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Project Direction

Discussion in 'Project: Sonic Retro (Archive)' started by Tweaker, May 6, 2009.

  1. STHX


    SEGAAAAAAAAA?!? Member
    The world of Trophies
    Sonic In Mushroom Kingdom
    About limitations: only because we are not doing it for the Genesis doesn't mean we are free to do everything we want.
    An example: E02 can handle up to 256 colors (if I got it right from the programming topic). However, we can't use all those colors. Why? Underwater palette. At most, we can use half of them (128). Sure, we could use some fancy trasparency effects, but, come on, do you truly want them (or, do you truly think we need them)?
    128 doesn't seems that much (true, its double of what we had on the Genesis, but it isn't exaggerated), and if we divide it for specific tasks (like what Chimpo did: 1 palette line for Sonic, 1 for badniks and so on) it won't be terribly different than what we do on the Genesis.

    Another example about colors and palette: If we decide to have a 64 colors palette like the Genesis, but we make the game for the PC, we will still have more freedom. Why? 512 (please hope I'm not wrong on this one) colors vs 16 millions of colors to chose from.

    I already said it, but it won't hurt if we I repeat it once more. Limitations should not be our priority now, the most important thing now is to decide what do we want from the project. Anything else comes after.

    My suggestion is: if we must do a community project, shouldn't we try to do something more than just a hack?
    I wonder how far could the "Classic Sonic Style" go without changing the working formula. What if we actually try to do something through these lines?
  2. Rika Chou

    Rika Chou

    Tech Member
    If we make an entirely new game built of a previous game, such as S3K, I wouldn't call that a hack at all.

    S2 was built off S1, S3 was built off S2. Heck, I remember reading that Sonic Advance has some S3K ported code or something in it.

    Wasn't there even some evidence that S1 was built from Ghouls 'n Ghosts? I don't remember....

    Anyway, I really think that this should use genesis or 32x limitations, even if it's made with an engine that could do more. It should feel like your playing a sonic game from the mid 90s.
  3. The Shad

    The Shad

    ↑ & ↓ & ↻ Oldbie
    Okay, first of all, we need to finally figure out just what the fuck this project is supposed to be. Is it a Retrowank fangame where we try and make something of quality as a group, is it the logical evolution of Sonic3K into Sonic 4? Or is it something completely different. Its obvious everyone has their own ideas about what they want and if we can't figure this out in the next two days we need to just finally scrap this project.


    Hey, can you program all that? Can you do the cool little 3D effects you were talking about? You got an engine ready or willing to build one from scratch?

    You do? Awesome.

    You don't? Shut the fuck up.

    With using a rom or E02, we already have two engines available to us that we can at least begin work on. People are actually familiar with those and we need a base ASAP before we can get anywhere. We need to focus on getting something tangible engine wise before we can even bother with whatever effects we want in game. I mean hell, if we don't even have ONE level layout in two months, its time to scrap this damn thing.

    So can we get somewhere, please?
  4. Shadow Hog

    Shadow Hog

    "I'm a superdog!" Member
    Actually, I was the one who proposed the 3D shit, not him. And I won't miss it if it's not possible.

    Honestly, E02 really does sound like the way to go; 128 colors is still a pretty big improvement on 64. And even then, that's only for water stages - non-water stages (since not every stage would have water in it, obviously) can go up to the full 256. Plus we won't have to limit ourselves to FM synth - I'd really like to see higher-quality music than that for this project.

    Is Shad stepping up to be the project leader? No objections if he does, just curious.
  5. The Shad

    The Shad

    ↑ & ↓ & ↻ Oldbie
    Oh, my bad.

    I just don't like his tone :colbert:
  6. CyclopsCaveman


    Crawled out of a fan. Member

    Also, how big can the game be when we put it into E02? Depending on how big it can be, we could have a better possibility to add more scope to the game than previous Sonic games, maybe even work out branching level and story paths.
  7. TmEE


    Master of OPL3-SA2/3 Tech Member
    Estonia, Rapla City
    T-04YBSC-A !
    Limitations are always good things to have, then you just can't get too many ideas of what you could do, you have to be creative with what you have, and that way the best things will happen.
  8. jman2050


    Teh Sonik Haker Tech Member
    It can theoretically be as big as we like, though it's encouraged to be smart about resource management since the engine was designed to work with even the worst computers.
  9. The Shad

    The Shad

    ↑ & ↓ & ↻ Oldbie
    So whats this project going to be? Sonic 4 or a Community Driven Fan Game or option C?
  10. Namagem


    I saw trying to make it the next obvious step in the sonic series the logical next step, because it's pretty obvious that sonic team has no interest in going back to the classic series.
  11. Shadow Hog

    Shadow Hog

    "I'm a superdog!" Member
    The logical next step would be a Saturn game, considering the timeframe we're talking here (circa 1995). Which would mean hi-color graphics (although IIRC the Saturn had a palette - correct me if I'm wrong there) and CD audio for music.

    Actually, to be blunt, it'd have been 3D (re: Sonic Xtreme). But I don't think anyone here wants to make a 3D fangame, myself included, so a 2D Saturn-esque title would do (it WAS a 2D behemoth anyway, so). And really, given 256 colors, E02 would still qualify... even if we'd have to sacrifice fancy 3D effects. (Which I'm not saying it CAN'T do - I just really have no damn clue. I should really read up on the specs of that...)

    It can't be both? :P

    I'm going more with the second, but styled as such that it could possibly pass as the former.
  12. CyclopsCaveman


    Crawled out of a fan. Member
    I would rather it be seen as a Sonic game, but not as a Sonic sequel, this way we can avoid so many levels of fighting over how things are supposed to flow, this way we're slightly more opened about what we can and can't do.

    If we see it as a Sonic Project rather than a successor to a game that's already had like 13 sequels we can improve the scope of what we can do, if even marginally. And those of you haters who say "SEGA has abandoned the classic series" need to open your eyes that SEGA is tuck in a hard position of who it wants to support, and having to decide between Past (communities like Retro) and future (communities that welcome the change in Sonic). If we keep bitching about it without actually trying to do anything about, what's the point?
  13. The Shad

    The Shad

    ↑ & ↓ & ↻ Oldbie
    Sonic 3D Blast was both Saturn & Genesis. Whether this has any weight for decisions, I don't know =P Right now it seems to be between Saturn limits or Genesis game.

    ShadowHog: S4 would be strictly Classic based while Opt B could include elements from newer games. Thats the quick answer while on my psp, anyways
  14. STHX


    SEGAAAAAAAAA?!? Member
    The world of Trophies
    Sonic In Mushroom Kingdom
    This was a hot debate since the days of the Sonic 4 forum.
    If I remember correctly, Cinossu (or I believe it was him, if he went by the username Mark on the old forum) came up with the idea for the first time.
    I always appreciated this concept, because, if you think about this, maybe it is a possible evolution of the series.

    First, probably most of you know Spring Yard Act 2 has a second Signpost hidden above the normal one. In that game, the area before it had tons of rings, more than enough to reach the number of 50 even if you had nothing.
    I always wondered: what if that signpost actually took you an alternate 3rd act? What if you could go to a different 4th Zone after that?
    But this didn't happened, and, if I remember well, only Collision Chaos had another 2nd signpost.

    However, the idea of completely different paths or acts for different characters appeared in S3&K.
    While Sonic and Knuckles travel to the same zones, most areas are accesible only to one of them.
    Now what if they actually completely different acts and Zones? Wouldn't it be better for replayability?

    Now this is my idea: Combining both things and making a Sonic game where there isn't a linear path of zones.

    The game must play like a true Sonic game: you start in a tropical zone, and you end in the final base. You must be able to finish the whole game in 2 hours or 2:30 hours maximum (if you speed up you can get better times in S3K, but I like to keep my pace when I play, so this depend on the player).
    However, there isn't a set amount of Zones. The zone where the player will go depends on the path he/she takes during the playthrough.
    Example: In the second zone there could be more than 1 signpost. The second one, which could be more hidden than the normal one, brings the character to a different Act 2, which, when complete, will bring to a completely different 3rd Zone. This could then bring to a completely different final zone, and so to a completely different ending.

    So, even if the game will play like a true Sonic game, the final objective is different. Completing at least once all the acts of the game.

    How can this be done and not being repetitive?
    Example: Let's say you decide to play as Sonic for the first time. Just like Sonic 3, if you stop playing, you can restart from the zone you were. When you finish the game, the save file you used becomes free, and you will be able to replay any of the zones you completed during your first playthrough, but only those. If, when you are replaying one of those zones, you find an alternate path, that save file will be locked to the new path you discovered (like if you were playing the game for the first time) until you return to an already completed path or you complete another ending. After then, the save files returns free, and you can now chose to replay from every Zone you completed in any of yours playthrough.
    In this way you won't be able to cheat and must complete all the stage to freely replay every Zone.
    We could put another limit linked to the Chaos Emeralds. Basically, when you are replaying the game, you keep all the Emeralds you collected in your first playthrough. However, in order to make the alternate exits to appear, you must have the exact amout of Emeralds you had when you first played that zone. This can be done by selecting the numbers of Emeralds you'll start from the file select menu (this could also be useful if you want to se the bad ending or if you want to be sure you'll not transform into Super Sonic during a free play)

    But how can you know there is an alternate exit in a stage you already completed?
    We could ad a trial mode which lets you replay the single acts of the zones you completed (think about Sonic CD time trial mode. Of course, the best time will be saved, and maybe even the ghost). This mode will appear like a map of the island where the game takes place (or multiple maps if the game has more than 1 island).
    At first, the whole map is blank, with only the first zone on it. Every time you complete a zone for the first time, that zone will appear in the map, and you will be able to play it when you like. This map will show the path you used during your playthrough, however will also show the paths you missed. So you can use the map to know where are the other exits you still haven't managed to find (let's say this better: it will tell you if an act has more than 1 exit, and if you found it already. It will not tell you exactly where the exit is).
    So the true objective of the game will be to complete this map.

    Be aware. I never used the term secret exit. Secret exits fits in a Mario game, not a Sonic one. The main objective is to run through a Zone, not exploring it. Of course, if you want to explore a zone you are free to do it, but most of the players prefer to speed trhough a Sonic game. That's why I say "Alternate exits". Of course, some of them may be harder to find, or may bring to harder stages.

    Different characters may have easier or harder acces to some of these alternate paths. Actually, some of them may be accesible only to a specific character. Knuckles could break through harder walls like he do in Sonic 3, and Tails may reach some areas by flying.
    Actually, Knuckles may even start in a different place than Sonic. If you think about it, it makes sense if Knuckles fiirst stage is located on Angel Island. Even if he still reaches Sonic & Tails' path, it makes more sense if he starts in a different place.

    So basically, my proposal is to go through this way. In this way, the game won't have a set amount of Zones, and we will be able to experiment many different kind of zones. Also, choices will be easier: 2 good ideas for the final zone? They can be both in the game. 2 different composition for an act 2 music? One can be used for Act 2, another for the alternate Act 2. 2 similar but still different concept for a Zone? They can both be in the game.
    We will be the only limit.

    Of course, something like this may be impossible to do for the Genesis, and I don't know if someone can do this for the Saturn.
    To me, a noob in programming, E02 appears the best choise, because it is technically unlimited (I know this isn't true, but surely it is less limited than the Genesis).

    This is something one man alone will never be able to do. But even 10 or 20 people can't do this. Only a whole community can make something like this. This is why I think this is the best way: Take the original idea posted by Cinossu and use it as a base for our game.

    I don't know why, but I think split paths could have actually appeared in a Sonic game. But classic Sonic died, and modern games went on a different road.

    This is my suggestion for the project direction.
    I, STHX, candidate for project leadership, but, unlike the other time, I explained my concept and proposed a direction. Only if we work together we will be able to do something like this. This is the best thing to do, in my opinion, because it will play and feel like a Sonic game, but will also be something more.
  15. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    I think the problem with the last set-up was that there was too much emphasis on getting everything done for the first stage and that nothing could continue anywhere until this was done. I mean a lot of the work was just thrown out including the circus stage which was almost progressing faster.

    It doesn't seem like the best way to go to me.

    Magazine shots show that Sonic 3 used Sonic 2 placeholders during development, and the Sonic 2 betas show several levels were being done at once with all sorts of things being added. I suggest taking a blank copy of E02 or whatever, filling it to the brim with crappy placeholders and then slowly replacing everything. That way we know everything's "there" but it just doesn't have animations, and it means we can tackle everything at once without having to wait for something.

    Hell the levels could be made up of squares and circles and Sonic could be a blue dot for the time being. As more stuff is made, more of these placeholders are replaced. It's essentially x number of test levels, and those who end up being neglected over time, are dropped or merged. Heck there could be a nightly build open source engine where the users come in and change things.

    Story stuff can come later, though multiple paths should probably still happen. Sonic 2's level order was all over the place for most of its development - this stuff doesn't have to be final from the get go.

    Of course I'm only saying this because I prefer to make things up as I go along. Might not be the best way to go here but we will literally be here forever if we're just tossing around level ideas but not actually making levels to test said ideas out. Make the "game" and then worry about what graphical or musical style it should have

    also as far as engines are concerned I think E02 is the best way to go HOWEVER

    if there's a massive demand for a ROM hack of sorts, fork the project and have that being developed by a slightly different time using the same material. The version that gets completed (or gets to some goal first) could be the one that goes forward. During the 60s and 70s when America was at war with Russia the two were competing in the "space race" - it would be a similar situation here, sans "war". NASA haven't really done quite as much while peace was about, so a bit of competition could help motivate the project.
  16. Sailu Baru

    Sailu Baru

    Just one advice:

    Keep the character's sprites of one game, as S3&K or Sonic 2. This is an retro project, isn't it?
    You should keep the spirit of the old games and you'll gain a lot of time. In my opinion the most important are the level art and the architecture. It isn't the shoes' color of tails.

    Why don't you make a vote to decide (not for the shoes -_-') ?
    Do you want a real retro project or a new Sonic?
    I think a new Sonic is too ambitious when I read all the travel that have been done and these results.
    If you prefered to work on moderner graphics, I'd suggest you to go on the Sonic HD project.

    So (in my opinion^^) :

    - Target platform/engine being used: Genesis emulator.
    - Intentional limitations: yes. In the other case, you'd lost time in taking too much different ways.
  17. That'd be nice if Sonic 2 HD wasn't an ugly piece of shit. Fact is that SEGA changed Sonic's sprites between 1, 2 and 3, and last I checked this section was described as "A collaborative effort to create a new Sonic game based on classic design principles from the 16-bit Sonic era."
  18. Shadow Hog

    Shadow Hog

    "I'm a superdog!" Member
    And I really, really think we should avoid just making another ROM hack. That's limiting ourselves way too much.
  19. Sailu Baru

    Sailu Baru

    If there isn't a strong majority to approves one of these two approaches (Retro hack-like Sonic or a moderner game), the idea to fork the project could be excellent, as Black Squirrel says.

    As a matter of fact a 2D game with Saturn limitations enjoys me too.
  20. STHX


    SEGAAAAAAAAA?!? Member
    The world of Trophies
    Sonic In Mushroom Kingdom
    Be careful. Forking the project will cause us a lot of problems. A community project exist thanks to the cooperation between different members. Forking the project will not only cause a lack of work (since, at best, only half of the contributors will work on a project), but will also cause a lot of competition.
    Competition is bad. Competition can kill even the stronger projects.

    And really. The only important thing in a game is how its play. Doesn't matter the platform, only gameplay matters.
    If the final game plays and feels like a true classic Sonic, does it really matter where you play it? We all want to make a Sonic game, why we should compete one against the other?

    And about placeholders, we must be careful too.
    Let's say we use placeholder sprites for our characters, zones and enemies. Imagine the situation:
    "Hey guys, we are working on an awesome fan game, and are recruiting members.
    Here is our work so far:
    That's the Sonic sprite, but it is only a placeholder. That's the level art, but ignore it, because the final will be TONS better. Those are our enemies, but they will be completely different in the final version.
    But we have a great engine, and so we only need someone who makes all the rest.
    Do you want to be the one?"

    Would you really feel like to help with a project presented like this? And don't make me do the rom hack example with S3 graphics and engine as placeolders.

    Nope, there is something wrong. Surely, at some times placeholders may be needed, but we can't use only placeholders. We must have something to show, or no one will take us seriously.

    In particular, the Sonic sprite must not be a placeholder in any case. The Sonic sprite represent the game. The general sprite style, the other characters, the badniks. They are all based over the Sonic sprite. If there is one thing that must be decided first, then that's the Sonic sprite.
    You can do all the placeolder art you want, but this art won't serve any purpose, and it will only be a waste of time (we draw a whole placeholder sheet made of 100 frames, and one day we draw the true sheet. Why did we made the placeholder? Couldn't we made the final one since the beginning?).
    Only final art matters, and only that could move someone to help.
    This is true for everything: we complete something, that something is final, that something will never be discussed again, we move to the next target.

    Beside, this is even more true with a project like this.
    I would like to quote jman:
    Just as he said, let's say someone makes a sprite, and that sprite has ONE wrong pixel. You could ignore it, and put that mistake in the "to do list". Or you could use 5 seconds to change that pixel. End, the sprite is now perfect. Editing a sprite is a lot easier than editing an entire sheet.

    But now, there is something even more important to discuss. Almost a week has passed, and we are still arguing on the same things. If we don't move on we will never stop this arguing.

    All of us agree on the general direction: a new classic Sonic game. This is the best solution so far, because it is a common objective and not an "one man's dream".

    So let's start moving through that direction, let's start doing something specific. Let's complete at least one thing. Then we will understand where the project must go.
    We want to make the same thing, so let's start doing that thing.
    The Sonic sprite, that's the perfect thing to do first. I already said it once: everything is based over the Sonic sprite, and finalizing it will save us a lot of troubles in future.
    Limitations? If the Sonic sprite doesn't go past 15+1 transparent colors, then it can be ported to any platform.
    The Sonic sprite caused many troubles in the past, but, even more, if we complete it we would reach a target this project never completed.

    This is the best thing to do first.

    And about the leader thing, we need a leader. Since we still haven't decided anything yet, we can't form a whole team. But we still need a leader: someone who can direct the project at least for this first objective.
    I proposed a plan for the whole project, I proposed to focus one the sprite for the first thing, I can sprite and I'm serious about my nomination (and I can take care of the Sonic sprite alone if no one else wants to do it now).
    So? Am I the only one who wants to move on and starting doing something? If not, then let's move. Let's complete that sprite once and for all.