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3D Underwater Levels?

Discussion in 'Fangaming Discussion' started by Heat-Nova, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. I've been thinking about making a full 3D Sonic fangame using the upcoming Mobius Engine, however I don't know how to program yet so I've been making levels in my head and then draw them. I've been trying to make a level with multiple paths and open world in mind, so I have a water section in mind. So far I've been taking tips and ideas from other games, but then I came to problem that 3D underwater hasn't really been done yet. Anyone have any good underwater level design tips or games that can serve as an example?
     
  2. I'd say look at Knuckles's/Rouge's underwater sections from Sonic Adventure 2, or some of the sections from Aquarium Park, but they both have obvious drawbacks (Knuckles/Rouge actually swims, Aquarium Park has 2D water sections). Just don't turn to Twinkle Park.
     
  3. Ajavalo

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    Copying this from http://forums.sonicretro.org/index.php?showtopic=28108&st=60 :

    I just think water levels in most Sonic games aren't very well made or enjoyable, but if they were got right, we'd have really nice levels and there would be less people who hate water with a passion (especially Labyrinth from Sonic 1, I've seen lots of negative opinions about it).

    First off, we can't say underwater controls are a bad thing in themselves. At least IMO, they were kinda OK in the Advance games and Generations. It's just slightly different physics that we must get used to like many other things.

    Next, about scenery: who wouldn't want a beach or a cavern with a lively underwater environment such as coloured fish, corals, sunken ships, giant nautili (background, or even foreground!). This is where Aquarium Park shines over Seaside Hill and its white temple walls. Also, things like the rising water room in modern chemical plant with broken canisters in the background give a rather nice rush feeling and an excellent decorative effect.

    Finally, water should NEVER be associated with nasty things like long claustrophobic corridors, spears, bottomless pits, huge beds of spikes... much better keeping these to a minimum/to challenge levels in favour of more fun gimmicks; which could include a powerup that allows temporary swimming (like in Tidal Plant Zone), controlling the water level to move floating platforms or to give variety to the level depending of if it's flooded or not, or even to unlock hidden paths... And let's not forget the well known currents and pipes, of course!

    Second to winter levels, I thing water is one of the tropes I like the most in Sonic games.
     
  4. Man were having a trial member party here. Anyway @Ajavalo I have seen that topic before so I know about not making underwater something that players will try to avoid at all costs. @WillWare I will make Knuckles able to swim like in SA2 and he will have his own path based around his abilities. I've played SRB2's Deep Sea Zone so don't tell me about it because I already know about it and didn't like the way they handled it.
     
  5. Thousand Pancake

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    Just wondering; what do you think would make such a level better?
     
  6. Well first the vertical corridors where if you fall you start over are fine out of water, but underwater they need to die in a fire.The reason is because underwater the fact that you can drown makes the player tense and sluggish controls don't help. This is the first time players are forced into the water and when you first start off it's a fu**ing vertical corridor. Another thing that needs to stop is infinite loops in water levels, that stuff should be in a Labyrinthy type level. You have no idea how many times I've had to go through that one water sliding loop at the end because I thought I would go into a lower path if I failed only to find out that I was going in circles. The other parts are OK but IMO their too slow I'm trying to go for a more Hydrocity underwater section but in 3D, that's what I'm having trouble doing.
     
  7. Tiller

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    I have some pretty strong thoughts on this actually. First and foremost, in a 3D Sonic game, I think the notion of "Sonic Can't Swim" should be entirely disregarded. I know, I know: That pretty much goes against what Sonic has always been, but the way it as worked in the past simply isn't fun and is awkward. 2D games give you a bit more freedom as you only have to deal side scrolling movement. When 3D Sonic sinks to the ground the movement penalty just isn't that fun. Sonic Adventure's underwater sections were pretty awful, SA2 brought Knuckles and Rouge with full swimming controls which weren't ideal, and ever since falling in water has been a death trap or regulated to 2D. Instead what I think is that Sonic should bring his speed to the table and apply it.

    This might be hard to illustrate, but what if water didn't hamper the flow of the game? Sonic can run fast, so why can't he kick fast? Why not have him kick his legs back and forth and become a water torpedo? Basically the Colors drill, but with full 3D control. He can torpedo his way around underwater sections bobbing and weaving in wide arks because he doesn't have that much directional control. He can stop, float, and start falling in order to readjust to the situation and revert to Adventure like Sonic control for precision movements such as grabbing water bubbles or monitor. He can rocket upward to the surface and fly out of the water like a dolphin's jump. He should be able to tread water above the surface not just by moving across it fast Unleashed/Colors/Generations style, but just having his legs move back and forth really fast, while staying completely stationary. From there you can stop on the surface and move around like he was on ice until the player wants to make the plunge underwater.

    As a consequence, water sections would have wide and open. Obstacles, corridors, and winding stage design can be present but used in a manner where Sonic won't bash into a wall all the time when trying to maneuver. Not to mention the potential for badniks would be tremendous. Imagine a giant shark badnik that chases Sonic around Jaws style above the surface and like that goddamn asswipe from Banjo Kazooie underwater? You could throw it off by swimming through narrow portions of whatever landscape exists in the act, causing it to ram and lodge itself into said landscape, like a cavern or narrow portion of coral. Maybe Sonic can't spin underwater fast enough to do damage, so you get the thing in a position where it follows you straight out of the water from one of those upward dolphin jumps, and while it opens its jaws in midair Sonic does a spin stomp like move that has him fly downward into it's mouth and through the entire badnik, destroying it as he bursts through it?

    There is just so much possibility for new experiences when you throw out the can't swim trope in a 3D setting.
     
  8. Lambda

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    You are so right dude, the possibilities are endless if you allow Sonic to swim like that... but doesn't that kinda ruin the point of a water level? They've always been about being challanging levelswith slow pacing... I understand that one could change this, and I have to give you credit, your ideas are awesome, but allowing for water to be something to be avoided is an AWESOME design tool and allows for some very interesting level design. It adds to the risk/reward type of level design Sonic is known for.

    However, I could see there being a powerup of some form that provides that exact same action as you described that could be used as a gimmick in an individual zone.
     
  9. Tiller

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    That doesn't mean you can entirely rule out "avoiding water because it's the slower route" design. The point was to make water less crappy in 3D. I can't describe it well, but the slower platforming pace feels more at home in 2D because the simplicity works. Slower pace and you can drown. 3D presents more of a challenge most likely for immersion and believability. You can build speed underwater in 2D without much of a fuss because it is more "gamey" in it's logic, but how exactly do you do a Hydro City in Sonic Adventure Style? He can't just run on the bottom and build a ton of speed underwater in 3D, it will immediately feel and look wrong to the player.

    Having Sonic fall into water and have to torpedo his way back to an above ground section can still work fine. The pace can still be slower, but it doesn't have to be as painfully boring.
     
  10. Aerosol

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    No I'm going to have to disagree. I can agree that running downhill and picking up speed would look odd in a 3D setting but...how many hills did you see underwater in Hydrocity? All I remember seeing are those water slides. Hydrocity would've worked just fine in Sonic Adventure. Even the slight bumps in Launch Base wouldn't look totally out of whack, since Sonic couldn't pick up much speed on his own (without some kind of device) anyway!

    Being underwater in a Sonic game is supposed to immediately make you go "oh shit". You know there's no quick way out. You have to follow the path and find the way out, taking care to grab some air bubbles along the way. Why not enhance the terror by allowing the player to go "anywhere they want" underwater. And by that, I mean have an obvious path implied by the level design, and when the player strays from that path, send a big ass Chomper after them? Generations did it above water in Seaside Hill. That's worthy of expansion, I think.

    Think about it. You know you're about to run out of air, and you see what looks like a nice way to skip a chunk of the underwater portion. But when you try to take this shortcut, you can see a set of jaws closing in on you...CHOMP! You're dead!
     
  11. Tiller

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    I admit I was thinking more of slopes and speed gimmicks. I imagined adventure speedboosters everywhere underwater and not the slides and the hand gears. Those types of gimmicks are fair game in 3D I guess.

    It was more aiming towards making underwater the "anywhere you want" open in some areas and allow Sonic and the player to explore a bit, which not only can subdue the pacing a little but it could also be dangerous for a variety of reasons. The big Chomper in Generations was my inspiration to expanding into more underwater stuff so it isn't just an instant death mechanic to keep players in bounds, but an actual enemy that poses a real threat. Water can still be an "Oh shit" moment when you fall into a cavern with no way up and the only way forward is through a winding tunnel. Sonic can torpedo through it but must be careful to look out for those enemies and bubbles/airpatches to safely continue moving on.
     
  12. Aerosol

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    Part of the "charm" of the underwater sections of levels for me is the fact that they hamper Sonic's abilities. Giving him all new ones kinda undermines that. That's why I'm against all this "torpedo" business.
     
  13. Tiller

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    And my argument is that in 3D I find that hampering Sonic that much entirely boring and would like more mechanics to make up for it, but still remain a slower paced and different experience.

    Guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I still want to see 3D Underwater how you think it should be. Maybe I'm just not seeing something as I would believe it to be dull.
     
  14. Aerosol

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    Well, I'm not trying to change your opinion, but picture, if you will, only being able to move as fast as Sonic does in Generations without breaking into his ninja-run animation. That's a lot faster than his speed underwater in Adventure. Keep the floaty jumping of underwater Generations play intact, and you have a Sonic that's hampered by water, but not totally broken by it. Water in Sonic Adventure was more like jello, really.

    Oh, and Generations isn't a good example of underwater gameplay. Sonic isn't slowed down at all underwater. You don't want that, either.
     
  15. The first section of Sonic's Lost World in SA1 stands out to me as an underwater section that works rather well (and is one of my favorites in the whole game).
     
  16. Perfect Chaos Zero

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    Not to be a git here, but speaking from a guy that's been around the fan gaming block a few times, I think you're going about this utterly backwards. My advice to you is stop this level drawing stuff and focus on the programming aspect OR try to get someone to help you with that. If you want to make a full 3D sonic fan game, you've got a bit of a ways to go before you can really be designing levels, pre-made engine or scratch-made engine, it doesn't matter. Think about how pissed or disappointed you're going to be when you draw some funky cool shit, only to find you you're incapable of coding it, whether it be due to engine constraints or skill level constraints. If you really want to get the ball rolling, either join a team that's already making stuff that can take what you're doing right now and turn that into something, or learn to code or at least be able to effectively manipulate your engine and content, via code-free design tools. If you're designing levels with no clue as to what your game is actually able to do/features, you may be getting a little ahead of yourself. Worse, your wasting effort on something you cant use/might not be able to use in the future anyway, that you could be spending on gaining the capacity to put those level outlining skills to use.

    Don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to discourage you. Just the opposite in fact! You're putting in the effort and that you're at least TRYING to get something together, which is awesome, really, that's an admirable and important trait. But without the means to do anything with that effort, your project isn't going to go anywhere. You act like you might have the drive, but you need to focus that in the right direction first or your gonna burn out on the whole idea before you even get a demo made. Think of it like swimming if you will. It's great that you're willing to jump in and that you're not afraid of the water, but if all your doing is randomly waving your arms and legs around, you'll be lucky to tread water, let alone actually swim. Learn how to dog peddle or the backstroke first at least before jumping off the diving board. Trust me, you'll have more fun that way.
     
  17. WheatThins

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    As long as there isn't the horrid backward gravity and camera issue like there was when you had to ride the snake in SA1DX. I can't remember if the same issue existed on SA1. I've had a love/hate relationship with that part of the stage for a long time now. (Specifically regarding Sonic's time trial emblem here)

    Also, have you considered looking at existing 3D Sonic fangame engines and building off one of those?
     
  18. Retroman

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    For a 3D, Underwater Level I would like them to use minimal shaders, more of a surrealistic-cartoony look, and not too much shaders. Skyrim's Water Shaders are ugly, but if the water shaders are just blue and clear, with gravity and bubbles, lots of bubbles it would be awesome!

    I would really love to sea (Pun Intended) a Sonic Generations Underwater Level with Classic Sonic, provided they finally worked out the camera issues with 3D-Spindash and the back camera following thing. Make a Labrynith and Hydro City Zone mix-up.

    It's possible, but you have to have different camera movements that is automated on each level, and some dry platforms for running.
     
  19. RetroKoH

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    This 100x over. I was ok with the Sea Fox in the SMS/GG games, BUT Sonic's Torpedo swimming (Triple Trouble or Chaos... I forget) powerup sucked. That said, the bubble transportation gimmick, and skipping across water as a ball was AWESOME. There are ways to add stuff to water that don't take away from it.