What do you like to see in a Sonic ROM hack?

Discussion in 'Discussion & Q&A' started by TruffledToad, Sep 19, 2017.

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  1. TruffledToad

    TruffledToad Mushroom says, mushroom does. Member

    Feb 2, 2017
    The United States of Americaca
    Ask me, I wanna know!
    This is my first (and probably only) thread on this fourm, so I'm a bit nervous, so I'll start with something simple.

    What do you like in a Sonic ROM hack?

    There have been many a ROM hack over the years since 2000 regarding Sonic the Hedgehog. Something I wanted to know however, is what separates a hack like Sonic Erazor, from Latios in Sonic 3. There's a lot of reasons around, like understanding of what made the originals fun, a new, unique, or simple concept being used well, a good graphics and music pack, or your run of the mill meme hack. So what do you like about them ( I ask for the upteempth time)?

    Personally, from what I've seen, I feel that people take ROM hacks for granted sometimes. I'm okay with a vanilla ROM hack here and there, but playing Not Green Hill Zone a lot is starting to make my blood broil and boil. I really appreciate hacks with new stuff like bosses, badniks, coding, and character abilities.

    What I really strive for, however, is good level design, even my favorite ROM hacks out there have a problem with this at some points. I'm not really an expert sonic player, and there are times where things are taken too far. If there's one reason I'll play hacks that aren't changed drastically, it's for good level design, it will usually make up for it.

    As this is my first thread, I hope that it goes well, so I hope everyone has a great day, and can hope to look into other's answers for help on ROM hacking!
  2. MarkeyJester

    MarkeyJester ♡ ! Member

    Jun 27, 2009

    One of the biggest issues with the human race, is that we tend to be effected by influential impacts, and perception without awareness. We copy each other, we follow each other, often without realising it, we also do it without knowing where the person we're following is going.

    The best games, hacks, projects, whatever; out there, are the ones that are unique, new, and original. The ones that are dull are those that try to immitate its success, without having adding anything new to it. You can see this in the real world, the original is always a shock of surprise, but it's always followed by other companies, trying to pitch in on the profit by trying to immitate it, and failing.

    They failed because they did not add anything to it. In fact, for the ones that did immitate and succeeded, you will always find that they in their own right are unique, because they added something to it, something major, it wasn't simply following a trend, it was expanding on it more than 50% of what it was, and creating something original and new, to the point that it wasn't the same at all, making it unique, and not just a market rip-off.

    We have seen many hacks go around, the best, the worst, we've seen it all. But proportionately speaking, we have seen many that are just "meh", why? Because they are based on ideas that have already been, based on designs we've already seen, based on sounds we've already heard.

    While these hacks don't get major negativity for what they are, sure, they'll get a little praise, but they certainly don't get stapled or remembered for very long, and eventually fade into obscurity, because they blend in way too much with all the other hundreds of hacks that they appear similar to. To use the words of Mr.Nightingale:
    I would like to see creators of hacks empty their minds, try to come up with hacks that intentionally try to be as different as possible, ones that intentionally avoid looking, sounding, or running like any other projects out there. I promise you, they will always get top praise so long as there's some profesionalism put with them, they immediately have a surprise factor. It'd certainly get my vote of interest.

    Yeah, you'll have the problem of other people doing exactly the same, and probably trying so hard to hide it, probably by tweaking it in various ways. But rest assured, their work will fade into obscurity, while yours will live on, it will do so because of the impact.
  3. NiphFM

    NiphFM Host of the Mega Drive Music Contest Member

    Jun 5, 2015
    Music Plant Zone
    For me, the trinity for Sonic hacks are:
    • Level layouts and design
    • Aesthetics (A.K.A. art and music)
    • Bosses
    These three things are what leave the greatest impact on me, and you can't have a Sonic game without these.

    Level layouts for Sonic hacks have their own trinity as well, being speed, platforming and exploration. You can see an example of each of these in the original quadrilogy (S1, S2, S3K, SCD). I won't go into detail though, as you can find a level layout guide in the submissions sub-forum by Unlimited Trees.

    The aesthetic must be at least somewhat acceptable as well, as that's what people remember after leaving. Green Hill is remembered so vividly because of the spritework and aesthetic of it (green grass, checkerboard dirt, palm trees, flowers) and totally not because of all the fucking rehashes.

    Bosses are also very important as well, as they (are supposed to) give the player a good challenge at the end of every zone/act. These fights must stand out from the rest as well, as they are a test of the developer's creativity, as well as the gamer's skill, and they reflect on the creators as well.

    I also like Sonic hacks that have a good story. For example, Sonic ERaZor had a pretty solid story, and it was explained after every place you visited. Sonic 3K also stands out from the crowd as its storytelling is displayed as a pantomime on screen, and it works a treat and gets its point across really well.

    That's all I can think of, although if I remember more, I'll definitely make sure I update the thread!
  4. Pyrochrome

    Pyrochrome Newcomer Trialist

    Nov 21, 2017
    Regardless of whether it's a simple character replacement hack, or a fully fledged re-tooling of the game, the number one thing I value is effort. Even if your hack is simplistic, I can appreciate it if time and work has been put into accomplishing what you set out to do. Art hack? Spend time making unique designs and color choices. Level layout change? Study what makes the official Sonic levels fun and engaging, and test out your creations to ensure they make a fluid experience. A good work ethic is what separates the great hackers from the mediocre ones.
    maple_t likes this.
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