Hey guys - I finally made a ModDB page.
For anyone not in the know, this is my Kingdom Valley mod, which I started working on in August 2012. Since it's been a long time since I started, I thought I'd summarize the development of the mod briefly and give you all an update on how things are going and what's left to do before an eventual release. First off - here's my most recent video of the level.
It's come a long way, and I'm pretty proud of how it's coming along so far. The mod includes the first and third maps of the original Kingdom Valley. You'll notice some parts are quite similar to the original, while other parts are quite different. A lot of work has gone into the level already - from figuring out how to fill in the sections of the level where the original level design doesn't quite work in Generations, thinking of ways to expand on the level and offer something new (either by mixing up the level design or adding entire paths that weren't in the original stage), to more technical work like remaking the wind rails and reskinning Crisis City's breakable roads into breakable bridges and towers.
That said, we're still nowhere near done. I'm putting a lot of effort into this mod, because I really want to release something of high quality. The downside of that is that quality takes time. There's still a lot of things left on the to-do list.
A lot of sections still need custom cameras. Cameras aren't terribly hard to implement, but making good cameras that don't clip through walls can be difficult. Lots of sections need more miscellaneous object placement; stuff like rings, physics objects, dash panels, navigation collision. The skybox needs to be redone, as it has a number of obvious issues. When most of this is done, I need to render proper GI and shadows, which will make the level look much much much better, and start working on custom collision to patch up some of the holes in the level and add some little extra touches like fire collision on the torches. I also want to make a custom White World hub entrance.
Aside from all that, there's still more that I'd like to do - I think it'd be really neat to make a full set of custom challenges, and possibly a CSA-style 3D Classic Sonic version of the level. This is fairly low priority, though, as I'm more focused on finishing the actual level.
A couple frequently asked questions:
Q: Are you going to add the mach speed section?
A: No. As I've said above, this level only includes the first and third maps of Kingdom Valley - I'm leaving out the second and fourth. The second map is being excluded because its map design really lends itself more towards non-linear gameplay, and it's a little too unfocused to really work as a Generations level in my opinion. There's also the fact that it's designed to be played at a slower pace - even in the original game, Silver, the slowest character, is the only one who really gets to play through this section. Sonic just switches control to Siver, and Shadow switches control to Rouge and then spends the rest of the map in a vehicle.
Now, as far as the mach speed section is confirmed - there's several reasons behind my decision not to include it in the level. First off is the fact that I'm simply not convinced it would play well; the mach speed section is stunning from a visual standpoint, but mach speed sections tend to be huge wide-open spaces that are a little too flat and empty for my taste, especially when you take out the pressure of having Sonic automatically run through the entire thing, with one mistake meaning death. Second - those stunning visuals likely wouldn't translate into Generations either. There are loads of effects that make the mach speed section look as good as it does, and most of them would be very difficult to port properly into Generations. There's no way to create custom uv-anims, for example, so that alone would put a big dent in it. Finally, I've already got my hands full with the two sections I'm already working on, and I'd rather not increase my workload by adding a third.
Q: Are you going to replace the GUN Robots with the enemies from Sonic 06?
A: This one is a possibility. The port's already been done, so it would be fairly trivial to implement - that said, I haven't given it a whole ton of thought yet, as other things have been higher priority. So the answer: I'm probably going to implement this, yeah.
Q: Are you going to remove the springs from the ropes?
A: No. There's a couple reasons for this - the closest you could get to remaking the ropes is to replace the springs with an invisible classic spring, and maybe swap out the sound. The first issue is that there's really no way to implement the rope's animations into Generations; you can't replace the spring model with the rope entirely because different ropes need to be different shapes and sizes. Second, to be honest I like having the springs visible - I think it makes them easier to understand and use. For one thing, it makes them into a gimmick the player is already familiar with instead of forcing them to learn a new one. Second, it makes it clear exactly where on the rope you will bounce and where you won't. Since it's just a spring, I can't make the entire rope bounceable. Giving the player some sort of indication that they'll die if they stray from the center of the rope seems fair to me.
So in a nutshell - visible springs are functionally exactly the same as more faithful ropes would be, but with the added benefit of some sort of visual indication of how they work. Seems like a good trade-off to me.
Q: You should add wall jumps to the cathedral sequence!
A: People keep asking about this - this is another no. For those not in the know, a few other Sonic 06 ports implement invisible wall jump collision in conjunction with an invisible spring/dash panel/whatever to fling Sonic to the next jump, resulting in a wall jumping section reminiscent of the sequences from Sonic 06. I'm making the deliberate decision not to implement these into the level. From my perspective, it's just a gimmick for the sake of gimmickiness. It's potentially confusing, throwing the player into a "mash A or else you die" situation with no warning; it slows down the pace of the level, as the wall jump takes a moment to work; and most importantly, it adds absolutely nothing, as I don't think mashing A qualifies as interesting gameplay. I can either make the player mash A to wall jump through a section, or I can just use springs to guide them through it automatically and get them back to actual gameplay faster. I choose the latter.
I've already taken a number of creative liberties with the level to better adapt it to Generations; consider this one of them. I'm all for being faithful to the original, but not when it comes at the cost of gameplay quality. Ultimately, how I view it is: I am not trying to make Sonic 06 on PC. I am trying to make a Sonic Generations level. This is the way I've approached every design choice I've had to make regarding this stage.
I think that finally about sums it up - hope you all find this informative, and stay tuned for more updates on how this thing is coming along.