The Sonic Amateur Games Expo Returns Next Saturday

The Sonic Amateur Games Expo—or SAGE—is finally returning for another round this year, as novice and aspiring developers from all over the web come together and share their efforts with the Sonic community at large. It is at SAGE where people enjoyed a wide variety of fan-made games and ROM hacks, such as Sonic: Before the Sequel, Sonic Time Twisted, and Sonic 2: Dimps Edition, or some intentionally awful and crudely put-together monstrosities at RAGE (Really Amateur Games Expo), which is also hinted to return.

Among this year’s lineup is the open-world 3D fan-game Green Hill Paradise which took the Internet by storm over the past summer, a 2.5D sidescroller with Sonic Incursion, and a Smash Bros. clone with a Sonic Boom coat of paint called Sonic Boom and the Smash Crew. There are too many promising gems to namedrop all at once, but you can check out the SAGE 2016 trailer below to see more fan-games in action!

Continue reading The Sonic Amateur Games Expo Returns Next Saturday

SAGE Round Up Discussion

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESfrFleRwRA[/youtube]
or download the mp3 from here.

The Sonic Amateur Gaming Expo has once again come to a close, so what better time to discuss our favourite games. And who better to join the discussion than Lewis aka SonicYoda, reviewer and affiliate of this years SAGE event. Continue reading SAGE Round Up Discussion

Sonic Amateur Games Expo 2014 is a go!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVzyVkAf_A8[/youtube]

It’s that time of year again! SAGE 2014 Act 1 has begun, the central hub for fangame developers to show off their work to the Sonic community. From February 23rd to March 1st, you can head on over to the SAGE website and try out a ton of fangames. This year has a plethora of titles to try including the Sonic CD-esque Sonic Time Twisted, the 3D Sonic Lost Adventure, and a game by a member of our community, Shirou Emiya, Digimon Heroic Battle Spirit – yep, it’s not just limited to Sonic titles!

You can head over to the SAGE website now to try these and tons more – plus, members of the SAGE team are doing a livestream showcasing the various entries to the expo this year. What’re you waiting for? Go go go!

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.

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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.

Spencer Nilsen, US Sonic CD Composer, Chatting at SAGE

At 2 PM EST this Thursday, July 30th, visitors of the SAGE 2009 chat room will have the opportunity to talk to esteemed video game and movie composer Spencer Nilsen.

Spencer is famous for his SEGA CD soundtracks for Jurassic Park and Batman Returns, but most noted for his work on the US version of the Sonic CD soundtrack.

Join the SAGE chat room with the client provided on the site.  Alternatively, you can use a chat client and join “irc.rizon.net #sagexpo.”

Project Mettrix Becomes First Sonic Fangame On Wii

blz-exampleStealth is the master of bomb-dropping.  To list a few, he has ported Tweaker’s Sonic 1 Megamix hack to the SEGA CD, tricked morons with news tips, and released a port of Sonic 1 for the Game Boy Advance that doesn’t suck.  At this year’s SAGE though, Stealth has outdone himself.  His long-time project, Sonic: Project Mettrix, has been successfully been ported to the Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation Portable.

Project Mettrix uses Stealth’s “E02 Engine,” a multi-platform game development tool for 2D games.  Mettrix has been around for quite some time, but it is really flourishing with the E02 treatment.  Now, you can play and create custom levels for Mettrix on your Wii and PSP.

Those with homebrew enabled Wiis should download this game right away and experience this momentous occasion.

VISIT E02’s BOOTH AT SAGE 2009!

Sonic Amateur Games Expo 2009 Now Open!

sage_inviteThe 2009 Sonic Amateur Games Expo is celebrating its 14th showing and does not disappoint yet again with 40+ fangames for you to play.  InstantSonic, KTZ, and the members of Sonic Fan Games HQ have been working for months to put this annual event on for all of you, so head on over there and have some fun!

Aside from the fangames, there are many cool events to check out.  The SAGE chat room is always happenin’ and ridiculous.  An awesome chat client is provided on the site, but can be accessed through programs like mIRC (irc.rizon.net, #sagexpo).  In the chat room, you will be able to talk to Mike Pollock, the voice of Doctor Eggman, and Tom Payne, the level artist for Sonic 2.  Check the “Events” tab to see when they pop in the chat room.

Also, the ever-entertaining SAGEcasts are broadcast from a flash player on the site.  Sonic community members from all over will be broadcasting their music, thoughts, and sketches throughout the week.

The biggest online Sonic community event is waiting for you to come on over and enjoy yourself!  It runs from July 25th through the 31st.

ENTER SAGE 2009

Get Your Hands On “Sonic Robo Blast 2,” Version 2.0

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Sonic Robo Blast 2 has been in development for 11 years.  To think that we’d be playing a “version 2.0” makes me feel old, despite me only recently turning 22 years old.  A day before the 2009 Sonic Amateur Games Expo opens, Sonic Team Jr., the game’s developers, have released this new version, three years after the last demo.

Version 2.0 has a completable, polished, yet unfinished single player campaign.  The team’s leader, AJ Freda, has assured that there are so many improvements to the game that “to list them would be exhausting.”  With this release, however, AJ will be leaving the team and turning over control to his other members.  He is expecting a child soon, so we in the community wish him well on fatherhood and his future endeavors.  It certainly is the end of an era.

Download the SRB2 v2.0 Torrent

Visit the SRB2 Homepage

Summer Fun With SAGE This Weekend

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It’s a strange time to be in the Sonic community at the moment, particularly if you run a fansite. For years, we’ve been able to post – as webmasters on TSS, Retro, SFGHQ, CulT or any other site – our thoughts and feelings of being Sonic fans, and not have to worry about possible tabloid ramifications in doing so. Running a website such as this is a hobby, nothing more, so personal feelings are surely going to be thrown into the mix. But these days there’s less of a feeling of community due to nobody talking to one another – perhaps as a result of such prejudicial fear.

It’s been harder for the poor guys behind the Sonic Amateur Games Expo this year, who are now the new targets of such unwanted gossip. With festivities kicking off tomorrow, there have been fangame creators who have had some trouble in getting demos online, or in other cases pulling out of the show entirely. Such activity isn’t new; as a dedicated (and at times, official) coverage-provider of the SAGE event, I know that such bad situations are part and parcel of a hobby activity that dedicated fans undertake in their spare time. Sometimes work gets you down, you have a kid, money’s tight, or some social event happens in your life, and you just need to put your fan project on hold for a bit. With such trivial matters being highlighted as headline news though, it’s even less fun for those fangame creators involved.

This next week is all about celebrating Sonic fangames, and the people behind those projects who put their free time into it all. They don’t owe us anything. They’re hardly obligated to even finish their games (and many who set out to make a fangame seldom do). SAGE was created to be a structured exposition on the year’s best fangames, but again it’s not an obligation to show your game. Fangames aren’t a business, it’s a hobby. Some of can forget that we’re only in this community to have some fun.

So when SAGE opens, people should all just kick back and enjoy that hobby, whether those people be the creators showing off screens, videos and demos of their labours of love; or the visitors that play, watch and get impressed with the work that one or two people at home are capable of achieving.

Tomorrow, TSS will be covering SAGE, and we’ll be in it to have some fun. Come and join us, or play the games yourself when the site opens at http://www.sagexpo.org/

SAGE Sneak Peak: “Sonic Attitude!”

sonicattitude

Above is a screenshot of a game coming to SAGE ’09 in 2 weeks, called Sonic Attitude by SFGHQer Endri Lauson.  The game is a 2D sidescroller in full 3D.  LOOK AT THE PRETTY.  LOOK AT IT.

Endri originally designed Attitude for the Nintendo DS, but the recent screenshots that have been coming in have been for the PC version.  Endri built the PC version from the ground up in his own custom software development kit:

One thing that I would like to note is that I redefined the engine for the PC version. The PC version will now feature a brand new engine entirely customized by me myself. I like to call it, “Attitude Engine”. It’s an entire SDK for developing Sonic games for PC. In fact, you can you it to develop other types games but Sonic games, but the main sources included are for Sonic in general.  The main features in the engine I belive is SSAO and almost-with-no-pre-calculations-at-all Global Illumination.

To play the 2008 tech demo of Sonic Attitude, check out Endri’s website (translated from Portuguese) and follow the progress Endri makes on the game at the official thread at Sonic Fan Games HQ.

SAGE Sneak Peak: “Sonic: Time Twisted”

Sonic: Time Twisted has been a mainstay at SAGE since 2006 and, if you remember my review of it on the Stadium front page last summer, I was let down by how little of it had changed over the years and how the awkward design choices ruined the experience.  Well, it looks like Overbound, the game’s creator, has addressed all the issues with his project and is looking to deliver at SAGE 2009.  Below is a video of the new hotness:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK0bkBilQ2M[/youtube]

The 2009 Sonic Amateur Games Expo runs July 25th through the 31st at “http://sagexpo.org.”  It is the biggest online community event that showcases the best Sonic fan projects around.

UPDATE: Since people decided to be silly and troll the comments box with “NEW SKOOL RULZ,” Overbound has now made sure to cater to your audience.  You can thank him later:

SAGE ’09: Submit Awful Sonic Fanfics for Musical

Last year, during a SAGE radio broadcast (SAGEcast), video game music man, DOM (in his “Andross” voice filter), and other expo goers teamed up to do a dramatic performance of one of the worst Sonic fan-fictions ever, “Jurassic Park and the Sonic Crew.”  This year, they’re doing it again and they need your help.  Find or write an awful Sonic fan-fiction and submit it to InstantSonic, the director of SAGE ’09.

This show is hilarious and it will be again.  Trust me.  If you have a terrible idea, write it down and submit.

Submit an abomination of fiction to “sageradiomania AT gmail DOT com.”

Listen to last year’s “Jurassic Park and the Sonic Crew” recording.

Exclusive: 14th Annual Sonic Amateur Games Expo DATED!

A long-standing community tradition run by Sonic Fan Games HQ, the Sonic Amateur Games Expo is an online showcase of the dozens of Sonic fan projects in the works.  This year’s event will be run by community oldbie, InstantSonic, along with KTZ.  The show will be a week-long celebration from July 25th through the 31st. With the show a little over three months away, that gives prospective participators enough time to whip up a project and a booth (website).

Submit all booth registrations to sageboothmania@gmail.com, along with a game demo to be displayed in a SAGE Attraction video.

Submit all SAGEcast radio show concepts to sageradiomania@gmail.com. If you DO NOT send InstantSonic a concept of what your show will be called and what it will be about, you will not be able to broadcast. Also, try to limit all broadcasts to 30 minutes to an hour.

The show will feature regulars like Sonic: The Fated Hour, Sonic Nexus, Emerald Ties: Crossing Fates, Sonic Nebulous, and much more!  I am truly optimistic for this year’s show.

Read up on the last few years of the expo at Sonic Retro’s Wiki. Ah, 2007… so many memories for me as director…

Sonic Stadium is your place for all kinds of positive, community happenings.  Stick with us and you’ll find more fun things to do with that blue hedgehog who happens to run fast.

Play Sonic Nexus

Yeah, the demo is here. Once we missed SAGE, we took our dear sweet time, but now it is here to make your Labor Day even more awesome. You can play two acts of Sunset Shore and that’s about it. However, the level is sprawling with branching paths, so it warrants a few playthroughs for you to see everything. Nexus truly illustrates what a person can do in the brand new Retro-Sonic interface, so we hope it is a clear too you indication that this summer was a long, time-consuming process on making a brand new iteration of the engine. We also felt that we should take our time in creating our ideal product, as a hasty release definitely will piss people off (see: ProSonic). It was time well spent.

Secondly, you can record your best time with screen capture software and upload it to YouTube for a chance win $15. Yes! All you have to do is post your time attack run as a video response to the contest “hub” video, WHICH IS RIGHT HERE!

Finally, I encourage everybody to read our Nexus website and development blog, as the team and I will be updating it frequently, Smash Bros. Dojo style! You’ll see new screenshots, features, gameplay videos, and updates at least once a week, if not more. New music will be added to the on-site player periodically, as well. The community has always been left in the dark when it comes to Nexus’ development, as I only have been shedding light on details around SAGE time, but now, you can read about it year round. The website is essentially the game’s manual, so it will have all the goods. The first feature on the site is “Meet That Badnik,” where we go in-depth on one of Robotnik’s mechanical mercenaries. You can expect articles of similar quality coming down the pipe.

So, without further adieu…

HEAD ON OVER TO THE NEXUS WEBSITE AND DOWNLOAD THE LABOR DAY DEMO!

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 2008 Interview: Richard Jacques

SAGE director, Shadix, and I got to interview Richard Jacques during SAGE and we had an extensive discussion on his favorites, creative process, and various other thoughts. The interview takes about a minute to get into it, as there’s a strange hiss for a bit, but yes, there is an interview after that noise. Also, whenever a caller-hangs up, there’s a bit of dead air. Technical difficulties, ya know.

DOWNLOAD THE RICHARD JACQUES INTERVIEW NOW!

Also, reminder! At 9 PM EST on Thursday, August 20th (which would be today), Mike Pollock, the voice of Dr. Eggman, will be in the chat channel to field questions and on the air to host a gameshow! It’s a can’t miss event!

[SAGE ’08 Review] Review Round-Up #1

There are always short demos on the show floor, so I’m combining them into one post here. Today, I’ll be reviewing a few of the lesser known titles at the show, in order to give them some exposure. The bigger games you already know about and will be getting larger reviews, like Fated Hour, later this year. I’m holding those off, as they always update with bug fixes and stuff throughout the expo.

The following, arbitrary scoring system will be used for these review round-ups:

  • Sucks: Avoid at all costs
  • Kinda Sucks: You might like it, but probably not
  • Meh: Doesn’t suck, but isn’t cool either
  • Interesting: Worth your time
  • Way Past Cool: Must see!

SONIC PANIC – Meh

Spike has had this game running for nearly 3 years now and this year, we get new content and a brand new name. Formerly named, “Sonic the Hedgehog 4,” Sonic Panic follows Sonic as he chases Robotnik across various galaxies and planets. The demo features the Planet Mech level of Rail Road, which is a Genesis revamp of Sunset Park from Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble on the Game Gear. I am a complete sucker for Game Gear levels, so I went into the demo with modest expectations.

First off, you will notice that the music is awful. The instrumentation is simply horrific and you will be cursing FL Studio for having such poor guitar samples. Once you get past that, your attention will be directed towards the “close, but not quite” physics of the game, which are decent enough. Jumping could use some improving and the spindash is extremely weak, but otherwise, the whole gameplay experience is serviceable and is hardly game-breaking in the slightest.

As a Genesis-styled game, the level design features branching paths and “awesome secret walkthough wall shit.” While it is nice to have many places to go, there is simply not much to do. The whole level is devoid of any activity, mostly due to the lack of badniks, as I only encountered a couple. There are a few industrial-themed gimmicks in there to tide you over in spots, however.

Augmenting the demo’s emptiness has to be the graphics. Essentially everything is black and any variety the foreground tries to offer is thrown out the window. There is the occasional yellow, construction stripe, but that is about it. The background is nice, with the sunset and all, but the black silhouettes of the towers in the background have no contrast to the foreground, thus adding to the black attack. Continue reading [SAGE ’08 Review] Review Round-Up #1

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 2008 IS NOW OPEN!

IT’S FINALLY HERE! THE 2008 SONIC AMATEUR GAMES EXPO IS HERE!

We invite any and all Sonic fans to come to the 13th iteration of this long-standing, Sonic community tradition, hosted by one of the community’s original sites, Sonic Fan Games HQ. Play the latest and greatest fan projects all in one place for one glorious week of celebrating not only Sonic the Hedgehog, but our community as well.

Please, hop right into the chat room, look at the schedule, and just read everything there is to read about the show! It’s going to be great!

A word of warning about certain booths: Sunday is usually the slowest day for the booths section, as dead links will be weeded out and some people will be putting up their demos throughout the day, due to time zone differences. Bear with that fact, because it happens every year. Come Monday, everybody should be ready to roll.

Be sure to check here for TSS Staff’s input on all the fangaming action!

With that said…

ENTER SAGE 2008!

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 Booth Registration Extended to August 16th

I pretty much called this one.  Since everybody always works up until the last minute on their games, booths, or both, you can register your booth all the way up to the 16th of August, the last day before the show.  If you have already registered, but did not submit a link to your playable demo, you can re-register to make your booth a “featured booth.”

Remember, only booths with demos will be accepted as “featured booths,” getting bigger advertising than those without.  Another key point to remember is that if you are a banned member at Sonic Fan Games HQ, you are not allowed to enter SAGE under any circumstance.  If a member on your team happens to be a banned member, but you are not, you should probably consider kicking him out if you plan to register to what is to be the biggest SAGE of them all.  Finally, booths that have dead links on day 1 will be removed without notice.  That is all.

SAGE ’08 Extended Promo Video

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE SOME EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE OF SOME SELECT TITLES COMING TO SAGE? OOOKAY!!!

This 3-minute video ran at the Summer of Sonic during the day, but if you didn’t go, catch a glimpse of Sonic Nexus’ new engine and animated cutscenes, the action of Sonic: Time Twisted, the beauty of Emerald Ties: Crossing Fates, and more!

Click here to watch the movie in high quality (and to comment and vote 5!)

Current SAGE Schedule released, confirms times and more

CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE TO SEE THE SCHEDULE!  ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN STANDARD.

Pink slots are workshops, red slots are SAGEcasts, skin-tone (wtf color is that) slots are interviews in the chat room, and baby blue slots are concerts.  Other colors are just random events.

Well, now we can finally confirm the first SAGE workshop, as Chris Senn, the developer of Sonic X-Treme, has agreed to hold a workshop on game design on Monday, August 18th at 6 PM EST! His regular interview time in the SAGE chat room has been changed from the last post.  He is now appearing at 6 PM EST on Thursday, August 21st. Continue reading Current SAGE Schedule released, confirms times and more

Mike Pollock coming to SAGE, more games

Mike Pollock, the voice of Dr. Eggman for 4kids, is going to be a SAGE chat guest along with the aforementioned Ryan Drummond, Chris Senn, and Richard Jacques. Chris Senn’s appearance now has a time and date confirmed. This show just keeps getting bigger and bigger! Here’s the entire rundown of what is brand spanking new as of today:

MORE GAMES

  • Sonic GEDA – a game that pays tribute to Sonic CD by emulating its play style
  • Sonic Fusion – no idea what this game is, but it’s coming

MORE EVENTS

  • Mike Pollock – time and date have yet to be determined
  • Chris Senn – confirmed to be in the chat room at 9 PM EST on Thursday, August 21st.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Slingerland’s Super Sonic Super Trvia Game Super Show – there will be a trivia bot in the SAGE chat room, just like there is every year. However, now it will keep track of rankings! The top few people will meet head to head in a live SAGEcast that tests their Sonic knowledge. I am hosting and I will probably be as ridiculous as possible.

That’s all for today, folks!  Oh, you want a source for this information?  Well, it is not in any SAGE threads yet, but let’s just say that I have my methods (and that would be…talking to the director -easy enough).

Check back for more SAGE updates and check this story out later today at TSSZ when it is copy pasted over there (ouch).

More SAGE game confirmations!

Ugh, it’s 3 AM on Monday…no wait…it’s Tuesday now.  I am slaving away on my demo, but for the sake of procrastination, I am going to fill you in on more SAGE game confirmations.  With the first day of registration over, the following games were confirmed to show up at SAGE 2008:

  • ProSonic – Developed by saxman, this Sonic development kit is being hailed to be the “perfect” Sonic fangame creation tool, allowing users to replicate the original games “to the letter.”
  • Emerald Ties: Crossing Fates – This game has been in and out for years now, sitting on the border of obscurity, but it we are finally going to get to see some new content from this famous Sonic fangame.
  • Mecha Madness – When it comes to unique experiences, SFGHQ member Streak Thunderstorm has the bases covered. A simple, yet intuitive, combat system, an impressive array of elemental shields, and tried & true Sonic gameplay meets luscious production design to create a can’t miss SAGE experience. Continue reading More SAGE game confirmations!

SAGE Booth Registration NOW OPEN

From now until August 8th, those interested in participating in SAGE are clear to register their project’s “booth” on the expo’s website.  Before you go all gung-ho about it, be sure to have the required elements:

  • Booth Name
  • List of Member(s) Involved
  • Your project’s website (booth URL)
  • Booth image for use on the expo floor (must be 320×240 and a JPEG, GIF, or PNG under 30 KB in size)

An optional element is to include the download link to the game you will be showcasing.  Seeing how nobody is ever done with their demos by now, it better be an option.

SAGE runs August 17th through the 24th at sagexpo.org

REGISTER YOUR BOOTH HERE!

Richard Jacques, Chris Senn, Live Concerts for SAGE

In addition to the last SAGE 2008 informational news update, posted here at TSS, SAGE director, Shadix, has released new information! The updated post includes updated photos of the games that were previously confirmed, as well as brand new confirmations:

MORE CONFIRMED GAMES

  • Dlpha – A Sonic RPG based in the AoStH universe.

MORE CONFIRMED GUESTS

  • RICHARD JACQUES – the composer from Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R comes to chat with SAGE visitors. A time has yet to be determined.
  • CHRIS SENN – designer of Sonic X-Treme. A time has yet to be determined

MORE CONFIRMED EVENTS

  • LIVE CONCERTS – concerts will be airing over the SAGEcast channel! Three bands are confirmed: Riker Out (featuring Hunter Bridges, the composer of Sonic Nexus’ soundtrack), The Polites (headed by The Taxman, creator of Retro Sonic), and Dom (live requests and the all around Sonic jukebox).

Stay tuned for even more SAGE 2008 confirmations! A SAGE news thread has now appeared at TSS in the Sonic the Hedgehog forum as a sticky.  Check it out here!

SAGE, again, will take place on August 17th through the 24th at http://sagexpo.org/

Check out the SAGE 2008 news thread at Sonic Fan Games HQ.

Check it out at SSMB!

SAGE 2008 Teaser Surfaces on YouTube

The 2008 Sonic Amateur Game Expo, hosted by Sonic Fan Games HQ, is exactly one month away and to celebrate, TSS member Huepow00 is helping build excitement by releasing a teaser video.  The video also serves as a reminder for those who are thinking of entering to start working if you haven’t already, so get going people!  The show can never have enough projects!  Guests (most notably, Ryan Drummond, who is back for his second year) and events are being finalized and added as we speak, so it looks to be another stellar community event.

SAGE 2008 will start August 17th at 12 AM GMT.  Registration for booths will happen August 4th through the 8th.

Check out Huepow’s SAGE 2008 Teaser

Check out the SAGE 2008 Press Site

SAGE 2005 Opens!

The Sonic Amateur Games Expo (http://www.sagexpo.org/) has kicked off once again, but is currently recovering from a server problem that occured during the first day.

SAGE had a big awareness level attached to it, through support from sites such as The Sonic Stadium and Sonic HQ. Fans United for SatAM and organiser “PerfectChaos0” organised a chatroom event featuring Ben Hurst, writer for the SatAM cartoon series. Continue reading SAGE 2005 Opens!

SAGE: Ben Hurst Appearance

Ben Hurst, writer for the Sonic [SatAM] and Sonic Underground television series, is to make an online appearance at the Sonic Amateur Games Expo on July 3rd.

The Sonic Amateur Games Expo is an event you should all have heard of by now. It’s a completely online event that showcases Sonic the Hedgehog fangames. Indeed, the most popular fangames have made their debut at SAGE – or at least got popular that way – including Sonic Robo Blast 2 and Chaos Control. Continue reading SAGE: Ben Hurst Appearance

SAGE Seeking Workshops

The Sonic Fan Games HQ is gearing up the opening of it’s latest Sonic Amateur Games Expo (SAGE) event, and the organisers are currently setting up hosts for ‘Workshops’, a recent addition that debuted in the last show.

To further cater for and cover all aspects of the Sonic Fan Gaming community, the aim of the ‘Workshops’ is for experienced fangame creators to tutor others in a dedicated chatroom in real time, about certain elements of fangame creation that usually prove troublesome for the novice.

The ‘Workshops’ first arrived at the last SAGE event, but recieved little attention. TSS and SFGHQ hope that this time the feature will be more appreciated – by more novice fangamers attending for help, and more experienced people to host these chats.

Continue reading SAGE Seeking Workshops

Sonic Fan Games HQ Returns

Sonic Fan Games HQ administrator Smidge has reopened the SFGHQ site. The backend of the site has been improved, and a second site “skin” has been added.

In his returning update, Smidge affirmed that online games show the Sonic Amateur Games Expo is still planned for the week of July 3rd, and the SFGHQ is scheduled to return in time for it.