Zone: 0 captures its first award!
Sunday, 27th December 2009, 9:46pm (UTC), 5 Comments
Hope you're all enjoying the holiday season! The results are in for 2009's Sonic Site Awards, held by the Sonic Stadium, announced earlier this evening on their Sonic Hour radio show. Zone: 0 was nominated in four out of five categories, (the most frequently appearing site on the lists, which alone is worth boasting about!), and we won the best layout and design award, which I'm thrilled with! I must admit I did spend a lot of time carefully sculpting out this new look, I'm really pleased with it and in fact it's probably the nicest looking thing I've ever built! There's a certain ironic neatness to this as well, because I actually aimed to try and get the new look up and running in time for the 2008 awards, which never materialised - fortunate because it never would have been ready for them anyway! So I'm really happy about that, if I may say so, I think it's well deserved.

We came third in the Information Station award, fourth for community (more than fair - it's only really just sprung up and isn't a hive of constant activity) and, as it did in 2007, got the runner up prize for the Sonic site award itself! Who knew Sonic was quite so big in Brazil, eh? Smiley225 is already very kindly translating the site into German, maybe I should look into a Portuguese version as well, if that'll win more votes!

Still, regardless of any of that, I know those who voted really love the site and are often just as passionate about it as I am - I get emails and messages telling me as much on a fairly regular basis. Every time I read something nice about my work, it makes me think that every hour I've spent nudging objects on maps, rewording and rewriting paragraphs and carefully cropping images have all been so well worth it. So I thank all of you who have given your vote to Zone: 0 - I like to think that from many of you, each vote should carry double the weight, for all your enthusiasm and good wishes, but I guess that would be hard to calculate precisely :)

My sincerest thanks again to all who have voted, and to Dreadknux and the TSS team for organising the event and allowing us further exposure! Enjoy your New Year celebrations! See you in 2010.
Comments   5 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Mercury on Monday, 28th December 2009, 8:13am
Congrats on the award! Knew you could do it!

Are they gonna have a little trophy picture or something that you can display on the site?
#2. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Monday, 28th December 2009, 9:59am
Thanks a lot! Apparently, yes. I eagerly await it :)
#3. Comment posted by GreenBird on Monday, 28th December 2009, 3:04pm
Congratulations! Always knew this site was capable! Doing a wonderful job LiQuidShade, keep going at it! Looking forward to the Sonic and Knuckles section!
#4. Comment posted by MoDaD on Tuesday, 29th December 2009, 5:42am
This site isn't just great within the context of it being a Sonic site, but as an informational site as well. Everything is presented very professionally while still having all the charms of being a "fan site." The layout is really well done, too. A lot of other professional web designers could take some hints from you regarding how to successfully combine textual and visual data. If you don't mind me asking, what kind of frameworks do you work with to achieve all of this? (Content management system, javascript libraries, other tools, etc.)
#5. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Tuesday, 29th December 2009, 10:43am
Thanks for your kind words MoDaD and GreenBird :)
Actually, other than lightbox for the occasional full sized images, and the Vanilla forum obviously, I haven't really used any pre-existing libraries. I think everything here is largely built from scratch, even my CMS. I kind of prefer things that way because learning how to build things myself is invariably more fun and less frustrating than trying to decipher how someone elses code is working and how to manipulate it. I like knowing about every part of my code and what it's doing. I also wasn't really quite so aware of what could have been at my disposal as I am now, and this was the first time I'd really used javascript in any significant way. In future I'd probably be more keen to save time and see what kind of pre-built features I could just throw in there, though my CMS is really specific for building level pages and I couldn't put up with a more general purpose one. I can add paragraphs and images to sections and then budge them around and resize them and it knows exactly what to do with the data that's being saved, and I really like the way that works. Shame no one else can see that part of it really!
Tuesday, 15th December 2009, 2:26pm (UTC), 1 Comment
Update: Hydrocity Zone added to the Sonic 3 section
Post title in reference to both the name of the level and the state in which I've left you all after a few months of silence. Sorry about that, but at last Hydrocity Zone has been added to the Sonic 3 section! There are so many levels I love but if pushed, this one would certainly be up there in my favourites list somewhere. Great mix of speed and challenging platform areas, and of course fantastic music and a great mix of colours too - simple, but there's a certain special atmosphere to it. I was unsure of whether to keep its difficulty rating at 2, which is what I originally made it, or upgrade it to 3. Even though there are a couple of hairy moments there, most are at least avoidable through shortcuts and it's otherwise a relatively straightforward level. Should be 2.5 really, but I didn't want to start giving out half ratings, so I went with 3. Pleased that the file sizes for these maps aren't coming out as huge as I expected, given Act 2's colossal-ness.

Still eagerly awaiting any sort of Project Needlemouse news. I did suspect that they would keep us in suspense for a while though, and I highly doubt we'll hear anything on it this month. Possibly not straight away in the new year either, but I wouldn't have thought it would be as far away as E3 - somewhere in between. Perhaps someone can leak out images and movies again beforehand and force them to announce it earlier than they were probably intending to! In the meantime all we've got is news about Sonic and Sega All-stars racing.. *yawn*. Seems to be exciting enough for many but I can't say it gives me anything to jump up and down about. More platformers instead please Sega.

There may be a similar wait for Marble Garden Zone and further updates over here though. My next term at University will be, I am expecting, incredibly busy. Theoretically I could fit Zone: 0 work in now and then for a couple of hours, three days a week or so, but it's just not the way I work really. When on a new level, I prefer to spend most of my time on it over the course of a couple of weeks, so that I can keep my focus and maintain a better quality page and maps, otherwise I lose track of what I'm doing, but there's just no time to accommodate that lately. So again, can't give any exact dates on when to expect the next thing, but I'll see what I can do, and keep you updated through Twitter.

Waiting on the Sonic Stadium's Sonic Site Award results to come through too - I'll let you know how we do, but fingers crossed!
Comments   1 Comment has been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, 16th December 2009, 12:50am
So, finally you have put the Hydrocity Zone into the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 section (we have been waiting since September) (I know you couldn't do it, I just put it since I wanna remember all from when you haven't add something to this guide).

Other than that, excellent guide.

PS: I did the first comment! xD
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.
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