Discussion in 'Engineering & Reverse Engineering' started by vladikcomper, Apr 28, 2013.
SonMP3 support. Awesome stuff. Music definitely fits.
I'm going to say Sega CD. Very cool!
Either way, great to see this in the contest entry.
Sweet remixes! Definitely helps bring it a little further away from the source material. :D
I'm not sure if this is possible to program or if it's been considered already, but what if the boss areas were constantly scrolling at a fast pace? I'd imagine that the bosses would need few changes to make them look right in this situation. For example, the first boss could sprout wheels when it stops bouncing:
This may or may not make it harder for the player to maneuver Sonic, but I think something like this - an illusion of the same kind of speed the player experiences in the stage beforehand - would help smooth out the sudden transition and pacing between stages and bosses.
Thank you for your replies!
No, it's definitely not SonMP3, not my style.
I always prefer working with the plain hardware, being limited with its capabilities, trying to overpass them by implementing interesting software tricks, creating the fastest and most optimized code to make possible things that hardware weren't expected to handle. I love to push the limits and prove that many things are possible with the old hardware, that's the reason always I implement some impressive things in my games, they are kind of PoCs I'm working hard on. In the first SWA release those impressive in my viewing things were SEGA logo, transparent Press start message on the title screen (rendered pixel by pixel in the realtime) and, finally, rising lava boss (one may think this is displayed by sprites, but no, sprites limits simply won't allow you to create a scrolling layer to cover the entire screen).
I know, the statements above were a little bit unrelated to the question, they are here just to illustrate my point of view in general -- how I'm doing things and why I'm doing them. That said, I would never consider using an emulator plugin that had nothing to do with real hardware itself.
So, yes! What you hear is CD-Audio played by the Sega CD hardware. This isn't a full movement to the Sega CD whatsoever, it's just a little experiment I'm pulling off. If people like what they see, I may consider a complete migration to the Sega CD. You'll see what I have when Hacking Contest starts, see you in a few days!
Thanks for liking my choices! Unfortunately, most of them comes from other games and albums so far, but SWA will hopefully have its own CD soundtrack in a while. I'm glad to announce there will be one original composition in this release. Time didn't allowed for more, sorry.
Yes, this is something I've considered already for the next boss I'm planning. I remember what you said about slow Sonic's acceleration as opposed to awkwardly fast jump dashes and boss attacks, making it somewhat clumsy all together. Thanks to you I've realized it becomes even more problematic when you are fighting the boss in a small room limited by just one screen and it should be overall more balanced during the running boss fights (like Sonic Advance 2). So yeah, I'm surely going for it and I'm planning to redesign some of the bosses I already have. And that concept you've suggested, it's awesome, thanks!
Cool! I can't wait to see what you come up with later down the road. Given all of the cool programming quirks of this hack, I think it really has the potential to take the Genesis physics to a whole new level.
HACKING CONTEST 2013 SPECIAL
It's a been a little while since the last release -- it was on April 28. Originally, my plans weren't to release the next update too soon, apparently some people were asking me if there would be a SWA release on the hacking contest, and I actually thought this would be a wonderful idea. I quickly changed my plans then to get the next version ready by the this year's Hacking Contest.
Sorry to disappoint those who has played the first release already, but there isn't new levels in this special edition. This is the reason I'm not calling it a proper release, but just an edition. Unfortunately, there weren't enough time to add new content without holding the quality bar I set in the first release. However, if you would like another play through a little upgraded and improved version of the game, then be my guest!
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As you might notice from the recently shown video...
... one of the biggest additions in this version is the CD-music playback. Many of you wondered since if I really went for porting the whole hack to Sega CD.
Well, partially. I've been indeed thinking of moving to the Sega CD platform recently, so by this small update, I'm setting a little experiment here. It all depends on you, my dear players! If many of you prefer CD-music to old-school chiptunes, I may really consider a full porting to the Sega CD platform.
So what platform Sonic Winter Adventures is now on? Both!
Sonic Winter Adventures is present in a form of a ROM, that can work on plain Sega Mega-Drive platform, as well as using Sega Mega-CD addon. In other words, you still can play it as your ordinary Mega-Drive ROM in any emulator, but once you active the Sega CD emulation, the game is able to use this platform's extended features for CD-Audio playback. If you were to put this on real hardware, it would look like so: you plug a cartridge in your Mega-Drive, append it with Mega-CD addon, insert CD-Audio disk in your Sega CD and play. This is so-called Mode 1: booting Sega CD from a cartridge (as opposed to Mode 2: booting from a disc).
I would like to hugely thank Tristanseifert, LazloPsylus and MarkeyJester. This won't happen without the help of this awesome guys! Thank you for providing me hardware initialization code, support, testing it on real hardware, and specially for answering my dumb Sega CD hardware questions, as I even didn't have enough time to read through the pile of docs (yeah, the decision was really taken too late).
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How to use
Booting with the Sega CD addon (highly recommended!)
Run SWA.BAT to open the game in a specially configured emulator.
To connect a CD-image and boot Sega CD, just drag&drop SWA.CUE file onto the emulator's window with SWA running. The game will reboot and a notification message will appear if success.
Booting as an ordinary SMD ROM
Run SWA.GEN in your favorite emulator.
For more info and configuration guidelines (if case you would like to configure your own emulator manually), see ReadMe.txt.
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Aha I knew your hack was using Mode 1! (I mentioned it on Youtube when people were asking "How'd he do that?" :v I absolutely loved the music I heard in the trailer, so I'll be giving this another go while using the CD audio. :3
I hope you only do it for one boss though. Personally I find auto scrolling boss battles weak compared to cleaver design on boss patterns and openings which you have done in this hack already.
It depends on how you execute them, really. For all intents and purposes, the auto-scrolling part of the fight is just an aesthetic that shouldn't affect the actual boss's attack patterns; It only affects the player's movement.
When creating a boss room, a strategic question should be asked: How would increasing the game's resolution affect the boundaries? If yes (which is always the case with invisible walls), then you should add proper boundaries. Taxman had to do this for Spring Yard's boss in the Sonic 1 remake, since otherwise Sonic would be free to stand outside the bridge for the whole fight (which he couldn't do on the Genesis due to the smaller resolution).
On a related note, it may be worth experimenting with large, enclosed boss rooms that take up more than a single screen. I can see some good benefits to creating a boss fight that takes place in a room much larger than the screen, including freedom of movement and more versatility in how to approach and attack the boss. Collision Chaos from Sonic CD and Casino Night from Sonic 2 spring to mind. The latter is actually a really good example of a boss room that doesn't feel so restricting since you can spindash up the walls and ceilings and stuff; It feels like an arena that Robotnik has intentionally trapped you in rather than the game forcefeeding you into a boss battle.
This was a very impressive hack in a lot of ways. I really like the attention to detail at parts such as snow, how the background stretches with perspective, bosses changing their pattern depending on where you are etc. The logo, sound test, CD compatability... all very much impressive.
But as a game I did not find it enjoyable.
I've seen praise regarding level layouts but personally I find this to be the biggest flaw. They're quite bland to be frank. Pretty straight forward, unimaginative and generally don't take good advantage of the physics edits you've made. The first couple levels are almost completely straight with boosters everywhere sending you into bumpers that come flying at you faster than you can react to send you backwards. There are a couple secrets strewn around if you're actually able to stop yourself and explore but it doesn't compensate for the utter linearity of the levels, I don't consider a bunch of platforms high in the air as being much of a separate route. 3rd act is better but still not good, there's not enough interaction or sense of danger for the player
Ancient Castle was a bit better regarding interactive gameplay, but a tight corridor made purely from squares is no place for a hedgehog with spindash, peelout and homing attack that goes nearly or at the speed of a hyper dash from S3K. Doesn't fit the controls at all and is best off played as normal Sonic 1 without hacks. Now if only those speedbosters everywhere were optional too....
The bosses are interesting at first but get old quickly. Not really because the patterns or ideas are bad in any way, I actually quite like them, but 16 hits is way too much when the boss is invincible 90-95% of the time like Sonic is. What makes it worse is that the first ball boss and the Sonic boss give clear signals that they can be hurt, yet you have to wait for just a little bit extra before you can hurt the ball boss and be just a bit quicker for Sonic than what it looks like. It stops being fun after about half of those 16 hits and becomes more of a survival challenge than a fight, mostly because of the boss invincibility times.
The Robotnik boss was my favourite, nothing to complain about at all really. I enjoyed that quite a bit. The lava segment was really interesting but again the unnecessarily long segment of roof falling in right before took away the fun of the experience. I also felt kinda cheated when Sonic instantly died from that lava when he didn't from the rest of the zone. It was also a tiny bit short, I was expecting more of a climb after the roof-sequence.
You reintroduced "the pit" from Sonic 2!!
Boosters send you the way you're facing, not the way you're going or a predetermined way which gets confusing most of the time.
Having controls locked after a rolljump is fine, I actually prefer it like that since it balances the moves out. But for them to remain locked after (especially a sequence of) homing attacks can get irritating, especially since it has a very long reach and can homing attack into unexpected places
I wasn't aware that the bug where you can't spindash left at the right edge of the screen existed in Sonic 1. Either way it should be adressed, there's a lot of instances where a boss will damage boost you into the right edge and you want to spindash left to get a ring or similar.
Overall I'd say it's definitely worth a playthrough to experience, but it's nothing I'd come back to play in the future. 8.5/10 for tech but 5/10 for gameplay
Thing is auto scrolling adds the wrong kind of tension by affecting the players movement. I wasn't clear on my point, creating tension through lack of control is weak compared to great boss design and patterns.
Well there were other options like adding more destructible blocks below you but that another discussion altogether.
I agree with this and is much better than auto scrolling.
Well, good to see that everyone likes the newest version of the Mode 1 code we had stabilized only a few days before vlad implemented it. I certainly rather enjoyed what he did with it. Nice selections to go with a pretty good hack. What complaints I've spotted with it so far, I've already told you on IRC. I mentioned this when you first approached us on the subject, but I'll say it again right now: You know where to find me and the others when you want to start beating on the boundaries of Mode 2 and explore what you can do there. We've got plenty to share.
Keep things rolling, and see where this hack can go, because I always do like seeing what you can come up with.
Why? I definitely agree with Stife here, it all depends on how you implement the said concept. Actually, any concept. One can execute a seemingly bad idea in a genius way, creating an amazing experience out of it, and vice versa.
You see, the fact you're mentioning "lack of controls" here is probably because some bad implementation example pops up in your head as we speak of this concept. The controls shouldn't necessarily be slow and awkward -- again, it all depends on how you implement the concept.
I've already got the implementation in mind, and I'm seeing this will allow me for overall better controls. I can set it up the way I want -- physics changes won't be too noticeable on the high speeds or threaten as normal Sonic's behavior at least, as the hedgehog is know to feel well when running extremely fast. Moreover, this should provide players the whole different experience than normal levels or boss fights -- there's no way Sonic's ordinary physics and acceleration can work here, so this must be a new experience with slightly different physics. The later allows me to bypass the problems I had with my past bosses, as slow Sonic's acceleration as opposed to awkwardly fast homing attacks didn't work for accuracy, especially in small boss arenas. Here, I can change acceleration to what I want and homing attack won't be too fast at the high speeds (I can even disable it at all). At least, I'm seeing it this way.
This, and some other things you've pointed out in your review actually make a good sense. Thanks for giving me a good amount of reasoned criticism.
I have to agree, level layouts aren't the strongest part of the hack so far. Thanks to lots of playthroughs different people made as well as some feedback, I've realized a lot of mistakes I've done in layouts. Now I'm thinking of redoing the entire level layouts and probably tweaking physics to make the gameplay overall more balanced.
To be fair, I wasn't too fond of the GHZ 1 and 2 layouts from the beginning. It's good to see you've noticed a bit of quality difference between them and GHZ 3. The first 2 layouts were made back in 2010, merely changed since, I lacked a lot of experience then as they were almost the first layouts I've ever made. I always tried my best, working them out quite carefully, but looking at them today, I admit I've made a lot of mistakes and dick moves there. The GHZ 3 layout is something I've created years later, in the beginning of 2013. Apparently, I hadn't done any new layouts since 2010 by that moment, but I at least realized some design mistakes in the previous layouts.
Bad controls to me is the Sonic Advance bosses and Mushroom Hill boss. The way I see it is that if you have to consistently hold one direction with the occasional release of said direction for "control" of Sonic is weak compared to avoiding patterns and attacking on a opening. If you have something different in mind that you think would work better then yeah I look forward to seeing what you bring to the table to see if you can change my mind on them.
Oh I just remembered the great eggman robo the way that auto scrolls and I suppose that is the correct balance of auto scrolling and control over Sonic, so yeah I was wrong to jump to the conclusion that all auto scrolling boss battles are weak.
As far as constantly holding right during an autoscrolling section goes, I think it helps if it's not mandatory to hold it down in order to keep moving. My project has a boss in the third stage that's autoscrolling, and what I do is basically make it so that pressing nothing automatically makes the character move at the same speed as the boss. This makes the player control the same as if they were stationary except for higher air drag.
In any case, I think variety is key. As much as Sonic Advance 2's bosses made logical sense for the speed-focused physics, they got old quick. Advance 3 handled it better by having stationary bosses in moderately-sized rooms that give you some breathing space to move around. That's honestly the kind of boss fights I think would fit well in this hack beyond one or two chase bosses to get the player used to how things work.
Big boss rooms are definitely better IMO so I agree with you there. As for your boss battle, I really think something like that would destroy the feel of playing a Sonic game. I mean if you're going to have normal Sonic controls throughout the game and then just change them for a boss is like throwing in a mini game to your game, you may as well stick Sonic in a ship and go full R-Type.
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