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.
Mental Metal
Saturday, 8th August 2009, 1:22pm (UTC), 6 Comments
Update: Sonic CD guide now fully complete! Metallic Madness page added.
Huzzah! Metallic Madness is finally here, thus drawing a close to the Zone: 0 guide to one of Sonic's most beautiful and complex adventures, Sonic CD.

Word of warning, this one's a real juggernaut, probably the biggest level guide that I've written. So much so that I feel that it earns the privilege of having some stats listed for it, despite the fact that I've already mentioned these previously. It weighs in at approximately 12,000 words (in context, Scrap Brain Zone is around 4000 and Wacky Workbench, 7000), 652 screenshots were taken (normally I only need about 200-300) and 128 of which are used on the page. Surprisingly the map making process was quite quick here - the page building one was not. Time Travelling Tips for Zone 2 is perhaps a bit on the lengthy side but I felt it was important to consider more than just how to get to the Past. Hopefully it's not too confusing. Point #1 still puzzles me though. Maybe, somehow, it's just me but I just can't figure out why I can't get to that ledge on the Mega CD emulated version, yet it's perfectly fine on PC/Gems. If anyone can at least confirm whether or not they also experience this problem, either on emulation or an original Mega CD, that would be very helpful. Just leave a note for me on Point #1.

So, all done now, at last! Despite its size compared to Sonic 1 and 2 pages, it's only taken about 6 months to publish, whereas those two ended up taking literally about a year each. But then I did have to make all their maps from scratch. Sadly, due to other things getting in the way, I haven't managed to do nearly as much Zone: 0 work over this summer as I had planned, as I think back to the slightly ludicrous prediction that I would have Sonic CD, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles all published by next month. I at least thought Sonic 3 would be in the bag but it was only ever going to be possible if I did pretty much nothing else all Summer, and it didn't exactly pan out like that. Still, never mind, we're getting there, slowly but surely and hopefully with all the new writers throwing their names into the hat, who knows where we'll be in a year's time!.. Possibly not much further really, as I have my final year at Uni to spend my time on, but we'll see! I think I'm done trying to make accurate predictions in terms of months, of when things will be ready by though. They're done when they're done.

On that note, I had hoped to kickstart Sonic 3, with Angel Island Zone, on the 30th August, in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the birth of the whole Zone: 0 project. It might still happen, but I've probably got some other freelance work coming through between now and then, so we'll have to see. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed for the latest.

Hope you've enjoyed Sonic CD with me! It's been bumpy and fiddly at times but overall I'm proud of what I've done. The game needed a good clear solid guide for it, not to mention detailed maps, and I hope I've fulfilled that requirement.
Comments   6 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Meph on Saturday, 8th August 2009, 2:27pm
Congrats! I can't wait to see Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
#2. Comment posted by sonictails1189 on Sunday, 9th August 2009, 11:57pm
Don't take this the wrong way. I love the guide and I know you put a lot of work into it. Are you, however, going to add a "Music" category to the Sonic CD "Downloads" section with the tracks from the game? You did for the other two games so I assumed you would with this one as well, unless, of course, there's some reason you're unable to.
#3. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Monday, 10th August 2009, 10:16am
It's mainly a bandwidth and webspace concern at the moment really in that I don't think I have enough of it to offer all the Sonic CD tracks, since I'll need to cover both soundtracks. I may add them eventually though if I have to upgrade my server package, and there will probably be room for Sonic 3/S&K ones anyway. There's just not enough space right now for all of them, given that I also use my server for other things.

Thanks :)
#4. Comment posted by mercury on Monday, 10th August 2009, 7:51pm
Re the underpowered spring in the Past of Act 2, I confirmed that it's also the case on the real Mega CD. I dropped a more detailed explanation under the Point #1 notes on the MM page.
#5. Comment posted by healthyfood on Tuesday, 18th August 2009, 10:38am
Hey GREAT work here!!! I've just started to re-play sonic 1 and 2 and your site is the best one hands down! gonna play sonic 3 again soon so looking forward to your section!!
#6. Comment posted by supersonicsmash on Friday, 19th February 2010, 11:24pm
Featured Posts
Sonic's latest Wii U outing turns away from the popular and well established speed dashes of recent games, in favour of a more traditional platformer approach. But does it work? Get ready for one of the most different Sonic games in every respect!
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.