2.3 Discussion

Surprised no one's posted this here yet, but back in November on the Discord they posted these screenshots of a (very WIP) Greenflower Act 1 remake.
Well, this was certainly unnecessary.
I can't express enough how much of a downgrade this is compared to what's currently in 2.2. The lack of thok barriers looks ugly and unnatural, and it seems to be totally devoid of any level design outside of "go up and down slope for the momentums". I can't think of any singular person in the community who was clamoring for a GFZ remake, and it's bizarre that Nu-STJR would choose to spend resources on this instead of the things that are actually necessary such as completing RVZ and the two other missing zones that still need to be made.
It's like a caricature of modern Sonic fangame design post-Sonic Utopia. Big slopes for big momentum because Sonic should go fast, obviously.
 
Well, this was certainly unnecessary.
I can't express enough how much of a downgrade this is compared to what's currently in 2.2. The lack of thok barriers looks ugly and unnatural, and it seems to be totally devoid of any level design outside of "go up and down slope for the momentums". I can't think of any singular person in the community who was clamoring for a GFZ remake, and it's bizarre that Nu-STJR would choose to spend resources on this instead of the things that are actually necessary such as completing RVZ and the two other missing zones that still need to be made.
It's like a caricature of modern Sonic fangame design post-Sonic Utopia. Big slopes for big momentum because Sonic should go fast, obviously.
2.3 GFZ is goated, what the hell are you talking about? This looks like more like a playground and less like a generic doom level, there's actually diverse terrain and it looks fun to run through and that's what matters. But I guess they can't do anything remotely fun with older zones because there's "more important" things to do. I honestly have no idea what your talking about with the sonic utopia compassion, they look nothing alike lmao.
 
This looks like more like a playground and less like a generic doom level, there's actually diverse terrain and it looks fun to run through and that's what matters.

i lost my current account, so this fossil will have to do.

man i sure love 2.2 gfz1
 

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Just wanna clarify, When I say "generic doom level" I'm mainly talking about the lack of diverse terrain, 2.3 GFZ uses slopes in cool ways and has all sorts of wacky terrain choices, unlike 2.2 GFZ, that's kinda just flat most of the way with minimal terrain diversion
 
Just wanna clarify, When I say "generic doom level" I'm mainly talking about the lack of diverse terrain, 2.3 GFZ uses slopes in cool ways and has all sorts of wacky terrain choices, unlike 2.2 GFZ, that's kinda just flat most of the way with minimal terrain diversion
1. 2.3 gfz doesnt use slope in "cool ways", it just pulls a sonic utopia and spams them for the sake of "muh muhmentums", its not unique nor cool, its just generic level design choices.
greenflower as it is currently (SPECIALLY in act 2, but ill just discuss about act 1) has a good ammount of terrain diversion, it does make usage of slopes, and you will be changing altitude a nice ammount. if you want a drastic change in altitude, go to the right path in the path split, it has some platforming with a diagonal yellow spring near to get you soaring into a higher place of the level. its the first level in the game, and the first act too, so its supposed to be simpler and more "slow paced", to ease the player in the game when they first play.
 
1. 2.3 gfz doesnt use slope in "cool ways", it just pulls a sonic utopia and spams them for the sake of "muh muhmentums", its not unique nor cool, its just generic level design choices.
greenflower as it is currently (SPECIALLY in act 2, but ill just discuss about act 1) has a good ammount of terrain diversion, it does make usage of slopes, and you will be changing altitude a nice ammount. if you want a drastic change in altitude, go to the right path in the path split, it has some platforming with a diagonal yellow spring near to get you soaring into a higher place of the level. its the first level in the game, and the first act too, so its supposed to be simpler and more "slow paced", to ease the player in the game when they first play.
uhh, are we looking at the same pictures here? These slopes make the level look way better, IDK what your talking about with the sonic utopia compassion.

Also, "muh muhmentums"? are you tell me you DON'T want the level design to go side by side with the thing that made classic sonic (and sonic in general) so special?

Either way, 2.2 GFZ is a perfectly fine zone, the problem? its going up vs 2.3 GFZ that looks much better (and probably plays better too) and uses slopes far more to make the levels look amazing. This is a way better start then 2.2 GFZ
 

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There's definitely more slopage and more dramatic slopeage, but I'm struggling to see the "caricature of modern Sonic fangame design". It looks like the same level but a bit twistier and with more slopes. Looks like a classic Sonic level but in 3D.

We also have no idea how it plays, so I also don't see the need to immediately doom and gloom about it.

I don't know how to feel about the complete lack of thok barriers. Sometimes it looks neat, other times it makes the world feel isolated and empty. It might be beneficial to add some nearby background elements, like Techno Hill Act 2 has with its buildings just out of your reach.
 
Wow, it took only 3 comments to see all 3 possible responses: loving it, hating it, and feeling indifferent.

As for me, I think I'm generally on the optimistic side, though I have some criticisms that I would assume (or at least hope) would be addressed before an actual release.

They did say "very WIP", so I don't think it's fair to judge it as a completed remake, but criticism is also required to help shape the final product, so here's my thoughts on how it currently appears:

TEXTURES / MODELLING

Alright, let's get the easy stuff out of the way. I think the increased usage of varied textures to make different bits stand out is excellent. The waterfall looks fantastic, and the general shaping of the terrain looks buttery smooth. I like it.

THE WALLS

Don't quote me on this, but I recall reading that the removal of the boundary walls was just done for the sake of experimenting... although I can't recall what was meant by that. I would assume they meant either:

A. make altering the slopes during development easier, since otherwise you'd have to keep editing the walls, too. Better to finalize the playable area and add the walls last.
B. simply to see how things look without the walls (and see how other people react to their absence)

With all that said, I do agree that the act looks generally worse without the walls, and I would hope they are not gone in the final release.

However, I wouldn't be opposed to some sections having no walls (and allowing players to run off the sides into a death pit) in order to add some extra risk/reward to certain sections. I appreciate when early levels of a game have optional sections that provide a challenge even to experienced players. GFZ1 already has a few of those, but I see no harm and plenty of benefit in adding some more. After all, GFZ is the zone that you revisit the most. It ought to have something for all skill levels.

SLOPES AND STUFF

And now it's time to get complicated.

With regard to the general implementation of sloped terrain, I'm liking most of what I see so far. I can see that the hidden roll path to the upper section with the house is still there, but moved to the end of a slope, and hidden behind some bushes. Already, this adds more complexity to the gameplay, since the player now has to actively avoid slipping off the slope, and has to pay more attention to even notice that the path is there.

The gears in my head are already turning, imagining how crawlas could be placed on the slope to make it trickier to traverse, while simultaneously encouraging usage of the roll move, which happens to coincide with how the roll path requires usage of the roll. There's a surprising amount of cleverness in this small section of level design.

That said, the section at the start of the level immediately preceding it feels a bit... empty, as does the section surrounding the first checkpoint. Both are similar to the 2.2 section, but expanded. And yet they don't really do all that much with the added space. Again, it should be noted that this is all "very WIP", so I would assume *something* will be placed there, but in the exact state that they currently appears, these sections feel a bit too sparse.

There's something to be said for the compactness of the level design in SRB2. In a lot of the current 2.2 levels, it feels like every nook and cranny has been filled with *something*. Rare is the spot that feels empty, at least while you're playing it. It should be noted that enemy, monitor, ring, and hazard placement all play a role in making a section feel occupied. So it feels difficult to judge the revised sections without knowing *what* will go where. (And indeed, even the level designers probably don't quite know yet either, or else they might've already put it there. Nobody goes into level design knowing the complete design from the get-go.)

It's worth remembering how empty things like the unfinished 2013 Deep Sea Act 1 remake are in certain places. Those were of a similar level of completion (very WIP), and they similarly feel empty in certain spots. With that in mind, I am not too worried about the final outcome... or at least not yet.

Now, of all levels, Greenflower is probably the one where "wide open sections with minimal hazards" is most fitting, but I do think it's important to preserve the "denseness" of SRB2's current level design in general. More breathing room is not automatically bad, and in some cases it can be an objective improvement. But it can also easily be overdone. If only a few sections are like this throughout the game, then that's fine. But I wouldn't want everything to be this "wide" (for lack of a better descriptor).

So overall, I think that as-is, the revised sections appear too empty, but I assume that is in part due to their unfinished state. I would be somewhat disappointed if 2.3 came out looking exactly like this, but I take "very WIP" at face value, so I will give the level designers the benefit of the doubt for now.
 
uhh, are we looking at the same pictures here? These slopes make the level look way better, IDK what your talking about with the sonic utopia compassion.

Also, "muh muhmentums"? are you tell me you DON'T want the level design to go side by side with the thing that made classic sonic (and sonic in general) so special?

Either way, 2.2 GFZ is a perfectly fine zone, the problem? its going up vs 2.3 GFZ that looks much better (and probably plays better too) and uses slopes far more to make the levels look amazing. This is a way better start then 2.2 GFZ
alright, lets tackle each point one by one.

1. it quite literally is sonic utopia, unnecessary overusage of slopes just to make the player go fast with absolutely no skill involved (its just hold forward to go insanely fast lmao), and it doesnt make the level prettier. it just bloats everything and makes the level feel way emptier than it should be, which leads into my next point here: theyre (the level designers) trying too hard, you have these insanely over the top and complex visuals for only the first act of the first zone of the game, it is insanely excessive, in other words: its overdesigned.

2. sonic inst about going mindlessly fast. sonic is also about platforming and exploration, things the screenshots lack entirely. speed in sonic games is achieved when you carefully utilize the skills you have learned along the way to find efficient routes and ways to tackle everything the level throws at you without losing the flow (a.k.a, keeping your speed despite what challenges you may face such as tight platforming.)
so sonic inst about "momentum" and going fast by constantly running down hills, its a PLATFORMER. sonic is about platforming, exploring, and then applying the skills you have learned along the way to quickly breeze through the level. replayability and learning is key to going fast. its what makes the tineattacking experience so interesting, but that gets taken away when the level just makes you go at 150 fu/t constantly with a bunch of downwards slopes being thrown along the way to make you go even faster all the time. theres not much room for going faster when you are already going as fast as the game could possibly allow you to.

3. 2.3 doesnt utilize slopes in a better way, far from it. ive already explained why in my second point and my previous post. and ive explained why it also doesnt objectively look better on my first point.
 
2.3 GFZ is goated, what the hell are you talking about? This looks like more like a playground and less like a generic doom level, there's actually diverse terrain and it looks fun to run through and that's what matters. But I guess they can't do anything remotely fun with older zones because there's "more important" things to do. I honestly have no idea what your talking about with the sonic utopia compassion, they look nothing alike lmao.
Points like this is why the team should go ahead and make it a priority to finish the campaign instead of attempting to please everyone. The game's transition into being more of an engine for character-based platforming and modding with mechanics inspired by the Sonic games mean that people will inevitably post their own edits of the campaign on the message board later on (with their own version of the characters even if they want). This will be easier to do if all of the maps are already in place.

The campaign then becomes just the beginning of your SRB2 experience, the rest is provided by the community.
 
srb2 as it is right now is a different game than the others, and it has it quirks, yes. bur thats what makes it so great, its different approach on sonic game design, the unique level design, its things that drew me to this game in the first place. things that will be gone as soon as they turn the game into "sonic utopia kinolicious slope spam game #1204"
 
alright, lets tackle each point one by one.

1. it quite literally is sonic utopia, unnecessary overusage of slopes just to make the player go fast with absolutely no skill involved (its just hold forward to go insanely fast lmao), and it doesnt make the level prettier. it just bloats everything and makes the level feel way emptier than it should be, which leads into my next point here: theyre (the level designers) trying too hard, you have these insanely over the top and complex visuals for only the first act of the first zone of the game, it is insanely excessive, in other words: its overdesigned.

2. sonic inst about going mindlessly fast. sonic is also about platforming and exploration, things the screenshots lack entirely. speed in sonic games is achieved when you carefully utilize the skills you have learned along the way to find efficient routes and ways to tackle everything the level throws at you without losing the flow (a.k.a, keeping your speed despite what challenges you may face such as tight platforming.)
so sonic inst about "momentum" and going fast by constantly running down hills, its a PLATFORMER. sonic is about platforming, exploring, and then applying the skills you have learned along the way to quickly breeze through the level. replayability and learning is key to going fast. its what makes the tineattacking experience so interesting, but that gets taken away when the level just makes you go at 150 fu/t constantly with a bunch of downwards slopes being thrown along the way to make you go even faster all the time. theres not much room for going faster when you are already going as fast as the game could possibly allow you to.

3. 2.3 doesnt utilize slopes in a better way, far from it. ive already explained why in my second point and my previous post. and ive explained why it also doesnt objectively look better on my first point.
it seems like your overestimating how many downwards slope that actually give speed instead of support the level structure, i have a challenge for you

go and count how many downwards slope are in each of these screenshots to actually support your point
 
I agree with the idea of exaggerating the difference with these screenshots. Comparing it to the current version of the level, it really does feel like the same but looks more slopey.

I also don't agree with the assumption that this means platforming and exploration has taken a backseat. It still looks like there's the same amount of secrets as there always has been. There's even some rings in the pond in the first screenshot, how nice. Slope physics-based gameplay existing more prominently doesn't cancel out the existence of complex platforming or exploration - a good classic Sonic experience balances them both. In the current version of the game slopes don't really mean a whole lot other than slightly complicating your jumps and letting you fly off a ramp every once in a while.

And hasn't the goal of this game always been to recreate the feeling of a classic Sonic game, but in 3D? If this is what they want, it's what they want. Dismissing it as "sonic utopia kinolicious slope spam game #1204" is rather disingenous when that's kind of always been their aim.

These are four out-of-context screenshots of a game we haven't even seen in action yet. Just think it's best to take a step back and wait to actually see what this is all about. I'll see if my tune changes when we get real gameplay.

(An aside - I tried out the "accel-momentum" build of SRB2 recently. It's... fine. It has a good few issues I'd like to see addressed if it truly is the next iteration of the game's control, and I wouldn't be sure how to feel if this *is* what we get. But I see what they're going for.)
 
uhh, are we looking at the same pictures here? These slopes make the level look way better, IDK what your talking about with the sonic utopia compassion.

Also, "muh muhmentums"? are you tell me you DON'T want the level design to go side by side with the thing that made classic sonic (and sonic in general) so special?

Either way, 2.2 GFZ is a perfectly fine zone, the problem? its going up vs 2.3 GFZ that looks much better (and probably plays better too) and uses slopes far more to make the levels look amazing. This is a way better start then 2.2 GFZ
Okay, so basically, after hearing all this, I feel like I need to put my two cents in here:

1. After looking at the screenshots for more than a few seconds, I feel like the changes in terrain at the beginning (and what I can presume mostly the second half on the fourth picture) of Greenflower zone is unnecessary; particularly in being the first stage of a game.

2. I feel like, if there was going to be a change in GFZ1, make it at least a small change, like as in making that mid-section a bit more free, but not in the Sonic Utopia kind of way, where it's an incredibly large wasteland of a stage that has too many slopes; of course that screenshot does look very interesting, but maybe it's too open for a lot of people, considering it's THE FIRST STAGE. IN. THE. GAME/

3. Something tells me we're all using the wrong word here, like "momentum"; if you think about the word "momentum", we only think about what makes it move, but if we think about something like "velocity", I'd consider it personally to be about the speed we gain and how we can use it to our advantage. Maybe instead of ogling about moving down slopes for momentum, what about say, running through as Sonic for velocity.

4. As much as I like the looks of it, I wouldn't love the feel of it; something about the terrain on the open space part of 2.3 Greenflower looks wildly different to how it is now and how it was before, especially when stuff like the overly steep slopes and the multitude of high-reach platforms in the open space part; and even at the beginning part where it's just one small spot under a foot-deep of water, with a big slope to an open space, as it looks like a supposed ramp to "paradise"; 2.3 Greenflower even gets rid of the tunnel that has the double shield, which was the main staple of Greenflower's terrain since the demo ages.

So yeah, I ABSOLUTELY agree when you said 2.2 GFZ is a perfectly fine zone, but nothing else, as in my view, when you say the stuff you particularly say about "2.3 GFZ looking so much better" and "using slopes far more to make the levels look amazing", it makes most of the things you say quite immaculate; but don't try and make defense of it or whatever, I'll respect whatever opinion you got to say, but as far as I'm concerned, maybe give a small bit of consideration that some people like me do like 2.2 GFZ as it is.
 
it seems like your overestimating how many downwards slope that actually give speed instead of support the level structure, i have a challenge for you

go and count how many downwards slope are in each of these screenshots to actually support your point
(ill be only counting those you could use to build up insane speeds off of)
first one: none, but its the entrance part of the level which has walls covering alot of the level that you only see as soon as you leave that area

second and third ones (theyre the same part but different angles): two (one of them is the second chunk of terrain near the lake, the other one is the massive C shaped slope, theyre right next to eachother so you could easily chain the both and your speed would go off the charts in an instant)

last one: 1, the slope right before the bottom path split.

this totals 3: which may not seem like alot, but this is like the first 10 seconds of the level on a casual playthrough, the original gfz1 was 30 seconds long (so if they stay consistent with the slope usage it would be 8-9 downwards slopes) but im sure they would want to extend the level to be longer. and on top of the that, is the first 2 consecutive sections of the level, after leaving one your entering the other right away.
 
I do agree that they should definitely keep the tunnel it's super iconic lol
Yeah, exactly, the tunnels been there for us to find the first appearance of the double shield (with the addition of a crawla and spikes over the monitor); taking the double shield cave away just means removing an initial piece of the map and what history was left of the original Greenflower.
 
Yeah, exactly, the tunnels been there for us to find the first appearance of the double shield (with the addition of a crawla and spikes over the monitor); taking the double shield cave away just means removing an initial piece of the map and what history was left of the original Greenflower.
the double shield is still there but its now just thrown inside the lake instead of hidden in a cave, which will probably make it way harder for new players to find out lol since instead of there being a highlighted spot for the double shield its just "oh nice they made a lake" and then probably not even realize the shield is there.
 

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