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@  Ishapar : (14 December 2019 - 04:23 AM)

Not bad. Would be neat if my grandpa makes it that old.

@  Shadow : (12 December 2019 - 03:19 PM)

I hope I get to live to 93.

@  Wulfsbane : (11 December 2019 - 09:42 AM)

93

@  Ishapar : (09 December 2019 - 08:48 AM)

Shame to hear about that. How old was he?

@  RedG : (06 December 2019 - 06:04 PM)

Sorry to hear, Wulfsbane. My condolences.

@  Wulfsbane : (05 December 2019 - 10:43 PM)

My grandfather passed on the 17th.

@  chief : (30 November 2019 - 03:32 PM)

oh?

@  Wulfsbane : (28 November 2019 - 07:14 PM)

This year's Thanksgiving was a lot tougher than normal.

@  Wulfsbane : (28 November 2019 - 07:14 PM)

Same to you.

@  RedAuthar : (28 November 2019 - 03:47 PM)

Happy American Turkey Day

@  chief : (09 November 2019 - 02:20 PM)

http://www.sonicsatam.com/sea3on/

@  Shadow : (31 October 2019 - 10:44 AM)

H A P P Y H A L L O W E E N

@  Kev : (20 October 2019 - 02:19 PM)

Sally acorn painting you can try to follow along, needs re-voicing as its just me for now.

@  Kev : (20 October 2019 - 02:18 PM)

Made another cartoon episode, its a painting tutorial on youtube check out my channel= 2D 3D CARTOONS

@  Wulfsbane : (05 October 2019 - 11:05 PM)

Well the player base went up exponentially since the switch.

@  wildfire : (05 October 2019 - 08:39 PM)

Probably to help Bungie now that Activision's money isn't backing them.

@  Wulfsbane : (03 October 2019 - 06:33 AM)

Destiny made the move to Steam.

@  Wulfsbane : (09 September 2019 - 10:12 AM)

We'll probably see Tracer soon

@  Shadow : (06 September 2019 - 10:48 PM)

I'd rather see Mai in Smash

@  Wulfsbane : (06 September 2019 - 09:05 AM)

I'm more surprised about the Fatal Fury character.


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Sonic Epoch: A Look-Back, The Future, Etc.

sonic epoch

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#1 southbird

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 01:41 PM

Hey guys... been meaning to try to start a topic like this for a while. Don't worry if you don't know what Sonic Epoch is, never played it, etc. You may still have valuable input! So please read on.

 

 

 

 

 

compare01.gif compare01b.gif

 

compare02.gif compare02b.gif

 

 

 

So anyway, in short, Sonic Epoch was a Sonic fangame I originally started putting out around 2000 as DOS-later-Windows PC game and basically "finished" it as a Gameboy Advance ROM in 2004ish. (Both pictured above, left being PC, right being GBA.) It featured Sonic accidentally time-traveling ahead 10 years and having to deal with the fallout.

 

If you haven't played Epoch or want to refresh your memory, and in general don't mind SPOILERSyou can watch this video which runs through all of the cinematic cut-scenes and just a touch of gameplay complaints. It's got "shocking" elements, so if you are fearful of your childhood being ruined as they say, you might want to stay away.

 

 

 

Moving on, Sonic Epoch was a product of its time. It was the inspiration for Sonique to even create this website. When I was first working on it around 1999, Sonic Adventure was huge, Sega still was king, SatAM had been off the air for quite a while (though there was still hope in a revival), and the fandom was at war. While I'm sure this still happens in some areas, people were really polarized and frequently bickering if you were a fan of "SegaSonic" or "SatAM." Usually this would boil down to petty arguments about what's canon, who the "correct" love interest for Sonic is, etc.

 

While originally Sonic Epoch was "just a fangame", I started really getting into the warring fanbases of the time, personally sticking to the SatAM camp, feeling like we were all a repressed minority. (Seems so silly now, but I was a young Internet nerd, what do you want?) This positively and negatively effected Sonic Epoch, and is largely responsible for making it what it is. Since it became a rebellious piece, it started developing shocking content that was really just for shocking's sake. (To plug my own little site, you can read more about all of this in verbosity if you want: http://sonicepoch.com/)

 

---------------------

 

Anyway, for the sake of this thread, I'm focusing on things that happened in Epoch that I now find juvenile and unnecessary:

 

* Tails cursing. This was probably the most in-your-face thing that both versions of Epoch had. It was meant to make it edgier and adult. (But really it's just kind of tasteless, isn't it?)
 

* Sally was somewhat of off-model-leaning-generic in the PC version, but in GBA her future self was mostly some depressed, mood-swinging exaggeration. EMO! Some of that is okay in terms of what the story is trying to accomplish, but I think it was overdone.
 

* Bloodshed! This was more of a "feature" in the PC version, but obviously to be more adult, we gotta have some gore! Most famously was my oblique Metal Sonic (known as "Sonic-2") ripping a chunk of flesh out of Knuckles-later-became-Ari to kill him.

 

So where are we going with this? Well, Sonic Epoch is a project that never dies. The PC version of course was just abruptly dropped because I let "real life" get to me. The GBA version was "complete", but it was largely rushed (very evident about halfway through), and I didn't really tell the story I meant to tell. (Which I still have lots of documents with plans and details that never got executed in either version.) Either version suffers from lackluster gameplay -- I rate it as a subpar generic platformer, and certainly not anywhere close to a "Sonic" game experience. (Although, historically, I would not have wanted it to be a "Sonic" game experience for reasons specified.)

 

I still want to do a Sonic Epoch that actually conveys the image I meant originally, without being influenced by peer pressure or silly politics. Unfortunately, my life circumstance is different now, where the PC one was done in high school and the GBA one in college, I don't really have as much of the free time and latitude as a functioning adult working a full time job. Basically, I can't commit to a Sonic Epoch right now, but I'm still planning one. If I make a major breakthrough, you'll all know for sure.

 

-------------------------

 

So finally, what I want to know, including where to draw the line on some of these:

 

* Tails cursing -- stupid and needless, right? Or does some amount of cursing benefit the character portrayal?
 

* Sally -- I think GBA did better with the character, but took it too far. Agree/disagree?
 

* Bloodshed -- where's the line with this? PC was somewhat gory, but GBA really just had Sally's cheek get cut.
 

* Sexual innuendo -- This was all really a GBA feature (and it weirds me out to read it in GBA; I look at it 10 years later like, "I wrote that??"); while I would never go outright into graphical depictions, was Sally making suggestive remarks too weird? (See above video, 26:04) Also implications of the only female villager, things that happened around the "daemon bot" segment, etc.
 

* Generically speaking: What would YOU like to see in a proper Sonic SatAM fangame? About the only rule I can think of is that I'd like to box it into only what's canon from the show or leftover from official writer's notes1, besides whatever story the game itself is carrying. I think Sonic should play at least something like a Sonic game (because he is who he is), and Sally should be maybe less battle-oriented and perhaps more puzzle/mechanical-oriented.

 

 

 

----

Breaking the last one down a bit, this largely means I wouldn't want to adapt way-off-track "Archie-isms" or Sega specific content except where it's "harmless" and non-conflicting. For example, I'm sure introducing Knuckles is okay if done right. You might not be able to haul in chaos emeralds and a lot of Sega lore (or else it's becoming diluted IMO.) None of this is a hard and fast rule because I'm sure you could adapt any story into the SatAM universe if you do it right. But I'm thinking of a game that can be easily seen at first glance as a product of the SatAM show, not a confusing derivative or mixture of multiple Sonic universes.



#2 Misk

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 03:11 PM

I think I'll answer 1, 2, and 3 simultaneously, since my answer will be roughly the same.

 

Epoch was a pretty dark game. Based on a fairly dark interpretation of an otherwise fairly upbeat franchise. This isn't a bad thing in and of itself. Something I think Epoch did very well was conveying the dread of that future. It had a very oppressive atmosphere. It went to great lengths to show what an unrepentant monster Robotnik was. Something the show already did, but you took it a step further with Epoch. If had Robotnik had ever beaten the Freedom Fighters, what would his next goal be? Assuming the Freezer thing was something that was always planned from even before the GBA version, that's actually both a pretty decent move and also utterly terrifying given the preparation necessary (I have to admit, I was fairly disturbed when it was revealed that Robonik had roboticized himself so that he'd survive the freezing. I'd say it gave me chills, but that would be a death-worthy pun).

 

That being said, Tails and Sally's interpretations weren't horrible. True, in Tails' case saying the f-word every other line was a bit excessive, but at the same time, I understand that Tails essentially lost his brother in the context of the story, so he'd be very understandably angry and paranoid. Should you attempt this again, I would scale back the swearing but still keep Tails' hard edge.

 

Sally I didn't feel was too bad. After what they'd gone through over the past 10 years, It's amazing that she hadn't cracked.

 

And given the atmosphere of Epoch, with everyone being either dead or a robot, I don't think a little blood would be too far out of the question. Somewhere between the PC version and GBA version I think would be acceptable.

 

 

 

Now that that's out of the way...

 

The sexual innuendo was mostly needless. Though at least in Sally's case it did seem to fit with her mental state. I'd say keep it for Sally to highlight how broken she is, but make it more subtle and less overt.

 

 

As for what I'd like to see in a SatAM fangame...I can't much say. If we're going with Sonic-style gameplay, I see a problem when it comes to level theming. Classic Sonic games were bright and colorful and showcased many different environments. SatAM, on the other hand, was dark, cold, and metallic. Most of the world was smog and factories, so that would be an obstacle to overcome unless the entire style is switched.

 

Also for a SatAM fangame I would say story would be important. If you're going to base it off a decidedly non-game friendly version of a certain franchise, the story and setting should play a big role because otherwise what's the point?



#3 southbird

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 03:26 PM

Assuming the Freezer thing was something that was always planned from even before the GBA version, that's actually both a pretty decent move and also utterly terrifying given the preparation necessary (I have to admit, I was fairly disturbed when it was revealed that Robonik had roboticized himself so that he'd survive the freezing. I'd say it gave me chills, but that would be a death-worthy pun).

 

 

Yup, that was always the plan since Sonic Epoch became a SatAM game. (It does stretch even further back in history as non-SatAM, but I digress, and it's unimportant.) Although, again, the GBA version rushed it so much I don't think the players got a chance to really appreciate what was happening.
 

That being said, Tails and Sally's interpretations weren't horrible. True, in Tails' case saying the f-word every other line was a bit excessive, but at the same time, I understand that Tails essentially lost his brother in the context of the story, so he'd be very understandably angry and paranoid. Should you attempt this again, I would scale back the swearing but still keep Tails' hard edge.
 
This probably takes him back more to like PC Epoch first demo. Tails was always hard-edge, but cursing was added later to be (needlessly) extreme. So we agree on that.
 

The sexual innuendo was mostly needless. Though at least in Sally's case it did seem to fit with her mental state. I'd say keep it for Sally to highlight how broken she is, but make it more subtle and less overt.
 
I'll probably play that one by ear. But interesting that you factored it in as part of her overall state. I'll keep that in mind.
 

As for what I'd like to see in a SatAM fangame...I can't much say. If we're going with Sonic-style gameplay, I see a problem when it comes to level theming. Classic Sonic games were bright and colorful and showcased many different environments. SatAM, on the other hand, was dark, cold, and metallic. Most of the world was smog and factories, so that would be an obstacle to overcome unless the entire style is switched.
 
Good point. Although I didn't necessarily mean to make a world of loop-de-loops and arbitrary non-"Power Ring" rings, I do think it probably would behoove me to develop Sonic as more of a fast-paced action than jumping in small block-based structures. Actually might be a fun creative challenge to take the SatAM scenery but make some of it act Sonic-ish, like how a pile of trash in an alleyway could be an incidental ramp or something like that.
 
Sally however I still have to figure out a bit. I don't think her character is necessarily hurt by something being slower paced with just a touch more thinking involved. Not going all out crazy puzzle game here, but maybe more about switches and levers doing something than just running around smashing bots. I'd also like to see more teamed levels which was a plan in the PC version that didn't really get explored and was pretty much lost completely in the GBA adaption.
 
 
Also for a SatAM fangame I would say story would be important. If you're going to base it off a decidedly non-game friendly version of a certain franchise, the story and setting should play a big role because otherwise what's the point?

 

Absolutely. If you look at Sonic CD, it sort of is trying a setting like Epoch in as far as a "bad future" caused by Dr. Robotnik. But other than a bit of color swapping, I don't think you get nearly the dread factor. It's just sort of "oh crap, world's kinda mecha now, isn't it?"

 

If I get a new Epoch under way, I might be interested in seeking fanfic writers or something to tune story and dialog. I'd still push out the bulk of it (since it's largely already written anyway), but I don't think it'd hurt to have a second or third pair of eyes on it. I just haven't been in the community in a long time so I have no idea who such a person might be.



#4 Misk

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 04:36 PM

I'll probably play that one by ear. But interesting that you factored it in as part of her overall state. I'll keep that in mind.


I am no stranger to fractured characters.
 

Sally however I still have to figure out a bit. I don't think her character is necessarily hurt by something being slower paced with just a touch more thinking involved. Not going all out crazy puzzle game here, but maybe more about switches and levers doing something than just running around smashing bots. I'd also like to see more teamed levels which was a plan in the PC version that didn't really get explored and was pretty much lost completely in the GBA adaption.


So basically a puzzle-platformer for her. That could work.

If I get a new Epoch under way, I might be interested in seeking fanfic writers or something to tune story and dialog. I'd still push out the bulk of it (since it's largely already written anyway), but I don't think it'd hurt to have a second or third pair of eyes on it. I just haven't been in the community in a long time so I have no idea who such a person might be.


I'm not terribly big on fanfics but I do have original material of my own (plus some roleplay supplemental material). I could lend a hand if you'd want.

#5 Prince ByTor

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 01:07 PM

For me when playing the game the only cringe worthy aspect was Tails' cursing; it was like Sally completely failed him and let him go totally out of control; it was a detractor and came off as being gratuitous.

 

I actually liked Sally's character, as Misk said above I'm surprised she didn't loose it being that her friends were dead or robots, her boyfriend MIA and her nephew turned into a potty mouth jerk. xD

I really liked her character at the beginning before Sonic came back.

 

As far as the bloodshed, I say that was done pretty well, it wasn't in your face and such and fit the mood of the game. That being said I never saw the original PC version, but I think it was done pretty well on the GBA one; maybe should have some more in places, but not too much.

 

As far as Sally's innuendos I actually liked it and did give the game some maturity; albeit it should be more mature and sometimes more straight forward. As I see it she's been alone without Sonic for 10 years and it definitely fits her character's state that she wants to be with him. Heck, I'm surprised that her and Tails didn't get together in some form.

 

 

Anyway, personally I found the gameplay to schlep along a bit, but not too bad; I think it was more due to the fact that I wanted more of the story. And in that respect I felt like I was being rewarded for finishing a level more than a normal Sonic game.

As far as the atmosphere goes, I'd say keep it dark, just for the reason that Robotnik has won and has had ten more years without resistance to make a mess of things.

 

Anyway, I hope that answers your questions; just my 2 cents worth.



#6 ZealousFoX

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 03:24 AM

Alright I myself loved every little bit of the game and while there could be things to fix (I only played the GBA version) like the janky camera and the field of view as Sonic's speed is to fast for the camera to see whats up ahead and maybe fix up on the levels to where it doesn't feel like its trying to kill you left and right. But really other than that I think just a touch up on the sprites and levels and you should be good.

 

But if you want to go deeper into your vision I say keep everything in the setting and mood broaden the dialogue and yet keep what you had with the characters. As to be honest I think you did a wonderful job on that and kept it very SatAM but had a very dark tone to it which I really liked.

 

Now I think with Tails, unlike everyone else so far. I feel he is perfect the way he is even with his bad mouth that fits his state of mind and him not really having a proper mother influence on his life. I would say to go even further in his dialogue as the game progresses. In short make his dialogue evolve as the game progressed at first have him have a more subtle approach in cursing and as the progresses, broaden his vocabulary spectrum. For me in my project called M.O.B.I.U.S. I have Tails resent his nickname and it actually is a trigger word for him and he has a mouth but its more targeted at Sonic and he even drops a few F-Bombs and yet still has a heartful self while also having no remorse on killing things and I also actually have Miles slowly lose that by Nicole telling him her past which makes Miles want to save Nicole and then everyone else. Anyway back to my thing on Epoch Tails.... Keep him as he is and then broaden him out later in the game.

  

And on to my thoughts on the innuendos... I say keep it and like ByTor expand upon it. 

 

Now I feel that going the Sonic game play is fallacy and should not even be thought for Epoch, and I realize that would irritate some. I feel the best way to make Epoch is to not make SegaSonic at all. As doing a point A to point B in a SatAM game is redundant, I know that sounds harsh in putting it like that. So take an original route, and go into a genre that hasn't really been done that often with the blue blur. If it was me I would make it have RPG elements and an advancing stealth system. I would do the RPG in a way that's not common, and by that I mean... Instead of gaining levels and experience, you substitute those RPG aspects with Knowledge and Stealth techniques. Lets say that as you progress through the game you gain knowledge of secret passage ways and about Robotnik's plans and tech he has been working on or is in production/blueprints this could be the (RPG EXP) Now as you gain knowledge the player learns that certain passage ways or Buttnik creations need to be handle in certain ways. If its a passage way stealth and attacks might be necessary or just on foot through the inter workings of Robotropolis might need to develop new ways of stealth tactics. Like sneaking past spotlights or distracting a possible threat ext (RPG LVL) could be this. Theres many more ideas I could add but I hope this might spark more than just a Sonic game with a dark tone and adding SatAM cast into it with dialogue and cut scenes.

 

Anyway that's my thoughts and I hope it helps in some way..           


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#7 RedAuthar

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 01:49 PM

Hokay...

 

To be 100% honest, I did not like Sonic Epoch (GBA version).  I didn't like the sprites, I didn't really like the gamelplay, and I'm didn't really like the set-up.  

Now I didn't get far in the game, and I haven't played it since I first joined up with FUS so I can't remember the exacts about why I disliked it, but I do remember I had kept playing it because I had like the story (just not the set-up).  

 

I should try it again so I could fairly give you reasons, but I just haven't done it yet. 



#8 furrykef

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 07:07 PM

I'm pretty much in the same camp as RedAuthar, to be honest. (I was gonna stay out of this, but hey, if Red can say his piece...)

So long as we're being honest, I think SatAM and a platform game are not a good match. Yes, Sonic got its start as a platform game series, but if I were to take SatAM and make a game out of it, a platformer is about the last thing I'd do. I actually have two SatAM fangames of my own that I want to make (I doubt I'll actually make either one since they're too big), and one of them is a visual novel sort of thing and the other is an online co-op first- or third-person adventure thing like Left4Dead or Payday. (It's actually a bit eerie how closely L4D and Payday match my concept, since I'd done most of my design before ever playing either.) I really, really wish I could work on this second game of mine, because what I'm visualizing is awesome, but I'm worried that Sega will think it's awesome too and slap it with a cease & desist.

Anyway. The point is, I think there are plenty of other interesting possibilities that better fit the setting. If you've got your heart set on a platformer or something, well, I'm not gonna try to stop you. I just don't want you to be locked into thinking that a Sonic game has to be a certain way.

#9 southbird

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 05:02 PM

I actually liked Sally's character, as Misk said above I'm surprised she didn't loose it being that her friends were dead or robots, her boyfriend MIA and her nephew turned into a potty mouth jerk. xD

I really liked her character at the beginning before Sonic came back.

 

Was that meant to imply you didn't like her character after Sonic came back or...?

 

 

As far as the bloodshed, I say that was done pretty well, it wasn't in your face and such and fit the mood of the game. That being said I never saw the original PC version, but I think it was done pretty well on the GBA one; maybe should have some more in places, but not too much.

 

 

 

In the PC, the greatest example was probably when Knuckles-later-Ari (I changed it between the two demos) got a chunk of flesh ripped out by the Sonic-2 character. But that Sonic-2 was really very different from the not-really-named Sonic robot of the GBA version. The PC character was more of a bloodthirsty maniac, the latter was meant to be a little more tactical and less homicidal. I personally more like the way the second iteration turned out, but I'm kind of curious about that as well... probably should have posted that as another question.

 


 

As far as Sally's innuendos I actually liked it and did give the game some maturity; albeit it should be more mature and sometimes more straight forward. As I see it she's been alone without Sonic for 10 years and it definitely fits her character's state that she wants to be with him. Heck, I'm surprised that her and Tails didn't get together in some form.

 

 

 

Well, Sally was sort of Tails' "mother" figure, and I guess that might get a little creepy, but I dunno. I mostly meant it to be like they were both destroyed by Robotnik's creed but in different ways. The PC version actually had a short scene that showed Sally actively antagonize a young Tails who is pestering her when Sonic will be back when it's become clear he's not coming back. Maybe having a scene like that actually helps establish why they are who they are. It should probably be re-included.

 


 

Anyway, personally I found the gameplay to schlep along a bit, but not too bad; I think it was more due to the fact that I wanted more of the story. And in that respect I felt like I was being rewarded for finishing a level more than a normal Sonic game.

 

 

 

Always a difficult thing about designing a plot-driven game like this .. I could have cut-scenes that run for like 10 minutes because I have that much exposition to get out. But I don't want to make the player TOO anxious. There needs to be a balance, but it should also be realized this is meant for a particular demographic, i.e. players who are going to care there's a story. I suppose if they are too impatient to care about it, then this isn't the game for them. That should probably be a rule.

 

 

Alright I myself loved every little bit of the game and while there could be things to fix (I only played the GBA version) like the janky camera and the field of view as Sonic's speed is to fast for the camera to see whats up ahead and maybe fix up on the levels to where it doesn't feel like its trying to kill you left and right. But really other than that I think just a touch up on the sprites and levels and you should be good.

 

I actually have been working on supporting a totally modern tool for sprite making, so I expect a proper Epoch remake will employ that. So quite a bit more than just a "touch up" on the sprites would be expected! But yeah, camera complaints are there for both versions, definitely something I need to look at making better. Keeping a forward field of view is interesting and not something I would have thought about normally.

 

 

Now I think with Tails, unlike everyone else so far. I feel he is perfect the way he is even with his bad mouth that fits his state of mind and him not really having a proper mother influence on his life. I would say to go even further in his dialogue as the game progresses. In short make his dialogue evolve as the game progressed at first have him have a more subtle approach in cursing and as the progresses, broaden his vocabulary spectrum. For me in my project called M.O.B.I.U.S. I have Tails resent his nickname and it actually is a trigger word for him and he has a mouth but its more targeted at Sonic and he even drops a few F-Bombs and yet still has a heartful self while also having no remorse on killing things and I also actually have Miles slowly lose that by Nicole telling him her past which makes Miles want to save Nicole and then everyone else. Anyway back to my thing on Epoch Tails.... Keep him as he is and then broaden him out later in the game.
 

 

  
Interesting thoughts on Tails... about the only thing I'm unsure about is that I try to keep Epoch within the bounds of the SatAM cartoon and any ancillary writing by the writers, some exceptions made where it seems non-conflicting. So having said all that blather... does anything in SatAM define Tails as "Miles"? Technically speaking, Tails was always Tails AFAIK, and even the fact we know the name Miles goes all the way back to Sega where it was contested even then.
 

And on to my thoughts on the innuendos... I say keep it and like ByTor expand upon it. 
 

 

 

Funny how I thought this would be universally awkward for viewers, but maybe not as bad as I thought... but of course, that kind of insight is what I wanted to get from this topic. :)


Now I feel that going the Sonic game play is fallacy and should not even be thought for Epoch, and I realize that would irritate some. I feel the best way to make Epoch is to not make SegaSonic at all. As doing a point A to point B in a SatAM game is redundant, I know that sounds harsh in putting it like that. So take an original route, and go into a genre that hasn't really been done that often with the blue blur. If it was me I would make it have RPG elements and an advancing stealth system. I would do the RPG in a way that's not common, and by that I mean... Instead of gaining levels and experience, you substitute those RPG aspects with Knowledge and Stealth techniques. Lets say that as you progress through the game you gain knowledge of secret passage ways and about Robotnik's plans and tech he has been working on or is in production/blueprints this could be the (RPG EXP) Now as you gain knowledge the player learns that certain passage ways or Buttnik creations need to be handle in certain ways. If its a passage way stealth and attacks might be necessary or just on foot through the inter workings of Robotropolis might need to develop new ways of stealth tactics. Like sneaking past spotlights or distracting a possible threat ext (RPG LVL) could be this. Theres many more ideas I could add but I hope this might spark more than just a Sonic game with a dark tone and adding SatAM cast into it with dialogue and cut scenes.
 

 

 

Hm.. aren't we ending up with something completely not a platformer then? Not saying this is all a bad idea, far from it. But it's starting to sound like a completely different project, or at least crossing a line somewhere. But maybe you can elaborate a bit on how this might work in the Action-RPG genre that Epoch was sort of striving for. I do think having a bit more RPG-like feeling might be okay, and really the PC version was a bit more there (although in the generic experience (score)-makes-you-stronger sort of way.)

 

But let's also look at furrykef below...

 
 

Hokay...

 

To be 100% honest, I did not like Sonic Epoch (GBA version).  I didn't like the sprites, I didn't really like the gamelplay, and I'm didn't really like the set-up.  

Now I didn't get far in the game, and I haven't played it since I first joined up with FUS so I can't remember the exacts about why I disliked it, but I do remember I had kept playing it because I had like the story (just not the set-up).  

 

I should try it again so I could fairly give you reasons, but I just haven't done it yet. 

 

Per the sprites: Personally looking back on it, I think the PC version had a better cartoon feel by the scale of the sprites. It just unfortunately was detrimental to gameplay, at least at the resolution it played at. (320x200, the old standard back in the day.) But there was a cartoony feel to it that didn't quite translate to the GBA. However, the GBA was actually an even lower resolution (240x160), so if it didn't work in the PC version, it definitely would be worse here! However, none of this should matter as long as I target a modern platform, e.g. modern PC. I would expect no less than 720p here, so I expect cartoony sprites can make a comeback AND the gameplay should work.

 

Not liking the gameplay I can understand, but I'm not sure what you mean by "set-up"? (Since you differentiated it from "story" which I would assume by default is what you meant.)

 

 

So long as we're being honest, I think SatAM and a platform game are not a good match. Yes, Sonic got its start as a platform game series, but if I were to take SatAM and make a game out of it, a platformer is about the last thing I'd do. I actually have two SatAM fangames of my own that I want to make (I doubt I'll actually make either one since they're too big), and one of them is a visual novel sort of thing and the other is an online co-op first- or third-person adventure thing like Left4Dead or Payday. (It's actually a bit eerie how closely L4D and Payday match my concept, since I'd done most of my design before ever playing either.) I really, really wish I could work on this second game of mine, because what I'm visualizing is awesome, but I'm worried that Sega will think it's awesome too and slap it with a cease & desist.

Anyway. The point is, I think there are plenty of other interesting possibilities that better fit the setting. If you've got your heart set on a platformer or something, well, I'm not gonna try to stop you. I just don't want you to be locked into thinking that a Sonic game has to be a certain way.

 

Visual novels can be interesting... historically speaking, when I had my affair with the El-Hazard community, when there still was such a thing, I psuedo-ported over the Sega Saturn game (the only El-Hazard video game I know of) which was a visual novel type. The visual novel game can be kind of fun, but it has to be well-written and good music, as it's generally dialog driven with minimal sound effects. Probably the most difficult factor here is I would probably need artists to keep up with the large graphical demand here.

 

Problem with L4D or Payday is equal in my opinion -- 3D is a whole other beast that takes a lot longer to develop for and requires a pretty decent depth of understanding the platform to make sure it's fun. 3D is way too easy to get wrong, but to get it right can also be an unfair demand on hobbyist work. Thus I would say this also requires a pretty good team effort, and in my experience, getting a large team together with people doing interdependent components largely causes it to grind to a halt and fail. Doing it solo probably also gets there, but if the author is determined enough, it might get done... in like 5 years or something.

 

In either of the above cases, not saying they're not worth it, but the risk and time investment has gone way up. The presentation might be better, but I'm not sure of the feasibility, given how grand Epoch tries to be. Seems you understand, as you expressed your own doubts you could ever get your own ideas underway.

 

I will agree there's always a tinge of doubt in my mind that platformer is the perfect ideal. However, what that platformer type generally exceeds at is giving the player a taste of action. When done correctly (and really neither PC nor GBA were fully "done correctly" for this I think), you can really get your adrenalin up and get totally excited as you control Sonic/Sally in their "mission", live as it happens. 3D can also do this well, but I gave my concerns above.

 

I always classified PC Epoch as "Action-RPG" ... the GBA version lost a few things such as the score-as-experience metric. So I think some RPG elements mixed with the platformer action will work okay for what I envision for Epoch. The cutscenes I would actually like to see done differently if possible, taking advantage of what modern computers can provide. But I'll experiment with my new tech and see what I might be able to do.

 

I don't think Epoch as a platformer is unworkable, but I do think it needs to be better than a poor-generic platformer, which is all it ever amounted to so far. Maybe being heavily influenced by its Sega past isn't where it needs to be either, but there's nothing wrong with touching on your roots.



#10 Prince ByTor

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 07:13 PM

Was that meant to imply you didn't like her character after Sonic came back or...?

 

 

No, I loved the character afterwards too, I just really liked her before; I think you did really well on both.

 

 

 

 

Well, Sally was sort of Tails' "mother" figure, and I guess that might get a little creepy, but I dunno. I mostly meant it to be like they were both destroyed by Robotnik's creed but in different ways. The PC version actually had a short scene that showed Sally actively antagonize a young Tails who is pestering her when Sonic will be back when it's become clear he's not coming back. Maybe having a scene like that actually helps establish why they are who they are. It should probably be re-included.

 

It was just musing to myself being that they are the only man/woman left alone and with her being 26 and Tails being 21 or thereabouts, but yeah, you should add that scene in.

Back on topic though, I don't see a problem with putting those drives in Sally's character.

 

 

 

Always a difficult thing about designing a plot-driven game like this .. I could have cut-scenes that run for like 10 minutes because I have that much exposition to get out. But I don't want to make the player TOO anxious. There needs to be a balance, but it should also be realized this is meant for a particular demographic, i.e. players who are going to care there's a story. I suppose if they are too impatient to care about it, then this isn't the game for them. That should probably be a rule.

 

Don't get me wrong, the game was good and I never got "too anxious" but the story and cutscenes did outweigh the gameplay in my opinion. However, like I said, it felt rewarding when you got to the cutscene after a level.



#11 southbird

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 07:25 PM

Don't get me wrong, the game was good and I never got "too anxious" but the story and cutscenes did outweigh the gameplay in my opinion. However, like I said, it felt rewarding when you got to the cutscene after a level.

 

 

Like I said, there just needs to be a balance. But I still figure that the player has to realize, as you did, that furthering the story is in fact a "reward." If the player doesn't appreciate that and just finds story annoying, this is wrong for them.



#12 RedAuthar

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 08:26 AM

 

Not liking the gameplay I can understand, but I'm not sure what you mean by "set-up"? (Since you differentiated it from "story" which I would assume by default is what you meant.)

The Setting/premises.  I like the story, but I didn't like how it started.  It's not bad, but rather just not my thing. 



#13 southbird

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:05 AM

The Setting/premises.  I like the story, but I didn't like how it started.  It's not bad, but rather just not my thing. 

 

It's fine if it's just "not your thing", but I'm just curious if you're writing it off entirely or have suggestions for what you think would make it better. I definitely want to redo some of the inner core stuff.



#14 RedAuthar

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:40 AM

 

The Setting/premises.  I like the story, but I didn't like how it started.  It's not bad, but rather just not my thing. 

 

It's fine if it's just "not your thing", but I'm just curious if you're writing it off entirely or have suggestions for what you think would make it better. I definitely want to redo some of the inner core stuff.

 

Well my best suggestion to fix the set-up would be to split Sonic and Sal up from the start.  The player goes off playing as Sonic, only to find out after completing the stage Sal has been captured so he goes off to rescue her.  It makes a bit more sense than Sonic just not being able to do anything....

 

Also the teleporters...why are Robotnik and Snively working on them?  Rather than building teleporters, I think it would make more sense if they were building something else out of old Teleporters, that way Sonic's transfer is more of an accident.

 

Lastly, Since it is a flashback, maybe it should start off with Sally remembering. Like "It all started X year(s) ago" (I can't remember the timeline specifically, I'll have to play the game again), or "It started off like a regular mission..."



#15 southbird

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:18 AM

Thanks for the greater reply. Now we have things we can talk about. :)

 

 

Well my best suggestion to fix the set-up would be to split Sonic and Sal up from the start.  The player goes off playing as Sonic, only to find out after completing the stage Sal has been captured so he goes off to rescue her.  It makes a bit more sense than Sonic just not being able to do anything....

 

The PC version actually set things up differently. Sonic and Sally were on a vague mission having learned that Robotnik was generating an enormous amount of energy for some unknown reason which they feared would be used in some destructive weapon. Once they get to the building where stuff's going on, Sonic arrogantly goes through a doorway which shuts and blocks Sally outside. There he's met by Robotnik, Snively, and Sonic-2. (I always hated that name, hence why I stopped using it in the GBA version, but I need it for discussion here. :P) Sonic is knocked down by S2, and on attempt of pulling out a power ring, S2 knocks the ring into the teleporter. All the villains escape, leaving Sonic to be caught in an explosion (not the teleporter specifically, it just sort of enveloped the room.)

 

The major change in GBA is I didn't want to introduce the "Sonic-2" robot early because I felt like too much was going on at once. You have the teleporter plot and you also have the "Metal Sonic" plot. I thought it was better to change it so that the "Metal Sonic" plot becomes a result of Snively trying to cover up that Sonic has reappeared. I also changed the character drastically given "Sonic-2" was this maniacal killing machine -- actually largely against what most SatAM Robotnik machines would be anyway, and something with a crazy personality doesn't particularly seem like what SatAM Robotnik would want to create! However, I wound up losing some of the drama in the Great Forest invasion, so I might have to think about all this some more.

 

The GBA version worked more on the concept that the initial phase of teleportation is a stasis field, and that's what Sonic is locked in, which is why he can't do anything when the accident occurs. But I can see a better explanation of Sally being locked out, including in how she would be able to escape unharmed when the whole works go up.

 

 

Also the teleporters...why are Robotnik and Snively working on them?  Rather than building teleporters, I think it would make more sense if they were building something else out of old Teleporters, that way Sonic's transfer is more of an accident.
 

 

 

I'm not sure what you mean here ... where did the "old teleporters" come from? I don't believe there were any teleporters in the show (correct me if I'm wrong), so their existence would be sort of sudden. (And why wouldn't Robotnik want to use them?) There is a plot point that never really got expressed in either version (although it was intended to be at least) that the teleporters work via The Void, which, by Epoch's definition anyway, exists as a sort of "timeless" dimension. So the way the teleporters were intended to function was that it's not that they are moving materials instantly, but rather that the materials are being moved in a timeless space so that the end result is perceived as instantaneous. I can't quite remember how it all adds up at the moment, but the timelessness of The Void was supposed to be the key that caused the accidental time shift. That might need some work...

 

 

Lastly, Since it is a flashback, maybe it should start off with Sally remembering. Like "It all started X year(s) ago" (I can't remember the timeline specifically, I'll have to play the game again), or "It started off like a regular mission..."
 

 

 

10 years, nice round number. Fun fact, my original drafts was something like 50 years, and Sally was going to be aged badly, using a cane and wearing glasses, or something like that. But it seemed like too much time for Robotnik to have not progressed more, and crippling Sally makes her not playable.

 

But starting Epoch directly in the future and back-filling the plot? Interesting take in terms of presentation. I can see giving out bits in brief flashbacks rather than doing the whole thing "live." Just now imagined showing something like Sonic disappearing in the building, and there being an explosion, and 10-years-later Sally wakes up, just some kind of PTSD dream. Would be kind of a fun way to throw you into the mix with more questions than answers initially. Could also dial back on some of the exposition. I'll think on this a bit too.



#16 RedAuthar

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 12:07 PM

Sometime this week I'll redownload the game and see what else I can suggest...



#17 Frieza2000

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 04:16 PM

Well, this is neat. I've been searching the Internet once every year or so for anything concerning Sonic Epoch since I first played it in 2003 (I really hate when a story doesn't get an ending). I ran into your current website back when it was just a wiki stub with no info, then again when it had that BTTF picture on the front page and nothing else. When it was finally more than a place holder I was delighted to find that it was actually put up by you and enjoyed learning what had gone on behind the scenes. Nice to finally meet you.

I was glad to hear that in retrospect you were unhappy with how the GBA version had turned out because I was sorely disappointed with it. It had better physics (and you didn't lose sight of the ground when you jumped), but that's about it. The story was watered down and abridged, the writing lacked almost all of the drama of the original, the RPG elements were reduced, and the branching story paths were removed. I guess that's why I occasionally typed it into Google - I was so unsatisfied that I hoped something more would come of it.

In a sea of other Sonic fan games, what Epoch had going for it was that it was a SatAM game. You know darn well that's why we all played it. I actually thought some of your levels were pretty well designed - the scrap yard and the clocktower come to mind - but it's really all about the story. SatAM was always a darker, grittier take on the franchise and you went even darker, exploring one of those juicy 'what if' scenarios that everybody loves but that could never have happened in canon. That's this game's whole identity; it just wouldn't be Epoch if it wasn't dark. Use blood, sex, and profanity where you feel it's effective. Just don't be gratuitous - as you said, it makes it seem juvenile and ultimately unrealistic. One thing I want to point to in particular is Sally's character. You did it much better the first time. In the GBA version she basically gets a hair cut and has suddenly shrugged off 10 years of psychological hell. Her gradual and bumpy improvement in the PC version was much more interesting. Her sanity was obviously fragile and it gave the player a real concern for what was going to happen to her along the way.

I don't have much to suggest in terms of gameplay. If you're going to include RPG elements you should probably have some non-linear segments where you can pursue various objectives at your leisure, some optional. I would definitely throw in multiple endings if not some completely separate story paths (if I remember, the level editor in the PC version could take you to a scene involving the Time Stones from Blast to the Past so did one path involved trying to get back to the present instead of fighting for the future? Or maybe it was the Drood Henge stones). For Sally's levels, perhaps Jazz Jackrabbit 1 and 2 could inspire you (some of your level designs remind me of it actually). And I want to counter Red's suggestion of a flashback opening. I think it's much more striking to start the game out in normal SatAM Land with the expectation that this will be taking place in the usual post-apocalyptic Mobius setting and to suddenly be thrown into post-post-apocalyptic Mobius. Of course everyone who will play this probably already knows what's going to happen, but still.

All of that said, be true to yourself. What I want to see is the story from the PC version, or something like it, polished up, expanded, and completed, but it has to be your story, not mine, and if you don't want to write it then I'm sure I won't want to read it. Actually, given my situation I may not get to play the game even if you ever do finish it so don't worry about pleasing me or anyone else.

 

 

If I get a new Epoch under way, I might be interested in seeking fanfic writers or something to tune story and dialog.

 

THIS. You've got creativity, but both versions of the game were in serious need of an editor. Sometimes I had to rewrite the lines in my head as I read them. I'm something of a writer so clumsy dialogue really bugs me. Feel free to bounce material off of me anytime.

 



#18 Shadow

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 12:28 AM

One thing that hasn't been brought up is Snively getting hair and glasses. It doesn't really fit as he seems less recognizable, and him getting those things aren't at all important. If he must be changed to show time has passed, maybe a robotic eye piece. Or just keep him as he is.



#19 southbird

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 05:16 AM

Well, this is neat. I've been searching the Internet once every year or so for anything concerning Sonic Epoch since I first played it in 2003 (I really hate when a story doesn't get an ending). I ran into your current website back when it was just a wiki stub with no info, then again when it had that BTTF picture on the front page and nothing else. When it was finally more than a place holder I was delighted to find that it was actually put up by you and enjoyed learning what had gone on behind the scenes. Nice to finally meet you.

 

Always nice to hear my legacy lives on. :) Interestingly there's been some activity recently where someone was doing a Let's Play of the old Epoch and really got the gears turning in my head. He basically asked every question there is to ask. I'm thinking of formatting that and making it into a page because he churned up lots of interesting additional history about the project and its development.

 

 

 

THIS. You've got creativity, but both versions of the game were in serious need of an editor. Sometimes I had to rewrite the lines in my head as I read them. I'm something of a writer so clumsy dialogue really bugs me. Feel free to bounce material off of me anytime.

 

Thanks in part to the LPer, I've actually recently been inspired to write a draft script of the cinematic half of things. I personally think it's dramatically better than any of the previous versions, and definitely works more towards focusing on the story rather than trying to be shocking and rebellious, which largely afflicted the PC version towards the end of its life. It's not considered final and I have some fix-it notes to work on. I do want to solidify the story before I make another attempt so that there's no churn like last time. Whatever is there will be considered gospel, and after it's determined to be "final", I expect no changes unless absolutely needed.

 

I've distributed it to a select few people, namely those who are in some way very deeply entrenched with Epoch's history. You've impressed me though with your dedication of looking it up so much and clearly care about it, so you're probably eligible to look at it as well if you want. Just PM me an email address if you do.

 

 

One thing that hasn't been brought up is Snively getting hair and glasses. It doesn't really fit as he seems less recognizable, and him getting those things aren't at all important. If he must be changed to show time has passed, maybe a robotic eye piece. Or just keep him as he is.

 

That was solely the work of my sort-of-co-writer... I'm not really sure what his inspiration was or if it just amused him. Future Snively went largely unchanged in old versions of Epoch. I'd honestly have to ask him what his motivation is on that. I don't want to dismiss it outright since I respect his contributions and he's stuck by Epoch through its tenure. But I too thought it was kind of an awkward change. I suppose the glasses don't bother me as much as the hair. I think it was just sort of supposed to be a joke about Snively having too much spare time in the absence of Sonic.



#20 southbird

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 06:38 PM

Nothing to do with anything, but someone pointed this out to me, an artist's rendition from the GBA Epoch: http://aceofspeed94....Sally-319333745

 

That's kinda cool, and once again reminds me that Epoch really meant something to people, despite all of its problems.





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