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Sonic Overture Thread [Sunrise Gate Zone Demo Available]

Discussion in 'Fangaming Discussion' started by Jassbec, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    Michael Richards Lange is still credited in Overture, but under his real name to reduce association.

    I think Pixy is the only member returning from the original team.
     
  2. Oh. Should've noticed that. They didn't credit him as a composer, though.
     
  3. jubbalub

    jubbalub

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    It literally says "music director" under his name.
     
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  4. Yeah, good point.
     
  5. LordOfSquad

    LordOfSquad

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    Well it does make sense that even if he's seen the error of his ways that people still working on the project now that were also working on it back then want to shake him loose in carrying forward with it. I definitely don't begrudge them for doing so and I'm happy to see the project continue on one way or the other. I was just under the impression that it was an all-new dev team.
     
  6. Jaxer

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    This is not related to the new demo specifically, but it's something that has always bothered me with Overture - SGZ Act 3 makes no sense thematically.

    Like, from what I've seen, each zone in Overture is a combination of concept/promotional material and a zone that made it in. Granite Zone is a combination of Marble Zone and Chinese World, Sparkling Resort Zone is a combination of Spring Yard and the desert area from that one Japanese commercial and so on.

    Sunrise Gate does this too, being a combination of Green Hill and Gold World. But while GZ (or at least its current iteration) blends its sources of inspiration together very naturally into both acts, SGZ just has Green Hill end at Act 2 and Gold World begin at Act 3 (Or in the case of '95, Act 1 and Act 2 respectively). There's some attempts at creating cohesion, such as Act 3 having golden variants of the flowers and palmtrees seen in the first two acts, but it does very little to make the transition less jarring. Long story short, I think that the Sonic Legends devs were in the right to only focus on its Green Hill aspect.

    No disrespect to the current team though, the zone still looks gorgeous overall. And I myself wouldn't make any changes to the zone's theme, especially since Gold World now has an official recreation in the form of Golden Capital.
     
  7. ScarlyNight

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    That's mainly because SGZ act 3 was meant to be split off into its own stage called "Shining Zone", which is why for Legends we specifically didn't represent it. It wasn't meant to be a part of Sunrise Gate anymore as the game's scope got altered to have two acts as opposed to three.


    Seems like with '95 they reverted to how it was in the 2014 demo for some odd reason.
     
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  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    You took the most interesting part out. In a game called "Overture".
     
  9. Was it? I'm looking through the leaked development material, and I can't find anything corroborating this.
     
  10. jubbalub

    jubbalub

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    From what I understand that came a lot later, and the leaked development materials are from around the time of the public demo. Could be wrong on that, but the likely explanation is it just came later.
     
  11. Palas

    Palas

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    I don't know what the game is drawing from 90% of the time and I know basically nothing of its controversies, so I can't really talk abut its themes much. But on its own, I think it has a very interesting (and unusual for Sonic) relationship with the offscreen space.

    I don't have many memories of offscreen sounds in 2D Sonic, except in Sonic CD (and even then, only in a few stages, like Metallic Madness). Usually, in classic Sonic, things simply don't make noise unless you're near them. Or near enough that you'll know where it's coming from. But here, everything seems to make a noise, which gave the stages I played a sense of... dread? that I'm not used to, but that was very welcome. It actually made me sad that all acts had these pillars or stuff Sonic can stand on, Sonic CD opening style, but you can't actually peek further in any direction. Which is something Sonic has always done up and down if you press the buttons while still!

    So I think it would have made a fitting mechanic, to find out just what in the world is making that much noise. The game already half-stops you in your tracks, half-allows you to jump again if you jump on them. Better make all the use of it, right? And the relationship was further enhanced by the link system, which made me actively go out of my way to look for more stuff to destroy in a sequence. That would be, going in the direction of the sounds. To what end? I don't even know yet because I got 5 at most, but I did anyway. So almost frantically looking for things that I couldn't see was already a big part of the experience here, and I'd like to see it fleshed out to its fullest, since it's basically already there. This game has an opportunity to use sound as a part of level design consciously, and I'd love it to use it as much as possible.

    That said, I was a little sad that most elements on the stages could feel static at times. Few elements change in your presence, move on their own or trick you in any way. Don't get me wrong! Some games thrive off that. Sonic CD is sometimes like that, and it can make you feel... lonely? Like the game is really uncaring toward you. For stages like Sunrise Gate Act 3, that can be wonderful. It can make a place feel forgotten, frozen in time, alien even. But for a stage like Granite Zone, the desolation doesn't strike quite the same. The small yellow floating platforms never moving at all, very few intermittent events-- but you can tell the stage wasn't supposed to feel like this! It should have felt as dangerous as it actually is. Take Marble Zone, with all its protruding spikes, swinging platforms, Batbrains scaring the shit out of you. It feels very much alive and reactive to an extent! And Granite Zone could benefit from that a little, I believe.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2024
  12. Black Squirrel

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    The leaked soundtrack hit my YouTube feed so I suppose I should post something. The problem is 2014 is ten years ago, and what seemed groundbreaking then is less so in 2024.

    When I saw the Sonic Legends demo, I thought it was the continuation of Sonic Overture, but when you compare side by side... Legends looks and plays so much better, to the point where I'm not sure I even care if the original is finished up. "Let's play a ten year old fan game with the one bit you remember taken out" - it's a tough sell. Although I did like the pseudo 3D section at the end.


    Partly thanks to Sonic Mania, standards in fan games have moved on, and while it's dumb to expect everyone to produce work on the same level as the real video game industry, it's harder to look past nasty snapping cameras, dodgy sprite edits and meandering music tracks. Basically it needs to be ten years better than it currently is for people to take notice.

    How do you solve that problem? Rehaul most things, probably. But I think step one needs to be decide what this game is meant to be. Is it some alternative pre-Sonic 1 game running on a Mega Drive, or a 1995/1996 Saturn game? Because you're pretending it's the latter, but it looks a lot more like the former. It looks like a Sonic 1 ROM hack where the lack of colours forces everything to share the same palette line, except unlike the late 80s and early 90s, the art isn't using bright and bold colours to mask those limitations.

    The foreground of Sunrise Gate Act 2 looks like it could have been done on a Game Boy - no Mega Drive developer would have their levels consist of (what is effectively) one colour. Sprites rotate 360 degrees, but the animations themselves are still 2, 4 or 8 frames. Some elements look very flat, which was never the Sonic way and I still think there's issues separating the background from foreground.

    And it absolutely does not look even remotely like a Sega Saturn game. 2D games were typically bad news on the Saturn (and PlayStation) - if you were going down that route, you'd make damn sure you used as many of the 16 million colours as possible, with all the fancy graphical trickery you could come up with to disguse the fact that it's not 3D, otherwise the media of the day would tear you to shreds for not being "next gen". There were examples posted in this topic, but you only have to look at Sonic 3D's Saturn upgrades to see what was expected (as a minimum). Or hey, Chaotix on the 32X, which actually came out in 1995. The whole "retro" look wouldn't come back into vogue again years later.


    Incidentally the old soundtrack isn't entirely successful. Again, it's "good for 2014", but it's not 2014 anymore. It needs elevating.
     
  13. I agree with the "Legends plays much better" thing. I honestly felt that Legends plays a lot better than both demos of Overture. There, you don't constantly fall off those orbs in SGZ.
     
  14. Jaxer

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    Agreed with your post otherwise, but this part is bothering me.

    Mania is not a fangame. It's a big corporation's major game release with really high production values. Taxman and Stealth could not have done that on their own.

    However, Sonic fans don't realize this, and it has kind of... "ruined" Sonic fangames? Like, every SAGE since 2018 or so has always had at least one incredible-looking 2D Sonic fangame with a wonderful soundtrack that's parroting itself as "the Saturn Sonic game that we never got", but then you get to the credits screen after beating the second act of this one-zone demo, and realize that this game is never going any further after seeing only five names listed.

    Like, the amount of pre-Mania fangames that actually went anywhere wasn't high, but it was higher than what we're seeing nowadays.
     
  15. Black Squirrel

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    I didn't say it was. However, the game to beat visually these days is no longer Sonic 3&K, it's Sonic Mania, and this is reflected with generally more fluid sprites and colourful backgrounds in fan games than was the case a decade ago.

    One level demos at SAGE that don't go anywhere has been a thing since time immemorial. Hell, Sonic Mania itself was built on the learnings of a few - Retro Sonic, Sonic Nexus, Project Mettrix. All top of the class back in the day, not quite as competitive now.
     
  16. AbsoluteG

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    Personally, I honestly believe the problem In my honest opinion is SAGE Itself. As each year it seems to become more an Indie game exhibit (Not that this is a bad thing, thats how I became aware of Pizza Tower,), but also on top of that, They don't seem to have a bar of quality control imho. Someone could make a game with a playable squiggle, in a poorly drawn ms-paint environment and call it their indie game... Without even having the knowledge on how to draw/animate.

    Though Sonic fangames are a whole other can of worms altogether. I've gotten pretty annoyed at them each year. precisely because of all these "demos".

    Sonic games really need a minimal limitation. Cause making a 1 act demo/level and saying it's a new game is dubious, get into the game only to see "credits" or "See you again soon" (Spoiler: the game dies). Too many promising ideas end up never coming to fruition and it's sad...

    It's a lot why I'm not mentioning a word about my own project i'm working on. And why I refuse to show anything at SAGE. as i'd rather focus on development instead of getting e-penis points...:/

    That's just my two cents though
     
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  17. That One Guy Josh

    That One Guy Josh

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    I never really delved into making Sonic fangames, but if I were to make a demo for one it'd be a 3-zone demo rather than an awfully short 1-act/1-zone demo. Just saying.
     
  18. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Even though people just want to play the best games, if you're properly into the fan game scene, it's nice to have a full range of skillsets (it being an "amateur" games expo). It's like how in Formula One, you're meant to view it as multiple races taking place on the same track, because it's clear from the start of the season that the smaller teams with the lesser cars won't win. Who's going to get 8th place this year??

    However SAGE doesn't do a great job at separating skill levels because... well I guess it can't really guess before the day of the event, and everyone is meant to be treated equally. A lot then rests on pretty banners and screenshots... which are usually from the pretty demos. I guess ideally you'd want an independent third party to do them all so everyone has a fighting chance, but bleh.


    Once upon a time it was my job to decide which Mario fan games were worthy of being hosted on MFGG. The temptation was to throw things out for being terrible, but that's against the spirit - let the consumers decide that, so the authors get genuine feedback. The only exception I would make is if the game was literally unplayable or those times where it would dick around your computer's settings. Or in later years where it was a faff to download and test 340982394 games and I could farm off the task on someone else.


    I'd personally run a separate event for indie titles but I suppose there are problems with the "original character do not steal" game, starring Green Sonic™ or Red Tails™. I'd also be tempted to have a separate "best first level of a Sonic game" category or award - incredibly polished proof of concept demos have their place, much like the demoscenes with home computers, but "completed" products should probably come higher up on the website. Though again, if the authors are working up until the last minute, it might be tricky to work out the project's state.
     
  19. Lilly

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    Personally, I doubt the graphical standards for fan games have gone up because of Sonic Mania. Sonic Triple Trouble stays true to the classic sprites, and it's a stand-out fan game with unanimous praise everywhere you look.

    While Mania quality pixel art could help a fan game stand out in screenshots, what people still want is a game that's fun and mechanically satisfying to play. And as long as the presentation is akin to Sonic 3 or above, you can't wrong with your game's visual appeal

    And I don't think Sonic Overture will struggle for its presentation, either. The real sticking point is the music, and I fully agree with you on it. I am personally all for the original music being replaced with something new, given the endless stream of infamy of who it's attached to. But the new tracks need to be better than what they're replacing, and I do find the new Sunrise Gate tracks sorely lacking.

    I'd personally love to see some outside help with Sunrise Gate, at a bare minimum. It's okay if not every track in a video game is a "banger", as later generations call it, but the first stage of any game needs to leave a lasting impression. It is, in many ways, the most important stage in a platformer. Guess which songs from games get the most covers? Guess which stage appears often in fan art? The first one.

    Many game developers agonize over the first stage for that reason. It's not unusual for developers to save making the first stage, or even remaking it, after working on later stages. It's much easier to decide how you want to introduce players to your game, once you fully understand the nature of it yourself, and where it stands with its fundamentals and identity. Nailing down what mechanics should be shown first, and setting the tone of the overall game, is so important.

    I've had to fully remake the first two stages of my project, and I recently went back to revise the first stage a little more, too. I want to do even more to Stage 1, once the campaign is finished. A platformer lives or dies by that stage, I think.

    This was my rationale when I put up the SAGE demo for my fan game last year. 3/10 of the game's planned content is much better for gauging what the final game might be like, I think.

    And the response was rather nice, considering demos are vastly overshadowed by complete games now, which I think is fine. There was a time when complete fan games seemed like a dream so cruelly out-of-reach, but people have dozens of good ones to choose from now, and the "market" expectations have shifted as a result. You won't truly know what audience your fan game will have now until it's done.

    Demos are still worth posting, however, but for a different reason: Reaching out for potential volunteers to help out. And you wouldn't believe all the people who came out of the woodwork to help me with this project since the first build over 3 years ago! The credits sequence is going to trail, y'all. :)

    That said, I had also grown wary of one-stage demos and rarely play them, so I wasn't satisfied with releasing a demo with anything less 3 stages. However, Sonic Legends was a recent exception because of its remake of Sunrise Gate, so I absolutely played that. (Which Legends nailed, by the way! I think I wrote a long emotional post about it in the project's topic.)
     
  20. Jaxer

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    I'll be completely honest - I absolutely fucking love the new SGZ Act 1 theme. It's such a powerful burst of utter joy that hits your face like a speeding semi-truck. In fact, I probably prefer it over the original track from a purely musical standpoint. I just have a very strong attachment to the 2014 original.

    Act 2 sounds pretty bland though, on that I agree.