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A fun 2D retro platformer inspired by Sonic games and a game creation system

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#1 2019-03-14 11:20:13

G.E.R.
Member
From: Russia, Krasnodar
Registered: 2017-12-26
Posts: 177

City Chill Zone

We need to continue development the game and I want to discussion City Chill as 5th zone.
Presently, it is the most completed level.

We have:
Complete background by KZR:
illust_5_140319.png

Complete level music (in the game archive)

Brickset:
illust_6_140319.png

The level-specific objects:
- The cutter trap:
illust_2_140319.png

- The fans, which cause snowfall and strong wind:
illust_1_140319.png

- Periodically blizzard (activated and deactivated by specific technical objects):
illust_4_140319.png

- The falling icicles:
illust_3_140319.png

Also, see the one of the intermediate versions level maps:
Act 1
Act 2

We need to discussion a new level-specific objects, traps and enemies.

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#2 2019-03-14 16:43:51

Alexandre
Administrator
From: Brazil
Registered: 2009-01-27
Posts: 3,270
Website

Re: City Chill Zone

Yes, we're going to continue the development of the game shortly. smile

A discussion about the game design of City Chill is welcome, and even a prototype design of the level, is welcome. The concrete brickset / design / graphics isn't enough for the final game, however.

When designing the gimmicks, please bear in mind that the level shouldn't be too hard for a novice.

City Chill is closely related to Music Stadium, and both levels will go into the final game.

Thank you for the understanding.

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#3 2019-03-14 18:25:06

G.E.R.
Member
From: Russia, Krasnodar
Registered: 2017-12-26
Posts: 177

Re: City Chill Zone

My brickset only for surface of the ground, walls and floors, I will refine it for other situations (places). I know that a roads shouldn't be even below 0 degrees. I will add more slopes and loops. Also, every level should has a many ways and routes, I will it, too.
Сan we encourage svgmovement for creationg arts?

A level with whinter theme should has a "street" sections and underground sections (caves).
Also, we should to think about new gimmics and objects. I think that blizzard and the wind-shield is a good idea for this level. What do you think about an ice-blocks? Whether there should be a broken ice-blocks (remember Press Garden 2)?

City Chill is closely related to Music Stadium

Do you remember what I made in my mod? In the end of City Chill-1 Surge and Charge falling in the cave-trap and one of them goes to Music Stadium-1 search a key, then return in City Chill-2.

When designing the gimmicks, please bear in mind that the level shouldn't be too hard for a novice.

Yes, I know about it! I played New Super Mario Wii U recently and is a typical example of how not to build levels.

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#4 2019-03-14 21:39:54

svgmovement
Member
Registered: 2011-11-24
Posts: 209

Re: City Chill Zone

G.E.R. wrote:

Сan we encourage svgmovement for creationg arts?

I hear you. smile

G.E.R. wrote:

Complete level music (in the game archive)

I know that jobromedia made a music for City Chill Zone. Are there any plans for using this music, or no?

G.E.R. wrote:

We need to discussion a new level-specific objects, traps and enemies.

Sounds like a plan. smile


-- svgmovement

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#5 2019-03-15 00:52:51

Alexandre
Administrator
From: Brazil
Registered: 2009-01-27
Posts: 3,270
Website

Re: City Chill Zone

svgmovement wrote:

I know that jobromedia made a music for City Chill Zone. Are there any plans for using this music, or no?

I think the music is from KZR. The music stays. The rest, changes.

G.E.R. wrote:

Yes, I know about it! I played New Super Mario Wii U recently and is a typical example of how not to build levels.

One thing that I find to be missing on our project is a Level Specification, a document with guidelines on how to design the levels (similar to our Art Specification Document). This document is important to give us a shared understanding of what makes good level design.

Example: what should levels have?
1. multiple routes
1.1. each route with its own difficulty
2. sections where the player can run a lot and have a rush
2.1. an occasional puzzle is interesting (careful not to abuse it)
2. and so on...

what should the level design avoid?
1. gratuitous pitfalls
2. unseen traps
3. things that annoy the player and that do not add value
4. and so on...

what is intended for each level?
remember this is a retro game that invokes retro feelings
e.g., an innocent child-like play

Based on what you folks know about the old Sonic games, and other retro games in general, what sort of things should the level design include? How to make them compelling and exciting?

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#6 2019-03-15 10:54:23

G.E.R.
Member
From: Russia, Krasnodar
Registered: 2017-12-26
Posts: 177

Re: City Chill Zone

Don't worry, we all played on Sonic's games and I know how should the level look like. In addition, I am always happy when you comment on a levels. On today, I know what should be required in a game: a beaurtiful music and a good graphics.
And a many various objects and gimmics. Also, Act 1 and Act 2 should not have the same colors (I mean bricksets).

Now I plan to draw a decorations for this zone and modify brickset (but one main wall pattern is already there) subject to engine changes.

svgmovement wrote:

I hear you. smile

Can you come up with a level-specific enemies for CCZ?

And... Alexandre, do you remember about my request to implement a possible of saving a level map in PNG-file from level editor? I got tired of puzzle in Photoshop each time to look at the whole level.

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#7 2019-03-15 13:03:27

Alexandre
Administrator
From: Brazil
Registered: 2009-01-27
Posts: 3,270
Website

Re: City Chill Zone

G.E.R. wrote:

Don't worry, we all played on Sonic's games and I know how should the level look like. In addition, I am always happy when you comment on a levels. On today, I know what should be required in a game: a beaurtiful music and a good graphics.
And a many various objects and gimmics. Also, Act 1 and Act 2 should not have the same colors (I mean bricksets).

I know that you played Sonic games, but my point is this: there are multiple people involved in the level design process. It's not enough to say "in my opinion this is good level design" or "in my opinion this is bad level design" or "I know what good is". We need an objective standard from which to build and judge levels. This objective standard must focus on a concrete result: to provide fun game play. Otherwise it just becomes a matter of opinion, and it won't go anywhere.

People create a game design document for a reason. Act 1 and 2 may very well have the same brickset, but that's not the point.

I'll be working on this Level Specification document. If you guys have any suggestions, or research material on retro level design, I'll be glad to know. smile

G.E.R. wrote:

Alexandre, do you remember about my request to implement a possible of saving a level map in PNG-file from level editor?

Yes, I do remember it.

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#8 2019-03-25 13:44:55

Alexandre
Administrator
From: Brazil
Registered: 2009-01-27
Posts: 3,270
Website

Re: City Chill Zone

Hey, I've done the research and here's a first version of our Level Design Document:

http://opensnc.sourceforge.net/wiki/ind … n_Document

It provides important insights to Open Surge and to modders as well. It's a living document, so it may be expanded with new insights too.

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#9 2019-03-26 13:28:21

G.E.R.
Member
From: Russia, Krasnodar
Registered: 2017-12-26
Posts: 177

Re: City Chill Zone

The article is good. How I said: it's need a many ways, many objects, gimmicks and traps + animated decorations and good music.

What method is best for creating rough roads? I can draw the slopes as a single blocks, it very easy, but it will lead to a large brickset file (0.5 - 1 MB). If I create a small tiles (like the way it does SEGA), then it will be very difficult to work with the level (when we need to change the layout on a level), but this way is more universal.

And what do you think about a Y-looping system?
illust_1_260319.png

How we can to made it? I realise it as a system of hidden teleportation

object ".vertical_wrap" 0 0

object ".vertical_wrap"
{
    requires 0.2.0
    always_active
    state "main"
    {
        hide
        let "$plxpos = player_xpos()"
        let "$plypos = player_ypos()"

        If "$plypos <= 200" "slidebottom"
        If "$plypos >= 3900" "slidetop"
    }

    state "slidebottom"
    {
        let "$plypos += 3700"
        set_player_position $plxpos $plypos
        return_to_previous_state
    }

    state "slidetop"
    {
        let "$plypos -= 3700"
        set_player_position $plxpos $plypos
        return_to_previous_state
    }
}

But sliding turns sloppy.

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#10 2019-03-26 14:47:44

Alexandre
Administrator
From: Brazil
Registered: 2009-01-27
Posts: 3,270
Website

Re: City Chill Zone

G.E.R. wrote:

The article is good. How I said: it's need a many ways, many objects, gimmicks and traps + animated decorations and good music.

Those elements are certainly important, but by themselves they don't give the level what it needs the most: rhythm! This is key!

G.E.R. wrote:

What method is best for creating rough roads? I can draw the slopes as a single blocks, it very easy, but it will lead to a large brickset file (0.5 - 1 MB). If I create a small tiles (like the way it does SEGA), then it will be very difficult to work with the level (when we need to change the layout on a level), but this way is more universal.

What do you mean by rough roads? Slopes? Grass and dirt/ice? In either case, use the collision mask system extensively; do not rely solely on the brickset image (i.e., the displayed graphics).

The best way to create bricksets that I've seen so far is to do what Race did in his Green Hill brickset. You have repeatable pieces of the scenario that are easily created, large enough to be reused extensively and easily, but not too large so that they cover the whole level. Think 256x256 or smaller, but not too small like 16x16. The pieces should be easy to use and easy to repeat, like Lego. Each piece has its mask.

G.E.R. wrote:

And what do you think about a Y-looping system?

I don't think we need to be concerned right now about infinite looping on Open Surge. However, in case you want to try it out, you have to careful plan your level. The part of your level that you want to loop must be tileable on the y-axis and it should be large enough (both in width and height), so that there are no discontinuities. In a sweet spot of the looping part, you can place an invisible bar (example) that teleports the player. The camera has to be shifted accordingly. Do the math right, and you'll have a seamless looping system.

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#11 2019-03-26 15:09:31

G.E.R.
Member
From: Russia, Krasnodar
Registered: 2017-12-26
Posts: 177

Re: City Chill Zone

Alexandre wrote:

What do you mean by rough roads?

illust_2_260319.png

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#12 2019-03-26 16:29:11

Alexandre
Administrator
From: Brazil
Registered: 2009-01-27
Posts: 3,270
Website

Re: City Chill Zone

Rather than working with those big blocks, my suggestion is to work with reusable pieces, like Race did.

Curiously, we have a legacy picture that can be used as a base for a brickset (but not so much as the brickset itself). Perhaps you could create reusable pieces by combining the blocks from sunshine_solids below? Those reusable pieces would be bricks.

images/levels/1/sunshine_solids.png
sunshine-solids.png

Race's ghz.png
ghz.png

Race's ghz-mask.png
ghz-mask.png

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#13 2019-03-27 07:09:30

G.E.R.
Member
From: Russia, Krasnodar
Registered: 2017-12-26
Posts: 177

Re: City Chill Zone

Oh, I forgot about collision mask. Real, it will give a lot of opportunities to create a multi-high-rise sections. In this case, I can to draw a big blocks (256x256, 10-20 blocks) and it make the level more interesting.

But my question about other theme. I want to create a many snow slopes on this level (it's level with the winter theme) aтв the slopes should be chaotic, steep, unpredictable. The your template has limited piesec of slopes and usind this template significantly reduces space for creativity. May be we will use a set of large blocks, 128/256 x 32px for example?

I don't think we need to be concerned right now about infinite looping on Open Surge.

I know, but I'm interestion how SEGA realised this effect. Does the game screen display two different sections of the map, or
only the nearest part of map is loaded in memory?
Are I understand, Open Surge engine can realised this effect only as hidden teleportation? The player position and the screen position should must be teleported simultaneously, right?

By the way, have you noticed that all winter levels in Sonic's game has a Y-looping system? Ice Cap (S3), Winter Park (S4ep2), Press Garden (SM)?

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#14 2019-03-27 14:45:30

KZR
Member
Registered: 2010-07-14
Posts: 1,447
Website

Re: City Chill Zone

Yes the music is mine. but I have done much better since then

https://soundcloud.com/kaizersensei/retro-hop

this one fits much better, in my opinion. Also the sound quality is a huge step up since that time

in fact listen to the other songs at https://soundcloud.com/kaizersensei and let me know which ones you'd like to have, as is or modified exclusively for Open Surge.

I especially like "Not coming back (mix 2)" for a level, evoking the feeling that you are just passing through

here are my ideas for this level's design:

Slope types

Snow banks tend to be round and puffy, and while the ground of a city might use some roundness of the landscape, many things are flat and straight, for the sake of good navigation and urban planning. Also we shouldn't forget that indoor or covered areas do not have snow on the floor. Brick textures should be different across locations

Navigation

A city offers lots of interesting things to this. Tunnels and bridges, transportation, suspended cables, highways, parking lots, industrial structures, rooftops, and so much more, not to mention potential gimmicks and hazards. using the concept of flow we can chain things in many interesting ways, which will very often differ from the way a real city is built

----

I can help with the brickset but I can't possibly do all this on my own. I need to know who volunteers to help and what you can actually do.

my plan is to come up with a concept brickset. not necessarily textured or colored at all. just some building elements that we can link together to get the flow right. then we add details, polish and modify as needed, until we get the whole design right.

Join us on Discord

https://discord.gg/FEcu8t

let's be honest, a forum is good for long term information, but in game development we should be faster than a few days between replies. don't be afraid of messaging if people are offline. and if you are really serious you can even install it on your phone or tablet smile

Last edited by KZR (2019-03-27 15:00:45)


SD_sml.pngSeD_sml.pngLTot_W_sml.png
https://discord.gg/w8JqM7m ---> Open Surge's Discord server

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#15 2019-03-28 10:31:14

G.E.R.
Member
From: Russia, Krasnodar
Registered: 2017-12-26
Posts: 177

Re: City Chill Zone

First, all we need a "boss", who will determine what needs to be done (Alexandre, I'm talking about you). You should set the direction and approve or reject all offers. Without a boss, developers never can reach a consensus about a project.

Brick textures should be different across locations

Brickset for street, brickset for indoors/basements.

Tunnels and bridges, transportation, suspended cables, highways, parking lots, industrial structures, rooftops

Hooray! The first specific recommendation about City Chill!

There are all my images for Photoshop for this zone.

Join us on Discord

I'm here. GMT+3 is my time zone.

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#16 2019-03-28 14:18:12

Alexandre
Administrator
From: Brazil
Registered: 2009-01-27
Posts: 3,270
Website

Re: City Chill Zone

Look G.E.R., I want a high quality game. We have a high quality engine already, we really do, and I want a game that matches this high quality. Think Sonic 3&K or Sonic Mania.

G.E.R. wrote:

By the way, have you noticed that all winter levels in Sonic's game has a Y-looping system? Ice Cap (S3), Winter Park (S4ep2), Press Garden (SM)?

This is a cool feature, but it is for the future, because we must get the basics right first.

G.E.R. wrote:

First, all we need a "boss", who will determine what needs to be done (Alexandre, I'm talking about you).

What needs to be done at this moment is not necessarily what you want.

What needs to be done at this moment is a base brickset, composed of 256x256 blocks. The base brickset does not need any texture (it can be fully black; it's not City Chill). It needs a base geometry and the corresponding collision mask, so we can reuse it thoughout various levels with little modification. Blocks should be modular, so they can be put together in the level editor like Lego. And it should include common platformer elements like slopes, ramps, tubes, loops and so on. Like Race's brickset.

The base brickset has to be created as a fully original work, since this is a FOSS project and there are licensing considerations to observe.

To measure whether the base brickset is satisfactory or not, a playable level can be created with it. So you're saying City Chill, but I'm saying: take a step back and get the basics right.

G.E.R. wrote:

You should set the direction and approve or reject all offers. Without a boss, developers never can reach a consensus about a project.

Of course, why do you think I'm setting a standard? I'm communicating the direction.

G.E.R. wrote:

There are all my images for Photoshop for this zone.

It won't be approved man, it's not pixel art.

KZR wrote:

I can help with the brickset but I can't possibly do all this on my own. I need to know who volunteers to help and what you can actually do.

my plan is to come up with a concept brickset. not necessarily textured or colored at all. just some building elements that we can link together to get the flow right. then we add details, polish and modify as needed, until we get the whole design right.

Cool, can you help with the base brickset? I feel this is more important than City Chill or anything else at this moment smile

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#17 2019-03-28 14:41:17

KZR
Member
Registered: 2010-07-14
Posts: 1,447
Website

Re: City Chill Zone

ok so here's the conclusion I've reached

we shouldn't use the textured bricks for raw level design, from start to goal.

that's where this base brickset is very important!!

from this base brickset we can build textured variations. these can either be used independently, or made completely passable with a slightly higher zindex, so that we can layer them on top of the level's collision mask (brickset 1).


SD_sml.pngSeD_sml.pngLTot_W_sml.png
https://discord.gg/w8JqM7m ---> Open Surge's Discord server

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#18 2019-04-02 17:19:44

svgmovement
Member
Registered: 2011-11-24
Posts: 209

Re: City Chill Zone

Hello all,

I have some personal stuff I need to work through, so I will not be able to do concept art right away like I thought. This may mean I will come back later, but I am not sure. If I don't return, I hope that another artist comes your way to take my place.

Good luck smile,


-- svgmovement

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#19 2019-04-03 00:39:02

Alexandre
Administrator
From: Brazil
Registered: 2009-01-27
Posts: 3,270
Website

Re: City Chill Zone

svgmovement wrote:

Hello all,

I have some personal stuff I need to work through, so I will not be able to do concept art right away like I thought. This may mean I will come back later, but I am not sure. If I don't return, I hope that another artist comes your way to take my place.

Good luck smile,

Thank you for everything you've contributed so far, it's really appreciated.

Do you have a Discord account / current email address that I can get in touch? smile

I hope it all goes well for you. wink

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#20 2019-09-17 18:54:29

Darkcreator83
Member
Registered: 2019-09-16
Posts: 36

Re: City Chill Zone

Hi guys! I'm creatorsonic, I'm back, but I didn't remember the password so I have a new nickname, I've seen the news, I couldn't resist, I've redesigned the city chill level, it's 100% original, plus the GER base, it has been a very good result, I have tried it, it looks great, but I will include new original pieces, this level can be very useful, here you have the image, it is sonic style 3, original! cool

Brickset.png

Alexandre and G.E.R i hope you like it ¡¡¡ big_smile

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#21 2019-09-20 01:48:29

Alexandre
Administrator
From: Brazil
Registered: 2009-01-27
Posts: 3,270
Website

Re: City Chill Zone

Darkcreator83 wrote:

Hi guys! I'm creatorsonic, I'm back, but I didn't remember the password so I have a new nickname, I've seen the news, I couldn't resist, I've redesigned the city chill level, it's 100% original, plus the GER base, it has been a very good result, I have tried it, it looks great, but I will include new original pieces, this level can be very useful, here you have the image, it is sonic style 3, original!

Hey creatorsonic, welcome back! cool

We will release Open Surge 0.5.0 in a few days. Have you seen the latest Release Candidate build? It's fully playable!

We're no longer doing development in the forum; I am working privately with the people. It works best this way; it's simpler to communicate, more things get done in a better direction, people are accountable, and the project is advancing nicely big_smile

Bricksets are now created using a guideline. Following this guideline helps level design a great deal! It's worth reading it.

All that being said, I'm still interested to see what you came up with.

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