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Sonic Generations - Unleashed Project v1.0 Available

Discussion in 'Engineering & Reverse Engineering' started by Dario FF, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Kampfer

    Kampfer

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    Great, now you just derailed the research paper I was working on. :v:

    I played through it, and I have a few notes.

    First, there are a few places where I think there needs to be re-implementation of light dash strings on the ground as a turn assist. The two spots that come to mind are in Arid Sands right after you leave town, the near 90 degree turn before the canyon jump. That string of rings in Unleashed was there to compensate for a poorer drift than Generations has. I know you can drift it much better here, but I think having it as a light dash ring path would be good for if a player messes the drift up and has to re-allign without costing them too much speed (or for non T/A'ers that just want an easier time on that part). The other place is a couple spots on the second water walking section in Jungle Joyride, since it can sometimes be confusing where you turn and how soon (especially if your computer is chugging a little bit like mine).

    Also, speaking of Jungle Joyride: the planks sidestepping part seems a lot more picky than in vanilla Unleashed. I never had issues with that part in Unleashed, but in the port I fall off half the time. I dunno if its just me, or what (I'm using the Batarang controller, and admittedly the shoulder bumpers are different than a typical controller). Also, late in the level, where you have the buttons on the rotating stones, I hit it and then I warped through a wall to my death.

    In Cool Edge, during the water walking part, at one point Sonic stuck to the geometry before he was suppose to walk on water and went straight into the ocean instead of water walking. Later I can give you a shot of where that is.

    Other than those bits, this was a a lot of fun to play! Sonic Generations was one reason I upgraded my computer, and now that you ported the Unleashed levels I think I'll have something else keeping me from getting my research done.
     
  2. Paraxade

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    The thing about light dash is it's super buggy in Generations. Basically when you use a light dash trail, after you finish the game will set you to the same direction and speed you had when you began the light dash. Most of the light dashes you could do in Unleashed would fling you into a wall or sometimes actually kill you. That's why most of them are normal rings now, and the majority of the light dash trails that are still in the mod lead into a dash ring or a spring or something. It's just an unfortunate Generations glitch that there isn't really any workaround for for the most part short of removing the light dashes.
     
  3. Guess Who

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    Pretty sure this is just you.
     
  4. GeneHF

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    No problems here. S Ranks are a bitch and a half to earn, but I feel that's how they should be. Generations just kinda handed them you like warm cookies from grandma, only instead of chocolate chip or delicious oatmeal raisin, they were this new weird blend she wanted to try.
     
  5. SuperSonicRider

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    Exactly my thoughts! What a coincidence, this sale! :D

    Anywho, I picked the mod up a few hours ago; all the work really shows! Something about playing Unleashed in the Generations format (and by that I mean the little things like the HUD, Sonic's drifting animation, etc.) really makes the levels feel more..."alive," for some reason. Maybe that's just me, though.

    I've played it up to Dragon Road so far and haven't had any issues. I love all of the attention to detail; from the Wentos cameos, to the little introduction text that you get before you start Windmill Isle Act 2, to the absolutely GORGEOUS looking White World; nothing but love for this mod so far! Major thanks, Team Unleashed! :)

    Re: S-Rank Discussion - While I have only gotten it on Windmill Isle Acts 1 and 2 so far (mainly because I haven't played Unleashed in a while; barely got it on Act 2!), with the generally improved Generations control and simpler (albeit stricter, in this mod) ranking system, I can live with it.

    (Besides, at least Generations Sonic doesn't make you feel terrible for getting anything lower than a C Rank. :v: )
     
  6. BlazeHedgehog

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    I get that, I guess, but this is the PC we're talking about here - I'd wager the majority of your userbase isn't going to be able to keep a stable framerate, because of just how many configurations of hardware there are out there. I'm just a stickler for having something professionally presentable, is all, and there's still too many oddities with the fxpipeline render for it to seem like the kind of thing you should be pushing as "the true way to play". It needs to be a completely transparent, problem-free experience, not "titlecards are completely hosed and sometimes motion blur bugs out and there's no anti-aliasing, 3D, or letterbox support".

    I also noticed a bug - my first time through Windmill Isle (the real one, not the tutorial), no red rings were showing up. I know, I specifically looked in this area

    [​IMG]

    because I knew there was a medal there in Sonic Unleashed, and there wasn't anything there until my second time through the stage.

    Unrelated to anything else, I've also put up a video of the mod in action (no fxpipeline for me, though :P)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yOzhE1CuXk

    I think 45000 would be a good S-Rank for Savannah Citadel, if you ask me. :P Or maybe like, 47500.
     
  7. DinnerSonic

    DinnerSonic

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    I believe, maybe just in the FAQ, it was stated that red rings don't show up till "ghz200" is beaten, which is what the actual Windmill Isle is put over, so until you beat both the tutorial and real thing they don't show up. One of the "best we could manage with the engine currently" things I think. Same reason that in a certain situation the two levels will show up swapped.
     
  8. BlazeHedgehog

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    Ah, right, that would make sense.
     
  9. Falk

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    We're talking about levels that are five years old, running on (presumably) a smoother experience. If you could just re-use your experience from the past and s-rank everything right off the bat, I think it detracts a little from what the project has to offer in terms of lifespan.

    People have optimized routes over the years, and this mod with all its little subtle differences has been out a day. In terms of speedrunning community building it's good to have a goal to aim for that makes people look at what others are doing just to improve their own times. I mean sure, ultimately it's just an otherwise pointless result at the end of each level of an unofficial mod, but hey, like I said, let's see how things pan out over the course of a few months.

    Or maybe I'm just a biased old fart having long dealt with/participated in tatsujin communities with a skill cap beyond my own personal reach.
     
  10. BlazeHedgehog

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    On the other hand there's something to be said for making a game that everybody can enjoy. I played Sonic Unleashed for almost a full solid year, and I still put it back in every few months to run those levels again. If I can't S-Rank a level, I don't think the average person is ever going to be able to, either. For some, this will be their first and maybe only experience playing Sonic Unleashed. A little bit of accessibility goes a long way, just as long as it isn't as braindead easy as the original Sonic Generations.

    Nobody should have to play the game exactly like KAKIPI or Paraxade just to get an S-Rank. :P
     
  11. Paraxade

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    I love the S-rank requirements. In Generations all you really have to do is beat the level without dying and you get an instant S. In Unleashed Project you need to know the optimal routes through the level, and even when you have your route down, you need to pay attention to the little details to try to squeeze out every last second. I've spent all day watching an Unleashed Project stream; the streamer isn't the greatest Generations player ever, but he's been playing all day because he's been trying to S-rank everything... and he's actually been getting them, with effort (and without skills). For a mod that can be finished in under an hour on your first playthrough if you have no idea what you're doing, that's a ton of extra playtime that simply wouldn't exist if Dario had chosen to make the S-rank requirements easy.

    Ultimately though, if you can't S-rank something... what's the big deal? It's not like S-ranks are required to progress through the game. They don't even do anything or unlock anything aside from putting a letter next to the level. It's something extra to reward skilled play. If anything it gives you something to keep shooting for. It makes them something that actually adds to the game rather than ranks like in the original game that are so piss-easy to get that they're practically worthless.

    Anyway - if you feel like you've done a perfect run and you still aren't getting an S, then slow down a bit and try to work out some better strategies. Are there any shortcuts you're missing? Some levels (Arid Sands in particular) have some really obscure shortcuts that require you to really pay attention to the level to notice. It's also good to take some time to flesh out strategies on individual sections of the level; checkpoints are helpful for that especially since the game hands out lives like crazy with all the rings. Every single level can be S-ranked with no skills or exploits (like drift abuse).

    Some general pointers:

    - Don't use homing attack when you don't have to. Homing attack is slow compared to boost and completely kills your momentum when you hit an enemy. Often there are ways to just jump and boost straight through those sections, so do it wherever possible.
    - Similarly, don't use time-wasting gimmicks when you don't have to. The directional cannons, for example, tend to be incredibly slow; they're also usually optional and a lot of the time you can jump over them. Similarly, don't take springs, swing poles, etc. if you don't need to.
    - If something feels slow, it usually is. Experiment with slow sections and try to figure out faster ways to get through them.
    - Take advantage of stomp. Any time you're waiting for Sonic to fall and land on something you're wasting time. If you're over a dash panel, stomp. If you're over the goal ring, stomp. If you're jumping up a few ledges, stomp after each jump.
    - Take some time to explore the levels! It's tempting to just start trying to play through as fast as you can, but a lot of the levels have intricate side pathways and obscure shortcuts that you won't notice unless you're looking for them. Taking some time to try to figure out where all the best routes are is worth it. Finding all the red star rings is a good way to find them since they're often hidden in shortcut paths.

    That's not even touching on other ways you can make it easier, like equipping skills (Acceleration is an insanely useful one) and abusing a couple small Generations exploits (drifting in Dash Mode sections and on water makes you go faster, and if you air boost right before touching a rail you'll go down it faster than normal). You also have the option of looking up runs on YouTube to find out what the fastest routes are so you can just focus on execution.

    Every level is entirely possible to S-rank. You just need to put in some effort to do it and that's exactly how it should be.
     
  12. GeneHF

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    One little bug I'd like to report, though it seems infrequent.

    Right before the wall running segment near the end of Arid Sands, a set of boost pads right before loves to launch you off over the cliff instead of the proper direction. It can get a little annoying when trying to go for a good time and such.

    EDIT: Silly me, seems the level name hit that same boost pad too! It's there now.
     
  13. Dario FF

    Dario FF

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    I think this video shows exactly the way I picked the score rankings for the stages.

    EDIT2: I know it's an older build of the game, but most of what he says applies.

    He does most of the stuff Paraxade recommends, and is perfectly doable by non-speedrunners. Going only by how the level is designed is never the most efficient way.

    What stage? :v:
    EDIT: Oh alright.
     
  14. Falk

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    Okay, I know I usually post a lot of sarcastic one-liners but this is a serious psychological question. Would the current benchmarks bug you a lot less if someone went in and modified the rank images so instead of E->S you had B, A, S, SS, SSS?

    Because I still think there's something to be said for a game (or mod or whatever) that for once separates the top few percentile rather than clumping the top 20% (numbers pulled out of my ass) in one particular rank. Sounds to me like handing S-ranks out like they were yet having something on top of that might be a neat compromise.
     
  15. Falk

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    http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/03/21/sonic-generations-unleashed-mod/

    We're on Steam's "Latest News" when you click Sonic Generations thanks to PC Gamer. Last related news post before that was 2011. :V

    e: fff double post. My bad.
     
  16. BlazeHedgehog

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    The thing is, of course guys like Paraxade would be in favor of higher skill level requirements. I've been over arguments exactly like this before, back when Mystic first came on to work on SRB2. He fought and fought and fought to keep certain elements of that game VERY difficult because he liked the challenge. No shit he'd like the challenge! He made the fucking maps!

    But nobody but Mystic was any good at them. A lot of people said they were outright impossible. So he made them a little easier. And they were still too hard! Eventually they got to a point where he felt he had made them easy enough, even though there were still people complaining about how difficult they were. Back and forth we went, discussing why it was better if they were more accessible. He never did cave to me, but unsurprisingly, in the "Final" SRB2 release back in 2010, SOMEBODY finally went back to his maps and finally adjusted them so they actually, finally felt fair. Finally.

    There comes a very clear point when creating a game where you have to ask yourself: Are you making a game that everybody can enjoy, or are you making a game just for yourself?

    Mystic was making SRB2 maps for himself. He knew all the tricks on how to finish them "the right way" because he was in on the secret. For anyone else to know what the hell to do, they would have to think like he thought - but that's an unreasonable thing to expect of somebody. It's what I call ROM hack difficulty. I want to think the way I think, not the way the designer was thinking.

    The scenario here is a little bit different, because these are level ports, not original creations, but the argument is the same. "I want a high skill bar because I am of high skill." That's an awfully selfish thing for you to want, and it betrays the original game's difficulty balancing.

    You can go ahead and say that yes, "it gives you something to strive for". To a point, anyway. But how many people are going to get frustrated and give up? The tips I was given in order to speed up and get the S-Rank are ridiculous speed runner tactics - things that are only considered by people who are very specifically tracking how many seconds "Animation A" takes versus "Animation B". It's too much to expect of anyone who hasn't already gotten way in deep to this kind of stuff already.

    I'm asking for a score reduction of 2500 to 5000 points. That's not much at all. It has no effect on people with absurd skill levels, because they're going to be getting S-Ranks 100% of the time anyway and can still compete for fastest times and whatever regardless of what rank it gives them for doing so.
     
  17. Paraxade

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    My opinion is not based on my own experience with this mod but it's also based on watching other peoples' experiences with this mod and my own experiences with other games. Being good enough to be capable of getting the S-ranks does not magically render everything I have to say on the subject moot.

    Seriously: S-ranks don't matter. You are missing out on having a letter on the stage's title card. Why on earth do you care so much about this? We're talking about a completely optional element of the mod that, again, doesn't do anything.

    Revised post to be a bit less ragey, I was kinda pissed by the implication that my opinions don't matter because I happen to be decent enough to actually get S-ranks. :/
     
  18. Dario FF

    Dario FF

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    There's certainly a lot of discussion to be had about this, and I think it would be an interesting experiment to try the same thing on the stages in Generations to see how it would fare. Even at this limit I can assure you a 2500 point reduction seriously takes out a LOT of the optimization/little details necessary for each stage, and I seriously don't believe it's anywhere near rom-hack difficulty. (as evidenced by a couple of streamers recently getting S-Ranks in Jungle Joyride, even when missing some of the important shortcuts/screwing up once or twice). You just need more time with it.

    I say give it a second shot, and try it out with another mindset. Don't expect to get S-Ranks just because you play good enough. Think of this as another game. You might be surprised if you actually end up liking it, and if not, oh well, you just miss a letter. It's certainly an opportunity I'd rather most people don't miss out just yet. There's lots of depth to be found here.
     
  19. GeneHF

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    If over 45,000 + Perfect Clear: S Rank
    If over 50,000 + Perfect Clear: SS Rank
    If over 55,000/60,000 (55,000 seems more realistic, since it's a bit challenging to draw up a 60,000 score)...

    Sonic Retro Rank :specialed:

    Some people like the placebo of seeing that glittering S rank, and will settle for it. Others who wish to go high can try for the higher ranks.

    Personally, I'm okay with how the system is now as it gives a goal to improve. What'd be even cooler is if we could possibly... I don't know... sync the leaderboards with RetroNet? :ssh:
     
  20. BlazeHedgehog

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    Except it kind of does. I know, that's kind of a mean thing to say! It's not something somebody wants to hear, because you get built up in your mind that being good at a game is a good thing. And it is! It's something to be proud of!

    Unless you're trying to balance difficulty for people who are below your skill level. Then it actually really does become a serious problem that you need to think harder about. Realizing that is a bitter pill to swallow, but speaking as somebody who has designed games and is actually in the middle of designing a game right now, it is something you need to understand if you're serious about this kind of stuff.

    Letting it stay the way it is right now is not a solution. You have to swallow your pride and realize that this is not an insult to your ability.

    If they don't matter, then surely you wouldn't be fighting so hard to keep them the way they are, Paraxade. Look, here are examples of people who are reinforcing my opinion on the matter. You can tell me "Well that's just three people", but that's just three people who have decided to voice their concern. How many more are there that we can't see? Or are just keeping quiet about it because they don't want to admit that they "suck" at a game?

    And that's where I'm coming from in all of this: I know I don't suck. I might have specifically avoided thinking like a speed runner, but I know I am better than most at this game. And I'm not getting the grades I know I should be getting.