As you can see in this graph by Xkeeper, 2009 has been quite the year in terms of Sonic Retro's activity:
However, that's no surprise—between Sonic Unleashed reactions, the revealing of All-Stars Racing, and the 130-page speculation-fest that was the first Project Needlemouse thread, it makes sense that we'd all be more talkative than usual. On the hacking front, there's been an explosion in quality hacks coming out—to the point where I was going to list a few and realized I couldn't stop at just three or four. Despite the controversy in this year's Hacking Contest, it was arguably the best contest held yet. We found out (or confirmed) many more aspects about Michael Jackson's involvement with Sonic 3 over the course of this year, and his unfortunate death in June seemed to be the catalyst to get the media to pay attention to our questions. SADX was finally blown open by the likes of Main Memory, Polygon Jim, Endri and Dude, setting precedent for what will probably be much more 3D game exploration. Glitch's Aspect Edit arrived on the heels of his Sonic 2 SMS disassembly in late 08, and Sonic 2 LD took off this year as a result. Sonic 2 HD kept chugging along and started wrapping things up for an alpha release, but not before getting nods from both Retro Gamer and GamePro. Sonic art assets, the Sega Channel demo cartridge and Sonic X-treme data were leaked to the public, as well as the huge package of scans and miscellaneous info generously sent to us by Tom Payne. This is to say nothing of the many little gems discovered throughout this year. It will be hard to live up to these same standards in 2010, but I think we can all do it.
THE NEW DYNASTY
Despite all these achievements, we ran into some serious rough spots in July and August, when between x64 and Shibunaynay, we lost all our front page content, had our forums scrambled up, and lost all of our wiki's images and files. Though the staff banded together to solve the first two issues (special thanks to nineko in particular), we're still missing 100 files as of this writing. However, in that time, we gained 2,300 files. Not bad for a site in a scene that would have just given up had this happened five years ago. The only reason Retro didn't fall apart was due to the help of many people, who I'd like to thank:
- GerbilSoft, who in the immediate aftermath of what happened coded retrofix, crawled sites like crazy, coordinated everyone sending him uploads and was in general a huge help
- Xkeeper, who whipped up wikiimages as an invaluable tool to track our progress, prioritize restoration and provide comic relief for every milestone we hit
- andlabs, who kicked restoration into high gear by coordinating the file requests thread and hunted down obscure images like no tomorrow
- The more than 60 users on Retro who have earned the "Wiki Restoration Contributor" achievement by helping us get our files back. Seriously, if you see them in IRC give them a high-five or something.
- Everyone who ran retrofix and got the word out to help us in our recovery efforts
I have been floored by the response of this community in working as a team to get this far and cannot express my gratitude enough. As someone who has literally worked on this project nearly every day for five years, it really means more to me than I can tritely put in a couple of sentences. So just know it's appreciated.
To those who think the way to change the Sonic scene is not through hard work but by destruction, lies and a bad attitude, you should take fucking note of this. In August, we were pretty damn fucked up on all fronts, but we came back united and better than ever with the work of not one or two people, but the majority of the community who worked or cheered us on. We are the new Sonic scene dynasty. We're not going away. In fact, I can guarantee that, because...
THE BIG CHANGE: WE ARE MOVING TO OUR OWN SERVER
...I purchased a server for the sole use of Sonic Retro. This is not to be taken as a diss to CultNET; if anything, CulTNET is the reason we are around today as we are. Look back up at that activity graph where it goes absolutely batshit in February 08. Sonic Retro's host basically kicked the site off the network, and Sazpaimon generously allowed us his services for hosting. Whenever we've needed his help or assistance, Saz has been there, and I personally can't thank him enough. However, it's become increasingly unfair for us to be using a terabyte of bandwidth that we've been basically taking for free. Moreover, we only have 25GB of space on CulTNET, and our aggressive plans for growth this year demand that we have more room to stretch and grow.
Therefore, Sonic Retro has a new, tricked-out server (4GB memory, 500GB RAID, dual-core processor) that we'll be hosting on a mix of Cogent and Level 3 bandwidth. The server is complete, and over the next couple of weeks we'll be finalizing the move from CulTNET to our own server. BadnikNET will continue to operate, as it has been, from a separate server. While we have the money to pay for this change as a long-term solution, I do want to underscore the importance of donating, as these funds go directly to the maintenance of the server.
I also have been using our donation pool to buy and scan items for the site; I plan to have a topic going in the next couple of weeks where Sonic Retro users will get first dibs on buying these items after I've processed them for a fair price—usually at or slightly higher than what I paid for them on discount. My plan is that if they are not purchased, they will be resold on eBay to make sure the money we have to perform these "Catch-and-Release" acquisitions can continue to operate.
Here's to a fantastic 2010!