It’s been a while since we last posted about 2.2’s progress, but it’s time to finally talk about the major changes we’ve been making. Some of you may remember from previous development discussions that slopes, while cool, would require us to pretty much rethink the entire campaign. This was even put forth as a reason not to implement slopes because of the amount of work it would take to do such a retrofit. Of course, now we do have slopes, so much of our development time recently has been involved in retrofitting our previous stages and figuring out what needs to be done to update them with slopes in mind. At the same time, some of our stages are rather ancient, and have needed a visual update for some time.
I’m happy to say that both of these things are actually very far along, and it’s time to show off what we’ve been doing to you all. As with all previous preview posts, everything you see here is subject to change, and if you look closely at the high resolution version you might even notice a few amusing bugs from the test files these screenshots were taken with.
|To start off, Greenflower Zone’s visuals have long been maligned by a large section of our fans. Here’s the new look, straight from the start of the game. You’ll notice that the textures have finally been changed, the flower sprites are also updated, and there’s now a skybox instead of the ancient sprite edit sky from almost twenty years ago.|
|The visual updates include more than just the textures and sprites, too. Here’s the opening valley of GFZ2, with some extra detail added along with the slopes to make the stage look less monotonous. Some of those alcoves provide helpful items to boot.|
|GFZ’s gameplay is also being heavily revamped, with significant usage of slopes, both as a teaching tool and just because they’re fun. There’s no way to show this entire concept in a single screenshot, but rolling into the horizontal spring here will send you quickly rolling down the hill and flying off a ramp at the bottom.|
|Techno Hill Zone has also been given a pass of fresh visual and gameplay paint, as this shot of the Knuckles route shows. Note that slopes can be used for visual effect just as much as they can be used for gameplay, making this room look way better than the 2.1 version.|
|Here’s an even more dramatic example of using slopes for scenic purposes in the underground alternate route of THZ1. While the gameplay here is still mostly the same, the visual update makes the area feel way more dramatic, especially when going for that emerald token.|
|Despite its recent age, THZ2 is not being neglected, as shown here with an early version of an entirely new route. Obviously, THZ2 needs way less work to bring it up to date than the previous stages, but it could still use a little additional polish.|
|Deep Sea Zone is in the process of a complete remake, and slopes have been heavily integrated into it, as seen in this room that would have been unthinkable in SRB2 five years ago. One act of the remake is already completable, and even those of you who hate water stages will likely find something to like in it.|
|Here’s another example of the gameplay value of slopes. To reach the platform with the emerald token at the top of the hill, you’ll have to spindash up the slope. This screenshot also shows the “outdoor” DSZ areas, with an open skybox of the sea around you.|
|Act 1 of Castle Eggman Zone is notoriously the worst stage in 2.1, and we’ve previously talked about how we’re completely redoing it. Here’s a neat example room from that remake, which takes slopes and combines them with a zone gimmick.|
|There have also been a lot of quality of life changes to many of the zones, such as this shot of how the arrows the robo hood fire now have little trails to make them way more obvious. They also make sounds before firing, which should prevent a lot of the cheap shots that they’ve been known for. As a note, this shot is so bright because lightning happened to strike right as I took it.|
|The special stages are also receiving updates to fix some of the problems that made it into release and make some of them more interesting. Here’s a shot of the current beta of special stage 3, showing the new layout to a room that was previously pretty boring.|
While 2.2 is indeed going to take a while longer, I hope this at least shows we’re not just sitting here doing nothing. Slopes are a huge game-changer for SRB2. While it’s going to take us a while to fully realize their potential, I’m happy to say that initial results are quite promising.