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Sonic 4 and the Alton Towers Room - Jumping the Z-Axis is Truly 2.5D?


Agent York
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Well I bring a very interesting topic of discussion here. Now, if you've been paying attention to the newly opened Sonic Room, surprise, the wallpaper is designed with new screens of Sonic 4. I swear SEGA is doing the weirdest things to come up with news for the game. First website contest, drawing Badniks, secrets in the Motobug artwork, the trailer, hidden images inside the trailer in Sonic himself, and the website deal. Now, freaking new screenshots of Sonic 4 on WALLPAPER. Well, weirdness aside the wallpaper shows something interesting, but first lets look at a shot from the trailer.

195327__sonic-the-hedgehog-4-episode-1-sonic-the-hedgehog-4.jpeg?e167486a60

I am betting I was not the only one who was struck oddly about the platforms in the background. Sure it kinda' make sense for a BG deal but I can't be the only one who thought it looked kinda' clashing and tacky. Also it made me think of this one game engine I once did for fun and never released because it was glitchy where Sonic would leap between the midground, background, and foreground (with perspective changes) and it being a game mechanic . Not something done so often but like a spring would point at a far-off platform and it would launch Sonic either closer or further from the screen, the camera would pan to make him more visible, I felt besides some sprite stretching it was a pretty good system, and I never worked further into it.

However, I am actually in belief Sonic 4 is using this concept. I direct you to the wallpaper:

5v5s.jpgzxrl.jpg3psl.jpg

If you notice there is differences in perspectives. In the first shot there is a clear path with corkscrew in the background, IN FACT look closer. Now Sonic might be falling from some high place we can't see in the shot, BUT where he's coming from CLEARLY has no platforms behind him. Now this could just be the wallpaper design and they wanted a nice view of the background for the guest, however maybe it's actually a shot from the game. MAYBE, Sonic actually came from the background somehow and leapt onto the platform closer to the screen. Maybe he didn't, but having that type of stuff in the background without reason would be confusing. To prove this more I direct you to the 2nd pic. At first glance it looks like a series of platforms. BUT if you look again, there are platforms in the background. There is a loop-section behind the other two pieces that looks like Sonic can run down, making him run down behind the two other platforms. It doesn't continue on the foreground ,but on the background, looking quite clearly there and usable, but not in the forefront. In the third shot we see more platforms in the far-off distance. Now, this is just a theory, but could there be a possibility that these routes are indeed routes, that Sonic will be able to not just go 2D, but be able to switch plains, in other words work some off the Z-Axis. Not in a 3D way, but besides going up, down, left, and right he can also go back and forth.

And if this would be true, what do you think? Think this is the unnecessary mechanic to the game that will ultimately ruin it? Or could this be a spawn of genius that could make this game more than a Sonic 2 or 3 clone? Is this all hogwash and we're reading too much into wallpaper or is their some legitimate belief that this new type of platforming style is in the game? Your thoughts please.

Edited by blackarms
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In one of the acts of Sky Babylon in Rush Adventure, your character could be propelled to architecture in the background or foreground for a brief section of the level. If I understand you right, this is what you're trying to propose?

Whatever the case, I wouldn't go designing an entire game around it, if only for the sake of not making the visible screen area any smaller than it already is - and when it comes to 2D speed and platforming, that's an inherent flaw that simply gets worse the less you can see around you. Though if this game is full-3D in graphics, I could easily see a flaw like that being less of a problem if the camera zoomed in or out with the player as they sprang between foreground and background. I wouldn't want a game like this to become Pandemonium though - gameplay like that just becomes confusing and awkward in long bursts.

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In one of the acts of Sky Babylon in Rush Adventure, your character could be propelled to architecture in the background or foreground for a brief section of the level. If I understand you right, this is what you're trying to propose?

Whatever the case, I wouldn't go designing an entire game around it, if only for the sake of not making the visible screen area any smaller than it already is - and when it comes to 2D speed and platforming, that's an inherent flaw that simply gets worse the less you can see around you. Though if this game is full-3D in graphics, I could easily see a flaw like that being less of a problem if the camera zoomed in or out with the player as they sprang between foreground and background. I wouldn't want a game like this to become Pandemonium though - gameplay like that just becomes confusing and awkward in long bursts.

About what I'm getting at. Though I agree it wold be tedious if we we're constantly switching perspectives and may make it feel jarred, but all we have is speculation and theory right now. And to be honest I forgot there was a section where Sky Babylon did that, which is interesting to note. For all we know they just decided to make platform pieces background, but honestly that sounds a bit confusing to me too. And because sure someone will say it, I am not that bothered by the Boost Spring. There were Boost Springs in Palmtree Panic of Sonic CD fame and in Chemical Plant Zone.

Still, if it was a mechanic that was used sparingly, that might work off better if the camera would follow. If it always stayed focused on the midground the background and foreground elements would be annoying.

Edited by blackarms
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The wallshot of this game is giving me a feeling it might play something along the lines of this. If the game did have this type of mechanic all the way through, I would love it as long as they make it possible to backtrack without complications. Think about it, personally, the only places ive seen this type of gameplay is in the link above but if SEGA expanded the idea and made it their own, they can open new possibilities; and if they did this, it wouldn't ruin the "Classic Sonic" vibe at all...I think it would make it stronger actually.

Edited by streetballa
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I'm thinking they did that to make the wallpaper look cooler. I'm sure the game won't have you going into the background and foreground.

This. Look at the size and space between the platforms in the BG of the actual screenshots- they're decor.

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Looks like plane-hopping to me: the camera shifts its zoom and focus depending on which track you're currently using.

In the wallpaper screenshot, for example, it looks as though Sonic just finished shifting planes and the camera has just zoomed out to change its focus to the new path with the speed booster, which is also why the speed booster is there in the first place - otherwise, your first instinct after shifting planes would be to fire up a spin dash when you landed at that spot.

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... No, not likely. Sonic Team would be really ballsy to mess with the formula in this manner, and getting it to actually work is another matter entirely. And that wall seems more like an image of level things thrown together. The background platforms are too damn far apart, anyway.

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Looks like plane-hopping to me: the camera shifts its zoom and focus depending on which track you're currently using.

In the wallpaper screenshot, for example, it looks as though Sonic just finished shifting planes and the camera has just zoomed out to change its focus to the new path with the speed booster, which is also why the speed booster is there in the first place - otherwise, your first instinct after shifting planes would be to fire up a spin dash when you landed at that spot.

IF that is true, then I would be extremely pleased, because it does sound like a very fun gimmick that compliments the gameplay rather than changing it. Like 2D/3D switching in Unleashed, and weapons in Shadow (shut up- it sounds bad but the addition of guns did work with the gameplay). And unlike Werehog or mech-shooting. But still, it seems like random decor to me.

Edited by Blue Blood
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I'm not going to judge whether or not the game's actually doing it, as the only real evidence of it that we have is a wall, but I think it could be a really neat trick. The Rushes played with it a bit, but with Sonic taking up most of the screen when he was close, there wasn't a whole lot they could do with it. If they could do it with the camera moving like in that Chaotix fangame, I think it could do a lot to benefit the series. The games already fake depth to have paths running behind and in front of each other, and this could kick it up a notch, giving the level actual (if still limited) depth, letting them build even more complex level designs. It's also a nice visual effect, too, makes it feel more 3D without compromising 2D gameplay.

I do worry about how they'd switch between planes, tho'. To my recollection Rush always used a spring or some other gimmick, which is good sometimes, but I'd like to see the planes actually connected sometimes, so you can run from one to the other and keep your current speed. And the Chaotix fangame seems to just end the platform with a pit and expect you to know when to switch yourself (though I haven't played it, so I may be wrong)...

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The wallpaper might just be a collage, so I wouldn't take it as seriously as a real screenshot.

I think the platforms in the background seen in the trailer are just there for the cool looks, to simulate more depth like Diogenes said.

It has been done before.

mysticcave12.png

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The wallpaper might just be a collage, so I wouldn't take it as seriously as a real screenshot.

I think the platforms in the background seen in the trailer are just there for the cool looks, to simulate more depth like Diogenes said.

It has been done before.

mysticcave12.png

I know where you're getting at, but In Mystic Cave Zone in general had the same camel hump background throughout the whole stage. In the topic starters example, another part of the level that Sonic clearly runs is in the background.

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The game is 2D. "2.5D" is a misnomer used by detractors who don't know what they're talking about.

And I'm not in the mood to talk about the room; suffice it to say most of the stuff you see there is a composite image - aka not representative of the final game.

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  • Dreadknux changed the title to Sonic 4 and the Alton Towers Room - Jumping the Z-Axis is Truly 2.5D?

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