Additional Characters & Single Button Gameplay

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Pengi, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. Pengi

    Pengi

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    This is a bit of a "thought exercise" topic.

    A while back there was a lot of discussion about how Amy Rose would play if she were in Sonic Mania. Most people said she should play as she does in Sonic Advance, but there would have to be some modifications to fit the single button gameplay philosophy of Mania and the classic Sonic games.

    Amy's Advance play style could streamlined like this. (For convenience, I'm going to use "B", meaning "button".)

    Jump: B
    Hammer spin attack: B in mid-air
    Hammer jump: B whilst crouching
    Hammer whirl: Hold DOWN on d-pad in mid-air
    Hammer attack: UP + B
    Slide attack: Hold DOWN whilst running

    With this setup, Amy's spin jump could be performed with a simple "double jump" input, which would be a more comfortable gameplay experience than in Advance. In Advance Amy only performs a single 360 degrees rotation, I think this would be better modified to become an infinite spin, as is the case with Sonic and co's spin jumps.

    So essentially, Amy's "double jump" input would perform a similar action to Sonic/Tails/Knuckles' "single jump" input. A clear disadvantage. So it would need to be balanced out with some advantages. First of all would be a larger attack radius. Secondly, and this is something that is present in Advance, is that it can be performed any time Amy is in mid-air, not strictly as a "double jump" input. So whilst other characters are vulnerable after being launched by a a spring or falling off a ledge, Amy can always quickly switch to a spin attack.

    The hammer jump (high jump) would be the same, just press B whilst crouching. The hammer whirl attack would be easier if simply assigned to DOWN in mid-air, rather than DOWN + B, which often results in an accidental spin attack.

    With single button gameplay, Amy's regular hammer attack would have to be assigned to UP + B. This doesn't lend itself well to quick combat, so whilst attacking enemies would still be a function, it would have to be more designed around activating switches and destroying barriers to access new routes. Alternatively, the hammer attack could be scrapped entirely and replaced with an equivalent to Sonic CD's "Super Peel-Out", so that Amy still has an easy way to gain speed.

    And finally, I think Amy could do with an attack that can be performed whilst moving. Sonic/Tails/Knuckles can all roll into a ball by pressing DOWN whilst running, so Amy's version could be a slide attack (think Sonic Generations etc), kind of a version of the roll that isn't so great with going uphill or through loops. Again, a disadvantaged version of an attack to balance out Amy's advantages.

    --

    This got me thinking about how other characters from the "Classic Sonic" era would function in a 1/2/3/K/CD/Mania style game. Chaotix 32X was more concentrated on the rubber band sidekick mechanic, and didn't concern itself with having character specific routes, so the end result was characters who "felt" different to each other, but all ultimately lead to a very samey experience. Knuckles' wall climbing ability isn't a big deal if everyone else can climb walls too.

    One of the interesting things about Knuckles in S3&K is some of his differences are automatic, rather than just a different move set performed by the player. So being able to break through barriers is an automatic action when Knuckles runs into them. Then there's the fact that Knuckles has a lower maximum jump height, a disadvantage to balance out the advantage brought by his other abilities. These are great attributes that distinguish him from Sonic and Tails whilst maintaining simple single button gameplay.

    So with all that in mind, here are some ideas. Not comprehensive ability sets, just a bit of brain storming really.

    MIGHTY

    Generally thought of as the "Sonic clone" of the classic series, but some interesting things could be done with the idea of him as "Sonic with a twist".

    Bullet deflection: Mighty's main attribute his his his hard armadillo shell. So, how about whenever he's in ball form (rolling, spin jump, spin dash etc) he can deflect bullets? Just like the fire/aqua/lightning shields do, but as an inherent ability. Of course, he'd still be vulnerable to bullets whilst standing/running.

    Spike bounce: Again, playing off the hard shell idea, what if Mighty could bounce off of spikes whilst in ball form? Like the Spiker enemy from Marble Garden Zone, but applied to regular spikes. Again, he'd still be vulnerable when not in ball form.

    Spin dash: Time for a disadvantage. Mighty could have the weaker, Sonic CD style, spin dash.

    Element shields: Currently Sonic is the only character who has special "double jump" attacks with element shields. As "Sonic with a twist", what if Mighty also had shield attacks, but they were completely different from Sonic's? I'm having trouble thinking of exactly what they could be though. One possibility is that the attacks could be so strong that they're single use - you sacrifice the shield by using the ability.

    Sidekick: One of the novelties of playing as Sonic is that you're given the option of having Tails follow behind him. Again, as "Sonic with a twist", Mighty's player 2 sidekick could be Ray the Flying Squirrel.

    Barrier bash: He's "mighty", so he should be able to break through the same barriers that Knuckles can. So some Knuckles routes would become Knuckles and Mighty routes. Maybe Mighty could also have Knuckles' lower jump height?

    There's also the wall-kick from Chaotix, but if that were to return I'd want it to be more of a proper "triangle jump", rather than something you can spam to climb walls. Personally, I think it would be best to leave it out entirely.

    RAY

    Ray is a tricky one, honestly. Flying squirrels are known for gliding and climbing, so Ray would naturally end up as a variant of Knuckles. Obviously, Ray wouldn't be able to break through barriers. Maybe he could have slightly higher jump than Sonic and Tails to compensate.

    In Mania, playing as Sonic & Tails allows Tails to air-lift Sonic. Maybe Mighty & Ray gameplay could allow Mighty to hold onto Ray's back as he glides?

    VECTOR

    It occurred to me that neither Chaotix nor Sonic Heroes had any underwater sections. That's really unfortunate for Vector! Crocodiles can hold their breath underwater for a long time, so Vector should be a character who never needs air bubbles. Underwater, Vector should be able to swim freely, Ecco the Dolphin style, with a dash attack replacing the jump. Vector could reach some exclusive paths this way.

    CHARMY

    Charmy is another tricky one. His flight in Chaotix was incredibly overpowered and broken, and would be even more so without the rubber band mechanic. Maybe it could be an erratic, wobbly, bumblebee style of flight, so the player doesn't over-use it? He could be completely vulnerable whilst flying, unlike Tails who can still damage enemies with his propeller tails. And whilst Tails can still swim underwater, Charmy should have no equivalent ability at all.

    Personally, I think Charmy's potential lies with his size. Think about how different it felt playing as a shrunken version of Sonic/Tails/Knuckles in Metallic Madness. Charmy could be that kind of character all the time, and have access to narrow passages that other characters can't fit through.

    ESPIO

    I don't really have many thoughts on how Espio could function, other than that I'd really want him to keep his "spinning top" animations, rather than rolling into a ball. Maybe being able to stick to surfaces with his feet should be an automatic ability? So if you came to a halt whilst running up a wall or through a loop, Espio wouldn't fall down. Like that Sonic 4 meme where Sonic is standing on the side of a wall at a 90 degree angle, but intentional.

    --

    Obviously, a Sonic platformer with 9 unique playable characters wouldn't be very feasible, but I think a successor to Mania could manage 1 or 2 extra characters with enough development time.

    How would you guys like to see additional characters implemented?
     
  2. Felik

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    Personally I think that people should stop being so obsessed with the idea that "single button" = good game design.
    Single button is in huge quotation marks because first of all classic games don't actually use "single button" controls. Sonic 1,2 and 3 fully use the whole of 4 buttons to control the character (5 if you include rudimentary look-up "ability" or include Sonic CD). Even if we write d-pad left and right buttons out of the equation (even though they totally are buttons you control your character with) we still have the down button that is not used to navigate the character in space but instead is used to activate an ability (spindash) or a separate state (roll). Down button's function could very well be replaced with one of the action buttons and it still would make as much sense.
    And don't get me started on how the lack of dedicated "go super" due to this obsession with "single button controls" actually made classic games considerably less enjoyable once you collect all 7 chaos emeralds because in Sonic 2 there's no way to not go super at this point (and also it's REALLY hard to avoid the gamebreaking signpost bug that basically forces you to restart the game from the beginning) and in Sonic 3 you can't use characters abilities without going super (and in case of Knuckles you can't avoid going super at all). All these problems could be easily avoided by simply dedicating a separate button for the super form.

    Your solution for Amy is basically "not actually single button gameplay but I call it single button gameplay because d-pad don't count"


    TL:DR Single button gameplay is a meme that needs to die. Flappy bird is a true single button game and that's about as much complexity you can get with such control scheme.
     
  3. Sid Starkiller

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    Just looking at Amy for now, you forgot to give her a substitute for the Spindash. She'd have a lot of trouble getting around this way. I'm with Felik: Mania doesn't need to stick to single button gameplay going forward. Setting aside one button for extra character actions (like Amy's hammer) could be how the series evolves, as long as new moves aren't completely superfluous. In Sonic Advance, Sonic's slide kick, Tails' tail whip and Knuckles' punch made sense for them to have, but really weren't that useful. But let's say Sonic's Drop Dash get assigned to the new button. Then he could keep the Drop Dash when he has a shield, while still having the shield moves.
     
  4. Sean Evans

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    Haha, okay. You didn't even answer his question. The whole point was to see how you could condense, her advance moveset to a single face button since that's what Mania and the Classic's primarily use, and has become a staple of their gameplay, and the extension was how that might fare for other characters.

    With that being said though, you are kinda reaching for the stars there. The whole point of the single face button scheme was to simplify the controls, so it'd be easy to pick up and play. No complex actions or button combos needed. It'd be a wast to dump all of this on Amy, specially if it just makes her more clunky than everyone else. Though I do like the characters having more subtle differences between one another, the classics rarely did stuff like that (and neither do the modern games). Mario, DKC, and the like do it, and it works fine for them. Don't see why Sonic can't adopt that concept as well. Mighty deflecting projectiles if you time it right is pretty cool. Vector breathing forever's a bit much, but the improved swimming via his dash could be a neat bonus. Probably have to be more like Frog Mario than Ecco though.
     
  5. Pengi

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    Yeah, at first I was trying to figure out how much of Amy's Advance moveset could be retained using the Classic/Mania approach. The hammer whirl is a bit excessive, but I think the rest conforms nicely enough. A more streamlined approach would be to make the hammer spin the standard jump attack.

    B = Hammer spin jump (also works in mid-air)
    UP + B = Super Peel Out
    DOWN + B = Hammer jump (high jump)
    DOWN whilst moving = slide

    I still really like Amy being able to do a spin attack in mid-air, after falling off a ledge or being shot up by a spring. Sonic himself could do this in Triple Trouble!

    Frog Mario is a good example too. I was trying to think of an example of 8-directional swimming.

    I mentioned this.

     
  6. Laughingcow

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    Dangerous ground here, me thinks of the "Sonic's shitty friends" complaint. The question isn't how to make the characters play differently. It's why we should have more characters to begin with.

    As much as I would like to add Amy, I can't think of a damn thing she would add to the game. The "non-curling" idea was just bad and only worked in Sonic Adventure's pseudo survival horror gameplay. The melee tactics of the advance games were wholly inferior to both curling and only works in a game like Freedom Planet with a solid combat system.

    It's my belief that if Amy is to get incorporated into the Classic formula, she needs a better gimmick than her hammer and maybe roller blades to help with the lack of speed canon (I hate how much I respect Sonic R).
     
  7. Jayextee

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    For an apparent 'thought exercise', you appear not to have thought it through. If Mighty can break down the same barriers Knuckles can to enter his routes, it follows that he'd need a move analogous to Knuckles' climbing, lest he get irreversibly stuck in a section designed to be climbed out of; level design depending.
     
  8. Retroman

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    OMG YES!

    Replace the speed boot monitor with jet-powered skates and you have yourself a winner!
     
  9. ICEknight

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    She doesn't have a spindash move in Advance.
     
  10. Pengi

    Pengi

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    As you say, that's only an issue if the level design doesn't accommodate for it. But re-thinking it, it would be easier for their paths to diverge again if Mighty has Sonic's jump height.

    This is just for fun, because I enjoyed the Amy discussion in the Mania related threads. I'm more interested in hearing other people's ideas.
     
  11. Sid Starkiller

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    Key word: substitute. Her leap thing attempts to provide the utility of the Spindash (far less effectively, but still).
     
  12. rebelcheese

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    I think the easiest way to get Amy up to speed with the other characters is to give her the Peel-Out as her charging speed move. That way the level design doesn't have to change for Amy to be playable.

    Outside of that I do think the Mania subseries of games will need to have an additional button or two going forward as the characters continue to develop or be added. I'd love for Shadow, Blaze, and Rouge to join the party with classic-style appearances.
     
  13. Laughingcow

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    If it becomes a subseries.

    That said, why should they be playable characters? It just reminds me of playing as Metal Sonic in Sonic 4. Nothing unique or interesting came of it.
     
  14. rebelcheese

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    Why shouldn't they be?

    Shadow and Blaze are fun, Rouge has the capability to be fun, and they all could bring unique elements to the gameplay like Tails and Knuckles do.

    If they can be done well I'd say they can be included too.

    I would even consider adding Freedom Planet-style cutscenes for more involved storytelling if so desired, although like Freedom Planet the option should be there to switch it off.
     
  15. Laughingcow

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    We've been through this before. Just having playable characters for the sake of having playable characters is bad. In the "classic" context, we have Metal Sonic in Sonic 4 who was just Sonic with a better jump. He was pointless, just a way to recycle levels from episode 1.

    And no, Shadow and Rouge are just clone characters made to pad out Sonic Adventure 2. They aren't unique. A fact made very apparent when the Shadow the Hedgehog game was nothing more than Sonic with a gun.

    Blaze already has a unique moveset but it's specialized for the level design of the Rush games, specifically the absurd size of the levels and focus on arcadey speedrunning vs actual platforming. In the classic context, going Super does the invincible dash outta hell already and Knuckles can do better than just hover. So yeah, Super Knuckles has this covered.
     
  16. Beltway

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    If most people on this board said to use the Advance gameplay for implementing Amy in a classic game then I guess I'll be in the minority that says to re-do it from scratch or use something else for inspiration. I'm all for adding a new gameplay experience to the; but Amy's controls and moveset in that game (and to a lesser extent, the sequels) feels like it was designed for a different game. Couple that with the level design and she's more frustrating than fun to play IMO. Maybe Amy doesn't need a spindash, but I'd personally would rather have her at least have the core spin jump and roll that everyone else does. Additional mechanics that utilize her hammer IMO can be implemented without having her gameplay cast doubt that she was even made in fundamental tandem to everyone else.

    As for the one-button setup, I recall people in the Mania thread complaining about the drop dash and saying how its implementation was making the control scheme messy and no longer simple. A valid point, and I imagine you could probably re-map it in a way that helps keep the moveset simple (and for those not happy about it replacing the insta-shield, remap it in a way that allows both mechanics exist). At the same time, however, I think that's also a consequence of figuring out how to add more intuitive gameplay mechanics that also adhere to what is a very basic-by-design control scheme. You can only do so much IMO until you run out of input options. If Sonic's moveset is to continue receiving new mechanics that allow it to expand on his foundations in the same vein that, say, Mario's moveset has; I think adding more buttons for mechanics will be needed.

    If not remapping Sonic's core controls controls to a two-button setup entirely (speaking with Nintendo controls in mind--having B/A to jump and Y/X to roll; for what its worth, 3D Blast/Flickies' Island did this in regards to refitting Sonic gameplay to an isometric 3D control scheme), I do think utilizing trigger buttons (L/R or XL/XR) for secondary mechanics should be implemented for a future classic Sonic title. Drop dash could easily be re-shuffled there (with the insta-shield intact as it was in S3&K), as well as be used for context-specific mechanics and abilities. Just to rattle off a few ideas in line of those suggestions I've had (though I've actually been brainstorming them for a 3D [momentum-based] Sonic, rather than a 2D Sonic): grabbing/throwing objects, parkour elements like vaulting and wallrunning, using non-shield powerups (like, say, the skateboard from Generations or Super Sonic).

    (And on a final note in light of some recent posts--I think it's pretty clear that when people say "one button setup" in regard to classic Sonic's controls, they are referring more to the implementation of his gameplay mechanics and less about the physical use of only one button. If you want to be pedantic, then yes, Sonic games can be played with any of the three buttons on the Genesis controller, rather than just one. But the gameplay is the same, regardless of which of those three buttons you use.)
     
  17. rebelcheese

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    Rouge was a Tails clone in Heroes, in SA2 she was a Knuckles clone. So what. Tails was a Sonic clone when he joined the cast too. That didn't mean he stayed that way, and doesn't mean Rouge needs to stay that way too. Or Shadow.

    You can use Shadow's Chaos Control abilities to alter his path through the story, or have him be the only character who gets the homing attack. Rouge can fly but she mostly maintains her height rather than take off/hover the way Tails does, and Rouge can cling to ceilings which is something Knuckles can't do.

    Blaze's boost move can be turned into a brief, fiery super charge to make things explode or fly out of her way too.

    None of these ideas can or should be taken as gospel, but there are solutions to the clone issue. It just depends what they are and how they are implemented.
     
  18. big smile

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    As a kid I loved the idea of extra characters. But now I don't like them. They just end up feeling like Sonic clones with minor differences. And they also make Sonic feel less unique.
    Tails and Knuckles worked because they had whole new routes designed for them that took advantage of their abilities, but I don't think it's feasible to do that with every character (Even in S3&K, Tails always felt like he got the short straw).


    I always thought Generations handled extra characters (almost) well. In the mission mode, the characters would follow Sonic and effectively give him new abilities. It avoid the problems of the extra characters feeling like clones with minor differences. The only problem is that the missions tended to over use the ability. E.g. The Charmy mission mostly consisted of nothing but using Charmy's special move. But it's definitely an idea that could be explored in future games.
     
  19. Sean Evans

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    Actually, I agree with this. As much as I love Tails and Knuckles, i generally play as Sonic the most. The partner system in DKCR worked well, and I think it'd work just as well for Sonic. Perhaps it could even FINALLY make multiplayer more viable. Maybe that could be the way the 3D games include a bunch of characters, have them all work as extensions to Sonic's moves...maybe not like Gens though.