Sonic Prototypes (released by Hidden Palace)

Discussion in 'Discussion & Q&A' started by LazloPsylus, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Administrator

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  2. DeltaWooloo

    DeltaWooloo Respect my authoritah! Member

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    So the Spinball prototype is more of a release candidate with a build date of September 17th, 1993. It's based on the European build however you will hear Naka's song play on the title screen alongside a few differences.

    Sonic Adventure 2 came with a May 7th 2001 prototype too, 4 days after the trial build.

    Let's hope tomorrow stream changes our mood. Will it have what y'all have been wanting for years? Will it end 2020 on a happy note? Let's see what will happen tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
  3. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Administrator

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    Reminder that today's stream is in 15 minutes: https://www.twitch.tv/hiddenpalace

    IT'S SONIC 1.

    This is before the one shown in this video by the way, although there are some similarities. Note the video has the HUD changed to RINGS.

     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
  4. nineko

    nineko I am the Holy Cat Member

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    Here, let me participate in this historic moment:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hgPXBKXaCY

    It's just a quick video but I didn't want to be late as usual. A follow-up might follow eventually.

    Happy 2021 everyone!
     
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  5. Bluestreak

    Bluestreak Lady in red, living in dread. Member

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    There are a lot of neat things, for those who haven't watched the stream, here's a recap:

    Normal SEGA screen.

    Better drums.

    The levels are more difficult (something I like), but extra lives are given out like candy. Sonic cannot die from falling as well. He just warps to the top of the stage. He also gets extra lives at 50 and 100 rings. Sonic also still does the airpunch at the stage's end.

    Boulders fully work, and are often used as traps to knock you into spikes. Their physics are well-developed for the most part.

    If you jump off the tall mountain in GHZ1, you can die due to the camera boundary bug. Also, in GHZ Act 3, if you use the red spring on the rock by the spike bridge, the ground will glitch up due to the speed Sonic is going. GHZ is the only boss.

    Collision for the first major downward ramp in Act 2 of Marble Zone is messed up. You have to jump on the crushers to make them go down. Also, the level has a little extra section at the end.

    Sparkling Zone is just like the proto graphics we've seen. Only act 1 is playable without level select. Act 2 has some objects at the beginning, then nothing else. Act 3 is devoid.

    Labyrinth seems like it might have been in the middle of an overhaul in graphics, considering incomplete brick areas resembling the SMS version. Act 2's layout is almost 1:1 to the final. Also no water. Act 3 is extremely messed up. Crabmeats, monitors, and rings are the only real objects, but laying out rings does nothing in debug. Second sprite palette in Labyrinth seems to be purely black. Act 3 has no backdrop.

    Star Light Act 1 is the only stage playable without level select. The layout is quite different, as is Act 2. Act 3 is pretty broken, and unfinished.

    "Clork Ork" has a strange object in it that Sonic goes right through. I'm unsure of its intention. Act 2 has a purely blue background. It is vastly incomplete, has a very different layout. Act 3 is unplayable (without hacking obviously).

    Special Stage is only accessible via level select. There is no Emerald or rings. Blue goalposts do nothing, but red SHOULD warp you out, but makes you spin eternally.

    That being said... I can't wait to see this proto disassembled and researched!
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
  6. rika_chou

    rika_chou Adopt Member

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    Here's some stuff I Posted on Retro:

    Maps!

    LZ1
    Bonus: Beta LZ1 with the final layout loaded
    LZ2
    LZ3

    SLZ1
    SLZ2
    SLZ3


    SBZ1
    SBZ2

    Sprites:

    Unused "U" from the special stage:
    $651FE
    [​IMG]

    Unused Skull from the special stage:
    $6512E
    [​IMG]


    Boss bits, the spring is new. the fireball shooter is different:
    $60864
    [​IMG]


    Not sure if these are used or not, don't look familiar to me:

    Some kind of puff of smoke:
    $2656E
    [​IMG]


    Small fireball:
    $26BF6
    [​IMG]

    That's all the art that I don't recognize, but there could be stuff I missed.
     
  7. Bluestreak

    Bluestreak Lady in red, living in dread. Member

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    Damn. I hoped there would be some remnants of the Tokyo Toy show version in there due to the header date.
     
  8. vladikcomper

    vladikcomper Well-Known Member Member

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    @rika_chou, this is some amazing stuff you've got here, awesome work! You've actually ninja'd me on the unused art part, but I didn't find as much as you did anyways. So, instead of posting some raw VRAM differences as I originally intended, I decided to focus more on the technical aspects and overall engine behavior in differences in comparison with the final ROM.

    Please bear in mind, these notes are based (mostly) on pure observation (with a little help of VRAM debuggers), no disassembling or sophisticated debugging and code analysis involved (I'm afraid I don't have enough time for that).


    SEGA screen

    This one obviously looks like an unmodified placeholder copy-pasted straight from some sample code (the one that is usually found in SDKs). It isn't even integrated with some of the game's most basic routines.

    For one, this screen doesn't use standard fade in and fade out routines. While it appears to be fading out, this sequence is actually performed by the next game mode (the Title screen) as a part of screen initialization code (this is actually the way every game mode was programmed in Sonic games: it always fades out and clears the screen after the previous one).

    But most notably, this screen doesn't call the sound driver update routine during VBlank (again, lack of integration), so when you soft-reset the game, all music and SFX are not stopped properly, so the last notes keep playing, unless the screen fade out and the sounds are stopped properly by the Title Screen initialization code.


    Camera system

    The vertical level warp is only halfway coded and is not working as intended.
    This can be seen in Labyrinth and Clock [W]ork zones, where if you fall through the level's bottom boundary, camera will immediately warp to the top of the level instead of continuing to go in the intended direction, seamlessly connecting the bottom and the top parts of the layout (the way it works in the final with the "endless" waterfall in the beginning of LZ3, or in SBZ2 layout).

    Vertical camera movement also differs from the final.
    It's mostly noticeable at the beginning of Sparkling Zone 1, when red spring launches you to the top of the wall. The camera moves rather slowly while you running up the wall; it's only when you jump off the wall or run off it that the camera catches up.
    This is because when Sonic's grounded, the vertical camera movement is limited to 6 pixels/frame (as opposed to 16 pixels/frame in the final). This actually is reminiscent of the way camera behaved in earlier prototypes, where it would slowly adjust to the floor level Sonic was on (as can be seen in this footage: https://youtu.be/gtaM0Xme21k?t=9).


    VRAM notes

    I didn't have much time to analyze all the zones, but here is what I noticed so far:

    • Lamppost was not implemented at this time of development. Its VRAM slot is instead occupied by this unused smoke art (already present in @rika_chou's post):
    [​IMG]
    • Marble Zone for some reason loads Splats art near the slot where Caterkiller is located in the final:
    [​IMG]

    Caterkiller itself is not present in the zone.​


    Sound differences

    The following SFX differ from the final:
    • A1 appears to be an early version of Special stage entry sound, while it's lamppost touch SFX in the final;
    • A8 is an unused explosion sound, which doesn't seem to exist in the final (replaced with SS entry SFX in the final);
    • A9 is a weird low-pitched version of the spinning sound, resembles BE;
    • B0-B1 are continuous siren-like sounds; there is nothing similar to these in the final;
    • B2;
    • B3 appears to be some electrical sound, likely indented for Clock [W]ork zone;
    • BA seems to be a different version of SS glass block touch SFX;
    • BF is another continuous sound, purpose unknown;
    • C2 is higher pitch version of enemy explosion SFX; replaced with oxygen warning sound from LZ;
    • C3 is an alternative version of boss explosion; replaced with Giant Ring warp sound in the final;
    • C9;
    • CA.

    General bugs


    Sound driver:
    • Sound driver is appears to be more glitchy; breaking platform SFX sometimes got distorted.

    Object-specific:
    • Spikes have improper collisions; you sometimes can get hurt when jumping over them;
    • Lights on GHZ's boss chain are not animated;
    • Those in-level GHZ balls have generally broken physics, as they can go through floors or start floating in the air instead of going in the direction of a slop or falling off correctly;
    • Invulnerability time counter can be set incorrectly in rare cases; after awkwardly getting hurt by the spikes I was able to retain full invulnerability (as indicated by Sonic flashing and not being able to collect items) for several seconds straight.

    Debug mode-specific:
    • Camera's bottom boundary lock is not restored when you exit the debug mode;
    • Sonic's speeds are also not cleared, so if you enter/exit debug mode repeatedly while being in the air, Sonic's falling speed never stops increasing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
  9. Elijah Rosado

    Elijah Rosado Newcomer Trialist

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    To: Bluestreak
    From: Elijah Rosado

    I think there is. I looked closely at Sonic 1's rolling sprites, and I think they might be a leftover from Sonic 1's Tokyo Toy Show prototype! These were kept in Sonic 2 beta and final, Sonic 3 beta, Sonic Crackers, and Knuckles' Chaotix.

    [​IMG]
     

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  10. Ronald Rose

    Ronald Rose Newcomer In Limbo

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    I thought we got the Title Screen mappings!
     
  11. Iso Kilo

    Iso Kilo Foxy Fren Member

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    TTS was made in June 1990. And the game wasn't pitched until December 1989 (Rough estimate based on some things Ohshima has said). The header seen in this prototype is just a basic nulled out one that came with the SDK.
     
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  12. SPM1

    SPM1 Newcomer Member

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    No, they're not TTS leftovers. I just compared the proto jump sprites in Photoshop with the final ones and they're identical.
     
  13. ProjectFM

    ProjectFM Optimistic and self-dependent Member

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    I ripped all the sound effects and shoved them into a Sonic 1 disassembly. While sound effects only go up to $D0 in the final Sonic 1, in the prototype, they go up to $D3. I haven't seen $D0 to $D3 reported on, and they can't be accessed in the base ROM because the sound test only goes up to $CF.
    • $D0 is the waterfall sound effect like in the final.
    • $D1 is continuous noise, similar to the waterfall sound effect but louder and unending
    • $D2 is a continuous rhythmic pounding
    • $D3 starts as a standard firey noise sound effect, but then oscillates continuously
    • $A1 is broken when ported to the final sound driver, cutting in and out and staying at a consistent pitch
    In this disassembly, I extended the sound effect table and increased max value of the sound test to $D3 so you can hear these sound effects for yourself.
     

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  14. nineko

    nineko I am the Holy Cat Member

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    By the way, am I the only one who found this broken platform? I didn't mention it because it's just out there in the way and I assumed everyone else already found it, but I don't see it mentioned anywhere other than in my video...

    I can provide a savestate or even a full gmv if you can't get it to appear.
     

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  15. Iso Kilo

    Iso Kilo Foxy Fren Member

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    Ported the animation testing object to final while disassembling the prototype. Provided file is Hivebrain compatible.
    upload_2021-1-1_15-0-43.png
     

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  16. Pacca

    Pacca Having an online identity crisis since 2019 Member

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    Holy shit

    This made my day

    Actually, this made my last couple of months

    Holy fuck

    Its' easier to outrun the camera and cause visual artifacts in the prototype

    The levels are half finished

    omg

    what a time to be alive
     
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  17. TheStoneBanana

    TheStoneBanana The Bananaman Member

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    It's hard to say much of anything else at this point except wow. This is something I'm sure we all had doubts we'd ever see, but now... it's real and it's here and it's not a dream. Congratulations to the Hidden Palace crew for such a monumental release, and thank you to Buckaroo for being so generous!
     
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  18. Trickster

    Trickster The Trickster Member

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    I might be speculating but i think that it was highly possible to make the air rooms in the proto functional as how we think.
    Why? Because labyrinth zone was possibly projected to use the night mode they used in later games. Possibly even explaining why it is the most "blocky" zone from the game. It only darkens tiles and such.

    Nightmode.png unknown.png

    In my theory, they were going to code and insert the night mode in LZ for that empty room to be filled with air by disabling the night mode on that specific part. But later they scrapped this gimmick to use the background instead. Possibly because it was a better idea for them? By using the background, they had freedom to put that water effects we see today.

    And maybe that is reason why the background was changed. Besides that, it was too dark for them to easily distinguish them on the old backround, unlike the proto bricks and the final background that are far brighter.

    (Apologies for any weird engrish im using mama' crappy phone to write this post)
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2021
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  19. Nat The Porcupine

    Nat The Porcupine Point & Click Funny Man Staff

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    A little late to the party, but that's not a fireball shooter at all. That's a coiled spring! Take a look:
    [​IMG]
    Armed with this knowledge, I think we can safely assume that one of the bosses was going to function a little differently & I think it's safe to say it fits best with SYZ. And no, I'm not just saying that because "hurr spring is in the final's zone name durrrrr!" There's more to my theory than that.

    When you look at every boss in Sonic The Hedgehog 1, you start to notice that all of the weapons the bosses use are modeled after the stage setpieces & hazards you encounter. MZ's boss uses fireballs that spread the same way the fire on the sinking platforms does. SLZ's boss uses bombs & seesaws, two things that you encounter with a good bit of frequency in that zone. SBZ's boss features crushing & electrical zapping, which are two things many of the traps in that zone are designed to do. LZ's "boss" contains everything players will hate about the zone in one terrifying run. The only two bosses to really break this pattern are the ones in GHZ & SYZ. GHZ in the final game contains no wrecking balls, so the theming doesn't quite come through, but if our knowledge of various prototypes & the fact that a wrecking ball stage object sits unused in the final game is to be believed, the original plan was to have the player encounter them more regularly so they can make a satisfying connection when said stage object is now used against them by the boss of the zone. SYZ's boss, however... has a spike... okay... To be fair, there are many spiked objects in SYZ, but I'd call them more of a secondary focus... I mean, there is a reason it's called Spring Yard. The stage focus is bouncing around. The spring only makes thematic sense for this boss.

    So... does that mean the boss was originally going to be some entirely different pogo-ing abomination? I highly doubt it. Another thing every boss in Sonic 1 does is fly, aside from the final boss. I doubt they'd break that pattern for this either. Not to mention, the spike is already here too, so that means the idea had to be at least close to what the final one ended up being. Instead, I have a much more lucid theory. Skilled players of Sonic 1 might know that you can actually just barely jump high enough to damage the SYZ boss as he dips during his bobbing cycle. While that may not have been possible in this prototype due to the slightly lower jump height, I believe the spring would have been placed on the bottom as means of deterring that kind of aggressive play; if you try to attack him while he floats or simply jump too close, the spring bounces you back down quickly, possibly into one of the newly opened holes in the ground. When he's in range to attack, only then is the spring swapped out for the spike to skewer the block below him, which opens the window for attack. They probably scrapped it in the end because that just sounds like it could lead to some serious BS.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
  20. rika_chou

    rika_chou Adopt Member

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    Good catch, did not realize that was a coiled spring.

    [​IMG]
     
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