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Dear Retro

Discussion in 'Project: Sonic Retro (Archive)' started by Chimpo, May 4, 2009.

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  1. Ritz


    Subhedgehog Member
    Those points weren't exactly valid, though. I was asking a pretty straightforward question, and what I was being told was that anyone without any prior programming experience would've been better off finding someone to pawn the work off on. Perhaps my wording was too vague for a proper response, but that seemed like a massive cop-out to me; not only is that a temporary and wholly unreliable solution to just about anything, but it certainly doesn't seem like the sort of mentality you'd condone, so I couldn't really tell where you were coming from with that. I will concede that you were just about the last person I'd ever expect a proper apology from- that was a bit humbling (And certainly a turn-off for a troll like me), but it's rare to see that sort of integrity from anyone and I really respect and appreciate the gesture, so I guess it's time to bury the hatchet. GG, dude.

    And just to disseminate any complaints against Chimpo's totalitarian rule once and for all, try to realize that any producer worth his salt within the actual game industry wouldn't have been half as lenient as he was. Everyone seemed to have high expectations for this project (For the quality of the finished product anyway, success in actually getting there notwithstanding), but creating a product even close to rivaling the originals in quality essentially requires the sort of iron hand he was wielding. The leader's traditional role, insofar as I'm aware, is to fabricate a vision for the final product and strive to ensure that the rest of the team conforms to this vision as accurately as possible; what you're all looking for here is for someone to hold your hand and keep things organized. One approach requires cash as an incentive, the other takes several years to realize and generally ends in failure all the same.

    Rolken's approach is a novel one, but the bottom line is that the concept of "community projects" is only really viable in an e-atelier setting like or OCRemix, where the majority of the member pool is comprised of people with talent as opposed to, you know, fans. I seem to recall the higher-ups having qualms against creating this forum in the first place, and their gut instincts were right on the money. It just doesn't work.
  2. JoseTB


    Tech Member
    It often works for me to build a list of simple objectives that have to be done in order to accomplish the full project and work from there systematically.

    Let me put an example, assuming that coming up with the first level is the main objective:
    - Create the level layout (drawn sketch)
    - Define the final art direction of the level
    - Create from the previous two the actual metatile set
    - With the level layout in hand define what kind of objects would be necessary for this level (items, badniks, etc)
    - Work on every one of them pararelly:
    --- Art
    --- Code (E02 implemetation)
    - Finish and or implement the sonic sheet into E02

    Focus on working on every point, step by step, to actually get it done, without stopping to discuss for every pixel.

    (Not applying for leader, no time, just my suggestion. jman2050 could imho take it somewhere, though)
  3. Rolken


    Tech Member
    Thing is, what you want out of the game and what you want out of the engine are related but very different things. You know you want a 2D character-based platforming game, with levels made of tiles, objects in those levels that interact with the character, yadda yadda. The particulars about what those objects do and what the levels look like and so on, while important in terms of game design, are details in terms of engine design. If you're using E02 then most of these points are covered already, and further considerations would be regarding how to extend the engine and its tools to move the project forward.

    Part of my pitch is that even though the majority of fans suck at this stuff, if you played your cards smoothly, the momentum you could gain from pulling in more people would gradually raise the participation and confidence level to where you'd get increasingly many contributors capable of decent stuff. As you said, the iron fist model doesn't work, but the Internet is full of successful projects based on people contributing their stuff for free.

    Frankly, I think you need to be willing to let your game's graphics suck for awhile. Your current model is to screen everything that comes through the door for A+ quality, but then all you have is a stack of a few images. If you pulled in everything at the start, you could make an actual game with a few sterling pieces and a boatload of programmer art and gradually improve that trashy art as you go along. If you get your gameplay down into a solid fun game and provide an easy method to touch up the imagery with earnest appeals to do so, people will emotionally invest in your game because they see a project with potential that is being fulfilled.

    You don't even need a master set of levels/art for the most part; just let people mishmash the stuff they enjoy from a set of options that have been uploaded and derive their own fulfillment out if it. If you want to make some kind of official release, you can release statements presenting your vision and the kind of material you're looking for and mishmash on your own terms. Get a rating filter in place to keep the bad stuff out of sight. Everyone goes home happy.

    What it boils down to is that the role of a project leader in this kind of environment has as much to do with psychology and sociology as technical skill. If you can figure out how to motivate people and keep them entertained and then implement that in your project, you're off to the races. If you get tied down in minutiae, turf wars and personal grievances, then you're sunk.
  4. Ritz


    Subhedgehog Member
    That's just the thing, though: Everyone working on this project seems to be preoccupied with the notion that the finished product has to rival the originals in quality. Matter of fact, that mentality seems to have been the crux of this whole affair. What you're proposing is that the entire project be refashioned into a sort of truly full-fledged 'open source' deal, and like I said, it's a pretty novel approach, and probably the only shot the project has of getting anywhere substantial- I support it, but it does directly conflict with the aforementioned ideals driving the project. Seeing as how everyone's standards and expectations have been deteriorating at a breakneck pace since the very moment Chimpo left, I honestly don't know if that's even a problem anymore. I really don't care how this plays out either way, but this is bound to devolve into some sort of Frankenstein affair with or without encouraging such a thing unless you guys reevaluate the situation and decide once and for all what the hell you even want out of this clusterfuck.

    Not to say that your model isn't completely unreasonable, though. There are so many ways it can fall through, and I think we've all learned to expect the worst by now: For starters, having a bunch of people just chuck whatever into the project isn't conducive to consistency (Or timeliness), and I can guarantee you that nobody is going to improve through heaping trash in here and being told that it's acceptable for the sole sake of motivating them into creating more filler. It's not unreasonable to claim that other, more talented individuals may be tempted into hopping on board once the project gains momentum- Badassbill is proof of that, as it seems he only ever joined for the project in the first place (Though I'm sure he's more than disenchanted with where it's gone and probably won't be sticking around for much longer)- but the chances of this actually occuring are slim overall, and what few people we do get will probably bail when they realize they're pulling all the weight themselves (Read: Chimpo). It's a game of Jenga and it won't play out as planned, at all.

    Those people weren't Sonic fans, hyuck.
  5. Rolken


    Tech Member
    Maybe I was a bit cavalier in my description, as I think you misinterpreted me a bit. By "programmer art" I meant the kind of placeholder stuff that you whip up to have something that gives the general idea with the express knowledge that it's not going to stay there longer than necessary and isn't worth spending much time on. Apart from that, even if art isn't top-tier quality to make it into any final builds, it is of value in that it provides a foundation to iterate on and evolve from (like happens to a degree in the megathreads already). Plus, well, I think there's plenty of art that wouldn't make it past Chimpo's standards but is fine enough anyway. And if the server model allowed users to create image sets and the like (a fairly simple addition if the system can handle images already), they could create their own alternative themes to add variety to the whole thing. So it's not just a matter of shoveling dung on the hill until it casts a large enough shadow to impress somebody that actually matters; there's plenty of ways to harness that effort to interesting effect. Any of the above are better than dumping a contribution in a thread and debating its merits before moving on to the next.

    But your broader point rings true. I could list dozens of things that could go wrong; you don't see me signing up for this gig, after all. In particular, the community's collective mutual distrust if not contempt, obsession with credit and possession, and general disillusionment could swiftly derail any communal efforts. And aside from the known issues, plans inevitably must adapt to a changing reality. The combination of the above is largely why I emphasized the need for a perceptive leader who knows how people tick and can keep them motivated. Without that, you have nothing.

    So, no, I won't be betting money on the success of a Retro community project unless someone uniquely talented and driven takes the reins. But while this particular model is a long shot that requires smart people to pull their project together, it seems to me that any other option has no chance at all.
  6. Phos


    Going for the high score on whatever that little b Member
    When it comes to actually getting people to work on this project, I think I know what Chimpo did wrong and how to avoid it.

    1. Have a thread for people to show of what they can do
    2. If it's good, we give them a specific job to do (such as "Make this levels trees" or something). Now they actually have an idea what they should work on.
    3. Not argue over every damn pixel. Everyone has a slightly different view over how stuff is supposed to look. If there's something about it clashing with the style, we should have enough artists on the project that they'll be able to notice it for themselves.

    Basically, make the project slightly aloof.

    I'd like to operate as a "talent coordinator", sort of like a producer, but produces have responsibilities that don't exist in in this project.

    Just throwing that out there.
  7. STHX


    SEGAAAAAAAAA?!? Member
    The world of Trophies
    Sonic In Mushroom Kingdom
    It is obvious you and I have different opinions, so it may not be a good idea to keep qouting one other to no extent.

    But some things must be said:
    If fixing the problems of a contribution is irrelevant, then whats the point of following a set style or to make good contributions?
    If you make an hack, chance is you would like it to be good. This is why it helps if someone points out the problems of any contributed work.
    What you said now makes no sense. It is like if you just said that it doesn't matter if a something looks bad, because it is irrelevant to fix it in the first place.

    I'm sorry for this. I haven't noticed this mistake.

    I'll gladly explain my point if you specify what part you don't understand.

    It would be nice if you were right. Again, I invite you to carefully read all the topics in this subforum. When the project was revamped on the 1st of March, these were the first words Chimpo said... Oh, wait. I can't quote them because Chimpo removed every contnent in his 1st posts.
    Ask any other contributor and they will confirm that post said, in little: "you had too much liberty, and you did nothing. From today we work only on one thing at time. No discussion"

    And it is exactly what you said. Every one have a different vision on a possible Sonic 4, but since every one have a different vision then some one must check all contributors follows that vision.
    And yes, my vision of this project was very different from Chimpo's one, maybe that's why I lost interest in this project. But in the end I still contributed something. The problem is that you maybe be more willing to contribute to a project if you agree with its direction. This was one of the main problems this project had since the beginning: different views.
    However, considering anything else beside Sonic Advance 1 even remotely similar to classic Sonic is wrong. Sonic Advance 2 is vastly different and the complete opposite of what makes the Genesis titles great. In a similar way, I always though we were supposed to follow the Genesis style, not the Advance one.

    I'm sorry for making a little mistake. It wasn't my intention to offend your user name or you.
    There could be a reason for the lack of activity.
    It wasn't my intention to be a dick, and I'm sorry if my words were offensive (see, today I'm sure I avoided to be a dick). However, even if you watched the project from above, living it as a contributor is something different. You watched, but I was part of it. I saw what happened to the project, the lack of effort, the lack of contributors. Each day I came to this forum P:SR was the first subforum I visited. Besides, I was always like this. I don't like when someone who hasn't lived a certain experience speaks of it as if he/she is the "grand expert of everything"
    I'm sure each one of the contributors has his/her own reasons for having stopped to contribute. For me it was the impression the project wasn't leading anywhere. I can't answer for the others.

    Sure, but some things are more possible than others with less limits.

    Should I point at this post?

    Give me a palette and I'll sprite. I too am hacking Sonic 1, you know. I can control the limits of Sonic 1. And if I, the last came in here, can do it, then anyone can.
    Ever though that maybe my vision of Sonic 4 could suffer from space limitations? I would like to make a game when the only limit is what we manage to do, not what the system says. Why there should be a set amount of zones? If we created 15 unique and fun zones, and we create one more unique and fun zone, why should we sacrifice one of the other 15 to put it in the game? Why can't we just add it to the game? And after that, if a 17th unique and fun zone is created, shouldn't it be better if we add it to the game? And this could be repeated many more times. But sometime the file size could be a limit.
    Oh, yeah, the file size:
    When I first discovered Rom Hacking I realized that many of the things I though impossible were actually possible. But that doesn't mean they are easy. I know only one hack made for the Mega CD, which, by the way, uses both Genesis audio and Red Book audio. But not every Genesis track could had a high quality counterpart because of size limits (or, at least, this is what I heard on its thread).
    If this game will behave in a similar way, we could encounter a similar problem.
    But this is something only the higher ups can decide. When the time will come, I'll contribute.

    You're right, I never played them. And I'm sorry if I didn't know Mega Man games don't use chunks. The only game I hacked is Sonic 1, so sorry if my conception of the other engines is limited.
  8. He didn't show anything more publicaly. You have no idea if he had more of Sonic's animations made in private.
  9. Tweaker


    Okay, I'm tired of the bitchfits between STHX and whoever the hell else. That shit ends now.

    What is the purpose of this topic? That is the question I want answered. Are we establishing new leadership? Are we canning the project? What exactly is going on? If I don't get any answers quick, I don't see any reason to continue this back and forth cocksmattering about a project that, so far, has not had the best track record by any means.

    Get it together, people—quick.
  10. The Shad

    The Shad

    ↑ & ↓ & ↻ Oldbie
    PSRs biggest problem is its lack of what it wants to do. S2HD is the prime example of getting it right. 'What do we want?' 'S2 beefed up' 'How?' 'Redrawing all the art and making a new engine'. Apply to here 'What do we want?' 'S4' 'How?'

    At that point, you get too many responses and no work equaling a collective 'uuuuuuuhhhh'. Now, I'm not behind completely S1ing everything since PSR is to be the next logical step in 2D Sonic, but putting it to Genesis specs at least gives us something to work with.
  11. Matwek


    You have my vote on that.
    Starting it as a hack gives strict guidlines that people can follow, which will drasticly cut back on all the bullshit of "Wouldn't it be amazing if we could do this?" or "I have an idea, -insert insane nonsence-".
    Also with the level layouts handled like they would be in a hack, level designs can be more focused, put together properly, with designs for actual tiles to scale. Rather than doodles on a piece of paper.

    Once thats done then maybe you can think about expanding upon the crazy ideas. And if it gets that far, then and only then think about moving beyond the limitations of the Genesis.

    Pace yourselves, don't get carried away too soon.
  12. Mr. Mash

    Mr. Mash

    All fanbases are awful Member
    I don't know a huge amount about hacking or megadrive's restrictions, but would this kind of art be useable in a MD hack?
    it's just because to me the mock-ups over in the level design thread look like they're perfectly fitting as the 'next step up' from the Megadrive titles, without going into 3D or vector graphics.
  13. Rolken


    Tech Member
    I'm not sure that forcing a rush to judgment is the best option for a project plagued by poor judgment.

    Just sayin
  14. Dr. Mecha

    Dr. Mecha

    Dallas, TX
    3d Models
    Ask Chimpo, he started the topic in the first place.
  15. jman2050


    Teh Sonik Haker Tech Member
    I think limiting this to a simple Genesis hack would be a major waste, especially with the tools and talent available at our disposal.
  16. Tweaker


    Are you saying that, instead, a massive amount of leadership-related bitching and off-topic tangents is what we should be aspiring to let flourish in this topic? Because that's exactly what it was before I decided to say something.

    The fact of the matter is, there's been more than enough time to make some sort of solid judgement; instead, people decided to discuss nothing of actual pertinent significance. So if this project is to continue in any way, shape or form as a project hosted by this community, then it needs to make a decision. End-of. No more dicking around.

    I'm locking this topic and starting a new one for the very discussion I want to take place. Let's get to it.
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