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October 22, 2016 in Sonic General
The mystery game of SAGE 2016 has been revealed and it's getting people excited!
Sonic Utopia looks to set out on a mission very similar to Green Hill Paradise; recreating the spirit of the classic games in an open 3D environment.
There's no details available just yet but a download to the early demo is expected before SAGE 2016 ends.
I'm personally very excited for this. There's a big difference between seeing a game and playing it but there does seem to be a higher fidelity of control here than we've seen in GHP. On a side note, that Sonic CD style Sonic model is amazing!
How's everybody feeling about this one?
Oct 23 2016
Oct 24 2016
Oct 25 2016
Oct 22 2016
October 22, 2016
The mystery game of SAGE 2016 has been revealed and it's getting people excited!
Sonic Utopia looks to set out on a mission very similar to Gree
October 25, 2016
It seems that it's also caught Yuji Naka's attention.
October 23, 2016
Ohhh it feels so good...I don't think any 3D Sonic game, fan or official, has felt this good to play. Sonic feels great, maybe just a hair too twitchy when turning, but well within reasonable bounds.
I feel bad for the GHP team because I feel like this could quickly and greatly overshadow their efforts, but what can I say, when I saw footage of GHP it looked awkward to play and playing it for myself lived up to those expectations. This looks gorgeous and great to play but we'll have to see how it holds up to the unpredictable playtesting that releasing it into the wild will result in.
After GHP2 I'm keeping my expectations in check, but this is certainly aiming for the kinds of things I want out of the series, so I'm definitely going to try it out once it's up.
I'm really appreciating Sonic's animations, at least. Feels like it takes a lot from CD's opening/ending, which still stands as one of the high points of Sonic's design and animation, IMO.
Don't wanna jump to conclusions before I try it, but dang it's lookin' good. Sonic's movement looks a bit more restrained and in line with the classics, whereas GHP2 could feel a bit too twitchy. Based on the video alone there seems to be very little awkwardness when it comes to lining Sonic up with slopes and enemies and whatnot.
The visuals look great too, I love that Sonic seems sorta based on his CD design. The colors are super vibrant and clean, which reminds me a bit of Lost World, but the wider open spaces with more scope make it look a lot more appealing. Along with the great remix in the video, it kinda invoked nostalgia of what I would have imagined a more "true" 3D Sonic game would look like back before Adventure came out. Can't wait to give it a go.
Giving me Sonic Jam's World vibes, which is a good thing.
Cautiously optimistic. Looks far less claustrophobic than GHP, but the level design could still be way too open and unfocused. Also potential collision issues that could damage it may crop up, as well as difficulty keeping Sonic on the speedways.. But at a glance? It's lookin' glorious.
This looks beautiful, its like a playable version of the opening cinematic from sonic cd.
I love that the animations are based on the CD intro - Sonic raises his arms before doing homing attacks just as he did before spin dashing down that mountain slope.
And wow, I cannot wait for the demo! The only nitpick I have is that I wish the rings were (smaller) models instead of 2D sprites. That's it.
Looks like Sonic is being given his gravity defying homing attack once again. Hopefully there will be some clear direction, this is looking a bit too open...where you can easily get lost without good landmarks.
I'm definitely intrigued by this, it definitely looks like it controls better than GHP but I'm not entirely sold by the level design. But this does look really good nonetheless.
Wow... This looks much better then Green Hill Paradise in my opinion...
I'm not much a fan of GHP so I guess that's no surprise... However Sonic Utopia looks to be heading in a very good direction on the other-hand. The art style & animations are super nice. Am really digging the Sonic CD/OVA inspired model. The gameplay & level design seems like it'll be good especially if they continue to work on it.
However some cons, yet again I feel like most open world Sonic fan projects I've seen including this 1 greatly suffers from empty space syndrome where you just have tons of landmass with little or next near to nothing on it... all these projects are often just concept demos so it's understandable they lack full content/variety, but regardless it doesn't excuse the fact it still leaves me feeling bored after more then maybe 10 mins of watching or playing them.
Hmmm, to me their scale seems weird, it seems as though they made the world giant so you wouldn't need the homing attack to get around but made the enemies tiny so they ended up wanting it anyway.
SAGE ended last night, didn't it? Have we heard anything about when the demo will be released?
Stream of the game is going live soon, with a demo release dropping soon after.
As fun as I have with the feeling of Sonic Utopia it's starting to dawn on me how it's a bit emblematic of an issue - or rather the REAL issue - that fans and developers have yet to figure out when it comes to Sonic, and it's the kind of issue that is somewhat endemic to 3D platforming in general. It's an inherently harder genre to do which is especially true to Sonic - it's a platformer that sells itself on speed. This is kind of why the homing attack was absolutely necessary for one thing. But having said that I still think games like these miss a certain "hook" to them.
It's fun to run around in these levels, no question about it. They have a good foundation. But after that I kind of realize there's not a lot to draw me in here. Enemies are best ignored because of the wide space and there's not really a lot of challenge. The best thing Utopia (and Green Hill Paradise) proves is that it's absolutely possible to make momentum-based systems in 3D, but it doesn't really have much else in the way of suggesting where to go from there. It's a solution to only one part of the problem.
It's an issue of compromise. Even Mario, a franchise which has been putting out critically acclaimed 3D platformers as if it were nothing, took over a decade to settle on a 3D formula that was more true to it's actual roots, when up to Galaxy 2 they had to settle for something more sandbox-y. Even with that kind of approach though it was the elegance of it's design and methodical pace that allowed that kind of approach to work, and neither Utopia or Green Hill Paradise seem to have the requisite design to prove the same works for Sonic. This is kind of why I occasionally debate with myself about how even in spite of me not liking it, the boost formula is probably the closest the 3D Sonic genre has ever come to working and having something of a good hook to it since it's a series that struggles to balance speed, control and good design.
Then again the question remains whether or not the "design" part is something these projects want to answer, and I can't deny that when it comes to the two former points, they do these points well.
Just finished my first run through the demo.
If nothing else, this engine gets one thing right that no other 3D fan engine seems to have managed yet: control. Sonic is amazingly responsive to input and his momentum and friction are pretty much perfect. The biggest problem I have with other attempts is the amount of speed granted to the player for a homing dash or even reaching full speed but with barely any friction. Sonic starts off a little too easily and becomes really difficult to stop in time once he gets going. Here, you can reach those crazy speeds by using the environment but it always feels like you're in control and can slam the brakes on if you need to.
The issue people will probably still have is the continuation of the "open world-empty world" level design that's often seen in 3D fangames. I personally don't take issue with it, especially for something like this which is basically an engine test but if you took issue with this in Green Hill Paradise then I don't think this'll remedy much for you.
Speaking of Green Hill Paradise, I do feel bad for the guys behind it. There's clearly been a lot of effort put into that but I really think this is going to overtake it by quite a bit once the word gets out. The superior control and, seemingly, lack of collision issues just make this far more enjoyable to play. Utopia also seems to run much smoother since it's using Unity instead of UDK. The game boots quickly and the framerate seems solid.
I absolutely love this really recommend giving it a go if you're remotely interested! This, for me, is the new benchmark for 3D fan engines. Here's hoping we see more levels made for this engine in the future!
Initial impressions are solid.
I wasn't a fan of GHP; too big, claustrophobic as hell, and very plodding and twitchy. Utopia meanwhile is nowhere near as claustrophobic, and feels a lot snappier and quick. I don't think the controls are perfect, mind; correcting mistakes such as say, running past a spring can be a right pain in the arse in a way it wouldn't in say, Adventure.
The open-world issue is still here though. While not as crammed as GHP, I'm bloody bored of "open-world Sonic". All these attempts are just too open, and I'd argue this attempt's endpoint is even less focused than GHP. A well-structured level *should* be able to show off everything Sonic can do in this engine just as well as another playground thing. I'll also say the level, while overall looking pretty nice, is very... green. Makes telling apart slopes and cliffs a bit too difficult. Still, for the most part navigating it is fun, and it allows pretty organic use of Sonic's physics and abilities, whereas GHP was "here's a halfpipe lol".
I think the demo's at its most fun when you just try to play it like a traditional level, and get to the end as fast as possible. Overall, I'm impressed (especially at the fact this is a fresh new engine in Unity!), even in spite of the flaws. I feel bad comparing it to GHP so much, but it's the clearest point of reference given they both have such similar goals.
Ohhh it feels so good...I don't think any 3D Sonic game, fan or official, has felt this good to play. Sonic feels great, maybe just a hair too twitchy when turning, but well within reasonable bounds. His acceleration isn't too sluggish or overresponsive, his running speed feels quick without obviating the need for the peel out or rolling to go faster, and the slope physics feel spot-on; strong enough to give you a good speed boost when rolling downhill, but balanced so that going uphill isn't a slog and running across a slope doesn't force you to constantly fight it to stay on course.
And while it's not perfect, most of my complaints with it are pretty minor. The biggest one is, as mentioned, the almost open-world level design. While it's not as labyrinthine as GHP2, it's still too large for its contents and at times a bit directionless. As a demo meant to demonstrate its mechanics more than a slice of an actual game it's alright, but this kind of level design isn't going to hold up in a full game, and as they get closer to having the mechanics down, they've got to start working on level design to match it. I love how Utopia feels so far, but I really want to see it put to the test in a more focused level.
The rest of my issues with it are mostly just about polish and minor tweaks. I like my Sonic games bright and saturated, but this particular GHZ starts to strain the eyes after a while. I really would appreciate having a target reticle for the homing attack so I knew for sure when I was in range. I wish I could air dash backwards if I end up bouncing too far and want to turn back. There's also a few bugs to work out; the music cut out after I drowned once, it seems like you can air dash repeatedly so long as you're touching a wall (though not to any benefit that I can see), and there were a few times when I hit an edge and Sonic bounced off a bit strangely.
Overall this was a very impressive demo, and (while I haven't tried every game, not even close) the highlight of SAGE for me. Utopia succeeds where GHP2 failed me, and I'm eager to see where it goes in the future.
Aaaaaand main site booped.
More than anything else about this demo, I want that Green Hill remix on my laptop yesterday. I'm guessing it was Lange's work given the soundfonts I've heard from him in After the Sequel, but dang, it sounds really sweet!
If Diogenes says it feels good, then I really don't know why I've taken this long to download it. Doing that right now.
It really feels great, I think this would be a great direction for 3D Sonic to go in.
The level design needs some work, it's not focused and it is directionless at times, but it's good overall. I really want to see and play more of this, maybe they should take inspiration from SA1 levels and expand on that design. Something not that linear but not this open world since I got lost a couple of times.
The physics and the jumps feel spot on, and I love the homing attack.
This is, I think, one of the best things to ever happen to 3D Sonic.
So I'm not going to post any screenshots, but turns out the giant walls that look like boundaries aren't. There's masses of area beyond them... and they're not necessarily Green or Hilly.
This world is like, 3 times bigger than I thought it was. Hot damn.
Oho, nice. With a bit of searching I found a secret area:
Found this one by following along the left edge of the level.
Forgot spoiler tags were a thing; here's the one I found. Think I may have found another.
With pretty much what everyone has said, If there was just a little bit more consolidation within Green Hill Zone, this game would then really have something cooking here.
I feel that everything before the first checkpoint within Utopia, where the level design was compact, focused, straightforward while still feeling expansive and having extra paths to choose from, should be the blueprints on how to go about Sonic going into 3D. When Sonic gets past that first checkpoint, it can be a little easy getting lost considering how wide ranging and green everything is with very little unique large landmarks to keep your baring on when you get lost in this world, and searching for that one spring in the far off corner to set you back on the path you want to take can be a little time consuming.
With all that said, though, granted this is the only 3D Sonic fangame I've ever played, this is probably the best I've ever witnessed, just going by its overall direction and execution. The polish within the game mechanics, art style, animations and music really makes this stand out. Sonic's controls and handling are really responsive (It's not twitchy at top speeds like the Adventure series, not stiff like Lostworld, or slippery at low speeds like Unleashed - Generations, Utopia's pretty balanced at all tiers of speed) his acceleration and speed is balanced and still retains that wild sense of speed, the physics act accordingly as you'd expect, and it's just straight up fun to run around those wacky curves and loops and see Sonic launch in the air Sonic CD style.
Other than the Peel Out eclipsing Spindash charging (You can Peel out while moving anywhere, and even buffer it in midair), the camera sometimes disorientating you, particularly if you don't gain enough speed to pass through a loop, or one glitch/exploit I found where you can have Sonic flutter jump Luigi style if you spam the Air Dash + Peel Out in mid air at the same time, skipping large pieces of the level, the experience so far has been really solid. The only things I'd probably suggest is to make the springs a little bigger so it'd be harder to miss, place aiming reticles on badniks while homing attack to give a clear direction where you'll be shooting Sonic towards and finally, just carefully place more obstacles on those long stretches of vacant lands.
This is really well done overall though I've gotta say. To me, this is like an almost fully realized Sonic Saturn game we never got. I'm hoping this eventually gets finished and we get to see what Sonic Utopia really has in store for everyone.
Did a bit more searching, didn't find anything major (just a few small hidden bits and the area Tracker found, which is really cool), but man did I underestimate both the size of the level and the amount of content earlier. It still ends up feeling kinda stretched thin, but there's definitely enough going on to justify a few playthroughs to see different content.
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