Anyway, these Monday Links articles usually takes quite a bit of time to make so I’m gonna trim them up a bit from now on. From now on it’ll focus more on Sonic and less on SEGA in general. If you want to see the latest SEGA news and cool SEGA features, you should go visit SEGAbits. Those guys do a pretty damn good job covering all things SEGA and really I’m just wasting time linking all the stuff they put up there when you can just visit their site.
Also I’ll probably use more Space Dandy gifs.
Sonic Retro stuff
Remember Sonic 2 HD, which unceremoniously died following its alpha release because of nonsense regarding former project programmer L0st? The quick excitement and then sorrow of the project’s release and cancellation reverberated across the Internet and it looked like the dream had finally died.
Not so fast. In the waning hours of Sonic’s 23rd Birthday (and we do hope you keep your Sonic memories coming in), the Sonic 2 HD Facebook group sprung back to life and announced the project was back on. Turns out that a newcomer, who remains anonymous, stepped up with an engine to fill the hole L0st’s firing caused, and the engine received approval by project head Vincent.
While the team is a short a few members from its original development (citing real life obligations), it looks like the project will continue development. If any of you are feeling creative and have the skills to assist the group, it may not be a bad time to contact the team and show them your stuff.
We all remember Sonic 2 HD and how it regrettably met its end not long after releasing a playable demo of Emerald Hill Zone due to internal controversy. Just because the door on that project closed though doesn’t mean that this was the end for them. Some of the team, now working under PagodaWest Games, put their talents toward a brand new IP for iOS systems called Major Magnet.
Retro Engine creator and the man behind the 2011 digital port of Sonic CD Christian “Taxman” Whitehead confirmed as much in a tweet to his followers earlier today congratulating the group on the successes the dev’s title has met, including an Editor’s Choice award from Apple itself.
While Sonic 2 HD may be resting eternally, definitely give these guys some love and pick up the game on your iOS device and hope that they can bring the game over to other platforms. Good job, PagodaWest!
The decision comes on top of several allegations from team members that LOst held the project hostage through the inclusion of DRM, public feedback of a bloated engine running an otherwise simplistic game, and other behind the scenes issues. The final straw was the massive negative reception after reports of a keylogger were detected by various antivirus software.
After some careful examination by forum member Guess_Who, the “keylogger” was confirmed to be benign and a false positive, revealing that it was a result of shoddy DirectInput programming. This is how the program was able to register key presses even when the window was not selected and running in the background. In other words, it’s like how CW Cheat can trigger antiviruses as a trojan horse, despite having no malicious software behind it.
EDIT 10 APRIL 2012: I promised more information. More information has come. It turns out the input error causing the situation not only does not phone the data but does not store it; it is merely an error in input programming. I sincerely apologize for any undue panic this may have caused and accept full culpability for any pants panicking bullshit.
Earlier today, I was contacted by a professional antivirus employee who was interested in why Sonic 2 HD consistently popped up as a threat by multiple antivirus software programs and did some investigation.
His results showed that a keylogger is part of the Sonic 2 HD software. After receiving this notification, we conducted our own independent tests and found that there is indeed a keylogging program as part of the Sonic 2 HD alpha software.
I want to emphasize that at this time, we have found no evidence that the software has been “phoning home” any data—only that we have found the capability exists.
Because this vulnerability has been found, we are strongly advising that the software be removed. You will need to delete the files included with the Sonic 2 HD zip, as well as the registry keys hooked at HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/NakaSMK (if you are unfamiliar on how to do this, go to Start->Run.., type regedit, follow the folder path, and then delete the NakaSMK folder.)
We will have more information on the situation as it evolves.
(The following is a guest editorial written by forums member Guess Who, because frankly, someone needed to say it.)
Starting in the late nineties, a sizable community formed around reverse-engineering Sonic games. Thanks to the work of this community and its extremely talented individuals, amazing feats have been achieved. The original Sonic titles have been disassembled into their raw Motorola 68000 assembly code and thoroughly documented, allowing for substantial modifications; Sonic Adventure DX has similarly been torn apart, allowing for the creation of useful tools such as level and model editors; even the brand-new Sonic Generations has already been hacked wide open for creating custom levels, porting levels from Sonic Unleashed, and importing music. One thing all of these accomplishments have in common is that all of them are the result of collaboration. Many people worked for days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years to acquire and share the knowledge necessary for all of these technical marvels to come to fruition. Sonic Retro has always fostered a collaborative environment thanks to its forums, wiki, and Mercurial repository, and consequently has become the de facto hub for all things Sonic hacking.
So in March 2008, when Sonic 2 HD was announced, it was hailed as a shining example of the collaborative community environment that’s been so crucial to the Retro community. Media outlets like Kotaku covered the game’s announcement with great anticipation. It was given its own forum where members could contribute their own assets to the game, whether it was art, music, programming talent, or just general feedback. The engine, coded primarily by long-established community member LOst, was built using the disassembled code of the original Sonic titles (you know, that code collaboratively reverse-engineered and documented by a number of community members?) as a basis for its physics. The original Sonic 2 HD board received a whopping 14275 replies, mostly from members offering their own work or feedback for the product.
You waited for nearly two years. You questioned whether this project was still alive and kicking. But with time comes development, and to show you that things ARE getting done, the Sonic 2 HD team has released a new playable demo.
Being an alpha release, it’s understandable that not everything is perfect and things can (and likely will) go wrong. But what we do have is an impressive feat of love and creativity from a group of fans with a passion to give Sonic the Hedgehog 2 a visual spit shine and touched up music.
However, a small bit of controversy around the project is the nature of it being listed as a Sonic Retro Community Project, despite being a rather closed operation. Project Manager Canned Karma addressed this further by confirming the project will continue a closed development cycle.
“With the game’s Alpha Release, this means our involvement with Sonic Retro’s Community Projects also comes to an end as, in all honesty, S2HD hasn’t been a community game for a long time,” Canned Karma said. “In line with this, we’ve now closed out the topics in the Community Project sub-forum in favor of a single discussion thread here.”
Currently, the demo only supports Windows operating systems from Windows XP through Windows 7.
Updates and downloads on the project will continue to be posted on the team’s official website. For now though, big props go out to the team for all their work so far and we look forward to seeing the project grow and mature even more. Let them know what you think of the game so far in the comments down below.
So, I was walking around Target the other night, and I couldn’t help but notice one of Atgames‘ many officially-licensed Genesis plug-and-play systems, the Arcade Blast Sonic, was on the shelf. Since I was pretty bored, I picked it up to take a look at it.
That’s when I saw something a little…weird.
Why, I’ve never seen a Sonic the Hedgehog 2 title screen drawn that way on a Sega product–even that shirt which was licensed a few years back didn’t quite have the artwork like that. Wait, could it…? No, of course not.
Then I flipped the box over.
Huh. It’s there again, too! Every other game on the box uses the standard title screen, but this is using that art instead. You know, if I didn’t know any better, I would say that wasn’t official artwork.
Of course, gentle readers, we know better. It’s not.
It’s actually a very old Sonic 2 HD title screen that was replaced, but its legacy lives on in Atgames packaging. Certainly, this isn’t the first time fan works have appeared in official products (the Sonia fanart in All-Stars Racing comes to mind), but it doesn’t make me smile any less each time it happens.