I’ve ragged on Sonic Adventure DX so often while discussing other things that you’re probably sick and tired of hearing about it, but it seems like I’ve never actually dedicated the time to examine the game on its own.
I got the urge to replay it recently, and after installing a few hacks to get the XBone controller working I was able to begin. Time to give SADX its chance in the spotlight.
I’ve actually flirted with game-playing artificial intelligence a few times in my life. The most notable attempt has to be the chatterbots behind my Warcraft III map The Arena, who roved around the land, picked up items, bought new equipment, ran home when hurt and, yes, taunted and responded to textual prompts rather more than people liked.
Alas, No Excuses will require bots with slightly more finesse, because they are not to be infinitely respawning players in an enclosed arena. They need to hold down consistent jobs, but get distracted sometimes and then go back to work. They need to make sure they’re not trying to shoot through their allies, but also try to avoid taking hits.
That is a heady cocktail.
When I went into Game, they didn’t have any copies of Legacy of the Void on display. It seems like everyone was so caught up in Fallout 4 and its midnight launch parties that poor old SC2 got lost in the noise. When the assistant had to go and rummage in the back room for five minutes, I did wonder if I’d have to go home and — horror of horrors — purchase a digital only copy.
Luckily they did have physical boxes, not that it made a difference since I had to download the game anyway. One day, I swear Blizzard will fix their stupid installer… But until then, it’s PROTOSS TIME!
Voxel terrain doesn’t work if it’s just blank boxes. (Actually that’s a complete lie — there are plenty of examples of beautiful games made using only flat colours and shading.) So how does a lone wolf amateur get terrain that doesn’t look like, to coin a phrase, programmer art? I’ve talked about texturing before but it’s taken a while to settle on an approach and get something more than experiments out of it.
It probably still looks like programmer art, but I take comfort in my delusions.
So in Part 1 I discovered that, in order to make it easy to build levels for my game, I need to create my own voxel terrain editor. I’m inordinately proud of myself for this, because after some initial hair-tearing and wrangling it has turned out… rather sumptuous.
Now I’ve got some kind of actual gameplay mechanics in my game, which might offer some kind of challenge and interest, it’s high time I started to make proper levels in which to exercise them. Not, you know, some cuboids floating in an endless blue void.
Needless to say, nothing is ever as easy as it seems.
When it comes to Sonic, for me it’s always been all about Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The long, lock-on combo of the 3rd and “4th” games has the best controls, mechanics, levels, and even narrative to date.
Even so, there’s still something to be said for the franchise’s first faltering steps into terminal decline — Sonic 3D: Flickies’ Island. Even as a game that is mediocre in so many ways, there’s something there that sets my heart racing…