Sunday, 29th July 2007, 2:25pm (UTC), 11 Comments
Update: Chemical Plant Zone added to the Sonic 2 section

Wow, a new level put together all in just over a week? Don't expect me to keep those kind of shenanigans up, although I will endeavour to put up a new level at least every fortnight for the remainder of the summer. No guarantees after that though. For anyone wondering, all the writing has been done many months ago, at the moment I'm only applying it to webpages, and making screenshots and maps, but it's still alot of work.

This one actually struck me as being a bit more well written than previous levels, not in terms of accuracy, just general writing style. Ahh, Chemical Plant. As a kid, I sucked at playing Sonic or really any game for that matter, and preferred to marvel at the abilities of my friends while I tagged along as Tails, but was I the only one to have nightmares about this zone? I remember, I used to happily play through Emerald Hill and then Act 1, but would usually just turn it off as soon as Act 2 started. Sometimes I would venture a bit into it if I was feeling particularly brave, but I lived in fear of.. "the bit". Point #5 in the guide, the bit where you're chased up a shaft filled with dangerously-close-to-each-other blocks by the deadly pink chemicals. Every time I actually tried it my nerves would get the better of me and I'd drown or fall, yet I could do quite a few of the later levels. Has anyone else had similar childhood experiences? Maybe you still can't do it? According to my misc. notes section, the current Sonic Team can't, so I guess there's no shame.

In the news lately (Sonic news, of course), it looks like Metal Sonic and surprisingly, Espio are two of the eight characters in Sonic Rivals 2. I like Espio, and I'm really glad to see him back in platforming action, and alone for the first time now (well, apart from the rival). Much better to make use of him and other less used characters than invent whole new ones for every new game, I think most of us agree. I believe there's still one more to be announced though. While we're on the subject, has anyone else noticed that the Sunset Forest level in this GameTrailers video appears to have multiple suns, during the Tails bit? No, before you say anything, it's not evidence to suggest this game takes place on another planet that's surrounded by suns, it's more than likely a graphical cock-up. I know what you plot theorists are like. :P

Oh yeah, I've also made an update to Point #7 of the Scrap Brain Zone in Sonic 1. Getting to the mysterious top route in Act 2 had alluded me until a visitor sent me an email, explaining that the tube that takes you to it only activates when you've got at least 50 rings to hand. How unusual is that? No wonder I missed it. Anyway, cheers mate. Will update that section and the map properly when I can be arsed.

That'll be all for now. Hopefully Zone: 0 will be a nominee for the Sonic Site Awards soon, so expect me to be rabbiting on about that next time.

Comments   11 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by 1963886 on Monday, 30th July 2007, 12:26am
You are REALLY good at discovering shortcuts in the levels. You site was the first time I ever heard of two shortcuts: The Labyrinth and now the Chemical Plant level shortcuts. I hadn't seen those tricks on any other sites. Well Done. Just out of curiosity, why does the last 16 or so characters show up again at the end of every page?
#2. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Monday, 30th July 2007, 8:59am
Thanks! Yeah, I only found out about those shortcuts within the last two or three years aswell, since I began writing. It certainly helps if you have the complete map at your disposal and therefore can see everything that exists in it, you then just have to figure out how to get to these hidden routes. I didn't figure out the Labyrinth one myself, I read about it elsewhere.

What 16 or so characters are you referring to? I'm not sure what you mean.

#3. Comment posted by 1963886 on Monday, 30th July 2007, 12:22pm
Look between the Miscellaneous Notes table and the text that says "Contents of this page were last updated on 5th July 2007" on the Star Light Zone page. On my browser there is text that shows up saying "me and Sonic 2", which happen to be the last 15 letters of the Miscellaneous Notes section. It's nothing to worry about, it's actually pretty funny at times.
#4. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Monday, 30th July 2007, 12:35pm
Really? wow, doesn't happen with me, and I've tested it in Firefox, IE7 and Opera. What browser do you use? I've no idea what could be causing that.
#5. Comment posted by 1963886 on Monday, 30th July 2007, 1:19pm
Internet Explorer 7, I think.
#6. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Tuesday, 31st July 2007, 8:01pm
Ok, I've done some research into this, and this "phantom text" bug occurs in IE6, so that must be what you have. It repeats the last characters of the text according to how many comments I have in the html that sit between the boxes that contain all the individual bits of content. I use the comments to make it clear to me what's what, but for some reason they cause problems in IE6.

Unfortunately, according to my stats, about 25% of you guys are still using it! I really hate browser compatability issues. Everyone please do me a big favour and download firefox and just use that from now on... pleeease? :(

Well, in the meantime, I'll try and fix it. There seems to be a few ways to work around it.

#7. Comment posted by 1963886 on Wednesday, 1st August 2007, 3:08pm
You're right, I forgot you could just go to help, and select "About Internet Explorer." It is IE6, but I'm perfectly fine using it even with mysterious text. I told you, it's actually kind of funny.
#8. Comment posted by 1963886 on Wednesday, 1st August 2007, 6:35pm
Here's an idea that may work. Why don't you just try putting a "font color=white" tag right after the last table. What other options have you considered?
#9. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Wednesday, 1st August 2007, 11:22pm
It's ok, I've sorted it out now. The bug is triggered by comments in certain places. I just used a different method of commenting. I've re-uploaded all the pages, so they should all be ok now. The same bug misplaced some of the images really low down the page aswell. Could you do me a favour and check a few of the pages to see if they're alright? Thanks.
#10. Comment posted by 1963886 on Thursday, 2nd August 2007, 9:30pm
Everything looks fine to me.
#11. Comment posted by mercury on Wednesday, 28th May 2008, 8:05am
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've wondered about that top route in Scrap Brain forever! I always thought it was just an area that they decided to cut from the game, but just got left in the rom for time reasons - who knew they'd have a ring criteria? That's awesome.

As for "the bit" in Chemical Plant. Yeah, that was my bugbear, too. I would always get up to that point and make my brother play it for me! I was quite relieved when I found the secret route that bypasses it.

As always, your site's a treat. It's great having someone who's genuinely enthusiastic about Sonic, rather than just complaining about how the new games are going. I look forward to your updates.
Hills of Emeralds
Saturday, 21st July 2007, 5:23pm (UTC), 1 Comment
Update: Sonic 2 section finally kicks off, starting with Emerald Hill Zone, fully completed. Details of Sonic 1 on XBox Live Arcade also added to Sonic 1 Miscellaneous page.
Sorry it's been so long, almost a month since I finished Sonic 1 in fact, but I'm finally done with Emerald Hill Zone, thus begining my quest to capture Sonic 2 in the form of text, images and html. And css. It actually didn't take that long to assemble, it's just that I've been very busy building another site as part of a freelance job I've aquired. That's mostly out the way now though, so hopefully I'll have alot more time to spend on Chemical Plant, and it shouldn't take quite so long to get it up, I hope.

Naturally, you shall find Emerald Hill in the newly opened Sonic 2 section. Eagle eyed readers may notice one or two minor aesthetic enhancements to the formula, such as faint background images in the coloured container boxes on the page, but mostly it sticks to the same template as the Sonic 1 levels. I wanted to keep them all organised in as much the same way as possible, so that it reads as more of a guide to specific levels across the series rather than each game feeling very separate from each other. Having worked my way through six levels already, I've noticed some small imperfections that I wanted to set right once and for all, and the result, I think, is an Emerald Hill Zone page that feels a bit neater and more orderly. Knowing my perfectionistic nature though I'll now probably want to waste time and go back over everything for Sonic 1 and readjust small bits and pieces to bring it up to standard, but I'll try and focus on new things beforehand, at least. One thing I have also done though is add details about Sonic 1 on XBox Live Arcade to the miscellaneous page there. Yes, I bought it. Despite owning the game in probably more than ten different forms already. I wonder how much money Sega have made out of me so far..

Sooo, Sonic Stadium's ad banner service seems to be working out rather nicely so far. I'm getting at least 50 visits per day, which for a site that's just starting out is pretty good. I'm getting more interest in the project than I ever realistically expected at this stage too, and to know that I'm not the only one that is really enthusiastic about the whole idea of the site is extremely encouraging. Thanks very much to all who have expressed their interest. On a related note, Sonic Stadium are kicking off their Sonic Site Awards and accepting nominations. I probably wouldn't have submitted Zone: 0 myself if they hadn't actually encouraged webmasters to do it for their own sites, but I entered it into the "Information Station" and "Impressive Layout" awards, as those are really the only ones I can see it being a worthy nomination for. Anyone else is welcome to submit it for any of the others if they really want to but I don't think it'd be worth doing. If I could just be nominated for those, it'd be a further boost for everyone's awareness of the place, and actually winning one would just be brilliant. I'm looking forward to it.

Hope you enjoy the new content!

Comments   1 Comment has been posted.
#1. Comment posted by 1963886 on Sunday, 22nd July 2007, 8:49pm
Cool! It's up. Great Job!
Welcome new visitors and my Sonic E3 impressions
Tuesday, 10th July 2007, 8:30pm (UTC), 2 Comments
Even though the site is still in an early phase and there's only one game to look at so far, I felt I needed to spread the word a bit, and get people knowing about Zone: 0 so they can check back from time to time as it develops. That one game is probably enough to show off just how serious I am about the amount of detail I want to go into, so I thought I'd fork over a very reasonable £5 to Dreadknux of the Sonic Stadium, for an ad banner placement on there. Even though the banner only seems to actually be in the rotation at all at certain points throughout the day (I sent it off a few days ago, and have only just seen it on there for the first time this morning), it's still doing the job very well. The highest number of daily visitors has been over 100, which is absolutely fantastic. My amount of bandwidth at the moment probably wouldn't take much more this month if I had any more than that anyway, so thanks alot Dread and TSS, and a warm welcome to everyone coming straight from there, which will be almost all of you I'd imagine.

Unfortunately, nothing particularly new to update you with this time (although I dressed up the level pages a teeny bit in the act title sections t'other day - makes them look so much more organised and clear now I think), but I would like to share a few views on the new Sonic-ness shown at E3, which kicked off today. If you haven't heard yet, surprsingly early this morning, we were treated to the first screens of Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, the first video footage of Sonic Rush Adventure, and the first trailer and gameplay vid of NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams. To catch up, I point you to suckle at the ever informative teet of Sonic News.

Despite the currently very old skool style and lack of any official post-SA artwork adorning this neat little site, I am in fact not at all against modern Sonic in any way, and carry a generally very optimistic view of new titles, treating them in as high regard as those of the "first generation". So I've not surprised myself by being impressed with Sonic Team's E3 offerings so far. Firstly, Mario and Sonic. Who'd ever have guessed, huh? Especially not at the Olpympics, which has absolutely nothing to do with either franchise. Still, I'll go with it, and there's something about a couple of those screenies that warms me old heart. Sonic and Mario characters appearing together in the same shot.. it might not mean much to you if you're young and weren't around or paying attention during their rivalry, but to see that now is just.. well, it's quite nice, I think. That's about as well as I can describe my thoughts about that. As for the game, I've a feeling its novelty may wear a bit thin once you've played all the games and everything, but then, that tends to be the case for many a Sonic genre spinoff, which don't tend to keep my interest for a great deal.

Sonic Rush Adventure.. to be honest, I don't see what the problem would have been with calling it "Sonic Rush 2", but regardless, it's lookin' good. One of my biggest beefs with Sonic Rush, as it compares to the others, is the lack of originality in levels, primarily in their appearance and structure, and as you'd guess from the way I'm organising my guides, these are important elements to me. The locations mostly felt a bit "been there, done that", and the structures were all too emphasised on speed, as fun as they were to race through. SRA looks to have the location problem sorted and, much like Secret Rings, is going for completely new, or much less used ideas in the settings for just about all of its levels. There's a danger of making it feel a bit too un-Sonic by doing that, but I love the look of the sunset mechanical/ruin type level, the ghost ship one is a nice idea, though a bit bland looking, and that gorgeous mystical forest kind of stage in the trailer is making me suddenly very impatient to play. Although, that does look a bit similar to the dinosaur jungle stage, as seen in previous screenshots, and I think all levels within a game should look as different as possible to each other. Unless they're two acts of the same level..? Could we finally be getting altered backgrounds and level contents between acts, like in S3/S&K? Probably not, but I can live in hope that one day we will. In general, I hope they go for slightly less of a speed-orientated adventure this time, and focus a bit more on interesting level layouts and objects. New ideas are great, but I don't want modern 2D Sonic games to permanently go too far away from the original formula, which I felt that Sonic Rush did a tad.

Finally, NiGHTS. Not a Sonic game as such (well, at all), but I was one of the lucky ones to own the original game, being a proud Sega Saturn user, and I'm thrilled to see how lovely the new one looks in the trailer, and how similar it is. Upon seeing the first screenshots and hearing that the early motion of the game was a bit jerky, or something like that, I was a bit unimpressed, but the trailer has put those fears to rest. The voice over reminds me of a Christmas coca cola advert. Very wholesome and fantastical quality to it. I'm sure the game will end up with enough problems that critics will complain that it's not as good as the original, and is therefore not worthy of anyone's money, etc, but I'm pretty confident I'll enjoy it. As always, screw the critics.

Too bad there's not going to be any sign of that mysterious Sonic RPG. I've never played anything by BioWare, but the fact that they're supposedly so good at RPG's, and enthusiastic about Sonic fills with me with hope, though I'm very intruiged as to how they're going to blend RPG puzzling and wandering with good old fashioned, pick-up-and-play Sonic action. People didn't like the RPG elements in Sonic Adventure and Sonic the Hedgehog, so it's going to be very interesting to see exactly how they plan to counteract that, to stop people moaning. Whatever happens, it looks to be the most significant Sonic non-platformer ever. And the announcement of Sonic Rivals 2 recently means that I'm definitely going to have to buy a PSP now. Of the forty one titles that I class as being currently within the Sonic series, Sonic Rivals is the only one I have never played, and don't have any access to. Going this long without one of them is a crime, but now two? Something simply must be done.. Looks like I actually need to get a job. :(

Well, that's a lengthy chunk of text I've put you through there, as always. Do feel free to drop your comments, and as the site is still a newbie, don't hesitate to use the comments feature of this entry, or the previous one, to let me know your overall impressions of the site. Thanks to those who've already given them.

P.S. If you're looking for a progress report on the Sonic 2 section - there ain't one. Sorry, been mega busy with other things lately, but I did get a chance to have a read through of what I'd written for Emerald Hill Zone some time ago, and it's all pretty good and rather brief, so shouldn't take me long to put together the page and images for it, which I'll hopefully be starting within the next few days.

Comments   2 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by King Ubu on Thursday, 12th July 2007, 6:11pm
Your Sonic Stadium banner is certainly one of the more noticable. It's being displayed during the peak times for both Europe and America.
#2. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 12th July 2007, 7:10pm
Yeah, my stats are telling me so, and seemingly at numerous points throughout the day, though apparently in short bursts as I've still only actually seen it up on one occasion. Weird when certain other banners are in the rotation all the time - not really sure how the system works. Regardless, it's certainly working!
Blog: GO!
Sunday, 1st July 2007, 4:18pm (UTC), 16 Comments
Update: Blog system set up on a redesigned home page, with separate blog page for recording all entries, and site FAQ page.
Welcome to the first ever entry of the Zone: 0 blog!

..Yanno, sometimes I call it Zone: 0, other times ZONE: 0, ZONE:0, Zone:0.. I'm yet to decide on a definite, official choice for how the name should be written. Maybe we should hold a vote..?

Anyway, yes, welcome to the blog, which will hopefully be updated regularly both with me droning on about new updates to the site, and droning on even more about the latest Sonic developments and my opinions about them etc.

Just over week ago, aside from a few short lines and scraps, I'd had limited experience in using the PHP scripting language at all, let alone connecting it to a database that can hold information submitted through forms and then be dynamically displayed however I want. But I've very much had a PHP week this week, as I suddenly got hooked on it last Sunday, and I've been coding away like some sort of geeky beaver ever since. I built the core functionality of this blog system from scratch in only a day or two, and spent the rest of the time on another website I'm creating as a freelance job for someone. I've done programming before, and even connected to databases in ASP a little bit, but still, from scratch in only a couple of days, I think that's pretty good. My eyes and muscles are certainly paying for it though.

All of my entries and previous updates will be stored on the blog page, with the three most recent entries up on the home page, and when opened in the blog page, any visitor can leave their comment to any entry. I'm very chuffed about the whole system, and actually can't believe it all works so well, with very minimal problems encountered throughout the whole week!

It's an amazing technology, and given the amount of time I've spent carefully crafting html pages over the years, often re-writing the same information such as a layout or menu navigation, and then getting frustrated when I have to change it a little bit on every sodding page, you can imagine how great it feels to be in control of a system this powerful. With well written code, you'd only ever have to change anything once.. More or less. I guess it just really appeals to my desire to maintain order and efficiency - and I may actually be transforming into some sort of Nazi. Hitler loved a good database, you know.

So can it actually be used in any way with the content of the site? Well, that's what I've been throwing around in my head a bit today. I think the implementation of a "reply" system for each page within a game section, whereby you guys can add your own responses to what I've written or add more details to things I've missed is likely - I think that'd be a good thing to have. As far as using it to actually make the pages, they're all crafted rather individually. It's not just text, couple images, text, couple images, all the way down. Every paragraph and accompanying images are chosen to be presented in a certain customised way, and that's how I like it. Even though it can look a bit untidy sometimes. It does take extra time to make though, and I'm wondering if I can build a PHP "application" for myself that I can actually use to automatically generate some of the code for me.. Could be quite a challenge, but if it means increasing my productivity on this site, with no sacrifice to quality, it's worth investigating.

Wow, this is a long blog already. I always tend to waffle on way too much. But anyway, that about wraps up all the PHP stuff. You'll notice that the Sonic 1 section has recently been fully completed (or there abouts) and that means I'll be starting on Sonic 2 soon. All the text for that (and Sonic 3, S&K and Sonic CD) has already been written months ago, but I'll need to read through and probably edit it a bit, then take my screenies and start building the webpages, starting with the Emerald Hill Zone. It might be more logical to begin with the general info stuff, but levels are way more fun to me, and they're what the site was really always supposed to be about anyway. Can't say when you'll see Emerald Hill up, I'm going at my own pace rather than working to a deadline, but expect it to come complete with maps for both acts.

Well, that about sums up my first ever blog entry - I hope it comes through ok! If you think this one is long and waffling, you ain't seen nothing yet, believe me. I do have a tendency to just keep on writing about stuff, even if it's not even remotely important that you know about it. Look, I'm doing it now! Still, detail is what this site is all about.

Enjoy Zone: 0, and do tell your Sonic friends about it! I could use alot more visitors.

Comments   16 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Sunday, 1st July 2007, 6:34pm
Just giving the 'ol comment system a quick test. It seems to work!
#2. Comment posted by SonicTheHedgehog on Sunday, 8th July 2007, 3:09pm
Good Luck with this cool website!!
#3. Comment posted by Crator® on Sunday, 8th July 2007, 4:16pm
I really like this site. Your guides and background info on Sonic 1 were excellent. I see good things in the future for this site. ^^ Keep up the good work.
#4. Comment posted by Flint on Tuesday, 10th July 2007, 6:36pm
Yo. Any chance for a RSS feed or something for this blog? Would help in knowing whenever the site is updated.
#5. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Tuesday, 10th July 2007, 6:48pm
Hey Flint,

In all honesty I've absolutely no idea how RSS feeds work, as I've not had anything to do with them before. But never say never - I'll at least have a look into them and see how easy they would be to set up, and if it's not too much of a fuss, I'll see what I can do. Thanks for your interest!

#6. Comment posted by Flint on Tuesday, 10th July 2007, 7:00pm
Yeah it's not like I'm forcing you to do anything :O. It's just that this site is extremely promising and fantastic, but I have a horrible memory when it comes to checking up sites so some sort of an 'update alerter' would be groovy. Thanks for the answer.
#7. Comment posted by 1963886 on Thursday, 12th July 2007, 3:40am
I love how this site is laid out. It's simple, and has so much information. You literaly disect the games and give the most information of any website I've seen. I'm really, really looking foward to seeing what you have on Sonic 2 & Sonic 3 and Knuckles. A really cool way to attract visitors is to put a banner that people can link to on their own site. Have a small icon, and then have an HTML code underneath. I'd put it on my site. You are doing great, and you've put so much work into this site. Keep it up.
#8. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 12th July 2007, 9:56am
Thankyou so much! I'm really greateful for your support, and pleased to know you're looking forward to future updates. Yes, I suppose I could make an "advertise Zone: 0" section with banners and html codes and stuff. That would be rather useful. In the meantime, you're more than welcome to use a 468 x 60 banner that I made for the Sonic Stadium banner rotation service; here. Thanks alot!
#9. Comment posted by 1963886 on Thursday, 12th July 2007, 2:15pm
Thanks. I'm curious to see what you're going to do about all the "Sonic 2 Beta" stuff. Are you going to hava a separate section relating to the Beta version, or just keep it in the backgroung info? Anyway, is it okay if I link to the picture you gave me, or do you want me to put it on my own server? By the way, you really are doing a great job.
#10. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 12th July 2007, 2:59pm
Best keep it on your server for the moment, as I wasn't necessarily intending to keep it where it is and might move it around etc. What is your site, btw?

Sonic 2 Beta will be featured in the miscellaneous page of the Sonic 2 section, with the other miscellaneous things. There won't be massive amounts about it, as investigating hidden things like that isn't necessarily what this site is about, and other places can do it so much better than I can, but I have written a fair bit about the lost levels, etc. It's important to include it, I think.

#11. Comment posted by 1963886 on Thursday, 12th July 2007, 5:18pm
Well, I guess that's to bad then, because I don't have a server, or a "real" site for that matter. Anyway- I'm actually looking foward to the upcoming Sonic Rush Adventure. Are you actually planning on doing in-depth investigations of every single Sonic game(Game Gear, Advance, etc...)? As for Sonic 2 Beta, I think that's a good idea. This site is about the released levels. Do you have a favorite Sonic 1 level? Mine would have to be Star Light Zone.
#12. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 12th July 2007, 5:46pm
I'm hoping to cover every Sonic game ever released and ever will be released, though because of the amount of time and work that'll take, I can't guarantee that'll ever come to fruition. If it does, it'll be over the course of many years, but at the very least I'd like to get the most important platformers done. Star Light is my favourite Sonic 1 level too.
#13. Comment posted by SonicTheHedgehog on Thursday, 12th July 2007, 7:38pm
Hell yeah Star light zone rocked![The music was equally awesome as well!!]
#14. Comment posted by 1963886 on Friday, 20th July 2007, 5:43pm
I was just wondering because I hadn't noticed anything new on this site in quite a while, but, are you still working on stuff for Sonic 2? I can't wait to see what you've got because it's my favorite game. Thanks.
#15. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Friday, 20th July 2007, 5:52pm
You bet. Emerald Hill Zone is expected to go live this weekend. I just need to map out Act 2. It hasn't really taken me that long so far, it's just I've been busy with other things lately. Hopefully I'll have more time for Sonic 2 in the coming weeks.
#16. Comment posted by 1963886 on Saturday, 21st July 2007, 3:41am
Cool! I'll be waiting patiently.
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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.