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Sloping Level Design in 3d: How do?


Chaos Warp
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So, this topic is about how to translate the slope-y level design of the classics into 3d. How you would think to do it, if you even think it's possible or not, etc.

Myself, I would like to see it. But I have a hard time imagining it in my head, and I feel there might be some flow issues to work out. With all the different ways you can bend a slope in 3d, how do you make good forward flow? Especially with the roll mechanic basically leaving you at the mercy of the terrain in 3d. Also, and this may be a personal thing: I think that having a bunch of sloping crazy level design in 3d might look awkward visually.

That's the problems I can see to work out. Thoughts? Discuss!

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I actually think the Adventures could have had some decent loops, complete with the good rolling physics if the majority of them weren't scripted.

As for slopes, I think they did it right.

Edited by thebluehedgehog
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I imagine it's more time-consuming than it is hard. The Adventure games had some slope platforming, but not very much of it, and for the most part they worked fairly well.

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I think it's pretty straightforward, really. The main thing is that they need to stop designing these singular narrow roads in the empty default void, and start by defining the overall direction of the level, the space that the actual level design exists in, complete with floors and walls, and then build paths within that space. Once you've actually defined the space that the player can move around in without flinging themself into a pit with a single misstep, making curvy level design is just a matter of doing it.

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Indigo Rush

With slightly different level design, a more "linear" focus (definite pathway) and... yeah. Pretty much this.

#paging Azukara

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mikeblastdude

Don't hate me for this guys, but, I kind of imagine something like the early Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games. The physics would obviously have to be altered for Sonic gameplay, but the areas in those games had all kinds of slopes and ramps that gave you that awesome gravity-defying feeling.

thps3_790screen001.jpg

But yeah, like I said, it would definitely have to be altered to fit Sonic's gameplay. Just something along those lines is what I have in mind for making 3D slopes work in a Sonic game.

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Don't hate me for this guys, but, I kind of imagine something like the early Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games. The physics would obviously have to be altered for Sonic gameplay, but the areas in those games had all kinds of slopes and ramps that gave you that awesome gravity-defying feeling.

thps3_790screen001.jpg

But yeah, like I said, it would definitely have to be altered to fit Sonic's gameplay. Just something along those lines is what I have in mind for making 3D slopes work in a Sonic game.

Well, there's a difference between designing a platformer and designing a skating game. The level design styles are completely different.

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Yeah, it's hardly a fully realized solution for 3D Sonic gameplay, but I'd say it's something worth looking at for inspiration. Classic Sonic gameplay isn't entirely dissimilar to skateboarding.

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With slightly different level design, a more "linear" focus (definite pathway) and... yeah. Pretty much this.

#paging Azukara

That's good, but it seems to have too many edges too me. Not very smooth, not very much curving level design. Slope-y level design, but not curving. Can't blame Freerunner for that though, that's the BlitzSonic test level! I have faith in Azu designing his levels better.

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Chaos Walker

3297694269_f54bd0f5b1_o.jpgAdmiral_Baker_Golf_Course_-_North_Course_in_San_Diego_California.jpg

In real life, these are what I would look to for inspiration

rtl124_f.jpg

Also, and this may be a personal thing: I think that having a bunch of sloping crazy level design in 3d might look awkward visually.

Edited by Chaos Walker
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Chaos Walker

Isn't that a 2d Sonic-styled picture? I see no 3d slopes there.

Edited by Chaos Walker
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That's original concept art from before Sonic 1 was released. The point is that no matter the perspective, it's going to look like wonderland. Sonic was designed with surrealism in mind.

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The Genesis games already proved that it works. I don't think being 3D changes a whole lot re: that.

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Chaos Walker

What are your thoughts on making forward flow work with slope-y level design? Just curious on what your stance is.

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Indigo Rush

The only issues I can see with Classic-styled slope/rolling physics in 3D are...

Flying off a ramp and landing on a badnik in mid-air to chain bounces. Its hard enough as it is in 2D, so doing this in 3D would be near-impossible. Using the homing attack usually results in a fixed bounce, so I can't see this translating over properly without a fixed 2D perspective or something. But of course, many people look at this as if it were a crutch, so... perhaps we should forgo it?

Rolling up a slope and back down to compound momentum. Not that it wouldn't be impossible from a physics standpoint, but I see potential problems with the camera. Sonic is generally very forward-driven in terms of progression, even in 2D. Rolling up and down halfpipes will either result in the camera panning behind Sonic so you can see where you're rolling, or the camera stays fixed so you can stay moving forward. The cons are that the former takes focus from Sonic's general direction, while the latter removes visibility when rolling backwards. The former is the lesser evil, but again, I see this working much better in 2D than 3D.

And, well, you're in 3D. Depending on how the terrain is designed, there's no telling where you'll go, unless you only have deliberate slopes in a deliberate path. But that's linear... so....

Aside from that, there isn't that much to worry about.

Edited by Indigo Rush
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I think it really does. in 3d, you can bend a slope so many different was then you can in 2d. Therefore, in ball form, you might be going all over the place against your will.
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And, well, you're in 3D. Depending on how the terrain is designed, there's no telling where you'll go, unless you only have deliberate slopes in a deliberate path. But that's linear... so....

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Chaos Walker

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.

Metroid Prime... that's about as close as you can get to direct translation. The camera backs up and adjusts, something I think it's going to have to do alot for Sonic. Alot of areas would have to be viewed from juuuust the right angle to make the best use of them.

EDIT:

Jump to 5:50

Edited by Chaos Walker
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Indigo Rush

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.

You're not going forward in Pro Skater, you're in an open world with no real direction to go. Sonic usually has a set direction... forward or right, so the camera is supposed to compliment that... but then you're going backwards... and forwards... and up and down... and all around. I don't see how that'll work in a Sonic game.

[EDIT] *looks at previous post*

Or that. Yeah. ...nevermind. (fixed angles for the win, broniks)

Edited by Indigo Rush
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Metroid Prime... that's about as close as you can get to direct translation. The camera backs up and adjusts, something I think it's going to have to do alot for Sonic. Alot of areas would have to be viewed from juuuust the right angle to make the best use of them.

EDIT:

Jump to 5:50

Thing is, Metroid is a vastly different franchise from Sonic. Metroid's a lot slower, and focuses on exploration in a massive world. Sonic's a fast paced point A to B platformer with slopes (hopefully). I think that switching in and out of those Metroid-esque camera angles might be jarring.

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You're not going forward in Pro Skater, you're in an open world with no real direction to go. Sonic usually has a set direction... forward or right, so the camera is supposed to compliment that... but then you're going backwards... and forwards... and up and down... and all around. I don't see how that'll work in a Sonic game.
I don't think having the camera follow the player is a bad way to go about it. And while THPS is usually nonlinear, I can't say I've ever had any problems with its camerawork being too disorienting for me to figure out where I am and where I'm going.

And I'm not really sure about Metroid Prime style. MP's a much slower and more methodical kind of game, at least when it comes to exploring and getting from one place to another. The delay of going into the morph ball and the camera switching to a fixed angle isn't really a problem. But for Sonic, who's supposed to do this quickly and fluidly...it doesn't seem to be the best solution.

And it's not like they have to include extended sequences of halfpiping, anyway. It wasn't exactly common or especially important in the Genesis games, so if it doesn't work well I wouldn't see any reason not to avoid them.

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Chaos Walker

Thing is, Metroid is a vastly different franchise from Sonic. Metroid's a lot slower, and focuses on exploration in a massive world. Sonic's a fast paced point A to B platformer with slopes (hopefully). I think that switching in and out of those Metroid-esque camera angles might be jarring.

Unless the game is like "Sonic Runs Faster Unleashed", I think it should be fine. If we think back to the days before SRFU, the pace used to be alot slower (though faster than most other platformers). Having the camera back up, or pan around a little when entering a section of level that prefers it won't throw you around too bad.

EDIT:And Unleashed-on seems to prove that even at top speeds, if the game intends to devote to a massively different camera angle for a while, it doesn't hurt your brain.

Edited by Chaos Walker
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