Classic Sonic and Super Mario 3D World cross paths!

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We cover fan stuff all the time, but have you checked out this cool project? Currently in alpha release, this fan game using Blender sees classic Sonic explore a Mario 3D World inspired level landscape.

Creator Chishado describes his fan game as, “A fan game made in the blender game engine and gimp.  It has a very different art style and gameplay from the norm, however it is very interesting in it’s own way. This game have a lot of inspiration from Sonic Lost World and Mario 3d World game. It was the general look that I was going for and feel. The game will have platforming, team work, and speed.”

We like what we see and while it clearly is a WIP, we still had fun playing it!

Play it for yourself at http://shad-unit.webs.com/sonic3dadventure.htm and share your thoughts in the comment section!

 


Sound of The Sonic Stadium 2014 Available Now

10672401_296361023903218_2687155033402296912_n“Sound of The Sonic Stadium”, a collaborative project lead by :: DJ EAR :: which we reported on a couple of weeks back, has finally arrived for your downloading pleasure. Featuring over two hours of fantastic remixes by the community at the SSMB, this hopefully won’t be the last we see of SoTSS, and next year we’ll see it grow even bigger and better! The track list is as follows:

01 Mesmerist – Out of the Ashes
02 Ample Renitence – Feel the Beat, Y’all!
03 Marvin Valentin – Bridge Zone (Modern RMX)
04 CelerinaTheJackrabbit – Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Blender
05 Faseeh – Evening Mist
06 JCWithTheRojoTee – Under a Blazing Sun
07 KyleAB5000 – Bumper Cars
08 Dizcrybe – Drum ‘n’ Space (Timesig Aggression!)
09 CelerinaTheJackrabbit – Meteor Merry-Go-Round
10 AzureHedgehog – Green Hill Zone
11 Master Jace – Travels of the Far East
12 Sir Spacebar – Time Crisis Averted
13 Mesmerist – Shadow Walker VIP (I Am… The Story is Over)
14 Mrsonic699 – Bouncy Competition
15 General Offensive (feat. Joshua Taipale) – Rhythm Rush
16 Urban Flow – Especially Y.O.U.
17 EAR – Hippity-Hoppity Bippity-Boppity Bosss Time!
18 Marvin Valentin – Wild SunBurn
19 mykono5 – Sonic Knuckles
20 LoboXero – Eggpire Strikes Back
21 Dizcrybe (feat. Joshua Taipale & Celerina Jackrabbit) – Supporting Me
22 Rexy – Pool Party
23 JCWithTheRojoTee – Nuclear Wasteland
24 AzureHedgehog – Puppet TRANCE Zone
25 Ample Renitence – Heartless Chrome
26 mykono5 – City Escape
27 SuperRiderTH – FrigidWinds …for Ice Cap
28 Mrsonic699 (feat. General Offensive) – Running Sky High
29 KyleAB5000 – White Washed …for White Park Act 2
30 S0LV0 (feat. Joshua Taipale & General Offensive) – Pyramid Cave
31 General Offensive (feat. Steven Page) – Beyond the Hills
32 Urban Flow – Ambient Essence
33 Master Jace – Options of the Past

If you’re unaware and want to catch up on some background into regarding SoTSS, check out our original news report here. Until then… what are you waiting for?! Get downloading now and let us know what you think. See you again in 2015, SoTSS!

Download now!

UPDATE: “Sound Of The Sonic Stadium” Album Dropping November, Previews Available

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A community project by SSMB to produce a powerhouse Sonic music album like no other. Sound familiar? Lead by :: DJ EAR :: with the blessing of our very own VizardJeffhog (leader of the popular TSSMA albums of the previous few years), “Sound of The Sonic Stadium” is releasing this month! Featuring twenty artists and over thirty tracks which equals to over two hours of wonderful music, SoTSS is no doubt an ambitious feat which will maintain the spirit of TSSMA.

:: DJ EAR :: says that the goal of the album was to “maintain the fun, creative, collaborative spirit of that project [TSSMA] – while building a stable & productive future for our community of fan musicians, producers, and listeners”. Members could submit up to two tracks over a three month period in terms of music, and the more arty members could supply album art, logos or any other visuals to aid the project as well. The album’s theme was centered around the phrase “out of the ashes”.

One minute previews for nine of the tracks on the album are now available via SoundCloud for your listening pleasure! Make sure that you give it a listen and follow the project on any of their official outlets to be the first to know when the album drops. And of course, we at TSS will be there to help you stay up to date on the project as well. Keep your eyes open for it later this month!

UPDATE: It’s been officially announced that #SoTSS14 will be releasing Friday, November 28th! The release will follow a listening party hosted by Rexy over on RadioSEGA. Make sure it’s marked in your calendars folks – we’ll be tweeting as we approach the date too!

SoTSS Links:

Sonic-a-thon for Child’s Play ongoing, ends on Aug 20th

maxresdefaultWell this hasn’t been posted yet, so I’m here to correct that mistake! HellfireComms as well as guests like folks from BrainScratchComms and others will be playing various Sonic games until August 20th, check it out the livestream HERE!

Right now as I type they’re playing Sonic the Hedgehog 3 while playing as Knuckles with SomeCallMeJohnny playing and Ryan co-commentating.

As well the total donated as I type is at US $11,458.41 with 811 contributions!

Missed the previous games? Worry not! HellfireComms is archiving them on their YouTube channel, so far the games archived are:

Sonic Adventure DX (GC), Sonic Rivals, Sonic Spinball, Shadow the Hedgehog (GC), and Sonic the Fighters (Arcade).

Hop on over, enjoy some great games being streamed (and some not so good games ;) ), and consider donating for a great cause! Chances are, if you have a game you want to see, it’s going to be streamed, check out the schedule on the livestream site above. :)

I want to wish all involved the BEST of luck and keep up the amazing work!

Sonic Revolution in Pictures!

10446480_10152972570759816_533319714706732893_n Pictures courtesy of Christian Gausin and 50 Rings Photography. This past Sunday was the first ever gathering of Sonic Revolution at the Holiday Inn at Buena Park. It’s the largest organized Sonic convention in the U.S. similar to “Summer of Sonic” in the UK, but still fairly small so far. We also are encouraging other Sonic fans across the U.S.  to make their own Sonic conventions or at least a “meet and greet”. Sonic Revolution was founded by Shayne and Charles Edwards, Christian Gausin and Lidice Garcia. It started with them organizing “Sonic Boom U.S. West Chapter” (it was in response to Sonic Boom moving to St Louis) in September of 2013. During our little meet and greet, she asked if we’d like to be involved in building up the community for a full on Sonic convention and we were all in!

The gang who made it happen.
The gang who made it happen.

So how was it? It was great! We had some wonderful guests and a nice amount of attendees. Guests included gaming composer legend Tommy Tallarico, Archie Comics Evan Stanley, artists Elson Wong and Devin Taylor, my brother John and his girlfriend Debbie selling her hand-made jewelry, Darian Gonzalez with his very Sonic-like fan game “Bingo the Multiva” Chris Wilcots of fan film “Sonic Prologue” and rock band Serenity Seven. Not to mention the extra surprise of Sega’s Aaron Webber and Stephen Frost who stopped by to check out the event.  We even had a real life hedgehog show up!

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“Where’s Amy at?”

The schedule of events included a cosplay contest, a panel with Tommy Tallarico talking about his life and video game music (he confirmed that Michael Jackson was the composer on Sonic 3), two concerts by Serenity Seven, Chris Wilcots showed off two exclusive scenes from his upcoming fan film “Sonic Prologue”, Aaron Webber and Stephen Frost had a Q&A panel (or course someone shouted “When do we get Shenmue 3?”),  a very tough trivia contest (hosted and prizes supplied by yours truly), a one minute art contest in which Evan and Elson had to draw Sticks auditioning for Sonic Boom, a gaming competition (with several consoles in the back showing off many Sonic games) and finally, a raffle for some cool prizes and one more concert by Serenity Seven. It was an absolute blast and I can’t wait until next year!  Let’s get to the pics! 10300798_10152972523359816_4530564000308773493_n

Our Gaming Tournament booth.

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Tanner “Ogilvie” Bates showing off his display of Sonic merchandise for sale.

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Our program guide.

10262093_10152972570334816_3423704538990129837_nBlaze and Rouge enjoying themselves.

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Bishop’s son enjoying the show.

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Now THAT’S a big Sonic.

1555347_10152972568569816_3027811355364177089_nTails – Don’t worry Shadow, I’m sure there’s someone who wants a giant, ugly Shadow plush.

10462593_10152972525394816_8131807437238788742_nMore of Tanner’s merch.

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Bishop Gahram’s Silver poster.

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Rouge with what appears to be a piece of the Master emerald.

10382455_10152972526854816_8143465718764279601_nLetting people in to enjoy the show.

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Blaze the Cat.

10415598_10152972540409816_5825149679628149225_nShard’s here and ready to party!

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Mariaaaa!!

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Aaron and Steven Arrive on the scene.

10360689_10152972530319816_3104139430612878713_n“Sonic the what now? Never heard of it.”

10353101_10152972542384816_7269390741591862311_nTommy Tallarico hangs out with Serenity Seven.

10441010_10152972550829816_6582564420626661241_nTommy talks to the crowd about his music career.

10339562_10152972558029816_6389958884070435588_nAaron and Stephen enjoying the show.

10329073_10152972556819816_7002660232995840957_nIt was so cool getting to meet a musical legend like Mr. Tallarico.

10492511_10152972543229816_4488397925994839600_nThis father and son were in line at least 3 hours before the show opened

1514603_10152972550169816_8682820146089877619_n“Gasp!” It’s the Chaos Emeralds!

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“Time to go super!”

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Some classic Sonic merchandise.

10472853_10152972531189816_580155949651627513_n“Hmmmm yes. This does play quite like Sonic. You’ll be hearing from our lawyers soon.”

1907383_10152972567404816_1763084521903635964_nHere, Aaron is showing off a fan’s concept art for a game idea Stephen had were Tails (who’s deathly allergic to bee’s in his official bio) is being chased by Charmy and the object of the game is to keep the pair apart.

10252160_10152972562124816_2096966346903899776_nThis is Aaron idea for a game. Big’s Big Fishing Adventure 3.

10478183_10152972547404816_8864299415244254186_nGuess who won first place in the cosplay contest?

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Aaron and Stephen answering questions on stage.

10430383_10152972551204816_5882430547580918695_nThe fans soaking in the Q&A panel.

10450173_10152972532704816_1141437979947196446_nFan’s at Evan, Elson and Devin’s booth.

10492511_10152972522234816_8164816271954384123_nFounders Shayne and Lidice enjoying the fruits of their labor.

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Evan won the  one minute art contest with her drawing of Sticks jugging. Elson was apparently drawing her on a surfboard,but didn’t quite get to finish.

10440856_10152972567694816_8145892820577018568_nWell, that’s a wrap for now.  There’s plenty more pics on our Sonic Revolution Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/sonicrevolution . There, you can check ou-wait! What’s th-..

RougecloserOh dear lord!!

RougerealcloseRUN AARON AND STEPHEN! RUUNNN!!

TSS@E3 – Interview With Stephen Frost

While on the E3 show floor, I got a chance to interview the producer on Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, Stephen Frost. We talked about the game, some fans concerns and Sticks. I was originally going to do a transcript of the interview, but it’s 16 minutes long and that’s a lot to transcribe and it’s been a long week and I’m lazy. Besides, this way you get to hear it straight from the man himself and reading is overrated anyway. Enjoy!

TSS@E3 – Hands-on: Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric

Sonic "Hey look! No Shadow!" Knuckles "The Hedgehog?" Sonic "No. On the ground."
Sonic: “Hey look! No Shadow!” Knuckles: “The Hedgehog?” Sonic: “No. On the ground.”

After your done reading, get a second opinion from Nuckles87 over at SEGAbits!

Big Red Button’s Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is an odd duck. It’s a Sonic game that feels NOTHING like a Sonic game in almost every sense. At it’s core, it’s an adventure-based brawler with platforming and puzzle elements similar to other adventure games such as Tomb Raider, Ratchet and Clank or Uncharted and relies heavily on co-op. A Sonic game that’s not very Sonic-like in any way.

The E3 demo I played has four different levels. A mining level with Sonic and Knuckles, an underground toxic waste level with Sonic and Amy, a speed traverse level with all four and finally, a boss fight with Eggman. These levels are meant to show you samples of the gameplay you can expect from the game, but when put out of context like this, it kind of gives you a poor idea of what the full game is like.

The speed level is fairly simple with some boosting areas, simple jumps and places where you can grab with your enerbeam to swing around. I did go an alternate path from what was shown in previous videos and found an area with a fair amount of obstacles to dodge. It’s no Sonic Generations, but at least it’s something fun to do when going between worlds. Sadly the level was very short and stopped before we got to our destination.

"Well, we solved that! Now lets stagger around until we find some more switches to move this cart around and MAN! I'm already bored."
“Well, we solved that! Now let’s stagger around until we find some more switches to move this cart around and MAN! I’m already bored.”

Now, here’s where things get very different. I played as Sonic and Knuckles  as we traversed an old mining facility. There were robots and snakes around (at which point Knuckles does a bad Indiana Jones imitation) I couldn’t figure out how the gate opened, but fortunately, Sonic chimed in “maybe we need to use that mine cart up there!” So, I found a switch to drop the mine cart and had Knuckles push it to the gate by way of punching) and used the jump boost on top of the mine cart to get over the gate. During the level, I was constantly having to stop and figure out what to do next. Some of which was done by using each characters unique abilities. Sonic has a spindash that boosts him up into hard to reach places, while Knuckles can burrow or climb certain ledges. At one point, we used our enerbeams to lock on and pull the cart over to another path. That’s right, Sonic and Knuckles have “lock-on cart” technology.

…..Oh, come on! That was funny and you know it.

However, constantly having to stop and figure out another puzzle made the whole thing (up to getting to the mining robot) a real drag. At one point, Sonic sees Tails and Amy up above. They are talking about how what a blast they are having in this upper path. “Well, at least they’re having fun” Sonic quips. Too bad I’m not. I found this to be the most boring level in the entire demo.

"Run away much slower than the speed you normally can go!!"
“Run away much slower than the speed you normally can go!!”

The third demo was with Sonic and Amy in an underground toxic waste dump. At times they are being chased by a giant guardian robot while being assisted by a helper robot. There are a few chase scenes reminiscent of Crash Bandicoot. It seems odd that Sonic can barely run fast enough to get out of it’s way. He basically runs the same speed as Amy. Maybe he’s just slowing down to make sure she’s safe? Speaking of Amy, her gameplay is actually pretty good here. She’s acrobatic and can traverse thin pipes and does some difficult platforming along with swinging from bar to bar. I found using her to be much more fun than Sonic or Knuckles. Also, she sounds a lot more like her old Sonic X self rather than Minnie Mouse.

The final level is a boss fight with Dr. Eggman. He’s using an ancient machine and it isn’t going too well (the Eggmobile doesn’t fit quite right and keeps falling over). He’s also using old, used missiles that don’t hit the gang, but just drop to the ground. You can then grab the missiles with the enerbeam to throw them back at Eggman until he falls over and you can attack him head on. There’s plenty of teamwork going on here and the quips are pretty funny. That’s one thing I really gotta hand this game. The dialog doesn’t constantly repeat itself (except in some casual fights) and is pretty funny while moving the story along. It’s a refreshing pace from the poor dialog we got in games like Sonic Heroes. That’s good for those of you who love some Sonic games for their story.

"GAAH! No fair! What'd I ever do to y-oh yeah. All that stuff."
“GAAH! No fair! What’d I ever do to y-oh yeah. All that stuff.”

Sadly, that’s the best compliment I can give the game so far. The game just demos bad. Having it cut into chunks like this really doesn’t give you a full understanding of how the full game really is and instead gives you these dull puzzle sections that make the Werehog levels in Sonic Unleashed seem like a thrill ride in comparison. Also, if this is a co-op game, why are there no two-player demos out on the E3 floor? As I said though, it’s really hard to judge in the format it’s in here. However if I only had a choice between the Wii U version and the 3DS version (Hands-on coming soon), I’d definitely pick the 3DS version as it has more of what makes a fun Sonic game. This one seems to be more focused on telling a story rather than making a really fun experience.

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric will be out this November and hopefully, we can get a better example of the full game’s experience before then.

 

 

 

Robotnik’s Theme, Trombone Edition

For years, fans have wondered “OH GOD! What does Robotnik’s theme sound like when played on a Trombone!?” Well you can wonder no longer.

Dr. Robotnik Theme from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

Next year… if I have won the lottery, I intend to hire this young gentleman, to come to Summer of Sonic, and follow Svend around, to play this theme… all day long.

Comic-Con 2013 Cosplay Watch: Shard

SAMSUNG CSC

I usually see only a few decent SEGA themed cosplayers at any given convention, and most of them are usually Eggman.  I mean, lets face it, Sonic characters are kind of hard to do well. So seeing someone dressed as Shard was a very special treat! As you can see here, the costume is absolutely phenomenal, complete with the character’s trademark smirk. I will be keeping an eye out for other cosplayers at the convention, so stay tuned! I will hopefully have some more updates. Sunday is the Archie Sonic Panel, so maybe some Eggmans or something will be there.

Also, Shard guy, feel free to give us a special shout out in comments!

Mash-Up Monday: Get Wispy

To mark tomorrow’s release of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, here’s the Mash-Up Monday to suit the occasion!

SexualOmochao went and spliced together the French duo’s recently released hit single Get Lucky, a collaborative work featuring singer Pharrell Williams and guitarist Nile Rodgers, and Planet Wisp’s Act 3 iteration from Sonic Colours.

She’s up all night ’til the sun,
I’m up all night to get some!
She’s up all night for good fun,
I’m up all night to get Wispy!

https://youtube.com/devicesupport

Email me at vizardjeffhog@sonicstadium.org if you have a mash-up of your own to share or found one you’d like to see featured!

SAGE Spotlight: Sonic Robo Blast 2

Review by Kain of SFGHQ, Submitted to TSS

As a preface to this review, I will say that I am being particularly harsh in my criticisms of this game, because I feel no need to patronize this team or treat the game as “just a fangame,” mostly because of its enormous size, publicity, and history.  I’m also sore because I get motion sickness from playing jerky 3D games and am being doing it for spite from all the physical pain it put me through.  On to the review…Sonic Robo Blast 2 is a project that has been in development for over a decade and it shows.  In the eyes of many fangamers, including this one, it’s in a class of its own.  The volume of content and detail in this game is incredible.  It is and it feels like a full game.  However, it’s far from feeling like a complete game, as there are a large number of truly unfortunate glaring flaws with this game which keep me from really enjoying it. Continue reading SAGE Spotlight: Sonic Robo Blast 2

SAGE Spotlight: Time Twisted

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Last year, I reviewed a game that I’ve been following for quite some time, Sonic: Time Twisted.  While I was happy with prior versions, the 2008 demo was surprisingly mediocre and annoying.  Overbound (Bryce Stock), the game’s creator surely took notice at the comments and reviews left by the community and gave Time Twisted a much needed, and appreciated, make-over.  With one full zone of this new hotness available to play, there are many improvements to see.

dispotdriveGone is the game’s original first zone, City Edge.  In its place, we get “Dispot Drive.”  At first glace, I was somewhat shaky about the quality of this demo solely based on the use of the non-existant word “dispot” in the zone’s name.  Within the first thirty seconds of playing, however, my doubts were cast aside and the game looked, felt, and sounded like a drastic improvement over previous builds.

Time Twisted is designed to be a spiritual successor to Sonic CD, so with that connection comes the “bulgy-polygonal-pattern” foreground.  The yellow diamond foreground is much better than the strange pattern that City Edge, but shades on the side of “too bulgy.”  The foreground can sometimes be a bother on the eyes for always bulging out and providing few opportunities for flat or caved-in tiling.  Otherwise, the graphics are consistent, clean, and one of the best out there in Sonic fangaming.

ddzpastThe slippery controls of previous builds have been left in the past, as the game feels tighter and a bit more like Sonic CD.  While not perfect Sonic physics, they are not game-breaking in the slightest and are tight enough to get you through the experience.  I just wish that jump was mapped to a different key, because the space bar is slightly uncomfortable to me.

One thing that hasn’t improved is time travel.  The means of how you leap through time is now different than Sonic CD‘s, but there’s still no point to it.  I will pose the same question as I did last year: What purpose is there to go back in time?  I need a reason to travel, like destroying a roboticizer or something, or else the mechanic is just a gimmick that would eventually wear on me if the demo was longer.  Everything needs a purpose and time travel still does not have one.

metalsonicTime Travel also becomes aggravating due to the aforementioned new method of activating it.  Rather than hitting a post and hitting high speeds for a set amount of time, Time Twisted throws you into the past/future once you hit a timepost.  There’s no option, like Sonic CD, to time travel.  As a result, the game stops to send you back in time with each time-post that you pass and all you will hear is the first ten to twenty seconds of each time period’s music.

Speaking of the music, it’s still great.  LarkSS, the game’s composer, has created past/present tunes that complement each other nicely, like the Sonic CD soundtracks.  Sound effects wise, the game did away with the “click” sound for when Sonic lands on his feet and that makes the experience leagues better.

Everybody can learn a lesson from Overbound.  He is a guy who had his project assailed with harsh criticism, got upset, but still managed to get up and come back stronger the following year.  It can only get better from here, so keep up the good work, Overbound.

VISIT TIME TWISTED’S SAGE BOOTH AND PLAY FOR YOURSELF!

SAGE Spotlight: Project Mettrix

Perhaps a beacon of hope, glory and good times for many, Sonic the Hedgehog: Project Mettrix has been in the fangaming headlines for quite some time, and with good reason. While many fangames before it have tried to recreate the classic 2D Sonic experience and provide a brand new adventure out of it, Mettrix is the first from-scratch build that, even in its early state, is truly succeeding.

In the new tech demo, codenamed E02, we’re given a tour of four different stages in the updated code. The first is a test level purely for demonstration purposes, but it was real fun bouncing around in this dummy stage using all the contours and springs to our advantage. It seems that Stealth and co are onto a good thing here – focusing on physics-based speed is just what the doctor ordered.

mettrix-siz

Although introduced in an earlier version – E01 – first stage Shining Island Zone seems to pale in comparison to the Test stage in terms of level design. Granted, the former is practically a playground to trial moves and gimmicks, but you can’t hep but feel that not enough of those curves and loops have been used in the tropical paradise level. The graphics are also showing their age, with block browns and somewhat jarring chequered scenery contrasting the blue skies badly. Luckily, this zone is due for a refit anyway according to Stealth, so we should see it in a much more contemporary state later.

As well as a Special Stage (that works exactly like those from the original Sonic the Hedgehog) and a recreation of Green Hill Zone to demonstrate the E02 engine’s capability to reproduce the Sonic experience to the letter, we were treated to a new stage called Bronze Lake Zone. Created for Knuckles, but as with any stage in this demo you can play as Sonic or Tails too, all to exact Sonic 3 & Knuckles specifications with no odd side effects.

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Bronze Lake itself is very nicely designed, and is actually quite a sizeable Zone. Taking cues from past water levels such as Aquatic Ruins, it consists of two huge, differing paths – one leading you underwater and through the depths of the Lake; the other going high into the skies, complete with dinosaur-esque Badniks to boot. Some great attention to detail is used in the scenery and gimmicks as well, such as the leaves on the trees.

Perhaps the greatest asset to Mettrix however, is its Source engine itself. For a player, it’s the perfect recreation for some classic 2D platforming action. The physics and object collisions are all present and correct, just as if you really were playing a sequel to Sonic’s finest outing. For a developer and fan modder however, this engine is a wet dream, for you can don your coding hat and start creating your own Sonic levels using Mettrix as a base! There’s a list of fan-created addons for the game already available on Mettrix’s website and as the engine gets further in development there’s no question that more complex things can be achieved on it.

Overall, Mettrix provides a very enticing prospect for the fangaming community – on the surface, an enjoyable replication of a 2D classic. Under the skin, a complex yet accessible coding base that can be used to create your very own levels in the same vein. Check out Mettrix’s tech demo E02 at their SAGE booth.

SAGE Spotlight: Sonic Nebulous

By JJ4eva

Sonic Nebulous will most likely go down in history as one of the first ever fully completed fangames at a SAGE event. But there’s a lot to be excited about here too besides such accolades, as Nebulous brings its own quirks and innovations to a game that otherwise is inspired by the roots of the classic Sonic games.

nebulous3

One of the most impressive things about this game is that the graphics are entirely customised sprites. All of the backgrounds, foregrounds and characters have been crafted from scratch, and the additional scenery and easy-to-follow storyline helps bring a very moody atmosphere to Mobius. It really feels like you’re battling for the planet’s freedom here.

The main innovation in Nebulous is the screen rotation, that kicks in when you’re at a point where a wall links up to a roof. The screen rotates to sit exactly along the wall or roof you’re on, so there’s no over or under-rotation. A notable point about this is how well-programmed this feature is – the camera snaps back to position if you jump back onto the ground from the roof.

nebulous1 nebulous2

All of the individual characters have their own special abilities and play styles, showing off the abilities of the game engine, and with 30 characters to choose from it’s amazing to think that Pink Ninja Monkey Studios have thought of all the possibilities for each one while still keeping true to their personalities.

The game so far is great – I only found a couple of problems with it. For example, as Fang I seemed to miss some rings when running into them as if their “action point” was set a fraction too high, and another thing I miss is there being checkpoints in the middle of levels. This however is covered with the levels not being too long to do in one run (even if it is after a couple of tries).

With a unique design style, thirty characters offering tons of replayability and an interesting story to boot, Nebulous is definitely one of the more ambitious and playable titles at SAGE. Give it a go at their booth here.

SAGE 08: Sonic Frenzy Adventure

Sonic Frenzy Adventure is one of those games that started a long long time ago and was never quite finished. Unlike most projects which ended up being canned though, SFA has stuck with it and is here to prove that ambitious fangames can be seen through from beginning to end. The question is though, is it still relevant in today’s fangaming scene, with Sonic Nexus and Retro Sonic ushering us into a new, exciting era of the hobby?

What it does, it does pretty well and in an entertaining fashion. You’re not going to walk away from the latest Frenzy Adventure demo thinking it’s a poor excuse for a fangame. Clearly a lot of detail and attention has gone into this game so far, with a stonking 16 Zones promised plus a Chao raising minigame. The presentation for each Zone is impressive, and BlueFrenzy has thrown some good gimmicks and ideas into each one. Continue reading SAGE 08: Sonic Frenzy Adventure

SAGE ’08: Sonic – Time Twisted

Time Twisted and I have a history together. The game debuted during the same SAGE as my project and we have made an appearance at the show for three years running now. It is always a good sight to see that a project is still alive. Secondly, we both chose the path of emulating Sonic CD, which is a plus, in my book. It remains a highlight of the show for anybody looking for a demo with more content than most (three zones here, broskis). Nonetheless, personally, I am gradually more and more disappointed with each subsequent release.

When it came down to gameplay, the physics are similar to Sonic Panic, in that they are manageable and are not intrusive to the action. A much needed improvement that I noticed this year was the beefed-up spin-dash. It only takes one touch of the space bar to power up Sonic to full speed and that is a godsend, in my opinion. The core gameplay experience does not twist the fun, but there are a few questionable gameplay choices that will. For example, ring loss is, apparently, absent. Sure, it happens, but I cannot collect any rings. None.

Time Twisted, as stated earlier, takes after Sonic CD and its time travel element. In previous years, I did not think there was a reason for the time travel, as Overbound, the creator, might not have thought of a purpose for it at the time. That said, now that development is three years in, there should be a reason why I should even bother going back to the past. I had to destroy something in the past levels of Sonic CD, so there was a reward for keeping my speed up in the present. Here, I am simply unmotivated to brave the journey through time. Time Twisted treats this feature like a novelty and it feels phoned in for the sake of having time travel while other fangames do not. Continue reading SAGE ’08: Sonic – Time Twisted

SAGE ’08: Sonic – The Fated Hour

Kuzko.  He found his groove.The man on the left is Kuzko. He found his groove in Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove. In this forgettable animated movie, starring David Spade and John Goodman, Kuzko (Spade) is turned into a llama by some crazy, usurper bitch and Pacha (Goodman) has to save him. They run around and do a whole bunch of wacky shit, avoiding the crazy, usurper bitch as much as possible. They get to Kuzko’s palace to reverse the process, an epic battle ensues, and Kuzko returns to being emperor and the big, stupid, comic relief character teaches some kids how to talk to woodland creatures. What does Kuzko learn? While a llama, he changes his arrogant, selfish ways and embraces the world and the people that inhabit it. His 180-degree turn is truly heartwarming, albeit formulaic and uninteresting.

What does Kuzko have to do with a Sonic fangame? Well, BlazeHedgehog’s Sonic: The Fated Hour has been in development for ten years. Ten. Read up on it, because I’m not lying here. Finally, after years of gameplay changes and data wipes, Fated Hour has finally found its “groove” in the alpha version of Sonic Worlds. Kuzko’s change of heart happens after he is transformed back into a human and Fated Hour is at this point still in the “llama” stage. The project has made a huge change for the better, hopefully leading to greater things, but there is still a long way to go to fully develop its character, like Kuzko.

Fated Hour offers up your standard fare of Genesis-styled gameplay, while expanding upon it to keep it more unique amongst the sea of booths at SAGE this year. These new inclusions are first made apparent by Amy Rose, who offers to explain the controls to the game. Rather than only have the jump button, there are four in use during the game. However, only two are in use during this showcase: jump and jump cancel. Jump cancel will break the ball Sonic normally goes into during a jump and allows him to grind a rail or wall-kick. The multiple button setup sounds good on paper, but trying to wall-jump between two walls with two buttons is cumbersome and mapping Sonic’s wall-stick to the jump button or making it automatic would work better. When the game offers high scores for best times, the time-attackist might have difficulty trying to blow by a section of wall jumping. This button tandem is like an old man, because it threw off my groove. Continue reading SAGE ’08: Sonic – The Fated Hour

SAGE ’08: Previews, Mecha Madness Release, LeeBro

It must be that time of the year, being that the few days before SAGE are always filled with last minute hype videos for just about every project. I am well prepared to wait and let ’em all pile up, rather than flooding this here front page, devoting a single news post to a game’s preview video.

With one entire day before the show (which starts at 12 AM EST, by the way), SFGHQ members Aylingling, Nitemare, and Shadow5561 have released preview videos of their SAGE demos of Sonic Zenith, Super Mario Kingdoms, and Sonic Unleashed Advance, respectively. You can check them all out in the links below:

Check out Sonic Zenith in action!

Check out Super Mario Kingdoms in action!

Check out Sonic Unleashed Advance in action!

In other news, SFGHQ member, Streak Thunderstorm, has jumped the gun and has released the SAGE demo of Mecha Madness early. You can access his SAGE booth, which has the download to the demo, at the following link:

Mecha Madness’ SAGE ’08 Booth

One last thing to be on the look out for is the ever-updating schedule, because we have added two new guests to SAGE: Lee Brotherton and Eric Iwasaki, a developer from Naughty Dog studios (Crash Bandicoot series). Times have yet to be set in stone, but they are confirmed to be guests in the SAGE chat room. Special thanks goes out to SSMB member EXshad for annoying the living shit out of us until we got him into the chat room schedule.

When the show begins, we will have the entire front page staff reviewing all the games with playable builds. You read correctly, I will not be the only one doing SAGE reporting. Please check back throughout the week for more SAGE 2008 coverage (100% free of pretentiousness and the word “first”).

SAGE 7 Interview: Mj2

Today we have an exclusive interview with Mj2 the creator of the fan game Chaos Control a very unique game which takes on a very ‘stealthy’ approach to Sonic. I take a peek closer at the past, presnt and future of the game. Interview by FastFeet.

TSS: Welcome to the Sonic Stadium Mj2, I can call you mj2 right?
Mj2: Thanks, sure.

TSS: So you’re main game as far as I know is Chaos Control, tell us a little about the game and yourself.
Mj2: Well, I started Chaos Control 3 years ago. The plan for the game was to make something different, so I wanted to change the gameplay from a normal Sonic game and create a storyline that will keep the player on the edge of his/her seat.

TSS: Well originality is always something to look for in a game, what changes have been made to the game into the lead up to sage this year?
Mj2: I have remade the whole engine. I have made a much more advanced AI for the guards, they now follow you, work in teams and hunt you out. I have also added a lot more to the gameplay such as new player movements, more interactive levels (example, if you hide behind an object, the guards can now shoot the object away) and made the game much harder. One feature I am very pleased with is the ‘Wild-life’. I showed this in the SAGE trailer, the bird flying out of the bushes and waking the guard up.

TSS: Sounds brilliant tell us a little about the story of Chaos Control?
Mj2: The story, this is something I want the player to experience for themself so I cannot give too much away. After the events of Chaos Control 1, Sonic died in a blast at the Dust Hill Zone, he asked Tails for help, however it appeared Tails turned off his radio. Chaos Control 2 (the current game) is set two years after the ‘Dust Hill Event’ and has Tails returning as a leader of a military group. You play as one of the members of this group, a young fox called Raiden. Expect a lot of twists and turns, some I know will shock the player.

TSS: So what sort of secrets or additional features is the game incorporating or going to incorporate into it?
Mj2: Secrets and Additional features, 50 VR missions, 3 unlockable levels, 4 unlockable characters, art gallery, cheats 😛 and a cell shaded mode, something that really changes the look of the game. Then we have the online mode . . .

TSS: This is sounding to be one hell of a game and with 3 years in the making when is the game going to be released?
Mj2: 2004 hopefully.

TSS: I’ve noticed you’ve also contributed your efforts to other games and developer why was this?
Mj2: I started working on Chaos Control Online with Sparks to give the game a ‘team’ feel and I have always wanted to make an online game. CC Chronicles : Revolutions is to give the player a bit of background on whole story of Chaos Control, I had so many ideas what could not fit in a single game. I have also helped out other peoples games as and when they have asked me.

TSS: How long is the game going to be and how many characters can you play as, seeing as there are some completely original characters?
Mj2: The main Chaos Control series will be 3 games long. Chaos Control 1 was very short due to the fact it was basically just an introduction to the series. Chaos Control 2 is much longer, with at least 9 levels, most of these levels are split into 3 parts. Chaos Control 3 I have 7 levels planned at the moment, however I fell that CC3 will end up being the biggest game of them all. You play as Raiden and Maria mainly in Chaos Control 2, you do get to control Hardaway and Viper at some stages, as for CC3, well lets say the characters you control on that game will be a shock. You get to control all the characters from CC2 in CC:Online and in CC Chronicles : Revolutions you control ‘Slither’.

TSS: Very nice indeed. How do you feel this year’s sage has been and what has caught your eye this year?
Mj2: I have been kinda disappointed with the last two SAGE’s, people seem to be making the same old Sonic games, Eggman gets the Emeralds and it is up to Sonic to save them. What has caught my eye? Well I have been waiting (like everyone else) for STA, however I was also kinda disappointed with that, the games that I really want to see completed is Sonic Switch and Sonic XG, Shadow Team’s games look good as well, I am looking forward to seeing how they come on. I have been told SAGE 8 will be something great, so I have my fingers crossed.

TSS: I agree with that very much so. Well we’ve run out of time unfortunately anything else to say to the readers from SAGE-land? ^_^
Mj2: Thanks for all the support and feedback you have sent me, I am looking forward to releasing the game to you all. Thanks again.

No thank you Mj2 it’s been great speaking to you again, hopefully be speaking soon. Watch out for Chaos Control a very good upcoming fan game, not to be missed!

SAGE 7 Interview: UltraSonic

Day Two of SAGE: A New Beginning, Sonic Ultimate: New Beginnings that is! Today we have an interview with Ultrasonic the creator of this fabulous game, read on to see more info on Ultrasonics game…

TSS: Good afternoon Ultrasonic it’s a pleasure to have your company today ^_^.
US: It’s a pleasure to be your company today. Now on with the questions!

TSS: This is the first time we’ve spoken to you on Sonic Ultimate, now titled Sonic Ultimate: New Beginnings. My first question would have to be why the change in name of the game what’s so “New” about this game?
US: Well, “The New Beginings” is less telling of something new then that it actually means I went to a new begining. During mid development, my computer went to heck and I lost the game in the process. The New Beginings basically means that I started basically back at sqaure 1 with very little of an engine left.

TSS: I see, so what is left of your game engine and is there any major changes that have been implemented into the new beginnings version?
US: Well, the new beginings actually retained much of the original engine, which by the way I can’t take credit for. A few modifications have been made, such as a slightly better spindash, and the original had no sound. None, rings didn’t ring. Supersonic is being implemented but is early right now, but a nice flame effect is finished for him but more spriting is necessary.

TSS: So what sort of a storyline have you cooked up for us in the game?
US: Well, I wanted something extremely basic. Not as detailed as some of the other things out there. The story was also cooked up to represent the random levels system in game. Eggman has found a chaos Emerald, which he has used to power a machine which changes zones. Sonic now has to find his way to eggman without knowing wheres he’s going. The random levels system amy be simplified due to space restrictions. One level and it’s already about 5 megs.

TSS: That does present problems for people who want to download it. I’ve noticed that there are some secrets already included in the game such as the Hidden Palace Zone can we expect to see similar secrets in the full game?
US: Oh god without secrets my game would be like all the other games out there which have failed! I’m planning a ton of secrets which may end up also linking to my comic series The Sonic Chronicles. Supersonic is a given, and you may find some TSS favorites including one of my good buddies Dread. I’ll be in there as well, and many more secret levels are also planned.

TSS: Ah so nothings to be leaked until the release ^_^. The game handles fairly nicely when played what sort of improvements could you inflict upon the game in the near future?
US: Well, probably an easier wall jump. Dread seems to say it’s hard to do but it’s easier. I also noticed it takes 500 miles just to stop from braking, and you get flung miles away when you get hit. I’m also considering a completely new set of graphics. Sonic’s has already been completed but other then Sonic I have no clue about new graphics everywhere.

TSS: So any new characters for the furture at all?
US: Well, plans for Tails and Knuckles are being made, and many secret characters are also being planned. No details on them yet because they’re on paper at the moment.

TSS: I see very interesting I shall have to watch out for any new developments.So how long and how big should I say is the final product going to be, and is there any sort of release date at all?
US: Release date? I’m not going to give a release date because I have no clue. The way I see it is it’s released when it’s released. You’l know when, but expect the final product to be huge at the rate it’s going. Not just game wise but size wise. It’s already 5 megs!

TSS: Well I’m looking forward to the final product just last couple of questions, what have you thought of this years sage compared to previous years?
US: Well, I’ve only been to one othe a few years ago, and I only went there to see SRB2. This could be considered my first SAGE in most ways.

TSS: Anything else you’d like to share with us about Sonic Ultimate: New Beginnings?
US: There’s a chance that something huge will happen with it soon, but theres also a chance of it not happening. Chances are getting higher, but trust me that you’ll definately know if it happens. The SSMB will definately know because I’ll brag myself to death if it happens.

TSS: Good good, Ultrasonic it’s been a pleasure chatting to you about Sonic Ultimate New Beginnings, hope we can do this again some time.
US: Me too. You’ll be chatting with me again about something else should that big thing happen. Trust me.

SAGE 7 Interview: Myst Hedgehog

Our first peep to interview about this SAGE on is Myst Hedgehog, who is the developer of Sonic: Eternal Rings. We spoke to him last year about the same game, and you can read it back in the SAGE archives. This year we catch up with the dude about progress on the game, new additions and feelings on the current event…

TSS: Myst Hedgehog, it’s a pleasure to meet up with you again to have this cosy lil’ chat.
M: My pleasure really.

TSS: So, the last time we spoke – which was back about March 2002’s SAGE, you were showcasing Sonic: Eternal Rings. How did things go for the popularity of the game after the SAGE event, after I interviewed you?
M: Well, the game got some good comments, some bad comments, nothing too special. There’s also the fact that I didn’t release anything between that SAGE and this SAGE, apart from some buggy engine tests and some screenshots.

TSS: Sonic Eternal Rings in this year’s SAGE went a makeover in engine, didn’t it? How much of the game did you change since your last SAGE appearance?
M: Since last SAGE, Sonic Eternal Rings as changed a lot. And by a lot, I mean A LOT =P! There have been plot changes, sprite changes, gamplay changes, I went through several different engines… you get the point.

TSS: Explain a bit more about the engine. What was it about the old S:ER engine that you felt uncomfortable with? I thought it wasn’t too bad myself.
M: Well, I didn’t feel satisfied with the engine at the time, because I was constantly playing games whose engines were a lot better than mine. Also, the engine was made in TGF’s pre-built platform movement, and was too limited for what I had in mind for the game. Also, I heard at the time about this type of movement called static, which was apparently much more powerful than platform. And I wanted to check that personally =P

TSS: Cool. Anything that you can reveal about the story of the game? You say also that you have changed plot elements of the game, but does that mean you’ve completely rewritten the story too, or just parts?
M: Well, I just made the plot a little more complex. I really didn’t have a good excuse to include the Eternal Rings in the game at it’s early stages, and since I couldn’t find a better name for the game, I thought I’d better come up with an half-decent storyline. As for details on the story… Well, it’s kind of related with the story of S3&K, because it deals with the events after the fall of the Death Egg. And that’s all you get from me.

TSS: Heh, ok fair enough. While playing the game I noticed that there were unbreakable walls in the demo (I was playing it just now, BTW ;P). Does that mean there will be another character? Are those walls for Knuckles to break, or perhaps a new face? Or does it even contain unlockable secrets? We must know! ^_^
M: Hehe, I thought about explaining in a readme, but I was too lazy and thought it would be better if people found out all by themselves. Actually, you can break the walls in the demo. I’m going to give you a little tip. Next to the first wall of the level, there should be a spring. Use it to go to a platform a keep walking right from there until you find… you’ll see =P

TSS: Ahhhhh… sounds very interesting ;P You mention gameplay changes. Care to tell more about this aspect of the game? Or does it simply mean more baddies and better bosses and level design?
M: Well, it’s basicly what you pointed out, but I’m trying to include original features in every level, much like in S3&K, to add more variety to the game. This is basically your oldskool game. Oh, and there’s grinding too, don’t forget =P

TSS: Ah, I see. How well do you feel that S:ER is progressing? Do you see it being finished soon?
M: Well, I think the game is progressing really well. Some level layouts are already done, the engine just needs some fine-tuning. Not sure when it will be done, but maybe sometime next year. Only time will tell.

TSS: I’ll be waiting for that. Will there be any other characters playable other than Sonic in the final version? And how long will the game be roughly, in stages? Average Sonic game length?
M: Tails will be a playable character in the full game, maybe even in the next demo. I’d include Knuckles too, but I can’t fit him in the storyline so far, but we’ll see… as for stages, yes, it’ll be your avarage Sonic game length, with 7 zones and one hidden zone you can only access if you have the 7 Chaos Emeralds =P

TSS: Tasty. Finally, as we are coming to the close of the interview, what do you think of SAGE this year? Any favourite games on show that have caught your eye?
M: Oh yes, SAGE was much better this year than it has been in the past year. We really got some nice games like Sonic & Ice, Sonic XG (my favorite), and Sonic Slash. And of course there was Sonic Time Attacked. The concept for this year’s SAGE was interesting too, and mostly unexpected =P

TSS: Sonic XG was very good, as was STA. Any last words about your game you’d like to say before we depart?
M: Well, watch out for the game next SAGE, as there are some MAJOR changes taking place right now, and not involving just my game, but another TKgames game. And I’ll leave you at that =P

TSS: Myst Hedgehog, thanks an awful lot for sharing your time with us.
M: Hehe, no problem.

SAGE 4 Interview: Yuski

Yuski is a solo fangame developer, currently making a decent ROM Hack of Sonic 1, starring Mighty. It should be out soon, and because of this we spoke to him at SAGE 2002 about it.

TSS: Yuski, thanks for being here today.
Y: It is alright, I am glad to be here.

TSS: What is your Fan Game all about?
Y: Er… Well… I didn’t create a story for the game yet…

TSS: When did you first get the idea for Mighty the Armadillo: the Game?
Y: I got the idea in the middle of 2000 (about June or July). In the beginning, I wanted to make a hack with Vector the Crocodile (my fav character), but due to his size, I canned it. Then I decided to put Mighty as the main character.

TSS: MtA:tG is a ROM hack of Sonic 1, and what you have achieved by hacking the ROM is extraordinary. Since ROM hacking is different to actually using a dedicated games creation program like The Games Factory, is the amount of things you can edit limited compared to what you can do in something like TGF?
Y: Yes, because in the ROM you need to find the hexandress, edit and make a lot of tests. This takes much time, not like in TGF, C&C or MF.

TSS: What exactly can someone manage to edit from a ROM? Is it more than just different coloured textures and character sprites?
Y: It’s the engine of the game. I always want to make a perfect Sonic game, but I don’t know how to (figure out the) programming and in the C&C, you can’t make a perfect game, like the original. This is the (my) reason.

TSS: What kind of feel are you trying to create with MtA:tG?
Y: A game for Mighty fans that don’t have patience to play Chaotix on the Emulator.

TSS: Are there any special features that make your game stand out from the rest of the entries at SAGE?
Y: The difference, is that MtA:tG is a hack with many sprite changes and (it) use(s) some of the original Mighty sprites (from Chaotix) in the game.

TSS: How long has development taken on this ROM hack?
Y: I started it in June 2000 and released the first beta in July 2000. It is about 1 year and 9 months (in development).

TSS: The game looks nearly complete. Can you reveal exclusively to The Sonic Stadium an idea on roughly when you expect MtA:tG to be ready?
Y: I don’t know when the Final Version will be released, because the game has different sprite formats (that I can’t edit yet) and I need to remake new levels. The only level that is the most complete is Blue Grass Act 1 (GHZ1) and recently I started the BGZ2.

TSS: Any major hitches you have encountered while hacking the ROM? Spill the beans on your biggest development problem to date.
Y: I had found lots of glitches, but level glitches that can be easily fixed. The major problem I had is when making IPS, after inserting extra data in the ROM – That was exactly when Esrael inserted the “Gaslight font” from Sonic 2 in the ROM for me. I wasn’t to know how to use the StealthPatch.

TSS: How well do you think Mighty is progressing?
Y: It is going very well, but slow sometimes. Due to school, I can’t make too much updates. But I can do what I can.

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the booth polling, against other games you’ve seen at SAGE so far?
Y: I don’t have chances to win something and I didn’t enter SAGE to win something, I only enter(ed) SAGE to develop the game.

TSS: Finally, what the most promising game to you at this year’s SAGE?
Y: There are 2: Retro-Sonic by The Taxman. He made a excellent job; and Sonic Robo-Blast 2 by STJr., It has great animations and (is) fun.

TSS: Yuski, developer of Mighty the Armadillo: the Game, thanks a ton for your time.

SAGE 4 Interview: MK Gamester

MK Gamester is leader of MK Games. Heading up ‘Big Adventure’ Fan Game, and also contributed to the SAGE 2002 Compo we held. Nice guy.

TSS: MK Gamester, thanks for being here today.
MK: It’s my pleasure.

TSS: First of all, what is your Fan Game all about, for those out there that don’t already know?
MK: My Fan Game, Big Adventure, is the product of many many months of trying to develop something new and fun. But because of my nature, it is also silly. Big the Cat is a 2D side-scroller that tries to break out of the ordinary, left to right, boring gameplay that is abundant in many fan-games today. It’s a break from Sonic-speed, but it’s fun. Big is drawn into this adventure when his best buddy, Froggy, doesn’t wanna be best buddies with Big anymore. It all starts there…

TSS: When did you first get the idea for the game – and what gave you the idea for the ingenious new ‘Lasso Engine’ that you implemented in the game?
MK: I trying to storm up an idea for a not-so-boring fan game, because my Chao RPG is well, boring, and I didn’t feel like renovating my first gaming attempt: Rimshot. I was thinking along the lines of carrying off of the Sonic Adventure series. So I was playing around with the ball movements and events and stuff, hoping I’d accidentally figure something out. I gave up and took a break by jumping on my trampoline in my back-yard. BAM! It just blasted into my head. I immediately began to work out all of the events and programming needed and I hopped onto the computer and checked it out. Success.

TSS: Can you let slip on any information on the plot of Big’s Adventure?
MK: Shadow returns, and to his dismay, he meets Big.

TSS: Exactly what kind of feel are you trying to create with your Fan Game?
MK: Good gameplay, humorous story.

TSS: What makes Big’s Adventure different from the other Fan Games on show at SAGE?
MK: It’s NOT a Sonic game. It’s a Big the Cat game. I don’t think there’s anything much I can add on to that.

TSS: You created this game with an inspired ‘Like Big’/’Hate Big’ Death mode, which can play with a guy’s emotions as well as being hysterically funny (depending on which mode you choose). Exactly why was this mode implemented?
MK: Well, I know a lot of people who hate Big the Cat. What a better way to amuse these people then to watch Big suffer a gruesome, hysterical death! And for the few that don’t feel like watching him suffer (though it’s still funny whether you like him or not), the ‘Like Big’ Death mode is the ‘G-RATED’ mode, just incase your parents are watching or something. I don’t think your parents would like to see you download stuff where you watch cats being ripped in half and a clip from Dumb and Dumber being played in the background.

TSS: How long has development taken so far?
MK: About a month, spread out over a year. I’m as lazy as the cat himself is.

TSS: Can you reveal exclusively to The Sonic Stadium roughly when you may expect Big’s Adventure to be complete and ready for the public?
MK: I can’t really determine that, though I’ll tell ya a GOOD portion of it will be done around JUNE. I’m working on the cut-scene engine right now, and once I get into that groove, all I have to worry about is making back-drops.

TSS: Did you Like Big or Hate Big when you started work on this game, and has your opinion of him changed as your Fan Game has progressed in development? Maybe you’ve developed a soft spot for the big fat cat yourself..?
MK: When I first got Sonic Adventure, I hated his guts. Then…I listened to his theme song and well, I learned more about him. Big the Cat knows what he wants, and that is paradise. He’s livin’ it up w/out lifting the finger. Ah, the life for me. I eventually turned into a Big defender, and during the production of this game, I realized that Big is my favorite Sonic character next to Sonic the Hedgehog himself! I think Big is way cooler than Tails or Knuckles or any of them any day! And yes…I do have a soft spot and I’d respect you not to touch it.

TSS: More significantly, you canned two other promising Fan Games in favour of continuing with Big’s Adventure. What was the reason for this, and will these two Fan Games be ressurrected after BA is complete?
MK: Promising? Haha, that’s a good one. Chao Quest is an RPG that used the battle engine from the first Chao Adventure on the VMU. It was too much work for not such a great game. RPG’s are HARD. I had about 20 INI’s for that thing. Rimshot was my inspiration to make games. I wanted to be just like the Sonic Team and Rimshot was my Sonic. Rimshot is a completely original character and has NOTHING to do with the Sonic realm. So technically, he’s not a fancharacter. I will end up renovating the game for a 4th time after Big Adventure, that is if I’m not working on a sequel for a beloved cat. I canned the games NOT for Big, I canned then because well…there was no progress. Big had the best potential.

TSS: Any major hitches you encountered during development? Spill the beans on your biggest dev. problem thus far.
MK: I’d say the HARDEST thing to come-up with is the ‘Ceiling Hook’ swinging engine. Because of the fact that you need to hook onto the ceiling hook when in mid-air, you can hit the hook from a million different positions. A line movement would have not worked there. So I had to develop a parabola type algebra equation that would swing Big naturally. And then I had to make another engine for when he lets go of the hook and how you control Big’s movement after swinging off the hook. And I trial and errored for 3 days until it worked. There’s one TGF bug, but I don’t feel like cleaning that up. Sometimes you get stuck halfway into the ground after swinging. Just cast upwards and you’ll pop out of the ground.

TSS: How well do you think Big’s Adventure is progressing?
MK: Not so good right now, making the opening cutscene is so frikkin’ hard because I can’t get it to look right. Other than that and my frequent lazyness, it’s coming along nice.

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the booth polling, against other games you’ve seen on SAGE so far?
MK: I have a feeling no one will plan on DL’ing Big Adventure and seeing how nice it is. They’ll most likely DL SRB2, Sonic Epoch, Diablohead’s Sonic…famed games like those.

TSS: Finally, out of all the Fan Games on show at SAGE, which game in your opinion looks the most promising?
MK: It’s hard to decide, there’s so many of them. It’s also hard to choose because my computer runs anything above a 320×200 resolution at less than one frame per second. 🙁

TSS: MK Gamester, thank you for your time.

SAGE 4 Interview: Myst Hedgehog

Myst Hedgehog is currently running his latest Fan Game project, Sonic: Eternal Rings at SAGE 2002. Also helped contribute to the SAGE 2002 compo we held, the nice chap. ^_^

TSS: Myst Hedgehog, thanks for being here today.
M: It’s Cool, I’m happy to be here.

TSS: What is your Fan Game all about? Can you reveal a little bit of the plot for those that don’t have a clue about this game as of yet?
M: For those who haven’t played it yet, the plot is about Eggman finding the 5 Eternal Rings (an ancient source of power, told to be a legend)and uses them to power his ultimate egg mobile, the MadEgg2K2 (I know the name sucks :P). Sonic and Tails are taking a vacation when they’re surprised by Eggman, who challenges Sonic to a fight. Sonic accepts but leaves defeated! As Eggman leaves, Tails suggest they find the Chaos Emeralds to defeat Eggman. The plot couldn’t be simplier, but as you progress through the game you’ll have some good surprises and you’ll see its not that simple. Just a little thing: Knuckles will appear.

TSS: Sonic Eternal Rings is set after Sonic & Knuckles. Why did you decide to set the game at this time? Would the plot have ran more smoothly that way, or are there certain story aspects from the old Mega Drive (or Genesis) Sonic games that Sonic:ER can utilise to its advantage over the plot aspects from the 3D Sonic Adventures?
M: Surely there are. Sonic Eternal Rings is set to happen after Sonic & Knuckles because they see Eggman’s spaceship falling with a series of explosions following it. So in the beggining of Sonic Eternal, Sonic and Tails are relaxed because they think Eggman’s dead.

TSS: When did you first get the idea for Sonic Eternal Rings?
M: The idea for Sonic Eternal Rings came when I found SFGHQ (in that time I didn’t have a PC). I thought “Cool! I can do this!”. I begged my mother for a PC and I got TGF. I started production of the game the moment I got it.

TSS: What kind of feel are you trying to create with Sonic:ER?
M: I’m trying to make a good Sonic Fangame. I want this game to show all the SFGHQ elite that newbies can do some good stuff. They just need support and patience. I got both things and…… go see the result.

TSS: What special features make your fan game different from all the others on show at SAGE? Basically ‘sell’ your game to me in a few lines… 😀
M: Hehehe. Well, my game doesn’t have anything new at all at this time. I’m working on some stuff though. Wait a while…………..you’ll see :P.

TSS: How long has development taken so far on Sonic Eternal Rings?
M: Hmmm… not so much. My engine’s almost ready though. And the only level I have ready yet is the one present in the demo.

TSS: Any major hitches you have encountered during the making of this game? Spill the beans on your biggest development problem to date.
M: Stopdead fixing! That one was the reason I almost canned the game. I spent a lot of time trying to make a bugless stopdead method. In a more recent way, I’m having trouble trying to make a proper random weather system *suicides* :P.

TSS: How well do you feel Sonic Eternal Rings is progressing?
M: I feel Sonic Eternal Rings is progressing really well. You might expect a demo sooner than what you think.

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the booth polling, against other games you’ve seen at SAGE so far?
M: Honestly, I think my game major sucks compared to some games like SA:NEO, SV2 and SP so…. I don’t think I stand a chance.

TSS: Finally, what’s the best looking game you’ve seen at the expo so far?
M: Defenelty, SV2. I just love all in that game! I even play it now after I completed the demo several times. I recommend it to everyone!

TSS: Myst Hedgehog, developer of Sonic Eternal Rings, thank you for your time.

SAGE 4 Interview: ShadowHermit

ShadowChaos & Hermit Dude are the heads behind ShadowHermit Production House. After a solo outing, these two joined forces and combined to form a joint fangame developer. Showcasing Sonic Adventure: Neo at SAGE 2002. Visit their site here.

TSS: ShadowChaos and Hermit Dude, thanks a ton for being here today, in both your persons.
S&H: No problem at all.

TSS: ShadowHermit Production House has three titles going at the moment, can you briefly explain what these are about?
HD: Sonic Adventure Neo is basically a 2D sort of Sonic Adventure. It follows a linear gameplay, with levels linked by cutscenes.
SC: Okay, Sonic Robo Blast TgF is a remake of SRB, but with added features, more levels, and, needless to say, better graphics.
HD: Gameplay is fairly classic in style, with mall variations depending on which character is being played.

TSS: Can you give away the basic plot of Sonic Adventure: Neo and SRB TgF?
SC: SRB has a plot? First I’ve heard… Seriously, the plot is the same as the original, with minor adjustments to accomidate the new playable character, Tails.
HD: SA:Neo’s story basically centres round the reappearence of Dr. Eggman a few months after the events of SA2. Most of the plot is…uh…a big secret (Read: Not properly written, designed, or decided yet), but so far we have Sonic, Tails, and knuckles as playable character, tied in in various ways. Sonic is aiming to directly stop Eggman’s plan, Knuckles is aiming to retrive the Chaos Emeralds after they were stolen by a Metal Sonic, and Tails is basically in the middle, helping both.

TSS: What kind of feel are you guys trying to create with your two Fan Games?
SC: Well, SRB TgF is completely nostalgia-trippy, with no advanced engines or whatnot, just plain simple fun.
HD: The basic feel I wanted for SA Neo was something that combined the best of all the classic Sonic games, along with an Sa style story.
SC: We’ll get to show off our uber-leet static/ball engine later in Neo, too. ^_-

TSS: You also have a third game in development too in ShadowHermit PH… Sonic Adventure: Exodus. Is this game meant to be a sequel to SA:Neo, like a series of games from you guys?
SC: Nope. Not at all. It takes place eight years after SA2. Eggman escapes prision, Shadow returns, and basically all Hell breaks loose on Earth. The plot is going to be extensive, and quite dark and frightening towards the end, with (hopefully) SonicCD style cutscenes.

TSS: What special features will be present to make SA:Neo and SRB:TgF stand out from the rest of the SAGE games on show?
SC: Well, SRB didn’t make SAGE (MMF buggered up the night before)…
HD: For SA Neo, eventually, a very nice static enginge, which should be on a par with several of the current ones… and probably some other stuff which I’ll implement as we go, possibly saving, loading, etc. And lots of subliminal advertising.
SC: *Laughs* The Boss AI is also pretty advanced. Though not fully showcased in the Demo, it will have intelligent bosses that change their pattern depending on what you do.

TSS: How long has development taken for both SA:Neo and SRB:TgF?
SC: Ah crap, SRB has been in development since late November, so about three months for that…
HD: Ooh, I know this one. Um, well, the First SA Neo was started early october last year, then after a lovely screw up with MMF, I started a new version in late November/December time.
SC: We need more reliable click programs, eh? 🙂
HD: 1.5 is a BIT better…

TSS: Can you reveal roughly when you expect the games to be ready by?
SC: I’m hoping to have SRB done by September 3 (my birthday!), but SA: Exodus is a looooong way off. Possibly 1-2 years.
HD: …And probably SA neo will be out summer time-ish. I have GCSE’s coming up in May, so I’ll be revising (Yeah right) for those soon, but after them, Ten weeks of Holiday \o/. I hope to finish it then.

TSS: Any major hitches you guys have come across in development? What’s been your biggest development problem so far?
SC: Well, MMF f***ing up is one big problem for me.
HD: Yes, MMF screwing up the first SA Neo was bad, as it destroyed a couple of months work… but also helped, as I then changed to ball movement and we are now progressing to a static engine to eliminate all problems.
SC: But with Sonic Adventure: Exodus (and Neo), the big problem is the engines. Both are highly advanced StaticBall engines that take a looooong time to dev.
HD: And it seems, you fix one bug… up springs another.

TSS: How well do you guys feel your Fan Games are progressing at the moment?
HD: Not too bad. Although I’m generally lazy, so I haven’t done too much work on it recently. I blame school.

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the SAGE booth polling abainst the others this year? Usually they have a poll period at the end…
SC: Not too wonderful, as this is our first SAGE. Hell might freeze over, though. ;D
HD: We could use liquid nitrogen. It can be arranged.

TSS: Finally, what’s the most promising game you have seen at this year’s SAGE?
HD: Hmm. Its hard to choose a favorite… I’ve particlularly enjoyed SV2’s new engine test, Bladerunners SX new engine, and Team infinitys Shadow Returns.
SC: Sonic Ki, by Showoffboy. And I’m not just saying that because I have the sprites and engine test. =P … Oh, and SA: Neo, of course.
HD: =P

TSS: ShadowChaos and Hermit, of ShadowHermit Production House, you are truly a mad bunch, like myself. I salute you! Thank you for your precious time to answer my questions.
SC: You’re welcome.
HD: Now back to lazing around…

SAGE 4 Interview: Johnny ‘Sonikku’ Wallbank

Johnny Wallbank is better known online as ‘Sonikku’, and runs Sonic Team Junior, the guys responsible for bringing Sonic Robo Blast 2 to your PC screens. He was milling about at SAGE 2002 so we had a word. Visit the SRB2 Website here.

TSS: Sonikku, it is a pleasure to meet up with you.
JW: No problem.

TSS: For those that have been living under an online rock for the past four or so years, what is your Fan Game all about?
JW: SRB2 is the sequel to unusually highly-acclaimed SRB1. This was the first fan-game to not only to be in 3D, but also to feature online play functions. The purpose of the game is to offer to feel of the classic Genesis/Megadrive Sonic games in the form of 3D; whilst we appreciated Sonic Adventure, it was a long way away from the classics roots from which it all begun. Obviously, some tweaking has been made to fully support the transition from 2D to 3D (such as Sonic’s ‘Air Spin Attack’), but overall the game operates in the same way the classic games did.

TSS: How aware were you that making a Sonic 3D game, especially the first 3D Sonic game, would be a little more than over-ambitious? How did the idea to create a 3D Sonic title actually come about?
JW: Actually, the change to 3D was not so much to do with choice. We felt that ‘The Games Factory’ was far too limiting for what I wanted SRB2 to do, and thus, moved to C. However, once the programmer for the ‘SRB2-C’ project went AWOL, and on his return, progress went at a snail’s pace. Thus, we were left with little choice but to move the project to 3D. The plans we had for SRB2 were highly ambitious at the time – we started with ‘Sonic’ (or rather, the ‘Doom Marine’) walking around half of a Doom-textured GFZ1 (the same one that still stands today) and have since come a very very long way.

TSS: Sonic Robo Blast 2 is a dramatic leap from Sonic Robo Blast 1, which came in a 2D form. What functions and special effects are you able to manipulate and take advantage of that would be nigh on impossible in a 2D game?
JW: The leap from SRB1 to SRB2 is unspeakably vast; considering that SRB1 was finished around four years ago, when I was using Klik & Play. Now we’re using the Doom Legacy engine and there is a vast amount we can do with it; online play, working with a full 3D world.

TSS: SRB2 was built completely from scratch off of the Doom engine. Is building a 3D-esque game (I say that for use of sprites in a 3D fashion) easier to develop from the Doom engine rather than just from a 3D development program?
JW: Actually, as of Demo 4.5, polygons are now supported under OpenGL in the form of MD and MD2. While we still have no plans at the moment to convert the sprites to model format, the technology is finally in place. Developing in a 3D is suprisingly easy and rewarding – as those who have spent a few hours in WADAuthor have found. As we’re using so much new stuff, dealing with the level editors that already exist for Doom can be a little frustrating, but once you know how to get around these barriers, level editing becomes very easy.

TSS: Has there been any advantages or limitations that you guys have come across as a result of using the Doom engine to build SRB2 instead of a 3D development program?
JW: Over the years, previous limitations and barriers we have encountered have been torn down by programming around them. Two years ago, floating platforms were a huge impossibility. Now they’re commonplace in the SRB2 levels. None of our plans are ‘too ambitious’ any more and can be executed. On saying this however, there are limitations in terms of the rendering engine – loops will simply not happen in the Doom engine; it would be far easier to just reprogram the Quake III engine than to deal with loops – particularly with the physics involved in a Sonic game – authentic 3D loopsthat give you full control are not only irritating (as seen occasionally in the Sonic Adventure games), but very, very difficult to program.

TSS: This game has taken Sonic Team Junior a rumoured four or so years to develop, and it’s still being worked upon. How far has the development actually progressed in terms of level construction, enemy AI, playable characters etc?
JW: This depends – back when we begun developing the game in 3D form at the end of November 1998, we had far fewer plans than we do right now; we keep adding stuff to make the game cooler and cooler. Right now, getting all the set pieces in place is our current priority. The multiplayer modes are more or less done, textures need to be worked on, as do enemy sprites, and most of the player sprites are done. Once this is in place, level construction can be done in a matter of weeks.

TSS: Some people, who actually adore this game, cannot play it, because of the use of sprites instead of polygons, accompanied by the sheer speed of the whole game, makes them queasy. Sadly, I don’t think this is a problem that can be resolved. What are your thoughts on the situation?
JW: *Laughs* In all honesty, in the two or three years in which SRB2-3D has been available in demo form, I’ve never heard of anyone suffering from queasiness or motion sickness whilst playing SRB2! The alternative might be to play as the slower characters (Tails and Knuckles) – I have no real thoughts on this, as no-one else has ever brought this issue up.

TSS: How did you manage to use the Doom engine to its full potential to actually assign the game to look like a true Sonic game? For example, the speed (much faster than Doom in the first place), getting rid of the Doom bar at the bottom and so on.
JW: Either by changing the controls available through existing Doom editors or by reprogramming the game; the simpler stuff (such as the ‘Doom bar’) could have been achieved easily by spending a few minutes in Wintex. Creating a whole new set of physics for Sonic to use takes many months of programming.

TSS: Sonic, Tails and Knuckles are confirmed as playable. Are there any secret characters you may like to reveal or give hints about to?
JW: Us? Give hints? You wish…! ;D Rest assured however, we’ll throw in some extra characters for you to play with. Technically, ‘new characters’ are already available through skins, and by making a few changes to the WAD file, you can have the character perform a special skill (air spin attack, fly, glide/climb) and change their maximumand minimum speeds. The only extra character that I will confirm at the moment is that Super Sonic will appear in the game after getting all of the Chaos Emeralds.

TSS: Seeings as SRB2 is soon to hit Demo 4.5, and the game has been under construction for almost half a decade, it seems unlikely that SRB2 will actually be finished in the very near future. However, would you guys like to estimate at the current speed that you are progressing, roughly when the game will be complete? Or how about when you would like it to be complete?
JW: This question has been asked dozens of times; the only reliable answer that I’ve given over this period is the following: ‘The game will be out when it’s done.’ If it worked for 3D Realms, it worked for us. Seriously however, we make so many changes to the game and implement so many features that we have no idea when the game will be done; also bear in mind that we are still doing this in our spare time – if this professionals and we had access to an extensive team, the game would have been done a long time ago. 😉

TSS: Have there been any major hitches in the development of Sonic Robo Blast 2? Spill the juices on Sonic Team Junior’s biggest problem so far in the making of this game.
JW: The major hitch would probably be initially getting the game off the ground – it took us nine months to find the correct engine we’d use, let alone deal with development. However, demo releases can sometimes be very stressful; it is obviously difficult to work to a schedule when the development team lives all over the world, and sometimes bugs slip in at the last minute that can seriously ruin people’s fun. However, rest assured, that this is only the state of beta products; the final product will be_VERY_ heavily bug-tested.

TSS: Apart from the obvious 3D-ness of it all, are there any special features that you are particularly proud of in SRB2?
JW: Right now, it’d have to be the huge success of the online play function. I was especially pleased when I saw even the folk at the GameFAQs Sonic Adventure II Message Board were taking a huge interest into playing SRB2 online.

TSS: Finally, what’s the best game at SAGE that you’ve seen so far at this year’s expo?
JW: Right now, my favourites are Sonic MAdventure II and Sonic Epoch. MAdventureII for simply being such a fantastic parody on role playing (and fan-games in general, in places). Epoch however, is an epic; the game is huge, and the plot is equally huge. To boot, it’s a very fun game to play. Rob Showalter and the rest of his team have put a vast amount of effort into that game, and it shows. Retro Sonic also deserves a special mention, although I haven’t had as much of a chance to see this in action as I have with Epoch and MAdventure II. What I’ve seen however, looks very promising and lives up to the title.

TSS: Johnny ‘Sonikku’ Wallbank, head of development for Sonic Robo Blast 2, it has been a supreme honour to be able to interview you this fine day, sir. ^_^
JW: No problem. Keep up the good work with The Sonic Stadium!

SAGE 4 Interview: TLS PRWR

TLS PRWR is at SAGE 2002 making “Toolz’s First C++ Platform Mover: Text Based” – the oddest sounding Fan Game in the world, possibly. 😛

TSS: TLS PRWR, thanks for being here today.
TLS: Glad to be here.

TSS: For those not in the know, what is your Fan Game all about?
TLS: Basically, it’s sort of ‘classic Sonic’ as he was on the Sega Genesis. It’s not that good, yet, and it doesn’t really look much like it, but that’s what the engine is based off of.

TSS: When did you first get the idea for Toolz’s First C++ Platform Mover :Text Based?
TLS: Well, this semester in college, I’m taking a C++ course. I didn’t want to learn all the junk we were doing (dumb text based input/output things) and wanted to get into true game programming. After fiddling around for a while and studying a lot, I managed to get a sort of engine running, and just expanded from there.

TSS: OK, it just has to be asked – why the strange name? I can understand the name, but many people (i.e. me ^_^) don’t seem to get the ‘Platform Mover:Text Based’ part. Can you explain a little bit more on that subject?
TLS: I don’t know why I really chose that. I just kinda did. I’ll break it down so it makes sense:
“Toolz’s” refers to it being mine, and mine alone. “First” shows that it is my first attempt at writing some sort of game in programming languages, so that not much will be expected from the players. “C++” reveals the language it’s written in. “Platform” and “Mover” show the basic type of gameplay (based on platforms for movement). The “Text Based” part just shows what kind of graphics it has.
This sort of name can be compared to calling Doom “Id Software’s First C 3D Shooter: Sprite Based.” ( Sorry if I mess up that stuff about Doom, I’m just not really a fan, but it was the first thing that popped in my head :E )

TSS: What kind of feel are you trying to create with your Fan Game?
TLS: Sort of a retro-80’s DOS and retro-Sonic (no relation to the fangame) type feel.

TSS: How different is it to create a platformer in DOS rather than in a Windows program such as The Games Factory?
TLS: Well, once you adjust too it, it’s not too different. At least in coding. Doing sprites and stuff is a lot different. The major delima is laying everything out. You don’t have that ‘point-and-click’ interface for doing the levels. You also have to program the simplest functions to get it to do what you want. I don’t look down on people that use those programs, because, I know, it’s a lot of work. Sometimes getting around CnC/TGF/MMF limits is harder than just coding it to begin with.

TSS: What makes your Fan Game different to the others on show at SAGE?
TLS: Hm… Well, it’s the only Text Based one. I think it’s the only one fully based in DOS. And it’s probably the smallest demo at SAGE.

TSS: How long has development taken so far?
TLS: Well, for the PC version, it’s been several weeks, probably a month or even more! Simply because when I started, I wasn’t very advanced ( not that I am now :E ). But as I went on, I learned different tricks and different things to make programming it easier. The text based gameboy version only took a few days, because all I really had to do was just convert it so the gameboy could run it. (I actually pretty much rewrote the engine, but I kept refering back to the PC version). The sprite based gameboy version has taken a little longer. I basically wrote it from the ground up, just getting a little help from a tutorial I found for GameBoy sprites. But… geez, the tutorial was made for something totally different, so I had to specify everything and change a TON of stuff around. It probably took about a week, just experimenting around with gameboy programming, then another week to get it to work right. On top of all that, it took me about 3 days to get the GameBoy Color palettes working.

TSS: Can you reveal to us when you expect the game to be finished by?
TLS: Gosh, I don’t even know that I plan to finish it! This is just sort of a tutorial for myself for the future, you know? If people want me to actually make it into something more than what it is, I might. The sprite based version, though…. Let’s just say I’ve been getting some help with a fellow SFGer and it’s possible it will become a very nice game.

TSS: Any major problems you’ve encountered within development? What’s been your biggest development problem to date?
TLS: With the PC version, definately the input. As some recall, the first version, you had to hit enter everytime to get it to move! Then, you just had to hit a key in the next version. But there’s still a problem, because it waits to get input before doing all the functions and things like that. Therefore, unless you press a key, the enemy stands still.With the gameboy version, I’d say it was mostly just getting used to programming for the gameboy and learning different terms to use.For the sprite based one, definately getting used to the tiles and tile arrangment, and also the palettes. It took me a while to get all those implemented.

TSS: How well do you think TFCPM:TB is progressing?
TLS: It’s doing fairly well, I guess. TFCPM:SB has definate potential for becoming a true game.

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the booth polling, against other games you’ve seen at SAGE so far?
TLS: Um, probably zilch to none. There isn’t really a TFCPM series fanbase. And up against such things as Diablo’s SV2, Blaze’s TFH/TD2/Sonic Legends, Rob’s Sonic Epoch, and Taxman’s RetroSonic… I just don’t think I stand a chance.

TSS: Finally, what’s the best looking game you’ve seen at this year’s SAGE?
TLS: That’s a hard one. Y’know? SV2 is definately one of the best, and Epoch’s up there, too. I haven’t played TFH yet, because the demo isn’t out. Same for Sonic Legends. but I think those are some of the best. As for the absolute best, I just don’t know. Too hard to choose.

TSS: TLS PRWR, developer of TFCPM:TB, thank you for your time.

SAGE 4 Interview: Taxman

Taxman is currently doing a fantastic job on Retro Sonic, possibly the finest 2D Fan Game in existence at this moment in time. We spoke to him at SAGE 2002.

TSS: Taxman, thanks for being here today.
TX: No prob Dread, fire away!

TSS: For those that do not know, what is your Fan Game all about?
TX: Retro-Sonic is a C++ Direct X fangame. It stars Sonic and Tails in a new adventure to find the Dreampool. There will be ten regular levels with some extra custom levels.

TSS: Retro Sonic appeared at last year’s SAGE expo, and a lot has changed since then. What has changed since R.S’s last appearance to the online public?
TX: Since the last demo, a lot of changes have been made under the bonnet. It’s now far easier for me to make new levels. In addition, new gameplay and object have been added to the game, including buzzbombers, crabmeat and bumpers. I’ve also sorted out what zones I will be putting in the game and most of the gameplay ideas on paper.

TSS: When did you first get the idea for Retro Sonic?
TX: Retro-Sonic has come a long way from it’s beginnings. When I first got the Games Factory, I wanted to make a Sonic game that was like Sonic CD. Over time I restarted the Sonic game again and again, each time with a new engine. At first it was Platform movement, then Static (Which I called Manual movement at the time). By the year 2000, The game had changed radically, and now featured the name Retro-Sonic. Then at the end of 2000, I started working on a programmed direct x verision of the game.

TSS: What special features are there that make Retro Sonic different from the other entries here at SAGE?
TX: Some of the special features my game has are: Parallax layers (Both Foreground and Background), Classic style gameplay for Sonic and Tails, Custom Levels (A level editor for the public is in the works), 3D special stage (To be included later on), Groovy game objects like bumpers, flippers, log bridges and more.

TSS: Because of the name and last year’s appearance (seen from the screenshots of a Beta Spring Yard Zone as a playable level in your game), many people would think that Retro Sonic is merely an attempt at getting old beta and never released zones (based off of your own ideas of what it would look like) in a Fan Game. Is there more to the game than this?
TX: Considering that only 3 of the 10 levels will be of any relation to the past beta levels, I like to think that the public only knows about 30% of what Retro-Sonic will be like. All the other zones are original.

TSS: How long has devlopment of Retro Sonic taken?
TX: From the start of the MMF version in September 2000 to the current C/C++ version in March 2002. Retro-Sonic has been in development for about just over a year.

TSS: Can you reveal exclusively to The Sonic Stadium when roughly you expect Retro Sonic to be complete?
TX: Retro-Sonic should be complete around the end of this year. There should be some more substancial info at next september’s SAGE.

TSS: Any major hitches you have encountered? Spill on your biggest technical bugger-up during devlopment of this game.
TX: There hasn’t been anything that has majorly hindered the progress of the game. However, there has been occasion where I’ve had to re code a section of the game to reduce the amount of bugs. Often fixing little bugs can be just as annoying as fixing large ones.

TSS: How well do you think Retro Sonic is progressing?
TX: Quite well at the moment. Development of levels should speed up soon thanks to the changes I made to the engine. I also have groovy new features planned to add to the game.

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the booth polling, against other games on show at SAGE that you have seen?
TX: Well, If people forgive me for the lateness of the new demo… ^_^

TSS: Finally, what to you is the most promising game to rear it’s head at SAGE?
TX: At this SAGE I quite liked the demos of SV2, BRSX and the Elysium stuff.

TSS: Taxman, developer of Retro Sonic, thanks a lot for your time.
TX: No problem.

SAGE 4 Interview: SonKnuck

SonKnuck is the top gun of SonKnuck Team. He currently has two projects on the go at once – S&K:Aftermath and SonKnuck Adventure 2.

TSS: SonKnuck, thanks for being here today.
SK: It’s not a problem. Thanks for inviting me.

TSS: You now have two projects on the go at SonKnuck Team HQ – what are they all about for those not in the know?
SK: SonKnuck Adventure 2: Sequel to SonKnuck Adventure. The Floating island fell on Party land, the land that SonKnuck guards. The shock made Sonic and Knuckles fall off it. Sonic will meet SonKnuck’s mortal enemy and be tricked for the first time in his live! Knuckles meets SonKnuck and does his best to make Sonic trust him. I won’t tell more, if I do, I will spoil the whole game. S&K: Aftermath: I won’t tell much. Because this is sorta a “secret” project. People are to discover what this is all about once I release the full game. Like I said in the booth, this will be CLASSIC style just like the old days of the SEGA Sonic games!

TSS: Can you reveal any more plot details to us?
SK: I’d repeat myself here… so no, except the fact that S&K: Aftermath happens right after S3&K.

TSS: When did you get the idea for Sonic & Knuckles: Aftermath?
SK: Actually, it’s someone working on the team that gave me the idea over an AIM conversation we had. Neither of us remember how it happened though.

TSS: SonKnuck Adventure 2 is the sequel of the first outing, obviously. What can we all expect from this game that’s improved?
SK: Better save system, better special effects, better than the 1st one. *whispers* Out of all honesty, I think the first one sucked when I look at this sequel.

TSS: What kind of feel are you trying to create with both of SKTeam’s fan games?
SK: A good feel.

TSS: There was another game at SAGE, Secrets:All Sonic, but that was announced as canned at the expo. Can you explain what the game was about and the basic plot and storyline?
SK: This question surprises me. This is one of my very old projects started back in 1999. The original idea was to recreate every stage from the classic sonic games from the SEGA Genesis. But also an attempt to show what I thought the secret zones (or beta) could have been if they had showed up in the final version of their originally game i.e. Hidden Palace, Wood Zone, Genocide City etc…. for more info look for this game in the “FanStuff” of TSSZ.

TSS: What makes SKTeam’s Fan Games different to all the others on show at SAGE?
SK: Honestly, I don’t think we are any different than anyone else doing fangames in clickteam products.

TSS: How long has development taken so far on S&K:A and SKA2?
SK: S&K:A = 2 weeks? Started production about 1 week before SAGE started. Reason I couldn’t get a demo ready so I released that short trailer. SonKnuck Adventure 2: For the first time in my life, I’ve been working more than a full year on a fangame (this game) and didn’t throw it away and I still expect to get it done!

TSS: Can you reveal exclusively to The Sonic Stadium roughly when the two titles are expected to be finished?
SK: I cannot say there is a set date for a release, but I can assure you that I HOPE to release both games in this upcoming summer.

TSS: Have there been any hitches in development? What’s been the biggest problem you have encountered while making S&K:A and SKA2?
SK: I didn’t meet any problems as of now with S&K:A since the development started just recently. However, for SKA2, it’s another story… all those bugs I get/got made/make me suffer! But I won’t give up! I promise!

TSS: How well do you think your fan games are progressing?
SK: They are progressing very well for once! I’m happy about it!

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the booth polling, against other games you’ve seen so far at SAGE?
SK: If I win, I stand on this chair I’m actually sitting on and throw myself head first on the wooden floor. Does this sarcasm answer your question?

TSS: Finally, which game looks most promising to you at the expo?
SK: If you mean one of my own games, I’d go with SKA2. However, if you mean someone else’s, I pick Sonic Epoch!

TSS: SonKnuck, head of SonKnuck Team, thank you for your time.
SK: You are welcome, it was my pleasure.

SAGE 4 Interview: Ian Bennett

Ian Bennett, aka B’man, is head of Team Infinity, currently in the process of making the ‘Shadow Returns’ Fan Game. Gave us a ton of stuff up for grabs in our recent SAGE Compo too. Kudos to him.

TSS: Ian Bennett, my son, glad to finally catch up to you.
IB: Great to see you again too Dread.

TSS: For those who don’t know, what is your Fan Game all about?
IB: Shadow Returns is the first game designed by Team Infinity (or TIsoft for short ^_^). Basically, it’s a possible sequel to Sonic Adventure 2, where Eggman rescues Shadow and brings him back to life. He also wipes his memory of helping Sonic and gives him super strength, expecting Shadow to work for him. Except Shadow can’t be controlled and escapes, and decides to take over the world, starting with Sonic! When we first got the plot from new member Ashura Knuckles it wasn’t a good plot, but we’ve worked it into something really original!

TSS: When did you get the idea for your games?
IB: Well for me it all started in June last year when I stumbled across the SFGHQ, I wanted to sequence midis for a team at the time, but when that didn’t work I got a copy of TGF and started on QTEzone, which sucked 😛 As for Shadow Returns, like I said the premise came from A.K. who’d just joined the team as a level designer. That was about 2 1/2 months ago.

TSS: I’ve noticed your latest title – Shadow Returns. Accompanied with the information for the game was the fact that Team Infinity was to make a flagship series with ‘SR’ the first part. Is this part of a series of Fan Games with different storylines, or will they all be based on Shadow? I reckon you may run outta ideas if that’s the case… ^_^
IB: Originally, we were going to have all separate games, starting with Sonic Light, a game designed by myself. However, SL never got past the engine test stage, so we started to concentrate on a game thought up by Cinos called Cinos Hai!, which was taken from the name of his sprite comic series Sonic Hai! Then we got the idea for SR, Sonic Hai! was going nowhere, so we scrapped it for that, and got the idea for Mobius – The Next Revolution. Cinos Hai is being redone as the second game, Enter Cinos, which will involve the Sonic characters meeting the characters from TIsoft (Cinos was always one for furry games :P).

TSS: What kind of feel are you guys trying to create with Shadow Returns?
IB: One word – speed. We’re trying to make it so players are confident to go blasting through the levels at top speed. Many people complain about the 320×240 resolution not having enough space to see enemies before you hit them, so I designed a camera script that lets you see further in front of you, just enough time for you to react to seeing something. Instead of trying to fix the never-slowing rolling, we set it to make you go even faster than running, while making you destroy any enemies you hit. The plan is to make you react rather than think, which is what Sonic, at least in the Megadrive (Genesis for all you Yanks) days, was all about.

TSS: What special features are there that make Team Infinity’s Fan Game stand out from the rest of the games on show at SAGE?
IB: There’s the new moves I mentioned, such as the Speedup Spin I explained in the last question, and the fact you can turn into Super Shadow in the first level! I’m pleased with the way players can set themselves little challenges, like trying to cancel (a skid which lets you go through enemies) through every enemy you see for example. We may add a bonus for doing it, since I find it very rewarding to do it successfully. Another thing we (well… I :P) think very highly of is the music, being a midi sequencer and composer myself I try to find music that works best. I’ve avoided Sonic, and looked to Playstation RPGs, Street Fighter games and even racing games on MegaCD for themes I edit myself to suit the game. Next off, we’re in the initial stages of developing online features! We won’t be doing something like Sonic Online, but we may have turn-based stuff over the net, or maybe chao races and chao swapping! Finally, and probably most obviously, is the SIX levels in the demo, which dwarfs most other demos’ counts, while still maintaining quality in levels!

TSS: How long has development taken so far on Shadow Returns?
IB: We started work on the first demo about two months ago, production has been very quick considering how much we’ve got done.

TSS: Can you reveal exclusively to The Sonic Stadium roughly when SR may be complete ready for the public?
IB: I plan to release SR at SAGE this September, and most of the team agree. May be earlier, may be later!

TSS: Any major hitches that you have encountered? What has been your biggest development problem up until this year’s SAGE?
IB: Hehe… major hitches… *sweatdrops* Well, it’s been annoying having to play through the whole demo all the time since the lives get screwed up any other way… we’ve also had problems with the player sticking in the walls, and sometimes indefinitely after being hit, and that you can’t go up steep hills, stopping abrubtly on normal ones when going fast. The dynamic menus were also a pain to make, and we had trouble finding music for Emerald Coast too, even looking through thousands of midis! However, by far the biggest problem as been the limitations of TGF. TGF has an active object limit of about 180, which we’re maxing out in every level, regularly corrupting levels and having to keep regular backups, it also means we can’t make the game as flashy as we might like. We were trying to put the game into Multimedia Fusion (which has a limit of tens of thousands), but the whole game screwed up then, so we’ve been forced to make the whole thing in TGF.

TSS: How well do you think Shadow Returns is progressing?
IB: Right now, it’s going like a dream. I’d planned 2 levels for the demo, but AK, Cinos, Alex Prower and I have been working our asses off. We’re planning about 5 zones for each character (5 characters in the game), so level-wise we’re about 8% through, but as a whole we’re about 20% done, what with the engine and everything. Right now AK and I are working on a patch for the demo which ties up most of the loose ends and bugs in it, once that’s released only the patched version and the patch itself will be available.

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the booth polling at the end of SAGE, against other games you’ve seen on the show so far?
IB: There’s a booth polling?! O.O lol… Well, many of the top name games have been no-shows demo/full game-wise here, such as Sonic SV2-TT, Sonic: Dark Horizon and Sonic: Time Attacked etc, which gives us more of a chance, but we still have a long way to go with games such as Bladerunners SX by TGF Team, Sonic Epoch, and especially Sonic Team Jr’s new site layout coinciding with the start of SAGE.

TSS: Can you let slip the next chapter in Team Infinity’s flagship series? How about your next Fan Game if you guys haven’t thought that far ahead…
IB: Well, I’ve already mentioned Mobius – The Next Revolution: Enter Cinos haven’t I? Well, our next fangame is in production by another team member, Azuriyuu, it’s a small arcade game called B’man Coin Killer. It was going to be released at SAGE, but he didn’t get it ready for my to tidy up and upload, so it’s not released yet.

TSS: Finally, out of all the Fan Games on show at SAGE, what seems the most promising to you?
IB: ShenSonic, without a doubt. It’s a great idea, put Shenmue into a Sonic game, it’s funny (like a black dreaded Knux playing Tom at the hotdog stand), it has great music, it has the capsule machines and arcade games, and it works! I personally didnt expect SimSonic to be able to make such an advanced game organisationally, but I’m glad he has. He also put the QTE howto I made for him to good use! *winks*

TSS: Ian Bennett, head of Team Infinity and developer of Shadow Returns, thank you for your time.
IB: No problemo Dread, nice to see ya again! Oh yeah and we’ll be releasing a patch fixing up a load of loose ends in the very near future!

SAGE 4 Interview: Twister

The main man of ‘Flaming Cheese’ (yum), Twister’s hard at work making Sonic Vs. MegaMan at the mo.

TSS: Twister, thanks for being here today.
T: Thanks for inviting me.

TSS: For those that do not know, what is your Fan Game all about?
T: Well, right now it’s just about Sonic and Megaman teams fighting. I have no major story yet.

TSS: When did you first get the idea for Sonic Vs. Mega Man?
T: When I read an FAQ about implementing characters and stages I decided to go around the internet looking for characters. I started downloading just about everything cartoonish. It went through a lot of name changes. Some early ones were “Cartoon Wars” and “SEGA vs Capcom”.

TSS: Sonic Vs. Mega Man seems to be a very big game, judging by the size of the demo. And the idea of a Sonic/MegaMan game, although original, doesn’t sound so inspired. What kind of special features will be implemented in order to shut the mouths of those that think the same thought? And for those that have not played the game, what genre of game can the public expect to play from a big title such as this?
T: First off, I’d like to say the size of the demo is well worth the play. Some things will be added later like story, intro and ending, and maybe more characters. People can most likely expect a fighting game out of this. Some may see action. I see both.

TSS: Are there any other projects underway at Flaming Cheese, or is Sonic V. Mega Man your major priority? If there is any secret games that you’ve been hiding until now, could you reveal a little about those here?
T: When I first got TGF I used a test cahracter called Bobo the Blob. I’ve decided to actually make that into a game. Some other games are Sonic: Battle against the Biolizard; your basic side scrolling platformer, Sonic’s Fun Land; a game chock full of nuthin’ but mini games, and Sonic Shooter; a shooting game (go figure).

TSS: How long has development on S.V.MM taken so far?
T: In total about 6 months.

TSS: Can you reveal exclusively to The Sonic Stadium roughly when the game may be complete for the public to play?
T: Possibly more characters, an actual titlescreen =P, and intro and ending movies.

TSS: What hitches have you encountered during the making of this game? What has been your biggest setback?
T: One of the biggest setbacks was lack of stuff to put in it. Thre was so little new stuff to put in SvMM almost got canned. One of the problems right now is system errors. I’ve got to fix that.

TSS: How well has SVMM progressed?
T: So far it has been going along pretty well. I’m getting some good ratings and I expect it will be a hit.

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the booth polling, against other games you’ve seen on show so far?
T: Well, I don’t think SvMM could live up to games like Sonic Robo Blast 2. But all I want is for people to enjoy it.

TSS: Finally, what’s the best game at SAGE that you have seen so far on this year’s expo?
T: There’s quite a bit of good ones. I think one of the best ones is Badnik Hunt by Gamersmix Gaming. It’s very addictive!

TSS: Twister, head of Flaming Cheese Productions, thank you for your time.

SAGE 4 Interview: Ryoku Faita

Ryoku Faita leads Team Exodus, and is heading a project Fan Game involving all the members of SFGHQ. Bizarre…

TSS: Ryoku, it’s a pleasure to speak to you today.
RF: Thanks. The pleasure’s mine too.

TSS: For those who do not know, tell us the most you can of Furry Exodus. Can you let slip any special plot info not released yet in the teaser movie?
RF: Furry Exodus is going to be a game with as many SFGHQ furries jam packed into it as we can. The playable characters will be from Team Exodus and we will have cameos and other thing of the SFGHQers. I can’t give you any special info, for it is a secret.

TSS: When did you first get the idea for Furry Exodus?
RF: Well first I was rebuilding Team Exodus. I was just gonna have us redo the recently deceased Sonic Exodus. But I had an idea that a furry game would be really cool! I know it’s been done, but not many have been made as far as I can tell. So I decided to let the SFGHQers decide and they started posting furries right away, and that’s how we got started on Furry Exodus.

TSS: Not only have you gone ahead with the development of a Fan Game involving the ‘crew’ of SFGHQ, but there has been word of another game by you called Project: Blue. Can you explain to The Sonic Stadium a little more on this title?
RF: Project: Blue is an idea I’ve been playing with for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately for SFGHQ, it’s not going to be a Sonic game. It’s going to be a Megaman Battle Network game, but with custom sprites and it will be a side scroller, unlike the normal MMBN.

TSS: Has work on Project: Blue already started or are you waiting to complete Furry Exodus first?
RF: We are still creating the sprites. We will probably have both projects going at the same time.

TSS: What special features are there that make Furry Exodus (and Project: Blue, if you’re willing to unveil any more) different from the other games on show at SAGE?
RF: Well of course P:B is different because it’s not even a Sonic game! LOL…but I don’t know how Furry Exodus will be somewhat unique besides the fact that it is made with the SFGHQers in it.

TSS: How long has development taken so far on Furry Exodus?
RF: We are currently working on the first level, school sucks and it’s slowing us down.

TSS: Can you reveals exclusively to The Sonic Stadium roughly when Furry Exodus will be complete and ready for the world to play it?
RF: Unfortunately we don’t have a specific date, but we hope to release it sometime in Q4 of 2002.

TSS: Any major hitches you have encountered with any of your titles in the making? Spill the guts on your biggest development curse to date. Please?
RF: School. Definately school. It’s brought developement WAY back. Luckily I have Spring Break this March 15-25.

TSS: How well do you think your Fan Games are progressing?
RF: Not so well because, as stated before, school is getting in the way. But education is essential and it must be done. (did I just SAY THAT????)

TSS: How do you guys see your chances winning the booth polling, against other games you’ve seen on SAGE so far?
RF: Since development has slowed, not so good. But we’re crossing our fingers.

TSS: Finally, what’s the most promising looking game you’ve seen so far at SAGE?
RF: I don’t really know. I also don’t want to sound biased. I think they are all entertaining, to say the least.

TSS: Ryoku Faita, head of Team Exodus, thanks a million for your time.

SAGE 4 Interview: SimSonic

SimSonic is a member of Magitek Software, but has his own solo project with ShenSonic – a Sonic ‘spin’ on Ryo Hazuki’s Dreamcast outing. He also contributed to our SAGE Compo prize. Nice chap.

TSS: SimSonic, a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak to you.
SS: The pleasure’s all mine. ^_^

TSS: What is your Fan Game all about?
SS: Well, it is simply Sonic styled version of Shenmue made withMultimedia Express.

TSS: Obviously, as the name suggests, ShenSonic is basically a rip off Sonic version of Shenmue. Why did you feel the need to do this? Was it just funny at the time, or do you feel there are aspects in Shenmue that a Sonic Fan Game could benefit from?
SS: Umm…I was in my friends place and we were playing Shenmue. Then had a idea of what would it be like if it wouldnt be Ryo…but Sonic! My friend said that it was a funny idea. And I thought so too. The plus is that there isnt many Sonic RPG’s and I think that I have already made something new…

TSS: When did you first get the idea for ShenSonic?
SS: In my friends place while playing Shenmue.

TSS: What kind of feel are you trying to create with this game in particular?
SS: The funny feel of playing Shemue that has Sonic World’s characters in it…and the feel of something new in fan-gaming.

TSS: How will the different features work exactly? In Shenmue, Ryo Hazuki has special events such as fighting scenes and Quick Timer Events. How will you be able to replicate these in a 2D RPG, or are you planning to feature unique elements, and not bother with QTEs or fighting?
SS: The Demo2 already has two simple QTE`s. So QTE`s will defenitely be big part of ShenSonic, like they are important in Shenmue. The free fighting…I dont know yet. Mayby something Sonic styled in it…but Sonic would be pretty fun using fists, wouldnt he?

TSS: I’ve noticed one of the mini games on offer was a race between Sonic and Knuckles. How many mini games will there be available in the final version, and will they take on a different style to the standard RPG element? For example, the race between Sonic & Knuckles could be 2D platformer, whereas the normal game as Sonic Hazuki is 2D RPG based.
SS: There are 4 mini-games in Demo2. And more is coming! Dont know the exact number yet though…and they will be a bit different from the normal game.

TSS: Are there any special features that make your game special or different from other games on show at SAGE? What about features that you are especially proud of?
SS: Well, the simple thing that it is RPG already makes it different. Almost all of the others are platformers. The only competitor is MAD2 and it is a…you know, not so serious RPG…and others dont have shops, collectibles, save/load…and so on 🙂

TSS: Shenmue on the Dreamcast was very interactive. As ShenSonic is a 2D version of this, how interactive will the game be? Will you be able to ‘play’ your DC in Hazuki’s home (obviously not any replicated DC games, mock up ones, such as a very small Sonic Adventure 2D or something) for example?
SS: You can at this time switch the lights off/on and such. But the onlyplace in Shenmue which is fully interactive is Hazuki Residence. So the 2D shouldnt be a problem…And maybe you can play DC later on…

TSS: How long has development taken so far – hopefully not as long as the real Shenmue. ^_^
SS: No it sure hasnt, yet…;) Well it has taken a bit further than the Demo2…not much though. But I have now made almost all of the basic things.

TSS: Any major hitches you have encountered? Spill on your biggest development problem so far. Go on, please? 🙂
SS: The first one was Save/load…and then all the rest: eg. QTE’s. But I have managed to make all of them.

TSS: How well do you think ShenSonic is progressing?
SS: It could be processing a bit faster. But Im lazy…And I have to have inspiration, you cant make it goodwithout it.

TSS: Can you exclusively reveal to The Sonic Stadium when ShenSonic may be finished by?
SS: Even I dont know it yet…but lets see later.

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the booth polling, against other entries here at SAGE?
SS: It will be hard against all those great games…and the fact that that how do people react seeing a Sonic RPG. Most of them are platforms.

TSS: Finally, what’s the best game at SAGE on show, in your opinion?
SS: Sonic Madventure 2 and Thirdscape are good, but Demo2 is the game that I would want to play. But it is made by me…

TSS: SimSonic, developer of ShenSonic, thank you for your time to take this exclusive interview.
SS: No prob, Im a bit flattered you know. Long live Sonic!

SAGE 4 Interview: Matt the Yak

Matt the Yak seems to be the only member of his team, Gameplay. Has a wacky mind, and brings this out in his admirably senseless plots in his Fan Games. We catch up with him during SAGE 2002.

TSS: Wassup, Yak-man? Cheers for the interview time.
MtY: S’OK.

TSS: Three projects on the go eh, Matt? Got your work cut out for you then? ^_^ How do you manage to handle three projects at once?
MtY: By being stupendously lazy and never working on any of them ^_^ Seriously, I do a bit of whatever game I think I know how to continue at the moment. Next I’ll probably make the next level of Stash.

TSS: For the people that do not know, what are your Fan Games all about? Can you let slip on some details of the plot, seeings as there was a lack of storyline details at SAGE… you just like teasing us don’t you? ^_^
MtY: WT3GB _has_ no storyline. That would be an unnecessary obstacle to pure silliness. Basically, Team3 (a boss in the original WTGB game) decide to go and beat up Sonic, and from there… who knows? I certainly don’t. BeyondSonic – my original plotline is slightly out the window ‘cos it now reads like an SA2 ripoff. Haven’t written a new one yet, apart from Sonic is still missing. I’m kinda writing it as I make each level. Stash – Use the Sonic Adventure plot. Really.

TSS: Speaking of teasing, can’t remember who sent it in, but a hoax of what would be the WT3GB Title Screen, playing on a Game Boy Advance was sent into The Sonic Hoaxers Club. This was months ago, well before the run up to this year’s SAGE. If that was indeed a sneak peek from yourself, that was rather cheeky wasn’t it?
MtY: ‘Tweren’t me. The same person submitted the hoax to Sonic Vegemite.

TSS: Much of your dialogue in your games are cheeky too, some may say. Are you guys just the downright cheeky sort?
MtY: Yes! How come you didn’t already know that? Are you stupid, or something? ;P

TSS: OK, when did you first get the idea for each of the games you’re developing?
MtY: BeyondSonic: I made an AWFUL demo of BeyondSonic for the competition in SAGE1. Since then, it’s just been getting re-engineered. Stash: Can’t remember, to be honest. I think while I was waiting interminably for the Australian release of Chu Chu Rocket. WT3GB: January, a year after the WTGB:SE release date.

TSS: What makes your Fan Games special or different from any of the others at SAGE?
MtY: Er… they’re silly? Stash is a puzzle game, so at least it’s not the same platform crud. Beyond has forced-scrolling in it’s static engine. WT3GB has in-level character swapping.

TSS: How long has development taken so far – on all projects?
MtY: Years! I just plug away at them whenever I have some spare time. If I was getting paid for this, all three’d be done by now.

TSS: Any special features you are proud of?
MtY: See my answer 2 questions up. All of it. Plus, my static engines keep getting better ‘n’ better.

TSS: Have you encountered any problems while developing? You can tell me, please?
MtY: Writing the static engine. I hate, hate, HATE, collision detection.

TSS: How well do you think your Fan Games are progressing?
MtY: Pro-gress? Huh? Is this a… place name, or something?

TSS: How do you see your chances winning the booth polling in SAGE, against the other games on show?
MtY: Slim. But there. I reckon I could come in at least the top 10.

TSS: Finally, what’s the best or most promising game you have clapped eyes at this year’s SAGE?
MtY: Haven’t been to all the booths yet (there’s a lot of them this year! Kudos to AJ and Blaze!) but… mebbe the new SRB2 demo, Sonic SV2:TT, and MADventure 2.

TSS: Matt the Yak, head of GamePlay and webby of Sonic Vegemite, thanks for your time.
MtY: You mean I can go now? XP Seriously, my pleasure.