Sonic Utopia

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

  1. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

    A wise guy eh. I know how to DEAL with wise guys. Member
    1,286
    0
    16
    The Land of Waldos
    Sonic Utopia, Sonic Overture
    We wanted leans for turning a long time ago, but the animation setup made this too difficult/time consuming (one of the reasons we're starting fresh with the framework). That and other touches will be done to improve Sonic's animations.


    Lack of proper/automatic rolling response was not a deliberate design choice. It's incomplete physics.


    Peelout charge was supposed to be canceled by jump, not down, but Mura switched it for some reason and there wasn't time to change it back.



    No maps. I've seen a lot of requests for that but it's a heavy handed UI element that defeats the point of exploration (at least in Sonic) and saps the magic and mystery of the world, not to mention it can't account for three dimensional level design. There aren't any map like renders of the demo level either.

    I've been reading everything in this thread, thanks again for all the feedback.
     
  2. Deef

    Deef

    Member
    690
    0
    0
    Thanks for dealing with my way overblown post. Yeah sorry there were things that have probably been answered before, but great to hear the rolling is still on its way.

    But do you think you'll switch to the style of control the classics had? Ie, player input = slow down/steer, no player input = full speed rolling. I do think it's really important, if anything, for the relief it gives the player from having to find forward if they're just doing a halfpipe numerous times, etc.
     
  3. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

    A wise guy eh. I know how to DEAL with wise guys. Member
    1,286
    0
    16
    The Land of Waldos
    Sonic Utopia, Sonic Overture
    Not sure I understand your question. If you mean, will physics take over when Sonic rolls on slopes but the player can temper the speed and steer with DI, then yes, that's how it will work.

    Progress is relatively slow at the moment, but still pretty quick overall. A lot of the framework is done, physics are partially ported and it's all being put together.
    In the meantime, I'd like to make the first "blog" post (I hate to say blog... maybe we should put a site together for this too) to talk about some of the design process.


    This post is about the most iconic item in the Sonic series.
    Rings.

    [​IMG]

    Many subtleties compose the aesthetic theme of the classics, and I consider them important. The golden rings should be given attention and thought, as much as any other element in Sonic's world.
    The primary role of rings in gameplay is to grant protection, but they have secondary roles such as adding lives and granting entrance to the Special Zone.
    They certainly have a mystical power that's connected with other elements in Sonic's world, such as the chaos emeralds. There's a big loop tying things together under the surface, setting the stage for a consistent concept of related elements.

    Since Sonic Adventure, rings have gradually lost their deeper conceptual value in the series. They've also been interpreted as a donut shape.
    However, if we take a closer look at rings in the classic series, they're often depicted as being flat on the inside.

    While it's barely interpretable in their normal sized sprites, you can see it more clearly in big rings.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    They're also depicted this way in other games including the 8 bit titles.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Other forms of media at the time depicted rings this way, which could have been creative liberty, but there might have also been standard designs passed around or artists took notice of their in game appearances.

    There's common aesthetics that permeate the family of media during that era, between games like Sonic, Ecco, Ristar, and a variety of others. Ecco has a similar style of rings, a hint at this stylistic thread.

    [​IMG]

    (also worth mention is the crystal; crystals and gems are another significant theme in that era of media, and I'll talk about that more later)

    So, I modeled rings according to their suggested appearance.

    [​IMG]

    Rings had an elegance to them, as did other things. It's easy to take them for granted, but the rings didn't exist just because. Rings had a reason, a mystical connection with other elements, and followed a subtle artistic theme.
     
  4. JucieBX

    JucieBX

    Member
    16
    0
    0
    Houston, TX
    Just Mad Gamers
    Hello,

    Love the demo!!! Best representation of sonic's momentum-based gameplay in 3d IMO!!!.

    In gonna go into work that needs to be done as it has already been voiced and considered based on the thread and the 3 hour dev video on youtube (very inspiring btw)!!!

    I will say that I rather enjoy the open nature of the level presented if only because I know why it is presented in this fashion. It's a big playground with multiple scenarios of potential level make-ups....(how will sonic go down this slope, how high can he be launched for this ramp.) We gotta feel out sonic's new control.

    I love the attention to detail. Pulling from sonic CD & the sonic OVA was awesome. Those are parts of sonic's past that, I feel, don't get enough praise and are often overlooked.

    This brings me to my bit of criticism. It might be just me, but it bugs me a lot and I find it weird that nobody has said anything about it.

    Mr. Lange,
    You've done an extraordinary amount of work and I admire you for it!!! But, sonic's running (figure 8) animation is off. You've animated one on each side of sonic but in the OVA he only has one. click on the following links.
    Sonic OVA shot
    Sonic OVA shot 2
    Sonic OVA shot 3

    I know idea is one for each foot but they are spread out too far apart and it makes it feel like his hips out further than what they are.
    I took snips from the OVA the post here but I can add attachments >_< I will say watch the part where sonic charges eggman after metal sonic first appears.

    It's a bit nitpicky, I know, It's honestly the one thing that really stuck out to me. And I see that you're looking into adding a lean for easing into the turning for control. The turning, I imagine, would be a kin to how a motorcycle turns. I believe it would look aesthetically more pleasing with one figure 8 centered under sonic (a-la sonic lost world). Say what you want about the game(most would be justified) but I like the look of his running animation from the back.

    Lastly,
    I would like to make two suggestions for when you start doing facial animations:
    1. watch some "mickey mouse shorts" for brow animtion brow 1 brow 2 brow 3

    2. Please don't do the tan/blue eyelids for blinking!!! Makes it glaringly obvious that sonic has one eye and it's weird when he winks. In the OVA, close to the beginning, sonic is lying down listening to music when tails splashes water on him(the second time). Sonic lifts his shades up and blinks twice. Again the mickey shorts use this kinda of animation for the eyes too. I think this would look great with your concept as you're going for the CD/OVA/JAM version of sonic.

    All-in-all This is shaping up to be an amazing game. You guy's are crazy talented and dedicated. You ABSOLUTLY know what you are doing and I'm really looking forward to the final game.
     
  5. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

    A wise guy eh. I know how to DEAL with wise guys. Member
    1,286
    0
    16
    The Land of Waldos
    Sonic Utopia, Sonic Overture
    Thanks, and again the overly open level design is just experimental. Proper levels will be more focused.
    Come on, you think I'm not aware that the peelout run is usually one strip? The problem is this frame right here:
    [​IMG]
    This is not doable in 3d without it cutting through his neck. The alternative is not having the oblong frame but this makes the animation less dynamic and not as faithful to the Sonic CD animation. Also the transition between run animations would be more jarring and it's already kinda rough. It works fine for both feet and there are some cases where this happens:
    [​IMG]

    For brow animation, I'll be sticking to Sonic references.
    For blinking, that's a good call, but it's best for both faithfulness to the original designs and visual clarity that Sonic has full eyelids. He has them in the Sonic CD cutscenes too.
     
  6. Dr. Mecha

    Dr. Mecha

    Member
    1,077
    0
    16
    Dallas, TX
    3d Models
    Didn't "Sonic: Lost World" kinda fixed that by omitted that frame altogether?

    As fo the eyelids, as long as there's visible indication that he have two eyes crammed together opposed to a whole one, it won't effect said indication.

    Sent from my SM-G920P using Tapatalk
     
  7. LordOfSquad

    LordOfSquad

    tails is still a girl Member
    4,776
    2
    18
    Winnipeg, MB
    making cool music no one gives a shit about
    After trying the demo on my toaster and being blown away (seriously, how much more can be said, it's fantastic), I had a thought. I know the levels proper will be more focused in their design, but if you still wanted to tackle a more open concept, why not have a sort of focus button that would point Sonic and the camera towards the goal when pressed? The only caveat I can think of would be that it could potentially erase a certain sense of mystery, but something like that would be optional. Newbies don't have to get frustrated and the "pros" don't have to press it if they don't want to. Anyway, just a thought. I have utmost faith in you two and can't wait to see what's next.
     
  8. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

    A wise guy eh. I know how to DEAL with wise guys. Member
    1,286
    0
    16
    The Land of Waldos
    Sonic Utopia, Sonic Overture
    Providing clear direction for the player is tricky. I believe it should be handled with subtlety and ideally the level design itself should be able to tell the player (though this could cost freedom in level design which is also a concern). Anything otherwise, like arrows or points on a map, could be considered a substitution for a shortcoming in design, unless it really were open world with multiple goals in different directions; even then, Super Mario 64 did not need this, and I want to avoid as much as I can in the way of excess UI elements and descriptions.
    The problem with having a "beacon" or pointing the camera at the goal, is that this is not always going to align with the course at a given moment. For example, a level with multiple indoor rooms that change the course's direction throughout. Pointing the camera at the goal's position may not be the way to progress in that room at that moment, or even for several rooms in succession. It could even be pointing to the entrance of that room, and a lost player could be fooled into going backwards. For a start to finish course, the player would need to be lead the right way at all times, and this direction is variable. And even then, this only applies to a perfectly linear course. A specific given direction no longer makes sense for a level with multiple valid routes to take.
     
  9. I mentioned this a while back in the SAGE 2016 thread, but I'll repeat it here...

    Do you intend any more updates to the current demo? I thought that your Sonic model looked like an HD + beautified version of the model in Sonic R, and that got me thinking that a race gameplay mode would be amazing for an open-layout stage like this. Not a "race to the end" type thing, but my idea was to place something like four or five checkpoints scattered around the level. A Crazy Taxi style arrow or Minecraft-style beacon would indicate where the next checkpoint would be, and you would win the race by hitting all of the checkpoints and reaching the finish.

    A time-attack race in this style seems like it would be fairly easy to pull off, and would compliment the level design really well as well as encourage more exploration and experimentation with the physics. (For example, a checkpoint on top of a mountain that you can only reach by using a ramp at max speed) A more complex version would keep something like four different versions of ghost data and use them to act as the other racers, which would allow a four or five person race like the original Sonic R, without needing to program an AI that can navigate the level. Also, re-skinning the various ghost data to look like Tails/Knuckles/Amy/Metal/etc. would be really neat as well, although it would require more character modeling)

    Don't get me wrong, I love this as it is and it's really neat. I just was thinking that something like a race mode would help differentiate it from the other open-world stages we've seen like the various Green Hill Paradise stages.
     
  10. JucieBX

    JucieBX

    Member
    16
    0
    0
    Houston, TX
    Just Mad Gamers
    I see the issue. That being said, to stay faithful to the sonic cd animation it should stay in no question (but you already knew that). Might I suggest a different way of animating then?
    In the special stages of sonic cd, the feet look as though the top arcs at an angle beside the face and come back in toward the center when it touches the ground closer to his center here:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    You can angle them inward. I think you can use that for the oblong frame, referenced above, as well as the others.

    I did a profile and back sketch of what it might look like at work....I was bored lol
    Sketch 1


    I also did a quick and dirty profile and back animation with each sprite from CD as a reference.
    I believe there were 4 sprites used in his peel out animation.
    (sorry for linking it to my twitter. It's not an advertisement. I don't know how else to share it since I can't just attach it to the post >_<)
    [media]https://twitter.com/JustMadGamers/status/793631902213169152[/media]
    [media]https://twitter.com/JustMadGamers/status/793631815563042816[/media]


    Looking at the sprites, I can see that he has lids. The blinking would be more recognizable to the gamer as full eyelids. I retract my arguement for that ^_^
     
  11. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

    A wise guy eh. I know how to DEAL with wise guys. Member
    1,286
    0
    16
    The Land of Waldos
    Sonic Utopia, Sonic Overture
    I'm aware of the feet motion angled inwards to the ground in that animation. That applies to the wheel feet and the main reason I didn't do that is because it would've further complicated the rig and I'm not sure how well it might have looked in action without a lot of careful adjustment. The same issue applies to the peelout feet and so I kept them the same angle for consistency. Putting some more time into the rig and animations to see if I can make this work is something I've already been strongly considering. However, it might require the legs and feet are flexible in a way that makes the wheel effect unworkable, which could require a much more complicated setup. I may prefer simplicity because I'd like to finish the game this century lol. If I sweat too much about such complications and invest too much effort on such specifics, I'm also setting a standard for other assets that I'd have to keep up with. The animation as it is now I'd say is pretty good, and going that much further, while it'd be nice, is not really necessary.
     
  12. JucieBX

    JucieBX

    Member
    16
    0
    0
    Houston, TX
    Just Mad Gamers
    Fair enough. At least it was thought about. I started getting used to it playing it as much as I did. Thanks for considering the option.

    On the subject of stages, if you are doing remastered stages, one I would like to pull for is Lava Reef zone-->Hidden Palace Zone. It's my favorite of any sonic game! The atmosphere, the music, the mural in the back which facing off against Knuckles came together in such a mysterious and amazing experience for me!!! And if you were collecting the super emeralds, up to that point, the feeling was one of questioning familiarity as you heard the same music when you went to the alter for the special stages. I have yet to feel the same about any other entry in the sonic franchise...

    Either that or a new stage with similar importance, mystery, and feeling...

    I hope i wasn't too imposing. If I was, I apologize.

    Again, I'm really looking forward to this project and I will be following closely for future versions of the demo, updates, and info.

    Thanks again ^_^
     
  13. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

    A wise guy eh. I know how to DEAL with wise guys. Member
    1,286
    0
    16
    The Land of Waldos
    Sonic Utopia, Sonic Overture
    Don't know. We've already begun with a fresh project and all, and porting over the level would be quite a bit of work when I'd rather scrap it and have better things to spend that time and effort on. If anything, I'd prefer a new Green Hill that's up to the better standards of level design. I'd like the next demo to be more indicative of the complete game.
    The main objective will be traditional start to end, but with plenty of room for exploration. I'd certainly like to include secondary objectives that offer more to do and reward exploring.

    As much as I love Lava Reef Zone, can't just say "okay making Lava Reef Zone". Choosing any stages for recreation will have to be done very carefully. Balancing tropes, estimating asset demands, popularity vs creative diversity, level design challenges, etc. The feeling of transition you describe had its place there and could not really be captured a second time with the same thing. A new concept though, possibly, but this also carries with it a lot of questions and considerations, particularly with narrative.

    Everything's fine, feel free to talk about things.
     
  14. TheKazeblade

    TheKazeblade

    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    I think the demo hit upon instances of great ideas for level design in places. For instance, the path that follows along the cliffside if you take the left direction where the map first opens up, there's some excellent platforming with a strong sense of forward progression without feeling railroaded. The fact that failing a platforming challenge simply puts you in a wider area that you can scale to reattempt is a great philosophy, and if its expanded to a whole level, I think it will translate beautifully.

    Fully confident in your level design skills, Lange. There were great gems like the one I just mentioned in the demo that reflect ideas that I expect were very intentional. I look forward to seeing them brought to fruition!

    Now that it has been decided that Unity will continue to be used going forward, were there any features that were cut because of the expectation of them not being supported by UE4 that you are re-evaluating including in future releases?

    And out of curiosity, Sonic 1's original GHZ's only real 'gimmick' were s-curves. Were they ever attempted in Utopia's GHZ, and if not, do you think they are possible to translate into a free-range 3D Sonic level without either being extremely awkward or extremely scripted? If so, do you have any ideas on how they might be approached just as a hypothetical?
     
  15. The Deleter

    The Deleter

    Member
    1
    0
    0
    Big fan of the direction of this demo, so I feel like I should throw my two cents on the level design into the ring while the topic is hot...


    To be honest, I wasn't really sure about the design of it at first going in, what with it being so open yet flat, but after playing and getting used to it, I really feel like there's a lot of potential here, and some of it has been realized relatively well imo. Some say it's like the OVA or CD opening in terms of the idea, and I agree as well, but I'm also reminded of the initial potential of Sonic Lost World's level design: being able to chain and create your own level progression out of infinite options. That thrill of seeing a piece of level design in the distance, running towards it, and nailing it is just the sort of thrill and versatility 3D Sonic can create with the ability to see ahead, and exceeds the classic games in a number of ways imo.

    Now I understand that this direction isn't for everyone, as some just can't handle more open levels in video games and thus it's more of a niche. And I understand possibly moving away from this design mentality in order to better prove how 3D Sonic can work for the majority audience, as well. But personally, I think it feels like a very fulfilling direction for a 3D Sonic game that should honestly be fully explored; sure, it's not the only way it can go, as indicated by GHP2's level design, which is similar but has a completely different goal in mind. But, this unique aspect is something I definitely feel is worth perfecting, at least once in Sonic's lifetime. I just think it needs two things: slightly thicker level design, and more direction.


    ... Well, the last point seems like more of a "No duh" observation, and it'd be redundant to just bring that up as a point in general tbh, but to elaborate further, I honestly don't think you've got it entirely wrong with what you were going with, tbh. Routes are more tracks than hills, which either go one way or the other, and tell the player they should either go one way or the other; all the routes have a mostly general "forwards" feel to them that can indicate an end to the level; and other things like the way enemies are facing, flowers are facing, the texture of the ground is going, etc. all can help point the player in the right direction as well. That's plenty of direction right off the bat that other levels like, say, GHP1 and others completely lack. I don't think it's enough, is all.


    For example, the flat, empty spaces that are supposed to punish the player for falling off, from what I can see and have played, are completely confusing for any new player, and can really throw them off. Not only is it directionless incarnate, but what the player can observe and judge are all the higher routes often enclosing the space, which often give multiple directions they could take, not even knowing if it's forwards for that route alone. I have my own gripes with these areas such as being just flat terrain with a single spring in a corner somewhere helping you back up, but I think adding to this problem is mainly their biggest fault.


    And then the second standout, is more in terms of linearity vs. openness, in a way. To put it mildly, the level is kinda... flat? Not in the sense of the open areas, but more in what the level is made out of. Platforms are squares, raised terrain is blocks, etc. Now as an aesthetic, I don't think there's anything wrong with it, though it may be a little more repetitive than I personally like to see. What problems this creates, though, is a paradox between openness and linearity in a stage like this. On one hand, you want to build a stage as open as possible for this scale, to befit a playground-esque playstyle, and these sort of flat, obligation-lacking designs complement that to a T. But on the other hand, the optimal level of play for a level like this, is to run through it as fast and smoothly as possible, taking on any routes you can see, and trusting that they'll all lead to the end. In a way, pretty linear gameplay.

    Problem is, this flat design reeeaally hampers that kind of playstyle at first glance, and makes it difficult to judge both routes, and direction. Say you come to a junction in the demo, like in the latter half of the level. It's a square platform with routes jutting out from each side, and you need to pick one you're going to use at a moments notice. Except... due to the nature of this design, A) the flat routes blend in with one another due to being on the same level, and the same color as the foreground as well, so you might not even notice them, B) they're exactly horizontal to one another, and you can't tell whether they're routes you can all take to the goal, a route intersecting with yours that has a single "forwards" to it, or they all funnel into the way you're heading in the first place, (incredibly difficult to judge) and C) the only indication you're ever going to get of the paths is a brief look in the near-distance, before they fly out of view, due to how large the platform is, how it looks like every other platform, and gives no immediate direction towards that route at all.

    Some routes are better at direction than this, others worse, but in general you really can't tell where a route is going to go unless you've followed it on the low route, see and identify it far off in the distance, or you're immediately nearby it.


    Now I'm not saying you should remove all these features and openness for the sake of linearity, and it's a tricky thing to balance. But I think one thing you could add would greatly help the latter's case, without detracting from the former in any way. And that's more varied and carved terrain.


    Don't know whether or not it'd fit the aesthetic 100%, but I believe this sole element would be able to help answer all these problems, if not outright fix them. On the lower routes, soft-railroading or guiding of the areas with routes and "walls" made out of small hills and bumps would prioritize the places they should run, and be further accentuated with rings, enemies, and eventual level design on the inside of them. And for problems like junctions and direction-based judgements, simple stuff like small banks with rings alongside the inside leading to the routes, or angled and cut-out giant platforms indicative of a split, would fix the above problems in a jiffy. Platforming areas would have more intuitive foresight with the way they're directed in more challenging 3D areas, BUT! unlike outright making them hallways or creating jagged edges and walls, the more natural terrain would still be open and inviting to the more playground-based gameplay mentality. Want to run straight through that junction as if it were a flat plain still? No problem; just run right over the bumps that would usually indicate direction, and ignore them to your heart's content.


    Of course, even more elements that would help direction wouldn't hurt, either; stuff like ring trails, making sure visible platforming is always facing "forwards" and never down as a tool for direction, enemy placements, and minding how the slopes behave and teach the players their intended direction (for example, more indented downwards slopes indicate rolling, while arced slopes indicate hills to be climbed) and many other ideas not on mind at the moment, while maybe not sound enough on their own, should help to solidify direction all the more if they're used properly.


    I fully believe that direction in a 3D space can be conveyed 100% naturally through the use of gameplay mechanics and design, tbh. Just seems like it's a lot harder to pull off with Sonic, specifically. Mario can get away with platforming alone directing the player, Metroid's is based off of the exploration itself and the familiarity, and racing games like Burnout Paradise have players fully embrace their own judgement for the sake of stakes. But Sonic is such a complex game, being a combination of most of those things, and at such high speeds, the player really needs to intake a lot of directional cues before they can play it optimally in the soonest time possible. I don't think we need signs or automated camera angles just yet, but they definitely need as much help from these cues as they can, before we can strike perfection. And if they still can't figure it out after all that, theN THEY'RE JUST IDIOTS ADFHJKHSDF



    Also, another note on direction, I've noticed a key difference in mentalities when it came to me playing through GHP2, and others: I went in fully expecting a goal at the end of the level, while others didn't even know if one existed. And, coincidentally, I spent the majority of my playthrough trusting the level design to take me where I wanted to go and fully capitalized on it, as well as took my time to play around in it, knowing I could always get back to what I was doing. Meanwhile, the others most often second guessed it, took it more cautiously as if they could get lost, and wondered if there even was any direction and end to it all. It's not the same game or gameplay mentality as yours, but I think that's a major difference in outlook that might very well effect this game as well. In fact, looking back at my playthrough of this, not knowing whether there was an end either, I can see myself in that mentality as well, somewhat.

    Here's my proposition to open 3D Sonic games in general, in order to possibly rectify this: If you're going to make a goal to the level and want players to immediately understand direction, make the goal either immediately visible from the start, and/or state one from the start. It can be something like an Eggman factory billowing fumes marking an "end" to the level, an entirely new zone to reach in the distance, or simply internalized after several levels as the game's design, but it all has to be immediate and clear. Not small and specific, which is the cause of players doubting themselves and the level in the first place.

    At first I thought of this idea only to "make sure" people knew where to go first and foremost, during GHP2's release, but now I think it could be key in making the player confident and relaxed enough in an open world game to trust it and fully capitalize on it. It's imperative for first impressions, imo, and doubly so for a demo that only lasts one level. :V


    --------------


    That's my thoughts on the level at least. If you go in another direction for the rest of the project, that's perfectly fine, and what you're doing here could be set to change the 3D landscape of Sonic forever, so take heart in that and go for the most solid direction you can think of. But, in the interest of the potential of 3D Sonic beyond the gameplay mentalities the classics had, I really hope you either end up trying to polish this up to the best of your abilities, or at the very least keep some element of this design in your final product.

    I cannot stress enough how immersive and engaging the idea of this kind of 3D Sonic is to me. The idea of a 3D game being completely unrestricted in what you can do, where you can go, and how you do it, at whatever speed you want, just gives a thrill that no other game can accomplish, and it's utterly fantastic that you've made it a playable reality here. It lends weight to the improvisation lifestyle that Sonic has on his adventures, it creates a unique type of exploration not explored in any other game, the feeling of speed can feel more legitimate than ever with such vast and interesting ground to cover and pull off, and so much more. It may not be fully polished or even realized yet, with all the potential still left to be discovered, but I gotta say I really value it a lot, even if no one else does.


    Couple more thoughts to add:

    Since they're being planned anyways, I gotta say special stages would make for a great exploration incentive in this kind of Sonic design. Going to draw parallels with GHP2 here, but while that game is more linear-route focused, claustrophobic enough to make finding stuff in plain sight fun, and having "challenge" routes with the emeralds at the end for reward, Utopia has none of these, so I've wondered what could be done to incentivize exploration while also being able to maintain a forwards direction as you go, thanks to how effortless exploration in the game is. Laying special stages around, be it in hidden rings or checkpoints, would be a great way to capitalize on it's open design, as while the hunt for emeralds would incentives finding all the secrets and level design Utopia has to offer in the first place, it can be a sort of "challenge" task that players could try to achieve as fast as possible by zipping around all the corners of the map, thus adding to the improvisation aspect of the game even more and giving it lasting content. Think it'd go over really well if this were included in it.

    And lastly, I just wanted to mention the central area of the map's opening. Gonna mention how hard it is to see it in the first place as it looks all flat, and could be a better alt route if it were more of a "bowl" with sloping terrain, but mainly, I just wanted to say how much fun can be had in this area specifically. This is the one area in the game where rolling physics come into play vertically, for platforming or momentum, and paired with the ability to run on walls, and launching yourself into the air with all that speed on the half pipes... it may be standing around doing nothing, and it's nothing like what the majority of the level is designed for, but good gravy is it fun to do. If you ever do make a more linear game, even if some parts of the level look more challenging than the casual audience could take on, as you said in the interview, I really hope you capitalize on this and other physics-based 3D challenges. They're just... way too good to pass up with these controls.


    Congrats to the team for pulling this off, and I can't wait to see what you all have planned for the game in the future! Cheers!
     
  16. After playing through it a few times, I like how the forest area to the left feels like the middle tier, the raised area with basins and lakes to the right feels like the upper tier, and the middle, flatter part of the level feels like the "bottom route." Feels like the 3D equivalent of typical classic Sonic level design to me, where you often have a higher, middle, and lower route.

    The moment the game REALLY won me over, the moment where I was convinced this is how Sonic should move in 3D, was the end of that labyrinth area, where you run up a sloped wall, then jump off to land on the ledge behind you. It feels so natural and easy to do. I used to do that sort of thing all the time in the classic games, but you'd never see that sort of design attempted in an official 3D game. Not without a speed pad at the bottom and a spring at the top to help the player along so they don't mess up, anyway. Looking at Sonic team's track record, you'd think that sort of thing couldn't be done in 3D, yet here it is! And it feels just as good to pull off in 3D as it does in the old 2D games. So cool.

    My favorite moments are the ones where you can "chain" the ramps and runways together and just keep rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling, yeah.
     
  17. VolgShan

    VolgShan

    Member
    Fantastic job with the game! I have been having a lot of fun playing it. My favorite thing so far is the animations. I love how the motobug get surprised when it sees you and also sonic's legs at full speed. Just the right amount of cartoony animations. Im excited with the mechanics and I hope you add more stuff in it. I saw you put the flicky in it. Man I cant wait to see whats next for you guys on this project. I liked the experimental open level. Think you will keep it in as a sandbox style level?
     
  18. Deef

    Deef

    Member
    690
    0
    0
    That sounds good. But please correct the other half of it too, so that the player doesn't hold the roll button to roll; rolling stays rolling. Rolling in the classics was a very clear piece of gameplay: You choose speed at the cost of control. You can barely stop, you can't get to your feet easily. Hold-to-roll, release-to-unroll deletes all of that.

    Concepts aside, the way Utopia encourages the player to roll-down, unroll-up is very QTE. It removes the feel of "I can roll now and go for a joyride and hope I can pull out of it later". Instead, it creates the feel of "I just press, then release, then press, then release, right when I'm told to". Big difference from the classic feel.

    It's also a bit of a controls clash that rolling after a spin-dash, and rolling after a run, have different rules.

    The short version is that the classics' controls really were good. The way you've implemented the peel out is very good imo, but rolling needs to hold onto its roots. Terrain is one half, staying rolled is the other. Oh, on that note, spin-dashing does need more advantage over peeling out imo. The "drag to a stop then peel out" thing you've got going is good... perhaps that could be done with the spin dash too (applicable while the player still holds roll), but that is messing with the formula so much it would worry me. But as it stands, since a peel out can be fired anywhere, from any speed, and can tuck straight into a roll anyway, the spin-dash has little use.



    Other random comments:

    Someone else I saw mentioned that the uphill rolling deceleration is too high/has to go/something. I agree. Downhill increases acceleration: nailed. Uphill decreases acceleration: too much. Again, it turns rolling into a QTE. In the classics rolling uphill wasn't trying to be a killer like that. This also supported further the classic idea that rolling was a ride you chose and were committed to. You rolled uphill with hope; hope that your earlier choice to roll downhill will pay off. The high deceleration for uphill rolling in Utopia burns away that feeling much imo. Consider the huge uphill rolls you'd get through Launch Base or Hydrocity. In fact, the simplest test is that rolling permanently up and down a half-pipe should see Sonic gaining height infinitely (or until the speed cap anyway).

    There's one part of Green Hill that doesn't quite soft block the player, but forces them to suicide on some spikes. You're probably already aware, and it probably doesn't matter since you're rebuilding. It's on the right side of the stage anyway. One of those smooth narrow curving platforms. It curves to the left. If you drop off the right, you're stuck with a handy set of spikes to die on.

    I second the vibe written above by The Deleter. The openness isn't a bad thing imo; it's a good thing people aren't used to. Not knowing which way to go is unsettling but it isn't the ultimate evil. Sometimes it can be done and the reward is that feeling you get; you're exploring a world, not just a track. Answering "Where do I go" with "Anywhere!" has a lot of positive that can work. Even if it means multiple exits, whatever makes it feel better, it can work and can be more refreshing than 5 minutes of spoonfed directing. Just my (and someone else's) 2 cents.
     
  19. Aerosol

    Aerosol

    FML and FU2 Member
    10,367
    3
    18
    Not where I want to be.
    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    Don't tell me that I don't like it because I'm not used to it bucko. I didn't know where to go when I first turned on Super Mario 64 either, but I loved it.

    I didn't know where to go first time I played Sonic Adventure (I started in the middle of someone else's save) and thought it was stupid. Sonic's core abilities aren't that fun in 3D for me. He's no Spiderman. Open world, imo, is antithetical to a Sonic game.
     
  20. Deef

    Deef

    Member
    690
    0
    0
    That doesn't mean it's not a good thing people aren't used to. In fact it's hugely common for that to be why some things are liked and disliked by many at the same time. Enjoyment very often comes down to what people decide they are looking for, and the creator's role is often about manipulating exactly that. If you have decided hardcore that open-world Sonic, nup, just refuse to enjoy it, that's your thing. Meanwhile, there's good in it that could be really be special. Linear 3D Sonic? Eh, things can get better.