Possible Option for ProSonic

Discussion in 'Fangaming Discussion' started by saxman, Jul 10, 2007.

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  1. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    I would like opinions on this. If enough people are willing to give in, I may go forward with the idea.

    A while back some of you may remember that I complained my life wasn't going the way it should. I've been adjusting and making a couple changes. One of those changes will by ProSonic. I would love to continue it and complete the entire project all by myself. That would be a heck of an accomplishment wouldn't it?! But it would eat away at my life and keep me from more important things. It was easier back when I was a teenager doing the Sonic 2 Hacking Guide... I had all the time in the world, and few responsibilities. It's time for me to grow up, and so I have been pondering over the past few months as to what I want to do about ProSonic.

    One solution I thought of was to set up a commission of sorts where people from the Sonic community would donate money, and I would use that money to literally "employ" volunteers to work on ProSonic under my wing. That way I could have the engine I have long envisioned without having to take my life hostage.

    I figured this seems to be an engine that many people are interested in and would like to see completed. And certainly nobody would like it to be completed more than myself. So the question here is is this something you all would be interested in doing -- joining together and investing money I can use to employ people to work on this with? None of the money would go to me -- every nickle and ever penny would be used to pay people to work on the engine.

    I'd like to hear your opinions on this idea. Please no "why don't you do such-and-such instead"... there will be time for that later -- I'm only interested in this idea at the current moment.
     
  2. Tweaker

    Tweaker

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    I doubt rallying for donations will work in this case. It's not like you're offering protos, and from what I can see, that's all this community is willing to donate for.

    I suppose that makes my answer no - I barely have enough money as is, and I'd have more important things to spend it on.
     
  3. Metal Man88

    Metal Man88

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    Unfortunately, this is a rather niche thing here. People who make comics can get donations because anyone can see them, and not seeing them would bother some people; on the other hand, only people who use ProSonic would be benefitted by it.

    I'd suggest either finding a way to support it or dropping it.
     
  4. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    Well I've determined money is what it's going to take. I need a C programmer who's willing to do some amazing things with this. I need people willing to take on my vision for an engine to be the #1 choice for game designers to use to create Sonic games. I am sometimes baffled that people would give up hundreds of dollars to get something that was never completed instead of instead assisting in actually getting something incomplete to be complete! Is that not some twisted irony? Nevertheless, I will keep my head high and hope I can get some support for this idea. I've put in so much work into the engine and don't want to see it go to waste.

    EDIT: Alright, I'll allow a new ProSonic beta release periodically... could be once a month, once every two months, etc. Does that sound interesting?
     
  5. WiteoutKing

    WiteoutKing

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    I'm iffy on it.

    Honestly, I would totally love to be a part of the team that puts this together, as I have a few ideas now and then that might be useful in the engine, but my flat coding experience is... a bit lacking in the proper departments.

    The history of the community seems to suggest that people would be willing to work on this for free, and while I myself would toss a few greenbacks your way simply because I've been watching this development for a long time now and really want to see it flourish (also because I can't think of a better engine I'd want Sonic Horizon on), I'm not sure others would be as generous.

    In the end, it comes down to the people willing to work on the engine.
     
  6. Tweaker

    Tweaker

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    No money was involved at all in creating Megamix - only teamwork, and passion for what we were doing. And, yet, we've still created an excellent piece of work.

    Surely the only incentive for a decent programmer to work on something isn't money, is it? If it's something they want to work on, and something they're genuinely interested in, and have passion to work on, then money shouldn't be needed.
     
  7. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    Every team I've ever been part of, a majority of the work was put on me because I was the only one with huge amounts of drive to complete it. The team members cooperated at a minimal and basically expected me to do 90% of the work. So when I decided to do less and wait for them to do some things, nothing happened and the team eventually split because it became apparent that things weren't going to work. I'm not going to speak for Tweaker or anyone else who claims that people are willing to work hard for free. All I'll say is that I've seen a LOT of teams split and do practically nothing. It'd be great if everyone got to do what they wanted, but when I'm the one calling the shots, it's not necessarily going to be what everyone working on it wants, and that makes people less willing to work for free.

    So money is what it's going to take to get this project done. If some doubt my conclusion, then I'll point to the numerous times I've tried to get assistance from people on ProSonic and ended up dry (and in this case, I'm referring to programmers). I've got "sure, I'll see what I can do" and "I might do something" and things like that, but I always knew nothing was going to become of it -- and I was right =) I've had two different games that were going to be developed using ProSonic, and neither of those projects happened (no hard feelings BTW). The only thing I've got is a lot of talk. So that's why I strongly suggest money is what's going to make these people work.
     
  8. Metal Man88

    Metal Man88

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    The approach I take is a "Trust no one" sort of thing, which means programming things by myself. Now, I don't program anything sans my website right now, but when it comes down to it, team members help me because they want to, and if they don't I do it all by myself.

    If you really want to do Prosonic, you'll do it yourself if nobody helps you. The people who did Megaman 2 supposedly programmed it even though Capcom didn't want it—because the programmers wanted it, that's why.

    That's my 2 cents, but I'm not you. So if anything I say offends you, don't worry—I don't know who you are (personally, that is—I have a good feel for your career, having seen it from the beginning) or why you put this topic up, so a mistake is an honest mistake.
     
  9. Athelstone

    Athelstone

    Oldbie
    I'd donate - I think this is a truly fantastic idea Saxman!

    People, people, people! Look at all the Sonic fan games out there. Let's face it. None of them are ever really going to achieve the popularity they deserve because they are all working from a limited engine base. As impressive as Megamix is, the same applies. Rom hacking is just far too limited, and so is the stuff people are using to create their fan games.

    What we need is a truly professional Sonic engine that faithfully recreates the exciting gameplay from the original Sonic games. This will inspire sonic fan game creators to finally break free from their inhibitions and create something truly inspired, exciting and original.

    Sonic Team have made clear that they are not going to do this. So who is?

    Folks, listen. The fact is that our dream Sonic engine will NEVER become a reality unless we as a community rise up to this challenge.

    We have some AMAZING TALENT in this community. We really do. But we have yet to see that talent flourish into something beautiful, because all of you are fragmented. You are all working on your separate projects, while using limited tools. Therefore what you are creating will never blossom or thrive as it deserves to. Pro Sonic can solve all of these problems and more! All you have to do is team up with Saxman. At the same time, you will be rewarded for your work and contributions with a small sum of money, as you deserve to.

    What better way to motivate the community? Make no mistake, this is quite a large undertaking. I'm truly glad that Saxman has realized that he cannot do this by himself, because he has now proposed an idea that has a lot of potential. Just look at how much you guys have donated towards getting those rare prototype roms. This cause is far more worthwhile.

    A multiplayer sonic game engine that enables users to create their own levels has so much potential it's mind boggling. If done properly and professionally it would very quickly become an extremely popular online game. But it won't happen unless you guys working on your rom hacks and fan games STOP what you are doing, and turn to Pro Sonic instead. You will then be able to recreate the levels you originally envisaged without being binded by horrible limitations. Players will then be able to enjoy your creations far more by racing through them in multiplayer. An engine like Pro Sonic is the future of all 2d Sonic games, make no mistake about that.

    Let's make it happen.
     
  10. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    Wow, you just became my speech writer or something -- that was pretty darn accurate to my own thoughts!



    I think this idea of mine is the best way. But if people continue to show a lack of willingness (or cash -- and that's understandable) to help here, then either I'll can ProSonic altogether, or I'll await a new idea that more people will support (that's your all's cue to make suggestions).

    I WANT ProSonic to be completed, and I HAVE the will-power to do it. But I'm not willing to sacrifice my life and future to do it anymore because that's more important than ProSonic. In other words, I don't have the time to do it myself, otherwise I would! There are many many people here who have way more time than I do who do very little with their free time, so it's going to require less laziness and more drive.

    Need I remind people this engine will be better than the rest if completed. It will do everything ROM hackers and general fan-gamers alike would want. It will be a great benefit to programmers just as well. 8-bit to 16-bit color modes that can be mixed to share data, scripting support to program objects and a CNC/MMF type "event editor" to assist in this, multiplayer with up to 16 players supported over a network, split screen with up to 4 frames on a single screen at once, an advanced graphics rendering system to rotate levels and zoom in on and out of them, interchangeable data between levels and games, backwards compatible with data found in the original Sonic games, "perfected" (not similar) physics, and completely open-source for programmers to modify to their needs. My vision doesn't stop there, and I could hype ProSonic all day long. But I've got so much on the table and I can't do it all. So I either need some support for my current plan, suggestions on a new plan that me and others can agree on, or I have to put the project to rest.
     
  11. Athelstone

    Athelstone

    Oldbie

    I have suggestions for a new plan Saxman.

    In essence, I think the ideas you have outlined for Pro Sonic are a bit too ambitious. Most importantly, I think there is a better and far more efficient way of bringing the Sonic engine we have in mind to fruition. I've been chatting to Taxman for the past hour or so (creator of the Retro Sonic engine) and have been thinking for a long time about providing feedback for you. I think the key thing if we are to succeed in this endeavour is to keep everything as simple as possible.

    I do not think it is a good idea to try and create an open-source game creation and editing system. The reason I say this is because fangame creators will use your engine to work on things other than Sonic, which is not the focus of our interest (therefore it is much harder for Sonic fans to be motivated to develop for). Even if you were to succeed in creating it, the result would be lots of different people taking your engine and then creating lots of different hybrid fan games. In other words, the efforts of fan gamers would once again be fragmented due to everyone working on their own separate projects using your engine.

    Essentially, the Sonic fan gaming community and Sonic hacking community simply want to create Sonic levels. Nothing else: just Sonic levels. I think we should keep it simple, but most importantly, let's keep it Sonic.

    The only reason fangame creators go and create a separate game and give it a funky title like "Sonic Thunder" or "Sonic Kaboom" is so that they have their own personal stage to express what they have created. "These are my levels and this is what I've created". The result is that we get lots of different fan games jumbled about all over the place, when all the levels they created could have just been placed into one Sonic game.

    That is why I think an open-source project is a bad idea. However, a closed-source project does not mean the community cannot contribute. On the contrary.

    I've thought about this for a long time, and I think Retro Sonic is the way forward. Although Retro Sonic is closed-source, Taxman is providing a complete Development Kit that allows fan gamers to get down to business and get on with creating levels. People don't need to create their own separate games, because it is essentially only the levels that they are creating. Taxman drew attention in our conversation to "Jazz Jackrabbit Online", which is essentially one game engine and one game that everyone plays on, while creating and swapping levels for. With this, everyone gets to play on the same engine. http://www.jazz2online.com/J2Ov2/.

    This is the great thing about a closed-source project: everyone would be creating levels for one engine. Everyone is putting ingredients into one big pot of stew that's available to everyone, and that one stew gets better and better. As things stand now Saxman, much of what you have proposed for Pro Sonic has already been achieved by Taxman: the level editor, the physics, the collision system, even multiplayer. Taxman tells me the editing tools are even Mac OSX compatible now and that he's doing his best to make the development kit as user friendly as possible.
    http://rsonic.randomsonicnet.org/frame_rsdk.htm

    Retro Sonic is truly almost there, and I think it would be a shame if you were to spend time and effort replicating something that has already been achieved.

    I'm aware of your concerns regarding how true the physics in Retro Sonic are to the original Sonic 2/3 engine. However, this is really a minor concern. The source code is readily available for Taxman to make tweaks and modifications here and there if necessary. I have also talked to Taxman about the possibility of allowing experienced coders to work with him to help improve Retro Sonic once it's released. Taxman's reply was that he is "open to anything, the game just has to get there first".

    Therefore my suggestion is that we simply get on with what we wish to get on with in our real lives and work with Retro Sonic, simply because most of the work has already been achieved here. I am still interested in donating towards anyone wishing to work on a game engine of this sort. Once Retro Sonic is released, if experienced coders were to team up with Taxman to help him improve Retro Sonic further, I would be very happy indeed to help motivate them by donating.

    Most dearly Saxman, I would love to see you and Taxman work together on Retro Sonic somehow. However this would require you to alter your objectives considerably to be more in line with Taxman's sonic engine, which I think at the end of the day is more realistic, achievable and better for the Sonic fan gaming community.
     
  12. Covarr

    Covarr

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    That would be me. In a year or so, I'll probably be able to donate a large portion of what you need. I'd do so now if I didn't have college loans to pay off.
     
  13. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    What Athelstone is suggesting is giving up my project. I understand your suggest is very sincere, and I understand where you're coming from. You make sense, but my answer is a negative because I want this engine to be the way forward.

    What I'm going to do is go around the community and try to campaign for donations to help support my plan. I'm going to give it a shot. So in the meantime, I'm looking for people willing to step up to the plate and tell me what their skills are. You will be offering your time to work on ProSonic with whatever needs to be done to it, and you'll be commissioned for it (even if it ends up being from my own pocket). Here's what I need:

    - Experienced C programmer with good math skills (some C++ knowledge would be a big plus)
    - Talented artists who can do sprites and tiles
    - Top-notch level designers

    For each of these jobs, you will need to show me some work you've done. For level designers, I prefer that you have designed Sonic levels before and be able to show me some -- I'm looking for professional quality levels. For artists, you can do sprites, tiles, or both -- show me some work you've done from scratch (not taking existing art and editing it). For programmers, just show me a project you've done along with some code (the neater your code is, the better). We'll discuss pay in more detail, but for now I want to know who's interested and serious about being hired to do some work.
     
  14. Ritz

    Ritz

    Subhedgehog Member
    I'm getting to a point where I can sprite competently and true to Sonic form, though I'm not quite there yet (These two sprites are pretty much all I've done so far). It was ProSonic that inspired me to really get into spriting in the first place, so I'll be glad to lend a hand if/when I feel prepaired. But why would you need new art in the first place? Isn't vanilla ProSonic only concerned with replicating the classic games?
     
  15. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    Those sprites aren't bad at all.

    And as for why I would need art and such, it's part of my "multilateral" strategy described in the ProSonic outline. It helps to serve the marketing portion of the project (that is, getting a game ready by the time the engine is released).
     
  16. Super

    Super

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    For Level designers, this mean levels in general(layout, Art, Music, specific Objects for the level), or Level layout, or just Layout and art?
     
  17. JoseTB

    JoseTB

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    Rather than seeking for money for motivate people, I'd suggest to elaborate an comprehensive development plan, defining exactly what you'll need, including human resources. Most collaborative projects fail due to bad organization, but they can work, even without donations, if enough effort is put on this matter. I can understand from your words that your project has grown so much you can't maintain it anymore on your own; I've also meet this feeling after years of development on my own project. But notice that you're not the only one who actually want to have a life, hiring just one more programmer isn't likely to be enough, imho. If you define what you need to be developed now you can assing diferent small tasks to several experienced programmers; this way the project gets done and people will still have a life. C is not exactly the best language for modularized programming, but well, it can be done.

    If you want to hire people this is the best way to go, in my opinion. Although you might need to release a tech demo or something to get some more attention first.
     
  18. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    If I had the money, I would donate, or even coding skills, I would help out on this project because I honestly want this to thing to happen. Hell, I started doing art for Q for the purpose of having a shit load of material ready for ProSonic's release date until you changed it, which set me back to messing with ROMs.

    I honestly hope you get the support you need for this, whether it's by people actually donating their time or being payed, since hope is pretty much all I can offer.
     
  19. The Taxman

    The Taxman

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    Ok, I'll give my two cents on this:
    JoseTB makes some good points, if you're going to be moving into a more collaborative style of development with ProSonic, you'll need a clearly defined development plan. You've kind of given off mixed signals in previous topics/posts... You need help with things, since the scope of your project has become very ambitious for the development time frame you wanted originally. Yet at the same time you give the impression you don't want others to work with anything else other than arbitrary tasks like a sprite editor/gui tools etc etc. I know you have a lot of pride in your project, but at the same time, being too defensive with your work will deter some from wanting to join you.

    Here's some ideas for developing ProSonic
    -Release some sort of concept demo to generate interest (as mentioned by JoseTB)

    -Sort out your project's Scope: Cull some of your more fruity ideas of stuff like Nintendo DS/Dreamcast ports and Yamaha sound chip emulation. I can tell you right now that all those features together AREN'T going to play nicely. For example, the DS has tiling modes, but they're for 8x8 tiles, the smallest you use is 16x16. The Dreamcast's processor is weak for software rendering, and having to emulate sound would slow it down even further. Add to all this your desire to have 16bit and 8bit rendering with different resolutions and there are just so many factors that will conflict with each other.

    Instead focus on getting the player object to work, and object scripting. People will get bored of seeing a white rectangle in a scrolling level, the sooner people see Sonic acting like Sonic, the sooner the average punter is going to say "Hey Cletus! It's one of dem fancy Sonic engines!"

    -Use RAD Tools (e.g. VB, RealBasic etc) to prototype your Editor toolkits to speed up development, then develop them in C/C++ later if you so desire. You could whip up a sprite editor in a weekend this way. I recommend RealBasic over VB since it's multi platform and doesn't suffer from OCX hell

    Above all, be patient, work on it when you can and relax... Unless you're trying to make money from it, it shouldn't matter when it's going to be finished.
     
  20. WiteoutKing

    WiteoutKing

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    If I can get a copy of the current(ish) ProSonic engine, I think I could at least put something together before the final release. If not the full on Sonic Horizon, perhaps at least the action levels themselves or something. I felt pretty bad about totally letting you down when we were first talking about this what, a year and a half ago? I've been doing a little bit of work here and there (haven't made any particular updates lately though) and would be really interested in working on this.
     
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