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. ;)
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