Sonic Utopia

Discussion in 'Fangaming Discussion' started by Mr Lange, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. Murasaki Fox

    Murasaki Fox

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    Indeed, we stand on the backs of giants. I greatly appreciate everything that's gone into the pursuit of 3D Sonic games, especially from games like Sonic Adventure 1 and Sonic Unleashed. Each of them is a step in the journey in that pursuit. Between these and the classic games and my unstable joints, these experiences have been training me nearly my whole life, and I owe a great deal to every Sonic game I've played. Yes, even '06.

    As for whether these kinds of physics would have been possible on older hardware, I can't quite say. I'm still waiting to perfect the design before I really test the CPU footprint. However, the mathematics of motion are very engine-agnostic.
     
  2. Aerosol

    Aerosol

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    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    Out of curiosity, are you guys using a Rigidbody and applying physics force to move Sonic? Or a standard capsule collider and more explicit scripts? I stumbled on TCRF's page on Sonic Adventure and it showed that game used capsule colliders, and obviously there was no robust physics simulation going on, so it made me wonder.
     
  3. Murasaki Fox

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    I use a rigidbody with a capsule collider, though thanks to the new input-output format it would be very easy to apply it to any other kind of controller as well. I may not be totally fond of Unity's CharacterController system (which also uses its own built-in capsule collider), but it should work too.
     
  4. UpCDownCLeftCRightC

    UpCDownCLeftCRightC

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    Just wanted to put out a short feeler on some "Utopia-inspired" thinking, something I posted on another forum. Of course I've been wanting a legitimate 3D classic since 1995 but not until I spent time considering your (incomplete) open world demonstration did I---for funsies---rethink some of those ideas into a different framework. And yes I said for funsies. Deal.

    Also I'm fully aware this is not well timed because you all are deep in foundational development mode but I'd had a thing or two I wanted to run by you. I also know that you have your team and internal ideas and brain trust, and I'm an external cheerleader. Understood.

    Having said that:

    Goal: To design a 3D, open-environment Sonic in a way that is not a full on collect-a-thon like Mario, and make his actions/goals working towards something important based on a simple and straightforward narrative. Instead of primarily collecting items, for example, Sonic could travel to new areas to defeat Eggman's (Robotnik) presence as he's attempted a hostile subjugation of the natural life and energy. Maybe Eggman has trapped a village of creatures that need saving and Sonic needs to work to destroy a system of machines powered by the animals. The larger framework in which I might do it is having Sonic travel across a series of islands/sub-islands in order to restore their natural environment from Eggman having already taken over or preventing his incoming onslaught. But this can happen in many different ways as well, with different tasks depending upon what machines Eggman has built there or the environment itself. Each island is designed differently, as "Zones", or perhaps contain several connecting Zones between them based on unique, transitioning themes. Maybe there's a sub-island designed like a small city (Starlight Zone/Casinopolis) in which Sonic can go try the slots. There, exists an outdoor skatepark in which Sonic is challenged by someone to a contest for some meaningful reward. Or Sonic for some reason needs to knock out a group of robots that have tried to hack the casino slots, or divert power away from the Casino for Eggman's machines etc.


    This is kind of where I'd go with it, and there's almost unlimited potential in the amount of things you can create for Sonic to do while having it naturally progress toward some ultimate goal of "saving the world/islands" like Sonic typically does. What makes it work is that you design the game's physics to be rewarding to control and master like the classics, and thus the player is motivated to reach new areas by mastering Sonic's smooth movement mechanics. And not only make Sonic naturally fun to control and experiment with, but design the environment to have many interactive pieces that complement Sonic's natural movement and make him perform standard actions in new ways.
    The narrative/story can be written in almost an episodic format, so that as you unlock and reach new areas you have reasons to occasionally return to old ones, while working towards a final segment or final island-zone. And the bosses, I can imagine being done in a way that mimics the traditional A to B level progression of the classics.
    Think: boss levels could be your traditional "Act 1" and "Act 2" level runs with bosses at the end; act 1 serving as sort of the mini boss for the area and then Act 2 being the main boss but these bosses appear at different, appropriate times. Maybe Act 1 happens as an introduction to a new Zone on an island or sub-island and then you can explore the area after defeating the mini boss; then Act 2 happens after a completion percentage in restoring/saving the area, as an active transition to the next Zone... and then you're ambushed by the main boss of the current one. So the game still connects the essence of the classics but expands it into a new framework. And as a bonus unlockable mode (or a totally separate mode at the title screen) you could have "Arcade Mode", which would simply be a progressive playthrough of the Act 1s and Act 2s combined in the traditional way of the classics, for purists and speedrunners. Mind you, this is not to separate the open world experience from the core elements that make Sonic unique but just to offer a side attraction for those who really want a specific thing and provide additional hours of fun, replayable content.

    Tails and Knuckles can easily exist and complement this kind of gameplay, though my main focus would be on establishing Sonic first and proving that it is excellent. Done well It can make for an experience that has plenty of meaningful, motivating content to warrant a AAA budget and rival other game competitors like Mario and Zelda. Goodbye to the days of gimmicky padding; now alternative exploration fully complements the core experience!

    But um... yeah all that sort of jazz. :D
     
  5. Frostav

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    Mr. Lange, I just want to use my Trial period to tell you that this is without a doubt the best translation of Classic Sonic mechanics into 3D, and that this one demo has been one of the most fun things I have ever played, no joke. I honestly think you need to be hired, Taxman-style, to make a full-on Sonic game with this engine.

    However I've been having a weird problem with the demo on my computer, where the controls are all messed up and the camera does nothing but point straight down at Sonic's head and spin around. I'm using a Dualshock 4 with Ds4windows and it's worked before, but I dunno what's causing this.
    Weird, it works fine now. Welp, nevermind. My other comments still stand, though I think it's a little weird that you can move right after hitting a spring, making landing on tiny platforms after hitting one tricky. The classics restricted your movement more in that situation I feel.
     
  6. WhoWhatWhenWhale

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    Oh crap! SAGE is in a few weeks! That means that there might be more news about my favorite incarnation of 3D Sonic Fangames! Seriously, I think that this has the potential to be, (and already somewhat is,) what
    Sonic Adventure was trying to be. Can't believe I'm this hyped about the possibility of some news about this game at SAGE 2017. I can't wait to see what a non-techdemo level will be like, even if it doesn't come this SAGE. You guys are great and you should feel great for continuing work on this awsome game!
     
  7. Allactaga

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    The physics feel good, the slopes feel good, and Sonic's controls feel good. Getting these three important aspects of Sonic design all working in conjunction, in a 3D space, is no small feat. The classic Sonic philosophies of earning your speed and finding your own path were clearly taken to heart here. Of course there's room for improvement, but others have already gone into detail on the same points I would bring up.
    The sound design here is on point. The various noises Sonic's friends and Eggman's robots make are cute, and can help discern what enemies are nearby when they're out of sight. The way Sonic's sound effects change in pitch depending on his speed is a really nice, organic touch. Being able to tell how fast Sonic is going by ear is an idea I never thought I would love as much as I do.
    The models are well crafted. The production values may not be as good as Generations, but I think I prefer your Sonic model (though it could use a few minor tweaks, I recall you're reworking it so I won't go into detail), your badnik models, and your rings. They're all brilliant.

    However, I'm not so sure about the direction of the actual environment's visuals. Mostly, I dislike the water. You can't see the underwater portions of the level from the surface, you can't see the surface portions of the level from underwater. It would be nice to just look down and have a look at how punishing the underwater segment would be, or look back up to help gauge where you are. It would also just look like better water. Being underwater doesn't look or feel like being underwater like it does in the 16-bit games' Labyrinth, Aquatic Ruin, Tidal Tempest, or Hydrocity. There's no obvious color change, a noticeable rippling effects, or minor things like small bubbles rising off Sonic. In the demo, it just feels more like being stuck in a lifeless, foggy pit. I'll chalk the lackluster underwater atmosphere up to the incomplete nature of the demo, not intentional design choices. And I know how hard it is to get water just right.
    The sky box looks fantastic, and the overall layout is simple, but it works as a fun playground and it points you to the goal effectively. I don't think such a literal interpretation of Green Hill is so pretty in a 3D space. All of the grass being striped ground looks messy, and the checkerboard walls look plain. Other Sonic games like Sonic R, Sonic Jam, and Sonic Heroes did that general green aesthetic better by redesigning certain things and adding additional detail, for it to translate most effectively into 3D.
    I do like how you implemented the mountains into the level design and used bushes to thoughtfully decorate the level. Flowers and palm trees just seem strewn about randomly on flat surfaces, but the purpose the flowers serve of subtly guiding the player to the end is an interesting design choice. I'll give the looks of the level a pass, because considering that it's only a test level, it does look quite nice and obviously had a lot of elbow grease put into it.

    I think scattering rings should behave differently after Sonic takes a hit. As is, they neatly fall out of Sonic, one at a time, and form a circle around him. It's all a bit slow, neat, and clean. Wouldn't it be more fun if they all burst out of him at once, in erratic directions and heights? Having more rings increases the likelihood of them flying right above you, then falling back to Sonic, rewarding you for collecting more. Trying to farm one ring over and over would be doable, but more difficult. You could luck out and have it fling into a desirable location, or it could fly right off a ledge.

    I'm wondering what form the Chaos Emeralds will take. You're clearly very attentive to classic Sonic details, you must have noticed that their designs were wildly inconsistent between Sonic games. A Chaos Emerald could range from being small enough to fit comfortably in Sonic's palm (3K), to being almost as big as Sonic's head (1), to being about as tall as Sonic's body (R). They could be pointy (2, TT), blocky (1, 3K), brilliant cut (R, Mania), or even dodecahedra (Blue Spheres). They're very chaotic that way.

    I'm really looking forward to Sonic Utopia, it has a lot of potential. It's a very enjoyable demo, and whatever you have in store next could very well end up being the best 3D Sonic game.
     
  8. Mr Lange

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    Sonic Utopia, Sonic Overture
    I wasn't able to give the environment all the polish I wanted to, but I'd rather not anyway since I did not intend to keep this level. Modeling methods and workflow were messy and improvisational anyway.
    Pretty much everything water related was cut way short. I had a lot of ideas for visuals underwater, including color filtering like a palette shift. It would all have required some experimental shader work that was far from priority. We can certainly do so now though.
    The first stage will be the same trope and with tripplejaz's help I'll get a chance to really flex some visuals and polish that wasn't done with Green Hill. I've been working on tools to greatly improve the modeling workflow that will make level building and visual design much more efficient.

    The ring scatter is technically a spiral, but it happens so fast that it tends to be close to a circle pattern. This was not exactly intentional and would've been tuned for greater difference. I don't want randomness to affect the scatter; it is meant to fan out consistently in a way that is analogous in 3d to how they scatter in the classic games. Any chaotic variations are meant to occur should the rings collide with uneven terrain nearby. They'll also be given a bit more bounce so they don't rest so quickly in a predictable shape, and will not have the forgiving nature of magnetizing towards Sonic, making them demand more accuracy to recollect. Having more rings means better odds of grabbing one quickly and getting back in the action. This and risky scenarios like losing them over the sides of narrower pathways will emphasize the importance of collecting rings to ensure Sonic is protected and keep the player more vigilant.

    I think the emeralds will be designed after their octagonal forms seen in Sonic 1 and 3K. While I'm aware of their more permanent design and the theory that the chaos emeralds took on the form of the super emeralds after 3K, it always bugged me never seeing their original designs in a 3d game and I'd really like to. If nothing else I feel it fits the aesthetic more. So, a bold choice I guess, but an exception I'm probably making for the sake of creative liberty.

    Thank you for the feedback.
     
  9. Allactaga

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    That all sounds very promising, I'm assured that your ideas for original levels will look and play great, and I like your plans to modify ring behavior.
    Going with the original blocky octagonal designs of the Emeralds is a bold move, and it's the right move. It's more accurate and fitting for the old school aesthetic, and in my opinion, it's just a more mysterious and "magical" design for the gemstones than the standard round, and more fitting of the name.
    http://www.minerals.net/GemStoneImages/Emerald_SQ_Mod_AAA-1.jpg
    http://www.gemcutter.com/gems/cut/kf119.jpg

    I don't think I've seen anyone render the original design of the Chaos Emeralds in 3D before (unless 3D Blast counts), I'm excited to see what you guys can come up with.
     
  10. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

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    I always thought that maybe the emeralds were just being shown from a top down angle, making it appear like an octagon but it's actually the diamond modern shape.
     
  11. Meezoo

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    I have a theory as to why the emeralds were never a consistent shape. Each time Sonic is done using them, they warp back to their dimension like they did in Sonic 1's good ending. Each time they warp back to their dimension, they take on a different shape. Most of the time it's the modern diamond shape, but on some occasions they'll take on their classic octagon shape. In the case of 3D Blast on the Genesis, they were cough drops. I doubt that would be the canon explanation, but it's the only reason I can think of.

    On the topic of Sonic Utopia, I definitely look forward to seeing more of it! It's easily the best translation of classic Sonic mechanics in 3D from what I've seen. I look forward to seeing what improvements will be made in the next demo.
     
  12. HedgeHayes

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    Are you really discussing why emeralds had a different shape in each game? The keyword is CHAOS. And I don't really like the shape that became standard for modern games; having that shape made it easier to draw a good emerald altar in hidden palace, and matched the emerald- like things in sonic 2 HPZ, but a less standard and ever changing shape was the best for them, even if they were as simple as the ones in Sonic Chaos.
     
  13. Covarr

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    Or, and hear me out here, what if they're the same shape viewed from different angles, and any inconsistencies beyond that are a matter of an individual game's art style? I could definitely see the sonic 1/2 emeralds as a top-down view of the style we typically see these days.
     
  14. HedgeHayes

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    Standard chaos emeralds from Sonic 3 say no to that right away, an the previous ones hardly admit that theory btween both sets. Super emeralds work in a different way, so I'll say nothing about those, but 8-bit games Sonic 2 onwards get different shapes as well, and, while those aren't the main games, the fact that they change their shape too gives an indicative as which is the trend. I'd worry more about why special stages aren't as chaotic and as in Sonic 1, given they're still "outer-dimensional".
     
  15. DigitalDuck

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    This is the point at which I say "they're all different sets of emeralds". :v:
     
  16. HedgeHayes

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    Well, I like to keep them a single set considering the plot of the main trilogy, the existence of time stones which are another magic jewel set, and the identity they get as being unique instead of some kind of plain natural resource that happens to behave like a battery. But how many times can you change the emeralds' location and shape? Lots of sets would make it easier, indeed.
     
  17. W.A.C.

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    I personally prefer the idea of just making each chaos emerald have a unique shape.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Blue Blood

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    The Emeralds in Mania all have the same shape though... that picture just cleverly shows them all at different angles, so you get their classic 'hexagonal cut' design from above and their modern 'brilliant cut' design from the side.
     
  19. Jaxer

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    Do you currently have any plans for boss battles? I think that it's safe to assume that they're more interesting than the battles in Flickies' Island, but more functional than the battles in the Adventure games. I know I shouldn't tell you how to make your game, and this is just a suggestion, but one boss fight I would certainly like to see is the scrapped Endless Loop Trap final boss from the cancelled Sonic Mars, with you constantly chasing after Robotnik.
     
  20. Murasaki Fox

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    Yes, they are something we would like to include. We haven't been working on it quite yet since I've been busy with the rest of the gameplay framework, but I have been contemplating the handling of game states and such for some time now. Some of Unity's new features make it much, much easier to manage complex encounters like this while avoiding potentially game-breaking bugs. Perhaps such potential bugs aren't too big a worry, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist. xD