Sonic Utopia

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

  1. JucieBX

    JucieBX

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    I few things I found, playing the demo, that need to be looked at, if that aren't already:

    - A motobug was stuck on a 90 deg incline. I ran toward it and curled into a ball to roll through it and continue going up. I got hurt from it while I was still in a ball. I think this a bug. :/

    - It seems that buffering the super peel out, while still moving, continues your forward momentum for a bit. I'm sure this was the intent as it's great for positioning and strategy for continued movement. I don't think it was the intent for the continue movement to be applied upward on any 90 deg inclines.

    If I'm wrong I'm wrong. But, It looks silly for sonic to be able to charge the super peel out while moving upward at a 90 deg angle at a super slow rate. LOL... He does die off and drop, eventually, but it lasts for way too long...
     
  2. Aerosol

    Aerosol

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    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    This sounds like "well if you can't open your mind" mumbo jumbo. How about this though: I am used to it. This isn't the first attempt at open-world gameplay, and I've never liked it for more than 5 minutes. And also my least favorite parts of Sonic Advance 3 are the open world parts, which are mercifully rather small, so this isn't just a "3D Sonic" issue for me. Sonic is an A-to-B kind of game, and I've yet to see anything from anyone to show me that it could be more than that.

    I mean if you want loop-de-loops and corkscrews and crap in an open-world, there are a few racing games to scratch that itch. And it works in a racing game.
     
  3. winterhell

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    This looks like a sandbox themepark/playground. A hubworld at most.
    It seems people's critics about this demo is that it doesnt have an actual level.
    In a normal game(any game, not just Sonic) level when you encounter an obstacle or an enemy you have to use any amount of skill to jump over, dodge or time your way to pass through.
    There is nothing more boring than a badnik that is standing there in the middle of a football stadium, you can see it from a mile away, and you can simply walk around him in a radius of many screens. Moreover, from what I see on gameplay videos, it looks like you have to try intentionally
    going into the spikes or the badnik.

    When you give the game to a random person, how many times does he die before they reach the goal? Now try giving them any of the classic Sonics.
     
  4. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

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    Nothing was ever cut on that basis.
    Could not think of a viable way to include S curves. Instead there are a few tunnels to go through.
    Green Hill also had swinging platforms, breakable walls, collapsing platforms, and rotating thorn logs. None of these were made in time for this demo (the thorn logs in particular have design problems in 3d).

    Long, shallow, rolling hills were planned, along with checkered pathways. Cut because time and too many variables. Making frequent bumps like those in the original Green Hill is way more difficult in 3d, especially for something of this scale where it would need to be fully consistent throughout. Not to mention the issue of Sonic and the camera's rotation changing constantly, which would need some kind of solution.

    IF YOU'RE STRONG
    YOU CAN FLY
    YOU CAN REACH THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RAINBOW

    [​IMG]

    The level was designed to guide the player with various major cues that I'm surprised have gone so frequently overlooked.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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    Have said multiple times now the actual levels will not be nearly as sandboxy.

    Uh... I don't think you understand what a QTE is. QTEs are where the gameplay is fully interrupted to demand a series of specific inputs to progress a scripted sequence. There's nothing about the rolling mechanics in Utopia that are QTE, certainly not any more than any other mechanics or anything in the classics. The gameplay is not interrupted, you have full control, and it's up to the player to apply input in fully variable situations.
    Toggle and hold based rolling were tested a lot and the latter felt a lot more fluent and natural, it makes sense in 3d with this control scheme. There's a shift in perspective (not just literally) with how Sonic and levels work in 3d that make this much more sensible. The hold based control has been, as far as I've seen, unanimously praised in Utopia. I intend to keep it and design the game with it in mind.

    Again, the peelout is mapped to the "special" button. It's an ability unique to Sonic, and naturally has advantages over the spindash, which is a common ability. Main advantage of the spindash right now is that it can be charged much more quickly.

    Long since aware and discussed. Separating uphill and downhill effect is one of the physics goals. Rolling decel uphill will be reduced some.

    Aware of this and other inescapable spots that have been found.

    Known.

    This is not an open world Sonic game. I have never used the words open world to describe it. Please stop calling it that (this goes to everyone, not just Aerosol). Open world suggests you can go in any direction to find a goal that can lead to any other direction etc. This has one goal, at the end, it is A to B. The level is just big. Big level =/= open world game. The real levels will also be big, but have more controlled environments and clearer directions.

    Already well aware and has been addressed repeatedly now, especially near the start of this thread. I've seen players get hit often, though it's been a mix of fair and unfair causes. All of this was an experiment to see how players respond to the game. To determine the strong and weak points of design. To know much better how to actually make the real game.
     
  5. Deef

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    This is all much cooler than I had consciously noticed. I wonder how much my subconscious was in on this though.

    I have to disagree there. I understand what a QTE is, so I didn't say these things are QTEs but rather that they feel very QTE. I have to disagree where you say "certainly not any more than any other mechanics in the classics." In Utopia, there are pieces of terrain shaped like this: --> unu <-- . This will deliberately reward the player most if they: do something with 1 button at exactly the right time, then less than a second later, something with 1 button at exactly the right time, then less than a second later, something with 1 button at exactly the right time. You see why it stands out. When I was playing it jumped out at me immediately. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to shoot anyone down or badmouth Utopia; I love what I've seen. I respect your choice on how you do things, plus since you've gone through a trailing process and have deliberately chosen what you feel is better, that's all there is to it really. I am only clarifying what you mentioned you couldn't understand in my post, and I am acknowledging that it discards a particular aspect of the classic feel; the reckless abandon and somewhat yolo-ish feel of rolling. While that is a personal whine, and you'll probably hear plenty from many, it's not a "Your game sucks!". Your game pretty much has me more keen than Mania.

    So it is intended that spin-dash rolling and run rolling keep different controls?

    I hope my (and everyone's) whining doesn't cause too much stress. Ultimately the heat Utopia might attract is because it is so promising. Your replies are appreciated but everyone will understand if you just outright ignore posts, what with all the repeating that appears to be happening, myself included. Overall, good work on everything. In the end, Utopia is already amazing when you guys were running only your own feedback, so whatever choices you make, they're likely to be pretty solid. Heck I'm just more impressed by those visual design elements above.
     
  6. TimmiT

    TimmiT

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    While this does make it more likely that the player will find the end goal, I don't think it really solves the problem of the level feeling directionless. When I finished the level it didn't feel like I intentionally reached the end goal, it felt like I happened to go the right way. And unless you want the player to feel directionless, it's important for it to be clear and obvious to the player where the end goal is in "go from point A to B" level design.
     
  7. Aerosol

    Aerosol

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    Quoting this because this is basically my response to what you said to me Mr. Lange.

    I call it open-world because that's what it feels like. If that's not what you intended it to feel like, then I'd say you failed in your intentions. You can swap "open-world" with "direction deficient" if that suits your fancy, but it's the same shit. There is no obvious direction for the player to go in besides a vague "this way" and I don't think that works.
     
  8. JucieBX

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    I don't think this feels QTE. QTE takes control completly out of the players hand and tells you to "press this button when I tell you to". I think I like the ability to roll and unroll as I please. It gives me, the player, MORE control over sonic. Not being able to control sonic and letting him go on a joyride was a thing I felt should be changed from the classics. There are to many times, in the classics, where i roll down a hill to gain momentum and level out to lose momentum cuz I'm still in a ball. I have to jump out which make me lose more momentum. The more control and influence you have over the character, the less likely you are to blame the game for anything that happens because it was outside of you control. And if it is changed in the end, I would still love the ability to curl and uncurl at any given moment.

    That's what I feel anyway
     
  9. Mr Lange

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    I'm not trying to excuse the sloppiness/aimlessness of the level. That's still very much an issue. Just sayin it's not as completely chaotic and guideless as it's been criticized. It has some significant cues, big and small. I'm figuring out much better level structures. I don't want to submit that this is a non viable gameplay concept. I really believe it'll work. If I can't make it work, then I'll consider that my failure, and this demo level is a semi deliberate failure that I'm learning a lot from. There's many gameplay videos that I've been analyzing, which are showing how players approach and respond to the level and I've been fascinated by them, in particular the common occurrences. It's giving me a lot of ideas on not just level design, but adjustments to controls, camera, etc.
     
  10. Aerosol

    Aerosol

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    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    Care to elaborate on your thoughts? I want to see you succeed, but I'm not seeing the path to success that you are. Exploration in a Sonic game works best when there's a clear and obvious path peppered with areas that make you wonder how you get there. Seaside Hill Generations is like this, and it's a concept I'd like to see go further. Many Tony Hawk games are like this also, and that's probably even more relevant to you what with THPS' emphasis on maintaining speed and momentum to get where you want to go.
     
  11. Mr Lange

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    I'm not sure how to describe it in words, or how to visualize it in enough detail to be worthwhile that also wouldn't be too spoilery. I was going to include some descriptions to help navigating the level in the instruction manual, but decided not to in order to get pure feedback on how well the level holds up on its own. I'm in a similar position now, where I'd rather see how well players manage with no cheat sheets drawn up or spelled out in advance, and trying to show visuals of the level design theory would kinda be that. There's also the fact that I haven't got it all figured out yet and I'm going to be learning a lot as I go.
     
  12. Aerosol

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    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    Then put it in spoilers. Just for us.

    You know you want to.
     
  13. JucieBX

    JucieBX

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    I'm fine without the spoilers ^_^
     
  14. Adamis

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    I played through it last week, got lost and quit. I didn't know there was even a goal...
     
  15. Tichmall

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    I found the goal after 40 min : first I tried to go forward as far as possible, and when I reached what seemed to be a global dead end (some waterfalls you cannot pass over), I tried going to the right, which was also a dead end. So I went to the left, and there was the ending section of the level behind some mountains. I didn't really follow the clues described by Mr Lange to be honest, I guess it would have been a lot easier if I did...

    But it was a nice 3D Sonic experience to me. The colors, music, Sonic's design, badniks' cuteness, it's very well done. I also crossed the path of a dancing flickie on top of a rock, that was funny.
     
  16. Chimera

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    Just want to echo/point out the statements made by others: while your design desicions had good logic behind them, it didn't read as "bringing you towards the goal." Intent or not, it was lost on a lot of people, though the rainbow bit seems a bit odd as that sounds pretty darn obvious. Honestly a solution may just be to mix in subtle cues with blatantly obvious ones, straying away from literal arrow patterns unless absolutely necessary I spose (and even then, that much just feels like pushing it).

    I'd definitely keep some of the visual cues you put in, such as the rainbow near the goal and celestial bodies pointing in that direction. Subtle cues simply add to the overall depth of the progression, which is not a bad thing.
     
  17. BlackHole

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    I don't see why this game needs a goal. Just go 3D Metroidvania style and have unlockables all over the place. Like have it so Sonic can only do his usual arms forward running with a speed cap, but have a "Super Peelout technique!" located in, say, that hidden crystal area that removes the cap and gives him the technique. Just do things like that and let the world open up as they find more and more of the unlockables. Then have bosses that you can beat with or without the unlockables around the fields, assuming more will be added. It's not exactly new for the series, since Tails' Adventures is a Metroidvania-esque game. But it doesn't have to be, it has to be fun, and thus far it's that.

    If you're that determined to put a marker toward the goal, use the sky. Have it so the next level's sky is visible when you look over to it. So, say, a Marble Zone would have purple mountains peaking over the level in the distance, thus showing "hey, this way!" Or a Bridge Zone would have a conspicuous lack of feature, thus alerting you that "hey, there's mountains around me except over there, so I'll try heading that way.
     
  18. Chimera

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    BlackHole, keep in mind that metroidvania games do still have a goal. An endgoal anyway. There's a win condition in the end, even if thats a while into the future and the levels are HUGE.

    I don't disagree with the idea of having huge multifaceted levels that are linked if you're going for the "explore EVERYTHING" angle, I just think it'd be possibly biting off more than you can chew if you go to a scope that can really be seen as grand--your work so far is top notch of course but I'd imagine you'd need this x9 at *minimum.* Plus, while Sonic's always been more about the stunning place you're currently in, a very environment-focused game, I think it's important to know that people are looking for a mode of completion with character action games more than "fuck around in a sandbox because why not." A playground is good, but I'm not confident it lasts, at least for the general public. Most people HERE want a world simply to explore (not speaking for everyone or even strictly myself), but most people who play games are interested in an objective. Unless you're going full multiplayer sandbox like Minecraft where you can fulfill your own objectives and/or interact with other humans (that last one'd be interesting maybe? if you had more characters? sounds like a stretch goal though), sinply having a level to explore is just plainly a place to run around and look at, which to many ain't exactly a challenge.

    Just something I wanted to point out :x
     
  19. Mr Lange

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    A metroidvania format sounds like fun, and also like it might solve design problems, but it would actually create a whole lot more troubles. Not wise to attempt when the fundamentals haven't even been solved or proven yet. Variations and expansions are something to try when the foundation is done and strong. Reminder that this is not an open world game. I'm keeping it to brass tacks. Level by level, start to finish action courses, and trying to keep the levels and game as a whole in a manageable scope. This is not to say there won't be exploration; I consider that part of Sonic's elements. It won't be much more than you might expect of say, Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles levels (though considering how complex some of them get, probably evened out some), but I will try to go the extra mile where I can and make the 3d space count; after all, there wouldn't be much a point of making this a 3d game if the 3d itself is underutilized. The highlights of exploration in the demo that players have especially enjoyed are not something I want compromised, such as going far off a central path to find an area unusual to the rest of the level.

    We slowed down for a while to take a break from the demo, but we're picking up speed again. The framework is about done and soon Sonic will be working as he was in the demo and then some. There's plenty of notes on mechanical improvements and a game plan steadily forming. We have a lot of time until next SAGE and a lot of the work that was needed for the previous demo is already done.
     
  20. Tichmall

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    You know, I personnally would get my load of fun from a game with that kind of wide levels, with a goal somewhere and clues I'd have to find to get to it, as long as the game advertises that there are clues to find, of course. A message before the intro or something, I don't know.