I had Aquatic Ruin all finished up and ready for showing yesterday but unfortunately my IP became blocked from my own web host for some reason just as I was uploading. The maps took quite a while this time, what with complicated routes, all those foreground bushes and different colouration for the underwater segments. Worth it though.. then again, come to think of it, I haven't actually received any feedback as of yet about any of the maps, specifically. You guys DO have a look at these maps I invest a fair bit of time on, right? Of course you do, I can see them being accessed in the stats, but I hope they come to good use, or will do in the future. I like Aquatic Ruin Zone, it's a cheerful little level with a very interesting structure that's filled with sub-routes and hidden bits and pieces, though it strikes me as being quite underrated in the community. You never hear people talk about it much, do you?
So, SAGE (Sonic Amateur Games Expo) has come and gone once again and there were a handful of impressive offerings. In general, the fangaming community is now becoming quite successful at making their various game engines emulate the real thing, compared to where they were 4 or 5 years ago, where things like loop-de-loops and platforms that make Sonic move with them were the stuff of the absolute experts. There's also some quite good level design and interesting ideas popping up aswell, but the problem is that still, nothing is ever completed. The only half decent completed fangame I've ever played was Sonic Time Attacked, which now is quite old and can be improved upon. Otherwise, all we ever get is an endless stream of demos featuring only one or two levels, and then the creator usually scraps it shortly thereafter, often replacing it with another game that is essentially the same basic concept. I understand it's all part-time stuff (like me with this site), and sometimes things don't always work out the way they were planned, but surely there should have been more of them that have actually been finished by now. Maybe everyone should just forget about trying to make whole games and just focus on releasing individual, unconnected levels of varying difficulty and type. That's what I'd do I think.
Retro Sonic is one fangame I've been keeping an eye on over the last few years and I'm thrilled to see it back and better than ever at SAGE, even though it was only just released this morning. Its physics are about the best I've seen from anyone, and the level design is excellent. Very smooth and flowing and flat out fun. If there's one game that I really hope to see complete one day, it's this one. Sonic Nexus was also impressive, with some nice, original ojects, and its good to see a fanmade level that isn't just a succession of speedy curves. I don't normally play many hacks on emulators, mostly because I get the impression they usually just replace Sonic with someone like Shadow or Mighty and then warp the level graphics into horrible colour schemes. Yes, Sonic 1 Megamix is partly that, but it also features completely redesigned, and very long levels that add whole new ideas to Sonic 1. Racing through it is good fun, and it's nice to play something that's actually a whole game, from what I've reached so far. Not something that I would have thought might appeal to me, but I liked Tikal and Chaos for its inventive platforming maneuvers given to Chaos, particularly, and just the interesting level design. I know people work very hard on their fangames, so well done to you all. Show SEGA and Sonic Team that level design doesn't always need too many death drops and gangs of enemies with health bars to be a decent challenge.
Now then, what's all this cafuffle about Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity? It seems that PLAY magazine is boasting all the info before SEGA release it. Unusual for some mag to be the very first to divulge stuff about a new Sonic game, but I guess they would have no reason to lie. That makes a cluster of five different games coming our way within the next year or so, which is quite alot, and if Zero Gravity is for real, that makes 46 Sonic games in total, by my list. I break up the series into two distinct generations, Pre and Post Sonic Adventure, and SA was Sonic game #24. That makes the first and second generations now exactly the same size as each other.. Time for a third then? Maybe.
I'm eagerly awaiting the start of the voting phase for the SSA's. Even if Zone:0 is just nominated for something, it'll be a much needed boost to my hits. Although it is doing quite well in Google search results at the moment, coming up quite high for the right kind of phrases. Also, this whole project celebrates three great years of being in production on the 30th of this month. That's right. First two years spent writing, the third spent on building all that you see here right now. To celebrate, I hope to build that system I've been promising, where you can leave comments in response to each level page, and just generally improve the functionality of the comments system. And Casino Night Zone will probably come up along with it aswell.