Whilst working at Tt Games I had the pleasure of being the designer for Sonic’s Adventure World in LEGO Dimensions. I’ve put together a video overview of the entire hub, showcasing its content and explaining what my involvement was during the whole process:
This is a typical example of what goes into making an adventure world, and it’s a process I was a part of multiple times through Dimensions’ ongoing development; a general overview of what I do at Tt and what I’ve worked on can be found here.
For convenience, here is a summary of the video’s contents:
- Intro (00:13) – LEGO Dimensions is a toys to life title, with packs available containing new characters and levels. Every license gets its own condensed open world hub representing that license, an Adventure World.
- Summary of my role (00:38) – for the Sonic Adventure World, I was the designer from start to finish, meaning I:
- Researched the Sonic license
- Chose the locations that would be present in the hub
- Chose the characters that would be present in the hub
- Blocked out the hub’s layout
- Designed all the events (puzzles, quests, races, etc) that populate the hub
- Implemented most of these events
- Provided feedback on the more complex events that were implemented by tech artists
- Locations (01:04) – after reviewing all of the Sonic games, I decided the stages from the earlier games were the most iconic and recognisable. The hub is a mish-mash of locations, comprising of:
- Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1
- Chemical Plant Zone, Aquatic Ruin Zone, Metropolis Zone, and the Special Stage from Sonic 2
- Ice Cap Zone and Carnival Night Zone from Sonic 3
- Lava Reef Zone, Hidden Palace Zone, Sandopolis Zone and Death Egg Zone from Sonic & Knuckles
- The Emerald Altar from Sonic Adventure
The hub itself has plenty of roadways and space for Sonic to run around in, and its general form resembles Angel Island from Sonic 3.
- Races (03:00) – this hub has more of a focus on races than other hubs, relying on Sonic’s speed and unique mechanics such as wall running, rail grinding and homing attacks. His ability to run on walls wasn’t added until part-way through development, and wasn’t part of the initial design, so requirements for the races had to be made more forgiving to accommodate it. The races focus on a specific area each:
- Green Hill
- Chemical Plant
- Lava Reef
- Carnival Night
The final race is unlocked after completing the previous four, and is hubwide, tying together elements from each previous race
- Quests (04:50) – I wrote and designed the quests, focusing on each character’s origins and unique traits. Being a LEGO game, the tone is tongue-in-cheek, and I drew inspiration from the Sonic social media pages which treat the ups and downs of the Sonic franchise quite candidly. The quests and their characters are:
- Tails – use a variety of abilities to shut down robot generators around the hub
- Knuckles – help Knuckles prove his strength by defeating badniks
- Amy – help Amy defy stereotypes by saving kidnapped animals
- Dr. Eggman – help trap Sonic by collecting chilli dogs to lure him with
- Big – find Froggy, Big’s friend who has gone missing
- Shadow – bring hope to humanity by planting flowers around the hub
- Puzzles (06:48) – Though I implemented most of the puzzles myself, for the video I focus on the more complex puzzles that were implemented by tech artists, with me feeding back to ensure they were as-designed and polished for release.
- The Hidden Palace Zone puzzle requires the player to repeat a series of sequences they are shown
- Rotate cogs to reveal Chroma panels in the Metropolis Zone
- Use the Shift mechanic to teleport around the Sandopolis Zone puzzle, redirecting sand to navigate the rooms
- Use levers that flip the gravity in the Death Egg Zone to unlock the way to the gold brick
- Play a ring-collecting minigame in the Special Stage, similar to the original version from Sonic 2
Each of these puzzles reference their games of origin directly through the gameplay and setpieces used.
- Renovations (08:26) – players buy renovations using studs, the in-game currency. Each renovation in this hub unlocks a gold brick event:
- Big Fishing Turrets – blow up fish badniks using Big and Froggy themed cannons
- Eggmobile Ride – a QTE minigame
- Snowboard hut – unlocks a special snowboard race
- Chao Balloon – unlocks a flying race, and players can sit in the balloon for novelty
- Tails’ Workshop – unlocks Tails’ quest
- Outro (10:00) – For any questions about my work at Tt or just to get in touch, feel free to contact me.