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Sonic 2: Advanced Edit - Discussion

Discussion in 'Engineering & Reverse Engineering' started by qiuu, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. I honestly liked how Dusty Desert was a kind of fusion to "Dust Hill" (or Sand Shower / Desert Zone, whatever) and a Endless Mine-esque level. I think that made the level so fun and I didn't got bothered by the level length.

    However, the level design for act 2 was a little confusing at some points. I almost got lost. But it was still fun and a unique experience.
  2. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    I've only played the first level so far, but this is awesome. I loved the custom boss at the end - gave me some Sonic Advance 2 vibes. This really does feel like an "Advanced Edit" - so glad this got to see a final release, whereas most hacks seem to either die a slow death or crumble under the weight of ambition.
  3. ICEknight


    Researcher Researcher
    Well, now he's not an overpowered Sonic clone anymore.
  4. Another thing I noticed is how the red steel beams in Cosmic City Zone overlap the foreground, but they scroll slower than the foreground which makes no sense from a perspective sense (other levels that had beams in front of the foreground such as Star Light and Chemical Plant had the beams scroll faster than the foreground). Rings also overlap them.
  5. Sally Rose

    Sally Rose

    Great game loved it. But i know you said your done. But i was wondering if you may feel it possible to add in one last boss at the end. Idk the final levels boss feels like a normal boss. I am sorry if i sound bad i do not mean to honestly it is a fantastic game I just would hope to maybe one day see it get a final boss . ?? Im sorry again if my comment is uncouth. Just adding my own two cents. Please do not take my comment in a bad way all the good tidings to you.
  6. Any idea what kind of title screen you would want should someone step up and create one?
  7. qiuu


    Tech Member
    Blue Ball & Blocks
    Thanks every for the feedback and bug reports. We'll be working on addressing all of it, though we can't guarantee any timeline for when that might happen (hopefully not another 10 years though). Maybe to give a bit of context, for most of those 10 years development was dormant, with little things happening every now and then, but sometimes nothing for over a year. At some point this year we decided to push ahead, bring the hack into a presentable state and release it so we can move on with life. So a lot of development happened in the last 3 months (e.g. most of the bosses), and unfortunately we didn't really have any testers and so a lot of things slipped past the radar.
    btw, in case of a softlock you can press A+B+C during pause to restart from the last checkpoint.

    I haven't been able to follow anything contest-related until now due to work. It's good to see people play blind. I just checked out the recording of Stealth's stream (I'll have to catch up on the other ones before they get deleted), and I already see a lot of little things that could be done better. For example, I worked on this section in RRZ2: Video I never realized one might just outrun those platforms and then get very confused on how to cross the water. We're taking note and we'll try to address these things.

    Let me just briefly comment on the most common/serious issues:

    This happened at some point in Fusion (but not in e.g. Regen which I assumed to be a more accurate emulator). BMZ dynamically reloads background tiles via DMA as the background scrolls up and down. (I wrote that a long time ago and I now wish I hadn't...) It also does that at the beginning of the level, and somehow that's where things go wrong. I'm not quite sure why or how that affects the foreground. If someone knows of some DMA related hardware/emulator quirks they think might be responsible here let me know. It's also hard for me to debug as I haven't managed to get Bizhawk to run fully on Linux.

    The ROM is not padded to a power of 2, but I somehow don't think that's the issue here? It seems to be happening when getting to the character select. Can you access the level select? I think I'll have to work closely with someone who can test on real hardware and try to figure out what's happening. Maybe I'll have to add a debug screen showing the stack trace and register contents upon crashing as obviously I don't have access to a RAM dump on hardware.
    There's also the issue with the sounds being off on the title, I don't know if that's related. Sound is something I have no clue about, Clownacy helped us with a new sound driver there.

    I knew this would come up. The spindash isn't in Sonic 1, and it greatly affects how you play the game, in particular building up speed is much more rewarding (if you bump into something you can't just spindash to gain it back). I wanted each character to make a unique gameplay experience, and while Amy is obviously quite different, Sonic, Tails and Knux otherwise play very similarly. Tails was the obvious choice to give the player something closer to the Sonic 1 gameplay, as due to his (slow) flight he's the character you'd go to for some more exploration-based and thus slower gameplay. I was also contemplating changing Amy's spindash into a kind of peelout, as that'd somehow look more natural, but didn't in the end due to time constraints.

    The title screen is one of the few things we don't actually have any concept art for. Not sure if rika had any visions, but I'd personally be happy with anything that looks cool and if someone wanted to give it a go I'd let them have their artistic freedom. But I'm not in charge of art, so don't take that as the official answer. :)

    I meant to add a second stage to that boss, but again, time constraints. :(

    DDZ is a somewhat special case. There was a loose plan to have slightly quirky, character specific third acts for each zone. But level design is hard and takes a lot of time (I know from first-hand experience) and with our contracted layout specialists out of commission we scrapped the idea. The mine cart sections in DDZ1 and 2 were meant to be such third acts, so not to throw them away we incorporated them into the regular levels. Iirc the wrapping section in CCZ2 is a similar case.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  8. So this'd explain the leftover third & second acts a few of the zones have.
    Like, I haven't noticed any for Eggquarium or Neo South Island, and Robotic Ruin's kinda kills you on load, but Cosmic City has a third act exclusively containing the boss fight and both Dusty Desert Zone variants (cave & desert) have unused layouts for second acts of their respective versions - the one for the cave being corrupted but with an object layout suggesting a more aquatic focus, and the one for the desert being a partial minecart segment.
  9. Rika Chou

    Rika Chou

    Tech Member
    Thanks for all the input so far! It would be very very helpful if anyone can point out bits of layout that they feel need work. Hopefully we can smooth out some of the layouts to work better.

    I had originally thought it would be cool to use pre rendered sprites like Sonic 3 / K, but honestly at this point I agree with qiuu that "anything that looks cool" would be fine.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  10. Ah, there's this funny bug that I'm not sure if someoned commented on that:
    I posted on Twitter but forgot to post here as well.
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  11. MarkeyJester


    Nothing's Impossible Resident Jester
    This is one of a handful of hacks in the contest I played, having remembered it as one of the first ROM hacks I downloaded back in 2006, I was absolutely surprised to see it suddenly enter the contest out of nowhere! That was very unexpected.

    So I wanted to play the last release (2008) first to remind me of various things I'd forgotten, and then I would play this new build and make a comparison. After playing a brief moment of the 2008 release, someone mentioned the latest release had the 2008's levels in the ROM along-side the 2019 levels, not only that, but they were fixed up and completed (what a bonus!). I won't lie, I was initially disappointed with the lack of title screen change and minimal menu differences, and having a play through the 2008 levels on the ROM, it left me feeling heavily underwhelmed (I was aware I was playing the old levels, but it still left me wondering if there were going to be any worth while differences).

    After eventually getting to playing the newest levels, I was blown away firstly by the massive improvement of the level layout/object placement, while it's not perfect, it is definitely a huge improvement compared to the previous, many of the dick moves which existed (and believe me, there were MANY in the last build) have been removed or the layout is outright redone, object placement is consistent, and I didn't feel much of a flow break, there appeared to be plenty of paths but not too overwhelming either, so it rarely felt linear. I did get lost a few times on a few levels here or there, but that's partly because I wasn't paying too much attention (I was streaming it at the time) and was persistently distracted d=

    Some people told me the levels were pretty much the same graphically, but I disagree, the art in the previous version was pretty good there already (even for 2008 standards, you didn't get many hacks with new level art then), but this one still manages to be an improvement! There are plenty of small animated tiles in places too, along with gimmick specific animations which were a nice touch, and brand new levels added too! Nice one~ I noticed Sonic Retro's ice level in there, it looks fantastic, and it plays well, I think you guys covered that level brilliantly. I really appreciate that the artists took the time to design the smooth curves of the hills correctly and consistently, and didn't take the lazy way out of using shorter curves, or just snapping to diagonal blocks (with exception to some parts of Dusty Desert Zone which I think is an intentional design choice, and I think it's acceptable there).

    Now it's one thing to make new levels with new art, but it's another to make unique objects and badniks specifically and uniquely to that new level, and you don't see that often. The new badniks are brilliant in both design and function, and they fit the level themes fantastically. Then you have the various level gimmicks such as the mine cart, the rolling ball of snow, and perhaps two of my favourites are the radio transmitter which causes a lightning strike you have to avoid (which also shocks the water), and the warp/portal in the final zone which changes the level's function/design, they look awesome, they compliment the level's theme, and they add an additional layer of play to the stage, and without being a nuisance or an annoying obstacle you feel compelled to have to get through, rather it's fun and you're left disappointed when you reach the end of the stage because you want to go back and play some more.

    I had a go at playing every character at least once, and for the most part, they're alright, I assume many of these characters have their own paths, but I never really played the same stage twice with a different character to know which spots could or could not be alternate paths, I have not much to say about them though, sorry. I don't have too much to say about the music either, it's not terrible, but I can't really express much of an opinion on it, my apologies to the musicians for not providing any sort of feedback here, I did notice a few ports which sounded good, and they did seem to fit the levels and weren't bad choices at all in fact! (Except maybe the first Zone)

    The bosses ranged from silly reuse bosses to some outstanding concepts, for me, the Jungle based boss was extremely interesting, it took some problem solving to work out what to do, but it wasn't overkill, and I like the concept. I also appreciated Robotic Ruin Zone's boss where you would use the Zone's thunder gimmick on the boss itself, very creative! Though, hearing qiuu being on the project it's no surprise at all~

    I'll ignore the main bugs as I knew straight away there would be issues, I was under the impression the project was still unfinished, and I didn't approach many bugs which aren't already expressed. But I do have a few suggestions and/or issues I'd like to share, one of them is Tails' spindash, but I'll leave that one out given you guys have been persistently harassed about it multiple times already:

    1. Square loops - I know this might seem minor, but I really hate seeing square looking loops, or even the ones which are flat heights/lengths where a corner loop chunk was used, followed by several flat chunks then it curves around. Something about this always irks me. I've seen it too many times in other hacks too. Even the ones which are curved, they have this weird squashed looking style, and I highly disapprove of it. One level I accept is Neo Gigapolis Zone, because the level is pretty much construction beams and I think having the squarish looking loops is fitting here, but loops look much better when they are more gradual in incline/decline.
    2. Paralax scrolling - Being honest, only the first level put me off, something about how the islands and water moved a bit too fast contradicted my mental depth perception and belief that the water, island and horizon were further back than the scrolling expressed, I would suggest slowing them down (not as slow as the 2008 version though, that might be a bit overkill).
    3. Music for first level - I thought the music for the first zone in the 2008 version was unfitting, but I was disappointed to find you kept it, I really don't think the soundtrack fit the theme of a tropical looking level, it sounds like more of a later level... a factory or something.
    4. Getting lost - I did get lost of a few levels, I mentioned this briefly above, and while it's not a major, major, deal for me, it is one I wanted to list here so it wouldn't get lost in my lengthy paragraphs above.

    Overall, it was a fun experience, and I was more impressed than I thought I would be. Well done for winning first place guys! I really feel this project deserved it, and I certainly want to see it finished!!
  12. SMTP


    Tech Member
    Totally forgot that i had a credit in this. Explains why i was questioning why the lightning shield effect looked like mine... Lmao.
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  13. I tried out the level select, and the game is still accessible through there.
  14. Rika Chou

    Rika Chou

    Tech Member
    Seems to work sometimes on hardware. Not sure what the cause of the crash is, but to avoid it use the level select as BSonirachi said.

    Hopefully we can get it fixed at some point.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
  15. E-122-Psi


    Sorry I've only just got round to commenting, but I love the update so far. Only a few issues such as the downward slope in Act 2 of Neo South Island keeps clipping me into the ground beside it and sometimes the teleporters in the second level forcibly send back and forth if I jump the wrong way. I admittedly haven't gotten all the way through yet, the level design is pretty unforgiving, though that seems to be an intentional design direction.

    Flattered you used my Amy sprites and coding by the way. If you want I can give you some of the updated coding I used in later versions of my hacks which are more loyal to the Advance 1 moveset (eg. the hammer on springs ability).
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
  16. Rika Chou

    Rika Chou

    Tech Member
    As we are working on fixing bugs and other issues, if anyone is interested and willing to compose some music for this hack please let me know. I would love for there to be some original music in this instead of ports from other games. It's one of the main things about this hack that I feel is lacking. Also if anyone would want to program some kind of special stages, but I know asking that is a long shot. :thumbsup:

    Sorry for the late reply I just saw this!

    Thanks again for letting us use your Amy! You can send me the updated Amy code and I can see about getting it in, though it might be a bit tricky.
  17. E-122-Psi


    That's okay it's good knowing we have mutual shortcomings. :D

    I'm looking into the Amy code and figuring out the fixes (ages since I programmed it now), if you wanna start off quick, here's the ASM, though I should warn you a lot of the attacks are connected to the programming of a sprite object.

    For the downward hammer spin programming I think it should be as simple as replacing the downward thrust coding with a quick velocity clear like this:
    Inform me if you have any problems (and back up your original to be safe, like I said, it's ages since I coded this).

    Truthfully I'm wondering if I should just make my hacks open source, a fair few people seem to be taking interest in adding new characters and could likely do a more competent job than me anyway (especially since a lot of the coding was done by other people in the first place). I also still need to fix Sonic 3 and Pink Edition to have Advance accurate physics.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  18. E-122-Psi


    Oh, one more thing I forgot to mention, I made the normal hammer animation more complicated in this later ASM, it's made out of two animation codes to make the transitions work better (ie. so Amy's hammer actually hits a spring or box before it activates).

    Sorry if that made for any confusion.
  19. Techokami


    For use only on NTSC Genesis systems Researcher
    Sonic Worlds Next
    A followup to the crash with Super Sonic I mentioned earlier in the thread: after testing in a different emulator, I was able to get the game to continue after the crash. Super Sonic's animations were all messed up (like using his pushing animation for walking), which leads me to believe that Super Sonic's animation indexes are messed up, and trying to read invalid data caused the crash.
  20. Rika Chou

    Rika Chou

    Tech Member
    Thanks for this, I was able to fix it! Curious to know what emulator was able to continue after the crash?

    The site is giving me a 404 error when I try and download it.