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 days, 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 one completely new stage (Castle Eggman Zone Act 3) has been added, all levels have received at least minor changes, while some have been heavily revamped and/or extended. 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 several modifications to introduce certain gameplay elements to the player, such as the Whirlwind Shield. These modifications do not make the stage longer, however. The hidden area next to the starting point in act 2 has been modified to serve as a proper alternate route. It can no longer be reached via the red spring in the pond in the starting area, and the moving platforms have been replaced with a series of springs. Also in act 2, a double-size version of the GFZROCK texture has been introduced to reduce tiling in tall rooms.

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.

Act 1 has been changed considerably from its original design. The sky is now colored orange to give the level a sunset feel, the GFZ-style grass has been replaced with withered grass and new areas have been added to the stage while others have been modified. The first section of the map has been revamped to introduce the slime mechanic to the player. The long corridor that connects the two halves of the stage has been replaced by an indoor area. Knuckles is forced on a separate path in this section that lasts until the large slime pool on the right path. The route in the underground tunnel has been changed to utilize the new slime and no longer contains barrels to jump over. The ending of the map has been slightly reworked so that the paths join before the End Level Sign.

Act 2 has been remade from scratch with the new slime mechanics in mind. Screenshots of the stage reveal new textures and an outdoor area with a starry night sky and an elaborate skybox. In act 3, there are now walls to protect the player from rebounding off the train car into the pit, which means that the first bottomless pit in the game is now in DSZ2.

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. 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 room with the falling logs has been replaced. 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. One of the routes in this area, which in 2.0 only contains spikes hidden below the floor, has been modified. The room after this section now has an alternate way of getting back on track after falling down instead of taking a zoom tube back into the previous area. The underwater crusher section has been made easier by slowing down the crushers. A few areas in the zone have received visual changes, the most dramatic being DSZ3. Additional changes have been made to DSZ3 to decrease the waiting time while the boss is underwater and to make him more easily visible.

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 revamped visually and now makes use of the Lime Forest Zone texture set 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 waterslide at the end of act 1 has been replaced by an alternate path. Knuckles is again forced onto a separate path at one point, but Tails can select the route as well. CEZ2 includes new content that makes up approximately half of the stage, including a library section. 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. The cannon room has been completely reworked and plays nothing like the original, with the buttons being removed. All rooms that follow after this one have been removed and replaced, including the RedXVI secret. A boss called Eggscalibur has been added to the zone.

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, but there is still a pit.

Red Volcano Zone

Several fixes have been made to the first act. The shortcut, which was substantially shorter than the other paths and used different lava behavior from the rest of the level, has been removed and replaced by a simple secret area. The level now features an unspecified new enemy.

Egg Rock Zone

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 removed. The wind tunnel in act 2, which is generally considered to be cheap, has been removed. The zone's boss, Brak Eggman has been entirely revamped, using the same sprites but different gameplay mechanics.

Super/Hyper 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. 2.1 features two of these levels: Aerial Garden Zone, the first hyper level, and Azure Temple Zone, the second hyper level. For more information regarding the super and hyper levels, see the In development page.

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. The water room, 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. The level has been re-arranged so that a larger amount of enemies can be added without breaking the size limitation of the REJECT lump. The enemy placement has not yet been changed, but changes are planned for the future, preferably involving new enemies made specifically for the stage. Since RedXVI's room has been erased from CEZ2, a new method to unlock this level has been introduced.

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 extremely difficult underwater stage featuring lots of death pits, fire-spitting gargoyles and buzzes equipped with water bubbles that grant the player air upon defeating the buzz.

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 current Special Stage theme will become an unused track. The following is a list of the special stages with their names and the corresponding music:

Special stage name Special stage theme MusicSlot Name of tune
Floral Field Zone Greenflower Zone 136 Mystic Realm - Jade Coast Zone
Toxic Plateau Zone Techno Hill Zone 135 Mystic Realm - Boss Music
Flooded Cove Zone Deep Sea Zone 141 Mystic Realm - Sunken Plant Zone
Cavern Fortress Zone Castle Eggman Zone 137 Mystic Realm - Tempest Valley Zone
Dusty Wasteland Zone Arid Canyon Zone 88 SRB2 - Arid Canyon Zone Act 1 (Old Music)
Magma Caves Zone Red Volcano Zone 139 Mystic Realm - Flame Rift Zone
Egg Satellite Zone Egg Rock Zone 145 Mystic Realm - Mystic Realm Zone

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 NiGHTS Helper, the Drill Refill and the Super Loop, two new power-ups have been added to NiGHTS mode.One of these is called the "Link Freeze", which preserves the player's link for a short period of time, whether or not they collect any more items. 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 multiplayer rotations have been expanded. The new additions include reworked versions of older official levels as well as new maps designed by the developers, most of which have debuted in previous Official Level Design Contests. Several maps from the current rotations have been modified as well. To create space for the new maps, the Race, CTF, and Match rotations will be moved from their current map slots (7x, 8x and 9x, respectively) to the ones currently occupied by the OLDC multiplayer packs: The CTF maps will be moved to MAPFx, the Match maps to MAPMx and the Race maps to MAPRx. These slots allow for up to 36 maps for each gametype.

Public betas are available for the Match and CTF rotation[3] and for the Circuit rotation[4] on the SRB2 Message Board. The purpose of these betas is to test 2.1's multiplayer maps in 2.0 to make sure the selection that ends up in 2.1 is of high quality. Note that what can be found in these files is not necessarily what will be in the release of 2.1. Several stages have been removed since the betas were released, and further stages may be revamped, removed or added.

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 weaker players, 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 2 Player mode, has been revamped and renamed to "Competition". It will be 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.[5] 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 between the old and 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 can currently reach a top speed of 90 if charged long enough, although this might be toned down.
  • 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 will 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, because the reflection mechanic was buggy.

TypeOfLevel

The values of the TypeOfLevel variable for level headers have been rearranged in a more logical order. This means that old modifications will have to be adjusted accordingly to be played in 2.1. The order will be as follows:

Value Mode
1 Single Player
2 Coop
4 Competition
8 Race
16 Match
32 Tag/Hide & Seek
64 Capture the Flag
128 Chaos (disabled)
256 2D mode
512 Mario mode
1024 NiGHTS mode
2048 ERZ3 Mode

3 is the default value for boss maps, 15 for most other Single Player maps, and 48 for Match/Tag maps. SRB1 Mode has been 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. Match/CTF Level Rotation - 2.1 Public Beta
  4. Circuit Level Rotation - 2.1 Public Beta
  5. Forum Post by JTE from 02.05.12
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