Original Project Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Project: Sonic Retro (Archive)' started by Phoebius, Jul 18, 2008.

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  1. muteKi

    muteKi

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    I figure at some point in time we will have to start talking music. If anyone is even going to try to write any sort of set of music -- even if it's just the standard incidental music (speed shoes, invincibility, etc.) -- there are a few design sensibilities to keep in mind [if this is a bit confusing, I can clarify anything if you want, it's just easier to put the basics down now]:

    1. Emphasize minor thirds in both melodic and chord structure. Minor thirds, ascending and descending, show up a lot in Sonic games (Sonic 3D Saturn in particular seems to use it as a leitmotif). There's a very important reason for this. THIS IS THE MELODIC PROGRESSION OF THE CLASSIC "SE-GA" THEME. Note that minor intervals do not on their own make a song minor. A major chord has a minor third interval between the two higher (of the three) notes in the chord, and thus can be in an upbeat manner. A minor chord has this between the two lower notes, with a major interval between the two higher ones. Since it can be used up or down easily and can change the musical effect between major and minor chords, it ends up sounding less stale than a perfect fifth or fourth, which always occurs harmonically in major and minor chords (fifth is from root note to top note (like from C to G) going up, fourth is from top note to root (like from G to C) going up), since the interval between these two notes. A minor third

    2. Chord progressions for upbeat songs, especially for the first level of the game, use a flat-VII chord (to clarify, not a "major seventh" chord) for emphasis. A lot of rock and funk songs do this as well. In other words, if we're playing a C-major chord, the next chord would be a B-flat-major chord. Chaotix in particular uses flat-7 chords heavily for this use (also several minor thirds, incidentally).

    3. Sonic music derives heavily from styles of the 60s. Jun Senoue's more notable works borrow heavily from a 60s aesthetic, which use minor iv chords in particular to return to the root chord. Examples of this chord structuring include Space Harrier's theme, Subterranean from Earthworm Jim 2, and this (which was meant to epitomize the 60s style).
    This 60s style also uses a major-II chord after the root chord quite often. This is the second chord heard in Green Grove Zone [not including the intro].

    4. A lot of songs from the 60s also use a couple of chord progressions: I-vi-IV-V and the twelve bar blues (see 5). The V chord is notable for its ability to lead into the I chord again quite well, so in trying to loop a verse or lead back to the beginning of a song, the V chord should be used. This is the results screen for Sonic 3's 2-P mode's chord progression (C-A minor-F-G) among other things.

    5. The twelve bar blues format is surprisingly rarely used in Sonic games. The 3D Saturn special stage is a notable use of this progression. The chord structure to this is fairly set in stone. It is four measures of the root chord (say, C major) used to introduce the main melodic line, followed by two measures of the IV chord (in this case, F major) that usually use the first half of the same melodic line in the first four measures modulated to that chord followed by two measures of the root chord again that usually use the second half of the melodic line in the first part again. This is followed by a measure of the V (G major) chord, a measure of the IV chord and a closing with two measures of the I chord, where the melodic line should reach a conclusion. Since it has a lot of repetition without a lot of change, it's easy to see why it isn't normally used in zones. Zones should use music that has significant complexity without much repetition due to the fact that the song used will likely play for the entirety of the zone without stopping. This way, the music can become familiar without being boring. The Super Mario Bros. main theme has gained its legendary status because it has many different sections that fit well together without sounding the same, and having a length much longer than a lot of other contemporary game songs.
    However, the format can be used in very exciting and fast-paced ways, and thus is well suited to sections that have a fixed (short) time/length limit such as a special or bonus stage.

    6. Given a number of the motifs that have been discussed, a good motif to work with in terms of notes within the scale is "root"-"flat third" (probably one chord here)-"flat seventh" (since it's used a lot)-"fifth" (to get back to the start). An example would be going from [note, not necessarily chord] E to G to D to B. Incidentally, this is an ascending minor third followed by a descending minor third. Little wonder that this melodic line can be heard in Sonic games from Sonic 3 to Chaotix to 3D Blast to Labyrinth to Sonic Adventure to Sonic and Tails to both versions of Sonic CD. If you'd like me to highlight the songs I have in mind, I'd be perfectly happy to do so. I'd say for starters to take a look at the act 2 music of Sonic Labyrinth, which is available in vgm format at SMS Power!

    Trying to create music with these motifs in mind allows for the work to have some unifying characteristics. Since it's likely that there will be a bunch of submissions from a bunch of different people, this in particular helps keep the music from sounding like a random mishmash of songs (while I loved the music to Sonic Heroes, I wish that it had more consistency among the various songs).


    EDIT: Oh yeah, one other thing. A lot of songs in the Sonic games, while in a major key, do borrow heavily from the minor key as well (C major and C minor chords appear in the same song a lot). B flat major and E flat major both occur in the C minor key (same as E flat major) but are used with a C major chord in songs like the Sonic 3 credits. Another chord in C minor is A flat major. Panic Puppet 1 for the Genesis uses the chord progression C-A flat-B flat-C, which is as you can see uses mostly C minor chords, but resolves to a C major (similar to the concept of the deceptive cadence, since B flat is the V chord of the E flat key and C is thus VI [major]).
     
  2. Rika Chou

    Rika Chou

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  3. STHX

    STHX

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    Yuor programming skills were widely proved with Sonineko. Plus, you are very good with music, so yes, I would support you.


    But...
    I know this will sound stupid, but don't you think it is a little too soon for all this "choose the leaders and start the work" thing?
    Various months passed before Sonic 2 HD lead roles were enstabilished, and trying to do the same here after only 5 days maybe is too much. I would be happy if this become the next community project, because I always wanted to play a possible Sonic 4, however creating the fourth Sonic and recreating the second Sonic in HD definition are completely different things. The main difference is that Sonic 2 HD will always be Sonic 2, it has great graphics, it has great music, but it is still Sonic The Hedgehog 2. But Sonic 4 is not. Sonic 4 is a completely original game, and this means that everything must be original and nothing must be reused. To better explain this:

    1-No recycled Zones
    2-No recycled enemies or bosses
    3-No recycled music
    4-No recycled Special Stages

    The only thing that will be taken from other Sonic will be the things that returned or would have returned from the past Sonic games. And I'm referring to:

    1-The characters. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Dr. Robotnik
    2-The Shields, the Signposts, the springs and all those things that are in all Sonic games or are Zone cliché specific

    But this will then cause another problem: People ideas will come in conflict and this can't be avoided.

    So I think that it may better to wait at least another pair of days. Within these days there are some points that must be decided before going on and that will never be changed.

    The first and most important thing in my opinion is to decide what style this game must follow.
    If we consider only the Genesis (and add-ons) games and only the one that are true Sonic games and aren't spinoffs we have these 5 games:

    1-Sonic The Hedgehog
    2-Sonic The Hedgehog 2
    3-Sonic The Hedgehog CD
    4-Sonic 3 & Knuckles
    5-Chaotix

    However some of this games are very different from the others, but they can be summed up in two different styles of Sonic game:

    1-Sonic 1 Style. Sonic 1, Sonic CD and Chaotix follow this Style.They all have in common:
    - The Zone progression: It is true that there is not a true level progression, however there is a recurring theme in the order of the stages: the more you go on, the more artificial the stages become.
    - The Stage type: All of these games feature little stages, however all stages feature multiple paths, or have some secrets inside them that are not relevant for the game completition. So this stages are fun to replay, because you may always discover something new. Also even if the Acts are little, usually the Zones feature more than 2 Acts.
    - How to enter in the Special Stage: In all 3 games to enter in a Special Stage the player must finish the stage with 50 or more Rings and then enter the Big Ring near the End of Act Signpost. This means that you have a limited amount of chances to enter a Special Stage, but it is also very easy to find them.

    2- Sonic 2 Style. Sonic 2 and Sonic 3K are in this category. Things they have in common:
    - The Zone progression: Again this do not refers to the actual in game level progression but to the style of the stages. True, there is not am actual progression in the stages because some near stages may differs a lot (Example: Emerald Hill and Chemical Plant), however this also give a more surreal feel of contrasts which the Sonic 1 Type games do not have.
    - The Stage type: These 2 games feature big and long stages, which do not have many alternative paths, but this do not means they are not fun to explore. However the stage exploration become part of the game itself (This point will be better explained in the next point). Usually the Zones feature 2 or 1 acts, but in the end they are still bigger than the Style 1 Zones.
    - How to enter in the Special Stages: In all 2 games to enter in a Special Stage the player must find a specific object in a Act (In Sonic 2 it must also have 50 Rings). This makes harder to find the Special Stages because you do not encounter them in the main paths, however you have a lot more chances to get an Emerald (Usually 3 per Act, differently for the 1 per Act of the Style 1 Games).

    Now, this will probably cause the biggest clash of ideas because these 2 types of games differs a lot, and choosing on over the other is hard.

    I think that the best would it be to try to combine the best things from these styles and then create a third style only for this game. However this can also be a problem, because what are the best things that must be carried on?


    Second, it would be nice to decide how the art and the music of this game must be. For the art, most of the Sonic games follows a similar style, so this should not be a problem. But the music is a different thing, because the music from the first 2 Sonic games differs greately from the music of the following games, and it seems harder to mix them up, so this can also be a problem. Indeed this is something that must be decided as soon as possible.


    After these two things have been set, then the project can definetly start and the main roles will be decided without a problem.

    However, I think that some new ideas might be discussed even at this point, mostly because this is an original game and so it needs some new concepts, but also to encourage the support for this project. For example I liked the idea of the Ice Shield that was suggested in the beginning of this thread, however, instead of making it disappear when Sonic enter the water, how about making it freeze the water surface so that Sonic can easely walk on the surface even if it doesn't run (To better specify this, it frezes only the part of surface where Sonic stands, and the surface unfreeze 5 seconds after Sonic moved to another location)? But not only this, maybe all elemental shields may interact in some way with the stage. The stage interaction was also proposed here and I like that. For example, the Fire Shield may burn some objects in the stages (wood, but also junk) and so it will open new routes, the Thunder Shield may be used to activate various mechanisms that can be found in the Acts, the Bubble Shield may reduce the gravity when Sonic is underwater, or may also be used to estinguish fires, there could also be a new Water Shield that can be used specifically for this things.

    Yes, I really think that this project can turn out to be very interesting.
     
  4. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    ...I really don't think Sonic 3D Saturn should be taken as reference.

    In my oppinion, the tunes (except for the Special Stage music) weren't as memorable as those in any of the previous games (including Sonic 3D MD and even Spinball).
     
  5. The Shad

    The Shad

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    Well, I think Knuckles, if anything, should be unlockable. The logic behind that being that Knuckles needs to be doing what he's intended to be doing.. Guarding the master emerald on angel island. His appearance in Sonic Adventure was perfect due to the story.. After that, it was just an excuse and by Sonic Heroes they completely gave up on Knuckles, just shoehorning him in when needed.

    At least, thats my two cents. I'm sure everyones thrown their name into the hat, but if this gets off the ground, I would like to perhaps help out with ideas and input. Thats about as much as I can do as I'm not very artistically inclined.
     
  6. Chimpo

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  7. Phoebius

    Phoebius

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  8. Wetflame

    Wetflame

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    There are plenty of fangamers that try this though, and it never really succeeds. I hope people do succeed with this, but the problem is that if it does, it'll probably end up being just another bastardised Sonic game, like Megaman 9 looks like it's going to be. You really need to try something new, and it's hard to get people not to fear change. We don't really need another Sonic 2, IMO, it's an interesting excercise to create one, but it's not something that would hold my attention.

    This needs to be done in C++ or at least something like MMF(once they get global events working) and not a ROM Hack. ROM Hacking is great, but it locks out more people and makes innovation more difficult.

    Also, avoid the LET'S DO GRADIENTS :D people go in for updating the sprites. I have spriting skillz I can offer, maybe.
     
  9. Gurluas2000

    Gurluas2000

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    Well when I was a kid I used to make one with Gamemaker, it turned up to be a crappy mess but I was only 9 years old.
    I like the idea though, id love to help with concept and art, and Design.

    A good example of a "leftover" from my Sonic 4 development is the character Knickles, of course I don't care about him now (:
    [​IMG]
    A character, with a sprite I made occasionally is Lord Iposatu, which was a boss.

    [​IMG]

    Eventually Sonic like characters were excluded and it became my own universe with my own lore.
    I like this idea though.
     
  10. Sazpaimon

    Sazpaimon

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  11. Phoebius

    Phoebius

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  12. Gurluas2000

    Gurluas2000

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    Please do remember that I showed you 8 years old material ;)
    I am no longer making lame fangames.

    The reason I invented "Knickles" back then was to give the blue knuckles a character.
    Cant remember his story, but it was a clone with a misplayed genetic code that made him blue.

    Back to the topic...Should our game have a storyline?(Vague like Sonic3 or Immersing as Adventure)
    Or should it be gameplay like Sonic 1 and 2?
     
  13. Qjimbo

    Qjimbo

    Your friendly neighbourhood lemming. Oldbie
    Storylines are not relevant or important at this point.

    We need character, badnik and level art primarily.
     
  14. Wetflame

    Wetflame

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    MMF is fine apart from the lack of global events in the current version. I did my FYP in it. There's really not much Sonic-wise that can't be done in it.
     
  15. [​IMG]

    Something I've been working on, akin to Underground Zone. I think it could potentially work for such a game. Graphics from other games (like the rocky wall on the inside) are subject to change.
     
  16. Phoebius

    Phoebius

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    Chimpo, Rika : Could you tell me if you received my PMs? I'm not sure it's working...

    GameNerd Advance : There is some potential, here. I would keep the main tiles (big squares and rectangular things) and the mountains, but maybe improve the rest.

    STHX : You're totally right about the gameplay styles. Maybe we could use both, depending on the level you are.
     
  17. MuteKi, this post is complete win in my book! Great way to look critically at the theory behind the music! And personally I don't mind basing things off Sonic 3D Saturn or Sonic CD US's music even though they have a different style.
     
  18. theSTHguy

    theSTHguy

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    All in favour of making muteKi Chief Music Manager for this project, because of his outstanding knowledge of the various chord progressions, and everything else, in Sonic music, say 'I'.

    I!
     
  19. RandomAvatarFan

    RandomAvatarFan

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    muteKi= chielf manager of music? I vote "yes!"
     
  20. Wetflame

    Wetflame

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