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Scritch the Cat

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  1. For what it’s worth, though, they seem to have at least some understanding that Sonic doesn’t prosper when they operate like that. They know well that Sonic Mania was a success, as was SoA’s approach of engaging more directly with their fans and hiring them on. Tyson Hesse keeps getting work. Aaron Weber has been hired to an administrative role in Japan. Takeshi Iizuka has moved production of Sonic games to America. What exactly this will mean I don’t know, and I doubt it means anything for Sally, but clearly they aren’t total xenophobes.
  2. Addressing Sonic Encore in particular, but with points that are broadly applicable: •Put in some way to figure out the correct way to go. How about omochao to advise? If you don’t like omochao, plenty other sorts of hint triggers could work. •Add more secrets off the beaten path, so getting turned around doesn’t feel like as big a burden. •Either make characters a bit better at fighting or lessen the amount of enemies. SE puts in gangs of enemies that try to dogpile the player. With the homing attack requiring characters to turn around, as well as the camera around, this either leaves the character open to attack or forces the player to slow down. Granted, just going so fast that you can just avoid fighting, but that’s not an option if you want to go in for things like rings and power-ups. As surprising as it seems to recommend anything from 06, perhaps the spin-kick from there could help. But really, most people don’t play Sonic games for the combat, so if it’s down to a choice between enemies being less threatening than in 2D Sonic, or more threatening because they added more, I think many would prefer the former. •Make more ways to get out of water traps.
  3. She’d probably ask him why Into The Sonic-verse hasn’t been made yet.
  4. People will keep complaining about fangames being inferior to the official games so long as there are fans saying they like some fangames better than the official games. Of course the problem with getting into such a debate is that fun is subjective, but also the things people cite as fun aren’t always. It’s a waste of time trying to convince people that fangames DON’T deserve credit when the things they praise the fangames for doing, such as having more playable characters and at least TRYING to have Classic-like physics, are objectively true of fangames and not of official games. Maybe those aren’t the as big a deal for some people, but you can’t argue they are TRIVIAL when such things were part of Sonic in times when it was more successful. Meanwhile, having played Sonic Encore a bunch more since starting this thread, I must say that I’m genuinely impressed with just how kinetic these 3D fangames are. I think that while it’s always good to test and tweak things and keep new responsibilities in mind, certain things just work better in 2D than in 3D; however, the reverse is also true. As popular as the Genesis games were, when they decided to make a platformer about a fast character, they needed to solve the puzzle of how you can control a character platforming at high speeds, and often they didn’t even try. Instead, 2D levels were designed to give you slopes and curves in sections to show off speed, but also with walls and right angles to stop you and keep you slow when you had to do some platforming. You can see this well in Chenical a plant Zone. In 3D, with camera showing you what’s ahead of Sonic, this is no longer necessary. You can see what’s coming, you have more time to react, and you can steer around some obstacles, and as such, I can at least commend some 3D fangames for creating arguably a more “pure” Sonic experience. You almost never have to stop in these games, it’s totally possible for platforming segments to also be speed segments, and they often are. I enjoy that immensely. It doesn’t on its own equate to a great game for me, but it’s a great enough foundation to build a game on that I’m willing to compromise elsewhere.
  5. SAGE 2020 is going on at the time of this thread, and while we do have a fangame section, this isn't about any specific fangame, and also takes official games into account. I'm going to note what I see as the big hurdles to making these games. First some history, though, in case anyone needs it. Ever since the Sonic series made the jump to 3D, people have been observing that some things they loved about it in the 2D games have been lost in translation. While there are multiple examples of these, the two just about everyone seems to agree on are exploration and momentum. The Adventure series had the occasional hidden item off the beaten path, but it wasn't usually far off the beaten path, and that path was often narrow, surrounded by walls, by pits (as it often wasn't in 2D games), or both. Moving ahead through these paths became the focus. Then there's the momentum; in the Genesis games you would build up speed by clever use of the level's terrain and the character's moves. In the 3D games lots of boost pads tended to give players all the speed they needed. While some things have improved since the Adventure era, those bits haven't really. Levels now have diverging paths, but they're still paths as opposed to different regions of a contiguous world, and getting onto them often requires you make a certain choice at a certain place--so definitely a better approximation of 2D Sonic than we had before, but pretty underwhelming compared to most other 3D games these days. Also there are more restrictions than ever about where you can't go in these levels, with invisible walls and shifts to 2D, in which Sonic rotates into a direction just because the programmers said so. Momentum has been made even less important than in the Adventure era due to the boost going from something that requires an external pad, to something Sonic has built into him at the push of a button, not to mention it's simultaneously an attack. For this reason, many people gravitate towards fangames that eschew SEGA's official 3D Sonic game approach; fangames that have fully 3D environments, physics that enable acceleration via the use of the environment, often no boost. I will always defend these people against their naysayers, as that is, in fact, also more of what I want from Sonic. At the same time, it's obvious that there's a few things they haven't quite gotten down, and among them are the same two treasured aspects of 2D Sonic that I mentioned above. It might be tempting to say that the only reason fangames haven't nailed it yet is because they're fangames; you shouldn't expect too much out of small teams that are working for free. However, upon playing several Sonic fangames that have fully 3D environments and utilize terrain-based momentum to gain speed, I noted that it's a lot simpler to do these things in 2D. We'll start with the exploration component. Sonic does a lot of rotating, and always has. I don't just mean him rolling around when he's in a ball; I mean his foot position rotates to match hills, ramps, sometimes even ceilings and walls. Press left or right in most 2D platformers, and left or right are the only direction a character will go, barring some minor ramp functions. Sonic will go all sorts of directions based on what terrain he's running or rolling across, and this means his abilities facilitate a lot of exploration. Sometimes less, sometimes more, but it's usually there in 2D Sonic games to some extent. In extreme cases, it can get confusing, but it does have one big crutch to help with that: It's still a 2D game. That means that while Sonic does a lot of rotation, it's only around one axis, and the camera never rotates with him. It's permanently stuck at one angle viewing Sonic from the side, and as a result, wherever Sonic is and whichever way he's moving, left is still obviously left, right is still obviously right, and right is usually forward. I am sure there are some platformers where it isn't, but they are not the majority. So even though Sonic twists around through the levels, you retain that understanding of where he's ultimately supposed to go. However, in 3D that is not the case. Firstly, Sonic has two more axis he can rotate on, and secondly, camera tends to follow; if not automatically, then at least inevitably as it is repositioned to show what's in front of Sonic. Now, naturally, seeing what Sonic sees is a good thing to help navigate, but when the camera shifts like this, left and right no longer objectively exist. So forward doesn't, either. Most Sonic fangames still use a point-A-to-point-B format, but it's easy to lose track of which direction is towards which, or of whether a direction is toward either, when Sonic and the camera keep pointing in all of the many, many directions you would expect them to based on all of that curvy terrain. Sonic moves fast, and if it turns out he's been moving fast in the wrong direction, that's a fast way to turn big, fully 3D, explorable levels from interesting to frustrating! The momentum bit is a much smaller issue, but it does prompt me to notice some things. Based on where this fanbase is now, it seems like the two most beloved aspects of this series are Classic Sonic and the Adventure series. So maybe it sounds like a good idea to combine them, and to be fair, I'm not convinced it's inevitable a bad idea, but some of the Adventure moveset usually doesn't feel quite right with Classic Sonic physics--because it was likely conceived for use with much simpler physics. Instead of the multi-factored, highly variable speed of the Classic series, the Adventure series used linear paths, scripted segments and boost pads to give Sonic a more predictable speed at any given time, and the new moves Sonic gets, the homing attack and light dash, are based on that. Some 3D fangames, to their credit, really do attempt to replicate the 2D games' physics much more, but when they try to bring the homing attack and light dash into it, things get wonky as something has to give between them. In addition to Sonic's speed, one of the things that his momentum influences is his trajectory, particularly if he's airborn. If Sonic is running up a hill and he jumps, instead of jumping straight up he jumps perpendicular to whatever angle he was at on the ground, and instead of just moving whichever direction you press when he's airborn, at a set rate, he moves based on the trajectory he built up on the ground. But the homing attack, as it existed in the Adventure games, was the only factor determining what Sonic's speed and trajectory were when in the air. Whatever speed and trajectory he had before didn't matter, and he had to build them up again afterward. Same with the light dash. Originally called the light speed dash before it was made more practical with less speed but no load time, its use is ironically when some 3D fangames that have it feel slowest to me! Because a good set of physics and terrain will let Sonic build up some very impressive speed; sometimes enough on its own to cross the chasms the game sets before him, but the light dash seems to ignore that. I'm not sure why, but I think every game I've played using it (not just fangames) has Sonic slow down at the end of the ring trail; this may not be a huge deal if Sonic can accelerate well, but it does get annoying when he was going full speed and then suddenly this feature kills it. So how can these things be fixed? The good news, I think, is that the bigger issue is the easier one to fix. You can give the game a mini-map, a compass, a statement of which direction on that compass you need to go, a rotating arrow that always points to the objective, or some combination of the above; even more distinct landmarks might solve a lot of these games' exploration issues. I'm less sure of what to do with the Adventure moves, though. The homing attack really does feel rather essential for hitting enemies in 3D, but just how much it should alter a trajectory to make sure the enemy is hit, is essentially a case of picking a lesser evil. Would you rather be sure Sonic hits his target, or would you rather he's rewarded for building up momentum. Also, what should happen after he hits it; does he keep on flying in the direction that he was going before he hit it? Does he keep in the direction the attack made him move, but with the inertia he had before? A lot can go wrong here. The light dash, I feel confident in saying, really can't have Sonic resume his prior trajectory when he exits it; at least not without big pitfalls. I'm not convinced it can't preserve his prior speed forward and resume it on exit in his new direction, though. Let's discuss this. How would you opt to solve these things? What's your ideal approach to doing Sonic in full 3D, without getting lost or clumsy?
  6. For me, it’s mostly as one aspect of a bigger problem; modern Sonic games don’t give you much freedom to use a character’s abilities to explore and fool around and find things—and this has always been the case with modern Sonic to some extent. The Adventure games had a lot of levels that were narrow paths surrounded by pits, and as of at least SC, they also added invisible walls, closer to the center of a path, further wrecking that—and then there’s the forced 2D. Obviously, it’s probably impossible to argue that sometimes 3D Sonic games are objectively more restrictive than always 2D ones, but 2D Sonic games has a reputation for feeling more open abs emergent than many other 2D platformers, so it would seem a reasonable assumption that 3D Sonic games have the same relationship to other 3D platformers—yet instead; they’re more constrained, and this sucks because the mobility of Sonic should be great for exploration, and in 3D you can do even more of that.
  7. 06, which might be surprising, but I leaped into that one without looking, as by then I didn’t tend to trust critics regarding Sonic. I bought it based on it containing things I thought sounded cool, like a return of the Adventure design, nine playable characters, and not being as absurdly dark as it’s predecessor. Also I was well-acquainted with questionable design choices in the past Sonic games, but never had encountered serious glitches in them; let alone bad loading times. That was a brand new punch in the face.
  8. I for one am fine with hearing it, though as it happens I’m reading it instead. Boost Sonic’s moveset isn’t too far from Adventure Sonic’s moveset, but building levels around the boost has completely altered what Sonic is, and not for the better, in my opinion. Granted, some of the bad trends in the boost games were already evolving in the Adventure games, whatwith their abundance of dash panels, automated segments and negligible use of momentum, but they could have changed that into something that played more like Classic Sonic just by removing things that weren’t really very crucial to the appeal of the Adventure games. However, now that boost has been built into Sonic himself, I think SEGA doesn’t feel safe removing it, as to do so would make Sonic less good at what he’s marketed around doing. At the same time, the boost being there actually keeps the games from doing what made the Classic games so special, as they make it unnecessary to use terrain to help accelerate Sonic. They also make exploration less viable, as levels have to expand more forward at the expense of other directions. All this wouldn’t be such a big deal if we had alternatives to boost games, but I’m not convinced we will. As big a hit as Sonic Mania was and as good a display of how good Classic Sonic could be, the same year we got Sonic Forces to demonstrate that Classic Sonic could be bad, too. Getting a DLC for SM was neat, but it seems like 2D Sonic games would be easy enough to make that we should have gotten an outright sequel now—yet we have not. Then there’s Sonic Boom, which despite being a separate canon, was the first chance we had in a long time to play as other characters than just Sonic, and with that sub-series’ failure they might be once again afraid of doing that. I could be very wrong, but it will take a major announcement to the contrary, with specifics, to convince me that there’s more in store for us than just more boost.
  9. To be fair, it’s not like most Sonic characters have much more backstory, and plenty have less. The problem with Amy’s backstory is it’s tied to a motivation many dislike.
  10. Yeah; especially since SEGA basically ignores them.
  11. Or worse, makes them learn the same lessons over and over and over again, like Michelangelo, or Fluttershy, or...yuck; this is all too common in children’s media. But it really makes one appreciate something like Sonic Mania. Not so much because the game doesn’t care much about plot and is reusing characters just because they’re there and iconic, but because it isn’t making pretense of being otherwise and then tripping over itself with halfhearted attempts at writing within a character’s boundaries. If you can’t write something good, it might be best not to write anything at all, and SM barely does, and works just fine at including characters.
  12. I think that just refers to different personalities; not any innate desire of Knuckles to show up Sonic or vice-versa. Not that Knuckles’ background has kept him from being...present, to some degree. Though now that I think of it, Knuckles was repeating story arcs and forgetting development long before Tails.
  13. Wait; he is? Knuckles’ most notable times “competing” against Sonic have been due to having conflicting agendas. Since then, I’m pretty sure that he’s worked alongside Sonic more than even doing friendly competition.
  14. Sorry; I meant Boom. Sonic Boom Amy still has a crush on Sonic, but she’s not vocal about it, it’s not anywhere near her only character trait, and it doesn’t come off as the primary reasons she hangs with the guys. It’s a departure from her motive during her introduction in Sonic CD, but even though it’s a separate canon (to the extent a separate canon is even perceivable in a series where almost all games are in semi-separate canons), her Boom incarnation seems like a viable evolution of her yuppie tendencies displayed in the Adventure era.
  15. I don’t necessarily resent it—because of what I said about Sonic being the rightful center of the series—but I resent that they never smoothed things over between her and Sonic enough for her to be a viable sidekick. I don’t necessarily mean being a couple, but just being comfortable enough around each other because it’s no longer an obsession for Amy and aversion for Sonic. I’d go out on a limb and say that Sonic having a girlfriend wouldn’t necessarily ruin him or even change him much; it’s not like it changed Diddy Kong. But Sonic and Amy don’t need to be a couple to be close; simply not averse to working together. SB showed this is possible.
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