Special Stage Development

Discussion in 'Sonic 2 HD (Archive)' started by Canned Karma, Mar 22, 2010.

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  1. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    <!--quoteo(post=474474:date=Jul 2 2010, 10:30 AM:name=Synergy)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Synergy @ Jul 2 2010, 10:30 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=474474"><img src="public/style_images/retro/snapback.png"></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Quite a difference of opinion then. You can solve the "seeing the track in the distance" problem by narrowing the field-of-view and raising the height of the up/down pieces just a tad. For instance, below is the same point on the stage as the above, but with a 30 degree field-of-view as opposed to the original 40 (probably a bit too narrow, but it's just to illustrate a point).

    <img src="http://www.alaunus.com/s2tube/tube_narrow.png" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    This field-of-view more closely matches the original, but using a narrow field-of-view with real 3D doesn't feel particularly fast-moving because of how field-of-view affects perception of movement (in the prototype, pressing the "1" key to switch between narrow (35), normal (40) and wider angle (45) views shows how the same movement speed is affected, and this is exaggerated the more wide/narrow you go).<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
    I think the best idea would be to actually <I>keep </I>that ability of changing views, starting with the one depicted in that last screen. After all, it was SEGA who did such a thing first, with Virtua Racing (which makes me wonder how a Micro Machines-style view would look like in here).
     
  2. Canned Karma

    Canned Karma

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    For reference Synergy, does your engine have any limitations on the subdivisions generated? I'd like to see how smooth things can look, and have those higher settings tested as widely as possible for the best platform optimization. I know the build you put out can increase them, but it'd be good to find out the limits as well.
     
  3. Synergy

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    No limits imposed by the subdivision method itself; the end result has to fit in a single dynamic vertex/index buffer which although as you say will be card dependent, is no way near reaching any limits right now. That said, the more polygons you expend in building the tube, the less you'll have to spare for the character models, higher-resolution sky mesh, a large volume of rings and mines etc. - not forgetting that extruding or making the tube more 3D and less flat will require more polygons in itself, before worrying about how many subdivisions are used in a corner and so on - so it might be best to wait til the visuals on the whole are a little more complete before judging the best subdivision count to use by default, and which can be set for a "higher" option setting.
     
  4. Canned Karma

    Canned Karma

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    Sounds good. I didn't think you'd hamstring the engine by imposing limits this early on, but it never hurts to make certain. Do you have any estimates on how long it'll be until we can start to import some of the other assets you just listed?
     
  5. Synergy

    Synergy

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    I would prefer to get the actual gameplay complete, including proper interface/menu, before spending time on the visuals.
     
  6. Hamneggs

    Hamneggs

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    I would think that the difficulty problem could be solved by:
    A: Not allowing mines and rings to be seen through the transparency. (This will prevent one from seeing the arrangement of the items inside a turn)
    B: Making them appear even earlier.

    Screen clutter will not be an issue; having items move actually makes them easier to differentiate than in the same scene still. Although a still image may look intensely cluttered, the difference in each of the objects speed when the scene is in motion will add almost another dimension that the brain can use to tell the objects apart. The added complexity also gives more detail, bringing the SS more up-to-date.
    Also, the "Change-into-items" debug mode was an interesting part of the first game, and definitely something that should be included, not only for the sense of sticking to the original, but also add yet another feature to the game, enhancing its depth. If it wasn't seen as an at-least somewhat important part of the original Sonic games, why would they have included it in all the Sonic and Sega Collections that have been released, where on modern consoles seemed even more prone to crashing?

    I thought I would just give some thoughts on that.
     
  7. Chimpo

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    I think actual play testing has to be done before you start doing any form of "difficulty" tweaking. You have nothing concrete to really base it on other than assumptions.
     
  8. Namagem

    Namagem

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    I vote yes transparency, yes distant objects, yes viewable curving track, and no small pov.
     
  9. HeartAttack

    HeartAttack

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    <!--quoteo(post=474732:date=Jul 2 2010, 07:48 PM:name=Namagem)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Namagem @ Jul 2 2010, 07:48 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=474732"><img src="public/style_images/retro/snapback.png"></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I vote yes transparency, yes distant objects, yes viewable curving track, and no small pov.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    This. I think it all looks great. Some may see the large viewing distance as a negative thing, taking away the "surprise" of oncoming stuff - but honestly, are you really gonna be paying attention to all the stuff in the distance in the heat of gameplay? I don't think so. It's not like you're gonna be able to see bombs and rings way in the distance, anyways.
     
  10. Hamneggs

    Hamneggs

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    This transparency method would really rock the SS.
    <a href="http://developer.download.nvidia.com/SDK/10.5/direct3d/samples.html#StencilRoutedKBuffer" target="_blank">Stencil routed K-Buffer</a>
    But I think that there is a faster way to do something very similar, and this other method doesn't require a GeForce 8 Series or higher card.
     
  11. Synergy

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    As our transparent geometry is not in any sense complex I don't think it would produce as interesting results as these. It might be simpler to map the opacity in some desired way using a greyscale texture and/or use framebuffer distortion in order to achieve a glass effect.
     
  12. Hamneggs

    Hamneggs

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    <!--quoteo(post=488348:date=Aug 8 2010, 11:01 AM:name=Synergy)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Synergy @ Aug 8 2010, 11:01 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=488348"><img src="public/style_images/retro/snapback.png"></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->As our transparent geometry is not in any sense complex I don't think it would produce as interesting results as these. It might be simpler to map the opacity in some desired way using a greyscale texture and/or use framebuffer distortion in order to achieve a glass effect.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    Exactly. Too bad that is rather hard to mock up. On a side note, if we had caustic diffraction it would distort rings visible through the tube enough that telling the difference between a mine and a ring would be quite difficult, somewhat resolving the transparency/difficulty dispute.
     
  13. Just a thought, not sure how relevant it is, but... As you guys are developing this, is there any awareness that as this project slowly works itself toward completion that technological limitations will decrease? What I mean is, if the special stage, for example, is being constructed to accommodate users based on the technological specs of the average user currently, is development aware that in time these standards will be far below what the average users specs are capable of computing by the time this game is complete?
     
  14. Gambit

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    Most certainly. The 2-d art will hold up fine, but there will probably be ways to alter the level of detail, anti-aliasing, lighting, etc. for the special stages. I don't know if synergy has thought about adding any of this stuff in yet, but I imagine he hasn't simply because he's probably still working on making it run properly. That and there aren't any real assets to add to the thing yet to test such features on.
     
  15. Andeed

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    I imagine there will be plenty of adjustable graphical options to allow for lower spec. machines - Display res., anti-aliasing, filters etc. But in this day and age, almost all computers have a fair amount of power. The special stage shouldn't be too resource consuming as there isn't a huge amount of rendering to be done... I don't think there would really be any problems running the special stage on older machines (other than compatibility issues but that's a whole other problem!!)

    EDIT:

    Sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying...
    Keep in mind that this game isn't supposed to be 3D, more "remastered 2D", and the fact that any 3D is used is just for the fact that it suits the special stage better. The special stage doesn't want to look too much like a brand new game, but have clean graphics that still keep the original cartoon feel to some extent; There's only so much you can do without going OTT on the graphics.
     
  16. Synergy

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    <!--quoteo(post=488991:date=Aug 9 2010, 10:25 PM:name=Andeed)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Andeed @ Aug 9 2010, 10:25 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=488991"><img src="public/style_images/retro/snapback.png"></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Keep in mind that this game isn't supposed to be 3D, more "remastered 2D", and the fact that any 3D is used is just for the fact that it suits the special stage better. The special stage doesn't want to look too much like a brand new game, but have clean graphics that still keep the original cartoon feel to some extent; There's only so much you can do without going OTT on the graphics.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    Precisely: because we have to stay at least somewhat true to the original style, and because the special stage is a fairly simple concept anyway - traversing a tube with objects flying towards you - I don't think there is going to be much more that we can add on in future that today's graphics cards cannot already do.
     
  17. PsychoSk8r

    PsychoSk8r

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    <!--quoteo(post=474295:date=Jul 2 2010, 02:02 AM:name=Synergy)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Synergy @ Jul 2 2010, 02:02 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=474295"><img src="public/style_images/retro/snapback.png"></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->As quite a few people seemed quite fond of the idea in principle, I took a brief detour into seeing how transparency would look if it were to be applied. This also shows the previously-discussed opacity fade at the end to mask the draw distance, along with the suggestion of setting the default draw distance to the "far" setting from the prototype; new pieces at the end fade gradually into view, so no more unexpected popping into existance.

    <img src="http://www.alaunus.com/s2tube/tube_trans.png" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    Transparency test aside, it also still uses the distance scaling on the blobs as you can see, though I'll convert the blobs and decorations to just stay a constant size and fade in along with the tube as it looks more natural. However, I think the scaler should be kept (and set to an appropriate distance) for rings and mines because with the added draw distance, you can see them coming on a straight stretch from miles off. On a similar note about ease of seeing distant items or not, with transparency you can see even more such as roughly were items are around an oncoming bend, which may or may not be considered a good thing: just things to mull over.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
    This is awesome.
    Makes me want a Sonic 2 special stage meets Audiosurf sort of game. =P
     
  18. ICEknight

    ICEknight

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    That awesome pic made me wonder... Are we 100% sure that none of the stages overlap themselves when making a 3D map out of them?

    It's something that should be looked into<span style='color:#000000;background:#000000'>, specially if you're planning to add an endless mode</span>. <span style='color:#000000;background:#000000'>=P</span>
     
  19. Synergy

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    The tube is constructed using five piece types ahead from the stage description at any one time, so the only way it'll cross itself at the moment is if you purposely edit it to do so in the space of five pieces, though we can probably make sure the editor watches out for this and prevents it. None of the standard stages in Sonic 2 are so curvy as to run into this problem.
     
  20. SonikkuForever

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    Here's an <a href="http://www.sonic-cult.org/flh/sonic2specialflash/" target="_blank">online flash game</a> made to promote Sonic Heroes. It's a remastered version of the Sonic 2 special stages. It's kind of bland, graphically, but they did a good job on the background. It might help you with art design.
     
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