The Chase is On pack V4.0 - (s_sonicchase.wad)

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BlazeFan1

Member
"Sonic: The Chase is on!" is a short levelpack containing the six stages I have built over the few months since I began developing levels.

This is version 4.0! This is the biggest overhaul of this pack BY FAR since its original release.
A vast amount of changes were made to v4.0, including:
-A ridiculous amount of sector based scenery added to the eternally bland country dream zone
-Multiple Changes made to mediocre levels Mount Crumble and Lake Adventure
-Obnoxious gimmick in Tempest Coast Removed
-Obnoxious gimmick in Jungle Flight... made slightly less obnoxious
-CHAOS EMERALDS added to every stage! There is one on each, except for Toxic Warehouse, which holds 2.

There is currently no benefit for finding the Chaos Emeralds, but they're hidden well so finding them presents a challenge even if its just for fun.

Ok so, a quick description of the levels.

Country Dream Zone- The first level I ever built, and trust me, its evident. For those who have played the stand-alone version of this level I released you remember. In version 4.0 (out now) I pulled out all the stops and flooded this level with... stuff. I also made a few hugely expansive open sections smaller rather than filling them.

Mount Crumble Zone- I released this as a stand-alone level, but it's much better within the level pack. It's a level in a mountain pass, with water, caves, etc. It's better structured than my first level for sure, but not particularly interesting overall. 4.0 widened some passageways and added a few secrets here.

Lake Adventure Zone- One of my bigger projects, and the last level I released before this pack. The majority of this level is underwater.

Tempest Coast Zone- First "new" level in this pack. (Not ever released as a standalone) Basically, its one of Eggman's power plants perched in the cliffs above Lake Adventure. In 4.0, the annoying gimmick with all the buttons has been removed from the main path. If you're an explorer, you might still be able to find that chamber...

Jungle Flight Zone- In some ways, this is the best level in the pack. However, the fact that the character spends a good deal of time above the height of the thok barrier subjected this level to extreme graphical issues during development. If you find any more, alert me so I can try to fix them.

Toxic Warehouse Zone- In my opinion, this is the best level in the pack overall. Inside Eggman's warehouse, you must maneuver between slime, oil, and acid to track down Eggman and stop him again. This level has an unusually difficult boss at the end, good luck. Oh, and version 4.0 has left this level virtually unchanged, since I haven't really recieved any constructive negative feedback on it.

On to other matters.
Story:

If you want to read the story, read each segment of this before playing the level is pertains too.

Country Dream Zone:
Sonic and his friends are enjoying another peaceful day in Country Dream Zone, when suddenly, one of Eggman's crawlas approaches our three heroes. Before Sonic can smash it, a hologram comes from its nose, showing an image of the evil Dr. Eggman.
"Greetings, Sonic and friends," Eggman says. "I wanted to give you a warning. I have built another great base, very, very far away, and once again my robots are wreaking havoc across the globe! Come to the promontory on Mount Crumble to meet me, and perhaps I'll spare you. You cannot stop me this time!"
Eggman dissappeared, and sonic turned to his friends. "That bad Egg never gives up," he said. "C'mon guys, let's head to Mount Crumble and teach Eggman a thing or two."

Mount Crumble Zone:
When Sonic and friends reached Mt. Crumble, they discovered the extent of Eggman's new plan. Robots were ravaging everything for miles around. "Sonic" said Tails. "Eggman said he'd meet us on the promontory, let's head there and stop him." "Way ahead of you!" called Sonic, taking off through the cliffs. Tails and Knuckles followed behind.

Lake Adventure Zone:
Eggman, defeated on Mt. Crumble, flew off over Lake Adventure, cackling to himself. Sonic became uncomfortable. "Why Lake Adventure? I hate water!" Tails looked out to the horizon, where there was an unusual glow. "Sonic," he said, "There may be a base of some sort out there. We have to cross the lake." Sonic shuddered, but our three heroes descened to Lake Adventure nonetheless.

Tempest Coast Zone:
Arriving on the opposite coast, thre three heroes discovered that the "base" was actually a power plant, perched in the cliffs. A fierce storm had blown in, but Sonic and friends rushed into Eggman's plant regardless.

Jungle Flight Zone:
After defeating Eggman again and emerging from the plant, Sonic and friends found themselves in a thick jungle.
"Great," said Knuckles. "Now what Tails?" Tails thought for a moment. "This deep jungle is a great place for Eggman to hide a real base," he said. "Let's search the jungle and see what we can find."

Toxic Warehouse Zone:
Tails' suspicions were correct. Sonic and friends uncovered a huge warehouse hidden deep in the jungle. "Eggman must be storing dangerous stuff for his master plan in here," said Knuckles. "Then that Egg has gotta be inside!" said Sonic. "Let's go!" Together, they entered the gloomy warehouse.

Screenshots:

Note: Screenshots may be outdated!
Country Dream Zone


Mount Crumble Zone


Lake Adventure Zone


Tempest Coast Zone


Jungle Flight Zone


Toxic Warehouse Zone



Anyway, enjoy and comment so I can improve this pack! Even if you've played before, you can download again and look for the emeralds.

You may ask why the emeralds are even in this if they serve no purpose.
1. For fun
2. They serve as placeholders for secrets when I use this pack as stages 1-6 in an epic mod I'm nowhere near finishing.
 

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Torgo

Member
The levels seem work enough to be playable. I can't really give too much of a review right now as I haven't played them too thoroughly.

Oh yeah, I reuploaded your file since it seemed to think it was password protected if you extracted it to "Sonic chase ". I removed the space and reuploaded it and it seems to work fine.
 
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Fawfulfan

The Tortured Planet guy
I've just downloaded it, and I'm going to play it. Long review coming soon.

EDIT: Okay, here's some of it:

Okay, I'm willing continue giving this pack a chance. As you said, CDZ is your first level, and maybe it isn't indicative of the whole pack. But man, was this level terrible. Why include a level that you know stinks? (Yeah, I know, I'm being a hypocrite--Spacewalk Zone in Tortured Planet). But I'll run through all the ways it stinks, so that you might have an easier time improving it.

The first thing that leapt out at me was the thok barrier. You should never make the outer edge of a sky-revealing thok barrier concave. It creates a big solid invisible mass that obscures the path ahead for no apparent reason, and it's really ugly. Another thing that I didn't like was your texture choice. It just didn't bring anything new to the table.

So then, the first area was really confusing, and the secrets made no sense. I didn't care for the Buzz spamming that much. And what's with all the crack textures? Generally, those should only be used on Bustable Blocks and the like. It took me a bit to find the path. This level's path was very befuddling, yet also apparently linear. It's not a good combination.

The stairway (and subsequent stairways, too) weren't that impressive either. You really need to work on texture alignment, or fine-detailed stuff like this is always going to look ugly. And also, it didn't look like a natural formation, so why did it have rock and grass textures? If you want to keep that stairway, maybe you should turn it into wood. And while we're at it, a few wooden structures wouldn't go amiss throughout the level either...it would add an extra element to a level that just screams for more variation of all kinds.

By now, I'm also getting pretty sick of how open and flat this level is. You need LOTS of sector-based scenery and obstacles, which both look pretty and keep gameplay interesting. To be honest, I think you should entirely scrap the GFZ elements and redecorate the level in a unique theme, but if you absolutely must keep GFZ, you can still improvise. Add hills, depressions, mounds, waterfalls, lakes, bridges, secret caves...whatever you can to get creative. Use any inspiration you've got...you certainly can't make this level WORSE.

What is with your enemy choices? It's an absolute mess. When placing enemies, remember the three S's: Sparingly, Strategically, and Sensibly. You should never try to compensate for a room's emptiness by filling it up with enemies. That's really cheap, annoying, uninspired, and not fun at all. Also, try to place enemies in areas that actually add to the challenge, so as to do things like obstruct a cave entrance or patrol a tiny platform. Don't be repetitive, either; find new ways to use the enemies. And lastly, think "is this kind of enemy something I would see in a grassy meadow?" I don't think you'd see Crawla Commanders, FaceStabbers, Egg Guards, and certainly not THZ turrets.

Anyway, the lake had a good colormap, but that's all that was good about it. It was really deep, flat, and boring. And Skims should NOT be in an environment like this.

Also, don't put springs in such a place so that they'll send you backwards in the level. That's just confusing and irritating. And that line of spikeballs is pointless and has to go, too. And then we get to the MASSIVE ARMY OF ENEMIES. I recommend just deleting every single one. That thing is awful and not fun in the least.

The place near the end is marginally better, but it again doesn't look natural. If something is blocky and doesn't look like something that would naturally form, give it brick or wooden or metal or whatever textures to make it look man-made. It's only sensible.

The end sector itself was anticlimactic and too small. Add some grandeur to it.

And now, I'm off to try some of your other levels.

The beginning wasn't that good, with the vertical springs and square platforms, but the area shortly after that looked okay. I must call you out of the aforementioned thok barrier problem, though.

The rivers looked pretty cool, and the lake was nicely done, but I don't like those weird GFZ FOFs floating on the water. They look unnatural and ugly. And what is a Sharp doing here? Those enemies don't belong in a level like this. Also, I'd recommend you check the NOT CLIMBABLE flag for a wall with a waterfall texture, as it's strange when you can climb on water. I also have to note that the thok barrier is a tad low to the ground here, and the paths are quite cramped.

Anyway, more thok barrier annoyances, and a popup turret that is...well, okay I suppose. Here's a bit of a level tip: Don't give a tag to a sector directly bordering the thok barrier. It causes a nasty visual bug that prevents anything beyond the thok barrier being rendered.

Oh, and the Thing-based scenery was actually pretty appropriate. But what is with that flowery floor texture? That's really only supposed to be used to create tiny flowery patches set against regular GFZ grass.

So now we come to a star post, and enter a cave. Its ceiling is too low, and it's also quite flat, but it's kind of interesting the way you spring out of it. Yeesh, more popup turrets! Please tone those things down. They get old really fast. And that arrow block is a tad too tall...make sure it's 128 fracunits in height.

More bad enemy choices, and then we get to a new environment. I was excited when I saw the big hole in the ground...I thought you might have made a path split. But no, it just led to a secret. Please stop hiding Super Ring boxes like that...they aren't worth it. Put in a few shields, for heaven's sake. Anyway, after another faux slope, we come to a pool filled with mechanical stuff. The path leading out of there is way too narrow; widen it a bit.

I am getting so sick of those CLIFF textures. Vary it up, PLEASE. Anyway, a bunch more narrow paths with inexplicable flame jets (carve out holes for them to shoot from, please), and then we come to a waterfall with more Skims, and a super-narrow underwater path. I really want you to widen up this narrow stuff. Narrow is bad. Then we shoot out and come to a boss. It would be nice if the wall closed behind you when you enter the boss room. And the boss room itself is too bland.

More coming later if I get to it.
 
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BlazeFan1

Member
Torgo, I have no idea why that happened, but thanks for fixing it.

Ok Fawfulfan, where do I start...

First of all, let me say that CDZ will either be almost entirely changed or simply replaced with a new level by the same name. I know its really bad.

You said something about making a thok barrier concave, causing issues with blocking views of other areas.
This is the BIGGEST graphical issue that plagues my levels, because I honestly believe there must be some simple way to fix it, but I have no idea how. Reasonings on why the thok barrier does what it does are still a mystery to me, but if you can help with that I'd appreciate it. (oh and if it annoyed you here, just wait till jungle flight zone...)

Texture alignment. Another thing I've never learned to do. I'll look into that. ALL my levels need it badly.

What else? Yeah I know, its too flat and boring. Again, I will drastically change that eventually.

Enemies. Again, this was my first level, it was all I really knew how to do.
The army of enemies is actually a joke, I have long since been told it is not a remotely acceptable gimmick, but I'm keeping it simply because... well, its funny.

I promise you, the levels get MUCH better as the pack goes on.
I'll make a seperate post to respond to Mt. Crumble.

---------- Post added at 07:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:54 PM ----------

Concerning Mt. Crumble.
You said, don't give a sector tag to anything bordering the thok barrier, as it causes issues.
Thanks, that may explain a lot of graphical problems.

How would I make holes for the flame jets to come out of, (The horizontal ones I mean.) Wouldn't that mean a different texture on a part of a wall? How could I do that?

Cliff textures. If I can find other appropriate textures, I'll try them.

And also... a door that closes when you enter the boss room. Now THAT I can definitely do with a simple linedef executor. In fact, that already happens with the boss of Toxic Warehouse Zone at the end of the pack.

Don't expect changes immediately, I'm a bit busy lately. But they will come.

Thanks for the reviews Fawfulfan, keep it up!
 
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Fawfulfan

The Tortured Planet guy
You said something about making a thok barrier concave, causing issues with blocking views of other areas.
This is the BIGGEST graphical issue that plagues my levels, because I honestly believe there must be some simple way to fix it, but I have no idea how. Reasonings on why the thok barrier does what it does are still a mystery to me, but if you can help with that I'd appreciate it. (oh and if it annoyed you here, just wait till jungle flight zone...)
You can easily solve this just by changing the shape of your thok barrier. Just make sure that it always curves inwards (though it doesn't need to curve inwards in places where the sky wouldn't be visible anyway). Alternately, you could keep the inner walls of the thok barrier where they are, but move the outer walls way out.

Texture alignment. Another thing I've never learned to do. I'll look into that. ALL my levels need it badly.
Even more easily solved. Just go into 3D mode, point at a group of walls you want to align, and press the "A" key.

What else? Yeah I know, its too flat and boring. Again, I will drastically change that eventually.
Okay, take your time. Your pack isn't beyond saving...you have a couple of nice concepts. Just try to cram more content into those wide open areas.

Enemies. Again, this was my first level, it was all I really knew how to do.
The army of enemies is actually a joke, I have long since been told it is not a remotely acceptable gimmick, but I'm keeping it simply because... well, its funny.
How is it even remotely funny? If you plan to keep it, then at the very least don't put them on the main path; move it to a super-secret area or something.

How would I make holes for the flame jets to come out of, (The horizontal ones I mean.) Wouldn't that mean a different texture on a part of a wall? How could I do that?
Just make a hole in the wall, and assign the back wall of the hole the ~PIT texture. To see how it's done, look at Alien Armageddon Zone Act 1 (which isn't one of my best levels, but does feature horizontal flame jets coming out of holes).


Cliff textures. If I can find other appropriate textures, I'll try them.
Don't get rid of them entirely. Cliff textures are nice looking, you just horrendously overused them.

Thanks for the reviews Fawfulfan, keep it up!
If I find time, I'll try to review the other levels.
 

BlazeFan1

Member
So all I have to do is make sure the linedefs composing the thok barrier curve inwards? That explains why some of my thok barriers become an endless expanse, while others, literally a wall of sky.

Texture alignment I would definitely do... if 3D mode worked right. For some reason my computer doesn't recgonize my directx, so I've never been able to use 3D mode.

The enemy parade in CDZ, others found it funny when playing my stand-alone release of that level. Because its possible to simply run past them all. Its there for show, and not meant to be taken as a serious attempt at a gimmick.

And... yeah, I'll work on the other stuff too. I understand you're busy so take your time but do try to review the others if possible eventually, so far I only have your opinion on the two worst ones.
 

Fawfulfan

The Tortured Planet guy
So all I have to do is make sure the linedefs composing the thok barrier curve inwards? That explains why some of my thok barriers become an endless expanse, while others, literally a wall of sky.
No, that is caused by the other thing I mentioned: tagging sectors bordering the thok barrier. Making sure the linedefs composing the thok barrier curve inwards solves the problem of the thok barrier obstructing the view of parts of the level that it shouldn't.
 

MellowJacket

The unreliable judge
Judge
These maps were very flawed, full of bizzare quirky errors. But, despite this. I had fun on the Tempest Coast and Toxic Warehouse Zone. The gimmicks were clever and rather imaginative, even if many were flawed in execution. For example, the ring draining section of Tempest Coast would be a threat, if the player was not given three rings as soon as they left, having to clear the platforming section after that with Castlebot Facestabbers without any rings would have been a suitable way to punish the player for lacking short term memory :p
I also liked the sense of progression in Toxic Warehouse, as the player goes up to the Roof and has to avoid gradually more dangerous chemicals on the way.

But, that aside. There's still a lot wrong with your maps. Bizzare level design, awkward visuals, etc. While I'm sure Fawfulfan will cover most of these issues, it wouldn't hurt to have a friend playtest your levels before you release them and help you by telling you what is wrong.
 

Fawfulfan

The Tortured Planet guy
So wait, which one indicates I'm doing it right? The endless expanse or the wall of sky?
I'm assuming that by "endless expanse" you mean that you can see the floor flat of the thok barrier beyond the wall. That indicates you're doing it right. Fine-tuning the thok barrier to avoid visual glitches is really something that you will get better at with time. But I'll offer you all the help I can.

First, I recommend that in most cases, you make the thok barrier go all the way up to the ceiling, as it causes less bugs. If it goes all the way up to the ceiling, you don't have to worry about either of the next two things, because you can't see over the thok barrier and that's where the glitches happen. If it goes to the ceiling, you can ignore both of the below tips. But there might be circumstances when you want the thok barrier to be lower than the ceiling, so here's some tips to make sure it doesn't come out all glitchy.

Second, as I said, don't give a tag to a sector touching the thok barrier, or stuff beyond it won't be rendered. This means don't put a water block or FOF directly on the thok barrier...unless the thok barrier goes all the way up to the ceiling, in which case it doesn't matter. If you aren't doing this, and you need a water block or FOF close to the thok barrier, create a wafer-thin sector which separates the FOF from the thok barrier. I think you can also use fake floor/ceiling planes for this purpose. But be sure it doesn't look weird.

Third, avoid concave angles in the outer walls of the thok barrier. This will cause weird places where sections beyond the thok barrier that you should be able to see are blocked by an ugly, invisible mass. That "mass" is actually the edge of the level. To put it another way, if the player can go above the thok barrier, make sure that the edge of the level doesn't obstruct his view. You can be very creative in avoiding this. For one thing, if it has to be concave, then make it so that it obstructs your whole view, not just part of it. That way, the player can't see weird bits of the level beyond. Think of it as an absolute...it has to be everything or nothing. This only really works, however, if you are placing a building or a cave or a cliff or something between the area you're in and the area you don't want the player to be able to see.

With me on all this? If you're not, fine. You'll eventually come to understand this intuitively on your own.
 
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Fred

Member
Third, avoid concave angles in the outer walls of the thok barrier. This will cause weird places where sections beyond the thok barrier that you should be able to see are blocked by an ugly, invisible mass. That "mass" is actually the edge of the level. To put it another way, if the player can go above the thok barrier, make sure that the edge of the level doesn't obstruct his view. You can be very creative in avoiding this. For one thing, if it has to be concave, then make it so that it obstructs your whole view, not just part of it. That way, the player can't see weird bits of the level beyond. Think of it as an absolute...it has to be everything or nothing. This only really works, however, if you are placing a building or a cave or a cliff or something between the area you're in and the area you don't want the player to be able to see.
Wrong, wrong, wrong wrong wrong. If you can't see through the thok barrier, then that's a good thing.

The game's renderer is dumb and will only stop drawning linedefs when they're occluded by a one-sided linedef. The outermost lines of a level should ALWAYS be as tucked in as far as possible, so that more one-sided linedefs cross the player's line of sight and keep the first half of the stage from being drawn when you're already at the end.

A good example of this is that long corridor in THZ1. Because the one-sided linedefs are hugging the actual level so close, once you go through it and reach that second part of the level, the first part is now completely hidden behind one-sided linedefs and doesn't weigh down the game's performance.

It's also a good practice to insert one-sided lines inside of structures you can't go through at all. Again, look as THZ1. After that long corridor, the path splits into two, and in the center there is a large mountain. That mountain has one-sided lines inside, so when you're on the left path, the right one doesn't get drawn, and vice-versa.

This might not seem like much, but if you were to take a level such as Arid Canyon, or Egg Rock, or a similarly big stage and made the thok barrier a simple square, performance would go down the drain. There is such thing as overkill, though, and you shouldn't exaggerate on how many linedefs you break the barrier into. Just enough to block visibility where you don't need it.
 

BlazeFan1

Member
Ok, I've just been struck with two very different ways to fix this. So at the moment I'm just gonna try some stuff and fool around until it looks better I guess.

And Yeah Whackjood, I know there are weird issues. This is just because...
1. As you may have noticed, I am still in the process of learning to use a thok barrier correctly...
2.I'm still new at this, sometimes I can only get a gimmick to work if its a bit glitchy or something. That's why I rely on comments to help me find and fix these glitchy areas and know how I did it so I don't make similar mistakes later.

By the way, I'm glad you enjoyed TCZ and TWZ, I personally love TWZ I believe that is my best work.
 

Fawfulfan

The Tortured Planet guy
Wrong, wrong, wrong wrong wrong. If you can't see through the thok barrier, then that's a good thing.

Neo Chaotikal, you seem to have missed my point, and I guess I didn't make my point that clearly, so I don't blame you. My bad. I'm not advocating that what lies beyond the thok barrier should always be visible. I'm saying that either making everything visible or nothing visible is vastly preferable to what BlazeFan1 is doing at the moment. Yeah, I agree that in general it's much less messy to make nothing visible, but the reason I devoted so much space to how to make everything visible because it's much harder to do correctly, so if BlazeFan1 is going to do that, he should know how to do it properly.
 

BlazeFan1

Member
Ok, I've already gotten to work turning Country Dream Zone into... something remotely worth playing I guess. I've already made over a dozen small changes, but I've really got to get to work making sector-based scenery there. I think in the new version I'll try to make CDZ as visually pleasing as possible, since it will probably never be too great in gameplay.
 

BlueZero4

Member
You know, you don't always have to fix old maps. You can always just decide to make a new one instead and leave the old maps as-is. Having a blank slate might remove the limitations that you would place on yourself if you were editing an old level.
 

Fawfulfan

The Tortured Planet guy
From my experience, BlueZero4, you'd be surprised how much you can transform a preexisting level. I personally like having a base level to build on top of. The only times that I just scrap a level entirely is if there is literally nothing redeeming about it. That's why Tortured Planet has very little scrapping...even terrible levels like Spacewalk Zone still have one or two elements I'm proud of, and I hope to slowly replace bad bits with good bits over a long period of time. The only level in Tortured Planet that was so horrible that I decided to just can it was the original version of Rocket Rampage Zone. The new version is hardly perfect, but there are parts of it that I am fond of.
 

MechaS3K

NEVAR FORGET
From my experience, BlueZero4, you'd be surprised how much you can transform a preexisting level. I personally like having a base level to build on top of. The only times that I just scrap a level entirely is if there is literally nothing redeeming about it. That's why Tortured Planet has very little scrapping...even terrible levels like Spacewalk Zone still have one or two elements I'm proud of, and I hope to slowly replace bad bits with good bits over a long period of time. The only level in Tortured Planet that was so horrible that I decided to just can it was the original version of Rocket Rampage Zone. The new version is hardly perfect, but there are parts of it that I am fond of.

That's why I still keep around Lunch Base Zone. In fact, I'm revamping it as we speak.
 

BlazeFan1

Member
Yes, and since CDZ is the first level in the pack, and will be the first level in the whole mod someday, it's supposed to be short and easy. So I've decided to make it as visually appealing as possible, and let the real gameplay start at Mt. Crumble Zone.

While editing CDZ will be mostly about adding sector-based scenery, some of my more complex levels need different changes. For example, Tempest Coast and Toxic Warehouse need some gimmick issues ironed out, and Jungle Flight REALLY needs major thok barrier changes and perhaps even a full graphical overhaul, as well as some gimmick adjustments. Then there may be a matter of adding some split paths,(since Lake Adventure Zone is the only level with one thus far.)

I appreciate the feedback. Please continue the reviews, especially on the three stages that were not formerly released.
 
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