A Change in Direction for Sonic Next Genesis

Discussion in 'Showroom' started by ProjectFM, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. ProjectFM

    ProjectFM Optimistic and self-dependent Member

    Oct 4, 2014
    Orono, Maine
    Since the start of this year, progress on Sonic Next Genesis has been slow. Recently, I figured that this hack is never going to get finished until I start planning out how I will finish it and allow myself more room for creativity. As a result, I am going remove the limitation that this should be based on Sonic '06, a game I have never finished nor played in ages, and try merging it with another project I was thinking of starting after I finish this hack. Doing this was killing two birds with one stone.

    My first action in this process is sharing out how my hack has been going so far and then questioning the community about what they'd like, didn't like, and where they'd like to see this hack go.

    So, here's the hack, with the addition of some awkward commentary:

    Here are some changes I'm planning:
    1. Discarding any ideas I've had that are based on elements of Sonic '06 that would be difficult to pull off in a fun way (such as its enemies, bosses, Elise, and DDZ's billiard balls).
    2. Reducing the zone count from nine zones to something more managable
    3. Adding a new story. The gist is that Robotnik is some super engineering artist guy who invades Sonic and friends' planet (or possibly island) in order to create his planet-wide masterpiece. Sonic and friends will try to stop him because Robotnik's actions are hurting the ecosystems and so the badniks will be construction-themed. Also, the story will result in zones looking more fantastical over time rather than industrial.
    4. Having shadow/highlight mode used in most zones to use its affects. Additionally, making all the blocks high priority can allow me to add objects in the background to add more effects (such as a sunrise/sunset).
    5. Adding a forest zone as the first level based off the artwork shown in the video.

    And here are the questions:
    1. Based on what you've seen from the zones and any assumptions you can make about the zones' themes, which of them should I remove?
    2. The current soundtrack is made up of music ported from other games using the SMPS sound driver. Should I spend the extra effort to remake the soundtrack? If so should it be ported from MIDIs that are: a. created by others b. created by programs that extract music from games (could be from GBA, Genesis, Arcade, etc.) c. created from my own compositions?
    3. What characters would you like to see added/removed? They could be any character from the franchise that has been playable in a platforming Sonic game (so no Babylon Rogues).
    4. Should the character pairings be static (Sonic always with Tails), depend on the story (perhaps Sonic is alone, then meets up with Tails midway through), or be completely optional (Sonic can be solo or with any character in the game)?
    5. Do you have any critiques for the changes I've planned? Do you think this is still too ambitious and I need to scale it back? And if so, in what ways?
    6. Should I keep the mach speed sections to keep the gameplay varied or do you think they couldn't work well in 2D?
    7. How do you feel about the name? Should I rename it and change the title screen text?
    8. Can anyone recommend a useful, free or cheap program that can be used for editing pixel art? I've been using Gimp, but it doesn't have much of a pixel art focus. As a result, stuff such as animations are difficult to work with and I can't move anything without cutting and pasting it first.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
    Elproever547 likes this.
  2. Niko

    Niko All's well that ends well, right? Member

    Mar 1, 2014
    1) Keep the zones you've already made. I noticed you've started over on Wave Ocean, which looks better, but I really liked the old layout. Update tiles if you will, but the old versions had pretty solid levels in place. I didn't get too far, but I liked what I was playing. The levels were really big, but if the game were to save to SRAM after beating each level, then it'd totally be worth the haul. Alas, using SRAM would also allow players to visit the options screen more frequently if they don't like, or want to try something else, all while keeping the progress they've made already.

    2) (A) and (C) would be my personal preference. I do like the alternative soundtrack you introduced in the last hacking contest, but I find myself often going back to the 2016 build simply for the fact that it has the original tunes. I considered bringing up the idea of having a playlist option (2006 / Ports), but it's up to you if you want to uphold either or, and I would consider what other people will hopefully also comment when deciding on one or both via toggle.

    You've already got Sonic/Silver/Shadow. Personally, that's all I wanted to see. If you really want to go the extra mile, you can implement a Knuckles-like player to encompass him, Omega, and Rouge, while Blaze and anyone else you'd play as (I'm still only at Flame Core) can also recycle the Main, Tails, and Knuckles player objects. They'd add more as partners, though, 'cause the thing with MegaDrive Sonic is that you usually just want to get used to the one moveset you picked in the beginning.

    Having characters swap mid-level was interesting in '06, but if the effort it would take to do this is too much, then it's not worth the trouble. It's a cool idea, but I don't think people will really care that you didn't implement it. As stated in (3), MD Sonic players usually want to hang onto one moveset, and thus, one or two characters who are mostly similar. Perhaps implementing a character select between levels or on game reset (as elaborated in (1)) would be more beneficial.

    Definitely. You've put plenty of ambition into trying to implement a lot of functionality-based things from Sonic '06. This is a ROM hack, which is always a work in progress until "final" release. Worry about getting the main framework down. I would recommend one of two methods. Either 1) get all the levels made and then fill them in with more gimmicks over time, or 2) Make each individual zone at a time, and don't worry about having all the zones in a single build. Look at the one-level demos we've had. Impressive but short. For the best quality cut, just focus on making each zone the best it can. Let the rest of the levels be another day's job, and if necessary, part of a future build (when planning releases).

    The mach speed sections worked well in this hack. They were mildly obnoxious when running into things, but that's the difficulty talking. I'm still blown away by the springs and landings making the character constantly fly around. It's a beautiful interactive cinematic.

    The name of the project currently.. Sonic Next Genesis. Hah-! Like.. I liked the title when I first heard it, and it cleverly states what the project is in the fewest number of words. I'd keep it. I like it.

    Honestly.. I tend to use MS Paint for my pixel art when I need to make more frames. When I need to make the base, though, or plan on having a long session of spriting, I personally use Game Maker 8.1's sprite editor, and since you said in the introduction of your video that you want to make games with Game Maker, you might as well get accustomed to it.

    I felt like I had a few other things I wanted to say, but as far as I can remember at the end of typing it up, I believe it's all been encompassed by the Q&A that you've put forth. Thanks for reading it, and minor apologies for the huge wall of text. As such, I've put it into a spoiler so it's not in the way later.
    (EDIT: Added an empty line between each response for cleanliness.)
    AkumaYin and ProjectFM like this.
  3. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Member

    Aug 9, 2007
    From what I have seen of the new levels in the video they are quite good and it seems things are a massive improvement from the last time I got to play this, which I recall was massively broken in a lot of places despite showing major potential.

    The special stage cloud distortion stuff is a nice touch too.

    Keep the name, it's familiar and there really is nothing wrong with it.

    As for music, I think the thing with SMPS ports from other games is that you tend to get a lot of reuse from other hacks, which dampens the quality of the hack to be honest. With the tools available nowadays, making your own SMPS tracks (MIDI import, custom, etc) are a better idea.
  4. EMK-20218

    EMK-20218 The Fuss Maker Exiled

    Aug 8, 2008
    Jardim Capelinha, São Paulo
    Indeed. Especially because the people choose songs because they like them without to worry if they will play according to the zone style and pattern. Most of the songs that are usually choosen when extracted straight from other Genesis games rarely fit to the places the people put they in.
    kenny0989 and AkumaYin like this.
  5. ProjectFM

    ProjectFM Optimistic and self-dependent Member

    Oct 4, 2014
    Orono, Maine
    I guess the forums have been slow lately.
    Here are my new level plans with working titles. Stuff gets more mechanical as the levels go on.
    1. Grandiose Greenwood Zone - A new forest-themed level with water
    2. Ocher Ocean Zone - What was originally Wave Ocean
    3. Windblown Winter Zone - What was originally White Acropolis.
    4. Treacherous Transportation Zone - What was originally Radical Train.
    5. Raptorial Rainforest Zone - What was originally Tropical Jungle with the addition of enormous unnatural plant life.
    6. Cismontane City Zone - Sort of based on Aquatic Base. It is the main attraction of the area with buildings and odd structures.
    7. Magisterial Magma Zone - What was originally Flame Core. It is a geothermal power plant that is the source of electricity for Robotnik.

    I really like my soundtrack, though I will add a new one near the end of this hack's production. That way it doesn't add to all the other stuff I want to work on now, my skills will be more developed, and I won't get tired of listening to the new soundtrack repeatedly.

    I'd like to add Blaze. Other than that, I'm just going to stick with what characters are already in the game and develop their move sets.

    Character pairings will be able to be chosen by the player, though if I think of a good addition to the story that involves characters changing their pairings, I'll switch to that and add the player's choice as a post-game option.

    I'll keep the mach speed sections and possibly slow Sonic down a bit to make obstacles easier to react to.

    I'll keep the name for now. I've been fine with it for 3 years anyway.

    ExecByte on Sonic Retro recommended GraphicsGale, so I'll give that a try.

    @Calvin The new enemies and obstacles will make reusing the old layouts difficult, but I will make use of elements from them where they would fit.

    I've made note of everyone's suggestions. Thank you so much.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
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  6. Spiritmaster

    Spiritmaster Megadrive-kun Member

    May 11, 2009
    Krasnodar, Russian Federation
    Currently I have no time for hobbies but ~1 year later I can lend a hand by tackling the sprites(maybe some MIDI covers). Keep up the good work!
    Zone names are un-catchy, unfortunately. Try with a more simple pattern that reflects zone theme but not makes difficulty to understand it. Usually zones rely on more or less frequently used words, It's not a book sentence, it's zone name, remember.