Stealth, one half of the brains behind the recent mobile remasters of Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, announced he’s looking to train people into using his own Head Cannon Game Engine (HCGE.) Before you go running in hoping to recreate Sonic 3 or some other title, Stealth has the strict requirement that, regardless of skill level, applicants must dedicate themselves to this project and not just flake out when the going gets tough.
Early on, Stealth will work alongside approved applicants and teach how to run with the engine. As time goes on, Stealth will roll back and allow autonomy to take over. Project HC is focused as being a Sonic game (which most around here should be familiar with) in the same general area as Sonic Megamix, at least to get the ball rolling.
Currently, applications are open to all positions like programmers, musicians, artists, etc. For more information on the project and how to formally submit an application, hit up this lovely link.
Are you up to it?
Tool Assisted Speedruns, or TAS, are quite a fun thing to see. Taking advantage of the very coding of the game, players are able to perform some incredibly hilarious and insane tricks to blaze through games. So when it comes to Sonic 3, a game most of us still hold highly as the pinnacle of Sonic, being burned right through in a staggering time of 26’53”, you know things are going to get interesting.
Using our own disassembly of the game, runners Aglar and marzojr performed a run that resulted in a three-minute time improvement over the previous record set four years ago, and the first time in seven years the two ran through the whole game in such a manner. The video above features a modification that keeps Sonic on screen at all times, even when not on camera, so we can see what sort of nonsense he’s up to. A video without Sonic being omnipresent can be found here.
The authors published commentaries on the run can be found here as well, detailing the parameters of their run. If you’re hungry for something a little more insane, look below for a Hyper Sonic version of the run.
Sonic Boom has certainly been a source of contention from many fans of the franchise, both old and new. Presented as a new branch of the Sonic series primarily led by the people at SEGA of America, it’s hard to argue the experiment has won any favors from longtime fans. While the TV show has been performing well, the 3DS game didn’t turn into anything more than a mediocre platformer. All that’s left to talk about is the Wii U game.
Unfortunately, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is the weakest element in the Boom bandwagon. The title shows off way too many glaring issues that seem as if the developers were rushing to get the game out the door in time for the TV show’s premiere, and boy, we got stuck with another unfortunate misstep for the blue blur. Plagued with infinite jump glitches, weird collision bugs, opportunities to soft lock the game and some of the worst special effects seen in the CryEngine…wait, the CryEngine 3? The same one powering performance hungry games such as the Crysis series? Indeed, the same one, only now the game is running poorly optimized for the Wii U and has some of the most awkward special effects in a modern 3D game.
I don’t doubt that the engine could work well for Sonic providing an open world environment, but that kind of experience is not delivered well here. Now, some of you arm chair experts are probably sitting there saying the game is terrible due to Sonic losing his speed, turning the game into a glorified beat-em up and changing the iconic style of the character, the plot and all the things that make Sonic work. But that couldn’t be further from the point on why exactly this game is bad.
So here’s the deal with this Sonic game: it’s not really much like a normal Sonic game. Rather than being about trying to take the fastest path to the finish, a lot of time is spent exploring the levels as you can collect a bunch of crystal fragments and blueprints in most of them. These also take a lot longer to finish than your usual Sonic stage, as they can easily take up to 15 minutes to complete if you’re looking around for collectables. You can also switch between four characters in these stages: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and newcomer Sticks, all of whom work very differently from past games.
Turns out that Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood was going to have an opening with some very nice looking 2D animation. Shadzter from the Sonic Stadium did some digging around and found a demo reel by Joel MacMillan, an art director at Bioware who worked on the game. The video contains some clips of this opening starting at 1:12. The animation made use of both screens on the DS, with stuff happening on both of them.
Why the final game didn’t have this opening isn’t known. Our best guess is that it’s because the stylistically it looks incredibly different from the game. It’s a shame, because it’s clear that a lot of work was put into making this.
This week on the Swingin’ Report Show podcast Barry and George are joined by Mat Kraemer, Lead Designer at Sanzaru Games, developer of Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal for the Nintendo 3DS. Topics covered include the development process of the handheld title, how Sanzaru interacted with various teams including the TV show crew and the team at Big Red Button, what Sonic games Sanzaru looked to for inspiration, and Mat’s favorite classic SEGA games and consoles.
There has been a lot of talk about the Sonic Boom franchise this past week, so it was great to sit down with Mat to learn more about how the 3DS game came to be. Hey! Why are you still reading this when you should be listening?