Version 2.1

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Version 2.1 is the current version of SRB2, released on March 15th, 2014. It was patched several times in the following weeks, bringing the version number up to 2.1.8.

Contents

Single Player campaign

The Single Player campaign has been the main focus of 2.1 development. Although only two completely new stages were added (Castle Eggman Zone Act 3 and Egg Rock Zone Act 3), all levels have received at least minor changes, while some have been heavily revamped and/or extended. The boss fights have also been heavily reworked. The intention behind these changes is to present a significantly more polished and consistent Single Player campaign for 2.1.

Greenflower Zone

Act 1 has received a few additions to introduce certain game mechanics to the player, such as spindashing and the Whirlwind Shield. These modifications do not make the stage longer, however. The cave at the beginning of the stage that acted as a shortcut has been removed, since it tended to cause new players to go in circles. In act 2, a double-size version of the GFZROCK texture has been introduced to reduce tiling in tall rooms. A few areas, particularly around the starting room, have received additional detail to break up the visual monotony. The hidden area next to the starting point in act 2 has been modified to serve as an alternate route that involves the Whirlwind Shield mechanic. The moving platforms have been replaced with a red spring. The long indoor corridor at the end of the stage has been replaced with a new outdoor area. Several other areas in both levels have received small modifications to streamline quirky design.

The Egg Mobile's AI has been modified: The boss now shoots a stream of projectiles that slowly aims towards the player. In the pinch phase, the boss now spawns spikeballs around itself that it throws at the player after a few seconds. As with all other bosses in the game, the pinch phase now begins after the fifth hit and lasts for three hits.

Techno Hill Zone

A screenshot of the new THZ1, showcasing the new slime, the new enemy and the new visual appearance of the stage.

The whole zone has been extensively revamped to make it more distinct from Greenflower Zone. Most significantly, the slime has been recolored to a darker purple hue and its mechanics have been changed: Instead of being harmful, it is now extremely buoyant. Jumping into it will cause the player to float back up again, bouncing in and out until they lose their momentum and start walking on it. Among other things, the new slime mechanics are used to hide power-ups deep in the slime that cannot be reached with a normal jump. Instead, the player has to find a ledge that is high enough to gain enough speed and reach the power-up. All Crawlas in the zone have been removed and replaced with the Spring Shell, a turtle-like enemy with a spring on its back that allows the player to reach places they otherwise could not.

While the layout of act 1 is fundamentally the same, many sections have been revamped or repurposed, and many hidden items and decorations have been added, resulting in a stage that looks and plays very differently from the original version. The sky is now colored orange to give the level a sunset feel, and the GFZ-style grass has been replaced with withered grass. The long corridor that connects the two halves of the stage has been replaced by a factory area. Knuckles is forced on a separate path in this section that lasts until the large slime pool on the right path. The moving platforms in the left path have been replaced with gas jets, and the path now leads into the lake area via the slime river rather than merging at the factory. The underground tunnel (the entrance to which is now no longer on the main path) has been revamped to utilize the new slime and no longer contains barrels to jump over.

Act 2 has been remade from scratch with the new slime mechanics in mind. It retains the general structure of the old level, but the actual level design is entirely new, and the beginning and ending were considerably extended. Unlike the previous version of the level, gas jets are damaging electric floors are used throughout the level, and several sections force the player to exploit the slime mechanics to get past obstacles that they could not otherwise pass. The level uses new textures as well as an elaborate skybox.

In act 3, the train is now surrounded by glass walls to prevent the player from falling into the surrounding pit. The pinch phase of the Egg Slimer has also been modified, it will now retreat from the player before bouncing towards them.

Deep Sea Zone

Several parts of the zone have been modified to make it easier. Several death pits have been replaced with solid floors and a few extra air bubbles have been added. All underwater springs have been removed or replaced to prevent SRB2's physics quirks from becoming apparent when the player breaks the water surface after bouncing off a spring. In act 1, the height to which the water at the beginning rises has been lowered. The gargoyle puzzle path can now be escaped, and the last button only requires one gargoyle instead of two. In the room with the Skims and the dragon pattern on the floor, the bustable block that must be destroyed to progress has been removed.

Several rooms in act 2 have been modified. The falling logs after the bustable block maze have been removed and replaced by floating platforms. What was formerly the underwater zoom tube maze is now a regular path split in which all the dead ends that lead back to the beginning have been removed, and mines have been added to this section. In the room right afterwards, the player no longer has to take a zoom tube back to the previous area if they fall into the water, and the water level no longer rises. The underwater crusher section has been made easier by slowing down the crushers.

The arena in act 3 has been made shallower to make it easier for the player to see where the Sea Egg is heading. It has also received a visual redesign. In the pinch phase, the boss no longer floods the level, instead spawning two decoys that also shoot at the player.

Castle Eggman Zone

CEZ's visuals and layout have been heavily revised. This was once the dam area near the end of act 1.

Unfinished versions of the first two acts are included in 2.0, but they have been reworked and expanded for 2.1. CEZ1 has been heavily retextured to more closely resemble a forest. Both acts use green grass instead of the previous withered grass. All Sharps and Crawlas have been removed from the zone. The rotating chain gimmick has been streamlined: None of them allow the player to change the rotating direction anymore, and they are all large enough so that the player can grab on to them by simply standing underneath them rather than jumping. The swinging chains have been entirely removed from the zone.

Act 1 now features an animated sky containing layers of moving clouds. The lake area has been revamped so that the player no longer has to search for a zoom tube in the lake. Instead, the path winds around the lake and includes a rotating chain gimmick. In the same area, Knuckles is forced onto a separate path that involves spinning maces. Tails can take this path as well. The waterslide at the end of the level act 1 has been replaced by an alternate path.

Act 2 has been expanded considerably and is now approximately twice as long as before. The added parts include a large library section, a path involving swinging and spinning maces, and several areas designed around rotating chains. Other parts of the stage have been tweaked, making it slightly more difficult. The gate at the beginning, which previously opened for players with all emeralds, now remains closed. Knuckles's secret area has been cleaned up and no longer contains an excessive number of extra lives. The Turret has been removed from the level. The cannon room has been completely reworked and no longer involves buttons. All areas after this room in the 2.0 version have been deleted. The rising water room was made slightly smaller and no longer forces the player to jump back into the water after pressing the last button.

A boss fight has been added to the zone. It takes place in a circular arena where the boss, Eggscalibur, is situated in a cage in the center. Chains of spikeballs extend from the cage and revolve around the arena, forcing the player to evade them. Every few seconds, the cage is lifted, allowing the player to hit the boss. In the pinch phase, the cage breaks and the boss rises to the top of the arena, with the spikeballs still rotating diagonally below it. Players must use rotating chains to launch themselves in the air and hit the boss.

Arid Canyon Zone

A few adjustments have been made to Act 1. The section with the two PolyObject platforms that move over a death pit has been removed. A few instances where visible parts of the stage were blocked off by the invisible thok barrier have been fixed. The rope pulley section in the last room now has an alternate path that involves difficult platforming over the pit.

Red Volcano Zone

Several adjustments have been made to the first act. Rings now fall below the surface of the lava if the player gets hit, making the level considerably more difficult. A new enemy, the Unidus, has been added to the level. It is a spherical enemy surrounded by four rotating spikeballs. If a player comes near, it throws the spikeballs at the player. The shortcut on the upper path, which allowed the player to skip a large portion of the level and used inconsistent lava behavior, has been removed and replaced by a simple secret area. In the latter half of the stage, rotating flamethrowers have been added, and a formerly empty section now features lowered ceilings with upside-down springs that push the player into the lava if they are not careful. The ending room has been modified so that the stage can be easily expanded in the future.

Egg Rock Zone

The enemy placement in the first two acts has been redone. Sharps and Snailers have been added to act 1, which previously featured no enemies at all, and enemies that already appear in other zones, such as Egg Guards and Minuses, have been removed from act 2. The path imbalance in act 1 has been partially addressed by joining the paths after the outdoor space room, which is now exclusive to the shorter path. The last room of the longer path, which involved a horizontal laser barrier that chases the player up the room, has been replaced by another outdoor room, to make sure that the space countdown mechanic is introduced to the player no matter which path they take. Similarly, the paths in act 2 now rejoin after the Megaman block room, which is now exclusive to the right path. The tunnel, which was generally considered to be cheap, has been removed. The enemy trap at the beginning of the level has also been deleted.

An entirely new third act has been added to the zone which involves a race and subsequent boss fight against Metal Sonic. The final boss fight is now in Egg Rock Core Zone and still features Brak Eggman, but the fight itself has been entirely remade. Brak Eggman alternates between a flamethrowing attack and firing missiles with a very high knockback. In the pinch phase, he also throws a bomb that sets a large section of the arena on fire and launches a line-of-sight attack that the player must dodge by hiding behind barrels. The boss is protected by a damaging electric barrier that the player must short out by luring the boss into a lavafall.

Secret levels

A screenshot of Azure Temple Zone, the second hyper level in SRB2.

In its final incarnation, SRB2 is intended to feature three super levels and three hyper levels as unlockable stages. While 2.0 already featured the first hyper level, Aerial Garden Zone, 2.1 adds the second hyper level, Azure Temple Zone. For more information regarding the super and hyper levels, see the In development page. On top of the super/hyper levels, the SRB1 Remake and Spring Hill Zone return from 2.0 mostly unchanged, while Mario Koopa Blast was remade entirely.

Mario Koopa Blast

The previous three Mario Koopa Blast levels, which were generally considered to be very subpar, have been deleted and replaced by Pipe Towers Zone, a Mario level that was originally made for the July/August 2011 OLDC. The level combines both Overworld and Underworld areas, and features gimmicks such as bouncy mushrooms and Thwomp blocks.

Aerial Garden Zone

The "Neo" prefix has been removed from the level name, reverting to just "Aerial Garden Zone". Several changes have been made to the level: The thok barrier stripe which surrounds the outer limits of the stage has been made invisible, and the level uses a new sky texture. Several room entrances where the wall stretched to the ceiling of the map have been fixed. Some jumps which required the player to stand on the edge of the platform have been toned down. The path through the final room of the AGZ1 part has been changed. For instance, players can no longer thok to the second level from the room entrance. Also in this room, Knuckles is forced to take a different path which has existed since 2.0 but was previously not mandatory.

In various segments that featured pillars with blue springs on top of them, the blue springs have been replaced with yellow springs, some of which face diagonally outward, forcing the player to hit the right spring to avoid being pushed into a pit. The segment with moving platforms that crush the player against the ceiling has been extended. The underwater section, which was added for 2.0, has been removed. The AGZ3 section is still optional, but can now be used to unlock the gate to the Inner Sanctum Zone part of the map, which hosts one of five emblems hidden in the stage. In addition to the Jetty-syns, Bird Aircraft Strike Hazards have been added to the map.

Azure Temple Zone

This level, which won the May/June 2012 OLDC, has been added to SRB2 as the second hyper level. It is an underwater stage with extremely difficult platforming over death pits, gargoyles that spit fire in intricate patterns that the player must avoid, and buzzes equipped with water bubbles that grant the player air upon being defeated.

Special Stages

Floral Field Zone, the first of the new NiGHTS Special Stages.

The current Special Stages have been replaced by single-mare NiGHTS tracks, each of which is themed after one of the main Single Player zones (excluding Dark City Zone and Grand Eggship Zone). These stages cannot be explored in 3D mode; instead, the player will be directly transformed into Super Sonic upon entering a special stage, and once the player runs out of time, the level will end. Instead of rings, the player must collect blue spheres to destroy the Ideya Capture, while the emblems have been replaced with rings. The blue sphere requirements vary between stages. The difficulty curve of these stages will be similar to the one of the current special stages, with the first stage being practically impossible to lose and the last one being extremely difficult. Because NiGHTS is rather complicated, the first few stages will allow the player to gradually get used to the different mechanics such as paralooping, dashing and the power-ups, while the later stages will require understanding of these mechanics and skill at using them.

The second special stage, Toxic Plateau Zone, has been released on the SRB2 Message Board by Rob as a preview.[1] The preview has a stricter time limit than the version in 2.1 and uses the graphics of the old, pre-2.1 slime. Additionally, screenshots of the first five special stages have been released. Cavern Fortress Zone, the CEZ-themed special stage, is based on the track of Slumber Circuit Zone, which itself has been removed from the Circuit rotation. Among its obstacles are moving bookcases that block the player's path. Dusty Wasteland Zone, the ACZ-themed special stage, is based on a shortened version of Spring Hill Zone, with some areas like the lake being removed. Most of the challenges in Egg Satellite Zone, the ERZ-themed special stage, come from the hazardous layout, which replicates many of the gimmicks found in ERZ itself. Touching one of these hazards stops the player and makes them lose 5 seconds off the timer. The rotating laser at the beginning of the right path in ERZ2 will be reused for Egg Satellite Zone, albeit with four blades instead of two. The player has to complete a full circle around the laser.

Unlike 2.0's special stages, each NiGHTS special stage has its own unique level name. All but one of the new special stages use music from Mystic Realm's soundtrack; the old Special Stage theme is now an unused track.

Changes to NiGHTS mode

To accommodate these new special stages, several changes have been made to the NiGHTS gametype. The directional controls have been tightened considerably, making it easier to navigate and allowing the player to make tighter loops. The Drill Dash can now only be refilled by flying through hoops, not by collecting blue spheres or rings. Besides the Nightopian Helper, the Drill Refill and the Super Paraloop, two new power-ups have been added to NiGHTS mode. One of these is called Link Freeze, which preserves the player's link for a short period of time, whether or not they collect any more items. The other is Extra Time, which adds time to the player's clock. The size of hoops can now be modified via the Thing flags, allowing for 16 different Hoop sizes with a radius between 32 and 272 fracunits.[2] After the player has gone in a full circle around a NiGHTS stage, all items will re-appear, allowing the player to take advantage of the remaining bonus time by going around the stage again.

The score in the special stages is separate from the score in the main game. The player can obtain a continue in each special stage by earning 50,000 points in it. In the score tally screen, the player receives additional bonus points for the main game score for achieving a high link (rather than for the number of rings, as is the case in 2.0). The bonus is calculated by taking the highest achieved link and multiplying it by 100. All special stages allow the player to keep a continuous link through the entire level.

Changes to the interface of NiGHTS mode have been made as well. The Drill Dash meter has a new graphic. The background of the sphere counter now turns red once the player has collected enough spheres to destroy the Ideya Capture. After collecting a power-up, its name will be displayed on the screen for a few seconds. The power-ups are also accompanied by visual aids; the Super Paraloop makes the player leave red sparkles instead of blue one and the NiGHTS Helper is a flicky that trails the player. Once the Ideya Capture is destroyed, the collected emerald will orbit the player until the end of the stage.

Multiplayer

The Match and CTF rotations were expanded to 13 and 11 maps, respectively. Most of the new maps are submissions to the Official Level Design Contest by the developers, although revamped versions of two CTF maps from previous releases, Iron Turret Zone and Dual Fortress Zone, also return. Several maps from the 2.0 rotations received graphical updates, and Frost Columns Zone was entirely retextured. Noxious Factory Zone was revamped to make use of the new slime mechanic, while Icicle Falls Zone and Twisted Terminal Zone received layout changes. To create space for the new maps, the rotations were moved to the MAPMx and MAPFx slots, allowing for up to 36 maps per gametype. The Circuit rotation was removed entirely due to its poor reputation and a general consensus that Race is more enjoyable on the Single Player stages.

In Match and CTF, players are equipped with a basic shield upon being spawned to prevent them from being killed immediately. The shield protects from one hit and has no other features. The same shield is also used for a mechanic that occasionally gives shields to players who are scoring few points, but it is not available through monitors like the other shields.

Lives have been removed entirely in Race mode, allowing players to respawn infinitely like in Match and CTF.

Competition mode

The gametype Classic Race, which is based on Sonic 2's two-player mode, has been revamped and renamed to Competition. It is played on the Single Player stages. The categories in which points are awarded are the same, but points are not only awarded for winning a category. Instead, for each category, the highest-ranking player receives the maximum amount of points while each successive player receives one point less up until the lowest-ranking player who receives no points. This is done for all categories and the resulting points are combined to form the score. This significantly reduces the chance of ties in games with more than two players.

Record Attack

The new Record Attack menu.

Time Attack has been revamped and expanded. It is now called Record Attack and saves records not only for the quickest time, but also the highest score achieved and the most rings collected in a level. Replays are now automatically recorded upon playing a level in Record Attack, and the replay of the best attempt at each of the three criteria is automatically kept. The last recorded attempt, regardless of whether or not the level was finished, is also kept temporarily until the level is attempted again.

A variation of Record Attack for NiGHTS levels, called "NiGHTS Mode", has also been added to the SRB2. Here, the player can replay the special stages and try to get a high score, a fast time or a high grade. The grade is a new requirement that has been added specifically for special stages. Depending on the score the player has gotten in the special stage, they receive a grade between A and F, with A being the highest. The score requirements for getting each grade differ between stages.

A ghost option now exists that displays a previously recorded replay in real time while playing a stage, allowing players to race against their own records (up to thirteen ghosts at once). The player can toggle which replays they want to display as ghosts, including best time, best score, most rings, last replay and guest. The guest option allows players to share replays with each other and use replays of other players as ghosts. In order to prevent desynchronization when displaying the replays as ghosts, they now record not only the key input but also the player's position on the map.

Unlockables and emblems

The statistics screen in 2.1, showcasing the new emblems.

The system for adding custom unlockables and emblems has been completely rewritten and is now much more customizable. Changes to unlockables include the possibility to change the layout of the Secrets menu and the option of having multiple level selects with different levels. The requirements for unlockables are now determined by condition sets, which allow for more options and greater flexibility than the previous system. SRB2's default settings regarding emblems, unlockables and level headers can now be erased in the MAINCFG.[3] Map-specific emblems can now be awarded for meeting certain requirements in Record Attack, and those that are hidden directly in the maps are now by default collectible by every character. Extra emblems that are earned by meeting certain global requirements can be created as well. 2.0 already has four of these extra emblems, but they can be unlocked even in custom modifications where this would be undesirable and there is no way to create custom ones.

Making use of this new emblem system, SRB2's official Single Player stages each have eight emblems to collect in 2.1. Five of these are hidden directly in the map and one can be earned in each Record Attack discipline. To make the emblems easier to identify, each of the eight emblems now has a different color and displays a different logo. The emblem that are hidden in the map display a star and the symbols for the four card suits (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs), respectively. The Ring Attack emblem displays a ring, the Time Attack emblem displays an hourglass, and the Score Attack emblem displays a crown. Boss maps only have one emblem to collect, which is the Time Attack emblem. The special stages have three emblems to collect; one hidden in the map, one for time and one for an A grade.

On top of the stage-specific emblems, there are five extra emblems in 2.1. Three return from 2.0, including an emblem for beating the game, beating the game with all emeralds, and for getting a perfect bonus in any non-secret stage. Additionally, there is an emblem for completing the SRB1 Remake and an unspecified "NiGHTS mastery" emblem. All emblems in the game are distinguished by unique graphics, and there additional graphics and free slots for custom emblem graphics available for modders. There is also an unlockable called "Emblem Hints" that gives the player hints for where the emblems are hidden in the maps. It currently requires 40 emblems (out of 160) to be unlocked.

SOC

Several changes have been made to the SOC system. These changes address issues with cross-compatibility and user friendliness.

  • Objects, States, Sprites and Sounds will be able to be referred to by name instead of slot numbers. Aside from making the SOC easier to read, this allows for forwards compatibility with source code modifications and future versions of SRB2, because even if the slots are switched, the references stay correct.
  • Flags can also be referred to by name instead of adding their values together. When listed for the FLAGS parameter, the flag names are separated by a "|". For example, FLAGS = 3 can be written as FLAGS = MF_SPECIAL|MF_SOLID.
  • Users can assign names to custom Objects, States and Sounds so that they can be referenced in the same way as regular entries. This is done by listing the names of all custom entries in a FREESLOT block at the top of the MAINCFG. When the SOC is loaded, the game goes through the list and assigns each entry to the next available freeslot. This means that all slot conflicts between SOCs will be eliminated except in a case where two entries share the exact same name. The upper limit for the number of freeslots that can be occupied is still in place, however.
  • Mathematical operations can now be performed in numbered fields (virtually all of them). Currently supported are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and bit shifts, although they do not currently follow the proper order of operations.
  • Special names such as FRACUNIT (65536 or 2^16) and TICRATE (35, which is the number of tics that a second consists of) can be used as a substitute for the numbers they represent. They can be used for mathematical operations just like regular numbers.
  • Warnings that are displayed in the console when adding a SOC file are now accompanied by the line number where the problem has occurred, allowing the user to find the problem more easily.
  • Things of an unknown type and Objects that try to display unknown or invalid sprites are now displayed with a warning graphic in-game.

Miscellaneous

The new Armageddon Shield sprite in 2.1.
The new monitors in 2.1.
  • Knuckles's sprites have been remade from scratch.
  • The monitor sprites have been changed. They are slightly bigger to make them easier to see at a distance, and the shields have different and distinct icons to make them easier to tell apart.
  • The shield sprites have also been changed. As opposed to the previous single-colored orbs, each shield now has a unique appearance. This makes the shields easier to tell apart in a colormap or darkness.
  • 2.1 supports Lua, a scripting language that allows users to modify many things that previously required a source code modification. For example, it can be used to create new actions for custom Objects and to customize the HUD.
  • 2.1 uses ZDoom's format for textures. Instead of a TEXTUREx and PNAMES lump, custom textures are added via the text-based TEXTURES lump. This makes it possible to add two WADs with custom textures to the game at the same time without them canceling each other out. WAD editors such as SLADE are able to convert from the old format to the new format.
  • 2.1 supports tall patches, removing the previous height limit of 255 pixels and allowing for larger patches and sprites than before.
  • SRB2's collision detection was improved and can now handle much faster speeds. As a result, the previous upper limit on object movement speeds (60 fracunits per tic) was removed. Therefore the Super Sneakers, which are intended to double the player's top speed, no longer cap off at 50 fracunits per tic. With Super Sneakers, Tails will now move at 64, Knuckles at 68 and Sonic at 72. The spindash has also been made more powerful, now reaching a top speed of 90 when fully charged.
  • Several unintended aspects of Tails's flight ability have been removed, namely the massive speed boost that player receives when strafing during flight or when flying after charging a spindash.
  • Lives have been removed in Ultimate mode, so in order to beat it, the player will have to finish the entire Single Player campaign without being damaged once.
  • Rings now fly further and further away from the player if they get hit multiple times in succession.
  • SRB2 now features skyboxes, which allow for more complex and even animated skies by rendering a separate section of the level as the sky.
  • There is now a "Sonic & Tails" option in the character select screen that works just like in Sonic 2 and Sonic 3. The player controls Sonic while a Tails bot follows him around. The Tails bot can be controlled with the player 2 controls, but the camera stays focused on Sonic, which makes it difficult to control him. While player-controlled, Tails can be used to pick up Sonic and fly him around, but he will not fly while computer-controlled unless he is respawning.
  • Hitting the Escape key while in a map will now bring up a separate pause menu instead of the title menu. It displays various game options, a checklist for the emblems in the currently played stage, the player's best time for the stage and shortcuts to various unlockables (such as level select and emblem hints).
  • When backpedaling, the game now spawns a small cloud of dust around the player, plays the skidding sound and puts the player's character in its standing frames. This is intended to make it more intuitive to new players that unlike in modern Sonic games, the player's momentum is not immediately canceled upon releasing the forward button.
  • The Force Shield no longer reflects shots.
  • SRB1 mode was merged with regular 2D mode, making the characters slower for easier control. The two were merged because SRB1 mode was unusable for modifications.

References

  1. Beta release of Toxic Plateau Zone
  2. User:Inuyasha/Custom Hoop Sizes
  3. Forum Post by JTE from 02.05.12
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