It's time to interview some of our own talented community members! Sonic Neo is well known at the Sonic Stadium Message Board, and usually helps out with people's problems with Fan Games and the like. We have a chat about his activity on the forum, as well as his latest projects.
TSS: Dread here, chatting to Sonic Neo. Neo, thanks for being here today.
SN: You're welcome, glad to be here.
TSS: Now, for those people who do not know about you, what is your role in the Sonic online community?
SN: Well, in the Sonic online community I act as one of the "agony uncles" for fan game creators. People come to me for help with game creation programs such as Games Factory and Click n Create.
Sonic Neo is known for his fan games and hoaxes.
TSS: Cool, so you help people sort out their problems in making Fan Games. How did you learn how to use programs such as TGF and C&C in the first place?
SN: Well I was first introduced into the world of game creation by my good friend Ace Spark. He taught me the basics and from that I expanded on what I knew to make simple games. I also downloaded how-to's from various sites to help my technique.
TSS: What made you decide that you were mainly going to help people with their problems? Was it the realisation that maybe too many people couldn't get the hang of the programs?
SN: Yes, it was. These are quite hard programs to understand but once you get the hang of them things become easier. For example, on the Sonic Stadium Message Board (SSMB), Sonic Guy and Beta Sonic were planning to make a fan game. They got people excited but then they realised that they didn't know how to make one, so I decided to help them.
TSS: *Sighs* Whadda nice guy. ^_^ Seeings as you are so familiar with Fan Games and creating them, are you making a Fan Game of your own, on the side?
SN: As a matter of fact I am. Its called Sonic Neo: Chaos Island. I made lots of friends at the SSMB and I asked if anyone wanted to be in it - now most of the main characters in the game are users from the forum. It's going to be a side project; I have exams and coursework to focus on, so it might take a while... but I'll get there.
TSS: See, our Message Board helps everyone So, can you exclusively reveal any of the story of the game, or what it's about?
SN: Well basically, you play as Sonic to begin with. But, as usual, Dr Robotnik is up to his old tricks... this time, he finally bags the hedgehog. He messes around with his genes and something weird happens. Sonic goes all weird and everything goes haywire in Robotnik's lab. Sonic escapes after having "Neo" tattooed into his arm by the Doctor. He bursts out of the side of the Flying Egglab and air-glides down to Chaos Island, where many other of Robotnik's experiments have gone to.
TSS: Sounds creepy... how far has Sonic Neo: Chaos Island been in development for?
SN: It's not been going on for long, maybe a month or two.
TSS: Yet we have already seen a movie of the game, and it's looking sweet. Amazing. You haven't just been known for Fan Games though, have you? Just recently you've been showcasing Sonic hoaxes of your own...
SN: Yes, when I started out in the community I was a hoaxer. I have around 50-60 of them archived somewhere... Anyway, after an incident on the forum I stopped making them for a while, but now I'm back into it. I have also been using the Games Factory to make a special project focused on hoaxes. A slideshow if you will, on hoaxes that can be viewed using Vitalize (a program that integrates with Internet Explorer to make the size of games smaller and easier to load and play).
TSS: Besides Fan Games, you've also been making a lot of other fan-creation things yourself. Do you make any other stuff, like Fan Art, Fan Fics or Comics?
SN: To be honest, I don't actually see the point in fan fics, but I do like drawing Sonic - although I'm not that good. I wouldn't like to think I hogged the "fan" genre by doing everything to do with it. I bet I sound really big-headed.
TSS: No, not at all, no more than me... Back to Sonic Neo: Chaos Island, can players expect anything special from the game? Also, do you have a set date on when the game will be released, despite only being in development for a month or two?
SN: I can't reveal a release date, although it won't be out for a while yet. Special features? It will be different from the usual old-skool style 2D platforming. There will be a mix of side-scrolling, puzzle, RPG, shooting and other gaming elements so it will be a game to remember ^_^ The storyline will also thicken as the game plays out.
TSS: Are you worried that mixing so many different elements may ruin the game? This has happened in games like this before - original ideas, but ruined by odd gameplay. Do you have a plan to get around this, perhaps getting testers to play the game?
SN: Yes, I have sent out demos of the different styles to people through instant messaging, such as UltimateVG for example. His comments, along with other people's, are whats going to help me improve it.
TSS: What compelled you to start the whole Fan Gaming thing? You told me how you got into it, but what was the most striking thing about the aspect that made you go "Yeah, I wanna do that"?
SN: Well, Ace Spark sent me a demo of his game "Sonic Legacy" and I was like "WOW HOW DID YOU DO THAT?". I'd never seen Sonic in anything else other than the official Genesis and Game Gear games - it was unreal at the time 'cos I didn't know how he did it. When I found out how I just wanted to do it.
TSS: When you do discover your first fan game on the Internet, when you never knew the kind existed, the experience is unbelievable, I agree. You started making Sonic Fan Stuff because you are a fan of Sonic, have you always been a fan of the blue one, and when was your first experience of the hedgehog?
SN: My first experience? My birthday, when I got a Master System... it was great because it was totally new at the time. Then I moved on to the Genesis when the real addiction began...
TSS: About your hoaxes, where do you get your ideas from? There's a lot of funny and interesting ones there....
SN: My ideas? I don't exactly know where I get my ideas from. Mostly I try to just make them funny. I try to make them relate to recent events and films too. Mickey-takes also go down well.
TSS: Reminds me of that South Park episode of David Blaine the other night...
SN: Yup, I couldn't stop laughing at that.
TSS: Anyway, on top of the Fan Games and Hoaxes-*twaaaa*, you also make a lot of sprites. Do you make them just for fun, or have they a purpose too?
SN: I make sprites for fun, but sometimes I do them for other peoples side-pics etc. Sometimes I make sprites for my hoaxes, like the Terminator hoax. That's good fun too.
TSS: 'Super Best Fools - twaaa'. Aaaaaanyway, I'm going mad, so onto the next question. What are your ambitions in the Online Sonic Community, that you want to achieve online through what you do?
SN: I want to achieve online supremacy... Haha, only joking. I just want to be remembered, I suppose. I don't want to be forgotten and just have people know that games exist. I want them to know that those games were made by Neo.
TSS: Do you have a website where you showcase all of your sprites and hoaxes?
SN: I used too. Geocities found out that I was leeching, files and they closed my account. Bastards. Although most of my hoaxes are being hosted by your [site] anyway... on the Stadium Fan Community.
TSS: Finally, do you have anything planned in the future that a little teasing of the public wouldn't go amiss?
SN: You know what, I don't! Although you might see me on the designing team of Sonic Adventure 3 or 4 if all goes to plan...
TSS: The online supremacy is kicking in already, huh? ^_^
SN: LOL, I don't know... I just have set my sights set high.
TSS: Haha. Well, we're getting nowhere fast, so it's time to bring this interview to a close. Sonic Neo, it was great having a chat with you.
SN: Thanks for having me, Dread.