How would you make a "hybrid" Sonic gameplay style work?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Azookara, Jul 30, 2021.

  1. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    Just to talk about GT's take for a moment though, I don't think the level design was as amazing as people tend to make it out to be. While yes it does a lot of things right, the fact that it is incredibly massive makes it incredibly difficult to know which way you're supposed to go. Personally speaking, I would get lost in Hill Top Zone for minutes on end because of how many branching paths there were with very little in the way of set pieces to keep me straight. While I do think mechanically it's going in the right direction, those mechanics mean nothing if the level design isn't solid enough to naturally allow the players to progress.

    Verring back into the topic though, there is such a thing as too much space in a Sonic game. While exploration is a key component of Sonic 3, Mania, and CD, 2 out of those 3 know well enough to create levels that will still funnel you to the same destination while the other gives you gigantic levels with little rhyme or reason where to go. It's probably a big reason why the boost games were linear, as the boost doesn't easily allow for that type of exploration, and honestly, I would say that's perfectly fine for a Sonic game. Linearity is not a bad thing for Sonic if balanced right.
  2. Hitlersaurus Christ

    Hitlersaurus Christ

    Not a nazi, maybe Jesus, definitely a dinosaur Member
    glorious nippon
    An idea for a Sonic game I’ve thought a lot about is one that has 3 “gears” that the game automatically shifts between:
    Gear 1 would be slower. Not completely slow, but slow enough to walk comfortably around hub worlds and do some more careful platforming. This wouldn’t be used much in action stages, and if it was it would be in very brief sections. Pressing the spin dash button would let you roll into a ball without an initial boost of speed, like in the first Sonic Adventure game.

    Gear 2 would be around the level of speed in the Sonic Adventure games. Easier to control than the boost games, able to do some degree of precision platforming, and able to go fairly fast through the level. This gear would let you spin dash, and build speed when you roll down inclines.

    Gear 3 would be Unleashed’s level of speed and similar controls. The spin dash button would become the boost button.
  3. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I disagree lol. Platforming in Sonic games is more elaborate than it first appears. To start with, the games tend to become more methodical in their design as they progress. Far moreso than something like Sonic GT where you are almost always moving very quickly. If you had to do platforming in the vein of Marble, Metropolis, Flying Battery, Death Egg, Press Garden, or Titanic Monarch in Sonic GT it would be a nightmare because of how fast Sonic moves. It's already hard enough in the Classic games honestly.

    But even in the more fast-paced Classic stages there tends to be a level gimmick which revolves around platforming. Like the pulleys in Ice Cap, the bumpers and flippers in the casino stages, etc. While yes, they aren't designed in the vein of normal platformers, they are designed to help you launch yourself onto a particular platform. It would be almost impossible I think o use those kind of gimmicks to launch yourself into a particular direction in a game like Sonic GT. I would definitely overshoot it and fall into lava or something.

    I'm not bashing Sonic GT by the way. I think it's very impressive for a fan project and I do think that the first level is pretty fun. But I also think it works best when you are running in one direction and have a very clear view of where you are going. When I got to Hill Top and it tried to become more platformer focused in its challenges I would just constantly fall off platforms, overshoot or undershoot jumps, and then have no idea where I was going. I would often go backwards by accident lol. Which is why I feel it's better when it plays like a more open Boost game where you are running off in one direction but with the benefits of having more organic control compared to something like Generations.

    Attached Files:

  4. Palas


    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    Yeah I'm with Laura here. Classic Sonic is anything but close to Boost by principle, because classic Sonic's entire concept revolved around using and going against the terrain, its gimmicks and the enemies. The exact thing the Boost does is eliminate any need to interact with the terrain. Even in Rush, in which the meter fills by destroying enemies and performing tricks, you always go fast in spite of the level, not because of it. And, in this regard, it's anything but platforming.

    And because speed was never an end in itself, knowing where to go has always been of utmost importance. It was a given in 2D environments, but doesn't work the same way in 3D and SOnic GT is a prime example of that. Like Laura said, you'll often have no idea where to go or why you'd go anywhere you're not. Classic Sonic levels were never playgrounds except at the micro level. But that only ever worked because the macro aspect of the level design was figured out, which, in every "3D classic Sonic" take, never happened.
  5. Frostav


    Well, yeah, that is right, but I don't think an extrapolation of classic Sonic into 3D needs to be directly mimic it. Also, 3D platformers in general do not have platforming as hard as 2D ones--even Mario moved to much larger platforms and easier jumps when it went 3D, and there is almost nothing in any 3D platformer as brutal as Super Meat Boy, Celeste, or other platform hell games. The only 3D platformer I've ever played that really did try to be very close to a 2D one is...Sonic Robo Blast 2, and that game gets hard later on, especially in the final few zones. Even then, the platforming never quite gets as narrow as 2D Sonic can get. Also, this is just personal preference but I hate like half the zones you mentioned XD

    Yeah, some of those gimmicks wouldn't work in a game like GT. I don't think that's quite a bad thing, though. Some things just work better in 2D. I think 3D Sonic doesn't need to use gimmicks as much as 2D does, because the inherent freedom and extra possibilities 3D offers can stand on their own: level geometry that's entirely bespoke and not a bunch of tiles glued to each other, for instance, means that individual sections can be much more unique. GT even does this in Hill Top, with the lower lava-filled sections having a unique feel than the higher grassy sections. But still, I think you CAN come up with cool gimmicks that work in that kind of gameplay too.

    And for the record: I don't think GT, or any of the fangames like are perfect. They're all made by like two people max each. They are, I won't deny, very slippery, a bit unfocused, and sometimes a bit too chaotic for their own good. But I feel they represent the start of a good idea, of a 3D Sonic that isn't so heavily beholden to the ideas the actual 3D series uses, and which tries to incorporate the design philosophies of the classic games. As for the getting lost thing, I guess I'm just a lot more forgiving of that. I personally never found myself getting lost that much, and when I was, I found the controls and physics so inherently fun that I just...messed around and had fun and eventually found the right area. That's what I love about it: it's just inherently fun to play around in, the same way Sonic Utopia's demo is. The freedom you have, and the levels that come with it, is just...really damn fun. And I feel there's something there. Something a proper professional dev team could wrangle into something special. Spark the Electric Jester 2 and 3 are a good example, by the way, of that basic idea with a lot more focus and linearity while never feeling suffocatingly linear and automated.

    See what I said above: 2D Sonic was a lot more focused, yes. I think 3D Sonic can and should be a bit more freeform, though. 3D brings with it an inherent sense of freedom that I think 3D Sonic should lean into (not totally embrace by being open-world or something). There's a reason the Sonic CD intro, when it posed the question "how do we represent the essence of Sonic in an animated world?", didn't just show him running through the levels you actually played. It depicted him in a larger world, using his abilities to effortlessly traverse it. I think that's what 3D Sonic should be like. Not that freeform and open (I'm not asking for Sonic Skyrim), but embracing the idea of Sonic being able to flex his abilities in these large playgrounds that still follow a linear path, but which give you the freedom to stretch your legs and dick around.

    What I'm saying in the end is I'm tired of 3D Sonic being a bunch of very pretty hallways where you go down the path set for you and the physics and controls keep you on a tight leash the entire way through. Boost here, jump there, slide under that, stomp through that, go through automated loop, homing attack these enemies over a deathpit. It's all so...rigid. I don't feel like a supersonic hedgehog doing cool stuff with my abilities--I feel like I'm playing a rhythm game, frankly. Every slide is the same. Every homing attack chain is the same. Every walljump area is the same. They have different set dressing, but they don't actually feel different.
  6. Swiftbix


    Deep Delver Member
    Here’s a theoretical moveset for a hybrid Sonic game that I brainstorm. The main goal was to pull moves from across the series that I feel would work the best in 3D. I tried to designate buttons for each move as well (Nintendo Switch controller based cause I’m a big Nintendo fan lol). Warning, it’s gonna be a long read.

    • Speedometer (Speed Levels): It’s not a move but I really took a liking to Azookara’s idea of bringing back the speedometer. For the moveset I made up, it would help determine Sonic’s different speeds. Like Unleashed, it would range from blue (starting speed) to red (top speed). So Blue<Green<Yellow<Orange<Red. Sonic’s “base speed” would be green. As long as Sonic keeps running he’ll reach his top speed. This mechanic will enhance most of Sonic’s moves depending on his speed level.

    • Spin Attack (A Button): No explanation needed lol. The basic jump. The higher Sonic’s speed level, the higher his jump.

    • Roll (ZL Trigger While Moving): While moving, hold the ZL trigger to roll. The duration of the roll would last as long as you hold the ZL button and you have the momentum to move forward.

    • Spin Dash (ZL Trigger): Hold the trigger to charge up a Spin Dash ala Sonic Lost World. You can tap the A button to rev it up faster. At its maximum charge, the Spin Dash will get you to yellow on the speedometer.

    • Drop Dash (Hold ZL Trigger in Midair): Works just like in Sonic Mania. From a standstill, the Drop Dash will get you to green on the speedometer that way the Spin Dash can keep an advantage over it. When moving it will only be used to keep Sonic’s flow going, but it cannot advance Sonic to another speed level as to prevent it from being to powerful. Example, if Sonic is at orange on the speedometer and performs a Drop Dash, it won’t bump him to red.

    • Super Peel-Out (ZR Trigger): Hold the ZR trigger to charge the move. The strength of the peel-out would be detonated by a charging animation ala Lost World. At its maximum charge, the Super Peel-Out will get you to orange on the speedometer that way it can have an advantage over the Spin Dash. The trade off is that it takes much longer to fully charge the move than the Spin Dash, so you have to utilize it wisely.

    • Homing Attack (Tap or Hold A in Midair Near Enemy): This is far from an original idea, but there would be two types of Homing Attacks: if you tap A you’ll come to a halt midair (ideal for chaining the move) and if you hold A your speed will be conserved and you’ll gain some height.

    • Air Dash (Tap A in Midair): An aerial dash. The higher Sonic’s speed level, the farther the Air Dash will travel.

    • Bounce (Tap Y in Midair): Works just like SA2. When Sonic’s speed level prior to bouncing is high, his initial bounce will be higher.

    • Spin Kick (Tap Y While Moving): The leg sweep move from Sonic 06. It would be an alternative to rolling into enemies that could keep Sonic’s speed going. It would also be able to break enemy shields and reflect beams. When Sonic Spin Kicks an enemy while moving it would give him a slight speed boost, so chaining the move could advance him to the next speed level. When using the move at top speed it would be upgraded to the Blue Tornado, which would eject a tornado in front of Sonic to damage enemies.

    • Drift (L/R Bumper on Ground): The higher Sonic’s speed level, the tighter the drift. Some people say that Sonic should control smooth enough to make a turn manually, but with the kind of high speeds Sonic will find himself going, the drift would be a valuable asset to help maintain the flow.

    • Stomp (Tap ZR Trigger in Midair): Unlike the Bounce, it’s the best way to get Sonic to make a full stop from the air.

    • Aerial Tricks (Tap L/R Buttons in Midair): These will be based closely on how they worked in the Sonic Advance games rather than Sonic Rush since they were more directional there. Using either button and holding forward would let Sonic do the Humming Top to move forward, holding backward would initiate the Back Star to move Sonic backwards, and just tapping either button with no directional movement would initiate the Hop Jump to give Sonic some air. If L and R are pressed at the exact same time Sonic would perform a Finisher which would be a random easter egg pose based on Uekawa art.
      For the Humming Top, it’s aura would change color depending on Sonic’s speed level instead of being blue all the time like pictured below [​IMG]
      The reward for pulling off a trick would be Sonic advancing to his next speed level after landing on the ground. Like the air dash, the strength of the trick will be tied to what his speed level is.

    • Boost Mode: This is Sonic’s orange speed level and it would work like it does in Sonic Advance 2. There are 5 ways to reach it: land a trick while on yellow speed, keep running at yellow speed, chaining a Spin Kick at yellow speed, a fully charged Super Peel-Out, or Light Speed Dashing. Boost Mode would be indicated by Sonic’s legs forming a peel-out and after-images following him.

    • Boost: This is Sonic’s red speed level. You can only reach it by continuing to run in Boost Mode, chaining a Spin Kick from Boost Mode, or Light Speed Dashing in Boost Mode. Like the boost games, the move would be indicated by the boost aura surrounding Sonic, and he would be invincible. However, the move would come with 2 cons. 1: poor reaction time will be punished. One wrong move, and Sonic will revert all the way back to green speed and have to work his way up to the Boost again. 2: Sonic will no longer be able to drift and you’ll have to turn manually. In the drift’s place the L/R Bumpers will now be used to Quick Step while boosting. This change was made to keep that sense of adrenaline from the boost games. If you Roll while boosting, Sonic will perform a move dubbed the Boost Dash that takes him to his highest speed and does not respond to physics like the normal roll. Mastery of the moveset and level layout will allow you more boost time.

    • Light Speed Dash(Tap Y Button Near a Ring Trail): I feel this move is really under utilized. Instead of using it to cross large gaps, like mentioned before, a Light Speed Dash will speed you up. It will automatically take you to Boost Mode, or if you’re already at it, you’ll proceed to Boost.

    • Parkour: This time parkour would be automatic and only be done from a 3D perspective. You’d just run towards the wall in a diagonal motion to scale it in that direction. While wall running, you can tap the ZL button to charge one Spin Dash for a horizontal boost with some verticality or tap the ZR button to charge one Super Peel Out for a stronger horizontal boost the verticality of the Spin Dash. To jump between two walls you can either tap A to do a 3D wall jump ala Sonic Lost World to keep your speed and refill your Spin Dash and Super Peel Out or you can double tap A to Triangle Jump from wall to wall at the cost of loosing all of your speed. The wall jump as seen in Sonic Unleashed would also return when scaling two walls from a 2D perspective.

    • Super Sonic (X Button): Super Sonic comes with the normal perk of invincibility as well as boosting almost immediately when running, infinite Spin Dash and Super Peel Out when wall running, and gliding forward for a short time when dashing. All orange speed versions of base Sonic’s moves can be performed by Super Sonic without building speed.
    • Rings: The more rings Sonic has, the faster he moves, ala Sonic Advance 2.
    • Elemental Shields: Since Sonic can already do the moves the shields allowed him before, they only keep their elemental properties for reacting with the environment. Normal Shield blocks one attack, Water Shield lets Sonic breathe underwater, Fire Shield burns bridges, Electricity Shield attracts rings and can get magnetized, and the new Wind Shield (if it already existed please correct me) will buff the Air Dash and allow Sonic to levitate in the air further by holding A in midair.
    • Wisps: Yeah right, that’s enough power-ups lol. Maybe collecting them would let you give them to the Chao in a Chao Garden…
    That about wraps it up. I know a lot of you might be thinking “why so many moves” and yeah, it is a lot, but I’d rather Sonic have a large bag of tricks to pull from than a barren moveset like he had in Forces. I mean, look at Mario’s moveset in Odyssey. They brought back literally every move he’s ever done without a partner in 3D with the exception of the punch kick combo from 64. Did it hinder the experience? No imo. I don’t even use a lot of those moves (like the Spin Jump) but it’s nice to have them there when I feel like a change of pace. I feel that Sonic could benefit from something like that.

    As for level design, I’m not too sure about that. The kind of moveset I made up rewards speed, so maybe it would be something linear with some open paths to take advantage of the parkour and find secrets? Anyway, that’s my ideal hybrid moveset idea. It’s not really an Adventure and Boost fusion, but rather an amalgamation of moves that Sonic has performed over the years.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
  7. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    My name's Martin Member
    You people really make things complicated, uh? Well, not everyone, but let me explain (here comes a wall of text):

    The main thing to take into account is not the existing mechanics, is the feel you get from playing those games. I frankly feel Studiopolis is not that different from a boost level most of the time, with that many moments where you can just roll and let automation or the level architecture itself take you through large portions of the levels. Similarly, the absence of boosting was quite meaningless in SA2 when we had the light dash letting as go through ring trails, and boost gameplay is more or less adventure gameplay with a "Leroy Jenkins" button and the associated extra controls to handle speed. So let's dissect it a bit.

    In Sonic games (the whole franchise, approximately) we have:

    A) Moments in which...
    1/ ...we run freely and enjoy speed.
    2/ ...careful platforming and other slower actions take place.
    3/ ...the level layout is still tricky but still allows us to run freely if we master the controls and the level itself.

    B) Layouts where...
    1/ Branching paths and exploration give us gameplay options and the fun of making discoveries.
    2/ Just going forward and letting ourselves go are the only things we really need to do to have fun.

    A hybrid Sonic gameplay is something we've already had, but classic games were only 2D and 3D games have been too messy to either notice or enjoy it. Stuff like a boost button may point clearly to A1 and B2 from my list, and even A3 sometimes, but you only have to add the other options to discourage its usage when not needed, and you only need to focus on those options and add automation gimicks to make non-Boost games feel like boost games, or classic games like adventure games at least. The real way to make "hybrid" gameplay on 3D is to implement smart mechanics and level design that support a good mixture of all of the above on a single level in an organic way and even give options on how to approach each situation.

    The crux of Sonic gameplay is that everything you can do should keep you moving forward one way or another, only stopping when you actually want to stop. spindash is a movement option, and so is boost, but homing attacks and light dash are also movement options, and they can be used wisely to make fun moments and not just to get through bottomless pits. A Sonic game could be a real fast real platformer through its movement options without having boost or spindash if the whole design does it right. In other words, a real hybrid for the purposes of this thread.

    To throw some easy idea: if power sneakers and invincibility stars were controlled powerups with a timer gauge you deplete when activating them, you'd be at the gates of boosting. Activating both of them with a single and the same button would effectively create a boost button for gameplay that relied on getting two powerups at once, and using power sneakers or invincibility stars when you want instead of instantly for their full duration when having only one of those would still be a welcome addition. Wisps right now are triggered powerups that still spend their full duration on a single run, yet the white wisps refill the gauge, so this option wouldn't really change the rules that much, and you can have those S monitors as the best thing and stack durations instead of just refilling the default duration of each of those powerups. Example: you get power sneakers and spend 2 seconds of it before getting invincibility starts, so for the remaining duration of the sneakers, you'll also be invincible, and then you'll have 2 additional seconds of invincibility where you won't run at boosted speed. If, before spending all that, you get an S monitor or any of the previous two, they will stack their duration, allowing you to accumulate "boost" time throughout the level if you want to.

    But there's more to it. I'd remove spindash and boost as they are, and have both a roll button to switch movement mode and an "extra effort" button to gear up a bit, sort of a super peel out button on the run but not as powerful as boosting and without invincibility. The extra effort would deplete a gauge or spend some of your rings, but moving non-stop would naturally accumulate speed too, and the usual invincibility you get with boosting would appear at top speeds. Rolling or not rolling would do what it has always done, so you can hit the extra effort button and then roll to get the effect of a spindash (or a drop dash if done in midair), and rolling would still affect your grip not just for slopes, but also for steering with the drift button.

    I'll add there's no real need of sliding when you can roll and the moments where you have to roll or slide to go through a small gap are usually shit anyway. People say stomp is useful but it's no real sustitute of bouncing if you can do that, and tight controls shouldn't need a safe landing button anyway. Sidestepping is a more meaningful move in my eyes.

    Oh, and, of course, map the moves correctly, button mappings are shit in many Sonic games.
  8. Palas


    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    No, I feel you -- I agree with you about the shortcomings in the latest games. It's just that I believe a mix between the Adventure and the Boost styles would have to favour Adventure's feeling of... I don't know, it's a sense of wonder that even Sonic 06 has. Sure, you can have a huge level in which you can go wherever you want, but that means little without a sense of purpose and a sense of wonder.
  9. ChaddyFantome


    I often see the accusation, for a lack of better way of describing it, of the Boost games of "playing like a racing game, instead of a platformer", and while I understand the claims to an extent, I find it overall rather perplexing given Sonic, even in the classics, has always been something of being between a platformer and a racing game.
    I think the devs have even described it as such in the past.
    Even the way Sonic runs and builds speed up by holding a direction in the D-Pad is directly analogous to holding gas on your car, as is having to build your speed back up if you hit a snag.

    From a fundamental design standpoint, the Boost and rolling in the Classics are really just 2 ways of doing the same thing, simply in different framework.
    The role was made as an extension of the rollercoaster level design present in the classics, allowing the player to automate movement in accordance to proper reading of the terrain (i.e. knowing when to roll), rewarding them with speed and hitting enemies.
    The boost was designed around the rollercoaster level design present in the Boost titles, allowing the player to automate their movement based on the terrain, (i.e. knowing when to or not to boost)
    Each is simply designed around a different type of of maintenance system.
    The boost games instead of focusing on rolling physics, as that would limit the scope of its intended design, goes for a maintenance system where the player, instead of being limited to gaining speed by rolling at specific points in the level, instead is given the speed they would otherwise obtain as a resource they can spend at their leisure, which allows the game to be designed more around things like twitch reflexes and active gameplay centered around upkeeping said resource.

    The problem you run into when trying to combine the two then isn't so much that they are fundamentally different, but the opposite.

    Its like trying to put 2 engines in your car.

    The benefit of the Boost is it frees the developers in regards to not having to design every level around rolling physics, which limits level design, especially in 3D.
    The trade off is of course that it limits it in other ways such as more prevalence of linear stretches and needing areas to be designed with the absence of the player having any boost in their gauge. Both though I believe also suffer from limited expression in terms of level design variety, though I believe the boost is far more guilty of this.

    I believe that rolling and the boost both have merits and strengths that compliment each other, but I don't think you can have both exist in the same space without one compromising the other.

    Rather, what I think would be ideal is to have them split up into their own gameplay styles.
    Think how Sonic 2 special stages exist along side the regular gameplay, or how Sonic 06 has the mach speed sections.
    This way, the devs can sort of have their cake and eat it too, though i do think some minor compromises to each would be necessary to each to make them have some cross over in terms of game knowledge and kills developed having merit in the other.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
  10. Swiftbix


    Deep Delver Member
    Agreed, and going by the yet to be confirmed early Sonic 2022 leaks, this might just be what the games will be going for.
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  11. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I understand where you are coming from but I just completely disagree. Sonic in the Classic games plays like any other platformer but just sped up. His movement depending on the sensitivity of D-Pad presses is not significantly different to any other 2D platformer.

    In the Boost games he also fundamentally plays as a platformer but has moves which are exactly like those in 3D racing games such as drifting and quick step (depending on what we define as 'racing games). Which is why I say that he plays "like a racing game" and not that the Boost games 'are' racing games. Generations is still a platformer at heart, but the level design and crucially the moveset is designed with racing games in mind - drifting around tight turns is a great example but it is also represented in the corridor esque level design. To be clear I don't think it's bad. I probably like Generations a lot more than most on this forum. But I also think it's important to note the difference. Sonic in the Classic games doesn't have moves and level design which is representative of 16 Bit racing games.

    I've quoted all of this because I found it hard to paraphrase and don't want to misrepresent what you've said.

    You are right that the end result of Boosting and rolling are the same. Yet while they both let the player go faster, the frameworks (as you nicely call them) are so different that I think they are incomparable. Boosting is using a power gauge to get to instant top speed. Rolling is using the level geometry to increase speed (as you have said).

    One problem with boost is that maintaining the gauge is largely inconsequential because of how easy it is to maintain. This isn't just about speedrunning but also affects casual play. If an average person plays Sonic 2 for example, they aren't going to be able to spin through the stage and blitz through it because that's really difficult to do. But almost anyone can play Boost Sonic. I had one of my exes play Sonic Generations (who never played games before) and they could beat Green Hill Zone easily because it's so easy to maintain Boost. I've heard Colors makes it harder to keep Boost up, and that's interesting (I haven't really played it properly). This is not a significant problem because the gauge could always be more balanced. But either way, it's essentially a super move. The roll, in contrast, is a core part of Sonic's movement.

    The second and much more serious problem is how overpowered Boost is. Anyone can beat a level with Boost because it makes Sonic virtually invincible and enemies don't have a chance to attack you. The only way Boost is counteracted is either with bottomless pits or (better) by interrupting you with pitfalls and walls - which only really serves an annoyance which briefly interrupts boosting. This isn't about making the game only for skilled 'gamers', but making a balanced game. I think that the Boost levels in Generations - while fun - are largely a cakewalk where you barely even need to think. In Unleashed they are often just annoying trial and error where they make difficulty in throwing death traps at you which you can't possibly see coming ahead of time. The Classic games are also easy and similarly suffer from having the player die primarily from crushing hazards and bottomless pits. But they don't have a move which makes the player virtually invincible to everything but the geometry.

    I think the series has reflected the strength of Boost by paralleling it with Super Sonic. The Perfect Chaos fight in Generations is one example but I think Lost World is the really clear cut one. Super Sonic in Lost World essentially plays like Sonic in the Boost games and the fact he has invincibility is largely inconsequential because you would be be invincible just by using the boost he gives you. In many ways I think the Boost has taken what Super Sonic is in the Classic games (invincible to everything but pits and crushing hazards) and applied it to the 3D space. With some exceptions - you aren't invincible to spikes when boosting!

    The move which I think is most comparable to Boost in the Classic games is the Spindash and I think it was obvious why Sonic Team mapped the moves to the same button in Generations. The Spindash also creates speed from a standstill and makes the player largely invincible when using it because you can position it in such a way to go straight into an enemy (unlike rolling, which you can easily mess up if you are inexperienced). However the Spindash is much more balanced because it can only be used at a flat standstill and needs time to rev up. It's not much time, but it's enough for an enemy to get you if you are unprepared. In the Boost games you can just use it immediately and with almost no drawbacks, which is why it's such an overpowered move.
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  12. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    My name's Martin Member
    A bit offtopic, I know, but related to this roll/boost thing: Sonic stopped rolling at the same time "Sonic's shitty friends" weren't available anymore. I mean, the hedgehog lost the move only hedgehogs were supposed to have just when all the other characters capable to roll despite not being hedgehogs stopped being playable. The only exceptions to this are Lost World, where he's the only playable character and can spin, and Forces, where OCs are playable but there's still no rolling. You may argue classic Sonic is there in Generations and Forces, but it's classic Sonic we're talking about, a callback to when Sonic used to roll and not a modern Sonic feature.
  13. arc


    Oh my! Today was a good day to pop back onto the forum! I’m a big fan of dreaming up stuff like this, so I sketched up a couple of ideas that merge the reflex-intensive gameplay of the Boost titles, while not binding the player to a single path. (For example, the quickstep is really only practical when you’re running in a straight line.)
    (EDIT: Added a spoiler mark around the image.)
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2021
  14. ChaddyFantome


    This is simply not true. Mario doesn't start at a crawl and have to build up speed to go a straight pace. Megaman runs at a consistent pace no matter how press the D-pad. Kirby has 2 speeds. Walking and running.
    In the case of Mario, you have to bold to Run button to go into momentum building mode, so it isn't fundamental to the gameplay the way it is with Sonic at all.
    Sonic, even as early as Sonic was is very much designed with the idea of maintaining flow to get more speed. This is unquestionably comparable to a racing game and I simply cannot reconcile this as being anything but intentional. Even his interactions with hills, slopes, ramps etc, is comparable to cars in a racing game building up speed going down hills, and over ramps. These aren't elements present in this way in other platformers.
    Its not based on sensitivity of the D-pad press though. Its just based on how long it was pressed.
    Well yea, because Drifting isn't something that would have any real function or merit in a 2D game. This is true even in actual 2D racing games. they don't have drifting either. As for the quick step, I don't actually know any racing game with that mechanic. Its usually something you would see in 3rd person action games, such as but not limited to platformers. Its pretty much just a strafe that doesn't require you to stop moving.
    If I wasn't clear, I am not saying that you claimed the Boost games are racing games. I'm saying that the accusation is weird to me because all Sonic games are, to varying degrees, very much built on racing game mechanics and sensibilities. I'm surprised this is controversial.
    This is both true and untrue.
    It is inconsequential in that maintaining it isn't really hard. However that doesn't make it truly superfluous because it fulfils its job of keeping the player active during gameplay.
    One of the problems Sonic games tend to have even as easy as Sonic 1 is when the player is engaging in speed sections, they are basically just watching sonic go fast. it basically stops being an active game. And, that's not necessarily this massive flaw that makes the games fundamentally bad mind you, but its still something to note. What the Boost gauges accomplished is making sure the players brain still has to remain active to some capacity because as easy as it is to maintain, its still something the player has to and is encouraged to consistently maintain which keeps the gameplay active. And this is especially important I would argue in a 3D game where the game doesn't have the luxury of relying on 2D scrolling to keep the players mind distracted from simply moving forward.
    Its also why I see the addition of things like gaps to roll/slide under and things like boxes to break ad things to tag as very important, because in 3D, the player has to have something to do in these sections that would otherwise be justified in being mostly spectacle in 2D due to the game's visibility presenting them face forward with what's ahead. But I'm getting off track here now.

    I...can't say I agree with this one.
    I wanna start by saying that I actually prefer rolling to the boost gameplay. Always have. Don't think my mind will be changed on it either.
    For starters,
    it largely depends on which boost game we are talking about. Most casuals will not have an easy time in Unleashed. That game's boost stages are actually some of the harder gameplay in the series really. As for Sonic 2, as dear to my heart that game is, most of your deaths in that game has little to do with the controls and knowing how to navigate levels and more to do with cheap deaths that accord from the games' sometimes sloppy enemy placement, hit detection, etc.
    Most people get through Emerald Hill easy. Then they die to the crushers in the water climbing section in Chemical Plant. If they get passed that, they die to the flipper panels in the Chemical Plant Boss Fight they didn't know was coming. I know because I was one of em :P
    Likewise, if you put someone in the first level of a Boost game, yea they can beta it easy, its the first level. Have that same person play Shamar or Holaska in Unleashed. If anything, I bet you they end up throwing their controller in frustration.

    The player doesn't have to have some particularly intricate of deep knowledge of the rolling in Sonic 2 to clear through the levels. So attributing that to the presence vs absence of boost versus rolling is misplaced imo.

    Having played it multiple times, it actually doesn't contribute positively to the game imo. The game is much easier and simplified compared to Generations or Unleashed, with a lot of 2D platforming and very little actual obstacles or such in the 3D sections to make use of the boost or maintaining it. The few times you do a lot of boosting, the game poor sin the Boost so you can keep doing it.

    Sometime I think people really take for granted how overpowered the Spin attack is in the Classics. Imagine if Mario became a spinning hitbox that barrels through everything every time he jumped and became a spinning hitbox at the press of a button while on the ground. Wait, that's the Starman power-up!
    Sonic is pretty overpowered in the classics for a 2D platformer, and this was necessary to have the game accommodate for the fact its built for speed. I don't see it as really relevant or meaningful to label the boost as a "powerup". It exists to replace the roll Sonic had in the classics even though it works on a different kind of upkeep system. The claims about the boost can all be made of to Roll in the classics. Same principle. Enemies don't have a chance because if you come at them in a roll, you are basically invincible and instantly destroy them as soon as they come on screen. And I don't think that was an accident either for reasons I already gave.
    It is actually very common especially in the hands of a player that know show to play Classic Sonic that they spend like 80% of their time in the level in some kind a ball state, which quite frankly is the same in principle as being in a boost state.
    In both cases, the only danger to the player is spikes, falling into pits or being crushed, pitfalls and walls, etc.

    This is actually a thing I bring up quite a bit with friends when I talk about how I feel Super Sonic is kind of pointless in Colors. But I would say that is less about how overpowered the boost necessarily is and more how much less demanding the levels in Colors are topped off with how much harder it is to make Super Sonic satisfying to play as in 3D in general.
    Thing that makes Super Sonic as great of a power as it is in the Classic sis how much the invincibility makes the limited visibility issues fizzle out, so the player can just let lose with reckless abandon without having to worry about any hazards coming on screen and running in to them.
    This is something that's kind of lost in 3D where you can see enemies coming and giving the player increased jump height and speed has higher risk of just legitimately breaking the game on a coding level, causing clips and other shenanigans.
    I personally don't actually look at rolling and the spindash as separate moves since the SpinDash is in principle just an extension of the roll. The spindash only really needed to be use don a slat standstill in the classics due to the limitations on the controls. Naka was insistent on a 1 button control scheme as we all know.
    I don't see why it being mapped to it sown button and by extension being able to be used at theoretically any point would have made it broken or imbalanced. the move forces you to stop anyway and once activated, the player is committed to letting it loose and dashing forward. generations actually has it mapped to a single button, and I don't really think or feel it negatively hampers the balance of the move at all.
    As for the SpinDash giving you a window for an enemy to hit you, I..well, let me just say that I only see that happening if You are playing Sonic CD. The SpinDash in Sonic 2 and 3 can be fired pretty much instantly. While we are comparing it to the boost though, it doesn't have the downside of needing an upkeep mechanic to manage how you use it and how effectively you do. You can spindash as many times as you like and requires the player to continuously expend it to keep it going. the Spindash, once its launched, the player keeps goign forward in a rolling state as long as they have momentum, or until they jump or some obstacle stops them.
    In both cases, it largely comes down to the level design and enemy placement which determines whether or not this is something that can be upkept in the given scenario.

    Again, I see both as having their merits and just being 2 ways of doing the same thing. The boost being debatably more shallow imo, but none the less fundamentally the same thing in a different framework.
    I'd personally like to see both united into a single game as separate gameplay styles so they can both be fully used to their potential without having to step on each others toes too hard.
    But..maybe that's just me?
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
  15. Funny you should mention that...

    In the game I'm working on, instead of a quick step type maneuver, I've opted for a strafe mechanic- you'll hold a shoulder trigger to be able to quickly move left and right while still pressing forward at top speed without that awkward snap.

    This will be useful if you're running in a certain direction and need to weave in and out of obstacles without altering your angle, while also not being confined to "lanes" like the quickstep, which will give me a lot more creative freedom with stage design. Do any of you think the boost formula could benefit from something like this?
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  16. ChaddyFantome


    In theory, but it would make it a lot more clunky imo. The amount of variables at the speeds Sonic goes in the boost gameplay would probably lead to things like that feeling unreasonable to expect of a player to execute. While I'm not the biggest fan in the world of the lanes system, I understand why its there. But eh, maybe I'm wrong here.
    If I have to give Forces SOME credit though, it actually has moments where the game wants you to collect star rings in between the lanes by running in between the manually, so there's that.
  17. Palas


    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    This makes no sense because the presence of momentum physics doesn't make something a racing game. Sonic was designed with the idea of getting from A to B, in which being fast isn't the end goal because completing the levels as fast as possible isn't the goal. Completing the levels [period] is. It's definitely not anything like a racing game. Sure enough, there is inspiration from racing in general, mostly from Yuji Naka. But it had to evolve from there, and Carol Yas' main concern was with managing the player's goals and how they'd deal with threats. He says as much here.

    Not true. Pressing the d-pad softly will make Sonic walk or run kinda slow, just like pressing the jump button softly will make Sonic jump lower. This applied even to the 8-bit games, and was even crucial in Scrap Brain Act 2. I'd know, I got stuck in that stage for ages because I didn't know you could jump lower.

    This doesn't hold up. There are top-down racing games based on drifting. Why wouldn't drifting be important in a 2D environment? Also, quick step is a staple of endless runners which aren't racing games, but... as you said, and not only in the part I'm quoting, it's made so that the player doesn't have to stop.

    Boost gameplay, in general, does have this effect of getting the player to always be doing something. I wouldn't agree classic games, or even the Adventure games ever stop being active because your attention has to be everywhere on the screen. You might not be pressing buttons, but playing isn't just pressing buttons. Which is what's so great in the Adventure games, by the way. And that's where boost is fundamentally different from rolling: the boost "harvests" elements in the stage in spite of the geometry. Rolling "harvests" the stage geomerty itself.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
  18. Actually, can you elaborate? Once my bro and I get all the physics and mechanics working better, I'll share stuff, but I'd definitely appreciate advice and insight if i can get it.
  19. arc


    Okay, I like this idea a LOT. As someone who’s always found the lane-centric quickstep sections very limited, I think you might be able to strike a clever balance between strafing and the quick step by combining them into a single mechanic. Lemme explain with a generic XBOX controller as a framework:

    By tapping the L/R bumper while running, Sonic (or whatever your character is, I’m not your mom) will perform his normal quickstep in that given direction. If you press and hold that given bumper, however, Sonic will keep strafing in that respective direction while continuing to run forward. This would keep the player from getting overwhelmed because it moves him a fixed distance (maintains the convenience of the quickstep since there’s no guessing how far you’ll go on a tap), but also allows for more open level design like how you suggested.

    Also, you could even integrate a drift-like mechanic into this, where quickly pressing one bumper before the other will make Sonic drift in the direction of the latter input; for example, if you press L he’ll quickstep in that direction, and then you can press R to make him drift in the opposite direction. OR (and please beat me up for my inability to shut up), you could allow the player to perform an instant 180 if he missed something, assuming your level design is more open

    TL;DR, the increased openness seems unnecessary to me, since the Boost games aren’t about exploration (see the medals in non-Wii Sonic Unleashed), but your idea could work really well in an open setting ala Sonic Utopia.
  20. I should elaborate: the game is a cross between adventure 1/2 and open world in terms of level design, and is a cross between adventure 2, advance 2, and rush in terms of gameplay. I guess since this is a hybrid gameplay thread (which is mostly what I'm after) I'll elaborate a bit.

    There will be 3 total gameplay styles (all optional) but the Sonic inspired one is the main attraction. Physics will be as close to the adventure games as I can get. Basic speed and movement are significantly slower than the boost gameplay, keeping more in line with adventure 2. Advance 2's boost mode is here and is functionally mostly the same, but it's tied into the rush inspiration a bit. The "boost" meter from rush is present, but instead of showing how much boost you have (since there's no dedicated boost button) it's now the "adrenaline gauge". The gauge is constantly depleting, and the advance 2 boost is locked behind a full gauge. Running and reaching your basic top speed will prevent the gauge from depleting, but it won't fill it up, and completely stopping (no movement at all) for 5 seconds and getting hurt will instantly empty the entire thing.

    To fill it up, performing rush style tricks, defeating enemies, and reaching the max non-boost speed will all fill it up, but the best way is through the music bar (I'm a huge music guy (thanks sonic) and the entire game itself is heavily tied to music). Along the bottom of the screen is a scrolling music bar with little cues representing the slow beat, fast beat, and main melody to each stage's song. Performing even the simplest of actions like wall jumps in time with the music is the #1 best way to build adrenaline. And as often happens in music, sometimes everything syncs up just right, and if you perform tricks and the like when 3 cues are all lined up, it gets a massive adrenaline boost. There's no punishment for missing beats, but if you can successfully chain tricks and beats together, your adrenaline intake will multiply fast. If you can build up more adrenaline than the gauge can hold, you explode into an "adrenaline rush" and get the advance 2 boost state- which will basically give you sonic 2 style super sonic stats. Unlike advance 2 however, you can basically keep the boost state forever as long as you're not standing still too long or getting hurt and keep feeding it with more well timed tricks.

    And as I've mentioned before, the stage design inspirations are the adventure games and open world, and I'm trying my best to nail down an intuitive moveset and camera system to accommodate for all of this. If anyone has any criticisms, please let me know.

    P.S. (in case anyone wanted to know (which was no one), the game will "go retro" at specific points, and make callbacks to the 8, 16, and 64 bit eras of gaming. Specifically, this parkour gameplay will turn 2d 16 bit, and basically go Sonic Mania (because yes, my adventure simping ass loves the classic games too and wanted to honor them as well)).