Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sonic Boom Design - Opinion Zone

Entire post is part of the Opinion Zone:

I don't like the Boom design.
If you're a huge fan of it, probably ignore this post. Reasons may or may not be typical. This isn't from a huge nitpickers or over-reactors or "every fiber of anything drives me craaaaaaaaaazy" perspective either. Just a basic design breakdown. (Examples: green eye = ruins everything, center mouth depicted = ruins everything forever, SA2 Battle shoe = worst thing to ever happen on planet earth. This isn't like that)

Sports tape / bandages:
Whatever you want to call this stuff it's clutter. The clean, easy look of the instantly recognizable characters was what helped sell them. Wrapping them up like mummies detracts from the design. It's illogical to tape the bottom of shoes as well.

Lack of socks:
(or poor socks, minimal socks, tiny socks) They kind of need their big socks. Since the whole franchise of characters doesn't look good with / subscribe to the "Fat Wrist" or "Fat Ankle" or "Popeye" school of design, the sock is what joins the thin limb to the large shoe VISUALLY.

Adding extra spikes makes him look a little 'scruffy'. Sonic is clean line, stream lined, looks fast when holding still. The more "stuff" you throw on him the more you disrupt that.

Blue arms:
Don't care. Take or leave it. It's not a big deal to his design NOW in this higher resolution. If you take a 16 bit sprite of him, color the pixels of the arms blue, you'll see right away why they weren't blue to begin with. It's the "mario mustache" issue where you need a colored pixel to define things. I actually like/don't mind the blue arm color. Notice how all the other characters have arms that match their main body and it's fine for them.

Bad. That shoe was iconic. Don't ditch it. Want complication? Put the SA2 shoe on him. It was still "his" shoe but with complexity thrown at it. Mummifying a flat footed non-sneaker doesn't count.

Doesn't need, looks cluttered and tacked on. Gives a "cheezy fan char" vibe.

Lanky Limb:
Proportions look off. Looks like they're reeeeeeeeely wanting to "humanize" him / shrink his head, etc. Height is important for Sonic. Too tall and he looks 'noodly' or 'fragile' too short and he looks too stumpy to go fast. Same with body size. "big body" yields either fatness or bulkyness that doesn't suit him.

Fared pretty will because......CLOTHING.
Amy ALWAYS wore clothes. That's great for her. You can do pretty much anything to the clothing of the clothed character as long as it's not too out of character (ex. don't put Amy in Jessica Rabbit's dress, don't put Blaze in country time overalls) She had various different outfits in Riders, Olympics, & w/e nobody melted down then. It's a sporty enough functional outfit that looks fine. They're not messing with "Amy Rose" they are messing with her clothes. 2 separate things.

Lanky Limb:
Same deal as Sonic above.

Boom Amy will depend ENTIRELY on her PERSONALITY in the show. How she acts will make or break her, design/everything notwithstanding. Tons of shows have awful, awful trouble getting girls right. Especially competent ones. The competent girls tend to lean toward bossyness, bitchyness, crabbyness, intolerance, stuffy/stodgy/stick in the muddieness, put-down-others, vanity, overly-superior, holier-then-thou at everything, stubborn to pigheaded, man/boy-hating, all-guys are stupid attitude etc. Why people tend to throw such handfulls of obnoxious traits onto competent girl characters is unknown. Competent but nice, friendly, funny or silly? Unheard of! (at least in shows where the whole cast isn't girls to begin with)

Another who fares well. Mostly because they didn't change a lot. A reasonable tool belt, fine, that's something he'd do in-cannon. They HAD to keep him short so he didn't suffer the lanky noodle stretch the others did. Shoefail as usual. All they basically have to do is not turn him into the "annoying sidekick" or avoid "Scrappy Doo" so that he's smart but not bossy or condescending.

I hate the design. It's out of character, it looks stupid, it doesn't match the style of the rest of the characters, his head looks 'tacked on', there are a zillion reasons why I don't like it. It's the most controversial of the designs, the one the fans are screaming about the loudest for a reason. Think the design is justified? Ask instead "Why didn't they change his head?" and the argument falls apart. With Knuckles, they were changing things for the sole reason of "we need to change........something".

*Personal suspicion:
Based on the cannon fact / official art that none of the Sonic & friends characters have toes at all , I always suspected Knuckles of either not having fingers at all, or only having 3 fingers. 1 knuckle spike per finger, then the thumb. He wore the mitten to hide his unusual but functional "different hands". It's just worthless personal speculating, though.

Other "big" characters:
Big & Storm Albatross also have "big body" like that, but they're 1-note characters that have few fans.
Big characters like that tend to be also stupid. Most American shows can't depict the big guy as brawn AND brains. Show hasn't been seen yet so it'll again, be up to how they handle him. But it's scaring people which already tells you there's a problem with it.

Argument you can't win:
They did that so people recognize the strong guy right away/it's obvious
He should have always been drawn that way with the giant blobby body and dinky stick legs. It's good to know at 1 glance what each character is going to do. You should be able to tell the entire personality and functionality of a person with just 1 look at them. His original design is bad because he looks too average & confuses people. He's too generic.

Knuckles original design is good because he may look like everybody else but BAM he's strong!
Giant fists were always there, so you know this guy is going to pack a punch at first glance. But, though he's a little taller than Sonic, there's a surprise about just how tough & strong this guy is. Surprises are nice and cool and keep things interesting. At-a-glance is no fun because how are you supposed to be shocked? When you learn about him/play him/go vs him he demonstrates his strength through his actions. Proves that normal looking people can be mighty/skilled/whatever without being bodybuilder style super heroes. Clark-Kent-like you think he's a regular guy but he can bring the house down. His boom design is bad because it ruins the surprise & makes him the generic "strong guy character" that every stereotypical team has.

Knuckles is the wise man on the mountain. He's the Guardian of the Emerald without a lot of social contact. He's trusting because he doesn't know people/no exposure NOT BECAUSE HE IS STUPID. He meditates, he's 1 with nature, he's more serious than Sonic. They pester eachother. He's a foil. Sure he's strong, but he's so much more than that. The design looks like it's there to convince people otherwise.

Leg fail:
His legs look stupid/too small and this is a show/game about running characters. De-emphasizing the legs while you stretched everyone else out into noodles to show their legs off is stupid too.

I can't believe:
We're going to have to put up with gobs of merchandise of this poor mangled character. Ugh. His SUPER NORMAL head just drives me up the wall too. They should of like took all his spikes off and given him Johnny Bravo's hair instead so everyone could pretend it wasn't Knuckles. Since he has fingers they should of called him "Fingers the Lunkhead" and just made him up as an all new char.

Yeah so he's not 'fat' any more. (Was he ever fat? Yes....? Ish? Fat people don't really look like classic Eggman though. I never understood what classic Eggman was supposed to be. Little stick legs & arms with a round body is not "a fat person" or "obese". Cartoony and preposterous, yes, and also confusing. But the excuse of "well he was always that way" comes up here and it's as flimsy as it ever was. I don't understand why they changed him. "To take him seriously" doesn't fit because the show & game are pitched to be wacky shorts. He was always sort of abstract in the way the Sonic/animal people were abstract. No one in the games had a "body type" AT ALL that corresponded to anything on Earth. (until later games and that weird 06)

It's just confusing as to why they changed him. I don't like it but I don't hate it. I just don't see the reason for it. It's like the blue-arm-Sonic.

He's not overly detailed or 'super transformed' away from his old shape. They moved the weight to up (fat chest) but didn't make him like an Incredible Hulk Clone, a Superman or some really detailed thing that doesn't fit in any more.

Again, clothed character saves the character. Messing with the clothes is not messing with the character. Don't put him in something wildly inappropriate like a ballet dress and you'll be fine.

Again, how well any of this works will be up to the show.
The game is on the fence even WORSE than other games. Die hards getting alienated by poor design are literally on the edge of their seats waiting to bash & badmouth every flaw. "The Sonic Cycle" is getting revved up on the meme train. The people that'd normally defend an awful cruddy game are now the enemy.  Neutral to Sonic due to bad games in the past people are looking for another excuse to sneer. They better hope the game is real, real good, or these lucrative kiddies can't get enough of bandages.

Sonic Boom Sonic Gear Update

This week is another 2-part update.
There was so much Boom stuff that it took up all of the time. However, it now has its own section on the index, and a title card for the pages. Part 2 will have some store display items added, but everything else should be 'regular' items.

I don't want it to look like "Boom" is replacing everything.
I suspect the marketers behind it might want everyone to think that. "Stamp out classic AND modern Sonic!" make everyone love only Boom so that it replaces everything else for good, blah blah. Well, I 100% don't want that to happen, and I won't let it do that on SonicGear. I want to make sure that every update has something for everyone/variety, etc and not just spotlighting boom or something.

Prototypes galore:
The prototypes so far look good. Sure, they're all boom and there are some issues but the over all showing should generally please people who like the idea of it.

Looks hella better than Jazwares mutant meanies and ugly over priced tiny dolls that rot on shelves because no one thinks they look like the character. But this IS tomy...they've had the pokemon license for like forever so they had better know how to make plushes by this point. JW had no idea what they were doing with dolls and it has always showed.

Notice how they're missing elbow & knee joints and only have the most simple leg/hip joint. Tomy is capable of figures with elbows or knees (other lines have done it in the past) but this may be the "Itz 4 baaaabiezzz" catching up with the fandom. Because babies don't know what articulation is, and as long as the figure can be moved a little, people think that babies will be happy with it. If Boom is being pitched to "bring in a new generation of fans"* that equates to "sell it to 4 year olds", and everybody takes a hit on quality.

Figures 2:
Lack of joints being ignored...the figures are otherwise well sculpted. Sculpted bandages (not just the cheap route with painting them on) and LIKELY the use of CG models to make the characters look like the show. Notice how everyone was very on-model to the show clip. Likely a result of that. Good to see.

Pretty sad showing. Super Poser Silver is the only one that nobody had yet seen outside of prototype stage. And then they put up a damaged one to show at the fair...demonstrating a flaw in their packaging for all to see. They showed off that 'light up emeralds' pack & SBK Silver too. For them toyfair was more like 'toy-re-view'. Where's SBK Knuckles?

Eggman fan cake:
Hilarious, amazing, wonderful. This thing is the mark of a true fan. Having fun with a villain and pulling off such a fun design in such a cool way for a birthday is just a really great move.

I hate that sentence. It is so phony. It never works. It basically means "we're going to take whatever we have here, and dumb it down because we don't want to have to do a good job" You know how you bring in a new generation of fans FOR REAL? You CONTINUE making ACTUAL awesome stuff. You continue to produce the following:

accessible things (this means non-convoluted stuff you can just pick up)
quality things (everyone appreciate quality, even if they don't know what it is)
Fun things (certain types of fun are pretty universal. Can a baby play angry birds? Yes. Can a 50 year old also have fun with angry birds? Yes. Angry birds is thus a "fun" item for "almost anyone". That would be why angry birds is such a success, not because angry birds=perfect for babies alone)

So the "we have to dumb things down for "new" fans" is almost always a broadcast of "we are going to be really lazy now and then just say what we're doing is for babies because babies/new fans/younger fans do not know what quality is and thus don't care how lazy we are with products/shows/plots/books/whatever.

Notice that Sonic is accessible, he's a hedgehog w/friends who saves the world from Eggman and other villains. You don't need to dumb that down or "make it more accessible". How about Super Mario? When have they had to "re imagine him" for the "baby crowd"? Hint: they never did. And if anyone notices, Mario is still popular with pretty much everyone. (I don't mean the games where you had to 'save baby mario' that wasn't FOR babies, they weren't making something to draw in 4 year olds with that game)

Next half:
Non Boom stuff. May include lego building video.