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Sonic Utopia Early Demo

Average User Rating:
4.55556/5,
  1. Xinaar

    Xinaar E Rank Member

    • Messages: 2
    • Likes Received: 1
    I just found your demo yesterday, first thing I did was buy an XBOX 360 controller so I could play it in bed. Went right to the store and paid 50$ for a controller to play this free demo. And I haven't even bought a game new since Borderlands 2! This is one of the few things I've been excited about gaming-wise since forever, not even Sonic Mania could top this.

    I have a question though, since your making sonic's scale larger to account for enemy size, are rings going to be larger as well? Or maybe the same size but without the electric shield effect like in the demo?

    EDIT: And I figure you probably know most of the bugs already, but this one's pretty obscure: If you get damaged by a Moto Bug and immediately charge a Spin Dash (while in invincibility frames), that particular Moto-Bug won't die if it walks into you as long as you're still charging it. In fact, it can push Sonic around and even up sheer terrain and get him stuck in walls! The movement all seems to be RNG though and it's pretty easy to get damaged by Crab Meat and Buzz Bomber shots, which will either kill you if you didn't manage to pick up a ring or damage you and take you out of the Spin Dash, making you unable to be pushed around without recreating the glitch from scratch. I also couldn't get it to happen 100% of the time, I think It might have something to do with ring count, but I'm not sure.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
  2. Great Lange

    Great Lange The Great Lange

    • Messages: 68
    • Likes Received: 128
    Most of those odd bugs are no longer relevant since for the most part the code from the demo has been scrapped and the engine has been rewritten. The rest are issues with and missing parts of physics that are being addressed as it progresses.

    Well, if I just went and made the other objects larger along with Sonic, would kinda defeat the purpose wouldn't it? Point is to get the scales less exaggerated relative to each other.
    The magnetic effect will be present. Even with a larger Sonic, trying to precisely nab rings in 3d while moving fast in large spaces and trying to keep speed is not so good. The effect's range increases with speed, so the player can focus on controlling Sonic and is rewarded more the better they do.
     
  3. Comfortably Dumb

    Comfortably Dumb E Rank Member

    • Messages: 7
    • Likes Received: 7
  4. Sslaxx

    Sslaxx E Rank Member

    • Messages: 16
    • Likes Received: 10
    Utopia's potential is more interesting to me than increasingly stale articles about it.
     
  5. Enlightened Bean

    Enlightened Bean E Rank Member

    • Messages: 3
    • Likes Received: 2
    Hello Lange and Co. I've been learning how to use Blender for a few weeks now, ever since I found and melted in the beauty of this game how the models look. I just wanted to ask about if we can get some insight on the modelling of this game. Such as the time it takes to make a model/mesh like Sonic or the vegetation along with anything else, as well as if you have any personal pet peeves or the things you dislike about modeling, at least for this particular game (mine is UV Mapping in general right now).

    Also, it was mentioned how there's still some nicks with the camera movement for the game, does that mean you'll be focusing on fixing those current issues, or adding tweaks, such as if for example, if sonic is running on a vertical wall or tilted/inclined sloop, will the camera stay on target or will it shift to the side, showing more of the scene/background etc. Or are you satisfied with the current camera. I only ask out of curiosity as you said you are rewriting the current engine. If you have any pointers/tips and tricks to share about learning blender or general 3D modelling, I would love to know, please, enlighten us (pun intended).
    Sonic Utopia Gif_1.gif Sonic Utopia Gif_2.gif
    Finally, I found this interesting obstacle where I was able to wall run on the vertical wall of this plateau, and I was just wondering whether or not this was intentional or not since I have seen wall running before but I didn’t think the player could do this on more standard surfaces, even so, the mere thought of what you guys can create is ridiculously exciting and boundless. Will stuff like this still be present in your newer builds ?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  6. Great Lange

    Great Lange The Great Lange

    • Messages: 68
    • Likes Received: 128
    I can't really describe modeling rates since the time I spend on them varies and there's a broad range of complexity between models, but generally I can model quickly. The badniks for the demo were modeled, rigged and animated in about 3-4 days.
    I'm very unsatisfied with the level modeling in the demo. I was unable to realize the methods I wanted and fell back on messier more traditional and improvised methods. I mixed this with some procedural tricks for the result and ended up with a long and complicated pipeline with static models that made it a huge pain to continue work on it or make any changes. There's all kinds of flaws and inconsistencies with terrains and some decor, though I'm probably more conscious of them than players are. I've got much better modeling methods worked out now and can do much of what I wanted to do. UV mapping is a pain and I go for quick solutions when possible, but the new methods will improve that too. Expect some rough texturing here and there, but generally it won't be that noticeable. I do want to get a game out, and will settle for simple and serviceable work given I'm modeling everything singlehandedly for a fangame without a budget.

    The camera will basically be the same, but with polish in the areas that really need it, such as better following and orienting mechanisms, not bugging out on collisions, and a centering button, as well as special effects like speed lags and fov shifts. We also have ideas on helping the player with tricky paths like loops and corkscrews. Mura is the one programming the engine.
    I don't have any random tips on Blender or modeling, you would need to be specific. Lot of it is just general practices you can learn anywhere or on your own.

    The game supports Sonic running on any solid surface provided Sonic has slopes to reach them (much like the classics, all surfaces are fair game for fundamental physics), and yes being able to run on the sides there is intentional. Your second gif shows how running along the left side becomes a shortcut through that platforming section for a clever and speedy player, whereas the right side hints to the curved walls on that platform. That would be an example of how the demo level is a testing ground, and features like this will be part of level designs in the full game.
     
  7. Enlightened Bean

    Enlightened Bean E Rank Member

    • Messages: 3
    • Likes Received: 2
    Thank you so much for answering my prior long winded questions. I really appreciate it.

    While the models can always be improved, you and your team have definitely encapsulated this indescribable feeling of nostalgia and a uplifting feeling, whenever I play this game, you've accomplished great amounts. And to hear signs of improvement is really nice for fans like me .

    Yes, I really should have specified more on the type of advice I seek, hmm, In that case, I want to know if you were able to gain a better workflow overtime or as of recent. I know that sort of thing comes with time, but I find my personal work flow very disjointed and inconsistent, wasting time on things when it wasn't unnecessary. Since its kinda hard to give advice for this, I would just like to know if you have had these same issues which may have been more detrimental for you since you had to meet the Sage deadline, most likely not much since you model quite quickly it seems. And if you have learnt a lot from that experience

    I don't know much about physics engines but, if you see this Murasaki. I'd like to know how you came about using Unity as your main programing tool, as well as how often you've come across certain tricky bugs/lines of code which may slow down progress. I know someone personal who knows C++ and having dabble in Java for myself, I must commend people like yourself, you must have the patience of a budda or something to still be sane.

    Also, if you do use Blender (Lange), do you have any personal addons (for the program) you may use, at least for the modelling of the game, and if not, what program do you use?

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  8. Great Lange

    Great Lange The Great Lange

    • Messages: 68
    • Likes Received: 128
    Main reason I've spent so much time on R&D is to come up with as ideal a solution to modeling as possible. I don't like having to deal with static models and either endless pieces or meticulous hand modeling for elements that are not necessary, it makes level building rigid and clumsy, complicates the workflow and wastes so much effort. Much of it could just as well be handled by rules, repetitions, procedural techniques. I spent some time learning Houdini since it's capable of a procedural modeling workflow, and at this point I've gotten it to do what I need, just ironing out the details. I can incorporate Blender as much as I'd like, but I can now rely mostly on Houdini for building levels and focus on level design without worrying about meticulous grunt work nor being stuck with messy results.
    I have a bunch of random addons for Blender and usage of them varies.
     
  9. Murasaki

    Murasaki Co-Creator of Sonic Utopia

    • Messages: 26
    • Likes Received: 43
    Haha, insanity is part of the process. It's how I developed the zen patience. ;D

    My experience in game engines started in around... 2009 I think. I had been making mods for Elder Scrolls games, and I really wanted to start making my own games. Over time it became an outright obsession. In some sense one could say that game development became almost like a religious pursuit for me at some point, and it still is to this day. However, it took me until around 2010 to discover Unity and start learning from it. I had a little bit of experience with C and Java-like languages, so I started watching tutorials on C#, taking apart other people's systems, rebuilding them and such.

    I get burned out like anyone else, but the key is to keep coming back. Ask yourself what game development means to you, and how long you're willing to spend figuring out a problem. It can take a very long time - I've been studying vector math specifically for several years now. But if you strive for a goal, make it the greatest goal you can strive for.

    "He who has a why to live can bear almost any how."
    -Friedrich Nietzsche
     
  10. Enlightened Bean

    Enlightened Bean E Rank Member

    • Messages: 3
    • Likes Received: 2
    Wow, I would have never though of exploring other programs to find a better solution. There's truly no 1 way of doing things, I really must commend you for coming up with quick an clever solution like that. You've kinda indirectly giving me an answer to my question; With time, I'll find my own solutions, and to do that, I must be flexible and adaptable, if one way fails, try another, kinda the essence of any designer of a medium really.

    As for Murasaki, I can definitely relate to your obsession for game development with my growing love for animation, be it that I only started properly practicing this year, but i have had an interest and dabbed in it since around 2013. I found that now, am spending less time in simply recreations like games, and more time improving my 2D, and as of recent, 3D animation skills. It seems my "why" came just recently, guess it's time to starting figure out the "how" as well :D. But I guess I'd be lying, since am here asking question, about yet another game !! (irony is sweet)

    I've really pestered you two for too long. hope to eventually ask more questions when appropriate. Thank you, Lange and Murasaki for answering my questions, and providing so much insight. May all of you prosper in improvement and success
     
  11. Great Lange

    Great Lange The Great Lange

    • Messages: 68
    • Likes Received: 128
  12. TheBlurCafe

    TheBlurCafe Has been killed 33 times by SFGHQ members

    • Messages: 19
    • Likes Received: 12

    So, should I just cry from joy now or do I keep the tears in for the fan game's release?
    Seriously, this is wonderful, I really love the colors and the overall drawing feels accurate to how Sonic should look like, really looking forward to play the finished release.
    Good luck!
     
  13. Titanium

    Titanium E Rank Member

    • Messages: 1
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    Sorry if you've answered this a million times already, I'm not sure where I'd look to find this answered if it has been: if SEGA were to approach you to fund and publish your game officially, or something, (that's basically what happened with Sonic Mania, right?) what would you do?
     
  14. Knuckles&Knuckles

    Knuckles&Knuckles E Rank Member

    • Messages: 1
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    Hello sonic utopia dev team, I have a question. Have you chosen the amount of zones that will be in your game and will every zone have two acts? I would like your opinion on the idea of having acts. I would also like to know what types of existing zones you are implimenting into sonic utopia. I heard Lange talking about putting zones from the classic games into utopia and I just want to know if there will be zones from all classic games or just from a certain amount. I have one last question, when can we all expect a new demo for sonic utopia? I have played your early demo so many times to the point that I am desperate for a new zone to run around in. I am not saying rush the demo, take your time because this is one big project for a team your size. I would just like to know if the demo will be releasing in the next few months or in the next year or so.
    Thank you for your amazing work.
     
  15. omegalucas

    omegalucas E Rank Member

    • Messages: 4
    • Likes Received: 2
    According to Murasaki on Twitter, next demo will be released at SAGE 2018.
     
  16. Great Lange

    Great Lange The Great Lange

    • Messages: 68
    • Likes Received: 128
    No comment.

    There will be six zones in the main game, and they won't be divided in acts; one level that goes straight to a boss. Main reason for this is project scope and technical challenges with dividing zones into acts.
    There will be things from the classics returning to some extent but I don't want to spoil anything beyond that. Most of the experience will be new.

    As for the next demo, I haven't been sure how to address this yet, but we've changed plans. I wanted to wait until we had more to show off before I talked about it.
    We are waiting until next SAGE, but it will be earlier than this year, and there will be more to it next time around. There's a lot to this that I can't talk about yet.
     
  17. DrarEear

    DrarEear E Rank Member

    • Messages: 2
    • Likes Received: 1
    What can you do with the rings in Sonic Utopia
     
  18. DrarEear

    DrarEear E Rank Member

    • Messages: 2
    • Likes Received: 1
    Will there be costume in sonic utopia like they did in super mario odyssey
     
  19. Comfortably Dumb

    Comfortably Dumb E Rank Member

    • Messages: 7
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    I liked Ritz’s post on the Sonic Retro forum about level design, particularly the idea that there might be an ideal shape for a Utopia level as SM64 had its 3D bell curve. As I’m not a member there, I figured I’d post my thoughts here.

    I’m unsure about his conclusion that the levels should be a “downhill jam.” Perhaps I’m misunderstanding something, but I don’t see how a primarily downhill shape would facilitate his idea of increasing tension, and it loses the sense of achievement that SM64 gives you when you finally reach the top of a level after a long uphill trek. These two aspects require that the level be primarily uphill from start to finish, but simply putting a giant hill in front of Sonic obviously doesn’t make for particularly fun level design.

    I think the trick here is that Sonic’s slope factor is greater when rolling downhill than it is when running uphill. Because Utopia allows the player to uncurl on the ground at will, the player should hypothetically be able to traverse a level shaped like this even easier than they could in the classics:

    Level design 1.png

    With the correct uphill to downhill ratio, as long as the player curls and uncurls at the right times, they could reach the top of a level of this shape without even having to jump. And this isn’t just limited to terrain; because gravity is also lower than the downhill rolling slope factor, this sort of thing would be feasible as well:

    Level design 2.png

    I suppose all I’m really saying is that I think the levels should go primarily uphill instead of primarily downhill, provided there’s enough downhill to allow Sonic to get uphill. If the player fails to garner enough speed to make it up an incline, they fall to a more platforming-centric path below. Gradually increasing the steepness of the general incline throughout the game would also be an easy way to up the difficulty; the first zone could even be a “downhill jam” to ease the player in, with the level design flattening out by zones 3-4 (similar to the demo level), and finally reaching maximum upward steepness at zone 6.

    A side benefit of this uphill shape is that it allows for Tails and Knuckles to be playable without being game-breaking. I agree with your decision to focus solely on Sonic for this game, but Utopia seems to be the closest thing we have to a Good Future for 3D Sonic, so it might be worth trying this out just to see if there’s hope for multiple playable characters in future.

    You’ve probably already considered all this, but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts either way.
     
  20. Murasaki

    Murasaki Co-Creator of Sonic Utopia

    • Messages: 26
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    Interesting ideas, CB, and some that I've thought about as well. While Lange is in charge of level design for Utopia, I could provide a few thoughts for level design in general.

    Regardless of whether a game is more linear or more open-ended, I think a level's overall shape, mechanics, and theme need to be intertwined such that they reflect each other on an individual level. A level like Green Hill is generally flat, which encourages exploration so the player can find steep slopes to generate speed. But it has a balanced mix of horizontal and vertical sections, so the real mastery comes from smoothly transitioning your momentum between the two.

    But a more uphill or downhill level (or section) would likely be based more on a player's skill at maneuvering to avoid objects. I think SA1's Ice Cap Zone is a perfect example. The first section is a climb up the mountain (from the inside), so the platforming leads up the rock walls. I don't remember there being much in the way of ice physics, so it's mostly precision-platforming to emphasize fine control. But then when you get to the top, it quickly transitions into a downhill snowboard level where you avoid obstacles to keep the speed and flow going. In both sections the gameplay reflects the environment.

    Sometimes environments can also be built to reflect gameplay, though. If there's a particular core gameplay mechanic you want the player to experiment with, you'll often want to design the entire level around variations of that idea. Mania's version of Hydrocity does this well by playing with with boats and large bubbles. Usually the water sections of Sonic games are kind of a penalty, but both of these allow the player to view water as a benefit rather than a burden.

    I still need more hands-on experience with level design, but these are a few thoughts off the top of my head.
     
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