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Peter Morawiec TALKS and RELEASES :P

#1 User is offline hxc 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 12:46 PM

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Check for the kickass concept stuff at the bottom, I stupidly put the questions in quotes.


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What games did you work on while at Sega Technical Institute?

P: Sonic 2 (Bonus Stage design assistance), Sonic Spinball (Lead Design), Comix Zone (Lead Design), Sonic Saturn & Sonic Pool (Saturn concepts/prototypes)



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Which was your favourite project to work on?

P: Spinball was my first full project, so it was super exciting, but it was also a title we had to get out in something like 9 months, so it showed. ComixZone was a game I was extremely passionate about -- definitely my favorite project while at STI.

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What was your usual day like?

P: Long. I was single and had no kids back then, so I was in no hurry to get home. I loved the job and would stick around doing and learning stuff. The Sonic Team guys were notorious for working ridiculously long hours (some of them slept on the floor in their cubes) and I enjoyed venturing over to their area to see what they had going on Ė some of those guys were just amazing artists, just drawing these great designs non-stop. As for diversions, a few times a week Iíd go play bíball with Chris Senn and every Friday night a number of us would carpool to North Beach in San Francisco (Little Italy) for food, beers and to hang out; it became part of our routine for solid 2-3 years.


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What are your general recolections of the time at STI? Any intresting events, etc

P: I joined in early 1992, when Mark Cerny was in charge. I was very green but I was thrilled to be a part of the industry and working with some of Sega guys from Japan. STI was very experimental back then with many cool and wacky game concepts in the works. This was a time when the Genesis was starting to seriously take off and SEGA was beginning to grow, so there was a lot of excitement around the company Ė I would always look forward to the SoA employee meetings to see what cool new titles or hardware were in the works. Initially, there was a lot of camaraderie and co-mingling with the Japanese team, but it didnít last and soon they were moved off to a separate room. By 1995 most of the Sonic Team were back in Japan (working on Nights) and STI became pretty corporate and political. But it was definitely good times!

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Were either of you involved in the cancelled Sonic X-treme? It's of big importance to us to find out as much as we can about this, so if you were, would you mind us asking some more questions about it in a further email?


P: Sonic X-treme was Chris Sennís and Ofer Alonís baby, started while Adrian and I were still working on Comix Zone. After that, we struck a deal with Sega to let us set up a satellite office in LA (STI Burbank) to work on next-gen Saturn tech/concepts, but those were unrelated to X-treme.

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Again on X-treme, recently, there was an auction for a demo of the game, what we suspect to be the very last version of the game, after the NiGHTS engine and the fisheye camera, can you shed any light on this? Pictures can be seen here: http://www.lostlevel...uff/xtremepics/


P: Gee, I donít really recognize these screenshots. Chris Senn is your best bet here. I do remember a very cool level editor Ofer was developing for the game on a Mac, but thatís about it. I do know that there was some serious anxiety about X-treme toward the end and some other programmer within STI hacked together some quick demos to appease the execs; perhaps this is one of those builds?

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Do you have anything left you would be willing to share with us?

P: I dug up some concept artwork from the Sonic Saturn projects Adrian and I worked on at STI Burbank (see attached).



Questions for you



A beta ROM image of Comix Zone was leaked to the internet at some point, a member of our community got their hands on it and has a few questions.




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1.      What's the deal with the text entries in the April '95 beta ROM header which read "JOE PENCIL IN THE COMIX ZONE" and "JEAN CLAUDE CRAYON DANS LE COMIX ZONE"? Were either of these ever seriously put down as the name for the lead character (Sketch Turn) or just put in as a joke?


P: The original concept had the main hero as a scrawny artist dude by the name of Joe Pencil, but we ultimately changed him to be a tough Gen-Xer; the marketing people came up with the name Sketch Turner much later in development. So, the first header must be some legacy text. The second string, I think it was Adrianís own localization, you know, placeholder text. Obviously, he replaced them for the final release.



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2. Why was the music in the beta logo + title sequences completely changed round in the final?

P: It mustíve been Howard Drossin (our in-house sound/music composer) swapping in the final theme at the last minute. I recall that we were going for a really grungy sound for the game and it took a good effort on Howardís part to achieve it on the Genesis sound chip.



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3. How come the "SLAM!" popup graphic (appears when you knock an enemy back against a wall) and the wall + ceiling-climbing Crawlers never made the final version?

P: Donít remember. We probably needed to get some memory back for stability reasons.



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4. In the last panel of Episode 3, when you fight Mortus, he sounds like a posh upper-class guy with comments like "Tally Ho!", "Queensbury Rules?", "I say, steady on!" etc. - whose idea were they, and how come they got cut?

P: I bet these were Howardís placeholder sounds. Adrian and Dean Lester (our producer) are both Brits, and Howard loved poking fun at them, really at everybody. These sounds definitely had nothing to do with the Mortus character.



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5. Were there ever going to be any other characters helping Sketch out, apart from Alissa? I ask this because in the first episode of the beta, she tells Sketch that "We have been expecting you", implying that she has accomplices.

P: I think she was speaking on behalf of the Ďempireí or something like that. She was the only (human) sidekick planned, but of course, Sketch also had his interactive pet rat.


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6. The final ending sequence, in a way, seems to hint at a sequel (quote: "And they all lived happily together, until...") - was one ever planned?


P: There were no concrete plans at that time, but we left it open for that possibility. I even made some quick prelim storyboards for how the Comix Zone concept could work in 3D on the Saturn (see attached), but ultimately Sega wanted us to work on a Sonic property next.




Comix Zone 3D: http://xtreme.projectsonic.com/PeterStuff/..._PanelEntry.jpg
SonicSaturn BackGround: http://xtreme.projectsonic.com/PeterStuff/..._Background.JPG

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#2 User is offline Shade 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 12:53 PM

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Right, Brainfart of the century. Nevermind.

Even so, great stuff, and very interesting. You win at life again HXC.
This post has been edited by Shade: 11 January 2006 - 02:10 PM

#3 User is offline Tweaker 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 01:04 PM

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Interesting stuff. I didn't know Peter was willing to give another interview.

#4 User is offline Quickman 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 01:06 PM

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Uh, dude...that's not Xtreme stuff.

#5 User is offline hxc 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 01:09 PM

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SonicSaturn. that's what has been said by Peter.

#6 User is offline Shade 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:09 PM

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Quick Man, on Jan 11 2006, 10:06 AM, said:

Uh, dude...that's not Xtreme stuff.

Wow...I feel like a complete idiot. I really WAS half alseep :blushing: My apologies guys, I'm not usually that dimwitted. I was half asleep, and in my first class in school, so It must not have registered. My god, I am so sorry.

So..what exactly is SonicSaturn?

#7 User is offline hxc 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:20 PM

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Ohshit, seems I misread something.
This post has been edited by HXC: 11 January 2006 - 02:32 PM

#8 User is offline Shade 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:32 PM

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EDIT: Well, now that we finally have this mess sorted out, I edit my post once again.

Now, I am very curious: What exactly IS SonicSaturn?
This post has been edited by Shade: 11 January 2006 - 02:37 PM

#9 User is offline hxc 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:34 PM

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Sorry no it isn't, I misread something

#10 User is offline ThunderPX 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 02:42 PM

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I now demand a 3D Comix Zone =D

#11 User is offline Jigen 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 03:44 PM

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A 3D comix zone, wouldn't really have that comic feel to it. Bad idea if you ask me.

#12 User is offline ThunderPX 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 04:08 PM

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It could have mostly 2D gameplay, only with some panels where you actually go deeper into the panel as the concept art seems to imply.

#13 User is offline hxc 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 04:57 PM

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Sonic X-treme was for the 32X Genesis add-on (at least initially). That project was started at STI in early 1994 (I think).



Sonic Saturn (or Sonic3D) was a different project, which Adrian and I started at STI Burbank in early 1996. It was supposed to be a 3D Sonic game for the Saturn Ė those concept images I sent you previously are from that game. Adrian had a very nifty and fast spherical renderer going on for it, for things like bodies and heads. This game was going for a more realistic rendition of Sonicís world, but Naka didnít like it so the project was axed. (Ironically, the subsequent Sonic game for the Dreamcast was much more realistic). Following that, there was a slight chance of salvaging our tech and assets to create a bonus game for the Travelers Tales developed Sonic 3D Blast, although we will never know just how seriously this was ever considered. Nonetheless, we quickly whipped out a prototype, which we called Sonic Pool, but it never went past that.



-P.

aaaannd

A title Screen :(
Posted Image

PS. I am now in full contact with Adrian Stephens, who DID NOT, work on any title before Comix Zone, and No sonic games other than this. He was pulled in by MTV to do the talk as he could talk the talk, as it were :P

#14 User is offline LocalH 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 04:59 PM

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Actually, Chris said that X-Treme was initially for the Genesis, but was quickly moved to the 32X before reaching the Saturn.

#15 User is offline Shade 

Posted 11 January 2006 - 05:06 PM

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HXC, on Jan 11 2006, 01:57 PM, said:

Sonic X-treme was for the 32X Genesis add-on (at least initially). That project was started at STI in early 1994 (I think).



Sonic Saturn (or Sonic3D) was a different project, which Adrian and I started at STI Burbank in early 1996. It was supposed to be a 3D Sonic game for the Saturn Ė those concept images I sent you previously are from that game. Adrian had a very nifty and fast spherical renderer going on for it, for things like bodies and heads. This game was going for a more realistic rendition of Sonicís world, but Naka didnít like it so the project was axed. (Ironically, the subsequent Sonic game for the Dreamcast was much more realistic). Following that, there was a slight chance of salvaging our tech and assets to create a bonus game for the Travelers Tales developed Sonic 3D Blast, although we will never know just how seriously this was ever considered. Nonetheless, we quickly whipped out a prototype, which we called Sonic Pool, but it never went past that.



-P.

aaaannd

A title Screen :(
Posted Image

PS. I am now in full contact with Adrian Stephens, who DID NOT, work on any title before Comix Zone, and No sonic games other than this. He was pulled in by MTV to do the talk as he could talk the talk, as it were :P

that's extremely interesting, I never knew half of that, especially the 32X bit. I also had no idea another Sonic Saturn game other than Xtreme or what eventually became Sonic Adventure was under development.

Excellent stuff HXC. I'd tell you how hard you rock, but I think you've got the idea by now :P

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