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Sonic Winter Adventures

#1 User is offline vladikcomper 

Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:09 PM

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Posted Image
THE FIRST PUBLIC RELEASE

The day has finally come: the day I am finally releasing a full-fledged, full on hack that I have been working on for quite a long time. I can't believe it's finally happening! What an exciting moment for myself!

I must say, a lot, and I mean a lot of work is still needed until I feel this hack is complete. To my regret, SWA still doesn't boast a wide variety of levels, so don't expect too much from the hack. In any case, I was able to make this release as a playable and enjoyable as possible, so I'm extremely happy about this release.

So, proceed!






The release trailer. Totally necessary to watch. I can't describe how thankful am I to mr. MB for creating this amazing sight!




So, what's new about this hack?

  • Blast Processing. Who says Sega can't do what Super Nintendo does?
  • Russian and English languages. Sonic Winter Adventures also has two language settings, English and Russian. The two languages ​​are represented in one menu. You can change the language in the Options menu.
  • High-speed gameplay! Like the best features of its predecessor, Sonic Quick Winter Adventures, SWA brings new tricks to the table that add even more speed and drive to the game play. Some of the moves include the Homing Attack, Jump Dash, Super Peel Out, and of course, the good old Spin Dash.
  • New bosses. Making bosses is usually a very complex process that requires a lot of effort. Not to mention, it can be difficult sometimes to come up with the idea of a good boss, but as you can see from my past projects, I have a special fondness for bosses! Therefore, one of the key elements of Sonic Winter Adventures is the bosses. In this hack, I paid particular attention to the development of bosses, which means lots of time and effort had been poured in.
  • Unlockables. Even after you finished all the levels, the game is far from over! As you go, you will open some previously hidden features and modes, so be on the lookout.




Of course, Sonic Winter Adventures would not be possible without the help and support of many wonderful people!

  • Jet - a great musician and a good friend. He has made many invaluable contributions to the project. He not only created the music for the hack in zingy quality, made ​​technically sophisticated ports, but also gave valuable tips and expressed interesting ideas. Not to mention the fact that he strongly encouraged me to develop. It is unlikely that this project would have been further developed without his support.
  • S_T_D - another first-class musician who has recently expressed a desire to make some music ports for hacking. The quality of his work took my fancy, I took his songs, no questions asked.
  • Deoxys Kyogre - offered some amazing ideas for the act of the first zone, which gave me a second wind in the improvement of the levels. He created a few chunks, but they later helped me realize a lot of interesting solutions and new ways in the first zone.
  • PsychoRFG - has an incredible ability to push every button combination that will cause the game to behave in unexpected ways. Also has X-ray vision and can see the bug, even if it occurs in one case in a million.
  • SonicVaan - another beta tester, who, like PsychoRFG, revealed a lot of bugs and flaws. Thanks to him the game was fixed many small and medium-sized bugs and flaws in the placement of objects in the levels.
  • MarkeyJester - special thanks for the testing of some components of the hack on real hardware.
  • MainMemory - advised me on the English localization.
  • Sienduk - tested one of the pre-final prototypes the on March 30th on real hardware. Watching his passing has helped me to bring out the many weaknesses in the structure of the levels and some shortcomings.
  • mr. MB - provided the flash cartridge, making and testing took place Sonic Winter Adventures in Tula on March 30 ;) He also created a stunning Launch Trailer for the hack, for which I am eternally grateful to him.

Also express my gratitude to the Sonic Retro Tech Members and Sonic SCANF!




DOWNLOAD

#2 User is offline TimmiT 

Posted 28 April 2013 - 02:34 PM

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Looks good, will try it later. One thing about the video editing in the trailer though: for the love of god don't tilt the video around. It doesn't make the game look better, it only makes it harder to see what it's like.
This post has been edited by TimmiT: 28 April 2013 - 02:34 PM

#3 User is offline Selbi 

Posted 28 April 2013 - 03:47 PM

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Wow, what can I say? That was quite a run, but damn was it great! It's been a while since we've seen such a polished and unique Sonic hack (Seriously, when was the last time you've seen a hack that had a modified title screen?).

Time for a big review:

Concept, Setting, and Story:
The concept was already given with SQWA, so that was nothing new. Plus, 'ice' in general isn't anything new either and at most you could understand it as "What if Ice Cap Zone was in Sonic 1?". My biggest concern, however, is the choice of setting. Like, why is this hack all icy? What's the meaning? Sure, it's mostly for the aesthetic purpose, but some sort of background explanation would be nice.

In fact, some sort of story in general would be nice. I know that is an unimportant factor in a Sonic hack, but the more you drive away from the original game, the more it screams for explanation as to why you did this and that, or what the point of this and that is. I mean, I only created a story for parody purposes, not because it was actually necessary, but I wanted to fill that hole. Seeing how this hack is more serious with itself, it should also deserve more story.

Art:
But I don't want to hack around on minor stuff, because even though I don't understand everything: MY GOD THIS HACK IS A SIGHT! The amazing work of detail and the scattered art details everywhere are just totally mind blowing.

Let's start from the very beginning: You are greeted by a spinning Sega logo. Then you see the SWA logo in a pseudo-3D setting bouncing away and towards you. Cool stuff and all, but what really captivated me was the "PRESS START" logo. Like, holy fucking Jesus: IT HAD ACTUAL TRANSPARENCY! Not just some pseudo checkerboard fade transition bullshit, it actually blended in with the background. It actually took a while for me to realize how awesome that is, because you don't see that very often on the Mega Drive.

Either way, after that amazing eye-fest, you're granted by a nice menu and go towards the game. This is where it really begins to crush me, since I don't even know what I'm supposed to comment on, without writing an essay! To make it quick, the snow is absolutely amazing; so much in fact, that I sometimes just stood there in a safe spot to look at it fall from one edge of the screen to the opposite one. Then we have the lovely recreation of the background. But the best part is the lava in the second zone. Really, despite it being pretty normal here in Germany and the scenery of the hack implying coldness, I actually felt a little bit of warmth when I approached the lava. It just popped out and didn't just blend in, like it does in Marble Zone.

Music:
Gotta go back a small step again, because despite the music being pretty fucking cool, it's just 'pretty fucking cool', not 'super amazing holy-shit-boner-incoming cool'. Plus, it's a shame that the boss music was re-used for every boss. I would've liked some variety. It's also a shame that there are many overused (I couldn't find a word that sounds less negative, sorry for that) ports from other Sonic games.

But still, for the purpose of it, the music really drags you with the game and acts as a great supporter for the flow of the game.

I've checked out the sound test and as I'm writing this post I'm listening to Frozen Island Act 1, since that one song is my favorite and actually stands out the most for me. It's also a song you'd immediately identify as a "This has got to be the song for the first level" song.

Programming:
Now it's time to launch the real cannons, because my god, this game is packed with programming awesomnesses (I don't care if that's not a real word). The general make up, the menus, the bosses, the GOD DANG CREDITS... it's just, wow. Certainly not the best thing in the world (which is mostly due to some dude with the ability to claim rank #1 for everything in the world of Sonic hacks like it's a joke), but still pretty high up there. There were literally zero issues I've ran into.

Okay, that's not true, I've ran into one: As I've defeated the first boss while having zero rings, I still was hit by him after I hit him, making me die while he exploded. Didn't happen again after that, but still.

But what I'm saying, there are no obvious bugs, no obvious programming flaws, nothing. Super solid coding at its finest. A little laggy sometimes, but I can compromise a gap between an amazing game and MD limitations.

Gameplay and Flow:
But now comes the most important part: The game as what it is, a game. How much fun is it? How does it "feel"? Well, you shouldn't expect a huge secret here, because I've already said several times how amazing this experience was.

The game doesn't throw you a bone whenever you fuck up and there are quite a few paths to take. Replay value and challenge are two points which were excellently executed. You aren't overwhelmed with too much shit you don't need. While we do have the absolutely obligatory and pointless Super Peel Out, we have a homing attack that works well with the game and gives you good control. Never will you really feel that there is a part that wasn't designed with the jump dash/homing attack in mind.

I really like the bosses, though mostly the first one for being unique. Even though I watched the trailer, I didn't have a damn clue that the ball before the cliff was actually the boss until I saw it opening itself up. It took a while to realize that the red thing around its eye is a cross hair, but after that it became pretty straight forward. Not easy, but pretty balanced. Predicting patters has always been one of my favorite things in any game ever. That is also why I liked the evil Sonic. He is clearly based off Silver Sonic, but feels so much better and more challenging (only thing that I didn't understand was why he was just floating towards the ground and away without anything to imply flying abilities, like flames from the boots or something).

Either way, my favorite part of the whole game was the lava escaping part at the end of the game. Not only did you create PERFECT camera shaking (the closest thing I've seen before that was in Mega Mushroom Edition), but also was the anticipation of that part with the small cutscene like drop down before that just amazing. And it felt challenging. Unlike in Sonic 1's Marble Zone, where the lava stream just flows with 5 mp/h at most, here you could really feel that any mistake could cause failure. Finding that perfect balance between challenge and flow is hard, and with this part you've just perfected it.

Final thoughts:
This hack is awesome. Being a "Hey look guys, I've made a new hack" without much pre-release talk, it really came as a surprise, but it was a damn great surprise! Some people may know me for being obsessed with the idiom 'quality over quantity', because I much rather have four perfectly polished and interesting levels than a bazillion terrible ones where nothing really stands out. It's better to have a small cup of high class ice cream than a huge package of cheap potato chips.

This game was fun. It was entertaining. This is what counts: Entertainment. Entertainment isn't measured by time, it's measured by enjoyment, and enjoyment is produced with great things which happen 'at a time', not over a time span. So, you have all the rights in the world to expand to this game, but I wouldn't overdo it, since you already have a pretty damn solid game here as it is.


Brilliant hack, 5/5. Have a virtual cookie!
This post has been edited by Selbi: 28 April 2013 - 03:49 PM

#4 User is offline Strife 

Posted 28 April 2013 - 04:48 PM

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I'm probably about halfway through the game so far. The stages feel wonderful for the most part, but the bosses are a bit of a different story. I'm not sure if you tailored the hack specifically for people who thought the bosses in the official games were too easy, or if you put more focus on the technical aspects rather than the difficulty, but I feel like most of the boss battles are at odds with the rest of the game both in difficulty and pacing.

Take the first boss, for example; It's basically like fighting Sonic 2's Mecha Sonic at the beginning of the game, except it doesn't give any space for you to damage it outside of its scripted points of vulnerability, which are spaced 15-20 seconds apart. It takes almost twice as long to beat as the stage that you speed through in order to reach it. I think I would have found it a lot more enjoyable if I had been able to hammer away at it whenever its eye was exposed instead of when it stops attacking - or, alternatively, if it only took 3 hits to destroy instead of the traditional 8. Generally speaking, the less windows of opportunity you have to harm a boss, the less hits it should take. The fights against Eggman himself feel like they're paced more fairly for this reason since he's almost always vulnerable.

Aside from that, the music offers some nice remixes of Genesis tunes and the homing attack feels great; It's even balanced in the sense that Sonic doesn't remain in ball form when he lands, so it doesn't take away from the value of his spin attack/dash. I'm also quite impressed with how different the menu system feels and operates; all of those little touches help it to go above and beyond the usual hack. :3
This post has been edited by Strife: 28 April 2013 - 04:56 PM

#5 User is offline KingofHarts 

Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:43 AM

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Downloading this now. Based on what I've seen in previews... this is definitely going to be a worthy contender in the hacking contest. Cant wait!

#6 User is offline Jimmy Hedgehog 

Posted 29 April 2013 - 07:38 AM

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This was really incredible to play! A whole lot of fun and the extra challenges and unlockables were pretty sweet too.

#7 User is offline You-Are-Pwned 

Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:07 AM

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I really liked that hack, I could see the custom programming that was made. I was looking at your progress at CIS, and it's amazing how much changed from the last release. The Russian translation is perfect, and the 7th mission was a surprise too! :P

There are a few bugs though, like on the boss in the second act, the rings are behind the boss (on the background).

The only thing I don't understand is how do you activate the Super Sonic form.

#8 User is offline Mr Lange 

Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:32 AM

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It's too short. But take that as a compliment; I love it so much I wish there was more of it.
My only complaint, as with any Sonic fangame/hack that overlooks this, please disable the spinroll-to-jump control lock.

#9 User is offline redhotsonic 

Posted 29 April 2013 - 03:08 PM

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This is my review and bug report. This does contain spoilers and if you haven't played the game yet, it may be advised not to read this yet.




Okay, time for my review. Haven't played it since you last released in the tech lounge, but back then I was busy and never played it properly. Tonight, I was free, so I decided to put this on the cartridge. A hack from vladikcomper, this deserved the real hardware testing.


Nice SEGA logo, impressive how that is done. And same with the "Sonic Winter Adventures" logo with the resizing and bumping. It's clever. And nice illusion on the "Press Start Button" using palette rotation, why didn't I ever think of that? All the menus are clear and even though most of us will never use it, I like that you added another language setting to it. I was amazed what I have seen so far and couldn't wait to dive into the game.


First level, introduced with a new title card and lush music to go with it, the game is starting! Nice new palette, looking very wintery, and nice snow effects. No new level art though, same old Green Hill zone, but at least it had Ice Cap's background in, but would have been nice having a new background. Pretty much now seeing hacks with no new level art, gets boring on me pretty quick, because I've seen all this before and wanted something "new". Starting my quest on act 1, looking to see what makes this different from any other hack, honestly, I struggled. We've got the homing attack, again. I'm sure you were one of the firsts to use this anyway and maybe it's been so long to a release, but homing attack, just a bit over used. When I saw this attack, I really hoped this wasn't going to be a game where I could abuse the attack getting far. And unfortunately, most of the time, it certainly is.


The layout itself was pretty decent, I could see you've put some thought into this, with many routes to go and nice flow to it. Although most layouts seemed a little too short. Also, not every crack has been sealed. I've found a few placements you could go through, which normally leads to death. Like this for example, you have many of these tunnel ramps which all have this collision issue:

Posted Image

You can stand there, but the screen is raising, and when it meets Sonic...

Posted Image

You die. You can walk off it to the left or right, the screen will still kill you.

Spoiler



Anyway, carrying on. Most of your object placements are quite bad, a lot of them are crumbled together, making abusing the homing attack easy. Also, due to lots of object clamped together, even more above and below the camera, this generates slowdown. I'm sorry, but the slowdown in this game is unbelievable. I did not expect this from vladikcomper at all. Most of the time, the megadrive was struggling, and it happened in every level. This needs to be sorted by next release for sure. A huge solution would be porting the S3K object manager in.


So far, I haven't really seen anything new in the level itself that's made me gone "wow". But then the boss arrived. Now, my expectations raised here, thinking this would be good. And to be honest..... something was missing. First of all, the bosses (bearing in mind we're talking about level 1 here) are way too hard. I died a couple of times on the first boss, only once on the second, then game over on the 3rd. Plus, these don't "feel" like bosses to me, these feel like "very hard act 1 bosses" from S3K. Which is fine for act 1 and act 2, but a proper boss would be nice for act 3. Swapping the 2nd and 3rd boss around would make more sense in a way. Because Eggman is the main villain after all, he is the "boss". The Eggman boss wasn't too bad at all, he felt like a proper boss and enjoyed that one. But the first one was too hard and after dying a 3rd time, I already felt like turning this off. And the Sonic boss, you need to make it clear when to attack. It took me fucking forever to realise you're only meant to attack him when he's walking slowly. Maybe make his eyes normal when you can attack him then red when can't. I was trying to attack him when he was spindashing, jumping, like it was a fight with Knuckles from S3K. Also on this boss (and all the other bosses), if you're on the very right-end of the screen and spindash left, you don't move anywhere and just stand there on the spot (similar to SCZ bug); this really started to piss me off as well. I got Game over on the sonic boss and had to start all over again! Why doesn't the SRAM save acts? I was almost tempted not to give it another go.



Onto the second level, and for me, it started to improve. The background was nicely done, new art is it? And new art on the bricks, but easily you could tell this was Marble zone. But the layout was awesome here and I had no issues with this level. But still, I saw nothing "new". Then the boss came (if it's even a boss, I don't know). Loads of falling bricks which to me, I was thinking "what the hell is all this?" I then suddenly fell through the floor and lava started to rise. Now we're talking. This actually got me excited as I was trying to run away. Something new and very clever that we've never seen before! How did you get that fire to rise? Is it FG or BG? I couldn't tell (remember I'm on real hardware here so couldn't look on an emulator). Either way, very clever indeed! Act 1 done!


Then it ended. That's it? First public release and that's it? This ain't a release, it's another demo! I think this got released too early. But I do like that you introduced challenges. I had a go on one of them, but then decided to turn the game off as was getting a bit tired of seeing Green Hill's art.



Game-breaking bug!

When in the middle of act 2, I was homing attacking on some badniks, then suddenly, Sonic vanished and the camera scrolled very fast all the way to the top and all the way to the right. The camera then came to a stop and then the boss counter loaded to 16, then it just sat there. All I could do is wait for 10 minutes or reset. Sorry for the shit picture quality, but took from real hardware using my phone camera:

Posted Image


Yet again, I had to start all over again. For your information, Sonic suddenly disappeared on act 2 around this area:

Posted Image


I have no idea what caused it. He just suddenly vanished.




All in all, I was actually disappointed in some ways. It was all fancy and clever when you first turn it on, building my hopes, but then when playing the game, it just feels... okay. And the bosses difficulty needs to be toned down a little. If this was level 3 or 4, those bosses would be fine, but for level 1, too hard. Challenges are a nice addition though. But for now, I'm counting this as a demo and will wait for the full game. There's nothing worse playing an uncomplete game. Why? Because when you come to release the 2nd or 3rd release, I've got to do the first level again and again just to see what's new. This is just my review and hope you didn't find it too harsh, but I had to be honest with you. I really wanted to enjoy this game, honestly I did, but, I just couldn't. Sorry.



EDIT:

That's one thing I forgot to mention about, and that's the music. The music in the game is very good and had pretty much every channel to it's full potential. I really liked act 3's music and the bass from it. My MD is plugged into my surround sound and it sounded so clear and sharp. The only track I wasn't keen on was act 2 as it sounded quite weak compared to the others.


Anyway, I hope vladikcomper doesn't take my harsh criticism to heart. He knows I mean well. And I know he's put a lot of effort into this, as I can tell with the titles and bosses. Made my own bosses myself, I know how hard they can be to create. It's just the fact this game didn't make me go "wow" as much as I hoped for. Maybe my expectations were a little too high.
This post has been edited by redhotsonic: 30 April 2013 - 05:24 AM

#10 User is offline GT Koopa 

Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:01 AM

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I beat it all in one go without getting a game over on my first try. Without savestates even! I was afraid I was going to have to resort to them. Though I did search for lives constantly and died a few times on the bosses. Not to mention usually I was beating them with zero rings left. I was having a hard time hitting the sonic boss consistantly, but then I always stayed to the right side and let him come to me. If I got hit I was positioned so the fallback would take me right in the ring's direction, as well as not letting the ring fly off to the left side of the screen.

#11 User is offline vladikcomper 

Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:45 PM

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*It's a C/P from SSRG. Hopefully, most of the post I've quoted cross-posted here as well and they cover the points people have here*

Heh, I think this is going to be a huge post, since I couldn't reply to many appearing posts in time, so...

First of all, thank you everybody! I'm so grateful to all your opinions, reviews and criticism and I'm so happy my hack was well-appreciated. This is one of the best felling I've had so far. That felling, when you complete and release the project of life, something you've been working on for years -- Sonic Winter Adventures was certainly my main project all the time, by far I've put more effort and hard working into it than into anything else. Now I'm proud, proud I could do it up to anything: lack of spare time, periods of loosing all the motivation, when I stopped believing there would be anything good coming out of this. But what I'm most happy about is that my work got appreciation. This makes me realize the years of work weren't just in vain. This is what it was made for: to provide you a good game that you enjoy, to make you impressed with what can still be done on good old Mega-Drive. My work (and, I believe, the work of many hackers around here) is mainly inspired by appreciation from other people, this particular hack and most of my work simply wouldn't exist without your recognition (and the highlight on Sonic Retro's front page was beyond my dreams), so thank you!

I know it's too little as a game, it needs A LOT of work and improvements, but still, this is the big event for me, because, I didn't believe I could finally put everything into a form of a complete release -- and here by complete I mean, I could finish all the features I started, made it through the stage of incomplete tech demo with no beginning and no ending, round everything up into one thing -- the game developers may understand me here: it's really hard to round everything up, especially in a hack, and the more features you have, the harder it is finish it, but not as harder as to assemble everything into one game.

I'm really grateful to your detailed reviews, Selbi, RHS and StephenUK!

Quote

Gotta go back a small step again, because despite the music being pretty fucking cool, it's just 'pretty fucking cool', not 'super amazing holy-shit-boner-incoming cool'. Plus, it's a shame that the boss music was re-used for every boss. I would've liked some variety. It's also a shame that there are many overused (I couldn't find a word that sounds less negative, sorry for that) ports from other Sonic games.


I would just like to fix that, however, we weren't able to produce more music in time to replace some overused songs, as I set the release date to April 28th (I made a big announcement weeks ago on Russian forums, since the topic of it's predecessor, Quick Winter Adventures, was still active somehow with people wondering about the release). I totally agree about the boss theme being overused. While there are quite a few alternative songs present in the sound test, I still think think the S3 Boss theme suits the best for the bosses I have so far. Not so long before the release I finally found a suitable song for one of my bosses, but it turned out too long and hard to do. I was working on it along with Jet, but unfortunately, we didn't make it in time.

And, to be frankly, SWA's soundtrack is quite chaotic now: it consists of variety of music genres. You see, most of the music was done on experimental basis, kind of to show some blast processing in the music aspect, try out some technically advanced ports, especially from other Genesis games, which are way harder to do then most of the MIDI/XM ports. The culmination of it was Jet's port of the Adventures of Batman & Robin music, something that nobody had done before in SMPS due to huge technical difficulty. But Jet not only did the port, he made an original remix of it, which, in my opinion, sound even more awesome than the original music.

Quote

First of all, the bosses (bearing in mind we're talking about level 1 here) are way too hard. I died a couple of times on the first boss, only once on the second, then game over on the 3rd. Plus, these don't "feel" like bosses to me, these feel like "very hard act 1 bosses" from S3K


It looks like the difficulty here is really a problem for many people. In fact, I didn't want to make the bosses hard at all, and they are really easy for me -- I simply can't die on the first 3 bosses unless I play intentionally bad. It's funny how some people complain that the act 3 boss became way too easy comparing to SQWA and the others find it the most difficult thing ever.

Seeing a couple let's plays and walkthroughs on YouTube, I've realized that people just can't find the right strategy against them. Believe me, they become really easy once you come up with a good strategy. Well, that's certainly my fault. I tried to do my best to 'push' players on the right track when fighting bosses, show their weak points and the exact moments you can attack by their behavior and design. I'm certain that a good boss mustn't take you several attempts just to figure out the strategy, he must clearly show you it when you're doing it wrong and his acting and, perhaps, few game hints must prompt you the right strategy. This is how most of the modern games do it at least. On the contrary, old-school games never were so friendly. I remember a lot of games were the bosses seemed as hard as my bosses for you, but in a while, I learned how to beat them and then was like: "How this could even be hard before?". Just play The Adventures of Batman & Robin to see how it tells player absolutely nothing on how to play, making you figure out the game mechanics by trial and error and beat the same level over one hundred times, yet I find this game a masterpiece. But I guess nobody wants this experience with modern games nowadays.

The Act 1 boss is the last boss I've coded so far (not counting the Ancient Castle 'boss'), it's more technically advanced then the others in the hack, it took more work and effort and I think of it as one of my best bosses. I wanted to make the strategy clear: The weak point is his 'eye' that throws missiles on you and you can hit it only after it stopped charging to generate new missiles. When it's vulnerable, the crosshair appears and you can perform homing attack, pretty similar to Sonic 4. The crosshair and ability to home on it were implemented after the private release, when I got some feedback from Tech Members. I thought that would make it much easier and obvious. Well, it did for me, but didn't for many people, to my regret. I've seen that many people attempt to attack the eye between shooting the missiles, which is wrong acting, because, look at the eye -- it's flickering, which means charging! In one guy's LP, he even thought that the crosshair bugs because he couldn't home on the eye or hit it between missiles.

But at least, some players got it right: http://bit.ly/ZjkeSX -- here's a lovely example of beating this boss with a right strategy. No moves beyond human's reaction. No damage taken.

I'll be thinking of what can I do to resolve all those vaguenesses with figuring out the right strategy.

The Act 2 boss. I'm glad most people found it pretty good and not over-complicated. Actually, this one of my early bosses, no changes were made since 2011. I think I was lucky on this one, the strategy is obvious and the difficulty is pretty balanced -- it's really hard to pick that balance when making a good boss.

The Act 3 boss I consider as the worst boss in a hack. In fact, this is the second boss I've ever made in a Sonic hack. Both this one and Act 2 boss were programmed years before Megahack, so they are of a worse quality. This one is the oldest: it was programmed back in 2010 and no significant changes were made since then. So it's obviously inaccurate. I planned to redo it from scratch, but the new ideas I have would require creating additional animations and a lot of effort for other things. I just realized I wouldn't make this in time. I didn't want to reject something that I put much effort into after all (even though creating a boss like this isn't an achievement for me anymore).

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*Game-breaking bug*


I really have no idea where these two weird glitches were coming from. There was a big beta-testing of SWA, involving several good testers as well as real-life testing with so of my friends, which took place in Tula (a Russian city). I played through the hack several times myself and couldn't spot any glitches like this, other people didn't have problems with playing it as well. Nobody hasn't met anything like this before, which makes me wonder.

If that happens only on hardware, check out if the SRAM works correctly. The only thing that cause weird in-game glitches was spoiled SRAM data. This usually ended with the game being unable to pause or crashing if the pause button is pressed. I though I fixed the case of broken SRAM data, but maybe I've missed something.

Anyways, it's really sad some weird glitches ruined the whole game experience for you.

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I think the concept of a winter based hack is a little too basic for a hack of this calibre, and I think with a different approach and storyline, this could go on to be one of those rare gems that I would love to play again and again. At the moment though, I don't think the current direction does it the justice it deserves. I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future though all the same, as the technical stuff was indeed very impressive.


I totally agree with this point. I myself realize that the idea of the hack is somewhat stupid and I'm already running out of ideas of how to develop it. Actually, I have an idea of the plot, explaining everything about the hack, the fact is, I don't know if I can produce more winter-themed levels and make them unique without the same color teasing your eyes.

You see, this hack slowly evolved from a small mini-hack, Sonic Quick Winter Adventures from 2009. Literally. I didn't even change the disassembly since SQWA's source. To my surprise, SQWA was somewhat successful when firstly released. I didn't expect it, I had a different plans back then, but as a lot of people asked me to continue this hack, I did. At first, I was just enjoying working on it as a small mini-hack, playing around with implementing different things and ideas, mainly to practice my coding skills. As I didn't have time to start something serious back then -- I worked on SQWA. Apparently, the development almost stopped in 2011 as I had even less time then as well as lost the interest. In the end of 2012, as many people were still wondering about the project, I decided to revive it. Somehow I realized it can turn out into a big project and I always wanted a big project. So, I chose SQWA that had a plenty of new stuff, but nothing was finished, changed the name to Sonic Winter Adventures and started the toughest hard working I've had so far. To say, a HUGE amount of work has been made since the end of 2012 and the hack has finally got its face.

I think for a while in the nearest future this will still stay Winter Adventures. I'll try to get as much as I can from this idea: extend levels, fix bugs, improve the bosses. Then, I'll most likely make another project based on it. Which means you see a lot of stuff from SWA, but under another title, with different zones and settings. But this if only I'll have enough time in the future, which I am unsure on.

* * *

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The only thing I don't understand is how do you activate the Super Sonic form.


Collect 50 rings and press A+C.

#12 User is offline Strife 

Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:58 PM

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View Postvladikcomper, on 30 April 2013 - 02:45 PM, said:

Seeing a couple let's plays and walkthroughs on YouTube, I've realized that people just can't find the right strategy against them. Believe me, they become really easy once you come up with a good strategy. Well, that's certainly my fault. I tried to do my best to 'push' players on the right track when fighting bosses, show their weak points and the exact moments you can attack by their behavior and design. I'm certain that a good boss mustn't take you several attempts just to figure out the strategy, he must clearly show you it when you're doing it wrong and his acting and, perhaps, few game hints must prompt you the right strategy. This is how most of the modern games do it at least. On the contrary, old-school games never were so friendly. I remember a lot of games were the bosses seemed as hard as my bosses for you, but in a while, I learned how to beat them and then was like: "How this could even be hard before?". Just play The Adventures of Batman & Robin to see how it tells player absolutely nothing on how to play, making you figure out the game mechanics by trial and error and beat the same level over one hundred times, yet I find this game a masterpiece. But I guess nobody wants this experience with modern games nowadays.


I don't think this is why the bosses are hard for some people. You've made it perfectly clear how to attack them, and their weak spots and points of vulnerability are easy to learn.
The problem comes with the way Sonic controls; His sluggish acceleration, combined with the boss's rapid attack patterns and the amount of precision you need to avoid getting hurt, is the source of the difficulty. The game itself isn't entirely to blame for this; the Genesis games in general have to make the bosses and their attacks slow enough to compensate for this if they want to come across as an easy ride. That's why Eggman's ball-and-chain in Green Hill Zone is so slow-moving.

One thing I might suggest is to have a boss in which the best way to defeat it is to spam the Homing Attack. For example, having it remain in the center, then Homing Attack from one end of the screen to the other, then Homing Attack again when its weak point is exposed; rinse and repeat. That way, the player won't have to deal with precise movement/jumping just yet and it would make for an easy first boss. Think Chaos 0 from Sonic Adventure.
This post has been edited by Strife: 30 April 2013 - 08:00 PM

#13 User is offline NomadTW 

Posted 30 April 2013 - 08:18 PM

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So I dunno if I did something wrong or if it's a weird bug but, I can't seem to play anything past the 2nd mission? Even if I select a grey emerald it just boots me back to mission 1 or 2.

Any idea what happened there? I kinda wanna play the rest.


Neat hack by the way, I'd like to see more from you. Keep it up.
This post has been edited by NomadTW: 30 April 2013 - 08:25 PM

#14 User is offline vladikcomper 

Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:42 AM

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View PostStrife, on 30 April 2013 - 07:58 PM, said:

I don't think this is why the bosses are hard for some people. You've made it perfectly clear how to attack them, and their weak spots and points of vulnerability are easy to learn.
The problem comes with the way Sonic controls; His sluggish acceleration, combined with the boss's rapid attack patterns and the amount of precision you need to avoid getting hurt, is the source of the difficulty. The game itself isn't entirely to blame for this; the Genesis games in general have to make the bosses and their attacks slow enough to compensate for this if they want to come across as an easy ride. That's why Eggman's ball-and-chain in Green Hill Zone is so slow-moving.

One thing I might suggest is to have a boss in which the best way to defeat it is to spam the Homing Attack. For example, having it remain in the center, then Homing Attack from one end of the screen to the other, then Homing Attack again when its weak point is exposed; rinse and repeat. That way, the player won't have to deal with precise movement/jumping just yet and it would make for an easy first boss. Think Chaos 0 from Sonic Adventure.

This actually makes a good sense, thank you for your thoughts.

After watching some more walkthroughs and let's plays, I really start seeing what exactly people have troubles with, which appears to be exactly what you said in your post. In fact, you certainly can learn how to avoid bosses' attacks properly, but this will require a lot of attempts. No doubt, this is way too much for the first level bosses, so I'll be working on making them easier.

Perhaps, I'll tweak the first boss to make missiles slower as well as change their trajectories to make them easier to avoid. As for the third act boss, which happens to be the hardest for a lot of people, since it requires a really *perfect* timing on your attacks, I think of redoing it from scratch eventually. As I said, that was one of my earliest bosses I coded back in 2010, so it's really inaccurate, and I can't do much about reducing the difficulty with the set of the moves he has currently.

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So I dunno if I did something wrong or if it's a weird bug but, I can't seem to play anything past the 2nd mission? Even if I select a grey emerald it just boots me back to mission 1 or 2.

Any idea what happened there? I kinda wanna play the rest.


That's pretty weird. Theoretically, there's nothing that could cause this.

In fact, first four missions use the same levels from the first zone, but with slightly different goals. Do 5th and 6th mission send you to the first zone as well? If they work wrong indeed, please provide me a savestate with Challenges menu booted up, I'll try to figure what went wrong there.

#15 User is offline Strife 

Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:56 AM

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Glad to be of service. ^_^

The first boss could probably get away with the same projectile speed, as long as the direction in which it shoots is easily memorized (I.e. it always shoots three times forward, then stops). As for the third boss, maybe you could make him always vulnerable except when rolling and unable to damage Sonic while he's doing the same? I think that would come across a lot more clearly.
This post has been edited by Strife: 02 May 2013 - 10:58 AM

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