Sonic Winter Adventures

Discussion in 'Showroom Archive' started by vladikcomper, Apr 28, 2013.

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  1. vladikcomper

    vladikcomper Well-Known Member Member

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    [​IMG]
    THE FIRST PUBLIC RELEASE
     ​
    The day has finally come: the day I am finally releasing a full-fledged, full on hack that I have been working on for quite a long time. I can't believe it's finally happening! What an exciting moment for myself!


    I must say, a lot, and I mean a lot of work is still needed until I feel this hack is complete. To my regret, SWA still doesn't boast a wide variety of levels, so don't expect too much from the hack. In any case, I was able to make this release as a playable and enjoyable as possible, so I'm extremely happy about this release.


    So, proceed!







    The release trailer. Totally necessary to watch. I can't describe how thankful am I to mr. MB for creating this amazing sight!​
     ​



    So, what's new about this hack?

    • Blast Processing. Who says Sega can't do what Super Nintendo does?
    • Russian and English languages. Sonic Winter Adventures also has two language settings, English and Russian. The two languages ​​are represented in one menu. You can change the language in the Options menu.
    • High-speed gameplay! Like the best features of its predecessor, Sonic Quick Winter Adventures, SWA brings new tricks to the table that add even more speed and drive to the game play. Some of the moves include the Homing Attack, Jump Dash, Super Peel Out, and of course, the good old Spin Dash.
    • New bosses. Making bosses is usually a very complex process that requires a lot of effort. Not to mention, it can be difficult sometimes to come up with the idea of a good boss, but as you can see from my past projects, I have a special fondness for bosses! Therefore, one of the key elements of Sonic Winter Adventures is the bosses. In this hack, I paid particular attention to the development of bosses, which means lots of time and effort had been poured in.
    • Unlockables. Even after you finished all the levels, the game is far from over! As you go, you will open some previously hidden features and modes, so be on the lookout.



    Of course, Sonic Winter Adventures would not be possible without the help and support of many wonderful people!

    • Jet - a great musician and a good friend. He has made many invaluable contributions to the project. He not only created the music for the hack in zingy quality, made ​​technically sophisticated ports, but also gave valuable tips and expressed interesting ideas. Not to mention the fact that he strongly encouraged me to develop. It is unlikely that this project would have been further developed without his support.
    • S_T_D - another first-class musician who has recently expressed a desire to make some music ports for hacking. The quality of his work took my fancy, I took his songs, no questions asked.
    • Deoxys Kyogre - offered some amazing ideas for the act of the first zone, which gave me a second wind in the improvement of the levels. He created a few chunks, but they later helped me realize a lot of interesting solutions and new ways in the first zone.
    • PsychoRFG - has an incredible ability to push every button combination that will cause the game to behave in unexpected ways. Also has X-ray vision and can see the bug, even if it occurs in one case in a million.
    • SonicVaan - another beta tester, who, like PsychoRFG, revealed a lot of bugs and flaws. Thanks to him the game was fixed many small and medium-sized bugs and flaws in the placement of objects in the levels.
    • MarkeyJester - special thanks for the testing of some components of the hack on real hardware.
    • MainMemory - advised me on the English localization.
    • Sienduk - tested one of the pre-final prototypes the on March 30th on real hardware. Watching his passing has helped me to bring out the many weaknesses in the structure of the levels and some shortcomings.
    • mr. MB - provided the flash cartridge, making and testing took place Sonic Winter Adventures in Tula on March 30 ;) He also created a stunning Launch Trailer for the hack, for which I am eternally grateful to him.
    Also express my gratitude to the Sonic Retro Tech Members and Sonic SCANF!




     
  2. JoenickROS

    JoenickROS ROS (bug fixing in progress) Member

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    Beat it and I must say its very well done so far and the BG in MZ was real beautiful and the bosses were really tough, though I only had to save my state at evil Sonic. A few bugs that are still present.

    1. You can only use the peelout once in a level if you try to use it a second time you will not go forward when you let go of the button.

    2. There is a screen bug during the bosses that keeps Sonic from spindashing at the edge of the screen.

    3. This isnt really a bug but when you get hit and your rings scratter the game gets real slow for about 3 seconds. There is lagging in general too.

    The music is real nice too good job S_T_D, Vladikomper, and Jet!

    I expect big things to happen with this project in the future. Looking forward to the next release keep up the good work you guys!

    Edit: Also liked the BG from Sonic 3 ICZ
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2013
  3. Selbi

    Selbi The Euphonic Mess Member

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    Wow, what can I say? That was quite a run, but damn was it great! It's been a while since we've seen such a polished and unique Sonic hack (Seriously, when was the last time you've seen a hack that had a modified title screen?).

    Time for a big review:

    Concept, Setting, and Story:

    The concept was already given with SQWA, so that was nothing new. Plus, 'ice' in general isn't anything new either and at most you could understand it as "What if Ice Cap Zone was in Sonic 1?". My biggest concern, however, is the choice of setting. Like, why is this hack all icy? What's the meaning? Sure, it's mostly for the aesthetic purpose, but some sort of background explanation would be nice.

    In fact, some sort of story in general would be nice. I know that is an unimportant factor in a Sonic hack, but the more you drive away from the original game, the more it screams for explanation as to why you did this and that, or what the point of this and that is. I mean, I only created a story for parody purposes, not because it was actually necessary, but I wanted to fill that hole. Seeing how this hack is more serious with itself, it should also deserve more story.

    Art:

    But I don't want to hack around on minor stuff, because even though I don't understand everything: MY GOD THIS HACK IS A SIGHT! The amazing work of detail and the scattered art details everywhere are just totally mind blowing.

    Let's start from the very beginning: You are greeted by a spinning Sega logo. Then you see the SWA logo in a pseudo-3D setting bouncing away and towards you. Cool stuff and all, but what really captivated me was the "PRESS START" logo. Like, holy fucking Jesus: IT HAD ACTUAL TRANSPARENCY! Not just some pseudo checkerboard fade transition bullshit, it actually blended in with the background. It actually took a while for me to realize how awesome that is, because you don't see that very often on the Mega Drive.

    Either way, after that amazing eye-fest, you're granted by a nice menu and go towards the game. This is where it really begins to crush me, since I don't even know what I'm supposed to comment on, without writing an essay! To make it quick, the snow is absolutely amazing; so much in fact, that I sometimes just stood there in a safe spot to look at it fall from one edge of the screen to the opposite one. Then we have the lovely recreation of the background. But the best part is the lava in the second zone. Really, despite it being pretty normal here in Germany and the scenery of the hack implying coldness, I actually felt a little bit of warmth when I approached the lava. It just popped out and didn't just blend in, like it does in Marble Zone.

    Music:

    Gotta go back a small step again, because despite the music being pretty fucking cool, it's just 'pretty fucking cool', not 'super amazing holy-shit-boner-incoming cool'. Plus, it's a shame that the boss music was re-used for every boss. I would've liked some variety. It's also a shame that there are many overused (I couldn't find a word that sounds less negative, sorry for that) ports from other Sonic games.

    But still, for the purpose of it, the music really drags you with the game and acts as a great supporter for the flow of the game.

    I've checked out the sound test and as I'm writing this post I'm listening to Frozen Island Act 1, since that one song is my favorite and actually stands out the most for me. It's also a song you'd immediately identify as a "This has got to be the song for the first level" song.

    Programming:

    Now it's time to launch the real cannons, because my god, this game is packed with programming awesomnesses (I don't care if that's not a real word). The general make up, the menus, the bosses, the GOD DANG CREDITS... it's just, wow. Certainly not the best thing in the world (which is mostly due to some dude with the ability to claim rank #1 for everything in the world of Sonic hacks like it's a joke), but still pretty high up there. There were literally zero issues I've ran into.

    Okay, that's not true, I've ran into one: As I've defeated the first boss while having zero rings, I still was hit by him after I hit him, making me die while he exploded. Didn't happen again after that, but still.

    But what I'm saying, there are no obvious bugs, no obvious programming flaws, nothing. Super solid coding at its finest. A little laggy sometimes, but I can compromise a gap between an amazing game and MD limitations.

    Gameplay and Flow:

    But now comes the most important part: The game as what it is, a game. How much fun is it? How does it "feel"? Well, you shouldn't expect a huge secret here, because I've already said several times how amazing this experience was.

    The game doesn't throw you a bone whenever you fuck up and there are quite a few paths to take. Replay value and challenge are two points which were excellently executed. You aren't overwhelmed with too much shit you don't need. While we do have the absolutely obligatory and pointless Super Peel Out, we have a homing attack that works well with the game and gives you good control. Never will you really feel that there is a part that wasn't designed with the jump dash/homing attack in mind.

    I really like the bosses, though mostly the first one for being unique. Even though I watched the trailer, I didn't have a damn clue that the ball before the cliff was actually the boss until I saw it opening itself up. It took a while to realize that the red thing around its eye is a cross hair, but after that it became pretty straight forward. Not easy, but pretty balanced. Predicting patters has always been one of my favorite things in any game ever. That is also why I liked the evil Sonic. He is clearly based off Silver Sonic, but feels so much better and more challenging (only thing that I didn't understand was why he was just floating towards the ground and away without anything to imply flying abilities, like flames from the boots or something).

    Either way, my favorite part of the whole game was the lava escaping part at the end of the game. Not only did you create PERFECT camera shaking (the closest thing I've seen before that was in Mega Mushroom Edition), but also was the anticipation of that part with the small cutscene like drop down before that just amazing. And it felt challenging. Unlike in Sonic 1's Marble Zone, where the lava stream just flows with 5 mp/h at most, here you could really feel that any mistake could cause failure. Finding that perfect balance between challenge and flow is hard, and with this part you've just perfected it.

    Final thoughts:

    This hack is awesome. Being a "Hey look guys, I've made a new hack" without much pre-release talk, it really came as a surprise, but it was a damn great surprise! Some people may know me for being obsessed with the idiom 'quality over quantity', because I much rather have four perfectly polished and interesting levels than a bazillion terrible ones where nothing really stands out. It's better to have a small cup of high class ice cream than a huge package of cheap potato chips.

    This game was fun. It was entertaining. This is what counts: Entertainment. Entertainment isn't measured by time, it's measured by enjoyment, and enjoyment is produced with great things which happen 'at a time', not over a time span. So, you have all the rights in the world to expand to this game, but I wouldn't overdo it, since you already have a pretty damn solid game here as it is.

    Brilliant hack, 5/5. Have a virtual cookie!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2013
  4. GalliumGrant

    GalliumGrant Void. Member

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    Man, hearing Mega Turrican songs, FM voices and PCM samples in a Sonic 1 ROM really made my day. Not to mention the third boss theme you have in the hack, which is actually a tune from Zyrinx' The Adventures of Batman and Robin. When I heard you guys edit it to become even cooler, I shit myself. Each boss has a nice level of strategy and depth and challenge. I lost about four lives to Evil Sonic, all because he was right up my ass the entire time. I was especially impressed with the art of Ancient Ruin Zone, along with the music to accompany it. (I smell Double Dragon and Battletoads.) This is easily the best hack technically, musically, and visually that I've seen in a long time. One suggestion, though, the environmental hazard (the threat at the end of the stage that wasn't actually a boss) found in Ancient Ruins Act 1, really, really impressed me. I think you should keep the bosses/end-stage threats that you have for the existing stages, but I think for future zones, for Acts 1 and 2 only (perhaps the final zone can be an exception, or a mix of both, seeing how it is the climax of the game), you shouldn't add bosses, but create an environmental hazard that acts as an endurance round. Or, even better, make Act 1 have an environmental hazard, Act 2 have an environmental hazard controlled by Eggman/Robotnik, and have Act 3 have an actual boss. Great work! I look forward to your next public release!
     
  5. Psycho RFG

    Psycho RFG Well-Known Member Member

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    Marvelous! You did a great job programming this game and you joined it with a nice art design with cool and great music...

    The transparency on the text is simply awesome, I already told you about that. The menus in general are greatly done.

    The new bosses always are a nice addiction, and you always surprised me with that, but what it’s even cooler is that events in the levels, like the falling blocks or the lava growing up... nice touch that gives variety to the game and makes it really funny.

    The worst part is that amount of slowdowns... I hope you can optimise even more the game to avoid this as much as was possible.
     
  6. redhotsonic

    redhotsonic Also known as RHS Member

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    Quote from retro

     

     

    Anyway, carrying on.  Most of your object placements are quite bad, a lot of them are crumbled together, making abusing the homing attack easy.  Also, due to lots of object clamped together, even more above and below the camera, this generates slowdown.  I'm sorry, but the slowdown in this game is unbelievable.  I did not expect this from vladikcomper at all.  Most of the time, the megadrive was struggling, and it happened in every level.  This needs to be sorted by next release for sure.  A huge solution would be porting the S3K object manager in.

     

     

    So far, I haven't really seen anything new in the level itself that's made me gone "wow".  But then the boss arrived.  Now, my expectations raised here, thinking this would be good.  And to be honest..... something was missing.  First of all, the bosses (bearing in mind we're talking about level 1 here) are way too hard.  I died a couple of times on the first boss, only once on the second, then game over on the 3rd.  Plus, these don't "feel" like bosses to me, these feel like "very hard act 1 bosses" from S3K.  Which is fine for act 1 and act 2, but a proper boss would be nice for act 3.  Swapping the 2nd and 3rd boss around would make more sense in a way.  Because Eggman is the main villain after all, he is the "boss".  The Eggman boss wasn't too bad at all, he felt like a proper boss and enjoyed that one.  But the first one was too hard and after dying a 3rd time, I already felt like turning this off.  And the Sonic boss, you need to make it clear when to attack.  It took me fucking forever to realise you're only meant to attack him when he's walking slowly.  Maybe make his eyes normal when you can attack him then red when can't.  I was trying to attack him when he was spindashing, jumping, like it was a fight with Knuckles from S3K.  Also on this boss (and all the other bosses), if you're on the very right-end of the screen and spindash left, you don't move anywhere and just stand there on the spot (similar to SCZ bug); this really started to piss me off as well.  I got Game over on the sonic boss and had to start all over again!  Why doesn't the SRAM save acts?  I was almost tempted not to give it another go.

     

     

     

    Onto the second level, and for me, it started to improve.  The background was nicely done, new art is it?  And new art on the bricks, but easily you could tell this was Marble zone.  But the layout was awesome here and I had no issues with this level.  But still, I saw nothing "new".  Then the boss came (if it's even a boss, I don't know).  Loads of falling bricks which to me, I was thinking "what the hell is all this?"  I then suddenly fell through the floor and lava started to rise.  Now we're talking.  This actually got me excited as I was trying to run away.  Something new and very clever that we've never seen before!  How did you get that fire to rise?  Is it FG or BG?  I couldn't tell (remember I'm on real hardware here so couldn't look on an emulator).  Either way, very clever indeed!  Act 1 done!

     

     

    Then it ended.  That's it?  First public release and that's it?  This ain't a release, it's another demo!  I think this got released too early.  But I do like that you introduced challenges.  I had a go on one of them, but then decided to turn the game off as was getting a bit tired of seeing Green Hill's art.

     

     

     

    Game-breaking bug!

     

    When in the middle of act 2, I was homing attacking on some badniks, then suddenly, Sonic vanished and the camera scrolled very fast all the way to the top and all the way to the right.  The camera then came to a stop and then the boss counter loaded to 16, then it just sat there.  All I could do is wait for 10 minutes or reset.  Sorry for the shit picture quality, but took from real hardware using my phone camera:

     

    [​IMG]

     

     

    Yet again, I had to start all over again.  For your information, Sonic suddenly disappeared on act 2 around this area:

     

    [​IMG]

     

     

    I have no idea what caused it.  He just suddenly vanished.

     

     

     

     

    All in all, I was actually disappointed in some ways.  It was all fancy and clever when you first turn it on, building my hopes, but then when playing the game, it just feels... okay.  And the bosses difficulty needs to be toned down a little.  If this was level 3 or 4, those bosses would be fine, but for level 1, too hard.  Challenges are a nice addition though.  But for now, I'm counting this as a demo and will wait for the full game.  There's nothing worse playing an uncomplete game.  Why?  Because when you come to release the 2nd or 3rd release, I've got to do the first level again and again just to see what's new.  This is just my review and hope you didn't find it too harsh, but I had to be honest with you.  I really wanted to enjoy this game, honestly I did, but, I just couldn't.  Sorry.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2013
  7. JoenickROS

    JoenickROS ROS (bug fixing in progress) Member

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    Oh boy harsh, I actually didn't run into the bugs he explained except for the spindash boss one. The bosses were not that hard either l only had to save at Evil sonic (only had to re-load once) and at MZ brick boss (Same) or whatever. Doesnt seem like he played through Mission mode, which is a dick move not to play through a whole release. I also enjoy using the homing attack, I mean after all arn't Sonic games supposed to be all about speed?? You guys did not deserve any of this, I really enjoyed this release, it needs some work but not as much as this person explained. I hate it when a teams work gets pissed on.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2013
  8. Ravenfreak

    Ravenfreak Still hacking the 8-bit titles Member

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    Not to sound rude or anything, but rhs is entitled to his opinion. He wrote a very thoughtout review stating why he didn't necessarly care for the hack too much, he didn't just flat out say "This hack sucks OMG it's horrible!" He found glitches, he gave Vlad feedback to help him out. How is that harsh? : Now on topic... Vladikcomper you've done well with this hack, however (like stated in the tech lounge) I found the first boss to still be a bit difficult... I feel that it's hitbox is too small. Of course a good challenge in a Sonic hack is cool though, because lets face it vanilla Sonic the Hedgehog is pretty easy amirite? :V I didn't come across any glitches, though the game does lag in some spots. But the soundtrack is amazing, and I can definitely tell lots of hard work went into the hack. Even if it's a tad bit difficult, it's still fun to play IMO. :)
     
  9. redhotsonic

    redhotsonic Also known as RHS Member

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    I'm not "pissing" on it.  I'm giving constructive criticism.  If I said that I loved it and it was the best ever, I'd only be lying to myself and vladikcomper.  I never said that his hack was terrible and should throw it in the trash, because that would be a waste.  I was just a little disappointed.  That's all.  I'm sure vladikcomper will be able to improve on it.  After all, it's only the first release.
     
  10. SaunicBoom

    SaunicBoom Well-Known Member Member

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    Not if it means getting instant speed without any repercussions. Sure, Sonic specializes in the speedy aspect of platforming, but the speed is given more worth if you earn it by building it up and keeping it up there, not by spamming the jump button multiple times. This is one reason why I hate the jump dash/homing attack in Sonic hacks. Sorry to go off topic, but felt the need to address this.
     
  11. JoenickROS

    JoenickROS ROS (bug fixing in progress) Member

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    I'm not "pissing" on it.  I'm giving constructive criticism.  If I said that I loved it and it was the best ever, I'd only be lying to myself and vladikcomper.  I never said that his hack was terrible and should throw it in the trash, because that would be a waste.  I was just a little disappointed.  That's all.  I'm sure vladikcomper will be able to improve on it.  After all, it's only the first release.



    Sorry just hard work is hard work and you didnt really say much good about it (although you did say something good about MZ miniboss). So sorry If I got the wrong idea.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2013
  12. Selbi

    Selbi The Euphonic Mess Member

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    What kind of explanation is "You didn't say much good about it"? I could've ended my post after the first paragraph and still would've given the hack a good rating, because I like it. Does everything needs to explained in detail?

    And if RHS really wanted to express his hate and disgust on this hack (sorry for speaking for you here, in case it isn't the truth), I think he would've said it straight without any bullshitting. It's better to have detailed negative criticism, which helps you to improve your hack, than just a million posts saying "BEST HAX EVAR".
     
  13. JoenickROS

    JoenickROS ROS (bug fixing in progress) Member

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    He could of gave more positive points thats all im saying. I didnt say RHS should of just said good things, I mean I even found problems and addressed them but still gave it a good rating.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2013
  14. SuperEgg

    SuperEgg I'm a guy that knows that you know that I know Member

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    Vlad, wonderful work, as usual. ;) There are a few things I've found issues with, but since we've already discussed them in IRC, there is no point bringing iy up here again. Also, love your description of your hack =P

    Shut the fuck up. That is the dumbest thing I've ever fucking heard. People make criticisms that you may not agree with, live with it and move on. It's his own opinion, no matter how much you disagree with. 

    He could have, if he felt so inclined, but he didn't. Stop trying to act like some great big mediator and that EVERYBODY has to give only happy comments and feedback. It's the real world, if something isn't to a person's liking, and they comment on it, fine. It's not your job to critique somebodies opinion because it didn't give YOU warm, fuzzy feelings. It's not even your hack, so shut the fuck up, leave your opinions and move on.
     
  15. StephenUK

    StephenUK Working on a Quackshot disassembly Member

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    If he found more negative points than positive points, that's entirely up to him. He's not obliged to be positive about every hack he plays, that's not how things work here.

    Now, onto my review, which I will break down into areas:

    Sega Logo - Nice technical achievement, very impressive to see such a professional logo. Well done.

    Title Logo - Again, brilliant work. I would love to see how an effect like that is achieved when written in software with no hardware scaling. Impressive.

    Title Screen - Nice effect on the "Press Start" text and nice logo.

    Green Hill - Feels a little bit weird seeing ICZ background against grass and palmtrees, even if they are snow covered. There seems to be quite a lot of slowdown in places, which I think is due to the number of monitors and badniks clustered together in some areas. Maybe porting the S3K objects manager or cutting down on the amount of on-screen objects here may help. At one point while losing rings, the game almost came to a complete halt. The first boss was a little on the difficult side, mainly due to the small hitbox and the pretty erratic firing it does later on. Maybe lowering the bullet spread and increasing the hitbox would help make it a touch easier without making it too easy.

    The act 2 boss was very nice and well coded and felt very professional. The only thing I may say about this is to maybe make Robotnik hang lower just a little bit longer, as the first couple of times I was taken by surprise at the speed he lowers and raises again. Not really anything major though. The Act 3 boss was pretty annoying, mainly due to a small window of opportunity again. By the time you realise that he is vulnerable to attack and make your way towards him, he has already started to attack again. Maybe extending the window by 30 - 45 frames might be enough to keep it challenging but not too easy. I also think the suggestion of swapping Act 2 and Act 3 bosses might be good, as Robotnik seems more fitting for the end of zone. Level layouts are generally well put together and flow nicely, so no issues there.

    Marble Zone - I love the palette on this zone, it suits the level very well. Again, the zone suffers from slowdown in areas but not as much as in Green Hill. I also liked the little reference to Sonic 1 on the SMS near the start (the hitting the wall and falling inside bit). That was a very nice addition. Again, layout was fun to play and flowed together nicely, if a little overpopulated in areas by badniks, which could just be spammed with the homing attack. The mini boss of the falling bricks, although nicely done, has never really appealed to me. I saw the same thing done in a hack recently (although I forgot which one) and I didn't really like the idea of it then. It just seems too basic to make me interested. The lava chase though was good fun and brilliantly executed. I'm guessing the effect was done using the high level of the background plane, which I don't think I've ever seen done before in a hack. A great effect which I hope to see more of in the future.

    Music - A couple of tracks felt a little bit lacking (such as GHZ Act 2 Egg Rocket), but for the most part the tracks were very well made. The Egg Rocket one could do with some major rework as it seems to be completely lacking the backing melody and feels horribly empty. I really love the inclusion of the Techno Base theme from Mr Nutz: Hoppin' Mad as well. It's a shame the game never made it as a full release on the MD, it is easily one of my favourite platformers on the Amiga. I also love the version of the Nature World music from Mr Nutz in there as well, athough the MD sound hardware doesn't do that music much justice compared to the original version on the Amiga, which sounds incredible. The other Mr Nutz music is very nice to hear, and I love the fact you've shown it some appreciation.

    Verdict - On the whole, I didn't really see this as a full fledged hack. To me, it felt a lot more like a tech demo, with some incredibly impressive features and effects, but all held together in a less impressive shell. I think the concept of a winter based hack is a little too basic for a hack of this calibre, and I think with a different approach and storyline, this could go on to be one of those rare gems that I would love to play again and again. At the moment though, I don't think the current direction does it the justice it deserves. I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future though all the same, as the technical stuff was indeed very impressive.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2013
  16. redhotsonic

    redhotsonic Also known as RHS Member

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    England
    That's one thing I forgot to mention about, and that's the music.  The music in the game is very good and had pretty much every channel to it's full potential.  I really liked act 3's music and the bass from it.  My MD is plugged into my surround sound and it sounded so clear and sharp.  The only track I wasn't keen on was act 2 as it sounded quite weak compared to the others.

    Anyway, I hope vladikcomper doesn't take my harsh criticism to heart.  He knows I mean well.  And I know he's put a lot of effort into this, as I can tell with the titles and bosses.  Made my own bosses myself, I know how hard they can be to create.  It's just the fact this game didn't make me go "wow" as much as I hoped for.  Maybe my expectations were a little too high. 
     
  17. vladikcomper

    vladikcomper Well-Known Member Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    410
    Heh, I think this is going to be a huge post, since I couldn't reply to many appearing posts in time, so...

    First of all, thank you everybody! I'm so grateful to all your opinions, reviews and criticism and I'm so happy my hack was well-appreciated. This is one of the best felling I've had so far. That felling, when you complete and release the project of life, something you've been working on for years -- Sonic Winter Adventures was certainly my main project all the time, by far I've put more effort and hard working into it than into anything else. Now I'm proud, proud I could do it up to anything: lack of spare time, periods of loosing all the motivation, when I stopped believing there would be anything good coming out of this. But what I'm most happy about is that my work got appreciation. This makes me realize the years of work weren't just in vain. This is what it was made for: to provide you a good game that you enjoy, to make you impressed with what can still be done on good old Mega-Drive. My work (and, I believe, the work of many hackers around here) is mainly inspired by appreciation from other people, this particular hack and most of my work simply wouldn't exist without your recognition (and the highlight on Sonic Retro's front page was beyond my dreams), so thank you!

    I know it's too little as a game, it needs A LOT of work and improvements, but still, this is the big event for me, because, I didn't believe I could finally put everything into a form of a complete release -- and here by complete I mean, I could finish all the features I started, made it through the stage of incomplete tech demo with no beginning and no ending, round everything up into one thing -- the game developers may understand me here: it's really hard to round everything up, especially in a hack, and the more features you have, the harder it is finish it, but not as harder as to assemble everything into one game.

    I'm really grateful to your detailed reviews, Selbi, RHS and StephenUK!

    I would just like to fix that, however, we weren't able to produce more music in time to replace some overused songs, as I set the release date to April 28th (I made a big announcement weeks ago on Russian forums, since the topic of it's predecessor, Quick Winter Adventures, was still active somehow with people wondering about the release). I totally agree about the boss theme being overused. While there are quite a few alternative songs present in the sound test, I still think think the S3 Boss theme suits the best for the bosses I have so far. Not so long before the release I finally found a suitable song for one of my bosses, but it turned out too long and hard to do. I was working on it along with Jet, but unfortunately, we didn't make it in time.

    And, to be frankly, SWA's soundtrack is quite chaotic now: it consists of variety of music genres. You see, most of the music was done on experimental basis, kind of to show some blast processing in the music aspect, try out some technically advanced ports, especially from other Genesis games, which are way harder to do then most of the MIDI/XM ports. The culmination of it was Jet's port of the Adventures of Batman & Robin music, something that nobody had done before in SMPS due to huge technical difficulty. But Jet not only did the port, he made an original remix of it, which, in my opinion, sound even more awesome than the original music.

    It looks like the difficulty here is really a problem for many people. In fact, I didn't want to make the bosses hard at all, and they are really easy for me -- I simply can't die on the first 3 bosses unless I play intentionally bad. It's funny how some people complain that the act 3 boss became way too easy comparing to SQWA and the others find it the most difficult thing ever.

    Seeing a couple let's plays and walkthroughs on YouTube, I've realized that people just can't find the right strategy against them. Believe me, they become really easy once you come up with a good strategy. Well, that's certainly my fault. I tried to do my best to 'push' players on the right track when fighting bosses, show their weak points and the exact moments you can attack by their behavior and design. I'm certain that a good boss mustn't take you several attempts just to figure out the strategy, he must clearly show you it when you're doing it wrong and his acting and, perhaps, few game hints must prompt you the right strategy. This is how most of the modern games do it at least. On the contrary, old-school games never were so friendly. I remember a lot of games were the bosses seemed as hard as my bosses for you, but in a while, I learned how to beat them and then was like: "How this could even be hard before?". Just play The Adventures of Batman & Robin to see how it tells player absolutely nothing on how to play, making you figure out the game mechanics by trial and error and beat the same level over one hundred times, yet I find this game a masterpiece. But I guess nobody wants this experience with modern games nowadays.

    The Act 1 boss is the last boss I've coded so far (not counting the Ancient Castle 'boss'), it's more technically advanced then the others in the hack, it took more work and effort and I think of it as one of my best bosses. I wanted to make the strategy clear: The weak point is his 'eye' that throws missiles on you and you can hit it only after it stopped charging to generate new missiles. When it's vulnerable, the crosshair appears and you can perform homing attack, pretty similar to Sonic 4. The crosshair and ability to home on it were implemented after the private release, when I got some feedback from Tech Members. I thought that would make it much easier and obvious. Well, it did for me, but didn't for many people, to my regret. I've seen that many people attempt to attack the eye between shooting the missiles, which is wrong acting, because, look at the eye -- it's flickering, which means charging! In one guy's LP, he even thought that the crosshair bugs because he couldn't home on the eye or hit it between missiles.

    But at least, some players got it right: http://bit.ly/ZjkeSX -- here's a lovely example of beating this boss with a right strategy. No moves beyond human's reaction. No damage taken.

    I'll be thinking of what can I do to resolve all those vaguenesses with figuring out the right strategy.

    The Act 2 boss. I'm glad most people found it pretty good and not over-complicated. Actually, this one of my early bosses, no changes were made since 2011. I think I was lucky on this one, the strategy is obvious and the difficulty is pretty balanced -- it's really hard to pick that balance when making a good boss.

    The Act 3 boss I consider as the worst boss in a hack. In fact, this is the second boss I've ever made in a Sonic hack. Both this one and Act 2 boss were programmed years before Megahack, so they are of a worse quality. This one is the oldest: it was programmed back in 2010 and no significant changes were made since then. So it's obviously inaccurate. I planned to redo it from scratch, but the new ideas I have would require creating additional animations and a lot of effort for other things. I just realized I wouldn't make this in time. I didn't want to reject something that I put much effort into after all (even though creating a boss like this isn't an achievement for me anymore).

    I really have no idea where these two weird glitches were coming from. There was a big beta-testing of SWA, involving several good testers as well as real-life testing with so of my friends, which took place in Tula (a Russian city). I played through the hack several times myself and couldn't spot any glitches like this, other people didn't have problems with playing it as well. Nobody hasn't met anything like this before, which makes me wonder.

    If that happens only on hardware, check out if the SRAM works correctly. The only thing that cause weird in-game glitches was spoiled SRAM data. This usually ended with the game being unable to pause or crashing if the pause button is pressed. I though I fixed the case of broken SRAM data, but maybe I've missed something.

    Anyways, it's really sad some weird glitches ruined the whole game experience for you.

    I totally agree with this point. I myself realize that the idea of the hack is somewhat stupid and I'm already running out of ideas of how to develop it. Actually, I have an idea of the plot, explaining everything about the hack, the fact is, I don't know if I can produce more winter-themed levels and make them unique without the same color teasing your eyes.

    You see, this hack slowly evolved from a small mini-hack, Sonic Quick Winter Adventures from 2009. Literally. I didn't even change the disassembly since SQWA's source. To my surprise, SQWA was somewhat successful when firstly released. I didn't expect it, I had a different plans back then, but as a lot of people asked me to continue this hack, I did. At first, I was just enjoying working on it as a small mini-hack, playing around with implementing different things and ideas, mainly to practice my coding skills. As I didn't have time to start something serious back then -- I worked on SQWA. Apparently, the development almost stopped in 2011 as I had even less time then as well as lost the interest. In the end of 2012, as many people were still wondering about the project, I decided to revive it. Somehow I realized it can turn out into a big project and I always wanted a big project. So, I chose SQWA that had a plenty of new stuff, but nothing was finished, changed the name to Sonic Winter Adventures and started the toughest hard working I've had so far. To say, a HUGE amount of work has been made since the end of 2012 and the hack has finally got its face.

    I think for a while in the nearest future this will still stay Winter Adventures. I'll try to get as much as I can from this idea: extend levels, fix bugs, improve the bosses. Then, I'll most likely make another project based on it. Which means you see a lot of stuff from SWA, but under another title, with different zones and settings. But this if only I'll have enough time in the future, which I am unsure on.
     
  18. redhotsonic

    redhotsonic Also known as RHS Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,970
    Location:
    England
    Sometimes the simplest bosses are the best.  I think you tried to make the other 2 bosses too complicated.  The main issue with the other 2 bosses is when to hit them.  I also didn't know when to hit the first boss and tried when he was attacking (sometimes when he wasn't) until at once the hit-marker came, then I finally realised.  The 3rd boss, took me forever to realised that you can only hit him when walking slowly.  At least with the second boss, we all know you can hit Eggman at any time; just avoid the swinging ball.  Not necessarily a strategy there, just avoid the ball and hit him, simples.  That's why I like it.


    The reason why you didn't know they were hard is because you made them.  You know when he's going to attack, how to defeat him, when to attack him, etc etc.  With my new boss, you just have to hit the balls to yellow and they hit Eggman:

    [​IMG]

    I'm not saying my boss is better, don't get me wrong, but you find out pretty quick what you've got to do.  There's no strategy, just all luck and fun.  But that doesn't mean it's hard.  This is going to be the 5th boss so this will be a bit hard, but I can do this boss now with my eyes closed, but my friend still struggles a bit, but he knows instantly what to do.  He'll get better at it though.  That's just my view on bosses, and don't have to take my advice by all means.

    I really have no idea where these two weird glitches were coming from. There was a big beta-testing of SWA, involving several good testers as well as real-life testing with so of my friends, which took place in Tula (a Russian city). I played through the hack several times myself and couldn't spot any glitches like this, other people didn't have problems with playing it as well. Nobody hasn't met anything like this before, which makes me wonder.

    If that happens only on hardware, check out if the SRAM works correctly. The only thing that cause weird in-game glitches was spoiled SRAM data. This usually ended with the game being unable to pause or crashing if the pause button is pressed. I though I fixed the case of broken SRAM data, but maybe I've missed something.





    I don't think it's hardware only issue.  It just happened when I was on hardware.  Don't think it's SRAM related either.  This has only happened once and even trying again and again on hardware, it didn't do it again.  I have no idea how I did it, I just spammed the homing attack on them enemies around that area, then suddenly Sonic vanished, the camera went to the top right of the level array, boss counter loaded, then froze (music still playing).  This is only one glitch, not two glitches.  Just to confirm, the first picture was when the game froze and the second picture, is where I was when that same glitch was about to occur (them badniks to the right, I spammed homing-attacked them and the glitched happened).

    BTW, I need to PM you about the boss counter.  Don't want to post it all here as I'll be going off topic, but just to let others know, the boss counter vladikcomper has is extremely similar to mine, and were both made and created by coincidence.  So don't want anyone mailing either of us saying "vladikcomper stole your boss counter design" or vice-versa to vladikcomper.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2013
  19. SpirituInsanum

    SpirituInsanum Well-Known Member Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    642
    No lengthy review: I played, I had fun, I played again, had fun again. :)

    I just want more, that's a really nice hack.
     
  20. vladikcomper

    vladikcomper Well-Known Member Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    410
    [​IMG]
    FIRST PUBLIC RELEASE SOUNDTRACK





    I didn't plan to release a soundtrack before, since the game borrows a lot from the other Genesis games; while this kind of porting can be times harder and more time-consuming, it all sounds quite similar after all, apart from several quality improvements and tweaks. To my surprise, quite a few people have asked me to release the game's soundtrack already. I was happy to hear a lot of people actually loved the game's music. I'm sure, Jet and S_T_D, who were behind the most awesome compositions, are even happier about this! Thank you! We'll try to please you with even more original tracks in the future and show what SMD is truly capable of in terms of sound quality.


    For those of you who would like to enjoy listening hack's music in your music players, I've recorded the soundtrack of the Sonic Winter Adventure's First Public Release, featuring the most significant music in the hack. To make it more interesting, this release also includes several bonus tracks that weren't present in the game. All of them are original remixes made by Jet, with several ones being prepared specially for this release.





    Tracks list:


    1 - The Frozen Hill - Act 1 (Jet) ... from Megaman Zero 3


    2 - The Frozen Hill - Act 2 (Jet) ... from Sonic Advance


    3 - The Frozen Hill - Act 3 (Jet) ... from Cool-Spot


    4 - The Ancient Castle (Jet) ... from Battletoads and Double Dragon


    5 - The Final Factory - Act 1 (Jet) ... from Megaman 2


    6 - The Final Factory - Act 2 (vladikcomper) ... from Dangerous Seed


    7 - The Final Factory - Act 3 (S_T_D) ... from Journey To Silius


    8 - Robotnik's Park (vladikcomper) ... from Magical Hat no Buttobi Turbo! Daibouken

    9 - The Big Boss (Jet) ... A Remix of The Adventures of Batman & Robin


    10 - The Big Boss - Extneded Verison [bonus Track] (Jet) ... A Remix of The Adventures of Batman & Robin


    11 - Credits (vladikcomper) ... from Dangerous Seed

    12 - Title Screen (Jet) ... A Remix of Megaman: The Wily Wars


    13 - Title Screen - Alternative Version (vladikcomper) ... from Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad


    14 - Menu Theme #1 (vladikcomper) ... from Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad

    15 - Menu Theme #1 - Remix (Jet) ... A Remix of Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad


    16 - Menu Theme #2 (vladikcomper) ... from Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad


    17 - Menu Theme #3 (Jet) ... from Sparkster


    18 - Theme of Winter (vladikcomper) ... from Mega Turrican


    19 - Theme of Power (vladikcomper) ... from Mega Turrican


    20 - Theme of Happiness (vladikcomper) ... from Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad

    21 - A Tribute to Tempo [bonus Track] (Jet) ... A Remix of Tempo


    22 - A Tribute to Sonic CD (S_T_D) ... from Sonic CD

    23 - A Tribute to Megaman [bonus Track] (Jet) ... from Megaman X


    24 - A Tribute to Mr. Nutz [bonus Track] (Jet) ... A Remix of Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad


    The highlighted ones are original remixes and bonus tracks. To my mind, the track is worth listening at least for them -- Jet has done a marvelous job once again! He'll appreciate it if you give it a listen.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2013
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