There’s more Automation then required, and needs to be balanced out.
Automation’s fine the way it is people are making too much of a fuss about it.
It feel’s like im playing a movie!
I dislike automation but im willing to forgive it this one time.
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I enjoyed what you have brought to the thread thus far, but please keep this thread on topic .
I must be honest. I have no problem with how Episode 2 is, but even when the first gameplay trailer was released, I saw that there are things that could use lots of improvement. Like the boosters; I do not mind them, but I do say that they are put in unnecessarily places so far in this game. I do believe that there is more automation than necessary.
I really liked the ideas Saberclaws had in the OP of this page. The idea of boosters being different in each level, the idea of boosters not to be abused, and boosters that are the opposite of helpful are all good ideas for me. Plus, even though some automatic sections we have seen are short in duration, they are still unnecessary, and are in places where having full, manual input for controlling Sonic would be much better. There were automated sections in the classics, but you do know that they were small in amount compared to having manual, full control in those games. I am more neutral about control automation, but I am gonna have to admit: having full control in the classics was one thing that made them great.
Like I said, I am very fine and okay with how Episode 2 is, but I am also all for giving feedback making Episode 3 better. I do think there are things some people overreact about in terms of Episode 2, but I am sure the overreactions do have legitimacy, even if they are about small things. I am not upset with the efforts much, but I'd say we give feedback about automation and such to Sega, Sonic Team and Dimps so they can hear us, and use the feedback to make Episode 3 even better.
I never thought I'd say this (though that does not mean I was against it at all), but Sonic Team and Dimps would actually benefit from using such feedback, even if it is about something "small".
So as long as we can before they may start developing Episode 3, I say we give feedback about automation and such so Sega and Dimps hears us and use the feedback to make Episode 3 even better.
Last edited by Flamerstreak; 04-14-2012 at 03:52 PM.
The Speed of Sound. Cracking through eggs and robots since 1991!
My level ideas
Because they are creating some nice level’s (altho i censure the overuse of bottomless pits) which, If they explore the possibilities they have at their disposal, they would find out that most of the boosters and springs, are really unecessary! They just need to work with their layouts better! Use them to such an extend to only giving the satiscfaction of “blazing speed” after some heavy platforming, and they should also find a way to reward more skilled players, like they have done with Classic Generations, On Sky sactuary, right at the beggining, if you time your spin dash jump perfectly you get trought some intense parts of platforming, using the the surroundings are always enfasizing you to search diffrent ways to use the level to your advantage! this is what i want to see more off, and i do see it on Episode 2’s level layouts, just not explore’d.
Now didn’t that felt rewarding? The player use’d the most of the surroundings into this speed run!, and it’s one heck of a speedrun i must say!
Making each booster a diffrent design, goes a long way to make the player interact with the level itself, and heck.
If people remmember, this booster was seen in Flying battery and Wing fortress, rather then give you a burst of speed, its na “lift” that require’s the player to jump to reach the destination, such mechanics go a long way to feel more “accomodate” to each level!
May this be the first set of feedback that drive’s Sonic 4 Episode 3!
Very thorough look at automation I have to say. I agree with a lot of this. What it really boils down to is how "useful" the automation is, and a majority of the time, it's never useful. For example, you brought up the booster pad-less hack for Sonic 4 Ep. 1, and you can see just how unnecessary they were to begin with. It gives me the impression that the developers said "The player is too stupid to spindash over here, so we're gonna do it for them", otherwise, why have the spindash at ALL??
Fortunately, I haven't seen as many booster pads in Episode 2, but man have I seen a lot of diagonal springs, which, not only is it automation, but it serves NO purpose. For example, there was a set of diagonal springs in Sylvania Castle Zone Act 1, where Sonic got bounced around through them, landed on a booster pad, and curled up on the ledge. Very dramatic... and unnecessary. At some point, SEGA has substituted their original form of action (crazy momentum and loops that almost made Sonic go off-screen), for forced action, to give off this false sense of speed. We were all attracted to "Sonic's" speed, not the devices he steps on. To be fair, the game hasn't released yet, and I haven't seen the entire game yet. But based on what I've seen so far, it definitely needs to be balanced out a bit.
I remember when Ken Balough said he made the first Episode 2 gameplay trailer like that to show off "action", and I thought "Why not show Sonic blazing in his curled form, ripping badniks apart as he rushes through some loops and stuff?" To me, the amount of automation added in these games comes off as the developers not having enough confidence in their level designing skills to the point where they have to automatically guide the players through them, or else they wouldn't get through it. Do they think players will find the game less fun without those devices? I honestly want to know their thought process in their inclusion. I'm not as bothered by them as I was years ago (as it seems to be the norm for Sonic now), but it would be nice to go ALL the way back to Sonic's roots.
...Well, not ALL the way back, just, don't make the game a roller-coaster movie...
Last edited by Kaozth3orist; 04-14-2012 at 07:43 PM.
More or less...
That was a powerful read, Saberclaws.
You honestly put automation and how it's viewed in a new perspective for me.
This is a constructive criticism thread and I will offer mine as well, to any who would listen.
I only have a few points, and in the spirit of debate, I will offer a song for you all as well.
Speaking on Sonic 4 Episode 1, I will defend the levels of automation in that game. I personally think that in terms of automation alone, Splash Hill has the most of it to offer, but from there, the only other stage off hand I can think of that had more than it's fair share of automation was Mad Gear Act 1, which didn't have too much of it to begin with. Stages like Lost Labyrinth and Casino Street (and the later halves of Mad Gear) were very platform-heavy stages, with only just a few boosters, albeit unnecessary, wedged a bit here and there, but the inconsequential nature of it was only like "if they weren't here I'd only beat a level a few second slower". By that I mean most of them were only wedged in areas that you would only run down a narrow path to get to the next spots of platforming. Mad Gear Act 3 was special mention, as it was more of an escape stage than a regular one and the devs knew of this and minimized the automation to a grave minimum, with again, only a few boosters down a narrow path. I'd argue that the boosters in this stage were completely necessary as without them, the gears behind you would be on your tail even more. There were obstacles in your way that prevented you from "watching the game" and you had to work around them. I know it's only one act, but every act counts. Mad Gear Act 3, Casino Street Act 3 and Lost Labyrinth Act 2 were the iconic stages out not having (too much) automation and they deserve special mention as the classics rarely touched upon platforming gameplay that centered while still having the reward, speed and exploration that we love. And this is one of each stage after Splash Hill, stages that in general weren't "hold right to win - booster - booster - spring - spring - booster - goal" at all. That's definitely something. Say what you will about the graphics, music or the physics. After Splash Hill, it really wasn't that automated when you really look at it, even when compared to the classics.
Springs and bumpers by design are an aesthetic choice. Really the color indication only gave you an idea of what to expect, the newer springs still do the same thing, they just aren't color coded, but unlike the classics, some of them aren't deliberate traps to hurt/discombobulate you, that's a credit that removes a gameplay-sensitive need for color coded springs. By implementation, I can see where some people are coming from, and I have a very thought-out conjectural point of view on that (that I don't really hold belief or support in), but I'll touch on that later. In most cases, the spring-fest could be simply be replaced with one spring and a narrow path where necessary, I don't think it would (or should) build any more sense of reward if it was implemented that way, but in these regards of it being unnecessary, it shouldn't really bother people. I can understand and respect the viewpoint that those transitional areas could be better designed without the use of springs, but I'm speaking in terms of implementation, not the replacement or lack of. This whole topic I want to shed so much light on, as springs are, to me, the biggest shots of automation in Sonic 4, but it really deserves it's own section (check last paragraphs).
Sonic 4 Episode 2 does have it's automation, and in White Park I can understand how that will bother some people. I can't say if it's more or less automated, because I am adamant in believing that I have to fully play a game to judge it as a whole game, but based on what I've seen, it seems the same.
Lastly, I think this deserves special mention, I was referring to this paragraph when I commented on springs. I reiterate that I do not hold belief in this in it's entirety, this is just a point of view I thought of. Automation in Sonic 4 is a wacky thing in the regards that it's unnecessary ONLY if you prefer doing everything on your own, in many ways, the automation is there to "cut out the fat" in Sonic platforming. Whereas you would run, hit on spring, keep to the same direction and hit another, the spring-fests exists to shorten that down, you're going to get the same result, the devs just help you get there faster, in the same respect as boosters there just to be there, say for breaking down a wall or running on water, you were going to hit that level of speed anyway on way or another, the boosters just preempt on that innate desire. Should you choose not to go so fast, say for instance you wanted to go underwater instead, you would act the same was whether or not you hit a booster, you would slow down ASAP and submerge. Perhaps why the boosters make you spin as well, when you're hitting a certain level of speed, what are you going to do? Hold down and spin, this builds extra momentum and kills any possible badniks that would exist in your way. There is the reward factor. You feel a small sense of propriety using a fork yourself to eat in contrast to being spoon fed (no pun intended) by someone else, however, the reward is the same. Now, on one side of the coin, we have a vocal minority, telling Sega in so many words that they want to feed themselves with a fork. Which is understandable, there is nothing wrong with giving the player the ability to traverse of their own accord, altering level design and gimmicks alike to suit that. "After all who would it hurt to do it our way"? On the other side of the coin, per contra, that is all subjective. Sega can't know exactly how much to put in or take away. Sure, when it's a few guys making a fan game with 0 budget, 0 cost and 0 deadline, thus opening many possibilities to make many changes per the consumer's request infinitely to find or master out-right that grey area that satisfies everyone, but it's different for a company. Any one guy can make a Lemonade stand, then hone and master his lemon/water/sugar mixing to appeal to the neighbor's immediate requests, but when it's corporation that makes lemonade, it's not so easy to please everyone. "These people like their lemonade more bitter than sugary, but they're a vocal minority, and we have to think about those new to lemonade who are expecting a taste more lenient to the tongue to warm them up to our products, so we're trying to get that perfect blend of bitterness that our long time customers love and have that dash of sweetness to attract the newcomers". Bigger numbers always complicate things, on top of that money is a huge contributing factor, it's not as flexible as a few dedicated nerds on their free time. So they have to be nice to the new people, but still have those quirks here and there that only the dedicated long-time crowd will be able to appreciate. Let's face it, new people suck, we see it all the time in previews and Sega is deliberately holding their hands, imagine if there was less automation. The new gaming age is a bit lazy when it to out of the box challenges and casual players are intimidated by sudden challenge. These bits of automation is there to help get the babies (to the franchise) some food via spoodfeeding. There is not as much propriety, but the same result and reward. Some call it condescending, but have you seen those people play? It's a very much needed handicap that in the end doesn't even prove to hold their hand enough as it stands. Whereas the dedicated crowd lose (read: sacrifice) a bit of relatively insignificant propriety, the greenies get an added hand to get them to the same reward. Many people ask why does Dimps perform in such a staunch manner. This could be the reason why. Remember that the publisher pulls some force in how an external game is developed. Namco did a similar thing with Splatterhouse 2010 in which they were unsatisfied with the external development and chose to do it in-house. It's like blaming an actor when one should be blaming the director. So Sega is taking new people into consideration to get more money in, so they can continue forward with the saga, with added things for both the new people and the dedicated crowd.
So I guess I can conclude with;
If you want less automation, that fine, but every dollar counts, and that includes the dollars of those new to all of this.
As for my personal feedback: Make an easy (Newcomer) mode with all the automation intact, keep a normal (Classic) mode that more centered around user-end interaction. Of course with Ep. 2 being so close to completion (may be completed already except for a few loose ends), this is my pre-game advice for Ep. 3
Last edited by 1994; 04-15-2012 at 12:41 AM.
What it felt like for me, in a short simple conclusion is that the ammount’s of automation were there, simply to try to make the game more fluid, like they knew the physics weren’t player friendly, and with that in mind come’s automation so that player’s wouldn’t struggle as much.
Level-wise there were alot of thing’s that did kind of anoy me, simply put, because the level surrounding it could create some (hardly existing) momentum, if they had put more effort into it! And im Turning on Sonic 4 Ep1 “as we speak”, and i shall replay the game for better accuracy in which term’s they could have had use’d the level towards better advantage.
Splash hill zone act 3, right after the 1st loop, you find an booster and an downhill, there a simple spin dash would do all the work for you as you would grab momentum as you go down.
Casino Street, act 1 pretty much every pendulum like surroundings, that could have bring forth momentum.
There are really alot of ramp’s that one could feel encouradge’d to built momentum on! (funny enought they don’t use booster’s there) And actualy it does bring forth some freedom uppon the player, reinforcing that they can use some of their surroundings toward’s their advantage here!
Casino Street Act 2 right at the beggining you have an curve were you are also able to pull some momentum.
Actualy i found out while playing that the amount of speed you obtain when you spin dash trought an upper curve that lunche’s in the air is tremendous!
Mad Gear act 1 is actualy a very fun level, it ain't as much automate'd, it brings an creative idea on using steam as "springs" and has plenty of place's to roam about! This is one of my favorite level's Sonic 4 wise.
And woa, look at that, they actualy lunch you to spikes? *thumbs up*
I could go on, but what im trying to say here is that: They do have some nice level surrounding’s that they can put to their advantage if they explore them well enought.
With Episode 2 bringing us back some more close momentum physics, i am quite sure that with those in hand, a player could go free from booster’s on Episode 1 and bring some nice stunt’s!
What i am suggesting here ain’t to rebuild Episode 1, but rather encouradge them to take the full use of what level’s they create, starting with Episode 3.
But rather, i would want them to explore their “push” further, the standart spring in Sonic 4 brings a set amont of force, but said force is always the same, that contribute’s to an automated play because you already know what to expect out of them! And so far there hasn’t been but one spring that brings out the opposite, making you feel like when you are offered with the choise . .you end up chosing the spring over an open path, because you know, trough experience, that springs, are always there to help you.
And what makes me a bit sad about this is that i feel some potential beeing lost right here, what happene’d to the old “spring trap” that was introduce’d to us in Sonic 2? Said things are amiss here, and the same way i went on explaining why i want them to explore the possibilities in their level’s layout, is to encourage them to explore the very same thing regarding booster’s and springs.
Regarding diagonal spring's they feel even more automated then the boosters themselfs (lol) And what, i believe anyone can spot on is how unecessary they are. Like you said yourself, most of the time's the diagonal springs can be, swaped over an simple spring. Heck it would even bring some more freedom for the player to see where he want's to land at, where the diagonal spring's are there just for the game to play itself for you.
Changing the subject a-bit, on my latest post, i went on explaining how such a “small” adition to booster’s go a long way, a simple redesign and a few other implementions to them, could build a “new world” of possibilities and ultimatly contributing for less automate'd play, the booster’s can bring foward the player, said booster In Carnival night for example, what it does is give you na instant “air dash” but when you go trough it, you can no longer go back.
The example i gave earlier make’s it so that when you step atop it you are offered an “push” rather then an instant burst of speed, making it up to the player to know when to jump off.
Some more freedom goes a long way to making the level’s more fun, you bringe’d on a good point about playe’s nowadays looking foward a more “slakish” way of playing, and trough the latest footage we have seen some playe’s struggle with Episode 2, but let’s thing about that for a while shall we?
When you first were introduce’d with Sonic 1, did you not struggle?
Maybe i am speaking for myself here, but i struggle’d quite alot! The level’s were demanding me to use the proper physics towards my advantage! When facing the first loop, i had to learn the harsh way i had to bring some further momentum with me, i can garantee you, i always had to call my brother because he was able to pull the “roll” thing that i tought was “magical” (take this from a prespective of an 3 year old child), but when i manadged to pull that stunt, oh, the possibilitie’s were endless! I felt like i “belonge’d” in that game, beeing able to pull the pendulum physics to my advantage felt really rewarding.
On Starlight zone when going the upper path, you have to run instead of rolling, but then you hit a spring, and if you roll at that specific time, you bounce way faster and carry lot’s of momentum making you skip some chunck’s of platforming.
What im saying here is that the game itself, is tough for newcommer’s, but, the “automation” ain’t all that estimulating, even for newcomer’s as People have said before, people looking at Sonic4 Ep1 couldn’t tell if "it was the player doing all the work, or the level itself."
Again, as i quote, word's of the youtube user NickonAquaMagna2
Sonic game’s will always have that “curve” of learning, but it’s so Basic, that after a few attempt’s anyone can do it.
I am pretty sure Sega notice’d that “difficulty” in mastering said loop’s and seeing alot of player’s get stuck, on Sonic 1, and they came with the best solution possible: The Spin dash, which, really, make’s the level’s overall much more fluid, but is the Spin Dash the ultimate source of momentum? Not even close, the Spin-Dash does give you some momentum, but the best momentum output goes when the player has mastered the “rolling” really.
So with this solution in Hand, Sega could pretty much rest assure’d they could still bring the same level’s design, while enfasizing on the player using the spindash here and there, because newcomer’s would learn the basic’s of the level much faster.
Ok now again to a Modern prespective of the argument, is the curve spike bigger then what it was before?
Yes, it is, but …why?
Homming attack and Air dash, pretty much sum that up, those new gimmick’s are what making it harder on new commer’s if you notice carefully, people are struggling to use the air dash, most of the time’s they can’t tell which is which, because they feel so similar, that it brings a whole new deep for someone who is “slightly” use’d to the classics, heck, even i had to adjust to use the air dash, i did die some time’s out of mistake, i didnt want to pull it off, but i keep forgeting the air dash was there!
But hey! There’s nothing we can do about that now, what’s done is done, but i feel like to make up for one “mistake” they are making more around it, the level design that’s pulling that “automation” doesn’t, ultimatly, compensate for the fact that newcomer’s can’t play the game, why? Because it chop’s off alot of player’s (and i ain’t including you in that list as you said you were fine yourself), replayability.
There are alot of time’s i feel like playing Sonic game’s but what make’s me play the classic’s the most is the fact that the level’s were built around Sonic’s abilities, they encouradge’d you to make the best, they wante’d you to explore, learn the fastest route, they encouraged you to use your abilitie’s to make the most out of the level’s themselfs. (In not such a dimpish way :< forcing you to homing attack ain't exacly the freedom take on this).
The Sonic 4 saga doesn’t encouradge that as much, I ain’t saying they don’t do it period, they do . . but somewhere in the middle there’s this automation that doesn’t feel fluid, and doesn’t help even newcommer’s to explore the full capabilitie’s of the hedgehog.
That’s what i am feeling, while i feel content to some extent the overall improvement’s i have seen in Episode 2, i want to make sure they know i want them to do better, i want to encouradge them to build more amusing level’s around sonic’s abilities.
It’s alright for newcomer’s to struggle, because that is what will, in the end, feel rewarding for them to be able to master what the blue hedgehog can provide.
But that’s my opinion. Know that i took your opinion very seriously and made sure to build na solid reply base’d on what you “put” into the table.
It ain't. . . by no means a bad idea! Heck, i have Sonic Jam for the Saturn, and one of it’s possibilities is the “easy mode” for classic game’s and i do think that alot of player’s got a better hang of the classics by playing that easy mode! so ultimatly, that could help!
As if it’s possible to implement in this saga? Quite unfortunatly i do not think so. Because with their budget issues i doubt it they can find a way to bring back an more “classic” style of level design.
But i do however, support this idea for an future Sonic 5! That Title given the amount of budget they need, i would encouradge them to do so, it’s an easy way to sactisfy both end’s of the franchise, if they build an Sonic 5 with that in mind, im quite sure everyone could have an slice of the cake, and even the “newcomer’s” would be glad to tackle the game after they have mastere’d the full capabilitie’s of Sonic .
Thank you for your Reply 1994, and i hope you enjoy what i have brought to the table.
Last edited by Saberclaws; 04-15-2012 at 08:40 AM.
Speaking of springs... Am I the only one that would like Dimps to color springs accordingly to their behavior?
Just like in the Genesis days we had the Yellow spring which had decent launch power, and the Red spring which had a more powerful launch power...
In Sonic 4 they all look the same, yet, we have one more type of spring. The one that "restraints" your horizontal movement until you reach the peak of the launch. In my opinion they should also recolor this spring in particular to, say... green or blue.
I like the idea of having a clue of how the spring will perform before I use it (but since this game basically revolves around the player hitting every spring, I bet they never thought of that).