Would you like to see Yuji Naka return to Sonic Team?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Agobue, Feb 18, 2020.

  1. DreamsComeBlue

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    It's not just a matter of him knowing a lot about the MD architecture. There's also the fact that, as I mentioned, he just seemed to be an all-around more effective, more consistent leader than Iizuka, who flip-flops on issues all the damn time, doesn't seem to understand what made the original 2D games fun, and makes controversial decisions like the "two worlds" thing that went into effect with Forces. I mean, say what you will about Yuji Naka's latter day games released under the Sonic Team umbrella, I think we can all agree there's no way Sonic the Hedgehog 4 would have ever released in the state it did had Naka still been at Sonic Team.
    But they could work with those games and possibly would if Naka were still around. The man coded Sonic's momentum based physics engine from scratch, don't you think he'd be interested in incorporating more 2D into Sonic Team's output after the success of Mania? I could be wrong, but I think he'd have a lot to say about those games and the lessons that should Modern Sonic should take from them.
     
  2. Dek Rollins

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    I definitely think Naka would be a better leader were he to return. Am I remembering correctly that Iizuka joined during (or shortly before) production of Sonic 3? Since he wasn't an original member of the team, he doesn't have the same history with the series as Naka does, so I think Naka would bring with him a higher standard of ambition and quality compared to how boring everything's been for the past decade. Even if his programming skills wouldn't be utilized often, his creative input would most likely improve the path that future projects take.
     
  3. SystemsReady

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    It would be good in the sense of knowing the theory behind the physics, but not a single bit of assembler knowledge translates to anything involving modern titles. And even then, given the issues SA1 apparently had with translating rolling physics, it might not even translate to that either.
     
  4. Wafer

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    @DreamsComeBlue I've made several starts at counter-arguments, but I think we've reached an impasse.

    That's not to say I don't agree with some of your points, I just think we're coming at the topic from two different places. I'm thinking of reasons why I doubt Naka would return, but you're thinking of what could happen if he did.

    Also, I think we just disagree on how important his leadership/creative insight would be. To me, he's a programmer first and a designer as a distant second. Perhaps I'm not appreciating his leadership skills fully, but I doubt it.

    So, I'll concede that I could be wrong and you could be right, but I think it more likely that we're both right: for you, if Naka returned it could be the start of an upswing for the series, and I might feel it's different but not necessarily better :)

    But even then, I still believe that I am more likely to be correct, unless reality deigns to prove otherwise :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  5. Fred

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    ITT: non-programmers who can't read code judging the merits of a programmer and the quality of their code. It's like I'm applying for IT consulting all over again.
     
  6. RikohZX

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    Wasn't part of the reason he preferred working over in San Francisco was because he clashed with Sega of Japan a lot? I'd rather never drag him back to the company he voluntarily quit in the first place.
     
  7. DreamsComeBlue

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    That's... more or less exactly what I just said. Again, Yuji Naka's usefulness when it comes to understanding Sonic's physics and intimate knowledge of the originals' code (indispensable for ports) speaks for itself. Why can't I argue this very simple point without it being misconstrued as saying that assembler knowledge is somehow useful for programming modern 3D Sonic?

    I don't know if I agree that his skills as a designer come in distant second. As Dek Rollins posted on the last page, it was Yuji Naka's experiments with rolling physics that led to Sonic's creations. As a programmer he certainly had an idea of what was fun. As for his leadership skills, by the time of Sonic Adventure he had assumed full leadership of Sonic Team. Interviews from that period have him opining on why Sonic's redesign was necessary, the things the team learned while on their trip to Peru, etc. He was very hands-on and had some strong opinions about Sonic, and was particularly concerned that Sonic no longer seemed cool (hence the redesign). And I think that's far more than can be said about Iizuka.
    You have some facts about Yuji Naka's programming skills to go with that snark?
    That is a good point. No one can say for sure how he feels about SEGA Sammy, but he hated SEGA of Japan back in those days.
     
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  8. Wafer

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    Err, Fred's a modern expert on the Sonic 3 code. I have some experience with Sonic 2 and 3 (I ported Tails' flight code from 3 to 2 without documentation, along with a dropdash implementation and bunch of versus mode changes), but I'm by no means an expert.

    The point is, we've actually seen the code. You could pop the hood on Naka's car and know less about his technical expertise than we do. For all that I'll defend Naka's programming skill, every 2D implementation of the charged spindash until Mania is bugged. Not even very badly, but it still slipped the net.
     
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  9. DreamsComeBlue

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    I'm aware. It just seemed like a very pointlessly snarky thing to say without really saying anything. Unless you guys really have some problem with non-programmers praising Yuji Naka's programming ability.
     
  10. Sid Starkiller

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    Hm. Do you mind me asking how so?
     
  11. Wafer

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    It's documented on the wiki, but I'm not gonna look right this instant. The symptom is that instead of sticking at a charge level, after you tap jump to charge the dash, your charge immediately starts falling down to a value that's lower than the lowest debugged charge level, and not in a particularly sensible fashion. IIRC, at least part of the cause is that a byte of data is handled as though it's two bytes (or vice-versa). By comparison, if you get up to maximum charge in Mania, you can keep d-pad down held indefinitely and still have maximum charge when you release.

    @DreamsComeBlue You really expect people with an expert skill to not be at least a little irked when people that don't have that skill feel as though they can appraise someone's skill level in that area? Programming doesn't come easy, familiarity with the code doesn't come easy. You can try if you want, it's all up there on the Retro GitHub and there's pages and guides on the wiki to get you started, but you might want to start with another language first, assembly can break your head if you run into it too fast.

    For every ~12 months I've been a member here, we've had a newbie coming into the engineering forum acting as though programming is just SUPER EASY and we should just WRITE A GUIDE or just DO A HACK for them. I've given them encouragement, and tried to push them in the right direction so that they can learn the skill themselves, but they want us to do the work for them. I'm against ANYTHING that can lead to that attitude.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  12. Sid Starkiller

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    That's why I got in the habit of constantly charging the spin dash beyond max level! I had forgotten, thank you!
     
  13. DreamsComeBlue

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    Yes, actually! It would be one thing if a non-programmer on these forums was understating the complexity of the games' codings, but all I did was state a completely uncontroversial fact about the guy who coded Phantasy Star 1 and 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 1 through Knuckles from scratch. The fact that can someone on the SONIC RETRO forums could be irked over some non-programmer like me praising Naka's skills is just baffling to me. I mean no offense--really, I don't--but whatever the Retro Sonic hacking community might learn through reverse engineering Naka's code or whatever, I don't care. It doesn't matter whether anyone thinks they're a better coder or could have done a better job at programming these engines than Naka (not saying anyone here does think that). Yuji Naka is Yuji Naka. His accomplishments speak for themselves and as far as I can tell this thread isn't about the hacking community, it's about him.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  14. Dek Rollins

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    You don't have to be a professional in a given field to have a basic understanding of how impressive someone's feats are. Everyone here is agreeing with you that any kind of programming is hard. Nobody is saying that Sonic Retro hackers have a quick and simple, easy time. That's the opposite of what is being said. What Naka did back then is incredibly impressive, and I don't feel unsure about saying that one bit, despite having no personal coding experience. Naka was and is a smart guy, and, if he were to get along with the company, him returning to Sonic Team would be nothing but a positive influence.
     
  15. ICEknight

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    He should return to Mega Drive programming for Yasuhara's new game. Then label it "Sonic Team" or whatever.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
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  16. Fred

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    Uncontroversial, huh? You should ask Saz about that. But more to the point, fact? What do you mean, fact? "Yuji Naka is a brilliant programmer" is about as subjective of a statement as you can possibly get. See, it's stuff like this which gives you away:

    What does this even mean? Sonic 1-3 are written in assembly language, which, being a direct translation of a CPU's very limited set of operations, is by definition very easy to read line by line; there is no type system, no function composition, no complex operator precedence rules.

    Not to mention, the ability to read individual lines of code is something I would consider a basic requisite for anyone employed as a programmer; it's being able to understand how several loosely coupled mechanisms interact with each other to produce a desired output (such as a video game) that's a quality of a talented software engineer -- someone who can unpack complex systems and debug them, or someone who can conjure up such a complex system before typing in a single line of code.

    And that's who I think Yuji Naka is: a visionary, someone who can look at the Master System's spec and come to the conclusion that hey, I probably have enough resources to render a 3D maze; or someone who looks at the fast data streaming capabilities of the Mega Drive and figures that hey, I can probably make a platformer run really fast on this. That stuff.
     
  17. XAndrew

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    That means Iizuka was there during Sonic's first 3D days with SA1. He should have known how the series was like in 3D before the things he has been doing to the series lately. I'm not against anything you are saying, I just needed to say that since it definitely makes me wonder why Iizuka keeps doing the things he is doing for 3D Sonic these days, and not going back so see what made Sonic so special during the days of SA1 and SA2.
     
  18. Black Squirrel

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    Hate to ruin your day but this was Yasuhara participating in a game jam. So that noise is most likely over now.
     
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  19. DreamsComeBlue

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    Ah, cool! I wonder why no one reported on this.
    Yes, uncontroversial and objective. The rest of your post is made up of nitpicking over my statement that he could interpret lines of code on sight and humblebragging about how much you know about Sonic coding. Cool, it's neat that you know so much. Really, it is. Yuji Naka, i.e. the subject of this thread, is a gifted programmer and I am standing by that statement. I would like to leave it at that, but if you want to continue this absurd line of discussion over whether a programmer who by all accounts given by co-workers was very gifted is worthy of being praised for being gifted, we can.
     
  20. Dek Rollins

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