What approach should 3D Sonic take next?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by TheOneAndOnlyJoebro64, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. Frostav

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    True, but I don't really find this to be a compelling argument when you could easily say that Sonic's design would be pointless if the levels were all downhills slopes with zero platforming or enemies (So Sonic Advance 2 :V). Like yeah, Tails and Knuckles can break 2D stages if the stages are designed badly, but...S3&K and Mania's weren't. "If the levels aren't designed well the game suffers for it" is kind of an extremely obvious thing.

    This is being painfully nitpicky but SA1 Tails is actually a much better example like SA1 Knux because

    -Sonic Team straight up said Tails' ability to utterly break levels was the reason his were focused on racing other characters as opposed to just getting to the end

    -Tails was dramatically changed in SA2 not because they couldn't deal with his abilities but because he was very clearly a last minute addition to the playable roster put in mainly because people were getting pissed he wasn't originally playable according to pre-release media, so they just shoved him in Eggman's gameplay style and then clearly made all his levels in like a month because holy shit they are so bad what the fuck
     
  2. Pengi

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    I said that Tails' flight didn't break Sonic 3 because it had limitations and the levels were designed with it in mind. Then you said it had nothing to do with level design, it was entirely because it was 2D. Now you're saying that it is to do with level design.

    Tails completely breaks Green Hill Zone in Sonic 1, not because Green Hill Zone is poorly designed in and of itself, but because it wasn't designed with a flying character in mind. Tails doesn't break any Sonic 3 levels, because they were designed with a flying character in mind.
     
  3. Frostav

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    Okay, I'll concede that. What I was trying to say more was that 2D naturally limits a character in a way 3D doesn't, so designing a level that doesn't break when Tails goes through it much easier in 2D.

    For instance, ignoring Tails completely, in a 3D platformer enemies can simply be walked around. Goombas in 2D Mario are, while not challenging, at least literal speedbumps the player has to jump over. In SM64, they are so easy to just walk around Nintendo didn't even try to make them challenging. That kind of stuff is what I meant. No matter how easy the goomba is to jump over in 2D Mario, you still have to jump over it at least! Tails' flight is much the same way. In 2D you can box him in with ceilings, or the floors of other routes. Translating 2D Sonic level design in 3D usually has the alternates besides each other (to simplify it as much as possible) and less literally directly on top of each other, so Tails is really only limited in indoors areas and even then! Even then! He still can trivialized 90% of e.g SRB2's indoor sections/levels!

    I'm not sure how to solve this issue. Trying to solve this in 3D either results in extremely obnoxious things like invisible killplanes everywhere murdering the player's drive to have fun with flying (for a similar situation: Sonic Team's only method of making sure Boost Sonic doesn't trivialize water stages like Jungle Joyride and Seaside Hill is just to place an instant kill fish the moment you go out of the lanes they want you to go down, absolutely ruining the fun of freely running over water and turning it into "ground you have to boost over or you die").
     
  4. Wildcat

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    They could go with something like 3 totally separate styles of stages. That all connect to the same storyline obviously. No sharing the same levels.

    Sonic is purely ground based for running. He is already anyway. Tails is purely flight based for flying in without skipping obstacles. Knuckles is purely exploration based for climbing and punching.

    Sonic stays the same. With or without boost.

    All of Tails stages could be required to fly through but strategically. Limited flight meter while moving from platform to platform but not so hard there’s no room for error. There could be upgrades along the way. Give him a few Tornado shooting stages for variety. They don’t all necessarily have to be in the sky. Just base them all on the don’t-fall format.

    Knuckles could play basically like Spyro. Linear environments where you explore and fight enemies.

    Again they don’t share levels. Everyone has their own parts of they go through before coming together at the end. Maybe play out like SA2 where it switches between characters to keep a better pace.
     
  5. RDNexus

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    Didn't Sonic R limit Tails' flight to some degree? Maybe that logic could be applied to current 3D titles.
    In the end, it might all boil down to level design and how to have each character make best use of it.
     
  6. IIRC in Sonic R Tails' flight is limited to a brief hover at the same altitude that you initiate the flight at.

    Aside from SA1 being 3D, it was also significantly more flexible than the 2D games' flight because its duration was controlled by how long you held the A button in the air rather than an actual timer like the 2D games. That's why those skips exist in stages like Windy Valley and Speed Highway, because you can just tap the button briefly to kinda coast through the parts of the stage. It also felt like it carried more horizontal momentum than the 2D games, and you could press the Action button to increase the speed of Tails' descent. I actually wouldn't mind seeing the latter mechanic show up in a 2D game, because compared to others' abilities, Tails' feels like it can take a bit too long to end if you want to land somewhere, and it would make his flight a bit more different from Cream who can outright cancel hers (in Advance 2/3). But I digress.

    Anyway, a good start would probably be to work off the SA1 handling of the flight, but make it time-limited rather than how much you press the button? I never minded it too much in Tails' SA1 levels anyway since they felt somewhat designed around it, but it would probably be a good start for balancing in a hypothetical new game where they make multiple characters playable. Speaking of, one thing I thought Forces did that was pretty neat was that once you beat select levels as Sonic, you can play as Shadow. Of course, there's no gameplay difference between the two as far as I'm aware, but I thought it was interesting that they took that approach even though Shadow already has a separate role in the story. That could be a good method to work in other bonus characters in an accessible way.
     
  7. TheInvisibleSun

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    Somehow, this made me realize how much missed opportunity is in Forces here. Imagine if Classic Tails showed up instead of Classic Sonic. This would have worked both in terms of the narrative (brave, bold classic Tails saving his cowering Future self would emphasize how much he fell off since Sonic disappeared) and in game mechanics (in that, it would be more than just a cheap Generations rehash, as Tails' flight would be a sort of light 'twist' to the 'Classic' Sonic Generations gameplay).
     
  8. qwertysonic

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    I was thinking do tails the way he is in SA2 (without the mech). He doesn’t fly high like in SA1 but could be used to span chasms.
     
  9. Wafer

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    OT, but on the back of that Classic-Tails-in-Forces note, an opportunity was missed for a "Sonic Forces Mania+" DLC, IMO. All of the Mania+ characters in 2D play, a few other twists like Sonic-with-wispon, Shadow with some of the Black Arms guns from ShadowTH instead of wispons, Avatar-with-Sonic-mechanics play on Modern levels, maybe Tails instead of the Avatar-with-a-green-wispon.

    Yeah, given a decision-making position at Sonic Team I would've done that, and everyone would've hated it and it would use up way too many studio resources.

    Edit: heck, Classic characters do not talk ever, so they could've made the Classic character a player choice out of the Mania+ cast, if they'd planned it that way from the start. That would've at least offered some replay over grinding out XP for different species abilities, cosmetics and wispons.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  10. Frostav

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    You know when you think about it, Sonic Team's actions ever since the Dreamcast have been truly baffling.

    Can you imagine if Nintendo, after releasing Sunshine, took the criticisms against that game (this is a slightly bad comparison as Sunshine has never been as harshly criticized as any 3D Sonic title but it's what we got here) and then just made Mario games with perfunctory 3D sections and an overwhelming amount of 2D filler sections just to avoid actually creating good 3D Mario gameplay?

    No you can't because that would be absurdly nonsensical. Sonic Team has spent nearly 1.5 decades actively avoiding making their 3D games fully 3D.

    Like, I'm just thinking about Unleashed and I'm just like holy hell, what. Like:

    "Boss, 06 was a complete failure. What do we do now?"
    "We'll go back to 2D titles--"
    "So we can properly design a 3D Sonic paradigm? Wait, we already did that with SA1 it just had issues thanks to the Dreamcast's limitations--"
    "No, we'll just arbitrarily make parts of our 3D game 2D."
    "...what?"

    later

    "Boss Sonic moves way too fast, we literally cannot make levels big enough for him with our budget. Maybe we should slow Sonic down and focus on platforming--"
    "Let's create a werewolf Sonic and make a mediocre God of War clone to pad out the gameplay."
    "...what? Didn't we get in this situation because we kept shoving incoherent gameplay styles in our games--"
    "Clearly it'll work this time!"

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Darth Taco

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    Well Nintendo actually did try to do the hybrid 2D and 3D thing for a while didn't they? Both Mario Galaxys small planets and more linear level design were an attempt to streamline 3D Mario and 3D Land/World were weird hybrids of 2D and 3D Mario. Along with that they did a ton of new fully 2D Mario games. Odyssey was marketed as being a return to Mario 64 and Sunshine's style.
     
  12. SystemsReady

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    Citation: https://web.archive.org/web/2008110...gn.com/SEGA_SonicUnleashed/2008/11/03/105149/

    I lack faith in Sonic Team but I am getting fucking sick of the extremely lazy idea that things they do are done without a reason. It doesn't have to be a reason you like but even doing jokes about "lOl pAddIng" quashes any reasonable discussion about why they saw fit to do this and how you feel about it - such as the fact that I think trying to get newer gamers into Sonic in this way is pointless when even back then they had repeatedly re-released their old ones.

    Discussing why they might think this way and what it means with regards to the direction of Sonic is more fruitful and interesting. Would they attempt to continue with this idea after Mania, a game that used a lot of old gameplay mechanics, got people into the series? How does this contrast with how fangames plan out their features?

    -

    Re: the definition of padding, compare three things: Mission Street in SA2, Big's story in SA1, and the werehog. How much of the game would you have to change if you excised these items from their respective games?

    Mission Street: virtually nothing. The level is not plot-relevant - literally its story mission is "find a place to hide" (so of course you play as the slowest character?!) and like...nothing else happens. Its assets are reused from Radical Highway, so nothing new would have to be redone if you just deleted it from the game. Definitely padding.

    Big's story: you'd have to rewrite parts of the plot, in particular: how Gamma succeeds while his brothers fail, thus setting up literally all of his levels after that point; and the timeline one of the Chaos Emeralds, as Big takes the Tornado 2 back home off the Egg Carrier - and it ties into the Super Sonic story too (easier fix tho). This last point might involve changing how characters get off the egg carrier - if the tornado is still flyable and Tails takes Amy with him on it, how would the game explain Amy's drop-off point in Station Square (pretty easy to fix tbh)? Still dumb, but not wholly padding. Implementing the fishing minigame, even if it sucked, had to take a bit of work too, as it's not like the rest of the game uses any of it.

    The werehog: literally most of the game. Cutting out at least half of the game's mechanics, plus all the story and plot changes, etc, makes it pretty clear that it's not "lol we need to add two more hours let's reuse whole levels/add a useless part of the main plot that didn't matter" like padding is considered for 99% of all games with it.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  13. Multi Battler

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    Wo, wo, wo, hold the phone. What's so wrong about Mission Street, the second best Tails stage in the whole effin' game, right after everyone's favourite shooting stage, Hidden Base? :V

    And as for the werehog, I'd say the real padding lies within the countless waves of enemies. I hated that.
     
  14. Sid Starkiller

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    While I agree that "laziness" isn't the reason for any of those things, I still don't think they're good decisions. "Misguided effort" is more how I'd put it. Even when we know the reason behind those decisions, it can still be baffling. Shadow the Hedgehog had guns because Sonic Team/Sega had gotten fan letters asking if Sonic could have guns. Instead of thinking "Why? Guns wouldn't fit into Sonic's gameplay well," they just gave them to another character instead. Even outside of how dumb the idea was, the guns are powerful enough to completely eclipse the Homing Attack/Spindash/etc that you would use to defeat enemies in past games.

    In fact, let's reverse one of your examples. Let's say that they were making Unleashed, but it was originally intended to be just Sonic. They finished the levels and bosses they had planned, only to come to the decision that the game was too short:

    "So how to we make this game longer, then?"
    "Well, we could make some more levels and Sonic to run around in, or..."
    "Or what?"
    "Sorry, I got distracted. Lately I've been thinking about a new IP I wanted to try. It stars an anthro with stretchy arms who goes around fighting weird monsters, and-"
    "Shove it into this game. That'll make it longer."
    "What? But-"
    "FUCKING DO IT!"

    It almost comes across like they don't know we play Sonic games to be Sonic.
     
  15. E-122-Psi

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    Some of the best parts of a game can be padding. I mean what relevance to the plot does Speed Highway have in Sonic's story? Amy's not even in there. Taking it out though? Blasphemous. Hell Amy's whole playable campaign borders on padding, she doesn't really need to play ANY of her levels, but it's amusingly the most effortful level designs besides Sonic.
     
  16. Blue Blood

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    I think this is all a pretty big misuse of the term padding. Ignoring the fact that Speed Highway in SA1 does actually have some story relevance in that it's supposed to represent Sonic spending the whole night searching for Amy across the city (it's poorly explained though and is only really made clear in the diary-like text you get from loading up Sonic's from the menu story after Twinkle Park and again after Speed Highway), something isn't padding just because it's not directly plot-relevant. Padding should refer to content is cheaply made to get extra mileage out of existing assets, not new content that's largely of the same quality as the rest of the game.

    SA2 makes habit of reusing art between stages because it's meant to be the same areas being visited by different characters. If you call Mission Street padding because it's set in the same location as Radical Highway, you need to apply that same distinction to Metal Habor and Weapons Bed, Pumpkin Hill and Sky Rail, Iron Gate and Prison Lane, basically all of the desert and Ark levels to some degree... They're not filler. And likewise, Empire City in Unleashed isn't filler. It contains full new levels with new assets. Plot relevance is minimal, but it does amount to something; Eggman is searching for Gaia Gates and has sent his robots out to find them, so they end up in Empire City and Sonic stays on their trail.

    I'll level that the Werehog is a kind of padding or filler content, because it's an entire gameplay style developed to counteract the daytime stages. Boost levels are notoriously enormous in terms of their physical size and taxing in the resources it takes to produce them, but don't go very far in terms of adding content to the game. The Werehog gameplay was quite clearly designed to fill out Unleashed in a technical sense; the gameplay style allowed for much smaller levels to be produced that could be explored much slower than the boost levels, essentially making the game a lot longer. You can apply this same logic to the characters in SA1, '06 and Heroes all visiting the same levels with different gameplay styles/movesets or Classic Sonic in Generations and Forces. It's all a kind of padding, but one that the game is designed around. It's meaningful and makes up an important part of the game, even if the end result can vary greatly in terms of quality. To call it filler or padding is to undersell it. It's not something that's cheaply slapped in just to make the game longer because it serves something of a purpose to actually add to the game.

    Truly filler content and padding to my mind is garbage like this:


    And this:


    And even this:


    Or even just having to replay levels several times to collect shit, like materials in Rush Adventure or Medals in Unleashed.

    Revisiting existing locations with really arbitrary changes to the layout that feel clunky and haphazard. Content that's reused in a way that's not at all meaningful - that's what filler is. It's lazy, cheap and tacky. Forces, Generations and Colours (and Unleashed to a much lesser extent) are full of this.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  17. qwertysonic

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    I agree with Blue Blood. Those are good examples of padding. Speed Highway isn't padding it's just another level. Warehog, while not fun in my option, isn't padding. It's a different play style. The excess waves of enemies though can be considered padding, I'll accept that.
     
  18. SystemsReady

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    The reason why I brought up Mission Street is even when I played it the first time it struck me as a level that exists solely to draw out the number of Tails stages, especially given that Hidden Base is basically right after it. It reusing assets isn't solely why it's padding and just adds to it - if they gave it a reason to exist it wouldn't even matter. Like, Death Chamber/Egg Quarters have plausible reasons in-story for existing, as does Sky Rail. Mission Street struck me as useless at the time - and I didn't think of games overly critically back then. I hated Sonic Heroes but couldn't tell you why I hated it so much back then aside from the rail stuff being buggy as hell :p

    Likewise, while Speed Highway always struck me as kind of...extraneous, the game does explain it with Sonic's dialogue before the level too (and apparently the recap dialogue, which I've never seen), and him looking for Amy was established before Twinkle Park, so it's part of a longer goal the game set for him. (tbh, nearly all of Sonic's plot is pretty much useless save for one or two lines of handwaving by the characters. SA1's plot is pretty bare)

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is that you can't make an entire playstyle that takes up half the game padding. There's too much time and effort separate from the rest of the game for it to solely be "let's make this longer". You can argue that aspects of it are padding - for instance the aforementioned medal collecting and waves of enemies that stop the progress dead in its tracks. I would even argue that being forced to run through all the levels all over again as each team in Heroes with barely any changes to said levels is padding, as all the teams play the same, mostly have the same objectives, and the same layouts, with exactly the same level order too. It is easier to see the reuse there - you can look at it and go "wow, Shadow controls the same as Sonic and I'm going through the same levels with some changed enemy placement" just by playing the game normally.

    And that is an interesting thing to discuss instead of just mocking them for """padding""". That said, they explicitly stated it was to get newer gamers into Sonic - perhaps they feared that the really fast gameplay would be harder for people newer to video games to handle (not wholly unwarranted, as their terrible Mach Speed sections in 06 were panned as overly cheap and difficult by people who play video games), or maybe what they mean is people new to the series and they wanted to attempt to draw in those who aren't into Sonic. Either way, it means that the werehog exists for people who are not us - for people who aren't into Sonic and thus haven't played Sonic titles to "be Sonic" - or even tried prior and bounced off.

    One could say that since Unleashed they moved away from that concept entirely - thus a lengthy string of boost games that largely pander to the nostalgia of older Sonic fans. Congrats, we now get Sonic games to play as Sonic and they're...uh...mediocre at best. They listened and thus totally screwed themselves and the entire series by proxy. :thumbsup:
     
  19. Sid Starkiller

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  20. Vanishing Vision

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    One thing that stands out as satisfying in Sonic gameplay for me is the sensation of connecting many different actions together in one sweep, and I'd argue that this kinetic flow is something incredibly important to 3D Sonic games.



    Watch the sequence that lasts from 1:32 to 1:39. In just seven seconds the player:

    Slides under the first wall
    Boosts to regain speed
    Slides under the second wall
    Boosts again
    Short hops over the rock onto the spring
    Homing Attacks towards the Buzzbomber
    Stomps through the bridge

    The moments where you do things like this have always been favorites of mine. While Forces wasn't entirely devoid of these actions, it had much less of it than any of the other boost games.