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Old 08-19-2010   #1
Ice
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Default Let's be honest, how is development going along?

I mean, honestly, though it may be otherwise, it doesn't seem like you guys are working on the game. No real news updates aside from a few minor fixes here and there, no new hints at progress with the planned levels and stuff, and really, no tangible evidence that the big things are being worked on (coughcoughlevels).

Sure, this game is free, but honestly. A fangame of sonic based on the legacy engine that has been in development for ten years still doesn't have the basic framework (to my knowledge) for all of the zones. By comparison, look at the levels being pumped out by the doom community. Not the community by the whole, of course, that would be unfair. But it would seem that a couple of authors can crank out a 30-level megawad in the span of a month. Hell, many of these megawads even introduce a myriad of new enemies, textures, even gameplay mechanics; all within a relatively short time.

So what's going on here? I'm honestly not understanding why this game is taking so long to get finished. Seems that the dev team is too strict on who gets in; they've got a fixed team doing everything. They all do some work and wind up demotivated, resulting in long stretches of time between updates because about nothing fresh is being tossed into the mix.

I imagine this is what's going on, but I'm not sure. I'm just wondering why this game is taking so long to develop. Please explain and discuss.
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Old 08-19-2010   #2
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That is everyone's question. Everyone must wonder what the devs are up to. I know I do.
It does confuse me slightly, where are all the developers? Are they fishing in a big underwater temple? Are they lost in the woods? Are they working in a slime filled factory? Are they burning in a volcano? Are they mining in a canyon? Are they in outer space?
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Old 08-19-2010   #3
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Oh it's going fine, we've rewritten the engine, scrapped every level and removed multiplayer, we're trying to work out a way to remove single player now, but it's not going too well. Also, everyone's gone on strike and Mystic is having to code it himself. We've also focused a lot more on graphics, though I think the gameplay suffered, but you have classes and class loadouts now. Oh, and custom characters and levels have been removed to make room for more bloom.

No but really, it's a lot easier to create a bland DOOM level than it is a level for SRB2, you know. =P
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Old 08-19-2010   #4
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They all do some work and wind up lazy, resulting in long stretches of time between updates
Fixed. This is simply not the job of anyone around here, and getting people with both the motivation to get things done AND the skill necessary to actually do it is incredibly difficult.

I'll also note, as Cue did, that comparing SRB2 level design to Doom is simply not a fair comparison. This week I spent a good day working on an area that in actual gameplay takes less than ten seconds. By day I don't mean "off and on over the course of an afternoon", I mean "I woke up and spent a good 12-14 solid hours working on it". The speed at which the player moves in SRB2 makes creating large and interesting stages a very time-consuming process. I'm sure anyone here who has opened up ERZ2 in an editor has probably come to the conclusion that Nev3r is completely insane (I'd agree) for having created that kind of monstrosity almost entirely on his own. Sure, it took him months, but I think we can all agree that the results really speak for themselves on that point.

That's not to say that these "megawads" don't exist with SRB2. Fawfulfan is working on one, and of course, Mystic Realm has been around for a practical eternity at this point. The thing is, I'm sure I don't have to tell you that these files both contain levels of rather dubious quality. Our goal with the final SRB2 is to not HAVE levels of dubious quality. Obviously in 2.0.X, CEZ is unfinished and therefore definitely plays in a subpar manner, but the rest of the content in the game right now is really of high quality, IMO. Nothing in 1.X played anything remotely like Deep Sea and Eggrock do. Sure, we could throw together some basic acts to fill in the content between the stages, but it wouldn't feel anywhere near as fufilling if there aren't fun, new ideas thrown into the mix.

So yes, you are partially right. We are lazy. We do this as a hobby and not as a job. If you'd like to pay me to work on SRB2 I assure you my output would increase. That's not to say that things aren't getting done at all. It's taken us 11 years to get to this point, and development has never been particularly fast in that entire time except for the period right before 2.0's release.

So if you'll excuse me, I'll leave you with the teaser shot I posted in #srb2fun a few days ago as I was working on CEZ2 for the whole day. Sure, it's still unfinished, but it's most certainly getting somewhere.

Spoiler: Insanely large CEZ2 beta screenshot
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Old 08-19-2010   #5
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Originally Posted by Mystic View Post
Fixed. This is simply not the job of anyone around here, and getting people with both the motivation to get things done AND the skill necessary to actually do it is incredibly difficult.

I'll also note, as Cue did, that comparing SRB2 level design to Doom is simply not a fair comparison. This week I spent a good day working on an area that in actual gameplay takes less than ten seconds. By day I don't mean "off and on over the course of an afternoon", I mean "I woke up and spent a good 12-14 solid hours working on it". The speed at which the player moves in SRB2 makes creating large and interesting stages a very time-consuming process. I'm sure anyone here who has opened up ERZ2 in an editor has probably come to the conclusion that Nev3r is completely insane (I'd agree) for having created that kind of monstrosity almost entirely on his own. Sure, it took him months, but I think we can all agree that the results really speak for themselves on that point.

That's not to say that these "megawads" don't exist with SRB2. Fawfulfan is working on one, and of course, Mystic Realm has been around for a practical eternity at this point. The thing is, I'm sure I don't have to tell you that these files both contain levels of rather dubious quality. Our goal with the final SRB2 is to not HAVE levels of dubious quality. Obviously in 2.0.X, CEZ is unfinished and therefore definitely plays in a subpar manner, but the rest of the content in the game right now is really of high quality, IMO. Nothing in 1.X played anything remotely like Deep Sea and Eggrock do. Sure, we could throw together some basic acts to fill in the content between the stages, but it wouldn't feel anywhere near as fufilling if there aren't fun, new ideas thrown into the mix.

So yes, you are partially right. We are lazy. We do this as a hobby and not as a job. If you'd like to pay me to work on SRB2 I assure you my output would increase. That's not to say that things aren't getting done at all. It's taken us 11 years to get to this point, and development has never been particularly fast in that entire time except for the period right before 2.0's release.

So if you'll excuse me, I'll leave you with the teaser shot I posted in #srb2fun a few days ago as I was working on CEZ2 for the whole day. Sure, it's still unfinished, but it's most certainly getting somewhere.

Spoiler: Insanely large CEZ2 beta screenshot
I hate liberaries. Too many books and no TV.

So why is sonic in a liberary?
Or do I need to download the wad? And if so where?
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Old 08-19-2010   #6
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So why is sonic in a liberary?
Or do I need to download the wad? And if so where?
Sonic's in a library because it's a room he has to pass through to finish the level.
And it's a teaser screenshot, so it's obviously not released.
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Old 08-19-2010   #7
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You know, that would be a good question, although I'd personally rather just wait to see the updates just get released. It's what I did back with 1094.

And speaking of updating the game, like Mystic said with the hobby thing... isn't everyone relatively over 16 years of age? So doesn't that mean that those over 18 have a life that they have to handle their own self as opposed to working on some Sonic Fan Game that makes absolutely no money?

And plus, if I had free money I could just fart around, I would pay the whole SRB2 team a couple hundred bucks to get this game done :p
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Old 08-19-2010   #8
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There are myriad reasons. Mystic made a good generalization for some of the 'now' issues, but I'll elaborate further since usually unless you've ever worked on a game project, you can't understand:
  • No idea what we're doing
When we started, we had no programming knowledge. We figured we could eventually find a guy that could give us about a month of his time and add what we wanted. Yeah, sure. A month. Keep reading.
  • Expanded scope
The game's original intention was to have Sonic-only playable, and you could only run and jump - maaaaybe we'd add the ability to spin on the ground. Look at SRB2Xmas - it's pretty close to what we were originally thinking the final game to be like. Problem is, we didn't set some hard limits. Coupled with a learning desire and a point to prove people wrong, the feature set continuously expanded more and more. The larger a project gets, the easier it is to lose focus, and that's exactly what happened.
  • Doom engine is not a desirable platform for a Sonic game.
It's really too bad we didn't go the Megaman route, because I always thought SRB2 would have been a perfect fit for that kind of game. Slower moving, tighter stages focused on platforming and puzzles, and a blocky style with minimal slopes. You can see a little bit of how this might have worked in ERZ1.
  • Bad modding capabilities
For its time, Doom was really good with editability, but as time wore on, some things seemed really archaic - needing to not only import a texture but create a patch list and then a texture list and unable to append textures from multiple files is probably the biggest irk. The other one is setting sprites to a fixed # of frames instead of having action sequences, i.e., stand, walk, run, pain, die that could be variable. I can understand why iD did these things (speed reasons), but in modern times it doesn't jive.
  • Bad technology choice
Doom was not built for large open stages. In fact, none of iD Software's engines handle this situation very well. Doom was also built to take advantage of a lot of programming 'cheats' you could get away with in DOS to speed up the program. Introducing this code to a 32-bit protected mode multitasking OS can wreak havoc (sigsegv!). Fixing these problems is maddeningly difficult.

The Sonic concept also relies on a vector based coordinate system, rather than fixed cartesian axii. This is impossible to do correctly in Doom without a large rewrite. Not to mention the rendering system doesn't take to it lightly, either. Plus it's very hard to use sprites for that kind of movement - your drawing increases eightfold.


You have to understand that a lot of the choices surrounding SRB2 were good decisions for the situation at the time. A lot of you are too young to remember how primitive game technology used to be, especially from a modding standpoint and the number of open source engines available to work with (read: almost zero).

A lot of rewriting went into 2.0, to future proof it, so to speak. Toss out a lot of the old Doom hangovers, create a new palette (which IMO is one of the best things we ever did), and rearrange and standardize the linedef specials and other editing elements. These changes allowed 2.0 to happen, but I'm not sure it's enough to push it much further. This is why I advocate focusing on finishing the Single Player campaign, and give the game a lot of polish. In a lot of ways I consider 2.0 as 'done enough', and is how I was able to walk away. Having a short game with high quality says much more than a longer, disconnected, unpolished, untested mess. If I had to do it over, I'd likely have excluded Castle Eggman, although that stage carries a lot of emotional attachment with me.

Lastly, a lot of our team is old. We're either starting college, in college, getting out of college, working, or raising a family. We don't have contiguous chunks of hours to spend on the computer anymore. A lot of the fresh meat here doesn't seem to have the talent we need either, so everybody's aging.
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Last edited by SSNTails; 08-19-2010 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 08-19-2010   #9
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When I turn 18, I won't have a life :D
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Old 08-19-2010   #10
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Why not ask for people ot help make SRB2? Then just touch up the levels if need be?
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Old 08-19-2010   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice View Post
I mean, honestly, though it may be otherwise, it doesn't seem like you guys are working on the game. No real news updates aside from a few minor fixes here and there, no new hints at progress with the planned levels and stuff, and really, no tangible evidence that the big things are being worked on (coughcoughlevels).
Well, there is work being done at this moment, especially on CEZ2. AFAIK, there has also been some considerable work on ACZ2, and I don't know about the rest. Making a good single player level takes months, so I'm not surprised there isn't enough content to show off at the moment. DSZ took about a year to get made, and even then it incorporated some old designs from 2000. Personally, I'm okay to wait a few more years for another version if I get some more levels of this quality in return.

The only thing that makes me mad is that Nev3r doesn't map anymore :<

EDIT:
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Originally Posted by WEREHOG View Post
Why not ask for people ot help make SRB2? Then just touch up the levels if need be?
We want a game that is as good as possible, don't we? I guarantee you that going this route would result in lower quality, regardless of how much touching up is done. On the other hand, if people prove to be really good mappers, they will probably become part of the dev team at some point anyway (see KOTE and Blade).

EDIT2:
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I hate liberaries. Too many books and no TV.
Sorry, but... are you fucking serious?

Last edited by MascaraSnake; 08-19-2010 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 08-19-2010   #12
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Or do I need to download the wad? And if so where?
Did you even read Mystic's post properly? That screenshot was of CEZ2, not some custom map of his. >_>
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Old 08-19-2010   #13
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I think we can safely say Zinos' post was a TL;DR post.
If you notice, he only talks about the screenshot.

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So why is Sonic in a library?
Because he is in a castle and all castle have massive libraries!
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Old 08-19-2010   #14
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Seriously... ice. The chage from 1.09 to 2.0 was huge! And you're saying they're not doing anything?

Actually, if you try to speedily whip together a mess of undetailed levels, build a glitchy engine, and make some cheap graphics, you can build a simple game in no time.

On the other hand, you can spend 11 years, doing long slow work, making large detailed levels, drawing beautiful sprites, and building a nice engine, for which you come out with a really cool 3D fangame. (Three cheers for the STJR!)
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Old 08-19-2010   #15
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Seriously... ice. The chage from 1.09 to 2.0 was huge! And you're saying they're not doing anything?
He's talking about the year that has passed since 2.0 was released.
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Old 08-19-2010   #16
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I hate liberaries. Too many books and no TV.
Hi Francis. Just has to throw that out there.

But yeah even I haven't worked much on SRB2 lately, unsure what to do, laziness, lack of motivation. :<
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Old 08-19-2010   #17
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Well, architecture-wise I'm sure there's a lot of talent out there. Just for my knowledge, do you guys normally have more than ~3 people designing a single level? It almost looks like one guy does most of the level while others just toss in a thing or two here and there.
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Old 08-19-2010   #18
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Well, Ice, that goes back to old technology. It's not really possible for more than one person to work on a map at a time. When designing stages as a team, you basically have to have a single person check out a stage and say "I'm working on this", and then when they're done, upload a new copy and say it's open season to other people now. Because of the way the WAD format works it's really not practical for multiple people to work on the same stage at the same time, because it would be a complete royal pain to merge the forks together at the end.

Hence, single people work on stages until they're tired of doing so, and pass it off to others to finish or refine. This is why a lot of stages were predominantly created by a single person, because they took out the stage and didn't put it back for other people to edit for months. Considering how ERZ2 came out, I don't consider this to be a problem.
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Old 08-19-2010   #19
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Indeed guys, you have to remember AJ's and Ben's points, we don't get paid for this. My work on SRB2 has dropped significantly due to a few reasons, one is there's not much of my area to do right now, two is that I have a job of my own doing web design that has shot up in business right now and has proven in the past to make an absolute fortune, so forgive me if I'm too busy with 2000 of business to work on SRB2. =P

Three, and I only need to say one word, girlfriend.

Four, I'm going into college soon, so I'm making the most of my time with my friends, as a lot of them I will see a lot less now that we're going our separate ways.

Five, Project Nevada (that multi-touch table I won't shut up about).

If anyone has the motivation to pay us for this, and has $5,000 ~ $10,000 per person to pay us annually, please do, SRB2 will be finished by Christmas.
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Old 08-19-2010   #20
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If anyone has the motivation to pay us for this, and has $5,000 ~ $10,000 per person to pay us annually, please do, SRB2 will be finished by Christmas.
Yeah, cause you totally would finish it AT THE END OF THIS YEAR so you don't receive any money for next year.
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