(DC) Sonic Adventure Prototype (1998-10-16)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Orengefox, May 21, 2013.

  1. OrtengeSoda

    OrtengeSoda

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    I believe if you look at the magazine scans we do have of the final rendition of Windy Valley, it looks messy even in it's final incarnation right before the game went Gold. To be fair it doesn't help that the animal orbs are blocking some of the Screenshots. Still seems Windy Valley was an issue all the way up to release.
     
  2. Alex Field

    Alex Field

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  3. Laura

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    Even if the physics were different that section in particular is just awful. Like 10 steep inclines all following each other. It would be hideous in any game.

    I cannot fathom how it could have been designed for a stage.
     
  4. brandonj

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    Yeah the beta version of Windy Valley always felt like kind of amateurish and messy to me; you can kinda tell it was created at a point where Sonic Team was still figuring out how exactly Sonic stages would work in 3D. Like the layout honestly reminds of a lot of the open-ended fan levels people have tried to make in Bumper Engine or whatever in the sense that it just feels like a directionless sprawl of different paths just sort of laid down all over the place. And I'm not really even against the concept of having bigger and more open levels, it's just that for some reason almost no one has really been able to pull it off without it feeling like a mess. The closest we've probably gotten to that kind of stage design actually working was probably Sonic GT's levels, but even then they still had a tendency to lean into becoming overly dense and confusing to navigate.
     
  5. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    Honestly, I tend to like the direction this stage was going in compared to the final stages. It takes the concept of branching level paths that Sonic 3 had and plays around with applying it into 3D. It's inherently more replayable since you can find so many different routes through the stage. It facilitates exploration a lot better than the more linear stages of the final game.

    The difference between Beta Windy Valley and GT's stages is that the latter is far too dense and, as you said, directionless. Beta Windy Valley has pathways that make logical sense given the context and all funnel you towards the end goal while GT has random pathways that take vastly different directions and can lead the player to getting lost because there's no indication where to go.

    I can concede that the section where you have those hills doesn't work with the current iteration of sonic's physics, I think you're blowing it out of proportion just a little. It's one section that didn't work as they had intended and it's not really repeated for the rest of the stage. The stage as a whole makes great use of spindash jumping and momentum-based movement to get to different pathways.
     
  6. Azookara

    Azookara

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    I think it's pretty obvious they made the stage before they knew what Sonic could and couldn't do in 3D with the engine they could build. Once it became clear they couldn't program the game 100% as they wanted it to be, they moved on and made better suiting stages, leaving WV on the backburner until near the end of development when they decided to remake it to better fit the other levels.

    I also believe this because it's a mess and feels like it was definitely made before they had the chance to feel out how it flows. In all the recreations, the camera whips around far too much, and things like those little floating platforms that carry you are practically useless for how much ground you cover without them.

    That said, it has some really nice parts to it that I wish stayed in; the more open areas of Act 1 and some stretches of Act 3 are pretty pleasant and would've been more than welcome to give the kinda lacking final version more depth. But a lot of Act 3 (and basically all of Act 2) is a hot mess and I'm glad we cut it out for something more streamlined, haha.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  7. Yash

    Yash

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    I agree - I like the prototype Windy Valley, but I think more in theory than in practice. The tornado section in particular is so much more obtuse than the final version, there are several points where the player just has to wait around for a platform to arrive without any indicator that one is even coming.
     
  8. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    The only times I got lost in GT was when I fell into the underwater sections of the first level and in some parts of Hill Top.

    The tornado section in proto WV was a bit confusing at times, but aside from that, I don't think I ever had trouble finding my way through the level. Hope this doesn't sound rude, but I honestly cannot fathom getting lost when they littered the whole stage with arrows.

    Did people also have trouble playing open-ended platformers like Mario 64 or your typical collectathon? (Honest question)

    This. The original WV obviously doesn't work very well with the final SA1 engine, but I can appreciate all the branching paths and the more varied layout.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  9. brandonj

    brandonj

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    Fair, I decided to watch a playthrough of the stage to remind myself more of what the layout was like and it's actually not as bad as I remember it being, although it's a bit strange in some places (mostly the camera and object layout in some places, and certain paths being a bit oddly designed).

    Don't think it's so much that getting lost is an issue when there's arrows everywhere, it's more that having to slap gaudy and aesthetically unfitting arrows all over every other piece of level geometry feels like a sloppy band-aid fix to a more fundamental flaw with the level design. Like I said before the direction actually isn't as bad as I remember it being even without the arrows but ideally you'd design the level in a way that makes it clear where to go without something like that being needed at all.
     
  10. SystemsReady

    SystemsReady

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    wait. did I miss something? we figured out a way to get Beta Act 2/tornado playable?
     
  11. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    Yup. Unless you mean in the autodemo itself, in which case I don't think so.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  12. OKei

    OKei

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    I articulated this as a YouTube comment on Dude's announcement video back in 2014 (and thus going by memory, so I may be out of the loop here), but I remember proto-WV being quite "foreign" compared to the rest of the stages. It's awkward to maneuver through, particularly that third act. I felt the final's Act 3 nailed it with simple railways that felt like a rollercoaster that guided you to the next part of the level. Proto Act 3 is more open, but those ditches and scenery objects that are embedded on the ground, and those turns slowed down the action for me. Even with the placement of the rings that guide you to the next area, the very first impression I had playing it was "I can't even tell where I'm supposed to have gone to." Were the camera files in the AutoDemo too?

    This might be me, but I thought the music seemed... incompatible with the tempo of this stage compared to the blissful pace of the final. Considering Windy Valley's music set wasn't in the AutoDemo (along with many other tracks, granted), perhaps this level's tracks were all different and were being recomposed at the time of the demo's pressing? It's also even as if Jun Senoue had been told to get another track ready the redesigned stage at the very last moment and literally just took his Green Grove Zone Act 2 track, resynthesized it, and got it out in time. This wouldn't be the first, and certainly not the last, time he would do that.
     
  13. SystemsReady

    SystemsReady

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    wow. last I had recalled there was no Landtable data for act 2 and we had some platform data but they were, like, the wrong scale or something.
     
  14. NiktheGreek

    NiktheGreek

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    According to Iizuka, the original plan to make Windy Valley fit the other stages was to revise the existing design. The eventual decision to start over was driven more by the need to meet deadlines:

    "At the time I was the director on this title, so there was never a plan for me to do level design, but our schedule was running tight and we had no one available who could clean up the partially completed Windy Valley, so I stepped in and remade it from scratch."
     
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  15. Shoemanbundy

    Shoemanbundy

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    It's funny how this thread got bumped after over a year of inactivity with someone validly pointing out there's still several stage files that we've yet to see fixed up and made playable, and somehow its derailed into a "bash the proto Windy Valley" thread.

    I definitely would love to see the earlier areas that still aren't playable, like that Casinopolis. And Mystic Ruin has an earlier iteration I think? It's been so long since I've paid attention to what didn't get fixed, but there's still several more, aren't there? At the risk of asking something maybe answered on another page of this thread, what's kept these stages from being fixed?
     
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  16. Ch1pper

    Ch1pper

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    Not bashing, just critiquing. And even then, the condition the proto stage is in leaves it such a position that it's hard to know what a final iteration of it would have looked like, regardless of whether you love the freedom it gives or hate the vast aimlessness of it. I love the idea of it, but the appearance as-is is hard for me to come to grips with. Iizuka said it still needed to be cleaned up to a great degree, so I wonder how much of the freedom it has would've really been retained in a final version.

    It's all just a fun guessing game, man. :)