The TSS Spring Clean

springcleanFor the last couple of years, The Sonic Stadium has been romanced with this idea that the Sonic Community and SEGA could be much closer than it was back in, say, 2004. And that idea certainly had a happy ending – SEGA are more receptive to what people are saying than they were before.

But when I first approached SEGA Europe and opened those metaphorical doors, I figured (maybe as a selfish concept of ‘reward’ or something) that TSS could be the ‘vessel’ that helps cross the gap between official and unofficial. That was a notion that formed some sort of success throughout 2005 to 2008, but today it’s different.

Sonic City’s Blognik now speaks directly to the fans and holds the official competitions, while Sonic Wrecks picks up any off-cuts/unused material and puts that in its Depository, making TSS’ role in the ‘gap-crossing’ venture sort of pointless.

Instead, this website appears to have become less of a fansite by definition (with information and substance) into more of a disposable news blog, and while I’ve tried to shirk that by introducing new writers which have brought new regular features, it’s something that still sticks in my mind.

So as you may have noticed, the site’s changed. Again. We’re taking it back to the old school a little bit here – some of you oldies will recognise the majority of this design as TSS’ layout in 2007. I’ve taken that and upgraded its resolution while changing some bits about to keep it fresh. Hit the jump for a full explanation of what’s in the pipeline (as you can see, some bits are still a bit janky, like the header image repeating itself etc) and let me know what you think so far of these changes. Continue reading The TSS Spring Clean

So, who wants to go to the Summer of Sonic 2009?

6th March Update: All comments have been wiped with the site’s recent server crash. We still have a count of all the people who took the time to write a comment showing their interest. So as not to mess up our ballpark figure, if you have already written in this post before the server wipe please do not so so again. If you do, please let us know you have already posted before. Thanks!

Last year, The Sonic Stadium held, with support from SEGA Europe and Sonic Wrecks, the world’s first Sonic the Hedgehog fan convention in London’s Covent Garden. With a playable demo of Sonic Chronicles, the Guinness Book of Records adjudicating Sonic 2 times, a special song from Dreams of an Absolution singer Lee Brotherton, signings from Sonic the Comic’s Nigel Kitching and a performance from TJ Davis and Richard Jacques (!), the Summer of Sonic metamorphasised overnight from a quaint little British meetup to an internationally recognised, had-to-go-there event.

And as you may already know, we’re doing it all again this year. Only bigger.

I can reveal right now that the confirmed date for the next Summer of Sonic will be Saturday 29th August 2009. The venue has not been finalised, but it will be situated in London, UK.

What I want to know is how many of you will come to SoS 09 on this date.

The reasons I ask this are pretty straightforward, if you knew that we had to turn many people away from the event in 2008. The demand far outstripped the capacity of the poor community hall that we had hired for the day. In a space suited for 200, the Dragon Hall Covent Garden saw 300 Sonic-crazed people flock through their doors. Had we not restricted entry on the Summer of Sonic website, and fully promoted the event in the media as we originally planned, who knows how many people would have showed up.

So what we’re doing here is getting a sample of interested people so we (that’s the Summer of Sonic organisation staff – consisting of myself and AAUK of SEGA Europe for now) can get an idea of how big a hall we can squeeze out of our budget. All you need to do is post a comment stating how many in your household are able to come to this event on the 29th August.

While I can’t reveal anything in regards to what will actually be there this year, here’s some information that will whet your appetite – Jun Senoue knows of Summer of Sonic. Richard Jacques said he would happily attend another SoS. You couldn’t stop Lee Brotherton from getting involved again. Sonic Team’s reaction to SoS 2008 was also reported to be very positive, and SEGA Europe as a whole are both very keen to be more involved yet very respectful as to this being about a fan gathering rather than a buck generator.

This, coupled with the success of Covent Garden last year, should be an indication that there will be at least several things at SoS 2009 to get super-excited about.

So – London, United Kingdom. Saturday 29th August 2009. Who’s able to come? Spread the word!

SEGASonic Radio is Back! Sort Of!

Oh, how long have you yearned for that fix of live broadcasting that only the SEGASonic Radio elite can provide, eh? HOW LONG. Well, a month and a bit actually, since the ‘Zone Radio Network went belly-up on us and never quite made it back. Poor little budgie. But fear not, because through the power of B’man we have taken ‘de law’ into our own hands and taken SSR back. So SSR is on local servers, or something. It’s also in OGG format. Ooh, Open Source tastes fruity doesn’t it?

SSR LiVECASTS will resume soon, as all it required on the part of our DJs is a little tweaking of certain settings on their broadcast software. I’m currently making a new SEGASonic Radio website for DJs to let everyone know when their show’s going to be delayed for the seventh week running too, but that’s not ready yet. For now, enjoy a decent (for once) quality stream using the following link! You may need a program that can run OGG, like VLC or Winamp.

The Sonic Hour will have it’s final show of the series this Sunday at 6pm GMT. It was going to be a month and a bit ago, but… well, look what happened. Be sure to hit the IRC Chat room (also linked in the top of any TSS page) and join us for our final hurrah of the year!

P.S. Yes, we didn’t have the Sonic Site Awards this year. Did you notice? Serious question.

TSS: A Whole New Approach

Welcome to The Sonic Stadium. Place looks a bit different doesn’t it? Yes, this is what we’ve been up to for the last couple of weeks – updating your favourite Sonic site to be a bit more ‘hip’ and ‘happening’. Whatever that means these days. Kids, tsch.

So why the change? Put simply, for the last two years, TSS has been a floundering Sonic ship – while we certainly worked hard to become one of the most popular fansites online, my university and other commitments over the years had put something of a hold on adding updates of any real worth to the site (having said that, we have been lucky in getting stuff like interviews with Yojiro Ogawa, Simon Jeffery and Lee Brotherton so we haven’t been sitting on our thumbs the whole time). There have also been many things I’ve wanted to post about Sonic but pretty much couldn’t due to the way the site was designed and how the front page was dealt and all that jazz.

We did have a new TSS code base in the making – you’ll probably have heard me going on about it for the last two years. That was a system B’man and I started working on from the ground up, but again, other commitments meant the thing was going nowhere, and as a result TSS suffered. A few months back I thought it was time to can the bespoke script we were making and just make do with a pre-packaged one and add our own bells and whistles to them. Continue reading TSS: A Whole New Approach

Weeee’re Baaaaaaaa-aaaaccckkkk!

Well, it’s a fabulous honour to say “Welcome back to The Sonic Stadium!” It’s been a long three/four months, but it looks like through thick and thin, we’ve managed to find our feet. And it’s all worth it in the end – before we crashed we provided thousands of people with Sonic goodness. And now we’re back to provide even more!

But things have changed somewhat. The navigation bar will be different depending on what page you are on, and the main sectors of TSS will show up just like they are now on this page, whenever you’re at the root of TSS. This is to kill the navigation problem that people were having – if you get lost, there are links to the Site Map just below the “TSS Network” button in the header, so hopefully TSS is easier and more fun to surf around. Continue reading Weeee’re Baaaaaaaa-aaaaccckkkk!