Vote for Zone: 0 in the Sonic Site Awards 2009!
Tuesday, 3rd November 2009, 9:16pm (UTC), 4 Comments
Hi all, just a quick note to encourage votes for Zone: 0 at the Sonic Stadium's Sonic Site Awards 2009! We're nominated for no less than four out of five of the awards, which is absolutely brilliant! I'd certainly be very grateful for any of those votes you may choose to make, and in return I will try my best to get back to and complete my guide for Hydrocity Zone quite soon! Promise!

To all brand new visitors coming straight from the awards page, welcome! Zone: 0 is a Sonic game information site focusing on intensely detailed guides to the early games. Sadly I'm rather preoccupied with my final year for my degree, which means an increasingly embarrassing lack of updates and a fairly quiet forum, but hopefully there's plenty around to see anyway! Hope you enjoy yourselves here :)
Comments   4 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Meph on Tuesday, 3rd November 2009, 10:33pm
I voted for Zone: 0, not because you asked me to, but because it was the best. ;)
#2. Comment posted by 1963886 on Wednesday, 4th November 2009, 3:54am
You'll win site of the year...

Even TSSZ thinks so..

I voted for you, by the way.
#3. Comment posted by TheGreenBird on Saturday, 14th November 2009, 4:42pm
The best New Sonic site I've come across in years. Original, to the point, and goes in deep about the build of classic Sonic games I spent my entire child-hood with. The layout is very professional, I never get lost in the site, something I've had with tons of sites, and I know more about Sonic classics now before I ever did before.

You know what your doing, as a long time Sonic fan, I recommend your site above all Sonic classic info sites.
#4. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 14th November 2009, 8:39pm
Thank you very much, glad you're enjoying it! :D
Sega release official Sonic zone creator tool online!
Sunday, 13th September 2009, 5:57am (UTC), 5 Comments
I've just stumbled upon this and I'm posting because I don't think other newsboards or forums have spotted it yet. Sega Europe have opened Play Sega which allows you to play certain games, including Sonic 1 online, in your browser. There seems to be a subscription but you can sign up for a free trial.

What's really interesting though is that there is also a Sonic level creator tool! It uses Sonic 1 style sprites and going by the three levels that have been submitted (which are free to play without even having to sign up), the only level type available to create is a tropical paradise stage - however it features largely unique graphics (save for one or two things re-used/edited from levels like Green Hill and Labyrinth), and original music. This, to my knowledge, is the only time Sega has provided us with an official Sonic level editor tool of any kind!

Check out some screen shots I've taken below. Click to see them larger in the forum post I've submitted where you can discuss the service further!

Comments   5 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Meph on Sunday, 13th September 2009, 12:08pm
That's amazing! I've got to try this!
#2. Comment posted by Speeding Hedgehog on Sunday, 13th September 2009, 12:24pm
It's about time they did this! How do I play the free levels?
#3. Comment posted by Mercury on Sunday, 13th September 2009, 9:26pm
Great find! Those new graphics look kinda nice.

But here's a thought for you: What if this is related to Project Needlemouse in some way? They would have made this tool for development of a Genesis style game, and then passed a version of it along to the public to generate more classic style Sonic excitement.
#4. Comment posted by Jordan on Thursday, 25th March 2010, 9:51pm
h-h-how do you play this creative game???
#5. Comment posted by Act2 on Saturday, 15th May 2010, 3:45pm
I've tried a free trial to this, and making a good level is actually very easy. Bad news is that most levels made by others are pure garbage, though... The actual physics are horrible, too... Wasted potential, but I hope a really good level editor comes out someday.
Sonic 3 now in progress!
Wednesday, 9th September 2009, 2:41pm (UTC), 1 Comment
Update: Sonic 3 guide has begun! Angel Island Zone has been added, in addition to the Background info and Stages and Story pages.
Wow, busy day. Sonic & Knuckles released on Xbox Live Arcade, a mysterious new 2D Sonic announced under the codename of Project Needlemouse, the ten year anniversary of the Dreamcast and Sonic Adventure's US release.. but also, as promised, our Sonic 3 guide has begun! Way to steal my thunder though, Sega, you knew I was releasing this today..

In the new Sonic 3 section you will find the obligatory Background Info page, the start of Stages and Story and of course the centerpiece, Angel Island Zone. Perhaps it's unwise to start on a game that I know I'm not going to have a lot of time for after this month, meaning the return of lengthy waits between updates I'm afraid, but I guess it's better than nothing. This game guide has been waiting four patient years since I actually finished writing all of it, so it can wait a little longer! These map sizes aren't too bad (3 and 4 megs), but I think for Sonic 3 and S&K we can expect some phenomenally bigger file sizes coming up for later juggernauts, so there's not much I can do about that I'm afraid.

You'll notice a few new additions to the mapping formula, particularly colour-coded arrows to indicate which characters can go where, where appropriate I should be able to point out slight differences in object placements between the S3 and S3&K versions of the levels, and I've even highlighted those hidden items at the end of the first act! All would have been much more difficult without the help of Mercury's Sonic 3 & Knuckles extractor, which works like a charm! I'm also adding music to these downloads again (I couldn't add them to Sonic CD because there was just too many really, considering my hosting limits at the moment) and I thought I'd throw in the Smash Bros Brawl mix of the Angel Island theme too, just for fun.

So the debut of the Zone: 0 forum this past weekend was a massive success, much more so than I was expecting, thanks largely to Tweaker and QJimbo, who kindly advertised its existence to members of the Sonic Retro and SSRG communities, respectively. Thanks guys! We managed to accumulate around 40-50 members just in that first weekend which is pretty amazing for a new forum and the kind of discussions that have been going on have been exactly what I was hoping for. I love how we're not just running through tens of different, empty topics, each one is given plenty of attention and feedback before moving on to new ones, so hopefully we'll keep this up! Thanks to everyone who has joined and contributed, and If you haven't seen it yet, wander by sometime and see if it might be your sort of thing. There's been a lot of thoughtful and detailed posts with great discussion value, and everyone seems to be getting on great so lets keep it going and see if we can make an excellent community out of this place!
Comments   1 Comment has been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Meph on Wednesday, 9th September 2009, 2:50pm
I can't wait to see the rest of the zones. Keep on going. This is great!
Project: Needlemouse?!
Wednesday, 9th September 2009, 9:26am (UTC), 1 Comment
I'll just leave this here..

A perfect opportunity to Discuss in the new forum!
Comments   1 Comment has been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Meph on Wednesday, 9th September 2009, 2:40pm

Hopefully we'll find out more at TGS 2009.
The Zone: 0 Forum is here!
Friday, 4th September 2009, 4:20pm (UTC), 1 Comment
Update: Zone: 0 officially launches its own forum!
You asked for it (well, mostly more like I asked if you wanted it, and you said yes), and I wanted it too, so here you go..

The Zone: 0 Forum!

As I write in the introductory topic (which I urge you to read), this is a forum with a mission, not just some community board bolted on to the site for the sake of it. I really want this to be a special little place where intelligent and interesting Sonic-based topics can be discussed. Where opinions are respected and arguments are minimal. Where you can make like-minded friends and just generally share in the appreciation of Sonic the Hedgehog. Ideally, that's probably every Sonic forum's mission, but I'm hoping that those of you who have already posted helpful, detailed, interesting responses around the site in the form of notes and comments will want to bring their enthusiasm and good nature to make this a great place to be a Sonic fan!

I'm going to add one or two more topics over the weekend to get the ball rolling a bit more, but don't wait for me, if you've got a burning issue to bring up, go for it! I know one or two do. For the moment though I've started us off with a nice light-hearted, nostalgic discussion about the origins of your Sonic fanaticism. I'm sure everyone has their own story, so go ahead and share! You'll need to register of course, and validate your account with an email address.

In the end, I went with a free forum package called Vanilla. It's not quite the standard forum setup that other sites use and that you may have been expecting. I thought about that, but I want this to be a bit of a smaller affair, not to mention one that's slightly more unique, because this should be a small forum, not some sort of Sonic mecca for all. A little community off the beaten track but hopefully a haven for anyone who wants some intelligent, non-cynical discussion. The standard forum appearance hasn't changed much in years anyway and I think this one's a little more contemporary and minimalistic.

There's only one board as such, and all posts are bundled together, but you can categorise them as being Sonic-related, about Zone: 0 itself, or other, and then view posts according to one of these categories. It's not particularly rich in features because I think they can be a bit of a distraction, but you should have everything you need to chat away. Vanilla is open source and has a variety of extensions that people have made, so if you really think the place could do with something in particular, let me know and I can always try and find a suitable extension if necessary. It's a good package all in all, I'd recommend it to any other developers out there looking for a more uniquely styled forum. The community behind it don't seem to have made much for it in the last couple of years, but it was easy enough to set up and customise. I edited a theme whose colour scheme was mostly black and pink and I don't think you'll run into any left over remnants of this, but if you do, that'll be why!

Keep an eye out for bugs for me, but I think it should be pretty sturdy. I really hope this can achieve its potential and be something of a big milestone for the site as a whole. So don't leave me there on my own, come on in and have fun!
Comments   1 Comment has been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Meph on Friday, 4th September 2009, 5:38pm
Here's hoping that the forum does well. ;)
A Zone: 0 forum. Interested?
Sunday, 30th August 2009, 11:48am (UTC), 9 Comments
First and foremost let me point out the fact that today marks exactly five years of the entire project of Zone: 0 being in existence! A proud day for me indeed, as although the site has only been up for half that amount of time, the guides you are now reading were in production between 2004 to 2006, and are presented now with only slight alterations. Back in those days the whole project fit on a floppy disc, with plenty of room to spare. Good old floppies, remember them? Simpler times. Admittedly, slower and much more restricted times too, sure, but simpler times. Given the typical longevity of my crazy, hair-brained ideas at the time, it amazes me that this place is still chugging along, slowly but surely, even after all this time - and I'm still not quite sick of it yet! Even when I do call it quits with regards to guides of my own, I'm hoping that with the help of other writers, the resource will continue to exist on and on. Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way!

I had hoped to bring you the first update to the much-anticipated Sonic 3 section, as a way of marking this date (and tying things up in a very satisfying way, as it would be exactly four years since I actually completed my Sonic 3 guide in its entirety, in text form!), but I've been working hard lately and while I could have scrambled Angel Island Zone together over the course of this week, I decided not to rush it as I don't really need to pile on any more stress for myself!

This weekend, I've been keeping up with Summer of Sonic over in London, yesterday. A Sonic fan convention, the only one of its kind as far as I'm aware, if you don't know. I couldn't make it myself, but I took in bits of the live video stream all day and I must say it seems like a great event. Hopefully I'll be able to show up at next year's, assuming there is one. I've never had the opportunity to meet and have a good chat with other die hard Sonic fans, there aren't really any proper geeks in my real life world, sadly, but I would love to do so. I used to go on one or two forums now and again but always felt my voice was drowned out from the sheer number of other members, so I've never been much of a community man when it comes to Sonic. My love for Sonic has always been something that's been sort of privately mine, especially to the extent at which I love it (represented by this site, as a whole, I like to think). Still, I've been thinking and I'd like to see if I can change all that.

On the about page, tucked away in a dark corner of this site, I mention the possibility of a Zone: 0 forum. I have had two or three emails from people interested in the possibility, but I feel the time is right to officially put it on the table and see what people think. If this blog post gets overrun by tumbleweeds and little else then I'll assume no one would bother to participate and there's no point going further with it at this time, but if what I say sounds like your kind of thing, do please leave a comment telling me so! There's kind of a community aspect to the site already, through comments and notes throughout my blog and the game guides, featuring several recurring posters who I would hope would be interesting in joining a full community forum, which is probably why the time is right to make this transition.

Now I have always had a couple of reservations about introducing a forum. While I appreciate that if done successfully (by which I mean, a significant number of people are posting regularly), then it'll get people coming back here all the time and keep them very involved in the site as a whole, which is brilliant. However, the loyalty it brings to the site is a bonus, as far as I'm concerned - what I would really want is for it to actually have worthwhile posts. Not just filled with people for whom punctuation and good spelling is only a mild acquaintance, leaving pointless posts about who their favourite characters are. It's pretty hard to stop that sort of thing from happening completely and I am tolerant to a certain extent, as they're usually posted by kids. But in general I'm looking for a place where mature discussion can be had about the sorts of things that the site focuses on; game content, level designs, and even plots and characters if you like, although my personal preference would be the former two. Discuss your own theories, post any interesting Sonic finds like articles, fan-made things and news, perhaps even those currently writing guides for the site could share preview and gauge reactions - whatever you want really as long as it follows the key theme of Zone: 0 - DEPTH!

Another concern I've always had is if the forum becomes too big, gets out of control too easily, people start arguing and attacking others or even the site itself if things get particularly nasty. It seems to happen frequently with the larger sites, but Zone: 0 has always been a quieter, friendlier place built on a passion for Sonic and I would love for the forum to follow a similar ideology. Though it's difficult to control, I feel that a small group of members would be best, not that much larger than the number of different people who leave notes around the site. I kind of like the fact that this site isn't really a well known and heavily discussed part of the Sonic community, just a little thing that people sort of stumble on one day, and I'd like the forum to follow that level of.. intimacy, I suppose you could say.

I used to hang around at the GHZ forum many years ago (even before I started these guides actually), which was a small, simple board of only a handful of regular faces, and that's the sort of thing I'd like to match. Of course, the GHZ has always been noted for its unrelenting cynicism about all things Sonic since about 2003, and I've no idea what it's like now, I haven't dared to set foot there in years. But I definitely don't want to go down that road - my forum should ideally be positive and/or constructive, depending on the topic at hand.

I see no point in having more than one board for everything, at least initially, be it site or Sonic related, or neither, and it'll be a simple board. No unnecessary fancy features - I'm not trying to reinvent Facebook or anything like that. I don't particularly see the need for anyone other than me to have moderator privileges, thereby removing any lust for power that some forum-goers seem to crave. I don't wish to enforce any sort of moderation very much at all, myself. If it all goes down the drain, I may very well just drop the whole forum altogether, no matter how developed it is. There will be no hostility on my server thank you very much.

Hopefully, if we can get a little lively discussion going between a few regular members then the thing will grow by itself. I know I personally would be interested in joining a smaller, intelligent group of Sonic fans where my voice would be more likely to be heard, and responded to. Think of that when you consider the possibility of a Zone: 0 community center and tell me if it's something you'd be up for!
Comments   9 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by sonictails1189 on Sunday, 30th August 2009, 7:31pm
This is exactly the kind of thing I would love to be a part of. When I first stumbled upon the site last July I sent you an email stating my encouragement for adding a forum. I hope you will indeed follow through with this and look forward to joining.
#2. Comment posted by Mercury on Sunday, 30th August 2009, 8:24pm
Your vision of a forum sounds very appealing indeed. I, for one, am all for it. I'm a member of Sonic Retro, and post there pretty often, but I'm sometimes disappointed by the sheer amount of negativity. A tighter-knit forum for deeper, dare I say it, scientific discussion would be very cool.

And I haz a passing akwaintance with spelling! :P
#3. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Sunday, 30th August 2009, 10:36pm
Excellent! Thanks a lot guys, keep em coming! :D
#4. Comment posted by 1963886 on Monday, 31st August 2009, 1:35am
I've never been a really big fan of forums but I ABSOLUTELY would love to see a forum for Zone:0. That'd be amazing. I avoid forums because most of the time they're so chaotic, but I don't think one for this site would be much of a problem.
#5. Comment posted by Chaoswalker on Monday, 31st August 2009, 3:13am
Short Version: Yes

I know my first topic allready. Can't wait.
#6. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Monday, 31st August 2009, 12:04pm
Thanks all, I think that's pretty helpful toward my decision, but keep your yays or nays coming in anyway, everyone else!

Does anyone have any suggestions for good, clean, simple, open source PHP forum software I could use? phpBB seems most prominent in my searches but I've just found a nice looking, more modern one called Vanilla which looks quite good. Any others I should be aware of?

If I had more free time I might have had a crack at creating my own, as I did the site as a whole, but for now at least, a more flat-pack solution will have to suffice!
#7. Comment posted by Shredding Day on Monday, 31st August 2009, 6:04pm
I'd be down for a forum account here.
#8. Comment posted by True Dude on Tuesday, 1st September 2009, 9:58pm
I'd probably get a forum account here as well.

You should get IPB for the forum, though I don't know if it costs money or how much.
#9. Comment posted by True Dude on Friday, 4th September 2009, 12:46am
So, what is the new forum going to be used with?

You should kick it off with the start of Sonic 3, that'd be a great entrance.

Oh, and if you're stuck on topics, you could make an area dedicated to discussing new additions to the Game Guides.
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We've finally done it! The Zone: 0 guides have reached their last big update. Owner LiQuidShade has new projects on the horizon, but this site will always remain in his heart.