA would have added splith paths to a possible "Sonic 4"? But this is an awesome idea, which will allow the game to have a higher degree of replayability and will allow us to add more Zones. But even if you can see it as an evolution of the "two signposts" of Spring Yard Zone Act 2 it's still something far away from it.
Another example, the fake signpost mid-boss. When I was spriting it I said to myself: Whoa... its starting to look very cool, but there is no way SEGA would have putted it in an actual game. And this is true, because even this signpost is a full blast of "Nostalgia", there is absolutely no reason for why SEGA should have putted it in an hypotetical "Sonic 4", since if that game came out after S3K then it definetely didn't need any nostalgia at all.

Let's talk about the Zone number. Lately all of the 2D Sonic games SEGA is doing have almost always 7 Zones. You may also notice some similarities if you sum the number of actual levels (all Act and also the Special Stages) you may notice a recurring pattern. So it is very possible that a possible Sonic 4 would have had 7, or 8 Zones. Well, then how can you compare it to S3K who had 13 (12 if HP and SS are counted as one since they have only 1 Act) full Zones! No, this is not a minor detail, because all 13 Zones were freaking awesome and the number helped to make the game more enjoyable (I almost never play Sonic 3 and S&K alone because, among other things, they are too short). I think that this game should feature a lot of Zones, and that we should work together to make the unique, and you know this is possible. Yes, I know that even one more Zone means more work for everyone, but if in the end it can make the game better why should this be a problem?

Another spiny problem is the music. Well in this case, maybe I'm still on the side of the Genesis voices, but... Come on, even I, and I'm one of the bigger supporters of the old style sound, can't deny that if a music is good it doesn't matter if it has old-gen or next-gen sounds. And Tweaker spoke right when he said "Sonic CD is retro, so what's the problem of Sonic CD instruments?" thing. Still if this game was made on the Genesis alone there would have not been any chance of something different than the Genesis voices. And sincer we're here, I too think that "original music only" is a good idea, but what if one day someone makes an awesome remix of, let's say, Death Egg from S&K, a remix much more light paced and happy that it is so different from the original that it could play even in the Tropical Zone and it could still be fitting. Even if it would be the best music ever we will'exclude it because it is not fully original. Of course, again, SEGA would have used only original music only, but come on, I'm not saying to reuse the same tunes with 2 added notes, but if a music is good, even if based over another Sonic tune, why should we exclude it? The best for this game soundrack would be, in my opinion, to combine original tunes with hi-quality remixes of past Sonic music.


Man... I need to go to sleep. Even I am not sure of what the fuck I have written, but the main point should be "no more what if Sega made it" because if we all work together we can, and probably will, surpass Sega's Sonic masterpiece.

Now to sleep.
<.> zzzzz

#33 User is offline Jayextee 

Posted 23 November 2008 - 10:00 AM

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View PostSTHX, on Nov 21 2008, 11:05 PM, said:

the main point should be "no more what if Sega made it" because if we all work together we can, and probably will, surpass Sega's Sonic masterpiece.


I've basically said this, and I think it should be the project's mission statement. There is a fuckton of talent on this forum, and trying to set our standards as low as mere replication or homage would be a criminal waste of them -- and with careful planning and research, the entire thing can be as Sonic-esque as is human possible without merely aping that which has been done.

There is also the problem that for many of us (Myself included), there hasn't been a groundbreaking Sonic game since the Megadrive, and setting our sights on an already-dated target is pretty ridiculous. Sega moved with the times to an extent, but butchered the franchise (Again, completely subjective, but the commonly-held opinion around these parts) in doing so. Not ruining the series does not mean the inverse, and not moving with the times; an attitude the "What if SEGA..." rhetoric actually promotes, I feel.

Might I also add, that STHX's post here was amazing. The more people were to articulate their thoughts in such a manner, the better in my opinion.

#34 User is offline DimensionWarped 

Posted 26 November 2008 - 03:29 PM

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If keeping up with the times is the issue, going back to the style of a 90s game with a 90s graphical style and everything else seems self-contradictory to me. Like I said before, the big thing I'm looking for here is something that has a similar type of change to Sonic 3 what Sonic 3 had to Sonic 2. Basically, what I'm saying is that what's being proposed here is a retro game, so it needs to be built from a certain mindset that is similar to the one that would have been used had they chosen to go this route instead of basically stashing the IP in cryo for 5 years.

Certainly, I agree that the technology of the Genesis is a pointless limiting factor to have. At the same time though, I'm not at all sure where you are going with this angle of breaking away from "What would they do". The big question I have is whats the alternative to that?

Really, what's the mindset now?

EDIT: One quick thing I'm going to add to this is that this project was started somewhat as a reaction to Mega Man 9. If this project is going away from that kind of angle, I just want to know what the new angle is.
This post has been edited by DimensionWarped: 26 November 2008 - 06:56 PM

#35 User is offline Phoenix 

Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:10 AM

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View PostJayextee, on Nov 21 2008, 06:55 AM, said:

I would go so far as to request an in-subforum rule: There is no such thing as tl;dr here.

Would it help to say that I don't know what tl;dr means at all? I guess from your explanation, I don't have to post it anyways.

#36 User is offline Malevolence 

Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:26 AM

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View PostPhoenix, on Nov 29 2008, 12:10 AM, said:

View PostJayextee, on Nov 21 2008, 06:55 AM, said:

I would go so far as to request an in-subforum rule: There is no such thing as tl;dr here.

Would it help to say that I don't know what tl;dr means at all? I guess from your explanation, I don't have to post it anyways.

Too long; didn't read

#37 User is offline Phoenix 

Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:37 AM

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View PostDimensionWarped, on Nov 26 2008, 02:29 PM, said:

If keeping up with the times is the issue, going back to the style of a 90s game with a 90s graphical style and everything else seems self-contradictory to me. Like I said before, the big thing I'm looking for here is something that has a similar type of change to Sonic 3 what Sonic 3 had to Sonic 2. Basically, what I'm saying is that what's being proposed here is a retro game, so it needs to be built from a certain mindset that is similar to the one that would have been used had they chosen to go this route instead of basically stashing the IP in cryo for 5 years.

Certainly, I agree that the technology of the Genesis is a pointless limiting factor to have. At the same time though, I'm not at all sure where you are going with this angle of breaking away from "What would they do". The big question I have is whats the alternative to that?

Really, what's the mindset now?

EDIT: One quick thing I'm going to add to this is that this project was started somewhat as a reaction to Mega Man 9. If this project is going away from that kind of angle, I just want to know what the new angle is.

If you think about it, this new direction is that of Mega Man 9 in a way. We have a new game with a new engine and a different platform that will, hopefully, have the feel of and be as good as, if not better than, any of the previous games in that series with that style. There's a new dev team, and we're trying to stay in the tradition of the past games, while the game will have new, innovative ideas that are probably things that the original developers would have never done, like Splash Woman, a female character that would have never been in an original Mega Man game. Like Jayextee said, new ideas should absolutely not be shot down just because they're strange and different. An attitude like that is the kind that prevents innovations from being made. If everyone was just normal, what would be accomplished in the world?

View PostMalevolence, on Nov 28 2008, 11:26 PM, said:

Too long; didn't read

Thanks! I hate it when I'm new on a forum and don't know what the heck some of the people are talking about.
This post has been edited by Phoenix: 29 November 2008 - 06:30 PM

#38 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 29 November 2008 - 06:27 PM

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Wait a second, what's all this "Sonic Crackers was going to be Sonic 4"? What did I miss?

#39 User is offline Phoenix 

Posted 29 November 2008 - 06:30 PM

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I guess since it was made by the original developers and it had Sonic and Tails in it, it was supposedly going to be the fourth, or something. I don't know what the whole ring-connection thing was going to be, though.

#40 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 29 November 2008 - 06:33 PM

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View PostPhoenix, on Nov 29 2008, 06:30 PM, said:

I guess since it was made by the original developers
It was? Since when?

#41 User is offline Overlord 

Posted 30 November 2008 - 02:07 PM

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View PostICEknight, on Nov 29 2008, 11:33 PM, said:

View PostPhoenix, on Nov 29 2008, 06:30 PM, said:

I guess since it was made by the original developers
It was? Since when?

A couple of retro gaming books, falsely or otherwise, list Crackers as "Sonic 4", so that might be the source.

#42 User is offline SoNick 

Posted 01 December 2008 - 02:28 AM

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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:

View PostStealth, 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
4.) Accessibility
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:

View PostStealth, 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

#43 User is offline Rokkan 

Posted 01 December 2008 - 09:54 AM

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I don't think we should limit graphics, programming and sound limitation to Genesis's capabilities. C'mon, we're doing a game for the PC, limitations will only cause more trouble among the development. However, about graphics, they don't need to follow a color or a pallette limitation, all that the pixel-artists need to have in mind is good sense. A sprite of a pallette of 40 different colors? Hell no.
Also, yeah, we should try making improvements and new stuff to this game. Not wanting to have the "What Would SEGA Do" thought but, they always innovate in new games of the hedgehog, even spinoffs like Knuckles' Chaotix had major improvements based on its predecessors.

#44 User is offline Mobiethian 

Posted 17 January 2009 - 08:55 PM

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Fellow members and contributors: At this time, I will be stepping down from my position as Project Leader. A new opportunity became available to me and I can't turn it down for it is something that I wanted for a long time. I will still offer my services as a contributor here. This means my leadership position is up for grabs. Anyone interested? Chimpo?.. Rave?... Stealth?

#45 User is offline Rokkan 

Posted 17 January 2009 - 11:33 PM

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I feel flattered that I was actually mentioned, and I feel like I've got the retroness feel, but after the whole shit that happened in the Sprites (whoops, Concept/Ideas rite?) topic I don't think that people would actually like me as a leader.

EDIT: OK, I was mentioned again by thefifthelephant fucking put me in
This post has been edited by Rave: 17 January 2009 - 11:38 PM

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