Category Archives: Documentation
With the dance floor from hell behind us, we continue on toward our good ending into a level that’s almost as unpredictable horizontally as the previous level was vertically. The “speedway” portion of this level’s name is very appropriate, as it has a habit of propelling you forward whether you were planning on it or not. This level is somewhat easier than Wacky Workbench, but by no means does that mean that it’s easy. It’s a fun level to blaze through if you’re not worried about endings, but with our specific goals in mind, I recommend taking your time and being very careful about your footwork.
If you were ever under the impression that level designers love you and want to show you a good time, prepare to have that illusion shattered. Even the best level designers snap every now and then, and considering that there are four versions of every first and second act in this game (as well as two versions of every third), it was only a matter of time before Sonic CD’s designers decided to blow off steam by making an evil level.
The primary gimmick of this level is the fact that the ground floor is extremely bouncy, and if Sonic touches it even for a second, he gets shot up to the ceiling. This wouldn’t be such a problem if not for the fact that there are electric coils near the ceiling in most areas. Interestingly enough, they still managed to make Wacky Workbench’s insidious level mechanics enjoyable (who doesn’t like kooky sound effects and flying through the air?), but just because it’s fun does not, by any means, mean that it’s easy. Put on your big kid pants, because the difficulty is going up.
This level introduces an interesting new spin on an old gimmick. Conveyor belts have been used in lots of other Sonic games, but Quartz Quadrant is unique in the fact that you, the player, are allowed to decide the direction of the belts. This will make a difference more than once as we progress, so keep a careful eye on the directions. (Also, if you’re the type of person that likes to stand still on moving sidewalks, you might want to keep in mind that there’s a 10 minute time limit per level!)
As we continue our quest for a good ending, we come upon the most loathed category in all of video games: The water level. Whether it’s the fact that movement is more difficult, certain weapons become unusable, or the character’s health is in danger, no gamer on the face of the planet has ever looked at a water level and said, “That looks like a good time!” Sonic CD at least cuts its audience a break by omitting the nightmare-inducing drowning countdown when Sonic’s running low on air.
Just as every Sonic game has its paradise level, many of them also have a casino/pinball zone, and this is it for Sonic CD. While it does lack most of the casino aspects, it makes up for it with its sheer volume of bumpers and springs. This area can be tricky to navigate, whether you know the game well or not, and it’s designed to be difficult to backtrack. Let’s be sure we don’t give ourselves a need to do so.
If there’s one thing that most Sonic games have in common, it’s that they start out in an idyllic, paradise-like setting. The colors are bright and vibrant, and there are beautiful waterfalls and mountains. We get this first impression of beauty and happiness in order to appreciate just how dark and ugly the later levels become. Sonic’s games are often criticized for cloning Green Hill Zone over and over again, but I must say that I give this level some credit for coming up with some new gimmicks and not including the word “hill” in its name.
Project Length: 4 Weeks (April 2012)
My Roles: Play Testing, Writing, Copy Editing
End Product: Complete Strategy Guide
Ever since his debut in 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog has been a powerful character in the gaming world, with masses of fans clamoring to play his games. Sonic CD is often regarded as a rare gem among his collection, as it’s widely agreed that it’s a great game that was difficult to get a hold of, since not many people owned a Sega CD system. The game has thus been re-released several times on more accessible mediums.
However, one thing Sonic CD always lacked was a strategy guide. There were many walkthroughs available for his other games of that time period, but there was never an official release for Sonic CD in particular. This is especially noteworthy because, unlike the other games of its generation, its goal was not to simply run from start to finish as quickly as possible. The introduction of time travel to the series brought a new set of goals along with it; namely, getting to the past and creating a good future. Despite the fact that the levels are short, I myself had great difficulty managing this when I was a child, as did fellow fans that I later discussed this with in adulthood.
The purpose of this guide is to help players seeking the good ending of the game without having to collect all of the Time Stones. Unlike other Sonic games, Sonic CD does not require the player to collect all of its magic gems in order to get the good ending; instead, players can create the same effect by completing the time travel objectives in each level. Considering how brutal some of the special stages are in this game, I myself prefer to just do the extra legwork in the levels. Now, with this guide, other players can do the same.
Project Length: 20 Weeks (10/16/12 – 3/12/13)
Team: Rotten Ideas (5 Members)
My Roles: Concept art, Story, Level Design, Character Development, Set Pieces, NPCs, Easter Eggs
End Product: Game Demo
In the winter of 2012/13, I was part of a game design team called Rotten Ideas. Over the course of 20 weeks, we developed Shape’Scape, a multi-character puzzle-platformer. I was responsible for the story, character designs, facial expressions, NPCs, set piece assets, and about 30-40% of the level design. I also participated in the overall concepting of the game, but that was a shared process amongst the entire team.
Project Length: 6 Weeks (1/29/13 – 3/14/13)
My Roles: Gameplay Mechanics, Level Design, Play Testing, Writing (Content & Layout)
End Product: Playable Board Game, Complete Game Manual
This project originated as an exercise in creating additional level maps for the game Portal 2 that utilized a game element that had been cut from the final product. My teacher had suggested to me that I prototype my ideas in a board game fashion, and with that in mind, I decided to make them out of Legos. It was fast, simple, and wouldn’t fall apart easily.
Unexpectedly, as I built my level designs, I began thinking about how Portal would work if it really WERE a board game. Before I knew it, my mind was teeming with ideas about how to translate the design into a unique physical format while maintaining the essence of the original. My project completely changed gears so I could explore the idea in full.