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Scritch the Cat

Issues with recreating Classic Sonic gameplay in 3D, as observed from fangames.

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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?

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I feel like having some HUD element pointing where you should go is a bit of a sloppy solution. It's one thing if we're talking about some big, nonlinear open world where the environment has to be designed for you going back and forth through it, but if Sonic's sticking to A-to-B platforming, I think it should be possible to design the level to tell you which direction you're meant to be going. I remember there was a little writeup about how Utopia used a bunch of subtle hints to keep the player aimed in the right direction, in spite of how large and open the level was, though I don't remember where to find it.

3 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

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. 

Hit. Always hit. If a move has you give up control to the game, it should perform reliably in your favor. Nobody likes that loop in Radical Train that'll throw you into a pit if you didn't enter from the right place.

As for after hitting, I'm in the "bounce forwards" camp. Keep the player moving, ask them to consider the consequences of attacking rather than always putting them in an ideal position. That said I don't think it's a perfect setup; lately I've thought a lot about how poorly it'd work with, say, an item box in a little dead-end nook. Homing attack an item box like that and you'll bounce straight into the back wall, which looks and feels clumsy, and fails at the whole point of the forwards bounce, to keep the flow. Best I've come up with to address that is to allow and encourage a wall jump in that situation to spring you back towards the main path, but then you've got the problem that you're likely jumping back at the camera so you probably don't have a good view of the direction you're moving and the camera might start rotating around to Sonic's back at a speed/direction/timing you don't anticipate...so, maybe not great.

Regarding keeping the player's momentum, even with how important Sonic's momentum is to classic-styled gameplay, I think it's ok to break it sometimes. Even in the Genesis games playing a level was never meant to be about a single streak of uninterrupted running, there's all manners of gimmicks to interact with and more platforming-heavy sections that require you to slow down. So I figure the post-HA bounce should probably have a fixed speed. There's already a lot of variables for a player to deal with; having to account for a variable bounce based on the speed you were going before, but not during, the homing attack is a complication that I don't think we need.

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im gonna keep on bringing up shaymay for the rest of my life, am I?

anyways, Shaymay's version of the homing attack (and 3d sonic, but that's for later) is the ideal version for me. It needs some build up, so that means you gotta be at max ground speed. it can be transferred from horizontal energy to vertical, and vice versa. AND, it's completely optional (at least in the concept art). for example, you COULD homing attack that enemy, OR you could just try and jump on it yourself and bounce to the other ledge, OR you could spin dash jump over it and get to the ledge. it's all your choice, and there is no limit to it.

now for 3d sonic as a whole.... yes, you're right, Shaymay. what do you expect really? his video is just spot on in every catagory for me: level design, controls, mechanics, gimmicks (ice skating is a masterpiece idea), how to do automation right, bosses, aesthetics, level themes, tone, and so much more. If  that game were to ever exist in real life (which gonna be real, isn't really gonna happen), I would wanna marry that game on the spot. but then again, it probably won't, but hey the future doesn't look TOO grim for us right now.

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I feel like a lot of ultra complicated reimaginings of the homing attack betray the idea that Sonic is just supposed to be a fun action game that anyone can pick up and play. 'Being too complicated" is a problem I have with a lot of fangames and concepts, but that's a seperate discussion. Almost every 3D platformer makes huge concessions to make jumping on enemies in 3D easier, and Sonic needs to make even more generous ones with the speed he moves around at. 

All of this is to say that the concept for the homing attack isn't actually worth rethinking. It's simple, intuitive, and serves it's purpose. Filler gameplay like homing attack chains are annoying, but that's not the fault of the move. It's the fault of lackluster level design.

Sometimes I remember that Sonic Generations of all games introduced a pretty good dichotomy where homing attacking the enemy would pop Sonic upwards and just hitting them normally would let Sonic bounce forward while keeping his momentum. The game never intentionally makes anything of it in it's level design but I think it's a pretty good way to start wrt making the move work without overcomplicating it. 

I've been meaning to do a breakdown on how flawed I think Shaymay's concepts are on the whole for a while but he seems to agree with me since he's making a new Sonic video series anyway. Until then I don't see the point in getting too deep into it, but that's just one of many things I think he's wrong about. 

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The camera typically being behind the characters does cancel out something significant about how the games could feel! 

Even the iconic Sonic CD intro would be quite boring if we only saw the scenes from that one perspective!

but, what alternate perspective would work?   isometric was an interesting and functional answer for proto-3D Sonic.  So, maybe a general and somewhat flexible view from some distance above the characters, where their faces would show most of the time, but also enough obstacles and other presences nearby in all directions could be seen early enough to react, would work now!! 

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I've thought about an isometric camera ala 3D world but imo even at his slowest Sonic is just too fast for this to be ideal. The fixed camera in the classic games already causes problems that a 3D one could fix, so creating that limitation again where you can't always see what's ahead feels self defeating. 

A behind the back tunnel vision approach like Crash is proven to work since a lot of the modern Sonic games already use it, but I'm assuming people want more freedom than that otherwise we wouldn't still be having these discussions.

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I think the classic gameplay honestly works better in 3D, but you're right, it’s a lot more complicated to design than in 2D. You have to take a bunch of different paths/player choices into careful consideration, all while keeping it tight and paced well and looking good without being all spread out. This year's GT is by far the best execution of the level design I've ever seen, but even with the little environmental tells, i still got turned around a few times.

 

Takes a loooot of careful thought and polishing, but it's worth it for how great it is to play.

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Sometimes I'll play through Super Mario 3D Land and World and say "man, why can't translating traditional Sonic into 3D be this straight-forward?" Putting Classic Sonic mechanics onto the Z axis is obviously possible and tenable, with plenty of fan projects doing a commendable job; Utopia, GHP:2 and Islands being some of my favorite 3D Sonic experiences. But as seen in plenty of other fangames, it's not easy to pull off, and as many have said in this thread already, it's not necessarily fun.

Adding momentum to the homing attack is one of those "well, of course we have to do that" changes that don't always work out as intended. It's frustrating to readjust your trajectory if that wasn't your intended move, and if that momentum is actually dependent upon your previous speed going in, that's even more frustrating to contend with. On paper, it makes sense. In practice, it's annoying. But bouncing upwards, or not bouncing at all, is just as unfun to me. I feel that the best solution would be a fixed forward bounce that doesn't rocket you forward at blinding speeds, but that exact determined speed needs to hit that sweet spot for control and guidance. Either that, or there should be a different reaction depending on if you're holding the button while impacting the enemy or not. 

Another aspect of the air dash/homing attack, and this is a hill I will die on, is that it shouldn't be mapped as a mid-air jump ability, and instead be it's own attack that can work on the ground as well. If going fast in 3D makes attacking baddies difficult, and we're concerned about combat being as fluid as possible, then being able to target attack an enemy on the ground should be possible as well. This could also free up the "double jump" slot for a different move altogether to add more mobility options. Beyond that, I'm just not a fan of pace-halting somersault, breakdancing or slide attacks. 

I think that Sonic Team knew what they were doing up until Adventure 2 with how levels were designed, but failed to find that happy medium between Adventure 1's more open design and Adventure 2's more automated speed levels. I think both design styles are fun and can coexist within the same level. A nice ebb and flow between relaxed exploration and tense forward dashing could present the best of both worlds, and be a decent facsimile of the original 2D games' more platforming heavy sections and "hold right to win" areas ala Chemical Plant Zone. 

I guess there isn't one specific best solution to bring Classic Sonic to 3D, but willingness to compromise and accept that it's not as simple as dropping the dude in a big 3D overworld like some fangames tend to do is a start. You can have premium grade physics and it won't mean anything if the level design doesn't take advantage of it. This is something the fangame community is finally starting to experiment with, but we have a long way to go.

 

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I like the idea of a forward-thrusting homing attack that keeps Sonic at a fixed speed as opposed to adding onto your existing momentum. It'd be a fair trade-off between choosing to fight an enemy or continue running past it, and it'd be easier to control than how most fangames implement it. For all the SRB2 fan mods that attempt to implement a momentum-based homing attack, I like how the vanilla game's electric shield handles it by shooting you slightly forward at the cost of losing most of your built-up speed.

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2 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

Another aspect of the air dash/homing attack, and this is a hill I will die on, is that it shouldn't be mapped as a mid-air jump ability, and instead be it's own attack that can work on the ground as well. If going fast in 3D makes attacking baddies difficult, and we're concerned about combat being as fluid as possible, then being able to target attack an enemy on the ground should be possible as well. This could also free up the "double jump" slot for a different move altogether to add more mobility options. Beyond that, I'm just not a fan of pace-halting somersault, breakdancing or slide attacks. 

How do you feel about GT's compromise, where tapping the button gives you a halted homing attack, but holding it down makes you carry momentum in the homing attack?

2 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

and as many have said in this thread already, it's not necessarily fun

That really makes me sad if so cuz ive had more fun in these fangames than any actual 3D sonic

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2 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

Another aspect of the air dash/homing attack, and this is a hill I will die on, is that it shouldn't be mapped as a mid-air jump ability, and instead be it's own attack that can work on the ground as well. If going fast in 3D makes attacking baddies difficult, and we're concerned about combat being as fluid as possible, then being able to target attack an enemy on the ground should be possible as well. This could also free up the "double jump" slot for a different move altogether to add more mobility options. Beyond that, I'm just not a fan of pace-halting somersault, breakdancing or slide attacks. 

I think homing attack works best in the air, since you're in the air most often in a platformer to attack (as well as platform) while the ground is usually used to traverse or evade things. Homing into enemies from the ground is a fun idea though, so I wouldn't count it out; I think it'd have a good home on another character, probably.

Remember, friends, to utilize the other characters. We have a lot of them.

35 minutes ago, Natie said:

How do you feel about GT's compromise, where tapping the button gives you a halted homing attack, but holding it down makes you carry momentum in the homing attack?

It's an idea that works better in theory than in execution. If you're not paying attention to the exact way you press the button, it can lead to a bunch of unintended flinging around. Most of my frustrations with GT was in the game's second boss, and how it expects you to use that carried momentum from the HA to reach it, but the context-sensitive input and really loose air control made trying to land hits way more of a hassle than it needed to be.

2 hours ago, Sean said:

I like the idea of a forward-thrusting homing attack that keeps Sonic at a fixed speed as opposed to adding onto your existing momentum. It'd be a fair trade-off between choosing to fight an enemy or continue running past it, and it'd be easier to control than how most fangames implement it. For all the SRB2 fan mods that attempt to implement a momentum-based homing attack, I like how the vanilla game's electric shield handles it by shooting you slightly forward at the cost of losing most of your built-up speed.

See, this I can get behind as a middle ground solution. Though I imagine maybe if we're taking inspiration from SRB2, we might need to nerf it's verticality a little bit too, haha. That magnet HA can send you flying in that game.

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3 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

 

Another aspect of the air dash/homing attack, and this is a hill I will die on, is that it shouldn't be mapped as a mid-air jump ability, and instead be it's own attack that can work on the ground as well. If going fast in 3D makes attacking baddies difficult, and we're concerned about combat being as fluid as possible, then being able to target attack an enemy on the ground should be possible as well. This could also free up the "double jump" slot for a different move altogether to add more mobility options. Beyond that, I'm just not a fan of pace-halting somersault, breakdancing or slide attacks. 

 

Let him roll into things. Make the hitbox when rolling generous when he's on the ground. There's no need for a ton of secondary functions beyond jumping and rolling. 

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4 hours ago, Wraith said:

I've thought about an isometric camera ala 3D world but imo even at his slowest Sonic is just too fast for this to be ideal. The fixed camera in the classic games already causes problems that a 3D one could fix, so creating that limitation again where you can't always see what's ahead feels self defeating. 

A behind the back tunnel vision approach like Crash is proven to work since a lot of the modern Sonic games already use it, but I'm assuming people want more freedom than that otherwise we wouldn't still be having these discussions.

That is true; and, when i was trying to picture how it would look i knew something was missing and i couldn't think of it until now:  Sonic games definitely need a horizon as a centerpiece!!  An overhead view would probably have less of a horizon, and having it in front of the characters when they are moving forward is exciting!

I do think though if there was a way to have both, which may not exist, it would be good because each character has such brilliantly sleek and expressive faces!!

28 minutes ago, Wraith said:

Let him roll into things. Make the hitbox when rolling generous when he's on the ground. There's no need for a ton of secondary functions beyond jumping and rolling. 

A summary of below is that, it could be exciting to make rolling more exclusively a landscape-modifying and momentum-building maneuver!!  and it could be interesting to make badnik encounters a bit more detailed, as well as easier to pass by (but would miss freeing what was within!) 

Yes; when i first saw the thread title i was thinking about badniks have retained their same gameplay mechanics from the original format, which is not bad, but, i feel like it would be an area where a change of pace would be welcome! 

It would be nice to have actual semi-combat mechanics between the player's character and badniks, if you chose to engage them, otherwise they would remain in some type of attack or defense cycle.  There would be special moves (eg jumping over one that is lunging) that would be mapped to different buttons, and maybe some combos!  this could still be very simple, and it would make freeing whatever is inside each one more interesting than just spinning into the mech! 

Then rolling could regain its versatility as a way to interact with and access new areas within the environment itself too if it becomes more exclusively not a way to damage badniks, but often a way to open up areas!

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For me I feel the big thing most fangames still need to really gun for are better incorporation of stage mechanics and sandbox-style objectives with respect to level design. I say the former because I'd say all of the varied, weird interactivity the gimmicks provided is part of parcel of why the classic games are fun to play outside of speedrunning (and are a key motivating factor for exploring levels). Sometimes they had real secrets and sometimes they're just fun to mess around with; and depending on the gimmick were also good showcases of the momentum physics lying underneath. Meanwhile I say the latter as I'm utterly baffled by the lengths people go to create giant sandboxes for Sonic to run through but they don't take advantage of that space to give the player an a collection of tasks to do inside those spaces. I think a really well-designed mission framework in the vein of some of the better sandbox platformers out there (Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro, etc.) is probably a key deciding factor as to whether a fanmade 3D Sonic sandbox is just a nice novelty/tech demo, and when it is actually offers a genuine argument for a sandbox Sonic game actually being a good route for 3D Sonic games to take.

11 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

Sometimes I'll play through Super Mario 3D Land and World and say "man, why can't translating traditional Sonic into 3D be this straight-forward?" Putting Classic Sonic mechanics onto the Z axis is obviously possible and tenable, with plenty of fan projects doing a commendable job; Utopia, GHP:2 and Islands being some of my favorite 3D Sonic experiences. But as seen in plenty of other fangames, it's not easy to pull off, and as many have said in this thread already, it's not necessarily fun.

...

I guess there isn't one specific best solution to bring Classic Sonic to 3D, but willingness to compromise and accept that it's not as simple as dropping the dude in a big 3D overworld like some fangames tend to do is a start. You can have premium grade physics and it won't mean anything if the level design doesn't take advantage of it. This is something the fangame community is finally starting to experiment with, but we have a long way to go.

Yeah, I think this is where I am too. I'm with you on that Mario 3D comparison, I think a Mario 3D Land/World approach would be honestly be really ideal, if not outright perfect, in regards to having Sonic stages that were focused on platforming and stage mechanics, as well as allowing for more balanced co-op multiplayer play. But I don't entirely disagree with Wraith in that Sonic's speed outpacing a fixed isometric camera tanks the concept of a 3D Sonic in the vein of those games, and I honestly hate saying that.

As far as Genesis-styled physics/momentum in 3D goes, by this point I'd say you'd actually have to make Sonic significantly slower than the Genesis sequels (2/3&K/Mania) at best, if not just make him *slightly* faster than other platformers outright to have a good base for designing a 3D Sonic game. More often than not, what I usually see in the 3D fan engines is that all that rolling/momentum speed makes Sonic borderline uncontrollable for turning and just allows people to careen past entire setpieces of design. I'd be more interested in an 3D engine/fangame that actually used Sonic 1/CD as a base for 3D Sonic gameplay, where Sonic actually had significant speedcaps and other limitations in place that kept him from going too fast.

That's not to say a 3D game that got all of the Genesis concepts correct (rolling faster than running, jumping influenced by inertia, bouncing, etc.) is now not something I want; it's just that nowadays, uncapped classic speed/momentum doesn't actually seem all that worth it for me. It really just convinces me that if you're making a 3D Sonic platformer, the speed should be approached as more as a bonus element on top of a good platforming game, rather than a essential property of the design as it is in the 2D games (Genesis or otherwise) or in the Boost titles.

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14 hours ago, Milo said:

the above post

Big agree with everything here.

I think if Sonic in 3D is gonna be something really good, we have to stop thinking so much about going fast and more about being a good platformer. 

It's been on my mind a lot these days that I would've heartily accepted a Saturn-era Sonic game even if he moved at the speed he does in Sonic Jam, granted you could use slopes and rolling/Spindashing to go a bit faster. Sonic doesn't necessarily have to be a super-fast game to be appealing, not even remotely to me. It's just gotta have moves that are fun to do and evoke that feeling of speed.

Landing a drop dash in Mania may not always launch you at the highest speed possible, but it certainly feels satisfying to do, doesn't it? That's the point of it all, really. To feel that little burst of speed when you get it, not to be fed it so often and in such a surplus that it loses it's meaning.

Let super speedy areas be a treat. After all that's how Sonic CD handled it, that's how 3K handled it, that's how Mania handled it, and  i can hear the lone classic purist wincing now that's how Sonic Adventure and Adventure 2 do it. Intense speed has always been a spectacle, a reward for making it through level design preceding it, and doubled down if you know how to utilize the physics well during it. That's what sends that adrenaline and serotonin to your brain receptor whatevers. That's the magic. 

And yes, I am also implying that minor automation / guard-railing is not a bad thing either. It doesn't need to be excessive (and you don't gotta tell me how overboard the 3D games have went with it, dude I already know), but I think the insistence that loops or any convex/inverted surfaces are strictly supposed to be obstacles you have to overcome has ruined a lot of the appeal in fangames too. These things I feel should be as easy as they are in 2D for a player to grasp, and for two reasons:

1 ) It keeps Sonic gameplay from becoming this abstract or dizzying challenge where you sometimes occasionally fight not falling out of a loop. These things are as easy as "hold right with enough speed" in the 2D games. Remember that these are baby games that children play, c'mon now.
2 ) Loops or slopes that emphasize that often have any cool camera angles omitted, which makes the spectacle of running around them kind of pointless. Running around loops and looking at nothing but the floor in front of you is boring as SHIT I want to see the LOOP!!!! UGH

Anyways I think I've rambled about everything I can on this subject now. Maybe.

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@azoo

YES FINALLY SOMEONE WHO THINKS LIKE ME OMG, IM SO TIRED OF ALL OF THIS UNWARRANTED PRAISE 3D FAN GAMES GET.

The true flow, the simplicity of Sonic, not overly thinking about simple mechanic because it's not necessary, oh it's so beautiful finally hearing something that's makes sense and it's not a pretentious "sega bad, fans good give me views" 

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15 hours ago, StaticMania said:

This is pretty unwarranted...

Apparently people can't like fan-games for doing what they actually want out of the series.

I will always understand that, but is what they want from the series really just physics playgrounds?  It’s one thing to say they’re a great base—I agree—but they’re not all that is implied by the notion “Classic Sonic in 3D.”

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If fan-games never actually get past their "physics playground" base,  then it doesn't really matter what people want.

Getting to make actual levels for these engines will allow people to gauge what they want to do and other fans to know what they do and don't want from just momentum based game-play.

Like toning down the momentum gains, less mechanics, manageable level sizes and length.

The engines really only give people a taste of what could be...and that's only in the control area.

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Playing fangames is at least fascinating. We get to observe Sonic games in hundreds of new ways. It's been very educational. I never noticed how slow Sonic Adventure Sonic was until they imported a Sonic Heroes level into it. (Or alternatively, I never noticed how empty and featureless Heroes levels are compared to the richly detailed and constant dynamic Adventure levels)

But yeah, I agree with the sentiment that there's a real risk with the physics focused games that level design becomes a nightmare. You see people just fly straight over giant chunks of level. Good for them. While whenever I hit an enemy, I fall of the main path and get stuck in some godless unintended bottom area desperatly fighting the physics to get back up.
I feel sorry for the people who have to design levels for momentum based Sonic, there's a GIGANTIC diffrence in speed and height of Sonic's moveset depending on whether he stands still or comes in at full speed, and you need to acomendate both.
Altough I noticed Sonic GT got it a little better under control this year then the version I saw last year. So there seems to be some progress.

One problem I have, is....Almost all games are one zone demo's. And usually the first Zone. And Sonic's first zones usually don't have tight level design, they're more fun thrill rides. Which is good, but eventually you want things to tighten up and provide you with real level design and real specific challenges and set pieces and MEANING. But I don't get any of that, it's just one meaningless playground after another and I'm starting to feel nihilistic about it all.
Oh boy, more loops to roll trough. What's the point? Not really the individual games's fault, but it does start to have a huge impact on my patience.
It's saying something the Game Gear Sonic 2 remake was one of my favorite games this year, for the simple fact of it being a complete experience and the game gear games having a much more tight and economic level design, which became a desperatly needed breath of fresh air after Green Hill Zone round 596834.

 Also, as usual I have to shill Sonic Robo Blast 2 for being my personal choice in being the "Classic Sonic in 3d" fangame. Tight level design, plenty of freedom, mild physics. all nice and straight forward. It's my jam. Definitly prioritizes platforming over physics for the sake of physics.

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I can't say I agree with a lot of these sentiments, I can do regular platforming in any other 3D platformer, but the "linear multi-tiered skatepark world" gameplay was a concept uniqely invented for Sonic and a lot more interesting and engaging for it. Most people chastise Sonic 1 for not embracing it's unique style but instead falling back on regular platforming too much. I think the translation of it into 3D is a worthy pursuit and still hasn't gotten old to me, but I've certainly gotten tired of automated spectacle setpieces that the mainline games are full of a long time ago.

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9 hours ago, Roger_van_der_weide said:

Playing fangames is at least fascinating. We get to observe Sonic games in hundreds of new ways. It's been very educational. I never noticed how slow Sonic Adventure Sonic was until they imported a Sonic Heroes level into it. (Or alternatively, I never noticed how empty and featureless Heroes levels are compared to the richly detailed and constant dynamic Adventure levels)

But yeah, I agree with the sentiment that there's a real risk with the physics focused games that level design becomes a nightmare. You see people just fly straight over giant chunks of level. Good for them. While whenever I hit an enemy, I fall of the main path and get stuck in some godless unintended bottom area desperatly fighting the physics to get back up.
I feel sorry for the people who have to design levels for momentum based Sonic, there's a GIGANTIC diffrence in speed and height of Sonic's moveset depending on whether he stands still or comes in at full speed, and you need to acomendate both.
Altough I noticed Sonic GT got it a little better under control this year then the version I saw last year. So there seems to be some progress.

One problem I have, is....Almost all games are one zone demo's. And usually the first Zone. And Sonic's first zones usually don't have tight level design, they're more fun thrill rides. Which is good, but eventually you want things to tighten up and provide you with real level design and real specific challenges and set pieces and MEANING. But I don't get any of that, it's just one meaningless playground after another and I'm starting to feel nihilistic about it all.
Oh boy, more loops to roll trough. What's the point? Not really the individual games's fault, but it does start to have a huge impact on my patience.
It's saying something the Game Gear Sonic 2 remake was one of my favorite games this year, for the simple fact of it being a complete experience and the game gear games having a much more tight and economic level design, which became a desperatly needed breath of fresh air after Green Hill Zone round 596834.

 Also, as usual I have to shill Sonic Robo Blast 2 for being my personal choice in being the "Classic Sonic in 3d" fangame. Tight level design, plenty of freedom, mild physics. all nice and straight forward. It's my jam. Definitly prioritizes platforming over physics for the sake of physics.

Sonic robo blast is the best fan game I've seen since Sonic before and after the sequel, a big mayority of them are pretentious trash.

I agree with everything thing you said.

Sometimes I feel like Sonic fans have a lot of common with Sonic team.

Unfocused gameplay riddle with great ideas with terrible execution or gameplay ideas that don't mesh or felt tack on (werehog and classic in forces, limited level design in forces, tubular level design that feels underdeveloped in lost world, motion controls on wii, way too many characters in adventure, confusing camera in sa1 and 2, slow platforming that punish you for going fast in 06), and in fan games (open world maps with nothing more interesting than just hey look controls, multiple playable characters that are just clones of one another (og sonic world), mediocre sound effects like in forces (sonic gt) nauseating loops at high speeds, way too much blur (infinity engine is trash, is in the same calibur as jump force), camera that somehow it's worse and sa1 and specially 2 and much, MUCH more)

How I'm I suppose to believe than fan games are better than official games if most of them are unfinished projects that go nowhere, don't have any type of original ideas (Sonic team at least makes original stuff like the avatar, wisps and the excalibur), and overall fells empty, I know a lot of you don't like the official 3d sonic games, buy it seems rather selfish to have a mind set that bassicaly isn't really looking for improvement but rather destruction of sega, and that's a complete waste of time.

I'm going to ask this, why don't you put an 8 year old to play sonic gt vs generations and tell me their reactions.

What I'm trying to say here it's that guys, please don't try to reinvent the wheel, instead of trying to make an enjoyable game, you are just making trash after trash.

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13 minutes ago, DrParadise said:

How I'm I suppose to believe than fan games are better than official games if most of them are unfinished projects that go nowhere, don't have any type of original ideas (Sonic team at least makes original stuff like the avatar, wisps and the excalibur), and overall fells empty, I know a lot of you don't like the official 3d sonic games, buy it seems rather selfish to have a mind set that bassicaly isn't really looking for improvement but rather destruction of sega, and that's a complete waste of time.

I think a big mistake you're making, and why I feel the vitriol you have towards most fangames is unwarranted, is that this isn't why (most) people make fangames. They're not doing it for "destruction of Sega" or to be assholes, they just love Sonic and want to make their own Sonic game. It's not like people who make fanart or fan remixes are doing it because they think they can make better drawings or music than Sega's own artists. A lot of the "fans are better than Sega" stuff is the reception to these games and I haven't seen creators actively encouraging it.

Also, sometimes fangame creators really do want to try improving on something they feel that Sega's own games are lacking in. That in itself isn't a problem because it's better to see these ideas actually put forth and motivate discussion rather than just prattle on about theoreticals. That is why I don't consider the 3D tech demos to be a waste of time because it's interesting to see multiple fangame developers' perspectives and see what sticks with people and what doesn't.

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What I'm trying to say here it's that guys, please don't try to reinvent the wheel, instead of trying to make an enjoyable game, you are just making trash after trash.

Believe it or not, most fangames aren't built to compete with anything, much less Sega's efforts. Most people do it out of a simple appreciation of the source material, or to further their personal understanding of game design by emulating something that is close to them. They don't have an obligation to do better than you can get with a AAA studio's worth of resources, and frankly it's kind of pretentious to suggest that they have an obligation to anything that's not in their own personal interests. If they're subpar or unfinished, that's their choice to make - if you're not paying them to make it, why do you care?

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