Yet another Sonic clone

Posted: July 15, 2011 in Games

Intro

I’ve been a Sonic series enthusiast since I got my Sega Genesis as a child. To me, it’s the perfect match between platforms and speed, two genres I love. Even though time flies, it never gets old.

First off, I must say that I’m not associated with Sega or Sonic team in any way, and what I’m gonna show you is just a simple fan game I made for fun.

This was one of my first amateur side scrollers that I made like 5 or 6 years ago or so, I had made a couple of very simple scrollers in Flash in the past, but I wanted to work with old school tiles.

MFC stands for the Microsoft Foundation Classes which I used as a rendering API. Since I wanted to use it as a project for a college subject the use of MFC, though not the most efficient, was mandatory.

It features a couple of badniks, rings, goal billboards, moving platforms, springs, a final boss and a level editor.

I found the tiles, backgrounds and sprites on some website so I only needed to focus on programming.

Got ring?

As you may know, in the old times the home consoles and arcade machines were mostly tile-based engines. In a nutshell, everything you saw on the screen was made up of fixed-size *usually* square tiles which were laid out in a particular fashion according to some table in memory.

The video signal generator just checked that table and the tiles in video memory to generate the video output.

Of course there’s a lot of nuts and bolts to it (scrolling playfields, mirroring, transparency, overlapping…) but that’s another story.

This app allows you to set up a scrolling playfield made of tiles and specify its absolute position on screen. It will determine the tiles visible in the viewport, their offset and how they should be displayed. Then the backend MFC renderer does the rendering job.

As for the animated sprites, there’s a base AnimatedSprite class which implements an interface for rendering and for specifying the status of the animation (playing, stopped,…) as well as its speed and extents.

The physics are simple enough to make the game look almost like the original (of course, it’s substantially less feature-complete). Collisions with the scenery are handled in a per-tile basis where each tile has its own collision properties.

The game logic and automatas glue everything else up.

Regarding sound, the Windows MM API is used and there’s a folder with .wav sound cues and BGM on it. But I have recently discovered that it freezes on Windows 7 when it tries to play more than one sound simultaneously. But there’s a workaround.

The final boss is a funny inter-company match where Super Mario throws items from his game 😀

The whole game was created from scratch in about three weeks working about 4 hours per day in the evenings.

Unfortunately and due to a hard disk failure, I lost the source code, but I still have the binaries.

And I keep it as a bit of history.

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Comments
  1. Phil says:

    I love your blog. This Sonic post really appeals to me. I would love to make games, but I don’t even know where to begin. Do you mind pointing me in the right direction?

    • radexx says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I really like seeing people enjoying my work.

      To answer your question, it all depends on what part of the development process you’re interested in (programming, art, game design, production, …).
      In my opinion, the best way of learning stuff is actually doing it, for example: if you are interested in programming then go ahead and build a simple game from scratch (not using a game engine) (pacman and tetris are affordable classics for beginners). You can find all the information you need in the form of tutorials in lots of places over the internet.

      Other people prefer to get taught by experienced people to try and learn as much as possible in a short period of time. You can find lots of videogame-related programs (even remotely via internet) you can attend. You’ll have to figure out your budget. But make sure that your program of choice is given by people who have actually worked at the industry.

      Either way, it takes passion, perseverance and effort. But it’s extremely rewardy if you end up in the right place 🙂

      Hope it helps!
      Best of luck!

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