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"Sonic Exodus" Development Thread

Discussion in 'Fangaming Discussion' started by NickonAquaMagna, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I'm really looking forward to how Sonic Exodus turns out.

    I hope that in your next video update you can include the guys who worked on your mod a bit more. I know that your team may not want to speak or show themselves, but even giving them an introduction and saying what they want to contribute to the project would be really cool.

    Your lucky to have such great guys Nick!
  2. Well, in the next trailer I'll be sure to mention "Shadowtheglitchhog" as he is known on youtube, as Dashtube was mentioned in the first trailer.
  3. Just posting ahead of time to let you guys know...

    Get hyped. Something big is coming to Exodus tomorrow.

    I'm working on the next trailer right now, and while I won't be making it public until tomorrow, I should have it finished and online at some point today. So I can post if here, if you really want to see it ahead of time. I'm still on the fence about it, though. I don't want anyone sharing it and leaking it elsewhere.
  4. Pulse0


    NYC (Currently)
    Sonic Neo Genesis
    I hope this next trailer is something good, because I've followed this game from the front to the back and its not looking good at all.
    Reminds me of green hill paradise and sonic souls both of which aren't appealing/good games.

  5. Sorry, man. It just depends on what you're looking for. Maybe our idea of how Sonic should move in 3D and how the world should be built around him are completely different.

    If you're talking about the level design being too "all over the place," don't worry about that. The open area at the beginning, "the backyard" is just thrown in there for new players to get the hang of the controls in a safe space, a playground of sorts. It's essentially a tutorial area inside what is otherwise going to be treated as a normal Sonic stage. The rest of the level just has you trekking along the island that is much longer from front to back than it is wide. In fact, if we pull it off right, you should be able to see the level's end point from the beginning of the stage. A mountaintop with a ruined lighthouse.

    Still, if you're not into this sort of open level design, you're probably going to be disappointed by the next trailer.
  6. Pulse0


    NYC (Currently)
    Sonic Neo Genesis
    I like the idea of a open world sonic game. I myself have been planing one for years. Unfortunately I don't know how to code, I know how to do everything else. Also I'm well versed in game design, an basic to advanced fundamentals that make a game. I read much of responses into the backyard, and this is where my issues starts.

    You can make a safe place area and still be interesting, in your level design. Enter backyard... In all honesty what I've seen so far reminds me of sonic 06 hub worlds mainly the Forrest one. They have land marks there but the world is so barren and repetitive you have to travel from end to end just to get a of something interesting, or interactive, or fun. Much of what is shown in Exodus is hills and flat land and some arrangement of rocks. All with the same repeated and dull textures everywhere. No trees, No plants, no actual environment. Just a sculpted plain plain with one or two set peaces that don't look at all that interesting to begin with. That rock spire looks nice, but the average player wont think twice about it once they collect what's there and moved on. In one of your vids when you showed the land marks all my mind could think was "when I get there, there will be three or four things to jump/run on with the same repeated and sculpted environment I just came from only now, this one has (X) landmark." Sonic 06 did the same thing with Solianna. Beach here, Clock Tower here, fountain here, shrine here, special bridge here, repeated buildings and floor textures everywhere, on a plain. Exodus takes it a bit further but it's still the same difference. The blitz free runner demo stage (see megaGwolf) looks more way interesting by layout alone. That's what a playground should look like, a playground. Pathways, tunnels, floating objects, decorations, bridges, slopes, dead ends, walls, landmarks, hazards, pickups, etc... That is what fuels exploration, Not open space open space with hidden rewards and few objects to hop on. I shouldn't have to look to find my fun, players should immediately look at something and go "that looks interesting/fun to play on. Lets go there." OR "I see the game wants me to go here, but there is tunnel over there, gee I wonder whats in it." OR " I see that item up there, how the heck do I get that item, this pathway I'm supposed to be on leads away from it." Your spire has some of that magic, but a the house and the arch is a grasping for straws moment, where the player sees nothing else, and it becomes their point of interest prompting the "there's nothing else to do so... that's maybe where I should go?"

    From what is shown, there is no actual objective as to what I (the player) am supposed to be doing in this game and you're dealing with 3 axises instead of 2, So "here go forward" wont work as well as it did in the 8, 16, & 32bit era without the "tunnel directives" you'd find in all 3d Sonic games or generally games period.
    A tutorial space should still be a focused area. Regardless if its a linear learning experience or not. However a Linear is the best and most recommended for teaching, because linear level design doesn't result in some player's trying to learn "multiplication & division" without them being able to first "identify numbers" or "add and subtract", or end up skip the lesson all together without realizing it. Player choice is a huge undertaking, and tackling it means you have to anticipate things from a much larger thinking, What if they do this, what if they do that, and plan accordingly. You are the game master we are your pawns control our fate, but don't force our journey. (that is the ideal)

    I like the idea, but the implementation so far is very unimpressive.
    My advice would be to...

    Plan out actual level design on paper complete with set pathways so that environments look interesting and intentional (open world or not you still need a floor plan as what players can and cant do - field with lake here and arch here is lazy, and the same thing you find in nearly every 3d sonic fan game just ask souls and worlds)

    Create a story for your environments to give them life complete with concept art or go on deviant art or Google image and look at environment art/concepts and attempt to recreate it in 3d,

    Model actual objects and or environments and import them into unreal. If have the time to make a new sonic model you have the time to get adequate models for some real environment detail, stop using generic shapes, and generic sculpted mountain with textures slapped on them or get some from deviant art or the Model Resource (for some reason everyone has the same exact stock loops and rock platforms, your job is to inspire the player. Not have the player's imagination fill in the blanks, that's what books are for. SELL A WORLD)

    Add enemies that work - not those stock squares you find all the time in these 3d sonic fan games, actual enemies with Ai (seems all you ever find in these things are spikes)

    (in order) Study level design from Mario 64; Mario Sunshine; Sonic Unleashed (day and night); Sonic Jam; Sonic Adventure and Adventure 2 (specifically Sonic/Tails/Knuckles in both both); Sonic Generations (all modern stages); Banjo 1 and 2; Pokemon any verson; GTA 3 and up; and Xenoblade Chronicles both if you can. Pick them apart, and not things ------------

    I may sound harsh but for this to be a solid game you need those things. Just trying to help

    PS: if you do a vid blog please change the format. show a live demo something showcasing what your DOING with the game NOW, and what IS good about the game. Rather than you just sitting there explaining why this game is GOING to be good, and what you hope will be. Much of us would much rather see the game than your person (no offense), I mean that why we cam to the vid in the first place. don't be like square @ e32015 or worst Peter Molyneux. At the end of the day the game has to stand up on its own and you wont be their to explain.
    the worst presenters at e3 did that know who else peter molyneux
  7. Funny thing is, we DO plan all of these areas ahead of time. That's how this whole thing started. I drew a few maps, someone was impresed by them, and we started making a 3D version of those area.s since then, I've drawn more maps, and many of the later areas have been (mostly) planned out. I just haven't made a lot of these maps public yet, and progress on recreating those routes in game is admittedly progressing pretty slowly.

    The biggest hurdle is that I have a very limited staff, all of whom excel at very specific things. And sometimes, life gets in the way of their work. College, things like that. As it is, two of those guys are pretty much done with the project, and won't be doing much more in the foreseeable future... so now it's just me drawing the maps, and SonicSuperDash building the island. And I usually give him a little wiggle room to add his own stuff to these areas, making them bigger and filled with more... stuff. I really like some of his designs he's added.

    But in terms of textures and modeling an' whatnot... we've gotta work with what we've got. Our only chance at making more new assets is to attract somebody else who excels in that area. Otherwise, all we can really do is add more clay onto the pile.

    We have spiced the island up a little more than early on, though. There's a wider variety of trees, flowers, little touches like still-lit torches, things like that.

    One thing you have to keep in mind is that the last thing I want is for this to feel like a "level." I want it to feel like a world, hence the very minimal use of things like floating block platforms an' whatnot. If that ends up making it more bland as a game, then... well, maybe it was a bad idea to even attempt that kind of approach. I just can't stand how artificial and perfectly crafted a lot of levels and places in recent Sonic games are. They're overly engineered and planned, too... polished to really feel alive, at least in my opinion. Something I've always liked about the classics, even the most meticulously crafted of them all, Sonic 3K, is that Sonic's level design can get a little messy. For some reason, those imperfections just make it feel more real to me, like a world that wasn't crafted FOR me to run through it, but one I just happen to be in. Maybe we've overdone it.

    The bareness of this island is VERY intentional. This place was attacked by Robotnik, like, a day before Sonic arrived, and all the inhabitants have been carted away to concentration camps to be roboticized. Sonic essentially MISSED the party. There may be a few stragglers here and there, but Sonic's going to have to catch up to Eggman to really know what's going on.

    Anyway, we know the backyard isn't a place most players are going to be drawn to, so we left it off to the side, out of the way. Most players are just going to run along the beach until the reach the shallows and proceed from there, or investigate the ruined houses (which will we will spice up before we're done with this, provided we can find some new talent with time on their hands) and move on to the cliffs an' whatnot from there.

    As big as the island may seem, the areas we have planned out (and yet to build) amount to the usual three or four routes. That's it. It's just that they'll intersect so frequently, the player can go whichever direction is most appealing to them until all paths converge at the top of the mountain at the other end of the island.

    Anyway... there isn't much more I can say that wouldn't just be repeating myself. Sonic Exodus isn't all that. We get it. We're just getting by with what we've got to work with. I appreciate your concerns, but there's only so much we CAN do at the moment. If you want to help, see if you know anybody who'd be interested in seeing some of their work in this game, or if they think they can do something better than we are. But as for enemies and little things like that... well, that's what tomorrow's reveal is for.

    I should also note that we have ruins, caves, a swamp, and a forest planned for future areas. The island simply starts slow, and gets more hazardous the further along you go. Early places like the backyard are the most untouched by Eggman's forces, and that's why they're the most... well, like an open field you might see in a real place. It gets more intense the closer you get to Eggman at the other side of the island. Even that aside, though... right now, we're just focusing on BUILDING the island. We'll improve whatever assets we can once we have an idea of how the island is going to shape up and we can shift our focus to that. With our limited staff, it's taking a while as is.
  8. Pulse0


    NYC (Currently)
    Sonic Neo Genesis
    Hmm that explained quite a bit.
    I feel you can still make floating platforms and keep the world building idea. A world is a connective set of areas a level is a segmented set areas. So having area designed like a level doesn't mean it will be a level, because of the way its presented I.e. connected or no. and it really all depends on what world your trying to sell, is it imaginative or grounded, but I can see why you'd want to do without it and that's Ok.

    Also I well understand the lack of team members. Currently I'm on a team of 2 in need of additional people. I also get you must be facing some limitations that keep it from truly shining, I look forward to seeing its progression, and hold my comments till later :P
  9. Well, here goes. Behold, the next Sonic Exodus trailer.

    Progress on building the island is kinda slow, but we have most of it planned out, including caves, forested areas, and a mountain with a lighthouse at the top. As you can see, there is a HUGE focus on using Sonic's ability to roll to get around, and not just running. With Xalse's permission, we're aiming to release this new Sonic model (once Plum returns from his trip to Italy and finishes the remaining animations) for Sonic GDK/UDK/whatever users to download for their own fan projects. We still have a few kinks to work out of the enemies and how they attack, but hey, at least we got them to work in game.

    At some point in the next few months, we'll also be holding a music contest for people up for the challenge of getting their music featured in Sonic Exodus.

    So yeah, there's that. This is a pretty big day for us.

    Now I'm just waiting for that blasted thumbnail to appear in the link. Ugh.
  10. Pulse0


    NYC (Currently)
    Sonic Neo Genesis
    It looks more interesting than before, kudos.
    My favorite part was at 3:37, actually seeing some set dressing plants, you should add a lot more of that.
    its nice to see progress.
  11. JansenM


    Devon, UK
    Generations mods
    For whatever reason the body translation in the featured badnik's animation hasn't carried over properly to the engine and it makes a lot of the movement look erratic and without sense because the body should be moving up and down. I thought I'd post this to show how he's actually supposed to move and demonstrate some of the actions planned. Hopefully it can be fixed some time in the near future (including the maps, where the heck are my normals? :argh:)
  12. Ell678


    Am I Annoying You? Member
    Barrow, England
    Sonic Incursion
    It has certainly improved. Here are my thoughts.

    1) It could do with different lighting and some post processing effects. Mix in a new sky material as well, it will surprise what an improvement these relatively small changes can make.
    2) The Sonic model looks nice, but the running animation seems very stiff to me. Other than that, I like it.
    3) There's a serious lack of trees, objects and decoration. I know Exodus is one seemless island (and UDK isn't well suited to something that size) but it will make the island feel like an actual place. For low-poly foliage, try Forester. It's cheap, can create loads of randomised content and you can buy more content packs. Try to avoid the Foliage tool in UDK, as it will destroy performance.
    4) Actual badniks! Good job on that. This is something that is annoyingly absent in released SGDK games. Because Sonic Incursion now has Badniks and bosses, if any of you want help with making custom behaviour, send me a PM. I may be able to help you.
    5) I like that you now have some areas that have proper traps and platforming.

    I may not like the open ended nature of Sonic, but this has definitely improved, so good job on that. Keep at it.
  13. That would be great, knowing that most people hates the stock model.

    Level looks nicer; I agree with Ell678's suggestions; and let me know if you need extra info about configuring stuff.
    Take your time and don't give up!
  14. TheKazeblade


    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    New build is showing significant improvement! Looking at the video though, I think the camera still needs some help when it comes to changing direction and for those more narrow interior portions like the spring section. Very impressed by the improvements though!
  15. Tiller


    HDK & World Runner
    Very much improved and iterated on I see. I'm really digging though badniks and their animations. Lot's of personality there. The Sonic model is looking fantastic.

    You'll need some camera pull outs on some of those wall sections to make some of those cliff sections more negotiable. Unfortunately even though there are some solid level design focus for physics and platforming the lack of an obvious direction to go in is a little disorienting, though I understand that's exactly what you want to achieve with a more open 'not a level' focus. The movement as it stands only reinforces my opinion on trying to go full 1 to 1 on Genesis physics in the 3D realm looks and feels a tad awkward. There is a need for more dynamic and exaggerated tweaks to get across the thrill of speed and weight of Sonic's movements. The top running speed looks a little slow as well. The lighting could be more toned down in due time, but I'm not going to rag on the stock assets since that's understandable for a fan project. Whatever is going on with the super fast flowing water bugs me though.
  16. chaoscollector


    This project really interests me, I've been fond of the idea of an open ended Sonic game for a long time! My one tiny nitpick, isn't too important, but the water seems to flow really fast, not sure if that's easily fixable but either way it's a pretty tiny problem, keep up the great work!