Online and Multiplayer Features in Sonic

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Palas, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. Palas

    Palas

    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    299
    54
    28
    I would like to know of you people what is the ideal online feature for a Sonic game, or at least one you'd find interesting. Same applies for multiplayer features. Over the years, we have seen this dish served in various ways: co-op, competition, time/score attack leaderboards, battles, races. The options are basically infinite, but, of course, this also means there is no excuse not to provide a unique experience to the player~!

    For this very reason as well, I can't list all kinds of multiplayer gameplay we have around. If I may, I'll split them in some tags. Just for reference. Feel free to question them. But, for now, let me say we have these: cooperative or competitive; progressive, static or regressive; worldly or specific. I may give some examples for you to see what I'm on about, because I'm afraid I'm just coming up with unofficial terminology here.

    Monster Hunter Tri is of cooperative, progressive and worldly nature. The game stimulates you to cooperate with other players to achieve your own objectives - everyone fights the same battle, but gets their own rewards that they can't share. The more you play, the more features you unlock - hence the progressive nature. And it's wordly in that it, well, creates a whole world for you to play in, with its own rules and interactions. In fact, in Monster Hunter Tri, it is in the online play that the actual game resides. Playing offline, in the end, feels like a warmup or a really long tutorial on the game's mechanics.

    I think you could say Minecraft is all about being cooperative, static and worldly. We all know it's wrong to call it Lego Online, but most of purpose we see in Minecraft is what layers make it be. And yet, it's what the game is made of. Helping and getting help, building your impressive stuff and showing it on the internet - there are some games that allow that too, but that's not integrated to the game's purpose. Here I'm talking about fan-made movies made with The Sims. Which are actually movies, with a plot and all. It's not even multiplayer, I'm just saying this to state the difference.

    Tetris Battle would be of competitive, regressive and specific. It's competitive because it consists in, well, beating your opponents. Some would say it's progressive because you gain "coins" for playing and you can buy stuff with those; some would say it's static because there's nothing to accomplish - the battle is all there is. But I'll give it as an example of regressive online game because the more you play, the less you can play (as you spend energy in each match and must wait or buy some extra energy). Games like these rely heavily in addiction, since it trusts you will want to play more. Some aspects in Dark Souls share this trait with Tetris Battle, in that some behaviours are allowed, but progressively restrained (like how invading people's games and overpowering them just because you can will get you in a wanted list). However, it's more worldly than anything. The online play is an inherent part of the experience.

    Super Smash Bros. games are generally competitive, static and specific. I know, there are game modes in which you help your pals and all, but it's knows for No Items, Fox Only and Final Destination. So let's go with that. It's static because battling is basically all there is - playing online doesn't influence how much you can play. Ever. There's no progression or regression in it; and it's specific because while it's a prominent feature in the game, it's a separate one.

    Goldeneye 007 has a competitive, progressive and specific multiplayer feature. The matches, no matter their types (deathmatch, team match, flag stuff), lead to progression. The more you play, you gain levels and can get new weapons and stuff. However, it's a completely unrelated experience to the story mode. In that sense, the online play feels like a "bonus" indeed. I'm pretty sure Call of Duty games work like this, too.

    Having exposed the concepts, I ask you: how should it be for Sonic?
     
  2. Mike Arcade

    Mike Arcade

    Free Scriber of Mobius Member
    I'd say Sonic when it comes to Multiplayer would mainly focus on Competitve play, as such gameplay fits the series and the Multiplayer games of Sonic in the past, though there could be room for Co-Op as Sonic 4 Episode II proves that it can be done.

    The best example of gameplay that the series has is Sonic 2 and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, Competitve gameplay that ends up with you either having to beat you're opponent in a race or in a little showdown, Sonic 2's however even has more depth to it as not only is beating the level first a factor, but how many rings you collected, points, and boxes/badniks you beat down also play a factor on how you can win, slow and steady wins the race? In Sonic 2's case that might be true.

    Though it would be nice to have certain and custom options and gameplay types, such as finishing the stage with the most rings, bots beaten, or knocking all of the other player's lives would be great to see in future games.

    These two games are the best example of what the Multiplayer of Sonic should be, either by racing or taking each other on if they can find a balance of these games multiplayer and put in online we would have hit!
     
  3. FPS with Shadow clones. Do it.
     
  4. Mike Arcade

    Mike Arcade

    Free Scriber of Mobius Member
    I can stand by that, just have everyone else in the series clone'd and DON'T put in just two fucking levels and I'm all for it.
     
  5. Deef

    Deef

    Member
    691
    0
    16
    Worth defining a difference between offline multiplayer and online multiplayer, if you believe there is one. I think there is, despite the fact that any offline player can be imitated with a network connection.
    Also, the difference between online and online multiplayer. In terms of play not technology, what makes a single player game online? For example, in PSO BB there's the option to create a solo game that no-one else can join. In my eyes that's not single player online, that's just single player, even if the server is crunching some numbers. The fact that people can message you in that world is no different to playing Rayman and someone bugging you on Steam.


    Anyway, for a Sonic game I think competitive play could use a little more exploration, and co-op play, much more.

    Competitively offline, I think it comes down to only 2 options: refine racing modes or invent new modes entirely.
    Personally I'd rather attention is just given to the former, because as mentioned above, Sonic 2 and SA2 are the best we've had and this should be an aspect of Sonic games especially that shines a lot brighter.

    Competitively online, apart from mimicking the offline competitive modes, one thing that could be very cool to see in a Sonic game is drop-in, drop-out play. You're chillin' in Launch Base or Final Egg and Knuckles lands next to you. The problem is that a platformer probably wouldn't have enough online presence for such a thing to be consistent enough. Maybe. Online play at least solves the problem of holding 2 fast characters on one screen.

    Competitively, drop-in, drop-out play means there has to be something to do that feels meaningful. If you shoehorn normal competitive play into it, the player would wonder why they'd bother when they can get the same gameplay from a more dedicated, less random mode. If anyone could think of a competitive game that is fun purely in its own right, that drop-in, drop-out actually complements then that would be great, but all I can think is that if drop-in/out is to work in a competitive way, the fun would have to come from the reward, and the only rewards that matter enough are those that actually punish the other player.

    For example, the game offers some incentive to play with a connection open for outside players to use, such as double your ring bonus or WHATEVER. When a player drops in to your game, that player is able to steal the rings, repair badniks, lay traps, etc. Perhaps he spawns at a starpost, and gains control of his character as soon as you come close enough. If you can stand anywhere for 4 seconds without the first player reaching or passing you, you get to make something big happen, like a huge spawn of badniks perhaps. The first player is now chasing you for his life throughout the whole level. This could either be in one direction, or in any direction with some suitable restriction applied to the invader.

    Incentives and rewards would have to be managed around making this work, but basically the two players are now competing in a way that's quite different to racing and works well with the drop-in feature.

    So ok, in terms of competitive, I can only think of:
    - better racing modes
    - random new competitive modes which could be anything
    - drop-in drop-out for games that are fun in their own right and better than their non-drop-in/out counterparts (none of which I can think of)
    - drop-in drop-out for the fun of rewards that actually affect the other player


    Considering co-operative play is much easier. One big thing we don't see with co-op in Sonic games is a genuine restriction on what a solo player can do. It can't exist in Sonic 2, and it doesn't exist in Sonic 3 (anything Sonic and Tails can do, Tails can do). Sonic 4 Ep 2 has it utterly backwards, with co-op play only giving the first player less control than he would have had alone. *Dimpsgasm*
    Co-op would be quite an enjoyable mode if it was the only way you could access 25% of the level. I would like to see more of this, but from a development standpoint it just means more work for less payload. Well, making that 25% accessible, but very painfully accessible, to a solo player could perhaps be a good compromise.

    Non-drop-in/out co-op play could be used for more large scale attacks on a level. The level would need multiple routes, and a pair of players could each do their own thing, communicating to each other as they go, to open up paths and locks for each other that streamline the level in a way that a single player can't. This wouldn't have any difference to the normal co-op idea of "Now you have 2 sets of abilities" until it gets applied in a competitive way. Competitions between co-op teams. :D But as before, it would be great but just not enough of a playerbase I think.

    These co-op thoughts don't describe any difference between offline and online co-op, simply because I haven't thought of one. Oh, apart from seeing each other's screen vs hearing each other's voice. Which reminds me of PSO v2 where you could switch to any other player's camera at any moment.

    Other team-based competitive modes could be thought up, but again, playerbase. Ideas aren't as impressive when the fun is coming from numbers instead of the restrictions of the game.

    For 2 players only, the most multiplayer fun I've had would have to go to Lemmings. And I'd have to say that's hands down. Pikmin 2 is up there as well, but Lemmings definitely the winner for me. I'd love to think of a Lemmingsish influence on competitive Sonic play, but I can't.
     
  6. Jimmy Hedgehog

    Jimmy Hedgehog

    Member
    1,728
    8
    18
    England - Slough
    Getting the motivation to continue old projects
    But Shadow Clones actually make sense in the mainline of games, unless you have Sonic and a whole bunch of Metal Sonic's. Would be hilarious though. I'd like the idea of co-op in Sonic online. Or even perhaps something like SA2's multiplayer, except actually balanced and with whatever engine they feel like using. A Battle mode would be cool too where you have to kill them rather than beat them in a race. Other than that I'm not sure, co-op would be a great thing though. Sonic 4 Episode 2's co-op wasn't too bad to be perfectly honest. Out of curiosity, what did people think of Heroes' multiplayer?
     
  7. Rosie

    Rosie

    aka Rosie Member
    I'd quite like a co-op mode, which has new levels, or different takes on new levels, that are based on objectives that the group has to accomplish in order to continue. The levels would branch off for the various characters, who would have to do various things, for example Tails could carry Knuckles up a wall of spikes [which would prevent him climbing] onto a platform with a wall that Knuckles could break open. This would then free a badnik that would chase Sonic across a long stretch of water, while trying to attack him with a freeze ray of some sort, which would freeze a path across the water that the other two could safely cross. A blend of puzzles, speed and platforming, with big cinematic set pieces, finish off the levels with giant bosses and you've gotten yourself a winner.
     
  8. BystanderLC

    BystanderLC

    Member
    58
    0
    0
    I liked SA2B's Sonic/Shadow multiplayer. Although, I want a no-rings mode because whoever's in first will get so many rings that you have no chance to catch up. We never played much as anyone else. Chao multiplayer rocked.

    Sonic Heroes... Eh. I really loved the fact that the more emblems I got, the more modes opened up. But... Me and my friends never got around to this multiplayer, and I was the one who owned the game, so I was overpowered.

    Shadow... Spam the button time. Fun, but SA2B's better.

    Sonic Colors Virtual Sonics... Hate the camera, but still pretty fun.

    It seems to me, this thread is talking about fan games. Sega won't do an FPS in the Sonic series. I don't do FPS, but... does Vanquish have any multiplayer? I've seen its gameplay on youtube and it looks fun. We don't really have puzzles in Sonic games. They don't work, because that lessens a stage's replay value and our wants to speed run it. It's always step on a switch and go. OR get lost. I hate getting lost.

    I'd root for an offline/local racing mode with different characters and each with a unique ability. Sonic is op if he's the only one with boost, so he needs to be handicapped. It'll probably be good to just shorten his boost meter by half or more. I'm actually against the idea of everyone on skateboards. Sonic's Spin Offs like Sonic Riders and Sonic All Star are good enough.
     
  9. ashthedragon

    ashthedragon

    Dragon Team Researcher
    1,374
    13
    18
    Spain
    Sonic Paradise & Sonic Ages
    Online Chao Gardens. Train your chao, and let it battle online. Also, maybe letting you visit other people's gardens and offer them exclusive items, like chao eggs or fruits, that are only available at your garden.

    Something like pokemon, but with Chao.
     
  10. Nova

    Nova

    Misfit
    3,713
    134
    43
    Generations-style levels/speedrunning with Sonic/Metal Sonic/Shadow/Mecha Sonic/Silver Sonic and possibly a few others as playable skins. No different abilities or power-ups (or fucking spammable attacks, SA2 :colbert:).

    A true test of memorization and skill. :D
     
  11. Palas

    Palas

    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    299
    54
    28
    I appreciate all the thoughts so far and I think even the FPS with Shadow clones could be used. I mean, the post came across as a joke to me, but hey. I would be just as fun as mockup.

    But eh, so. What we've had, mostly, are leaderboards. Pardon me, but I find leaderboards to be horribly stupid. I mean, they are generally hacked 20 seconds after they go online. And they don't add anything to the game, I think. Time Attack Leaderboards just judge who is faster, as if this was the definitive parameter for skill.

    For now, the most complete idea I have would be to implement a competitive, progressive and worldly system. It would work like this: as you progress through the game in solo mode, you'd unlock the same stages you went through in online mode. At online, races are held. 2 players, up to 4 players, I dunno. Not important. What's important is that the race would have winning criteria similar to Sonic 2's multiplayer mode: rings, total rings and number of item boxes would count too. That helps in diversifying the gameplay strategies and hey, why not, having a 2x2 match would allow people to actually develop strategies to have top speed and top exploration.

    The progressive part would come like this: the more you'd play, the more features exclusive to online mode you'd unlock. Wins would earn you special rings or whatever that you would use to buy, say, special acts for races, alternate characters and character customization. Of course, we could also make regressive and specific, like having tournaments that require you to pay with rings (and that have rings as prizes!)

    At the same time, I think it could be worldly. I'm pretty sure this'll be the most controversial part. Having online and offline play integrated doesn't seem like something that would fit Sonic, but hey~! What if an alternate way to unlock alternate the characters' story mode would be getting them online? I don't know, that may be too much dreaming.
     
  12. BystanderLC

    BystanderLC

    Member
    58
    0
    0
    Yeah, the leaderboards aren't good if they can be hacked. Otherwise, I still think leaderboards are a good idea. If any friends of mine have a record, I'd definitely like to score higher.

    I don't think a 2vs2 would work. It would be so much chaos. Sonic is fast. You'd have to load the environment, the lighting, the collision effects, and the npcs at four different places. But hey, if our current generation technology can handle that, I'd be up for it.

    When you mention total rings, number of item boxes, and such, are you suggesting that two players compete with score? I've not played Sonic 2 but I like the idea of trying to get the highest score by experimenting.

    You're just thinking of the organization of it all. Let's have this mode, that mode, and these unlockables. All said and good- We'd all love an expansion on every character's gameplay, chao gameplay, and multiplayer, but I prioritize on every character's gameplay first. Though, I do agree having rings as prizes is a good idea. I certainly liked how Sonic Generations gave out more rings when you get a higher rank. The problem was with that, you didn't have much to buy.

    I'd be fine with unlocking another character's small part online if it was some event like maybe Beat's birthday or something.

    Me, I'm really just fine with a simple local multiplayer.

    Eggman's stuck in limbo. Should Sonic return, maybe he's seeing all these crazy other Sonics in his timeline. Limbo's crazy after all.

    Multiplayer could be based on the rival battles in Generations. I think Metal Sonic and Shadow can work out to be playable.

    I also have this new idea. Imagine this racetrack where you can run laps with some platforming and obstacles. The two Sonics cannot use homing attack on each other. Instead, you use homing attack, slide, drift, or stomp on these bombs laid out all over the racetrack. The first time you hit a bomb, you get some boost. If you hit it twice or your opponent happens to find your bomb, you blow up. That way, if both Sonics take different paths, each Sonic can still catch up. The next lap, whoever's first is gonna struggle with the leftover bombs.

    Or maybe you can set it up like SSX and Sonic can lay out these bombs wherever he wants.
     
  13. To be fair, it was a joke that was supposed to play off of the ShtH era of Shadow the Hedgehog, what with the tons of guns and such. Plus with the Shadow Robots from Heroes, no actual video game hedgehogs have to be capped in the head during the making of the game.
     
  14. Palas

    Palas

    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    299
    54
    28
    But it would be fun as a mock online feature as well. Sure, Sonic Team lacks the self-deprecative cynicism, but, man, it would be too funny.

    Yes, that's how it works. Not only score counts, but number of rings upon finishing the stage, total number of rings, number of item boxes also do.

    It's something somewhat like Sonic 3's multiplayer mode... I think. But hey, it would be fun.
     
  15. Jimmy Hedgehog

    Jimmy Hedgehog

    Member
    1,728
    8
    18
    England - Slough
    Getting the motivation to continue old projects
    To make this even clearer, say you beat your opponent in Time and Score, but they had more rings, more total rings, and more item boxes destroyed than you, they win the round. So if you ever lost despite being the first to the end by miles, that's why :v:

    I do REALLY like that system and think it should make a comeback for future multiplayer. Even in Generations Modern style gameplay you could include say total enemies defeated to the mix too.
     
  16. Retroman

    Retroman

    Member
    727
    1
    18
    A roleplay game like Skyrim. That multiplayer type and others incorporated inside it.

    Someone importing Sonic from Sonic Generations into Skyrim would be awesome!

    The multiplayer should be like Skyrim, with side-quests and Single Player aka Story-Mode would be main quests and stages.

    Think Sonic Adventure open-world and Unleashed Hub Worlds but much, much bigger and switchable without the load screen. You can travel by yaught and fight some sea robots that Eggman drops in, travel to Islands etc.

    It will use the Hedgehog Engine

    Features are:
    -Hot Dog Stands
    -Animations for eating, buying
    -Multiplayer
    -Customize Characters
    -2D Mode
    -Big, open areas, Islands, places to discover, secrets to uncover,
    -Freedom
    -Coop
    -Non-Cheesy Dialogues, great storyline
    -Doesn't feel automated
    -Skyrim-like controls (One controller stick for moving camera and facing position, other controller stick to move character)
    -Hubs and Mini-Quests
    -Multiplayer
    -Unlocks
    -Vehicles! Unlocks can be obtained by Tails

    You can also play stages in 2D by using '2D-mode' and 3D, which is '3D mode'. The whole multiplayer you can choose in a 3D, open-world Hub places, and when one person joins, others can join in the area.

    Camera can be fixed to be like Skyrim, or to be automated via script.

    So basically, free view, default and smart.
     
  17. Strife

    Strife

    Member
    1,986
    109
    43
    United States
    Freedom Planet 2
    If anyone tried out Sonic Fusion at this year's SAGE, I think that's a really good example of how to do Sonic multiplayer right - Something along the lines of Sonic 2's multiplayer, but objects like enemies and switches exist solely for each individual player (I.e. If you hit a switch to open a door, your opponent can't just zoom through the opened door and has to hit the same switch on their end). This would solve the aforementioned problem about the leading player being able to collect all the rings themselves, and you could still allow for some forms of interactivity such as players being able to attack each other.

    Balancing, of course, is another question, depending on which characters are playable together. Tails or Knuckles may have massive advantages over Sonic depending on the stage due to their abilities allowing them to take shortcuts.
     
  18. Deef

    Deef

    Member
    691
    0
    16
    @Strife

    I haven't played Fusion's latest version, or played it much at all (got it somewhere though). So I'm viewing what you said (1st paragraph) in a vacuum, when I disagree on a fundamental there. Balance and fairness is important, but the price you describe should be a last resort when it comes to multiplayer imo. Interaction with the other player should come first, then work balance in around that. Not vice-versa imo. The more you can affect the other player's game, and the less you are merely 2 people competing in the same space, the better.

    Two years ago, after a 4 year hiatus gallivanting around Europe, I met up with my cousin one night and we broke out the Sonic 2 splitscreen for old times' sake. Mystic Cave, we both flew off the start, hit the ramp & pulley, froze... and laughed our arses off. That amusing tension couldn't exist if we couldn't affect each other's gate.
    The whole rings thing is special in a similar way... players like to know they're hurting the other player's game by looting all the rings they can. Axing that in the name of balance would be a real shame... A bit of a more carebear, less meaning, kind of thing. It's really only a side note that both these aspects have self-balancing mechanics built in also.

    But yes, I acknowledge that Fusion has more interactivity between players already, than Sonic 2 did. Just chiming in because I think such interactivity is the golden fairy flakes that multiplayer thrives on. If balance is a problem then it's worth doing what can be done to preserve the interactivity by finding another way to address balance.



    This is why we can't have nice things.
     
  19. Retroman

    Retroman

    Member
    727
    1
    18
    Ok maybe that idea of a Skyrim-based Sonic is horrendous :v: :colbert:

    Wait... I get the reference XD

    Role playing (aka missions), yachts, vehicles (Shadow the Hedgehog) and hotdog stands = Sonic 06'
     
  20. Palas

    Palas

    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    299
    54
    28
    I'll have to agree with Deef here. The more the interaction is... interactive, the more interesting the game becomes. Measures can be taken to avoid the dilemma of who-pushes-the-button-will-lose in Mystic Cave (I can't remember where it is, exactly, but there is some point where the two players will most likely stand side-by-side before a pit and whoever goes for the lever/button/whatever that is that makes the ledge go down gives the other player the chance to go forward and get the lead.