Topic: Open Surge Reanimated

I have a proposal for a project that I believe could help get Open Surge out there in the public and seen.  According to what I'm seeing right now, Open Surge is designed to have an appeal to a younger crowd than even Sonic 1 had, and I believe it could appeal to that demographic and others more through a more modern look and a slightly edgier story.
Hence: Open Surge Reanimated.
Now, this project cannot succeed alone.  We need the help of the community to make it work.  KZR and I have been talking, and we believe that a group of at least 3-5 individuals working with us on this could achieve this different view on Open Surge in a reasonable timeframe.  Keep in mind, we would not be following the design documentation as a formula, rather we would be following it as a more of a general guide and would be taking artistic liberties with it that drastically change the way the game is perceived.  If you would like to work with us toward this vision please post what it is you would like to help with below and when we have a team of at least 3-5 we will start work.  We will not start before then, if the community wants this then the community will have to help us achieve it.
I'll leave you with a little tidbit that I thought up, perhaps this will help be a motivating factor in getting the team together:

"Surge walks along, wondering where his pal, Neon went.  It is sunset, and growing darker, and he beings worrying about him.  As he continues forward, he sees a strange flickering light in the distance.  Wondering if it could be Neon, he hurries forward.  As he reaches the edge of the forest he looks in to see two four lit torches arranged around a small figure sitting atop a stump.  He steps forward, curious, when suddenly the lights grow extremely bright.  The figure on the log gives out a low whimper, then raises it's head to the sky and howls with a ferocity that tinges the air.  As the figure howls, the torches dim, and the light of the full moon shines down on the growing, growling, wolf in the clearing."

Team:
KZR
Alexandre
lunarrush
svgmovement
MatheusRRR
S32X

Last edited by lunarrush (2012-11-20 21:01:17)

If I knew then what I know now I'd tell you that the story's true.  Cause whatever you do, it comes back to you.  -Slaughter, Burning Bridges

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Indeed, a redesign of the story - to a shorter, edgier one - would be awesome. smile What do you need?

Open Surge is designed to have an appeal to a younger crowd than even Sonic 1 had

That is not the case. For example: there's a free space in Linux gaming that Open Surge fills. That public is usually older, 20 or 30 somethings, who played classic Sonic during childhood or teenage years.

Honestly, I'd rather not focus a free (as in free beer) project too much on children, due to bad past experiences... A more mature public is usually easier (and more satisfying) to work with.

I think we must update what has been stated on the philosophy section of the Game Design Document, so, here's the opportunity for change.

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

I would like to ask Charlytx and SVGmovement if you guys would like to join me in making the graphics.

Last edited by KZR (2012-11-12 22:13:42)

https://image.ibb.co/kuSYrm/SD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/kHq8P6/SeD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/cJf8P6/LTot_W_sml.png

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Yes. Where (or how) do we start?

Last edited by svgmovement (2012-11-12 21:32:46)

-- svgmovement

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Well, the first thing we need to do is determine a roadmap for our project.  This will include such tasks as evaluating our target audience to see what most appeals to them, determining what style of platformer we want to make, remaking the storyline with our platformer style and target audience in mind, re-evaluating character roles in the story and changing them as needed, examining our current content to determine what needs to be reworked, planning any new content that is needed to effectively convey our story, planning a timeframe, getting our Sunshine Paradise ready and using level design and mechanics to tell the story as much as possible,  bugtesting, determining our placement of monitization messages, and finally launching.  Of course, every team member will be more than welcome to give their input on what they need most to accomplish their task, and the entire project will be open to the public so that they can see where it is going and offer critique and suggestions.
We still need at least one more team member to begin, I will edit my first post to reflect who has currently agreed to help.  Remember, because this is a community project we can end with more than we started with.  Every little bit helps.  The scope of this project will be getting Sunshine Paradise out so that 0.2.0 can be successfully launched.  If this inititive is successful we will probably want to consider running further level building campaigns in this manner.  Once most of the groundwork is done this production method will be streamlined by the base work we've completed.

If I knew then what I know now I'd tell you that the story's true.  Cause whatever you do, it comes back to you.  -Slaughter, Burning Bridges

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

@svgmovement

depending on how much we can fit in the game's low resolution, maybe we can try and use your concepts as source for most of the level graphics.

also @Alexandre

Seeing as the game does not use too many objects on screen at once, i was thinking of trying to go double resolution then letting the community test for performance issues. The reason for this is that i think:

http://opensnc.sourceforge.net/wiki/images/1/15/Sspsvg_zipline.png

in this picture, both Surge and the background have a very nice look and feel. reducing the size to fit the game's current resolution would result in loss of detail and appeal. We can keep the same color scheme and animations, only make it a bit bigger for more expression.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/20216605/sprite%20comparison.png


@svgmovement
If Alex agrees with trying the game in high resolution, you could do one front and side image of Surge. If you do, please also provide separate images for trunk, head, arms and legs. I can take care of the animations.

Meanwhile, you can make side pictures of some possible level sections, and i'll later see how that fits into a brickset + background.

is that ok for you?

Last edited by KZR (2012-11-12 22:41:26)

https://image.ibb.co/kuSYrm/SD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/kHq8P6/SeD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/cJf8P6/LTot_W_sml.png

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

okay, there are two fronts of work here. Story and graphics.

KZR wrote:

If Alex agrees with trying the game in high resolution, you could do one front and side image of Surge. If you do, please also provide separate images for trunk, head, arms and legs. I can take care of the animations.

I don't agree with such a graphical shift (yet), but I'm willing to give it a try and see what happens. smile You may pick a resolution. The only constraint is that we can't use alpha right now due to Allegro 4's capabilities.

Here's the public:
- late teens, 20, 30 somethings. Please, NO CHILDREN.

In order to justify such a shift, we need (to start with):
- A "new" Surge to be a character as charismatic as Race's low-res Surge (in my opinion, a high-res version of the low-res Surge would be excellent)
- a full spritesheet of a high-res Surge.

Can we try out a few experiments?

If this high resolution project works out, we can keep the low res graphics for a future mobile version of the game.

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

We were also thinking of an introduction/tutorial level prior to Sunshine Paradise, where it is explained first how the game derives from Sonic, and as the player progresses, it introduces mechanics unique to Open Surge.

On that transition, we were thinking that the graphic style could also have a transition, so that when the introduction ends, you are playing "modern" Surge instead of "retro"

Last edited by KZR (2012-11-13 00:06:25)

https://image.ibb.co/kuSYrm/SD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/kHq8P6/SeD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/cJf8P6/LTot_W_sml.png

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

lunarrush wrote:

Open Surge is designed to have an appeal to a younger crowd than even Sonic 1 had, and I believe it could appeal to that demographic and others more through a more modern look and a slightly edgier story.


I think if there should be an edgier part to the story, there should be a little more... "gore" and adault language, not disgusting, but something like this:

Before:

Neon: "My... ankle... I must have finally broke it while running... when those dragons put me in that cage, they grabbed me by my ankle and threw me in there... it's been acting up ever since..."

After:

Neon: Arrggh! My leg!
*Surge looks over to see that Neon's leg in crippled and bleeding in many places*
Surge: Neon-- What the hell did you do to your leg?!
*Charge only gives a disqusted look*
Neon: It was those damn dragons! -Ow!- When the put my in the cage, the grabbed me by the leg. It hurt horribly, but I didn't realise it was this bad.

It puts a little more feeling than just "Oh I broke my ankle" and it gives the idea that Neon's in extreme pain. I've made some graphics for it btw.

http://upload.surgeswarehouse.com/upload/neonblood.png

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Well, as far as adult language goes we only have to remember that maturity and darkness doesn't necessarily come from having to use language such as that.  In fact, edge can be given by environmental cues that give it an edgy feeling.  For example, you have seen my little scene before the wolf boss.  The reason it has edge isn't because of language it uses or gore, rather it is because of the atmosphere created by the sun going down, the forest's edge, and the magical ritual that is making a normally nice creature into a monster.
Now, gore does have it's place in certain game types, the question we have to ask ourselves is if we need it here.  For example, there is very little gore in the first Castlevania game (or in any of the ones I've played) but it still manages to give that darker feeling.  I personally look at gore as a cosmetic effect, to be used only if the scene absolutely requires it.  You see, the monster that leaves not even a drop of blood is more frightening really because it shows that it either knows what it's doing or it is very very large.

As an example, here is a take on that which conveys that the ankle is broken.
--Surge walks into the room and sees Neon in a cage in the corner--
Neon: Surge, you came!
Surge: Of course I did, what happened?
Neon: Well, those dragons found me wandering around near the waterfall and kidnapped me.
Surge: Don't worry, I'll get you out.
*Surge breaks open cage*
*Neon limps out quite slowly*
Surge: What's wrong?
Neon: M...my leg hurts.  I think it might be broken.
*Neon falls to ground*

Or, perhaps something like this if we want to reduce dialog:
--Surge walks into the room and sees Neon in a cage in the corner--
*Surge walks over and bust open the cage*
*Neon stumbles out, pain conveyed by face, and collapses to the ground*

Let's examine some Extra Credits on these topics:
http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/na … -mechanics
http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/me … hor-part-1
http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/me … hor-part-2
http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/the-uncanny-valley

Last edited by lunarrush (2012-11-13 00:55:38)

If I knew then what I know now I'd tell you that the story's true.  Cause whatever you do, it comes back to you.  -Slaughter, Burning Bridges

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

I tweaked it a bit

Neon: Arrggh! My leg!
*Surge looks over to see that Neon's knee is bent in an odd position and the fur is mangled a bit*
Surge: Neon-- What did you do to your leg?!
*Charge only gives a disturbed look*
Neon: It was those darn dragons! -Ow!- When the put my in the cage, the grabbed me by the knee. It hurt horribly, but I didn't realise it was this bad.
*Just then a echo comes from inside the caverns, like bones from the dragon's last meal falling to the ground.*
Surge (looking a little startled): What was that?
Charge: I think it's better left to guess.

The "bones" in the background is a sublimminal implyment that neon has a broken bone, plus it adds a creepyness to the plot, making it more edgy.

12

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

awkwardly bent leg is a good visual cue. maybe adding a brief flash of a bone breaking in the background, in x-ray style.

https://image.ibb.co/kuSYrm/SD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/kHq8P6/SeD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/cJf8P6/LTot_W_sml.png

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Hmm. X-ray? I don't know. Mabye Charge has some X-ray goggles (That are the same ones that can be used to find Blue Rings) and this happens

*Charge put on some strange goggles.*
Surge: Where'd you get those?
Charge: I broke open one of those stange TV monitors and these were in it. They helped me find these strange blue rings
Surge: Blue rings? Let me see those.
*Charge ingnores him and looks at Neon's leg. It shows a large crack in the joint.
Charge: Yep. It's definatly broken
Neon: Aw great. Now what do I do, just stay here?
Surge: No. We're not leaving you behind. We just need to find something you can rest in
*Surge looks around the cavern, there's a minecart sitting near a tunnel.*
Surge: Hmm
Charge: You don't expect him to sit in that do you?
Neon: I don't care. It beats laying on this this rock floor.
Charge: Why is there a minecart there anyway?
Surge: I'm not sure. But I have a feeling Gimacian's has something to do with it... I'm gonna investigate on the Surface. You two follow that tunnel.
Charge: why us?
Surge: Neon cant climb, and you do better underground. We don't have time for anymore questions. We'll contact each other with these radios.
*Surge hands him the radios, then leaves. Neon and Charge look at each other awkwardly.
Charge:.... Well.... let's go.

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Hello there guys,
It seems we have our basic team assembled, I would like to invite S32 and squirrel to join us at this time because neither have made it clear their intentions of work on this project.  Also, I would like to remind anyone who hasn't posted and wants to work on this that they should post so that we can get their name on the list and get their help as soon as possible.  Also, if you wish to create content for this and do not want to be part of the full time team then post your content here on the forums anyway, I always like to see how various people see the final vision for the game.  Anyway, now on to the meat of my post
Now our creation of storyline can begin.  The first thing I think we need to do is examine our target audience and determine what kind of game we are making here.  For a starting point, I would like to take a look back at 8/16-bit platformers and see what made them so great, and determine if there is a specific style of gameplay we want to make happen.
The first example is, of course, the original Sonic the Hedgehog.  This game, while it may look simple on the surface, gets very frustrating very fast.  Yet, somehow it still manages to keep people playing it all the way through to the end.  However, I believe our next example takes everything Sonic 1 did well and expanded on it to the point of creating what I consider to be one of the best game ever built.  I speak of course of Sonic 2.  With it's very fast gameplay, unique level mechanics, and the introduction of new mechanics for Sonic that made the game more friendly to all, this is what I feel was the epitome of Sonic games.  After that, of course, we had S3 & K, and I thought that was also an improvement on the base game mechanics, however I feel as though if we were to aim at a Sonic-esque game we should aim at two because of the reasons I have described.
Now we start getting into games with more RPG aspects introduced to the basic platformer formula.  For my first example, I'm going to pull Super Mario World.  This game featured many many levels, a point based saving system which was easy to control for the developers, and basic level RPG elements because of the powerups.  Of course, this game is not the epitome of RPG elements, however it is a good place to launch our discussion of adding these elements to our game if we choose to use them.  Now lets examine something with a little more focus on RPG elements.  This time I'm talking about Castlevania.  With multiple weapons to choose from in a weapon system that allowed for unconventional gameplay, and a health system that didn't seem to matter so much because of the clever use of instant death traps Castlevania is a very difficult game that, despite being an RPG, maintains a low level story that can mostly be told mostly through mechanics.  Also in this category: Megaman and various other games too numerous to list here.  Now, let's examine the common elements of these games, and determine our course of discussion from there.
Now let's take a step into the realm of full fledged RPG games.  Now I want to speak of Zelda 2.  With many people to talk to, a random encounter system, and intricate dungeon design; this game is one I would consider a good idea to look to for certain RPG elements that we can get if we want to make a deeper game.  Also up for discussion are games like Final Fantasy, Shining Force, and other top-down RPG's.  I would almost argue against such RPG depth in Open Surge though, usually games such as this are best done on a top down basis because there is much text and enemies are more of a random encounter which you beat by selecting things in a menu than anything else.

So, given the three categories of story background I have listed above which do you believe we should aim for?  I personally am in favor of a light to moderate storyline that uses lots of unique mechanics to convey things that are not said outright in dialog.  I'm going to list one more example for this: Silent Hill 2.  It uses engine limitations (the fog) and unique scenery pieces to create a creepy atmosphere.  I believe we could use elements like these to create any emotion we wanted.  Of course, we will have to back up such scenery with music which will also help to bring the emotion meant to be felt across to the listener.  In fact, we want to make every single element of the game back up this idea (see extra credits for more on this) Now, to the discussion:

Which of the three types listed above do you believe we should aim for and why?  What unique mechanics do you think would most accent the style we are after?  Also, expound on what difficulty level we should be aiming at for this game (please see I Wanna Be The Guy below for a perfect example of why we don't want this to be too difficult).  If you believe I am wrong about any of the points I made in my post above, please also post your arguments as to why I am wrong.
Remember to keep our target audience in mind when discussing these things.  What appeals to them most about the games I have posted above and what appeals most to them about games made today?

Also for Reference:
Eggman Hates Furries for an interesting take on the level design and boss design mechanics I'm referring to, and perhaps even the minimalistic cutscenes that convey certain emotions.
The Angry Video Game Nerd for downfalls of certain games of this particular era
I Wanna Be The Guy For a hairripping experience in why we don't want to go overboard on difficulty.

If I knew then what I know now I'd tell you that the story's true.  Cause whatever you do, it comes back to you.  -Slaughter, Burning Bridges

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

lunarrush wrote:

I would like to invite S32 and squirrel to join us at this time because neither have made it clear their intentions of work on this project.

I'll work on story development. I have some ideas to make the story a little less... Chessy. Is that the right word. No offense to anyone, but it seems like it's aiming towards young children, and we don't want that

Alexandre wrote:

- late teens, 20, 30 somethings. Please, NO CHILDREN.

I could also work on the English translation, being it my first language. I've noticed that there are some things wrong with it so far.

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

@S32: Sounds good, now please play through Eggman Hates Furries and try I Wanna Be The Guy if you have not done so already.  They are key to discussing the where we should take the storyline in a sensible manner so that we can all get on the same page, pay special attention to IWBTG's opening cutscene and first five minutes of play.  Also, make sure to pay attention to the ingame cutscenes of Eggman Hates Furries such as when Eggman is in his hovercraft right after the first little bit of the game.  We need to decide what kind of story we are aiming for so that we can write it in an efficient time-frame so that our artistic team can take a look at it and give us the best graphics to convey it that they can.

The above direction is also to anyone else who wants to help in the shaping of the storyline.  I need everyone on the same page so that we can discuss this with the same frame of mind.  Also, after you have played my examples, please post about the storyline you think we should be aiming for and list examples of how it is effective to use certain techniques when aiming at our particular audience.  The examples I have listed are both entirely free to play, so do enjoy and try not to get too frustrated at IWBTG as it is meant to be an example against insane difficulty being the reason our game is targeted at older individuals.

Last edited by lunarrush (2012-11-20 21:00:49)

If I knew then what I know now I'd tell you that the story's true.  Cause whatever you do, it comes back to you.  -Slaughter, Burning Bridges

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Before taking a decision, please notice the following.

Who is our public? Casual players: late teens, 20 and 30 somethings.
Who is our team? Enthusiasts working over the internet.
^ this is very important ^

In my opinion, we must build a lightweight story. Casual players hardly have the time to dive into a complex scenario. Nowadays, most people don't have the patience to read long texts. As demonstrated over and over again by recent research, internet users have a hard time concentrating in one thing for long periods of time.

I suspect people will play our game while using facebook, texting on their phones, watching tv, etc. Also, given our current team formation, we shouldn't realistically expect commitment from anyone. A complex story is a bad idea.

That said, in my opinion we should aim for a creative lightweight story.

18

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

like said before, we should let the gameplay and overall audiovisual experience be the vehicles of the storyline. keeping the cutscenes short and the whole game light on text sequences.

Like Hideo Kojima once said: "It's good to keep some details vague and open so the players can fill them in with their imagination, which leads to a greater feeling of attachment"

In this case he was talking about characters, but it is also true for the rest.

https://image.ibb.co/kuSYrm/SD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/kHq8P6/SeD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/cJf8P6/LTot_W_sml.png

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Alexandre wrote:

internet users have a hard time concentrating in one thing for long periods of time.

This exactly is what I mean.  We don't need complex storyline, however we can do some unique things such as using our scenery and music to convey certain moods and tell a story that, even if it's not gotten on the first run by everyone, will give depth to the story without the need to have large amounts of dialog.  As such, for our target audience, I would expect we'd have something I like to call an 'Excuse plot', in fact IWBTG conveys this quite well.  Then, we tell most of the real things we want to show through gameplay mechanics or a cutscene.
Also, sorry if I overloaded anyone, I thought perhaps sharing a few game experiences would make for a more solid team foundation because we would all be on the same page.  I simply want to make this a foundation we can build on.
Also, just in case I haven't stated it previously, the scope of this first project will be to finish the set of levels known as Sunshine Paradise and provide a framework upon which future levels can be built with relatively little stress, if we do it right this time we will already have many of the answers we are looking for.

If I knew then what I know now I'd tell you that the story's true.  Cause whatever you do, it comes back to you.  -Slaughter, Burning Bridges

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

(I'm coming back since a period of time because the University, sorry for the inactivity)

I think the reasons exposed by lunarrush above are the first step to know what we want to do with the road of the game. Is necessary to determinate what is the public with we work for (20's and 30's people mainly).
Also is necessary to decide what type of game we want to do. RPG? Platform? something???

But to do not make the same mistake: I recommend you firstly need to write the entire story of the game. Doesn't matter if the story will be lightweight or very heavy/long. The resulting script will be the steps we will follow, and in this sense we won't lose on the road.
It's like to write a story book or a theater script.

This could guide you to the graphic design, environments, etc

Last edited by CharlyTx (2012-11-22 02:09:03)

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Agreed. The story must be completed, pollished, and "sanded". That way we have something to work with, instead of staring at a blank void of nothingness waiting for ideas


Alexandre wrote:

Casual players hardly have the time to dive into a complex scenario. Nowadays, most people don't have the patience to read long texts. As demonstrated over and over again by recent research, internet users have a hard time concentrating in one thing for long periods of time.

...Voice acting...?

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

I have a new mechanic to discuss with you guys and determine if we want such a thing to be designed into this game.  This mechanic is open opportunity to explore backwards and optional paths.

Now, according to what I am reading on Sunshine Paradise (the next major milestone of this game) we are assuming the player is all one cookie cutter player.  You see, while it may be fine and dandy to build an easy first level we will scare off more experienced players if we aren't careful.  This is where this mechanic comes in.
What we do is we make the first level mostly downhill and to the right, that way the player can simply start going forward and get their thrills out of the first level of the game.  We create an area in this level, however, that players can find 'secret A' in.  You have seen this mechanic in play if you've ever played a Kirby game, while most levels are quite straightforward there is an optional path in many of them and some of these can get extremely frustrating to complete.  This actually allows us to appeal to many players, however there is another mechanic that has to go hand in hand with it to make it work right.  That mechanic is either the open world or the new game+.
If we went the open world method we would basically create an overworld where the player could go back to old levels (and to side content).  If we went the new game+ method we would allow certain aspects of a character to carry back to new games.  I would suggest the open world method unless we have an extremely good reason for using new game+ if we use these mechanics at all.

What do you guys think?  If we want to do this then we will want to make Sunshine Paradise with two paths so that we do not have to come back and create new content for it.  If you're wondering what 'secret A' is, that depends on what kind of work we want to put in.  It could be anything from character skins, to new playable characters, to one ups that would otherwise not be available.

( Also, a note, I am currently working on a prototype storyline to present to you, please try my examples so that we can all be on the same page when discussing it when it's ready.  Remember, the more work we do now the more foundation we have for later.  Thank you all for all your suggestions, art, and work that you are putting into making this a reality, it'll take us all to make this work.  Now, let's keep going and make it happen. :-) )

If I knew then what I know now I'd tell you that the story's true.  Cause whatever you do, it comes back to you.  -Slaughter, Burning Bridges

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Yes. This is a great idea. But we should be subtle about these secret paths.

lunarrush wrote:

If we went the new game+ method we would allow certain aspects of a character to carry back to new games.

Like in Sonic 3K where once you got all the Super Emeralds and beat the game, you could keep the abiltiy to turn into Hyper Sonic/Knuckles

24

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Ok, just letting you people know that i'm going to start mocking up the brickset, based on the concept art in the wiki.
Are we working on 320x240 or 640x480? I'm still going to work in a size suitable for 640x480, and also post a resized version for 320x240. I ask because the resized version may need some adjustments before being final.

https://image.ibb.co/kuSYrm/SD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/kHq8P6/SeD_sml.pnghttps://image.ibb.co/cJf8P6/LTot_W_sml.png

Re: Open Surge Reanimated

Never ever und erestimate the power of music to tell a story.

Getting an extra chance:
http://freesound.org/people/jobro/sounds/169214/

Big shocker:
http://freesound.org/people/jobro/sounds/46220/

Someone got locked up?
http://freesound.org/people/jobro/sounds/98324/