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Chronicles' Green Hill Zone - Work in Progress thread

Jer

Lua Beginner
But where's the map? 🤔
Go to the discussion tab and scroll down a bit and click this:
here ya go, kid.png
 

srb2 asker

Member
Ok
Post automatically merged:

OMG ITS TOO BIG
Post automatically merged:

IM GONNA SEND GIF OF WHAT IM DOING
Post automatically merged:

NOW THIS IS WHAT I WANTED
I WANTED TO TEST THE DRIFT FOR MODERN SONIC
 
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Rabosion

Member
Update 8
Great News! I have been given the opportunity to submit the map into the contest, provided the map will contain original stuff as well. This means the map will adhere to the rules laid out by the OLDC and the judges:

-the map's filezise, including all resources must be under 3MB
-sufficient original content must be present in the map
-deadline: June 1st

This will definitely be a challenge for a few reasons. I'll list them below and give you my thought process for future development of the stage.

1) The map's filesize is too big already.
Firstly, the map is already big in its current state. I have been working mostly on background elements this week, and the size increase this brings is much bigger than i expected. With the background elements surrounding the main portion of the level, the file is about 2.413MB big. Without them, the size shrinks down to 1.677MB. Here is a comparison:
23-3_srb2_ss.png


Hundreds of sectors, vertices and linedefs would be obliterated. 'But what would need so much data?', you may ask. Have a few screenshots showing my progress in background elements:
unknown.png
unknown.png
unknown.png
unknown.png
unknown.png

The goal of this mapping style is to hint at structures and areas outside the corners of this map. With all these details, there may be little room for extra stuff. This brings me to my next point.

2) The map needs more stuff
While this zone was challenging to make, it is heavily inspired by the source material. Have a screenie to show which parts are original (green), and which parts rely on the source material(red):
23-3_srb2_ss2.png

As you can see, it is split 50-50 in terms of content. The green zones consist mostly of the background elements. If you speed through, 1/3 to 1/2 of the time you will run towards the OG zone. In the second half of your run you'll play through the big draw-in of the level.

However, i don't think this will be enough. I believe i need to make more original content to avoid the level being just a port with some touch-ups. I need to come up with more pathways to complete the zone, or enhance the existing routes. As of now, you can spend a couple of minutes into the main zone due to the new mechanics i put in. As a result, extra sections need to make up for at least the same playtime. There are a couple of ways i could do this:
-Make the road to GHZ more interesting.
Instead of a straight-lined 2d section (like in Chronicles' cutscenes), i could enhance the transition between beaches and forest into a bigger path, leading up to the GHZ area(in 2d/3d?)

-Start from a different part of the world map.
Those who played the game know which parts of the world map are used. Interestingly, a quite a lot is unexplored in the first section of the game. Here is the world map:
23-3_srb2_ss3.png

This image highlights in green which area of the GHZ level is unexplored in gameplay. There are multiple possible starting points from this image alone.Each possible starting point has a general mountain/island area surrounded by land and forest. Assuming we start the level by going to the ground, I can make the level take place under the ceiling of the forest leaves. This would allow me to fill in the entire trip up to GHZ with any geometry i like.

-Give the underground some love.
Another way i could make the level more unique is through sections without the grassy overworld. As we only explore above ground, underwater/underground sections are definitely a way to spice things up. This could also lead into a big Labyrinth Zone cameo. I tried building a labyrith zone-esque room in 1 area before, but that could always change. Perhaps i could make more pathways in Labyrinth Zone surrounding/ under GHZ.

3) The map needs to be more efficient.
While the map does its job, there are instances where i could improve the map. For example:
unknown.png
unknown.png


To make the structures using the base assets, i resorted to using stacked FOFs and Slope Vertex things. This made me able to make effects/barriers that had the same aesthetic as the original game. However, this way of mapping may take too much space and power of the engine. The last thing i want is that it would have caused the same kind issues rendering my plane from earlier. This leads me to my next point.

4)Resources, custom and existing
So far, i've avoided using new resources as this is my first map. But with the filesize limitation, i am considering creating assets to knock out the background issue and mitigate the matter of the FOF's and amount of Things. However, i have no experience with custom art assets, nor with exporting the file into pk3. I'll definitely need to make a custom skybox to shave down that 0.7 MB. As for level geometry, i'll make the level with the base assets first, then create resources if i go over the limit.

Lastly, the music. I don't know if i can insert all jingles and songs for use in 1 level only. I need to do more research on that. What i certainly need to look out for, is the main zone's theme. This song i can use for the level, but... The original song plays for about 5 minutes, which could consume a lot of data. The WIP i uploaded before is 1minute at +-600 kb. Because of this, i'll likely trim the final song down.

Thank you for reading. Enjoy the updates! I'll be working on the map until the June 1st deadline.
 

SeventhSentinel

STJr Team Representative
Administrator
Sonic Team Junior
Kart Krew™️
Judge
If I'm interpreting our rules correctly, the 3MB limit is on custom assets, rather than the map itself.
 

Rabosion

Member
Update 9
This week i've spent my time on pixelart. The map details remain the same.

I made 2 custom textures for my stage - a rock texture, and a grass texture:
forum textures1.png


And this is how they look when tiled:
forum textures2.png


The grass will be used for flats only, while the rock will be used for both flats and walls. By next week i want to combine these two and make a grassy rock wall texture for platforms and the like.

Thank you for reading. Enjoy the update!

Edit - i tested the textures in-game. The rock may be way too dark, but the grass could definitely fit in the level.
Grass test:
unknown.png

Rock test:
unknown.png
 
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Rabosion

Member
Update 10
Currently in exam period, but since it's been a while i'll happily give you a new update. Progress in the assets has been slow but steady. I've been pixeling on assets like the skybox, rock variations and doing a retry of the rock texture. Once the full picture is more cohesive/ finished, i'll post the result. Meanwhile, my map started throwing visual errors left and right. That may be a sign the space is becoming too big. Because of that, i've experimented with some mechanics in a separate test map. How i'm going to build on it in the final map is TBD.

Have an overview of the mechanics in Zone Builder:
srb2 april progress.png

Here are the mechanics in action:
-2 sloped ramps. The left one is for general use to see what the angle limit is before characters fly off in the air. It could also be handy to determine if you play as a spindash character or not. The right sloped ramp is a giant one, meant for the spindash trio - preferrably Sonic - to roll and fly into the distance to a new path. This seemed obvious to me because GHZ is often the Zone of the welcoming sloped ramps.
srb20006.gif
srb20007.gif
srb20005.gif

- a spiked bridge. In Sonic 1, there are some spiked wooden bridges you need to traverse in order to get a few powerups, with spinning spikes across its length . I simplified this concept a little in Zone Builder. Instead of spinning, the spikes on the bridge will periodically come out in succession to force Sonic and co to thread the bridge carefully.
srb20011.gif
srb20012.gif

-the corkscrew -esque slope above water. Referencing the corkscrew loop from Sonic 2's Emerald Hill, Generations' and Mania's GHZ; i had a lot of fun and frustration with this section. Despite its short length, i spent about 40ish tags making it with slope vertices. The best part of the bridge is that rolling and spindashing on it works perfectly.
srb20004.gif
srb20010.gif

-a headphone-shaped building, from Sonic Jam's World stage. This building is mostly a test, i wanted to make slopes without vertices. I can't make a port for Sonic Jam's World and make it in the OLDC, so the stage that building originates from will not appear in the final level. However this building itself could make a fun little easter egg and expand on the worldbuilding. I'll likely work more on easter eggs in the stage when the level's as good as finished. What easter eggs end up in the final product, will remain a surprise.

Thank you for reading.
 

Rabosion

Member
Can Metal also spindash? I haven't unlocked him yet, I didn't know.

Update 11

I mainly worked on the skybox this week. As i have a clearer idea on how i want it to look, i'll show you my progress. I tried to make a blend of the Sonic 1/Mania/Studio interpretations of GHZ. Some parts are unedited from the source material though, i'll list them here:
-the waterfrom the waterfalls, they come from Sonic 1
-the clouds originate from vanilla SRB2

Chronicled Hill Zone sky sample - rabo.png

I plan to use a ripple effect on the water, and use use linedefs to make up the front rock structures. I also plan to draw stuctures that hint at the world's design from Sonic Chronicles and use linedefs to let them appear in the background.

Thank you for reading.
 

Rabosion

Member
Yes, Metal can indeed spin dash.
Thank you for letting me know. I just unlocked Fang today. My road to Metal is still long. Anyway, time for a new update.

Update 12
This update is dedicated to my attempts at a new grass texture. While not every attempt turned out great, i now have some options for grass for the level.
1619643762635.png


Textures 3,5,6 are my failed attempts. 3 looks more like a synthetic grass matrass, perhaps more suitable for a Mecha Green Hill. 5 and 6 look more like weird springs, perhaps due to the high contrast in the colours.

Textures 1,2 and 4 are the best of the bunch. 1 is more suitable for foresty paths/bushes, while 4 resembles lushy grass the best. While 2 looks like a fun texture to me, i can't think of an immediate use for it.


Next update, i'll post about my rock textures attempts. Thank you for reading.
 

Rabosion

Member
Update 13
Today i want to show off some more textures, focusing more on the rock textures.I recolored SRB2's GHZ rock texture, made a custom grass texture in the style of sonic mania (with the length of generations), and made custom rocks and rock dents. This is what i currently have for custom textures:

This was made using composite textures. I made a regular orange-brown version, referencing the genesis GHZ; and a orange-yellow one, referencing 8Bit GHZ
custom wall.png


To make this, i used these patches:
1620335485387.png
Have a snippet with some of new textures (dent not included, but both my custom grass texture and og grass leaves are included)
1620335771121.png


Have a closer look at my grass side texture:
1620336098274.png


I also updated the 2d section to make it look more like exiting a forest:
srb20014.gif
The trees are not individual objects, so this is very fps friendly

I also come with a little bit of sadder news: I fear the level won't be ready in time for OLDC. The goal has always been to make a fun first level, but i have to realise this is my first level, and i can't rush a broken level out... Despite that, a big requirement was that the level needed enough new content in order for it to be eligible. While there are still 3+ weeks left, recent events in my personal/school life force me to spending less time in Zone Builder. I have multiple gameplay ideas (see a previous update), but they drop the framerate when i want to import them into the level. Having said that, i think i have a fun level on my hands, that just needs some optimising. Even though it's mostly a translation from the DS game. So my goal for the level has become the following: optimise what i have through custom textures/ better optimised mapping, with or without OLDC. When that is done, i'll post this v1.0 and accept all feedback.

Thank you for reading.
 

Chezi

Chili Dogs
Update 13
Today i want to show off some more textures, focusing more on the rock textures.I recolored SRB2's GHZ rock texture, made a custom grass texture in the style of sonic mania (with the length of generations), and made custom rocks and rock dents. This is what i currently have for custom textures:

This was made using composite textures. I made a regular orange-brown version, referencing the genesis GHZ; and a orange-yellow one, referencing 8Bit GHZ
View attachment 43920

To make this, i used these patches: View attachment 43921Have a snippet with some of new textures (dent not included, but both my custom grass texture and og grass leaves are included) View attachment 43922

Have a closer look at my grass side texture:View attachment 43923


I also updated the 2d section to make it look more like exiting a forest:
srb20014.gif
The trees are not individual objects, so this is very fps friendly

I also come with a little bit of sadder news: I fear the level won't be ready in time for OLDC. The goal has always been to make a fun first level, but i have to realise this is my first level, and i can't rush a broken level out... Despite that, a big requirement was that the level needed enough new content in order for it to be eligible. While there are still 3+ weeks left, recent events in my personal/school life force me to spending less time in Zone Builder. I have multiple gameplay ideas (see a previous update), but they drop the framerate when i want to import them into the level. Having said that, i think i have a fun level on my hands, that just needs some optimising. Even though it's mostly a translation from the DS game. So my goal for the level has become the following: optimise what i have through custom textures/ better optimised mapping, with or without OLDC. When that is done, i'll post this v1.0 and accept all feedback.

Thank you for reading.
Don’t forget that there’s always the Winter OLDC if you can’t make the Summer one. This looks really good so far and I honestly think it’s original enough on its own to be in the OLDC
 

Rabosion

Member
Don’t forget that there’s always the Winter OLDC if you can’t make the Summer one. This looks really good so far and I honestly think it’s original enough on its own to be in the OLDC

Thank you for the compliment! I hadn't thought of submitting it into the Winter Oldc. Sadly, this zone is in grey territory. Hence, i take the 'add original content' advice very seriously. However, i also don't want to endlessly delay the zone. Not reaching the June deadline feels like a broken promise to me. I've been working on and reworking this stage since October 2020. The last thing i want with the stage is to create disappointment when it finally releases. I'll keep working this month and update the thread accordingly. If the community wouldn't mind, i'll take the Winter OLDC in consideration in case it isn't finished.
 

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