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Interface and Accessibility Preview

Mystic - November 20, 2017

So you have all been poking us for another status update for a while now, but several cool things just aren’t quite ready to show off yet. Instead, we’re going to try something different this time.

2.2 contains a lot of interface improvements over 2.1, with changes to everything from the menu UI to the way the game displays your character. Many of these changes are intended to help newer players learn how to play our game, which has a notoriously bad learning curve because parts of SRB2’s design conflict directly with the way modern Sonic behaves. We want the challenges in SRB2 to be intentional, not the unintended consequences of designing for an audience we know too well. However, there are also plenty of quality of life improvements for experienced players. While we know you may not find this as cool as new levels, we hope something here sparks your interest.

DirectionChar We’ll start with the biggest change: this is not analog mode. With 2.2, your character will face whatever direction you press by default. You finally get to see all the other sprites for the characters instead of constantly staring at Sonic’s butt the whole game. This change is purely visual, and moves like the thok and glide still go in the direction your camera is facing, not your character. In ringslinger modes this feature is disabled, and it’s also possible to disable it in the options should you prefer the old behavior, but we highly recommend giving it a shot.
Setup Controls To go along with that change, the control settings have also been changed significantly. You’ll notice the words “strafe” and “look” are gone entirely, replaced by the words “move” and “camera”. We’ve discovered a lot of new players try to play the game without using all of the movement controls, and therefore have a frustrating experience. We hope that by renaming the controls it makes the necessity of all the controls more obvious. Also, this menu is now a scrolling, categorized list, which puts all of the important controls at the top for easy readability.
AutoBrake Our attempts to teach new players the controls don’t stop there. This is a screenshot of a record attack replay being viewed, which shows the controls being used in a new HUD element in the bottom-left corner, as well as an icon for a new feature: automatic braking. One of the parts of SRB2 that new players generally don’t understand is the requirement to press the direction opposite of your momentum to skid to a stop, like the classic games. Automatic braking, which is on by default, behaves like the opposite direction is automatically “pressed” when the movement controls are released. While most veteran players will want to turn this off, this allows new players to more immediately have fun as they aren’t flying off into the wild blue yonder the instant they thok.
Addons Menu Another issue a lot of new players have had over the years is questions involving how to use addons in SRB2, as currently it requires the use of the console or command line. 2.2 features a brand new in-game addon browser, allowing you to simply select what addons you want to run and enable them. It also features a search field to allow you to type the partial name of what you’re looking for in the folder to find stuff quickly in a cluttered directory. Obviously, the console and command line methods still work, but if nothing else this should help for that situation when you’ve forgotten the filename of that one file with too many underscores.
Addons Menu We’ve also implemented some accessibility features to try to aid those who have trouble with our heavy use of color and audio cues. We’ve implemented a closed-captioning system for the hearing-impaired, which can also be useful for providing “sound” in silent GIF recordings. We’ve also developed an in-game tool to adjust the base palette at runtime to help add contrast for colorblind players. This screenshot has the palette tweaked for red-green colorblindness and has the captioning enabled.
Save Select Finally, all the menus were given a check for ease of understanding, rearranging and improving them across the entire game. Here are the current versions of the save select, level select, and multiplayer player setup menus. We’ve tried to improve the visuals for each menu as well as use scrolling and categories where applicable to make the menus as readable and easy to use as we can.
Save Select Save Select

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Official SRB2 Community Discord

Rob Tisdell - September 14, 2017

Hey all!

So today we’re excited to be introducing something new.  We’ve created a Discord server and added it directly to the main page.  You can also check it out here.

The reason we’re doing this is because there’s been a noticeably downward trend in IRC activity, and Discord has been increasingly popular as a chat program.  Many people coming here don’t readily have an IRC client available, and Discord also has a built-in web application.  This should make it much easier for new members to work with and navigate easily.  We’re hoping that this will help new players and modders easily engage and have a good time

As we are trying to expand community access, we are also actively looking for staff.  We do understand that there have been lots of small sub-communities that have been formed lately (Kart Krew, just as an example), and we’re hoping to get people from those groups to be staff members.  We want a wide variety of input from various people who are active in different groups.  The diversity of opinions will help ensure that the staff caters to as many peoples’ interests as possible.  So if you’re part of a group and can think of someone who would be a good staff member, please, PM either me or one of the other admins either here or on Discord, and let us know who you think should be added to staff.  Please also be sure to  give good reasons for the recommendation.  We will, of course, have the final say (We need to be sure that the people we are giving moderation titles to can actually be good moderators), but again, we are actively seeking out people who themselves have been active in smaller circles.

I hope to see you all there.  Happy chatting everyone!

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SRB2 version 2.1.19 Patch Release

Rob Tisdell - May 28, 2017

Hi again. Yes, we know – the previous release did not fix the netgame exploit properly. We’ve been working hard, though, and that (along with a few other potential exploits waiting to happen) is now fixed. We’ll be bringing the Master Server back up to allow people to advertise servers online again. As always though, if there are further netplay issues, please report them to us on the Message Board here. We can’t fix what we don’t know about!

* Netgame fixes:
* Patched a few more crash-causing exploits enabled by malformed packets, as discussed above.
* Fixed cooperative intermission bonuses such as extra lives not being awarded server-side on dedicated servers, leading to desynchronisation.
* Fixed an issue where you could join a netgame despite having too many files loaded to be able to match the server’s file list, leading to desynchronisation.
* Fixed an issue where you stayed connected to a netgame when you have too many files loaded to apply one the host added, leading to desynchronisation.
* Inform the adminplayer when they send an addfile request that can’t be completed because the host has too many files added.
* Fixed a bizzare issue where, if you quit a server the moment you create it, you will be instantly kicked if you make a new one.

* Minor, unrelated fixes:
* Fixed an issue where missiles were able to effortlessly glide up slopes without exploding.
* Corrected a log message informing the player that they had extra colormaps on game startup when none were actually available.
* Removed a typo resulting in the NiGHTS capsule having the red ring’s skincolor applied on spawn.

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SRB2 v 2.1.18 Patch Update

Rob Tisdell - May 12, 2017

Hey all

We weren’t really planning on doing this, but an exploit has been discovered and, unfortunately, been used to crash peoples’ servers and we need to plug the hole.  So we’re releasing version 2.1.18. We’re still hard at work on 2.2, and we’re hoping to have stuff for you soon on that front.

Patch notes:

* Netgame fixes:
* Fixed an exploit where malformed packets with invalid node identifiers caused the server to crash.
* Made the server recognise verified admin players’ bans, as opposed to only treating them as unenforced kicks.
* Fixed the fact that the allowteamchange console variable was completely broken, having previously caused both desynchronisations and crashes when switched off.

* Console fixes:
* Fixed an issue where the addfile command was incapable of locating files in subdirectories whilst in netgames.
* Fixed character selection from the command line (and therefore via launchers and level editors) being disabled.
* Fixed the dedicated server console window not handling key combinations involving the Ctrl, Alt or Shift modifier keys.

* Software rendering fixes:
* The game no longer crashes whlst attempting to render certain types of FOF off the top or bottom of the screen.
* Precipitation being off the top or bottom of the screen no longer causes visual artifacting (or, in rare cases, crashes).
* Fixed various issues with the v.DrawFill function. This includes its shoddy handling of V_SNAPTO flags, amongst other quality of life improvements.

* Minor, unrelated fixes:
* Fixed an issue where falling rock hazards could linger in perpetuity after colliding with slopes.
* Fixed a crash caused by Jet Jaw badniks attempting to attack players who had had the “MF_SHOOTABLE” object flag removed through add-ons.
* Fixed a crash caused by attempting to execute the “Call Lua Function” linedef executor with blank fields.
* Fixed an issue where attempting to have more than 10,000 screenshots in your screenshots directory was erroneously allowed.

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A Big Announcement

Mystic - April 1, 2017

(In case it wasn’t obvious by the date this was posted, this is an April Fools’ Day post, and the following is not true. On the other hand, the levels shown are indeed legitimate 2.2 content.)

It’s been a while since we had a proper update, but we have something special for you today. Over the years, we’ve received a lot of community feedback. Of all the things the community has suggested over the years, extra characters is by far the most popular. Today, I’m happy to announce that along with slopes, 2.2 will feature a fourth character: Big the Cat!

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Version 2.1.17 Release

Inuyasha - January 16, 2017

We have a very important announcement for you all:

Netgames are stable once again. (Thanks to Mr. Mystery for taking these screenshots of almost 32 players in a single netgame!)

Now now, before you go too crazy, keep in mind that things still aren’t perfect. There may be unexpected issues stemming solely from the fact that some parts of our game hasn’t had proper testing in years, due to the instability of netgames. But it’s safe to say that things are back to a level of stability around that of version 2.0, if not a little better than that. Special shoutouts go to LJSonik, who was the one to discover and fix the majority of these problems that had been difficult to find.

Though the stability of netgames is a huge part of this update, it’s not the only thing featured in it. See below for the full patch notes…

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2.2 Slope Hype

Mystic - November 4, 2016

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.

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2.1.16 release, 2.2 information, and community news update.

Rob Tisdell - September 5, 2016

2.1.16 is here! There is one very important thing we need to state up front – in order to make the online SRB2 experience more stable and reduce the number of desynchronisations that may occur, we have decided to make the difficult decision of disabling netgame capabilities in Direct Draw (srb2dd.exe) builds. It will be a long road, but this first consolidating step will help us understand and potentially solve the problems with the netcode.  We’ll give you the patch notes at the end of the post, don’t you worry.

In case you haven’t been paying attention to the forums, there’s been an interesting group project that’s been going on – and it’s out now! It’s called Shut Up and Get On It, or SUGOI, and with 29 unique levels it’s one of the biggest map packs in the history of SRB2. Pretty much the whole community has come together to work on this thing and, thanks to the magic of slopes, it’s really amazing.  We encourage you to go play that map pack after downloading the 2.1.16 update.

Also in exciting news, we don’t usually get attention from the wider world… but a couple months ago we got three separate sites reporting on us at once!

1) – Dorkly mentioned us in their list of cool pop culture DooM mods. We’re mentioned alongside ancient greats like Ghostbusters DooM as well as the relatively modern Mega Man 8-Bit Deathmatch.

2) – IGN went into our game wanting to hate it, but realised they couldn’t!  Someone should tell them we have mediocre support for controllers.

3) – Last but not least, Gizmodo interviewed us devs about the history of the game! We gave ’em a few 2.2 screenshots to pick from for their header image as gratitude for their thoughtfulness.

We did give them a few more images than they had space for, so here’s the other two – featuring the new versions of Tails, GFZ1 and CEZ1! It also features our new Sonic, although he’s now available on the message board with some custom abilities for fun here.

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Version 2.1.15 Release

Inuyasha - May 19, 2016

Hey guys! We’ve been thinking about how wonderful boys and girls you all are, so we’re deciding to give you a wonderful present well earlier than we originally intended! I hope you all enjoy playing with slopes as much as we do jumping off them and flying into space.

… I apologize for the sickening saccharine tint to that last paragraph, but hey, I want to have a little fun. It’s my birthday, so cut me some slack.

This release is being provided both in the form of an installer for those new to the game, and a patch for those who have already installed the game. The patch works only with version 2.1.14. That shouldn’t be a problem for anyone at this point, considering how long version 2.1.14 has been out now. New features and fixes are as follows:

  • Slopes! Forever is a long time coming. Note that none of the existing levels are modified; you’ll have to wait until 2.2 for that. The primary reason for this release is so that modders can finally use slopes without having to resort to alternate EXEs, as they’ve been doing for months now. Just be warned that while OpenGL has support for slopes, it is only partially complete in that renderer and not fully tested.
  • To go along with slopes, physics have been slightly changed for moving platforms and polyobjects. Jumping off of a platform moving upwards now gives your jump a height boost, for instance.
  • Added FF_ANIMATE, a flag for creating simple, single state animations. Instead of creating 30 states for your 30 frame ring animation, you can now just create one to achieve the same effect.
  • Music slots are removed. No longer do you have to call your music lumps O_MAP##M; you can now call them anything you want. Anything. As long as it’s six or less characters, I guess.
  • Lots of changes and fixes to Lua and SOC. We’ll go over some of the important ones briefly:
    • A PlayerSpawn hook was added to Lua, allowing a lot easier and better control over what happens when players spawn or join the game.
    • The lines comprising a sector may now be gotten in Lua with (sector).lines.
    • HUD scripts in Lua can now access the game’s current resolution (width and height), along with dupx and dupy (the sizes for automatic patch scaling).
    • “Lua.” custom level header options in SOC won’t eat parts of future level header definitions by mistake. We made sure to feed the parsers properly this time, with high quality kibbles and bits.
    • “MUSIC = (name)” was added to level headers and cutscenes in SOC to accommodate the above removal of music slots.
    • A lot of error messages were changed to make what’s going wrong easier to understand, especially variable out of range errors.
    • SOC scripts can now be named SOC_****, to go along with Lua scripts being named LUA_****. This means you can actually organize multiple SOC scripts into WAD files, instead of having to stick everything in MAINCFG.
  • Fixed issues with polyobject spawning and other assorted weird things they would do.
  • Fixed pro-strat launching-yourself-off-CEZ-chains-within-1-tic abuse. Sorry, speedrunners.
  • Fixed a lot of bugs in the menu relating to pressing combinations of enter and escape rapidly. Sorry, keyboard mashers.
  • Fixed a very, very long-standing bug where garbage would be drawn to screen in certain situations if you ran under or flew over an FOF.
  • Minor map adjustments and fixes, scattered throughout the single player maps and multiplayer maps.
  • Lastly, in this little space at the end of the ‘important’ patch notes, I would like to give a sad goodbye to our old friend, That One Snailer. You all know him very well, but now he is no longer with us. He will be missed. (not)

That’s all of the important stuff out of the way, but there’s lots more technical changes we haven’t mentioned so far. You can find that information after the break.

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2.2 Preview – With Slopes!

Mystic - February 12, 2016

Development on new content is still quite slow, but this time there’s actually a good reason that isn’t just us playing too many other games. While these screenshots don’t show it, there are also a dramatic amount of minor (and some major) changes under the hood that improve a lot of the engine.

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