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Old 04-27-2020   #1
Moose the Fat Cat
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Default Hub Worlds

It's crazy that the 'best' of the existing hub worlds in the Sonic franchise are the... adventure fields???? Has there been anything else? Sonic Unleashed kind of I guess, arguably, either way it's terrible? Did Sonic Team really just do one awful attempt at a 3D hub world for Sonic, and then give up entirely??? What a nightmare.

Of any 2D to 3D platformer character, Sonic seems like the one to most benefit from a hub world. It's just that the few attempts at it - Sonic Jam, Adventure 1, if you want to include Generations or Unleashed but this is all making the same point - they've been unbelievably incompetent and half-assed attempts.

The one level of Sonic Utopia is almost precisely what a hub world ought to be for Sonic. A gigantic skate park with fun interesting terrain where you run around and jump on springs and collect rings. No enemies. Just hills, loops, springs, and spikes as one obstacle.

Around the Utopia Hub, call it South Island, there are Warp Rings that act as the Mario 64 paintings.

The levels progress as they do in the Classic games -- that is, without returning back to the hub world, unlike SA or Mario 64 -- unless you choose to return, by throwing a Warp Ring home, which is like creating a save-state for that level.

Completing a level unlocks the Warp Ring entrance from South Island. There's no text. Within the spinning Warp Ring, you see a snapshot of the zone, like the level select menu screen. They'd be arranged in the order of progression.

When you're bored of the levels, or you're frustrated mid-campaign by a boss, you can always return to the skate park to have fun and hone your skills, then jump back in when you're ready to go again.

Theoretically this could be made with existing materials, as a kind of ultimate "level select" emulator for all kinds of completely different Sonic levels. It'd be like instead of Generations recreating levels in a useless hub world, it would be an incredible hub world with the ability to travel instantly to City Escape, then exit and enter a Warp Ring that's a fight as Sonic against Bean in Sonic the Fighters, Hydrocity from S3K, a fight from Sonic Battle, Studiopolis, Speed Highway. The levels would be straight emulation; they look and play differently from the hub, from Utopia, and just are what they are.

Sonic Utopia + levels accessed by Warp Rings

Levels being fill-in-the-blank emulated levels from different Sonic games.

This would be Godly, and what would be even extra godly in any form of level select, is an ability to randomize order of acts/levels, and/or create custom level campaign playlists. This would be shown in the hub as a line/string of Warp Rings in a row (the playlist or the randomized list).

...

Alternatively or more practically, this could be done in a slightly different way for SRB2.

First you need the creation of a massive playfield, in the same general concept as Utopia -- a massive home-base South Island -- but SRB2-ified. There's rings, springs, a few spikes, no enemies, and a bunch of interesting terrain as a giant playground / skate park. It's a hub. It's empty and peaceful and pointless but fun to run around. There's a lot of room and space, and it's not all flat, but it's not dangerous and you'd have to really work at throwing yourself repeatedly into spikes to die in the hub.

From there, Warp Rings act as Mario 64-like level select for GF, TH, DS, CE, AC, RV, campaign plus extra bonus levels and optional mod levels -- represented by Warp Rings in the hub world

...

tl;dr Why aren't there more examples of Sonic hubworlds? He seems like the platformer character who most deserves a big/wide peaceful area to run around, separate from the proper levels/zones.

Mario 64 castle: Sonic Utopia, Mario 64 paintings: Warp Rings to SRB2 levels
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Old 04-27-2020   #2
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sonic unleashed in my opinion was the perfect hub world, as there was a lot to explore in it, and you could always find an emerald, the music always made the hubs feel atmospheric, and i wish more mods had hub such as unleashed, it's like combining hangout with regular levels
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Old 04-27-2020   #3
Icarus
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HUB worlds are for RPGs or GTA-likes.


Sonic shouldn't have them.
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Old 04-27-2020   #4
RomioTheBadass
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That's not true, there are platformers that have hub worlds and they can be done well, I think people are just too afraid or allergic to change and don't like it when Sonic Team try out new things with Sonic, not that I disagree that the hubworlds in mainline sonic games may have been lackluster.
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Old 04-27-2020   #5
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Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
HUB worlds are for RPGs or GTA-likes.

Sonic shouldn't have them.
I assume that's how official Sonic Team is viewing it, tooŚ "We have tried nothing and we're all out of ideas!"
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Old 04-27-2020   #6
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No, I mean Mania didn't have one either. Many people agree that hub worlds in Sonic game weren't that good. And to be honest I'd rather have a short level transition than having to travel from point A to point B just to play the next stage.
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Old 04-27-2020   #7
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You should take another look at my OP, Icarus.

—There's no disagreement that the few existing Sonic hub games are terrible

—There's no disagreement about wanting levels to progress from one to the next. (ie, no desire for a system that returns you back to a hub world after completing a zone -- returning back should be optional for a break, or when you start up the game -- in place of a level select / save menu)

Mania didn't have a hub world because that's not generally a thing in 2D (not that it couldn't work, conceptually)

Both SRB2 and Sonic Utopia demonstrate how much Sonic gameplay benefits from "open world / sandbox" style levels (As opposed to straight ahead roller coaster obstacle courses) where it's just fun to run around.
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Old 04-27-2020   #8
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hub worlds should be saved for maps packs (mods), i agree icarus...most people don't want change, it's like, why change something that already works
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Old 04-27-2020   #9
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most people don't want change, it's like, why change something that already works
Well for one it's to set entries of the series apart from one another, to have more diversity, if you leave the series stagnate you will sooner or later run out of ideas and people will probably complain that there's nothing new to look forward to "Oh look, it's the same game from the last year, but reskinned", If you want a good example of that take a look at Call of Duty.
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Old 04-27-2020   #10
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Originally Posted by RomioTheBadass View Post
Well for one it's to set entries of the series apart from one another, to have more diversity, if you leave the series stagnate you will sooner or later run out of ideas and people will probably complain that there's nothing new to look forward to "Oh look, it's the same game from the last year, but reskinned", If you want a good example of that take a look at Call of Duty.
that's a really good point actually, i guess mods are what keeps the game fresh and interesting but the 2.2 version did a really good makeover, and i do hope to see in the 2.3 a revolution just as big as 2.2 was for 2.1

---------- Post added at 02:53 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:45 PM ----------

i was planning on making a podcast on these sort of subjects to hear different opinion shame no one wants to join and express themselfs there ��
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Old 04-27-2020   #11
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Originally Posted by leonlight View Post
hub worlds should be saved for maps packs (mods), i agree icarus...most people don't want change, it's like, why change something that already works
Yeah, if it ain't broke don't try fixing it is the best mantra to follow.
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Old 04-27-2020   #12
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Yes, this is an idea more for a Mod or something new and unique, rather than a suggestion for SRB2.

So don't get it mixed up, Icarus lol! Those wax wings won't work in the sunnnnnnn!

To make it work, really it's just about how do do emulation starting from Sonic Utopia as the hub, and adding emulated levels from S1-3K-Mania-SA1-SA2-etc, just Sonic levels. (I don't have any real clue on how difficult that would be, but it doesn't seem outlandishly impossible)

Leon, I'm happy to chat on your podcast or in general about SRB2. As you can tell I have a lot of thoughts & ideas the game's inspired.What I'd love to have happen, somehow, is to meet someone from the Sonic fangame community with Programming abilities who's interested in some of these ideas.

---------- Post added at 05:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:09 PM ----------

Besides Sonic Utopia's sprawl, there are a handful of other good ideas sprinkled throughout the series that we could draw from, to make the Hub World an interesting and fun time-sink diversion separate from the campaign levels/Warp Rings.

1. Chao garden, of course, is the big one.

2. Rescued animals from the campaign return to South Island (ie, there's a hidden "kill count" for each stage, and beating every badnik frees the animal to join you, like how it looks in SRB2 but by "collecting" them like SA2). The max limit for animals on South Island = the total amount of badniks/animals in the campaign. Replaying levels and killing previously killed badniks still frees the animal in the moment, but a new one isn't added to the Hub if it's already there.

Makes sense? When you've "100% completed" freeing all animals, this gigantic island that started empty is now full of happy critters of all species, bopping all around. And your Chao children probably look like absolute freaks now, too. Good fun!

3. Similar to the "kill count" being an achievement bonus with the animals (for their own sake, and for the Chao), we could do a "ring count" where there's tiered bonuses as you collect 100% of all rings in each level (same rules as otherwise; finding a ring once adds it to the "count" permanently; there's now an incentive to find every ring in every stage). The ring count bonuses are purely aesthetic visuals — similar to the Sonic Dash mobile game, where collecting x amount of y adds in, like, a water slide for Flickies or whatever.

Some kind of visual trophy that fits in with the happy peaceful island vibe of the Hub.

4. Finishing the campaign with 7 emeralds unlocks the extra final bonus level, but also does something for the Hub World too. Maybe just allows you to be Super Sonic with 50 rings, that would be reward enough.

---------- Post added at 05:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:23 PM ----------

Even cooler idea for this hypothetical hub = Utopia island + Sonic OVA aesthetic

In other words, the major change is adding in the crashed 747 airplane covered in moss that I'll call, for lack of an alternative, Sonic's Workshop (even in the OVA, Tails seems to use it more when he and Knuckles go to check it out, but the plane is different from Tails' other workshops/hangars, hence attributing it to Sonic since it seems like it's his home).

There are no menus to begin. You start the game. There's no title screen, even. Camera POV begins from the most recently used Warp Ring (or the 1st one if it's first time) and then quickly follows a path into Sonic's Workshop. Think the beginning of Mario 64 starting from the top of the castle down into the courtyard and the pipe. Instead we're starting from where you're "supposed" to go next, then finding Sonic lounging in his room.

He's "looking cool" in that OVA Classic Sonic way, lounging back in sunglasses and iced tea, and listening to music on a boom box -- this is the Sound Test, and it's on Shuffle as default; every time you turn the game on to see Sonic chilling, a different song is playing. You can choose the songs (animation is Sonic either choosing the music on a phone/screen, or looking through a box of CDs/records/cassettes). Let's go with he's using a screen, like an original iPod style. Imagine this QOL feature — you can equip invisible earbuds at any point to listen to any Sound Test song at any point. The default is listening to the stage music as intended; by putting in the earbuds, you can listen to, say, Metal Harbor while playing Chemical Plant, making both the stage and music feel new again at the same time.

Sonic is inside laying on his typical red racecar bed, which faces out to a completely open back hatch of the plane. The view of the island is beautiful and incredible, as we saw on our POV flight from the Warp Ring to Sonic's homebase.

Press "Jump" to get out of bed and start running around the Hub island and into the nearby Warp Ring. You can continue the campaign or run out onto the island, or inside the Workshop there's a monitor embedded in the wall -- this is the Settings and credits. Change your save file (in the game, Sonic changes "frequency" to an alternate timeline/save). Video/control/etc settings here, and only accessible on this monitor in the Hub. But, it's easy to always return to this spot in the Hub -- remember the "pause menu Warp Ring" takes you back home instantly, as a way to save-state and quit the campaign level.

Does that make sense?

"Pause" button doesn't pause -- it makes Sonic throw a Warp Ring that teleports him instantly to his bed on South Island.

The Settings Monitor in Sonic's Workshop is activated by "Pause" -- there's a giant visual representation of a standard "Pause" button gamepad location, and then the Settings also have more text explanations / manual (there's no tutorial, because that's what the Hub is for.) This is the only place where "Pause" does not throw a Warp Ring; to activate the Settings.

So no matter what you're doing in the game, you just have to press Pause, and then Pause again to instantly access settings, but without ever actually breaking the game's "reality." Pretty neat.

Last edited by Moose the Fat Cat; 04-27-2020 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 04-27-2020   #13
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the idia with the animals is actually really cool, it would give a reason to kill all enemies in the maps, and having something unlocked for killing every robot would make the game longer for completionists

about the podcast, the more you have to say the better https://discord.gg/MNMnAWp
we'll decide when to do it at your personal comfortable time

Last edited by leonlight; 04-27-2020 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 04-27-2020   #14
Icarus
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I've seen several reviews criticizing hub areas in several Sonic game (such as Adventure 1 and Advance 3) for breaking the flow of the game.


I'm all for a level select menu over any hub.
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