This is meant to be a long-running, constantly evolving project, starting as a humble pack of songs and growing from there. Even alone, I'm intent on charting a great number of songs, some basic UI changes, and light coding. With help, it could become a full-fledged fan game that even helps get Stepmania fans into Sonic and Sonic fans into Stepmania.
For now, here is the newly-made r/sonicstepmania subreddit, a Youtube Channel with a 5-song sample to give an idea of the charting direction, and Git repository which, so far, is simply a direct clone of Stepmania.
Want to help? Post or comment here, send a PM, or share this with your Sonic and\or Stepmania loving friends. This is a commitment-free fangame, drop in as you like with content, advice, and ideas.
Here are some design notes to start with, subject to change.
One of my biggest reasons for wanting to make Sonic Stepmania instead of a pack is to add Sonic art to the interface, such as:
- Menu Options - Difficulty selection, The song wheel… plenty to customize!
- The arrows and step zone - something along the lines of In The Groove's metal set, but with a look that fits the Sonic franchise better. Maybe a 16-bit set too? The sky's the limit!
I'm not passionate or good in this area. On my own, I'll take some stock Sonic art and throw it into the game. With your help, it could end up looking really great!
As with any stepmania music, each song has a banner and a background picture. 1920x1080 should do for the background. The banner size depends on how the song select screen is put together.
This would be cool, though optional, and not something I'll personally work on any time soon. But if you like doing this stuff, it will be much appreciated! Basically, for a given song, you take some gameplay footage from the level that song is in, edit the footage to go nicely with the music, and then we put it into the game as a video background when playing that song.
I cloned Stepmania from Git and put it here… and that's it so far. I've generated in c-make but haven't been able to compile and run it yet. I have experience coding, but I'm no expert either. I'm pretty good at figuring out math and process flow once I get going. I figure I'll be able to redesign the scoring system and UI elements at least. I have an adventure mode and\or mission mode in mind but that's really dependent on how the coding goes. Needless to say, solid contributions and tips in this area will be a great help!
I'll be doing a lot of this, but also have a lot of songs in mind, so quality contribution is appreciated! Essentially, the idea is each mainline game will have its own folder of songs, and then there will be a folder each for spinoffs, 8-bit, handheld, crossovers, more spinoffs, so the games in those categories will each have one or a small number of songs.
Syncing (offset and bpm) is an especially tough part of the work; huge kudos to anyone who helps in that aspect! (That said, I have a decent handle on it if I have to go it alone).
I'm more opinionated about charting than the other areas (art, scoring, etc) so I might decide to edit your charts if you allow it. I'll retain your unmodified charts as "edit" charts. If you want a guarantee of your charts taking center stage, you can do so with your own edition of Sonic Stepmania (see Decisions).
Here is some chart philosophy I have for the game with Sonic's style in mind:
- No holds, mines, rolls, or hands, except possibly in "Special Stages" that add such features. I know no holds may be unpopular, but I feel it fits with the simple controls and focus on speed that Sonic is known for, and that removing them is a good way to differentiate this from vanilla Stepmania and give this game its own feel. And maybe they'll show up in Special Stages or edit charts.
- Low numbers of jumps. Basically, put in jumps if it feels right, but don't work towards a quota or randomly add them to make the song more difficult. Well, ok, that's exactly what I did for Ix: Final Boss but that's an extreme case.
Keep in mind candlestick crossovers (LUR, RUL, LDR, or RDL) at high speed are really difficult on a pad. Again, Ix Final Boss is an exception to the general chart philosophy there.
- Duration: 1:15 to 1:45 long, with a tendency towards shorter lengths.
Shorter lengths is especially true for 16-bit songs that almost always require being looped just to fulfill even the minimum length. Some very short songs can be stringed together as a medley.
A special few songs are 2x length (2:30 to 3:15) and 3x length (3:45 to 4:45). Pretty much the Stepmania equivalent to Long and Marathon songs.
- Charts start really early, about one or two measures in. This can be annoying in Stepmania, but mostly because it's uncommon and therefore unexpected. The key is to make this consistent across most charts in Sonic Stepmania so it doesn't catch players off-guard.
- Generally, watch the sampler pack ignoring Ix Final Boss for an idea of chart direction.
- I'm making the charts dance-pad friendly knowing that the vast majority of players will use a keyboard or game controller. I find pad charts (Expert especially) fun on keyboard when trying to play accurately. If contributors want to make keyboard-specific charts, I'm all for that. I won't be making them myself.
- I won't be making any Doubles charts either, so again, if enough solid charts are provided, I'll add 'em in, even if the song selection is limited in Doubles.
Have a remix that would work well in the game? Send it my way! I'll be using ocremix a lot.
I use Audacity to edit the music and shorten it to Stepmania length.
This is subject to change, so share your ideas. Here's what I've laid out so far. Instead of giving judgements of "Great", "Perfect", etc., instead it shows the point amount.
Sonic Stepmania Judgement Window
-2000 - Miss
-2000 (same penalty as miss) - Boo
0 - Mid-to-Low Good
200 - High Good \ Low Great
500 - Mid-to-High Great
1000 - Perfect
1010 - Marvellous
1020 - Ludicrous
The idea here is you score 1000, you got most of the points possible, but there are two tighter timing windows that will let you squeeze another 10 or 20 points. So consistent 1000+ judgements are the most important thing to getting a high score, but those extra points are still important if all other things are equal.
At the end of the song, it converts the score to a %. If you get all 1000s but no 1010s or 1020s, you'll get about 98.04% (1000 divided by 1020).
Then you get the familiar Sonic letter grade based on the %. I think 95% for an S would work well. Unlike vanilla Stepmania, it maxes out at S instead of having AA, AAA, AAAA; the % gives a more accurate rating. The intent is to have a scoring system that allows you to strive to be better at any level but isn't too stress inducing about it.
That's just a start. I haven't tested the scoring system yet and it's sure to go through changes once I do. The more people to test it and give their $0.02, the better.
When you reach certain combo counts, you get some familiar praise, though combos don't factor into scoring:
50 - Good!
150 - Great!
300 - Awesome!
500 - Outstanding!
750 - Amazing!
1000 - Way Past Cool!
A torrent I guess? It's a music-based game, so the file size will be large. During development, GitHub will hopefully be sufficient. I haven't given this thought yet.
As project lead I'll have control over the project's direction. That said, I'm not too opinionated outside of charting, and even there I'm willing to relent if overwhelmingly opposed. Also, if anyone just wants to do their own thing, they can branch from the Sonic Stepmania project at any time, provided they:
- Don't directly name it Sonic Stepmania (instead, name it Sonic Stepmania So-And-So Edition or just something else entirely)
- Credit Sonic Stepmania and the contributors it had up to that point
- Don't use it commercially
Leave a comment if you have any ideas!
Last edited: 21 May 2017 10:17am