So, anyone interested in making a Sonic the Hedgehog gameplay bible?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Laughingcow, Nov 8, 2017.

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  1. Laughingcow

    Laughingcow

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    Blah blah Sonic Forces sucks, yeah. And while I've said on more than one occasion that Sonic Team is incompetent, I'd like to do something positive now that Forces is everything I thought it was gonna be.

    So, seeing as how we're all in the mood to say what has been done wrong, why not channel this into something positive: creating a comprehensive document on about how a Sonic game should be handled. We know Sonic Team has a bible of sorts but (looking at Forces) I don't think their bible actually covers much of the game building aspects. Now, I gave it some thought about what this would entail and I think the sections should be divided up into the three styles: Classic, Boost, and 3d . These sections will be divided into Character mechanics/movement, level design, boss design, and special/bonus stage implementation.

    To clarify:
    Classic will be covering Sonic 1, 2, CD, 3&K, Chaotix, and Mania. It's safe to say this is where the formula has been expressed and how the designing of a Classic styled game would be done.

    Boost will be covering Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure as they are what I consider PURE Boost games unlike Unleashed through Forces which were diluted and clearly influenced (negatively) by the storybook games (lock on homing attack, stomp, and run behind sections). There should also be a section about the Advance trilogy here as the evolution from Classic to Boost is most apparent here.

    3D will be difficult but I think it's worth visiting Sonic Adventure through Sonic 06 and Rise of Lyric in that they are completely 3d games. I expect this section to be neigh impossible to complete but we'll try nonetheless.

    Spin offs (like Sonic Spinball and Sonic Shuffle) will not be covered. An exception is made for Rise of Lyric in that I believe there to be something salvageable here. Likewise, character presentation, timeline, etc will be excluded for the simple fact that this isn't an official Sega document where franchise maintenance would matter. It is about making games. Lastly, I considered a music section but I don't honestly have no idea what it would entail.

    So, anyone interested?
     
  2. Amnimator

    Amnimator

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    I think this would be really hard to pull off. Rather, I think it should be separated into several sub guides, eg.) Classic Sonic art, level design, tech. When I think about it, we already have a few write ups from people here as far as Classic Sonic's level design and tech, but anything past the Classic era is relatively scarce outside the realm of reverse engineering.

    I'd think it's worth a shot to have a push for more of these kind of write ups, but an organized effort doesn't sound too likely to work out. Most peeps here work in a modest hobbyist capacity, few have the practical experience working on this stuff to a capacity where they can do a write up, even fewer will end up doing a write up. It would be neat if something like this could be made, or if more peeps here talk about what they learned during various fan-game or modding projects. Maybe a "Hey, these are some pretty good write-ups" thread or wiki page? Not sure if one already exists, or is being actively updated.
     
  3. big smile

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    Back in 2006, I was unhappy with the direction of the series and so started something like this:

    Sonic Science

    This was version 1 where I deconstructed the key mechanics of the classic games and compared them to the 3D games.

    My goal for version 2 was to have a full catalogue of every gameplay mechanic in all the games, complete with video breakdowns.

    Back in 2006, things like video capture and hosting was in it's infancy, so it was quite the challenge!

    At the time, I was running The GHZ newsboard and was able to interview the developers of the American Sonic games (such as Rivals and Chronicles). There was a lot of talk at SoA of getting more western developers to work on Sonic. Plus my contacts at Sega were trying to arrange an interview with Yuji Naka. My plan was that if I had a full deconstruction of the classic games, I could show it to developers when I interviewed them and it might help them to make better games. Sadly after Sonic Science version 1 was complete, the GHZ newsboard died which killed off all the interviews I had lined up and then I got busy with real life, so never finished version 2.

    It's certainly something I would like to continue if I ever win the lottery (or retire in old age).

    Edit: If viewing the site, the horrid 90's design means you have to do a lot of clicking to get started, so you probably want to start here for the deconstructions or here for the intro.
     
  4. Chimpo

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    Atomic Sonic Part II

    I need to buy you a one way ticket to Fuckoffistan and tear up your Visa so that you never return. Unleashed was a improvement over the Rush formula and it was never expanded on because of you backwards thinking peasants wanting more 2D sections, more of a return to the classics, shoved into the 3D games. The bullshit praise Colors received cemented that the 3D Unleashed segments would never be revisited in any significant way. The various techniques from stomps to drifts helped make the game fun as it gave you control over the fast paced segments instead of Forcing you into automation segments every step of the way. As awful as Lost World was, it too could have been much more if they bothered to incorporate the wall run mechanic in any significant way and stopped trying to ape Mario Galaxy. There was something special in that original formula that Unleashed brought onto the table and to see you and your ilk trash it is disgusting.
     
  5. Laughingcow

    Laughingcow

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    Sorry you feel that way but NO it wasn't an improvement on the Boost formula because it WASN'T the Boost formula. It was a continuation of the Storybook games where literally everything in those run behind sections come from, the mixture of which was a bad thing. Now we could argue about this a bit longer but the metacritic doesn't lie.

    Sonic Rush 82
    Sonic Rush Adventure 78

    vs

    Sonic Unleashed 66
    Sonic Colors 78
    Sonic Generations 77

    This is the issue with making 3d Sonic games and why I mentioned it may be impossible because Sonic games became a chimera of different styles which only got worse over time. A pure Boost style game without the run behind nonsense (which really works better as special stages then as main gameplay) can clearly be defined and I believe improved upon.

    Oh, and no. I think it's safe to say even if the reception of Sonic Unleashed were better, the 3d segments of Unleashed still wouldn't be revisited by Sonic Team. I think you would have just gotten more Werehog because that's how Sonic Team fails at taking feedback.

    @big smile
    Hm, interesting.
     
  6. Sir_mihael

    Sir_mihael

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    Didn't Black Knight come out after Unleashed though? I always felt Unleashed borrowed way more from Rush than the likes of Secret Rings but I may be misreading the topic.

    I did feel there were some parts of Colours (the auto-running stages mostly) that would've fit right at home in the Storybook games though.
     
  7. I think the problem with creating a 'bible' of sorts is that we are covering stuff that's already been done before. I think the problem lies within this.

    There should be no rules. The only rule should be to start again, from scratch. Get the basics right. Remove the fluff that's accumulated. Rules based on sub par Sonic games of the past is how we've got to the situation we are in today.

    There was a good thread about this a while back, although I've forgot what it's called. It had some great ideas, and some heated moments.
     
  8. Amnimator

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    ^Yeah, I think that's the best way to go about this. I was thinking this should be more about write ups of what challenges the devs went through making their stuff, rather than a set of guidelines to follow.

    That being said, Sonic Team's boost Sonic shouldn't be left out, I feel it's its own thing rather than an inferior Sonic Rush. Removing the 3D sections would be removing the base value of Sonic Team's boost games. Looking at gameplay of Secret Rings, I'd say Sonic Team's boost gameplay doesn't resemble it all too much, unless you're looking at the 3D sections of Colors and Forces.

    When people are praising Sonic Team's boost Sonic, they're referring to stuff like Seaside Hill, Apotos, Spagonia, Adabat, and Crisis City. Not Secret Rings look-alike stages in terms of level design. That's what peeps want to see fleshed out more, and in no way do I think that's just Sonic Rush watered-down edition. While I can kind of see where you're coming from (lots of 3D boost level design is so-so, games often control stiff and constrained), there's gameplay you just can't get anywhere else, even in the quick challenge levels.


    [Linky for those who can't see the video]
     
  9. Laughingcow

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    If we consider Sonic Team's boost a separate formula in the 3d section, what should we call it? What would the core be? The foundation if you will. The pure boost formula is based in the classics (notable in that the classic physics are still present) but Sonic Team's doesn't have anything solid or at least nothing I can see.
     
  10. big smile

    big smile

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    Out of interest, how do you consider the boost formula to be based in the classics?

    To me, the classics were all about treating speed as a reward. There were instances where you could instantly reach top speed (e.g. Chemical Plant), but for the most part the player had to build up to the top speed.
    Boost seems the exact opposite of the classics as you can reach top speed with a tap of a button. Going that fast instantly is thrilling, but ends up feeling shallow very quickly, because the player takes it for granted. The speed is no longer a reward and so no longer special.

    The Mania team have a deep understanding of Classic Sonic. I hope they one day get the chance to make a 3D game where they start from scratch with the goal of reworking the Classic Sonic mechanics in 3D.
     
  11. Despatche

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    I am, at least, praising Secret Rings-like levels. Secret Rings was also a pretty good game, and the idea that it had something to do with Sonic 06's destruction is hilarious to me, for some reason.

    The Metacritic does, in fact, lie, especially when reviewers are so quick to state that the numbers are meant to be personal opinion.
     
  12. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    Sonic 4: Episode I - 81

    Sonic 4: Episode I is at the same level as Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure. Metacritic doesn't lie! This must mean that Sonic 4: Episode I is objectively good, right?

    How can one person be so wrong? I don't even have any words for this. If you're writing the Bible I'm following a different religion.
     
  13. Laughingcow

    Laughingcow

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    In mechanics and level design, yes. To put it simply, the Boost formula is a more arcadey take on the classic formula beginning with the phrase, "How can we make Sonic faster"? This lead to decisions which nerfed the exploration element in favor of path memorization with a ranking system implemented to encourage arcadey replayability.
    The momentum based physics are still present and most of the level design lessons of the classics still apply here. It was Sonic Team who threw this all out in favor of something more akin to Sonic Rivals.

    It's worth noting that the way Sonic handles in the Boost games (faster momentum build, special invincibility) isn't all to different to the handling of Super forms except instead of rings, meter must be built to remain super/in boost state.

    @Digitalduck
    Feel free to not be part of the discussion seeing as how you haven't added anything to it.

    If you want to talk about Sonic 4 and honestly believe it holds up mechanically against either the Classics or the Boost games, feel free to explain to all of us "wrong" people why it deserves a spot in the Classics section. Or the Boost section.
    As for the metacritic, yes, it did do well with critics at the time while those who cared about "physics" were "Pathological haters". Of course, this wore off come Sonic 4 episode 2 more than likely due to Christian Whitehead's 2011 remake of Sonic CD which showed that we weren't just a bunch of "bizarre furry bastards". Much like Sonic Adventure, Sonic 4 didn't stand the test of time.

    https://www.destructoid.com/sonic-team-justifies-sonic-4-s-notorious-physics-188594.phtml

    Speaking personally, Sonic 4 was another chimera game by Dimps and Sonic Team. It had Classic design sensibilities which were hampered by shoddy Sonic Colors 2d physics. While I do give it some leeway in that it was never suppose to be named Sonic 4 (real name was "Sonic the Portable), the damage has been done. That said, I wouldn't mind seeing both episodes remade in a truly Classic fashion.
     
  14. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    How on earth could you interpret what I said as this?

    I don't want to talk about Sonic 4, I'm saying that using Metacritic as an objective measure of a game's quality is silly, and gave an example of it.

    ... it was literally built on the same engine as the Rush games. It's Sonic Rush 3 without the boost.

    How can you say the Unleashed style is a progression of the storybook style and unrelated to the Rush style, and yet claim that Sonic 4 is using the "shoddy physics" of Unleashed-style games when it's based on Rush?


    As for not "adding to the discussion", Chimpo said most of what I already wanted to say. I'll add that I consider this to be the greatest 3D Sonic level ever made:

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM_SZuqGOxY[/youtube]

    With my only complaints being the Interceptor section and that it could do with more 3D towards the end.

    While I prefer Colours and Generations as games generally, I feel that Unleashed nailed the way the game should feel, with the other games adding too much slow platforming. This style of game isn't conducive to slow platforming, it's effectively a platform racer.

    I didn't like the Rush games as much.
     
  15. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    We have this - it's called the Sonic Retro wiki :eng101:

    Really detailed descriptions about how the gameplay of Sonic games work - somewhere between "look at this line in the disassambly" and "press A to jump" is something the wiki could totally accommodate and should accommodate. There's already a Sonic physics guide up there - it's basically more of that, but for every game.

    That could be started right now. There are no obstacles.


    Music is something I've also toyed in my head with - breaking down all the music tracks and identifying instruments and samples and note patterns and whatever as well as noting possible influences and what equipment was available to the composer at the time.


    Art is more tricky but you can work out most of what's going on there just by looking at screenshots.



    The idea is you document objectively each element of the game in question, and then whoever is wanting to be inspired by Sonic games will pick and choose which game suits them. i.e. you don't subjectively say "this idea is better" unless there are some really obvious drawbacks (e.g. palette errors). Like Neo's (excellent) blog pointing out weird Sonic 3&K stuff, except all in one place and maintenable by the masses.
     
  16. Laughingcow

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    Except in most cases it isn't. A collection of opinions is about as objective as one can get when discussing the success & failure of a given product (game or otherwise). Pointing out one exception does NOT void out the usefulness of metacritic. Especially when YOU are only using it because you disagree with it on this particular product. Of anything, it tells us in a very objective fashion that YOU are in the minority when it comes to Sonic Unleashed on which HURAY Sonic Forces is a massive success because ONE guy liked it.

    Engine does NOT equal gameplay. Likewise, if it were the engine used in Sonic Rush (as you so describe it) then the classic physics would still be present because they are STILL in Sonic Rush and Rush Adventure. You'd know that if you were paying attention.

    The problem with Sonic Team games is the lack of a proper base. Unleashed is a mixture of Storybook run behind and the 2d sections that are themselves a mixture of Sonic Rivals and Sonic Rush which lean more toward the Rivals side to me. Not to say there wasn't influence but it's clearly been diluted.

    Then do something productive and trying mapping out those Daytime Unleashed stages by design and gameplay element. All this tells me is that you're here to slam Sonic Rush, nothing more.

    @Black Squirrel
    Interesting thought. What would I call this page then? Classic Gameplay design?
     
  17. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    We treat every game as an equal. All Sonic 2 stuff would go on the Sonic 2 page, all Sonic Adventure stuff would go on the Sonic Adventure page.

    I'm a big fan of the idea of dumping loads and loads of information under the relevant subheading, and when it becomes unmanagable, someone create "Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)/Gameplay" and "Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)/Music" sub-pages.



    All of these wikis are collaborative efforts - you throw stuff at a wall, and see what sticks. If something isn't there, invent it.



    But I stress it needs to be objective, i.e. "this is what it does" as opposed to "this is why it's good".
     
  18. Laughingcow

    Laughingcow

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    On mobile now so I'll keep this brief. I will more than likely create a page called "Classic gameplay paradigm" when I'm off from work. Hopefully it turns out well.
     
  19. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    What the fuck are you talking about?

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCGiEIncR7w[/youtube]

    The same physics quirks are present in both. What the fuck are you talking about?

    How is that relevant to what I said? What the fuck are you talking about?

    The only bad thing I've said about Rush is "I didn't like it as much". How is that slamming Rush? What the fuck are you talking about?


    What the fuck are you talking about?
     
  20. Laughingcow

    Laughingcow

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    And with that, this comes to an end. As expected, nothing but attempts to slander Sonic Rush not because of any actual faults but because "MUH Sonid UNLESHD". Funny video too, especially when I can see you're trying. BTW I've been doing something productive.

    http://info.sonicretro.org/Classic_Gameplay_Paradigm
     
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