Soliciting Ideas for SSRG Panel at upcoming gaming expo

Discussion in 'Discussion & Q&A' started by NO_CARRIER, Apr 11, 2020.

  1. NO_CARRIER

    NO_CARRIER Newcomer Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    If I were to ask what were the 5 biggest contribuitions / advances/ discovered made in the Sonic Hacking scene, what would they be?
    And what do you think were the top 5 ROM hacks?

    (I only have an hour for the talk, so I need to narrow the scope. :)

    For biggest contributions, my list starts with the disassembler because that allows code-level edits to the game, followed by the pre-release ROMS. From there, not sure where to go.

    For ROM hacks, Stealth's S1&K ROM hack takes the cake. There were some interesting one-off hacks, and hacks that correct bugs in the games, which I find quite cool and useful. Suggestions?

    I was thinking about talking about the early days of ROM hacking (a-la mid 90's when SSRG began,) along with any interesting stories I have of Stealth and Taxman when they were with SSRG.
     
    Angel X likes this.
  2. ProjectFM

    ProjectFM Optimistic and self-dependent Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2014
    Messages:
    859
    Location:
    Portland, Maine
    I can't say what the most influential or important ROM hacks are, but the top 5 that really had an effect and inspired me would have to be:
    1. Sonic 1 Megamix by Team Megamix: This is the most popular ROM hack and tends to be the default choice when it comes to pointing out the best. This game seems to be going for adding as man new things as possible rather than setting out to create a unified experience, but for something that started in 2005, it really pushed the envelope and demonstrated what was possible. It's filled to the brim with unique characters, music, and expansive levels. Plus, it's unique in how it moved development to the Sega CD so it could use high quality music. The leaked beta even has a special stage which makes use of the Sega CD's rotation feature, and it definitely feels like a precursor to Mania's special stages with Sonic running through a linear track and destroying UFOs.
    2. Metal Sonic Hyperdrive by LoneDevil: This is what personally inspired me to join the community. It's not a technically marvelous hack, but it works with a strong theme. The level design makes innovative use of the objects from the original game and its intricacy makes it incredibly replayable. The artwork and level design borrows heavily from other games, but it's compiled in such a way that makes for a memorable presentation. For example, Orbital Base, takes art from what I believe is Wacky Workbench and sets it in space with low gravity added, and it all fits spectacularly. Plus, it cemented Yu Yu Hakusho Makyo Toitsusen and Cosmic Carnage as two of my all-time favorite game soundtracks. The spiritual sequel Metal Sonic Rebooted is of similar quality, though the fact that it goes for the same theming as keeps it from feeling as special as the original.
    3. Sonic 2 Advanced Edit by rika_chou: For over a decade, this hack's latest release was an incomplete demo, but one which gave off an impression that was worth revisiting. The most striking part was the incredible original art that most hacks can rarely live up to. It was also unique in its heavy influence from Sonic Chaos, which was more of a forgotten middle child in a series of lesser known 8-bit Sonic titles. The environments were unique for a classic Sonic game, and the level design that was there fit well too. It was all complemented by the addition of Sonic features from Sonic 3K. I think this was one of the only hacks I've seen to add in character-specific paths, even if it was only in the first zone. All it really needed to reach a completion state was some fresh new level designs to fit the art that was in place and to fix a few bugs. Then, it made a surprise resurgence in the Sonic Hacking Contest with new version revamping the already beautiful level art and adding in unique gimmicks and bosses to flesh it all out. It was all really well polished and felt like it could be an entirely new game.
    4. Sonic 1 The Next Level by MarkeyJester: Markey's thing had been quality-over-quantity single level hacks or small concept hacks which would completely flesh out some unique idea. This hack is the pinnacle of that, offering a single 3 act zone set in a strange surreal place. Each act is a showcase of some brilliant gimmicks complemented by an intriguing complex parallax background. It is also a showcase for a high quality sound streaming engine as well as some amazing SMPS conversions. In fact, on the initial listen, it can be difficult to tell which is SMPS and which is streamed audio, which is a testament to how well both are achieved. The music itself is unique in that they are sourced from techno songs rather than from other games. For a three month project, this hack's ambitions are higher than most, ending on an abstract boss which uses unique floating physics to defeat a constantly morphing boss over a background that feels alive. Overall, it's an experience you can get no where else.
    5. Sonic 3 & Knuckles Battle Race by MarkeyJester and AURORA FIELDS: This one is more of a personal choice, but it's the one of the few hacks which doesn't change the levels yet makes the entire game feel like it's worth replaying. It takes the entire game Sonic 3 & Knuckles, one of my all time favorite games, and gives a multiplayer mode which is able to be fun and fair. Plus, there are plenty of additional minigames with their own cool remixes of songs from the game. It's really packed with content, and as far as I know, there should be more to come. The presentation is gorgeous too, using the fact that menus don't use much processing power to fill the screen with cool graphics. I still don't understand how the level select transitions work.
    If I had more slots and time, I would have added Sonic 3 Complete and Sonic Boom. The former takes the game and fixes a ton of bugs and adds a ton of features. It's like a remaster, creating the ideal Sonic 3K experience. I only leave it off the list because it doesn't necessarily create a new experience unique from Sonic 3K. The latter is another fantastic single zone hack which adds a ton of gimmicks, awesome music, and couple bosses, though I think The Next Level does the some kind of thing with a bit more creativity and polish. I also love the fact that there is a spinoff hack called Gorbichev's Revenge that lets you do a multplayer boss fight in which one player controls the boss. It's not a concept I've really seen before and it's executed really well.

    Edit: I just remembered. Sonic Classic Heroes is another gameplay changing hack that makes the entire game(s) worth revisiting.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020
    NO_CARRIER and Angel X like this.
  3. Angel X

    Angel X Well-Known Member Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2017
    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Italy
    I would like to add more rom hacks:
    -Sonic Gaiden:This rom hack is very significant for the community.
    Here's why:http://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_Gaiden
    -The S Factor: Sonia and Silver:For its particularity.
    New characters with well-developed moses, beautiful art (levels and characters) and very interesting new bosses!
    Although I must say that the last parts of the game are really difficult!

    The most important of all:
    -ATOMIC SONIC:
    Legends must not be forgotten
     
  4. LazloPsylus

    LazloPsylus A Certain Scientific Railgun The Railgun

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Messages:
    Location:
    Academy City
    None of the following is in any particular order past what came to mind first. It also leaves out massive volumes of works by other people. It's hard to constrain down to just five, but here's an attempt. Still cannot be understated how much work not mentioned in the lists were responsible for shaping what all we know, though.

    For the biggest contributions:
    • Disassemblies: They changed the entire playing field from careful hex modifications and adjustments while retaining general structure, to being able to completely reconstruct the game at its base parts, enabling vastly more potential for what could be done, as well as made much more complex modifications feasible on many layers.
    • SonED/Esrael Sonic Editor: Both of them were key to bring level layout editing to more reachable levels, allowing layout hacks to expand in earnest.
    • xm2smps: Just like SonED and ESE, opened up music replacements as much more feasible.
    • Porting the Sonic 1 68k Sound Driver to Sonic 2: The port became a major staple of a sizable number of hacks, as the change in driver brought what many felt to be a much easier sound driver into a game that was already quite a favorite for hacking. It knocked down barriers to Sonic 2 music replacement and helped further diversify the already growing field of Sonic 2 hacks at the time.
    • The original Simon Wai Sonic 2 Beta. The icon that which the community formed around and learned so much from. Without it, I don't know if the hacking community would even exist in the size it is now.
    For top five hacks (by impact, not so much whether I found them great or not):
    • Knuckles in Sonic 1: First major character hack that was more than just a cosmetic replacement of Sonic. It was the hack that made what others expected out of the Sonic & Knuckles lock-on with Sonic 1, but didn't get. Managing to port his abilities and behaviors and even a Super form, it set a new bar for character hacks.
    • Sonic Megamix: Probably on everyone's list, though maybe for different reasons. Megamix is an icon for being a massive collaborative effort between a bunch of big names in the community at the time, and packing the hack full with a ton of content, bringing in multiple distinct characters, altered bosses, a ton of ported music, and more, all in a single package. As releases happened (officially and leaked), the amount of content replacement kept growing. It was a high watermark for ambition at the time, and it achieved that ambition in many ways.
    • Sonic Boom: One zone, and pretty much everything was replaced. Another case of all-star team-up, it set a bar of production quality and sliced a solid line into the sand of "You want quality and originality? here it is in spades." Megamix was notable for the amount of content crammed in; Sonic Boom was notable for being short, but utterly memorable and original to the point of being barely recognizable as Sonic 2 at times. It took Megamix's bar and kicked it up a level, making something that departed what we were familiar with in favor of a completely new spin.
    • Dustin Wyatt's Epic Adventure: Sonic65 was a goddamn genius. A small in-joke, turned into a complete warping of the Sonic engine into something entirely different from a Sonic game. A Sonic game was mangled and bent so far that it became a Mega Man game. If it wasn't clear before, this hack said "Fuck your status quo, go batshit wild!" in a hilarious and absolutely impressive manner, even if it never saw proper releases.
    • Sonic Classic Heroes: Like the rest of this group, pushed what the community thought was possible. Two characters was known to be possible, but three? Technical challenges galore, and flamewing knocked it out of the park and made it happen. Making what was thought to be impossible become reality.
    It's all opinion, ultimately, but I feel there's at least a decent argument for these being the Top 5's of both contributions and hacks.
     
  5. MarkeyJester

    MarkeyJester ♡ ! Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,870
    I have to disagree with majority of the hacks you guys have specified, some of them are great, but I really don't think any of them have "proven" anything that shouldn't have already been known, and I don't feel the same express feeling of innovation I would otherwise feel from the few I'm about to suggest (though I agree with Megamix and perhaps even Knuckles in Sonic 1).

    I think the real impact ones are those where the knowledge was extremely short with minimal theory or speculation, and the persons involved really had to go out of their way with very minimal information, here are four I think are notable:
    • Sonic 1 Beta Hoax - One of the earliest and first, and as I mentioned before, this really encouraged Sonic 1 hacking.
    • South Island Adventure - Given it being a 2004 hack, I suspect it was done on an early version of the split disassembly Hivebrain was working on, making it one of the very first hacks to be disassembly related.
    • Sonic for Mega CD - Another Stealth hack (he really is quite the innovator), this one being perhaps the first hack to be moved to Mega CD! This was in 2006 damn it... I don't think anyone saw this one coming.
    • Sonic 2 Delta - One of the earliest Sonic 2 hacks, it restores several beta levels to the original Sonic 2 almost flawlessly, and for 2001 before disassemblies this should be considered a marvel in itself, and still going today, the latest release being THIS YEAR.
    I really think age/generation is important, the hacks you guys have listed are very good hacks (seriously, I have nothing against them at all), but they seem rather acceptable for their time and I really just don't get the same sense of "Wow, that's possible?" at the time of viewing those, compared to the more older generations of hacks where it seems way out of the league entirely.
     
  6. StephenUK

    StephenUK Working on a Quackshot disassembly Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,007
    I'd also like to throw Sonic 2 Long Version by Sonic Hachelle-Bee into the mix for innovative hacks. Not only was it one of the only hacks I know to be made entirely on a Mac at the time, but due to this and the lack of tools at the time, it was made completely in hex including all of the custom art. I couldn't even begin to imagine how much effort it was to create custom art a pixel at a time in hex and piece it all together, so it deserves some major recognition.
     
  7. LazloPsylus

    LazloPsylus A Certain Scientific Railgun The Railgun

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Messages:
    Location:
    Academy City
    You know, I remembered the Sonic for Mega CD, but not who did it at the time, which is why I didn't list it, so didn't want to name and screw up credits a second time in one thread. Would knock off Sonic Boom from the list. This is why you don't rush lists, folks. =P

    Beta Hoax... yeah, fair. Delta is a pretty awesome restoration of prototype levels, and it's more than a bit crazy that it's over a decade and a half old and still going. Long Version meanwhile was so nicely polished despite being all-hex. An amazing swan song to hex hacking, though maybe not something impactful.

    There's also a few amazing hacks that never saw public release, and would have really turned expectations on their heads had they been released. There's at least one I can immediately think of that I enjoy going back to over and over, even if not all of them are hardware-compatible. Thought about fixing a few, but part of me resists just on grounds of respecting the work as it stood.
     
    ProjectFM likes this.
  8. DeltaWooloo

    DeltaWooloo A hacker, helper, friend and a Wooloo Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2019
    Messages:
    220
    Haven't anyone mentioned Sonic Winter Adventures by vladikcomper? When it came out, the hype was strong from all Sonic and non-Sonic websites saying how awesome this ROM hack was. It had a really good level design, bosses were outstanding and moves were not bad. It felt like a DLC, Sega should've made a while ago with Sonic 1. If there is a ROM hack you can't forget, it's this one.
     
  9. Ravenfreak

    Ravenfreak Sucks at sprite art. Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    385
    Location:
    O'Fallon, MO
    Sonic 2 LD definitely needs to be on the list. It was never finished, and only Emerald Hill was completed but it was the first major hack of a 8-bit Sonic game and it had some extra hidden goodies too. Also Sonic 2 Sweet Relief since again it was one of the earliest 8-bit hacks.
     
    AURORA☆FIELDS and ProjectFM like this.
  10. FохConED

    FохConED Join to Digital Resistance! Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2014
    Messages:
    195
    Location:
    Konakovo
    My top is:
    1. Sonic 1 Next Level
    2. Sonic Battle Race
    3. Sonic Megamix
    4. Sonic Winter Adventure
    5. Egg Factory
     
  11. NO_CARRIER

    NO_CARRIER Newcomer Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Just an FYI: it should come as no surprise that the convention I was to give this talk at has been canceled due to COVID-19. I'll try again next year and restart this thread then. Thanks for everyone's input. Until then, stay safe.