Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric certainly received its fair share of criticism when it launched in late 2014, due to a mix of poor design, bugs and a general sense that it simply wasn't finished. A sizeable 1GB update was then deployed in Europe recently, with fans figuring out its changes; the key tweaks were to remove the Knuckles Infinite Jump glitch, fix some areas where it was possible to fall through the world and to improve the framerate in some sections.
In any case, 1GB seemed rather large in the context of the adjustments, but eager fans over at Sonic Stadium have been breaking down just why the update is so hefty. First up, it seems that beyond gameplay changes and fixes it also affected the visuals in one case, with the video below showing changes in a single cutscene; apparently it's the only cutscene that's notably different post-update, with adjustments to lighting.
Sonic Stadium forum member Paraxade also identified the following changes, which they feel explains why the update size was over 1GB; inefficient - but not necessarily uncommon - coding seems like a factor to us.
- The controller diagrams in the pause menu have been updated with some slightly different colouration; for instance, blue rings around the home menu.
- Six levels have changes to them: Cliff's Excavation Site, Bygone Island, Tomb of Lyric, Lyric's Weapons Factory (past), Crater Lake, and the Ocean Purification Plant. FWIW, each level is stored in a single massive .stream file, which means any changes to the level necessitates including an entire new .stream file for that level in the patch data. The new .streams for these six levels adds up to over 1GB; that's why the patch is so big. I don't know specifically what they changed in those levels.
- New executable file; this is where all the hardcoded bugfixes are.
The suggestion is that even minor changes to a level will necessitate a major update due to how that data is compiled and run, which is a handy bit of insight in general; Big Red Button isn't the only developer to issue large update files that seemingly do very little in the affected games.
In any case, the mystery of the Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric update is gradually being solved.