Sonic Overture Thread [Sunrise Gate Zone Demo Available]

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

  1. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

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    I fail to understand this mentality that it has to be all or nothing; either 100% accurate to Genesis limitations or complete full color anti aliased artwork.
    What is so difficult to grasp about the idea of faux 16/32 bit? You know, pixel art that has loose limits to allow creative freedom while still giving the aesthetic appearance of an oldschool game and making assets more manageable? Indie games do this, other fangames do this, and I've given thorough reasoning for this in my last few posts, both aesthetic and technical, as to why we're doing it. What in the world is anyone failing to understand at this point?

    As for dithering, that's used to simulate graduating colors when the palette is limited. Otherwise, the shading would have banding. Do you not understand that either? I thought that was obvious.
    If you mean why do that when we could just use full color, I explained thoroughly in the previous posts that this would ultimately be a far greater demand on the artists than dithering and sacrifice a lot of utility with the sprites. Did you read any of that?

    You make a good point about the hud though. That could indeed have reduced colors.
     
  2. Chimera

    Chimera

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    ...Jesus christ.

    Can you just say "I like dithering" and be done with it? Yes? No?

    God fucking damn.
     
  3. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

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    What a relevant and constructive reply. Thanks for posting.

    Anyway, we're working every day towards a big update. The shifting SAGE date has reordered our priorities, otherwise we would have had an update by now. Fortunately this will be much better than what we would have posted.
    Stay tuned, it's gonna be good.
     
  4. Overlord

    Overlord

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    This is going in circles. No-one's going to change Lange/the team's mind(s), can we stop shitting up the thread, please? =P
     
  5. Deef

    Deef

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    Just tried this; definitely a nice thing you've put together so far. Keep going with it! Just look at Hez's Sonic Classic for how much love a finished classic style fangame gets.

    I don't want to sound like I'm being oldschool for the sake of it, but I was very much feeling relaxed and happy with how many of the classic stylings you stuck to. 4:3 screen ratio, the title and intro, no Sonic-CD camera leading, the Sonic 1 act ending bonus points. And of course the visuals. All these little things gave it a consistency of feeling legit and classic, and yeah, that was relaxing for me. The rolling jump and spin dash had slight differences, but I noticed these also differed on the side of relaxing. It makes me wonder if that was deliberate, because it's all just very reliable in not being annoying and that reliability is something I enjoyed.

    In the same way I liked how you kept the gimmicks simple. The octagons and the huge pipe circles. I also enjoyed how the spin dash is disabled by default. To me, all of this stuff is like the game knowing that its already solid. It doesn't need to drum up tricks to impress, it's calm and just delivers a pleasing game without questionable attempts to impress.

    I like how there are plenty of badniks around too. And that flower animation is pretty sweet.

    I'll drop a few niggles here.
    The rings look a bit odd. I like their shininess; they're more brilliant than the old games. But they don't stick out as much either.
    Similarly, the badniks don't stick out much either.
    And in act 3, a lot of the background is easily mistaken for tangible foreground. That's a significant niggle actually; even after knowing they're not platforms, my brain still registers platforms everywhere.

    Anyway, I wanted to leave the best until last. The music. It's great that you went to the effort of the Sonic 3 approach; mixing it up a little between acts. But more importantly, the music itself is just great. It is just nice to listen too, happy and smart. I don't have to put up with it, I enjoy playing the game more because of it. Act 2 especially with the pseudo-vocals and the GHZ nostalgia (nice touch in the title screen theme too).


    All those comments come together. The music is simply nice to be hearing, and the experience is solid and reliable; calming. If there were more levels it's definitely a game I'd just sit here and keep playing.
     
  6. Lilly

    Lilly

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    I tried the demo when I saw it on the front page, and I'd have to say Sonic Rapture would be a more fitting name. :v: The music, singing, attention to detail, beautiful clouds, gorgeous application of color, refreshing gimmicks, literally dancing flowers, expansion on geometric shapes in walls that Sonic is known for- it feels like a real Sonic game from a 90's of another dimension. My neck hairs stood up from simply soaking in the atmosphere the first zone builds up.

    Seriously, I've never felt so emotionally overwhelmed from playing a fan game. I found myself exploring the levels and replaying them three times in the first sitting, and I was more than a little choked up from enjoying everything about this demo; almost released happy tears, for real. The heart and thought put into this project is so evident in every asset.

    I hope you guys have a smooth transition with the retooling; the potential for this fan game is exciting, if not incredible. The levels of charm here are legitimately captivating.
     
  7. Laura

    Laura

    Brightened Eyes Member
    I would just like to say that I feel fan games get way too much criticism online. Sonic Overture is really fun, and yeah I have some criticisms with the colouring and art style, but you know what, it's a a free fan game. Like seriously, enjoy it :v:
     
  8. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

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    Thank you guys for the nice feedback.

    We're not opposed to criticism, and in fact we welcome discussion. The only issue with what happened earlier really was that I answered that question in excruciating detail multiple times in different ways only to get the question repeated like I hadn't said anything, that and the strangely hostile/critical responses that didn't add anything relevant other than isolating keywords from the discussion and mocking it.

    That is not to say we haven't taken everything said here into consideration. We're taking another look at many of our assets, and someone almost posted here but talked with us directly instead, and gave us incredibly helpful critique and suggestions on the sprite work which we've already started to apply.
    We're trying to maintain a high standard of quality and any criticism is a benefit towards keeping up those standards, so we don't want anyone to refrain from saying what they think isn't good about the game. It doesn't matter to us that it's a free fangame, we want to do our best on it. Obviously we should have reasonable limits, but if we were to condone the excuse that it's "just a free fangame" then that's only making excuses for our ourselves at the expense of the players. We committed ourselves to the project and should respect the expectations we've set for others.
     
  9. DarkVDee

    DarkVDee

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    I like to say that this is a wonderful fan game. It feels like a true Sonic game, the music, the graphics, everything. The demo was fun and creative in it's own way. I can't wait to see more of it soon.
    Not to be a bother but how's the progress going? If it's going slow I can be patience.
     
  10. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

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    We're working our ends off and will have a huge update before too long.
     
  11. DarkVDee

    DarkVDee

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    That's good to hear Mr. Lange sir :) Take as much time as needed, no need to rush into things. I can be patience.
     
  12. Primo, looking forward to it
     
  13. VectorCNC

    VectorCNC

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    Glad to here about the impending update. I've been wondering how this project was progressing.
     
  14. Deef

    Deef

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    Had a look at this thread only to see that I've apparently already tried this. Sounded pretty good from my own words heh, so I tried it again with absolutely no clue what this was anymore.

    Great to hear an update is coming! Because yeah, what I wrote earlier was if anything an understatement. I am actually really surprised at myself, and at this game, for just how right it is. Surprised at myself because it's like, what's the best thing a fan game is going to do these days? They either have a new trick to show off and have to drop the authentic vibe, or they're staying true to the originals but can feel a little ho-hum in the process.

    But this game... I play it and feel "No wonder". No wonder I got so hooked on Sonic games and no wonder they were all over Mario's boring-ass gameplay. I honestly find myself thinking "Were they always this good?" Somehow this is the most enjoyable Sonic fan game I've played, and literally because it uses no tricks to do it. It doesn't add new sparkley bits, it's just simply really good. I felt more compulsion to explore and backtrack than any other fangame I can remember, more happy freedom running around, and I felt apprehension that the act was going to end soon. While I was playing I actually recognised myself feeling relieved that I'd be able to come back and explore this level more later. The only other fan game that made me turn around for fear of ending the act was Sonic Fan Remix, and in SFR it was all about the (gobsmacking) visuals. I already knew the level (in SFR), and acts 2 and 3 didn't really grab me, stage-wise. But in Overture, I feared ending the act purely for desire to play more of it. And it's very kind on the player for that kind of thing too; it's kind of an uncluttered Sonic CD in terms of level design style.

    And yes, the music is amazing. Just perfect; a little more advanced than the 16-bit tunes in just the right way, but with a nod to chip tunes and little retro throwbacks everywhere. It is so enjoyable. I love how there's a balance of tidy little additions; the animation, the spin dash option, the rotation option.... little Easter Eggs... nothing feels like it's trying to win me over. It's all simply really good at being itself. Were the fireworks sounds deliberately channeling the Master System SFX?

    In short, the level design and the music just make this actually, legitimately, compelling and fun, while the whole package's overall balance and self-control is just like a big statement of (justified) confidence in itself. I didn't really think I'd still be able to enjoy straight-up classic gameplay so much. Your demo turns that thought on its head. I'm honestly like, how did you do it? Ok, the music I can understand. Some people are just really talented and skilled and can see what works. But the level too? How did you nail the feel of it all so well? It's like you brought back a feeling of fun in classic Sonic gameplay that I had forgotten existed. A 4:3 screen with no special tricks, and it's as if you just laughed at the usual hangups people cite with Sonic's speed and screen space. "No actually, those problems don't even need to exist." I'm actually going to learn from it. My initial guess is just that you knew how to get the speed and space right. I need more time to feel out the level, but so far it feels up there with Emerald Hill for design (and EH is one of my most admired). It feels more oldschool, playful, open-space Sonic than the S3K zones, and that's also a really great thing.

    So as Egoraptor would say, MOAR ONION PLEASE!

    Very eager to see what further levels are like.
     
  15. Deef

    Deef

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    You probably already know this, but in Act 3 where you have the group of 10-rings + 1-up monitors after a set of spikes (the Sonic 1 throwback), the player can damage boost across the next set of spikes and fall into a game-breaker.
     
  16. LordOfSquad

    LordOfSquad

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    I already gooshed about this project when I saw it two years ago, but I didn't actually have a PC to play it on at the time. So I finally got around to trying the demo a few days or so ago and all I can say is that I'm just floored by the sheer quality of this project. There's nothing to suggest it won't stand among the original trilogy in my eyes when it's all said and done, it's seriously just top notch. The buttery smooth gameplay, the flowing level design, the luscious artwork, the delightful music (Act 3's tune especially has been bouncing around my head relentlessly), all the fan service... It's the complete package and I really can't wait to see what else you guys are cooking up. Thanks so much and keep up the great work.
     
  17. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

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    Goodness what a trip this has been. Where to start.
    The scope of Sonic Overture simply cannot be supported by MMF2 and Worlds. MMF2 is far too clumsy and limited and was making development hell.
    After the last demo, we continued working for a little while, but quickly hit major obstacles and realized it was only going to get far worse, and that a variety of things we wanted to do were not even possible. Trying to continue, let alone complete Overture in MMF2 was going to be way more trouble than it was worth and would require huge compromises we didn't want to make.

    I started looking into possible solutions. I'm already familiar with other software like Game Maker, Construct, and Unity, and thought it may be possible to work something out with those.
    I talked a lot with Tpot, a friend of mine who created the MAX engine in Game Maker which I previously helped him with.
    Besides capability, we also have to consider how well the rest of the team can handle the software, as we need a workflow that's friendly and reasonable. Unity for example, despite its capability, is not well suited to 2d. It has a very bare level editor that's geared towards 3d and would require polygonal collisions are defined for every conceivable surface, as well as having all kinds of caveats needed to pinch together a 2d game.

    Tpot joined our team, and we spent a while experimenting with different programs. We decided to put Construct Classic to the test and this was our most ambitious effort. We completed a well featured, flexible 2d Sonic engine and got all the way to level construction, only to have the whole thing fall apart. Once it got to that scale and we had two complex levels built, Construct became very unstable to the point of being unusable; the Sonic engine would glitch out, the editor would not function properly. All that effort was a terrible waste.

    At that point we realized we can't rely on these programs. They all have terrible, critical flaws. What one succeeds in, another fails at.
    After a lot of discussion and more experiments, we decided to make the bold move to a custom engine. Tpot was very confident he could pull it off, and we went over many details to ensure that confidence was not misplaced. It would be a long, difficult effort with a far greater long term benefit.
    However, we would also need a user interface for creating the game, at the least a level editor.

    After three quarters of a year's effort, we have succeeded. Immensely.

    We're proud to announce Teal, a custom game engine created in C# with the OpenTK framework.

    Despite its early stages, it is already incredibly capable. It is general purpose, but is first being used for Sonic Overture, which serves as a catalyst for Teal's development; as we progress, we learn more about Teal's needs and problems to fix. Unlike other programs, any unusual problems we encounter can actually be fixed instead of having to work around them or ignore them, and we can add any features we want. We've determined that Teal can go beyond Overture and be used for much more in the future. Accompanying Teal is a user interface. It is currently pretty bare and only useful for level building, but even this much is more capable than Construct. Along with that is TealSonic, the new Sonic engine built in Teal that will be powering Overture.
    Among its features include robust pixel based collision detection, pixel perfect 2d rendering within real 3d space such that 3d elements can be seamlessly integrated, effects such as line scrolling and palette cycling, extraordinary runtime efficiency, and plenty more.

    [​IMG]

    I'll let Tpot go into more detail about Teal.

    While the engine was being developed, the rest of the team certainly hasn't been sitting on their hands. We've been revising and planning the game much more carefully, level designing, creating many new assets, and even improving existing assets. Various things were rushed for the last demo, and now we've had the opportunity to flesh out the game much more how we intended it to be.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks to Pix's efforts, many things from backgrounds to rings and even Sonic himself has seen a great deal of improvement, and there's a lot more in store.

    Now for more about Teal from Tpot.
     
  18. TruePowerofTeamwork

    TruePowerofTeamwork

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    Alright, I've been excited for this. lol
    There's a lot to talk about. Now keep in mind, this is what we have currently, there is a lot more planned that will be added later.
    I've used and examined tons of game engines, and all of them have very major flaws, or are missing useful features, so with Teal, it's going to have the best of all worlds.
    As Lange said, it has pixel perfect 2d rendering combined with 3d. Sprites can have z positions, it can render models and sprites with advanced OpenGL shaders, and the camera is 3d capable.

    Currently, for collision there are tons of different collision types (and there will be much more added later):
    For 2D: Convex and concave polygons, bounding boxes, sprite collision, raycasting, linecasting, pixel, mouse position, objects.
    For 3D: Frustums, oriented bounding boxes, axis-aligned bounding boxes, spheres, quads, planes, mouse position.
    A lot of these can check collision between each other, such as 2d polygons and sprites.

    For audio, there's a pretty advanced custom audio engine with infinite channels, DSP effects, looping, pitch, and tons of useful functions.
    There's also a very extensive math library, that's all custom made.
    All of your normal math functions with tons of variants for ease of use, many kinds of interpolation, tons of angle functions such as AngleDifference, PointDirection, WrapAngle, AngleLerp, 3d projection functions, and functions for rotating points in 3D.
    All objects have tons of useful functions and features, they have an inheritance system like Game Maker, but also a component system. No object is locked to an animation or mask either, in fact they're not really locked to anything but their code.
    Any instance's animation can be changed in the level editor in the properties panel.
    Every object has an advanced animation system with loop points, and every frame has it's own values such as origin and duration. So something like Sonic's waiting animation can be all one animation with no duplicate frames.
    Now here's some stuff I'm most excited to talk about.
    Teal needs to be able to protect assets. So I developed a custom optionally-encrypted file format that holds all of the assets called an asset pack. Games can have infinite asset packs, and using more than one can be used for expansion packs/dlc/optional content.
    It also indexes all the files, so it's very fast.

    And I'd like to talk about efficiency.
    I've done many tests between Teal and other game engines. And Teal runs in some cases over 100x faster.
    An average sized level in TealSonic (which uses a lot more collisions than the MAX engine for more stability), uses about as much power as the original dos version of Doom. On my laptop it actually runs at slightly under 10,000 fps.
    Pretty much everything in Teal is blazing fast, and anything that isn't I haven't started optimizing yet. lol
    And not just in actual power, but developing in Teal is also much faster.
    Because it's C#, compile times are extremely fast, and the level editor doesn't need to compile to test unless you've changed/added code. There are so many shortcuts for coding things, something that could take days in Game Maker, would take a few hours in Teal.

    Teal's editor is the same way. One thing that was frustrating in GM and other software was batch importing objects, sprites, and masks.
    This could takes hours in other software, and minutes in Teal, because it has lots of batch importing functions.
    You can just drag and drop images into the object library, and you can import animations, masks, and turn these into objects in just moments.
    Generally, common workflow needs that are neglected in other tools, things that are frequent annoyances, are considered and streamlined in Teal, and more features are being added to make various tasks a lot nicer.
    And well, that's some of Teal, I guess. There's quite a few more stuff like layers, input, drawing functions.
    If anyone's interested in some stuff I left out, just ask, and I'll be glad to answer.
     
  19. Jassbec

    Jassbec

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    This new engine is very exciting stuff to all of us, and without the limitations of other engines, we'll be able to realize the ideas we have without having to make compromises with the software we are using.

    We are also happy to announce that we have plans to release a new Sonic Overture demo for this year's SAGE using Teal and TealSonic. The next demo will be a whole lot greater than the demo we released at SAGE 2014.
    Despite our previous setbacks, we are very optimistic about the project, and are confident that Teal will allow the development of Sonic Overture to proceed a whole lot smoother.

    We've been continuing to work on Granite Zone as well. Here's a new mockup of the first act.

    [​IMG]

    Stay tuned folks, things are only going to continue going up from here on out.
    We hope everyone is as excited for what's to come as much as we are.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    Very, very excellent work, dudes. Really can't wait to see what all you guys have planned!