General Project Thread & Feedback

Discussion in 'Sonic 2 HD (Archive)' started by Vangar, Mar 8, 2008.

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  1. Canned Karma

    Canned Karma

    S2HD Project Manager Member
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    Sonic 2 HD, various 3D work
    Thanks for expressing your concerns so succinctly ICEknight, it provides us with well thought out perspective.

    The example you posted is truly atrocious in my eyes - that someone would want a "furry" Sonic in an S2HD remake doesn't make me happy in the least. Rest assured we're committed to the original vision that Sega had in mind back then. Going above and beyond is just that - extras. Attention to properly interpreting the original details will always take priority. This doesn't mean other ideas will be excluded, as Vincent posted (as we're looking for ways to enhance the experience in addition to nostalgic value), but it does mean there is a decided base we are working from.

    As for the 3D, I don't see that happening any time soon outside of the special stages. Should someone with the talent step up and attempt remasters in 3D, I'd be glad to take a look at them, but they quality they would need to have to fit with the rest of the 2D art would be staggering. In short, I don't see that realistically happening. Matching the proper toon lighting and shading would be tedious to say the least, and inefficient from a time standpoint compared to a good 2D remaster of the same object.
     
  2. Sciz

    Sciz

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    It's a worthwhile idea, but the execution seems off. Rather than creating new shapes that didn't already exist (obvious pixel limitations aside, e.g. Sonic's buckles), it would be better to continue trying to add detail to the shapes that already exist. The leaves are a marked improvement over the original, for instance; I don't think anyone is going to seriously argue that they should remain indistinct ovals rather than shading them to imply the vein down the center. Perhaps the petals could be altered in a similar manner.

    To use a random example from Google Images:

    [​IMG]


    There are obvious distinctions between petals and even the colors on the petals, though the overall shape remains sharp and nearly symmetrical. If you could replicate a similar effect, it would add a bit more natural detail while still maintaining the odd geometric nature of the vegetation.

    I wouldn't go overboard with it, though. Just refining the shading has helped considerably. And don't forget that the original tech demo people were complaining about looked like this

    [​IMG]

    rather than this

    [​IMG]

    much less like it is now with all of the recent refinements. If you really want to wow people, I'd sooner suggest working on things like making the flower stems merge smoothly into the grass, or having the grass and tree fronds sway a little in the wind (more extra animation, I know, but I'm a sucker for that sort of thing).
     
  3. Vincent

    Vincent

    Sonic 2HD - Project Leader & Chara Member
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    Sonic 2 HD
    ICE you know how much I appreciate your "original" knowledge,
    I will not ever ignore a single of your comments because it's thanks to you that Uber Sonic could shape up onto this fortunate result.
    And I wanted to mention you on the first public interview S2HD Staff had for this.

    However, since we made the TD public, we started to have a growing and wider audience in general vg areas. (which is not composed only by teenagers)
    Thanks to these critics we have realized how "limited" the result was compared to nowadays HD standards and we finally "put to use" the million colors available on us, with UBER (which I was really afraid to do, because it's SO DIFFICULT to add further definition with dozen of manual shades to blend perfectly when animated.)

    What we need to understand is that we cannot "waste" S2HD into a carbon-copy of the original, because it's not limited to squared pixels anymore.

    What would original Sonic 2 team do today? We cannot know for sure, but we know that adding a maximum extra 15% of new details will be a refreshing experience even for us nostalgic fans, and we'll have the 85% full-blown nostalgia to be immerged with.
    Not to mention the NEW features we'll include, which will be first on a Sonic videogame.

    I'm open to critics, and to rework if there is a better option, You should know me by now.

    So post examples, mockups and discussion by keeping "this" vision in head.


    P.s. ICE did you receive PMS yesterday?
     
  4. ICEknight

    ICEknight

    Researcher Researcher
    That's a very interesting idea! Just making the old designs "less static" could work wonders without having to add stuff to them.
    Here's a quick example, in APNG format (takes a while to load):
    [​IMG]
    It's a bit exaggerated in this case, but I hope it gets the point across. Same impossible plants, while bringing some authenticity into them in the form of realistic physics. This is just an example on how to achieve a more HD-feel without having to invent new shapes for the already existant graphics.



    The Sonic games featured some cartoony graphics (main characters) and some geometrical shapes (plants and trees in general)... But there were also many realistic-looking graphics, not only regarding the man-made stuff (gears, rolling tubes, machinery in general), but also the elements you can find in nature (clouds, oil, water, fire). This implied that, no matter how surreal Sonic's world was, it was still ruled by similar physics to the real world, implying that the wind, water and such things worked just like we know them.

    I think we should play a little with this "realism within a surreal world": Other levels could feature some particles coming out of the colliding rusty gears, realistic water splashes and drips, sligthly foggy ends of waterfalls, realistic neon glows (even if they might be unrealistically floating in the air)... There's many things we can try before resorting to change the original artists' work.
     
  5. Sciz

    Sciz

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    More suited for Hilltop than EHZ, but you've got the idea. :psyduck:

    Ah, now you've gone and hit on the logical extension of the idea I hadn't yet dared to voice. It's a considerable amount of extra work, but...well, it's one thing to make a game that looks great in screenshots (and that's a worthwhile effort in its own right), but I've always been of the opinion that a graphical showcase should look even better in motion, and in the case of HD remakes that largely means adding things that simply didn't exist before. There are effects like these (I.e. "What should logically be in the art, but isn't?"), special effects like shaders and post processing (motion blur and such), and good old fashioned animation. Moderation in all things, of course.
     
  6. Flare

    Flare

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    I understand that yeah its adding things onto sprites, but I don't think its fair to say we can't do that.

    What I think Vincent did was take something beyond the limitations of a few pixels. Why work within the limitations of something that could be expanded on. Can we really dictate what the design are based on like 6 pixels. For example, Sonic doesn't have buckles on the sprites but we know he has them based on artwork, but there is no artwork of the zones that say what they wanted to do but couldn't based on the limitations.

    Like Vincent said, we are not the Sonic Team, we don't have the original drawings of Emerald Hill (well atleast I haven't seen) so we can't believe that everything in the game is what they wanted, or is based on technical limitations. For example the chemical plant springs have 4 black pixels, now we have bolts but how do we know they didn't actually want black circles? I feel that we should go with our own creative view, as long as it doesn't go to far I don't think we are damaging the original game's design. Adding fur to Sonic is taking it a step too far because we know that he doesn't have noticeable fur, but I don't see why we can't add an extra leave to a flower so it doesn't look like we have just 4x the sprite and added a filter.
     
  7. Sciz

    Sciz

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  8. Vincent

    Vincent

    Sonic 2HD - Project Leader & Chara Member
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    I really understand your point.

    And believe me, I'm an "Original Sonic" lover as well.
    S3&K was the pinnacle and the inevitable fall of the entire series into the modern hip-hop Blue Anorexic-toxic hedgehog.

    In my experience on low-res pixel art and animation, It was IMPOSSIBLE to get eye details perfectly, especially anime-style, due to pixel limits. So there was a 2 - 3 available combination to make the result "acceptable".
    In this process, the Original Ideas got "filtered" and "limited" by pixels, and that's what happens working on low-res.

    HD is another world and believe me one leaf is one detail. The flower is the exact same with an Uber shading.
    What happens if you play it on an HD TV in distance and see "Hey! Isn't that a leaf"?
    You go looking in close and you get amazed by the amount of details and shades.

    What happens if you make a perfectly circular stem, a perfectly squared trunk or a semitransparent Palmtree?
    Easy Flash-Vectors, 4X Filtered image and no need to go looking at the smaller details because there are none.

    Said this it does not mean the level will by any means discard the original shapes and feel, being distorted by "organic" or "fluffy" environment, but please DO expect minor details, as any HD experience NEED to show.
     
  9. Master Emerald

    Master Emerald

    A green crystal Member
    I hate when someone say, It was not there. Bacause most of the artwork details were not in game because of the low resolution, following this reasoning line, we should not Uberize the shades because it looses a bit of the cartoony feeling, we are not here to be a human HQ4x filter, we are here to try to translate the art itself and its details that were left from the images. I tryied to put that details on the flower and as I expected, they be horrible!

    [​IMG]

    I understand your point Ice, and respect your opinion but I do not agree.
     
  10. LOst

    LOst

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    I also get ICEknight's point (I have this simple rule, ICEknight is priority 1, listen to him!). I think this discussion is growing too large for its own good. All of a sudden one artform seems to be final, but according to this project it shouldn't be. Don't forget that people.

    If the leaves should be organic or polygon geometrical is up to the artist at first hand (go artists! You are the soul of this project!). That's just the way it is. Then we "general public" judge it fairly, and choose if it is the one to go with, or we'll choose another suitable option (Canned Karma will do it for you... XD ), if there is one (currently there is only one, so don't get stuck with it!).

    That's why there is a database! So that people can modify existing art and make better versions (or make their own), and maybe more suitable. Art is never final until the Release Candidate. Even then there are exceptions that can be dealt with.

    I am looking forward to see ICEknight modifying Vincent's art instead of telling him to modify it. I am sure there will be better versions, but still have Vincent's magical uber touch.


    I hope I sounded a little like Athelstone. I miss the guy!



    *Insert 100 words here to take Vincent's side in all matters so I won't get fired* :(

    EDIT: Remind me to not open my mouth again
     
  11. Tweaker

    Tweaker

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    On the contrary, LOst—I hope you open your mouth more. :(

    While I agree with ICEknight's point, I also feel that this particular change is rather marginal. A couple of leaves at the side, at the end of the day, isn't going to totally kill the feel of the original art; in fact, the change is so minor that many people may not even pay much attention to it, let alone notice the difference. We're a group of perfectionists for sure, but at the same time the small details might be better attributed to the art that isn't extremely minor in the first place.

    If we're to go back to the plain stalk without any extra details at the side, I'd like something to make it look more complex, at least. It's okay to not have a lot of detail when the flower is at such a low resolution, but now that it's four times its original size, it needs something new to make it feel like the flower has ben truly "zoomed in upon," in a manner of speaking. If we were just going to upscale the original pixel art in every case without any real re-imagination, then we may as well have run hq4x on everything. The effort is what counts; and the result is hardly anything less than spectacular!

    I also agree with the tidbit Sciz posted, however. Ultimately, I think we just need to go about adding detail in a less intrusive, more conservative (if you will) manner. Think about elegonating the outlines of the flower itself, or perhaps adding more detail to the straight stalk. Look at the real flower—see what you can do to the original pixel art to make it look like that flower without going outside of the scope of the original art style. I think that is a good way to reach your goal. Think about the cartoony nature of Sonic himself, the natural beauty of the flower itself, and how you can combine those styles into one. That's the ticket.
     
  12. Elratauru

    Elratauru

    Little Shiny Emurralds Member
  13. Sciz

    Sciz

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    We absolutely should make the shading as nice as possible, in fact. Again, just look at the original games. Shading is one of the best examples of something that they worked hard on and struggled with to surpass the hardware limitations, even in Sonic 1 (and much more so by the time Sonic 3's more detailed art rolled around). Everything is thoroughly shaded, and often with a good deal of dithering to make up for the restrictive color palette. Run the games through an RF filter and you'll see all of the colors they would've drawn directly if they could have. I wouldn't call the series cartoony, anyway. Mario is cartoony. Sonic is a realistic depiction of a surreal world (though admittedly one inspired by a good deal of classic animation).
     
  14. muteKi

    muteKi

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    Right; as others have noted I agree that the goal is to use a better set of colors in a higher resolution, and I feel at some point the number of animation frames should be increased as well for most objects -- unlike SF2HD increasing the frame count won't break the gameplay, so it should definitely be used; it's how the game will become truly impressive in its presentation.

    A couple people already mentioned what I mean by better animation and colors so I won't repeat the litany, just throwing in my 2 cents.
     
  15. Ultima

    Ultima

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    You know, if you guys have discussions like this over every flower in the game, not only will it end up being fucking beautiful, but our grandson's grandsons will still be working on it :P

    My opinion is that the "UBER" one kicks ass, and I think there's such a thing as taking the whole "stick to the original" too far. It's a flower that most people probably won't even see... I can't believe anyone would compare it to the original and get angry about the fact that the shape is not 100% identical to the original. In fact, I'm fairly sure the vast proportion of humanity would prefer it not to be.
     
  16. Strike Da Mic

    Strike Da Mic

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    GameRights.ch, Sonic 2 HD
    Though I'm a purist, I agree with Ultima. I think it's best to concentrate on minor details when the questionable piece of content plays a main role (such as character/enemy sprites, certain often repeated bullet/fireball sprites, bigger background sprites like palms, background music, SFX etc). But with this flower, I believe it's best to just let it rest like it is - because it looks great - and concentrate on the more important stuff. Just like Ultima said, I don't think anyone - at least no one in this community :P - will stop and look at all the plants and background stuff and then go "Hey! That flower doesn't look a 100% like the original! That layer of shading does not have the correct shade of purple!" or something like that, and even if they do - so what? In the end, this is about remaking Sonic 2 so the feel of the game stays the same but looking/sounding better. And I don't think a barely different looking background plant would spoil that feel.
     
  17. ICEknight

    ICEknight

    Researcher Researcher
    ...What are you two talking about?

    It's not like changing a flower will take ages, and the other art still hasn't recieved any of those "additions outside the remastering". We're precisely still in time for setting the definitive art direction once and for all, and not having to make up certain details might even shorten the development process a little.


    I'm just pointing out the stuff that I feel should stay truer to the original because I care about the outcoming of this project, I just don't understand that easy "oh well who cares" position. =\
     
  18. Endgame

    Endgame

    Formerly The Growler Member
    Here's my version - just couldn't resist doing it :v: :(

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Strike Da Mic

    Strike Da Mic

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    Well uh, no offense, but that just plain sounds to me like you didn't actually READ my post.

    I definitely do NOT have a "oh well who cares" opinion about this. But bringing a huge project like this to a happy ending without spending an eternity on it means that we'll have to shift concentration. Prominent content should receive a bigger piece of the "concentration-cake" than stuff that just whirls past the screen most of the time, just like this plant.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we should just try and settle with the first solution that some people in here consider "okay". But it will take a HUGE lot of time and many compromises to draw this plant in a way that (virtually) everyone is pleased with it - but in the end, it will still just "whirl past the screen".

    Do you understand what I'm saying? Stuff like the Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Robotnik, enemies sprites, or the background music for the levels, that is what I believe we should be looking at every detail. But this plant, in my opinion, looks good as it is and I'm sure it will serve its purpose brilliantly that way.
     
  20. Kirinja

    Kirinja

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    I understand what you're trying to say SDM. Focus more on the more important sprites. Problem is that I think ICEknight, and myself for that part, don't want to make exuses to use something everyone is not pleased with. Sure it will just whirl past the screen, but so will the palm trees and almost everything else as well. I think we should look this flower business over so everyone can be happy.
    Improve the colors rather than adding unnecessary detail.
     
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