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Impress Watch: Sega M2/CS3 interview on porting Sonic to the 3DS

s00It’s pretty rare that we get to see Sega developers geek out and go into wonderful detail about the development process behind their games, so it’s always special when we see something published like Impress Watch‘s interview with M2 president Naoki Horii and Sega CS3 producer Yosuke Okunari about bringing the classic Mega Drive version of Sonic the Hedgehog to the Nintendo 3DS. Translated by Sega and published by Siliconera, the two men describe the technical challenges of emulating the Mega Drive on the 3DS, how they had to rewrite large portions of code in ARM assembly to optimize performance, how they designed a fictional hardware variation of the Mega Drive to support stereoscopic 3D, and even how they dug into the vaults and consulted Sonic Jam source code for assistance porting the Spin Dash to the original game. Be sure to check out the full interview at the source link below; it’s an excellent read if you’re interested in a detailed look at the programming and design work that goes into a project like this.

Source: Siliconera

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8 Comments

  • Reply

    I like how they have a mockup of the GigaDrive VDP memory map there. That’s something you’d *never* see from a Nintendo developer, not even on Iwata Asks, because stuff like hexadecimal is considered too “sacred” for plebians to behold.

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    “Creating a ‘copy by eye’ does indeed take time. Not only do you need to do a complete analysis on the game from top to bottom to ensure that it’s accurately reproducing the original, testing takes ages because you have to make sure all the little hidden tricks in the game are in, and it’s easy to miss things that don’t run the same as the original.”

    I can’t tell if this is a compliment, jab, or an unawareness of Taxman and Stealth’s Remastered Sonic 1.

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    Since I see A LOT of you on the Facebook and Twitter going on about the shirt, treat yourselves to a little early (late?) Holiday present:

    http://www.spencersonline.com/product/fs-sonic-pixel-heather-md?UTM_campaign=Search:SC:Sonic%20T-shirt

  • Reply

    If it is called Impress WATCH, why do we have to read?

  • Reply

    I got the JP version of this and the Taxman version in the same week they both came out. Honestly, I prefer this one. (hides from angry retro-ers)
    The 3D is VERY good. It’s the only 3DS game that I actually play in 3D mode. The classic screen mode when you actually see it in action is very good. (regardless of what some bitches who’ve never even played it seem to claim on the boards here.)

    Also Taxman’s version has the wrong physics on the bumpers (especially noticeable on the bonus games) The shields and extra characters feel novel, but the level design wasn’t created with them in mind… so I didn’t feel they were that fun to use. Humble opinions and all…

    • Reply

      The bumper physics are most noticeable in the first special stage if you try to do the trick where you do nothing to reach the emerald.

  • Reply

    Gimme that shirt.

  • Reply

    Why didn’t they just use the taxman engine like in Sonic CD for iOS? They could have had widescreen and more and (even though I don’t know the actual tecnical challenges involved with each approach) it seems like it would have been easier to turn on the 3d effect. Is it that the taxman engine is too heavy on the 3DS? (I don’t think so) Anyway the solution they came up with is pretty cool, I’d love to see an actual Gigadrive built by a hardware hacker (even if, again, it would be difficult to show the effect).

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