Sonic Utopia

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

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  1. Rudie Radio Waves

    Rudie Radio Waves

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    Either it's an hour and a half of unremastered SA1 cutscenes or I ain't watching it. "YOU'RE GONNA CRASH AAH"
     
  2. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

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    We've been taking it slow lately to take care of our personal lives, but we're getting back up to speed. Especially thanks to our new member, tripplejaz. He's on board as a concept artist and is showing to be a great fit for our team.
    He's been making concept art for the new stage, turning ideas into pictures, adding new things, and helping a lot with planning and design. Here's a small sample of his concept art for the upcoming stage, and a hint of what to expect.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Sparks

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    It's only fitting that Eggman would have a Hall with Emeralds designed into the architecture. Looking forward to seeing how the area looks in sprite form.
     
  4. Ay Jay

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    Bringing in tripplejaz as a concept artist was a really good idea. This new zone seems very interesting, and I already have tons of ideas for what gimmicks this stage could have. I don't know the zone's name (or if it even has a name yet), so for now I'll just refer to it as Emerald Hall Zone. I am incredibly excited to see this new zone in game, and wish the best of luck to everyone in the team.
     
  5. DarkVDee

    DarkVDee

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    Oh wow. A new type of palace or something? Those concept artwork are really good. It's about time you expanded your team and a good one too. I hope there will be more soon.
     
  6. Technidecimal

    Technidecimal

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    Wow! Everything looks great, from the demo on the first page to the latest concept art! I hope this project goes well for you guys!

    As for Green Hill Zone, I'm all for it! Sure, it's been used over and over, but has it been done in the Sonic Utopia way? I don't think you'll get many complaints as long as you find some way to make this Green Hill Zone your Green Hill Zone. But that's just my opinion.

    Also, I love that you're creating new zones! It shows that you're really putting effort and care into this project instead of trying to use Sonic as a step stool to fame.

    Anyway, good luck!
     
  7. JucieBX

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    The Concept art is looking awesome. Also raising questions for the story that i can't wait to see answered:
    Like:

    - Is this stage like a residential district of sorts? (It looks like one)
    - If so, why is there an eggman statue in the middle of it? Did he take it over?
    - Is the stage about just getting to the goal or are you liberating these people for eggman's tyrannical rule?
    - etc...

    I love it and can't wait to see more.
    I hope you guys had a great holiday break and it's great to see you guys back!!!
     
  8. Starturbo

    Starturbo

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    This is easily the best 3D Sonic fan game I've played. Can't wait to see more!
     
  9. Deef

    Deef

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    Haven't checked in here for a while.

    Not dissing your personal preference, just remarking on the way this sentence seems to encourage the misconception that more control = better.

    This is quite a key element of the classics' play to dislike. Personally I don't think the classics would have had such lasting appeal if every moment of rolling sat in the player's mind as "option" rather than "joyride". Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 both have unroll-on-demand, but it's a bit of an unfair comparison I know... their levels are nowhere near as playful as the classics' either way. But I always saw that as an unfortunate change, and suspected it was because the game & level designers for SA 1 & 2 saw early on that it would be much easier to build a 3D level that didn't have to complement rolling.

    No disrespect to how you prefer to play or anything, but what you've described here is exactly the point. "I've taken advantage of the roll, now how do I get back in control?" is in my opinion probably the best way depth unfolds in the classics. When there is opportunity to roll, new players are going to mess up its exit a lot. But the more you play, the more this decision-making enters the gameplay: "Would it be worth rolling/spin-dashing here?", "Do I want to trade explore-able junctions for speed and protection?", "Now that I'm rolling can I find a good exit tactic? Can I react to it just right?", and "Will I get a free exit, or air, out of this?"

    If the player can unroll on demand the answer to all of the above is "It doesn't matter". Having to frequently and quickly decide which of two choices means more to you is, in my opinion, a long way of saying "gameplay". Also, those questions are all things we gradually get better at reading and at playing, which means they contain one of the game's methods of letting the player feel good over time about getting better at something.

    If you make those questions no longer matter, that chunk of stuff is all deleted. And the only payoff you get is ease. It sells easier for sure, but it burns out sooner. All that on-the-fly decision making gets converted to a rather playless algorithm that sits in the player's mind: "If I can roll, roll always. I'll just unroll whenever." I think it's a pretty straightforward sacrifice of depth.

    This again suggests the simplification that reduced control = bad. I find that control-related frustration in games is an issue of crappy controls; in particular, inconsistency. I don't think it's an issue of reduced/restrained control that is otherwise solid. That kind of thing is core to many games. So if we're finding that tight, consistent, but reduced control is causing frustration, I believe the frustration is coming from expectations, not the control itself. Setting those expectations could still well be the game's fault, but for me at least I don't think the classics set that expectation in a wrong way.

    Sorry to get a bit rambley there and again no disrespect to how you'd prefer to play the games. Just felt like saying what I liked about classic rolling.
     
  10. Deef

    Deef

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    I like the abundance of nature still present in that concept art, and the old-school Robotnik. I've got a thing for hexagons too for some reason. :D
     
  11. What I loved about that Labyrinth area was how it it just sorta felt like a normal cave at first, then looked more like Labyrinth as you went in. I think the next stage could do something similar, but on a bigger scale. Say the beginning of the level is just a plain ol' cave, with pools of water and rocks hanging from the ceiling. Then you start seeing signs of people inside, torches and markings on the walls. The further you go, the more civilized it is, like you've entered through the secret back door of a stronghold, until it's like you're in a straight up castle. Heck, ending the stage with a spring at the bottom of a well or something that shoots you above ground with the goal post on the edge of a cliff with a crumbling throne, that sort of imagery would be epic.
     
  12. Just gorgeous. Every 3d Sonic had to be like Utopia in the first place!
    Furthemore, I know it is not a final result, but I also love GFX in early demo. This is a proof that even low-polygon models like platforms, stones, cliffs etc. may find their place nowadays, provided it's well executed. I also love that you can measure the speed according to the sound of Sonic's footsteps.
    This has a very great potential. Can't wait for the next demo or even full version. Keep up the good work!
     
  13. This is truly fantastic!

    I downloaded the demo a while ago,and I've been playing it every chance I can get, and I have to say, this is the best 3D Sonic game I have ever played! Well done, Mr. Lange!

    Also, anymore updates on the progress of it? I'm really pumped for this game! Great job guys!
     
  14. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

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    We're making steady progress. I'm thinking of making an update video showing off improvements and new things added to the engine once we've got key things done for it, and we're well on our way.
    It's gonna be a while before I post anything about the new level itself.
     
  15. Andrew75

    Andrew75

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    Yes! You better keep us posted man !
     
  16. [Copied from that other thread]

    Broader Question for Mr. Lange and company
    (And whomever else is in the business of proofing 3D sonic concepts)

    (Note: I am not a professional programmer)

    I'm sure you have all realized by now how challenging loop design is for 3D sonic games, from the camera/player perspective to the challenging control itself of propelling sonic forward and managing a balancing act of not falling outside of the loop.

    Having the player retain as much control as possible would be ideal for a sonic game, as well as keeping them as simple as possible while skillfully using the game''s physics engine to your advantage. Why not keep loops simple in design as well?

    Can a loop be designed in such a way that it has a tendency to keep the player in a straight line while running forward and clearing the loop? Think of the the loop''s curved surface as the inside of a bicycle tire, in which the walls are fairly narrow but round along the curve of the tire''s circle. Imagine that there are no actual walls there to prevent the player from falling out while running up and around the loop, nor are they programmed in a way to completely prevent the player from moving across the Y-axis (left or right), but rather the potential well of the surface favors the player to stay inside the loop unless they make an extremely exaggerated movement with the control stick outside of it.

    I suggest this because loops in the original era were always quick but relatively simple obstacles to be cleared by player momentum. One could fall out from them and not clear them without the proper speed but they weren't often design to be monumental set pieces like they are in basically every 3D interpretation of Sonic I have ever seen.

    If they could be design to keep forward movement relatively simple and tight while still allow for player input instead of automation, I think it could really really work for 3D sonic.

    Also the standard trailing camera behind sonic is kind of disaster for 100% use. The perspective and experience is really jarring for the player. The thrill from the original games came from equal parts spectacle and control; 1 part, "Hey look what sonic is doing this is extremely cool! Go blast processing!"; the other part, "Hey I'm actually making sonic doing this AND it looks cool! I'm getting pretty good at this game"

    Consider an angled camera at times, or even a more dynamic camera. I have no idea what it would take programming wise to do those and there haven't been great examples in the sonic franchise yet but this could be the key to finally nailing down the basic ingredients for simulatenous spectacle and control.


    Food for thought. I'm really following the community efforts (and SEGA's) in trying to figure out and establish 3D sonic.

    Edit: Also I guess I could be considered new. I haven't really posted here before but I've lurked for many many years. Nice to be able to chat with like-minded sonic obsessed folks about sonic ideas.

    [​IMG]

    This is what I meant about the loop. It would be like nesting a narrow half-pipe inside a loop instead of running up and around a flat surface. The player would still have complete freedom of motion but the narrow, curved plane would create a tendency to run along a straight path through the loop. Very Exaggerated left and right movements, or a loss of momentum along the loop path would still cause the player to fall out.
    Aesthetically there would be almost no difference between this and other 3D loops we've seen in the series except for the width of the loop path...which if you ask me isn't a bad thing anyway again because in Sonic 1-3K loops weren't as big and 'dramatic' as in the 3D games.
     
  17. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

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    I've already considered many things for loops to help them function, shallow half pipe path being among them. I'm averse to this for the same reason I'm not so quick to add side barriers; it limits alternative uses for the loop such as exiting the side like a ramp for height or distance.
    Aside from this I want, and often need, pathways to be physically and thematically consistent for a level. A loop made of a half pipe begs for half pipe pathways, especially for it to connect to paths properly. Each zone needs careful consideration for the kinds of physical designs of its elements, how these should be consistent per zone and across the game, and the ways these will affect Sonic's movement. Sonic's movement has extreme potential such that adding a single slope somewhere can easily break level design. This is part of what makes designing 3d Sonic levels so challenging.
     
  18. Well shouldn't you consider the player perspective in that situation as well? If the design encourages the player to roll out from the side of a loop, the loop itself doesn't serve much purpose especially considering situations in which the player can literally just walk around the loop to progress (I'm thinking in terms of point A to B level progression). Also, its not necessarily a "barrier" as I pointed out. The player can still technically exit the loop but the point of loops is for the player to use their momentum to clear them as an obstacle to progress...and the obstacle itself just so happens to add spectacle. Using them for other purposes, especially depending upon your camera use, will probably be jarring for the player. If consistent and fluid design is what you're looking to replicate (I inserted the word fluid) then you'd have to imagine that that is not a very natural movement or expectation in traversing loops even in 3D. Possible, sure, but not smooth. This is a very old problem that I'm positive Sonic Team went through in 1996-98... though we know how they decided to handle that.

    Also, the "halfpipe" loop is itself embedded inside the loop structure, so from most angles the player would not notice it, especially a more narrow, utilitarian one. The rest of the loop structure would look no different than other loops in sonic games and can be designed however one would fancy aesthetically. I'm not sure what you have in mind for the consistency in level paths but because this is a specialized and fairly masked feature it shouldn't conflict strongly with that. I could be wrong. I'd like to see it in action though because something tells me its probably better for the player to actually feel confident traversing a loop with momentum as they would ala Sonic 3 than discovering their potential brokenness and wondering why the loop is even there. Well I suppose that would depend too if you're going for more of a playground kind of experience or a more traditional A to B Sonic.
    In general a 3D sonic gameplay that facilitates freedom (oxymoron) would probably need to have a strong focus in terms of control and interactivity but a natural consequence is that skilled players will eventually be able to break the game, as you know well. This should be accepted with the territory and is not really a problem if the player can easily reach the basic goals of the game without a broken experience. Most would agree that it even adds replay value. But tightening up the loop traversing experience is one way to keep Sonic's gameplay fluid, and I'd argue that it is necessary.
     
  19. winterhell

    winterhell

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    Having a random loop that starts on the ground and ends on the ground, out in an open field, where you can walk around is bad design. Same for enemies that stay in one tiny area of no interest that you don't need to go through.

    The loop could be part of an intersection that connects 4 places which you cannot 'walk around the loop' to go through. Maybe the sideways you end up if you fall off the loop are secret areas you otherwise zoom past in the hurry, or they are comprimized of lava/electricity/water that you'd normally avoid unless you have the specific shield. Or just different path branch.
     
  20. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

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    It serves the same purpose as a ramp, only in this case it's multi functional should the player think a little outside the box.
    It is possible to setup loops so they cannot be easily bypassed, or require them for extra speed or reaching other paths.
    These notions help support their purpose in 3d.

    It would only allow the player to exit the loop at an awkward angle.

    I would have to make clear what its shape is so the player knows what to expect. Obscuring the appearance of a distinct physical shape that Sonic's movement is sensitive to is not good design.
    The depression at the bottom of the loop poses a problem if it's situated on another mesh. It would also require the preceding path have the same shape lest there's some kind of gap.

    I'm already counting on that. It's an aspect of gameplay that's encouraged... but after the fact. The level design itself needs to be tightly wound and leaks minimized. Sonic's behavior needs to be as predictable as possible, where even exploitative parts of the level are controlled design. Sonic's movement has such high potential that it's difficult to ensure an experience that isn't broken and where major exploits would require going way out of the player's way to achieve. Every angle in every spot has to be carefully considered, and this has to be weighed with unique geometry that sets a theme for the level.

    Does not mean this is the way it has to be done, or at least not for the entire game as the standard of all loop designs.

    Believe me I've already thought all of this out thoroughly.
     
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