In 2004, I had a dream. It wasn't about equality for all races, it wasn't about a time where war and famine was over. No, it wasn't about any of that stuff. It was a dream about Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog, in my opinion is the ultimate source of entertainment. In all of technology and modern popular culture there is no greater experience than bursting through a well designed, beautiful, colourful, melodic Sonic level with perfect physics and an adrenaline rush unmatched by any other gaming experience. The twists and turns and platforms are perfectly placed to leap from one to the other, the pace is exciting and the visuals, inspired. Sonic level design is my passion, I find myself almost every day thinking about it. The perfect traps, the ideal pathway formations and locales. I've tried finding other interests but it's no good - Sonic levels are an obsession and an inspiration to me. If you don't share these opinions, do carry on your way and enjoy the rest of the site for whatever other reason you're here. Otherwise, keep reading...
I had the dream of the perfect resource for Sonic levels. Every one of them in the whole series analysed and categorised. Wanted to make an underwater cavern level for your fangame? Perhaps a traditional tropical paradise stage or a factory environment. This was a resource where you could see how the pros have made those levels and what sort of designs and objects can inspire you, what particular elements should be in every instance of each level type. It was a way of mapping and predicting what locations could be employed in upcoming Sonic games and what sorts of ideas have barely been touched before. It was a place where I could bring order and structure to my passion, and before long, it was well underway. As Zone: 0 snowballed along, level guides swelled to the point where they were no longer humble sources of reference for the already knowledgeable - they had become complete strategy guides for the novice, just as useful as they could be to the pro. My work could take a level's beauty and preserve it in the form of literature and imagery for anyone and forever, and I had no doubt that this was the right evolutionary path to take.
However, guides of this size, as a hobby, take time. They always were going to take time but I must say my dream never said anything about there being only three or four games available online a full five years later. And that, dear follower and fellow fanatic, is where you come in. Ever since going live, I've often received the advice of seeking other writers to help me with my mission. I hesitated - worried I'd lose control of the project and what it stands for, but perhaps one day that is for the best, if my dream is to ever live on toward its full potential. If nothing else, the feedback I've received validates my belief that it should live on, it should be all it can be, with or without me behind the wheel - entirely or at all.
So, I am now looking for other writers. Passionate writers, passionate Sonic fans, researchers and game and level enthusiasts in particular. It's time to turn Zone: 0 into a community project! Please get in touch if you're interested in contributing a complete guide for a game or even just a contribution towards part of a game will probably be ok. A game guide in its entirety, written by just the one person would be good to keep consistency but whatever you're considering doing, I'll be interested in discussing it with you, I'm sure! No web development skills necessary - I have a very comprehensive custom-made page builder system that you could use if you wanted.
What are your options? Well Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles have already been written and although I'm still somewhat undecided, I would probably like to carry on with Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 after that. However, beyond that, the world is your oyster! I recommend, however, starting off with something small and simple, as this kind of collaboration is something of an experiment and it would be good to use a smaller game as a bit of a trial run. Because of where I am now with the guides (still firmly in the territory of the "first generation"), some of the Game Gear/Master System platformers, Sonic 1, 2, Sonic Chaos, Triple Trouble etc would be ideal choices. They probably require less in depth description, and mercury is expanding his family of map extractor tools to cover these games too, so it's almost a shame not to make use of it!
However, don't let me dictate. If you really really want to do a guide for any game in the series, old or new - perhaps you've already written an FAQ and would be interested in converting it - talk to me about it! Other great choices would be the Advance/Rush series, Sonic Rivals perhaps, Sonic 3D or Knuckles Chaotix would also be logical (though probably not popular) choices. It might take me a bit of figuring out as to the best way to represent them, but there's nothing that says they have to be platformers either. A guide for Sonic Chronicles would be brilliant! Sonic R, Sonic Battle, Sonic Spinball? All open for discussion!
Again, if you want to go bigger, that's fine too. Sonic Heroes, Sonic '06, Secret Rings, Black Knight, Shadow, maybe even either version of the mighty Sonic Unleashed. Just make sure you know what you're getting into before you agree to anything because as I'm sure you're aware, depth and detail are paramount around here and I would expect no less from guest writers, on huge games! I know I reserved SA1 and 2 for myself, but this is not set in stone yet, and honestly it's more important to me that these guides are done and done well than who does them. So if you love SA1 or 2 and feel like you could do a great job with them, and they're the only ones you would want to do, lets talk. Even just one aspect, like the chao modes, would be great! Only do what you will enjoy doing.
So this is all pretty open, however what I must be firm about, and I must make this perfectly clear, whatever you want to do, make sure it is not a one-off idea that you might get excited about at first but then lose all interest in, a few weeks later. If you're the sort of person who tends to do that, think about it a little more carefully. Whatever you tell me you can provide, make sure you are committed enough to provide it. Doesn't matter if it'll take you months and months and years, because that's how long I've taken with all this, just keep me updated on how it's going and if you can't finish something, it's no big deal, just tell me! You need to be thorough - look at levels from every angle, don't just tell people to go on a particular route, tell them about all the options - leave no stone unturned. I'm looking for really passionate, motivated fans who will stick with this and with whom I can build a new community out of this site. One where discussion and analysis of great level design is king. A foundation of the study of what has already happened, on which we can build a place where new, fan made levels, using high quality open source engines, are shared and appreciated. That's definitely an element of my dream, and the ideal place I would like to take my work towards.
Interested? Please email me rather than leaving a comment below from now on, as I'll be more likely to respond quickly to it - liquidshade-AT-soniczone0.com.