Leftover data in S3C 0408 ROM padding

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Chainspike, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. Chainspike

    Chainspike

    Stealing rings since 1994 Member
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    The Sonic 3C 0408 prototype appears to have data from older S3C builds leftover in the padding area. I haven't searched through this very well as there is quite a bit of data here and my methods are lacking, but I was able to stumble across a couple interesting finds. It's surprising that no one has really seemed to go through any of this as this prototype has been available since 2008. A particular reason for interest here is the nearly 5 month development gap between retail Sonic 3 and 0408 that we know very little about.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    On the left is an earlier version of the Death Egg sprite seen at the end of LRZ2. It's using the colors of the enemy palette line ($01) and the shading differs in areas. The final sprite is on the right for comparison and is rendered on the same palette line as the rest of the level graphics. It is also shaded a little differently. I did my best to reconstruct the early sprite as well as possible.

    [​IMG]
    Next, we have an earlier design for the Eggrobo badnik, which I thought was exclusive to an older build, but is actually used regularly in S3C 0408. I've never seen this documented anywhere. Notable differences here compared to the final include the eye, and the position/length of the arm.

    I wouldn't be surprised if there is more to look through. Other things I found odd were a version of the Red Eye miniboss graphics that seem to be grouped with the DEZ Act 2 boss, along with smaller art set for Mecha Sonic. The leftover data in the ROM appears to start at 0x80000 and user Jorge Nuno listed some rough offsets on the HP discord server:
    Keep in mind there is more than what is listed here. I apologize if this topic belongs somewhere else.
     
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  2. Master Emerald

    Master Emerald

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    These are supposed to spell Mushroom Hill, Sandopolis, Lava Reef, Sky Sanctuary, Death Egg and The Doomsday, but there are some letters missing o.o
     
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  3. MainMemory

    MainMemory

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    Those are for the title cards, they contain every unique letter in the level's name, minus E, N, O, and Z, which are always loaded for the "ZONE" text.
     
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  4. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    IMO, with all these Sonic 3 prototype discoveries in just the last two months, we need a new version of Sonic 3 Delta that implements all the beta elements we've found.
     
  5. Prototype

    Prototype

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    I don't know how this stuff got missed the first time around, but tidy sleuthing, Chainspike! I definitely wouldn't have noticed the slight differences in Death Egg tiles.
     
  6. Metalwario64

    Metalwario64

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    Why in the world did they change that Death Egg background graphic from act 2? The earlier version was consistent with the way it looks at the beginning of the boss section right afterward.
     
  7. Chainspike

    Chainspike

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    They probably changed it so that they could do this:
    [​IMG]
    Notice the cycling color palettes that (presumably) wouldn't have been possible by using the other palette line. However like you mentioned, this introduces an inconsistency with the boss act.

    You're in luck:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. SyntaxTsu

    SyntaxTsu

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    Any similar discoveries to be made in S3C 517 prototype and the closely related S&K 525 prototype? I’m thinking there could be some data located in there that may end up being unique to it, possibly even providing even further insight to the S3C Dev cycle...

    On a different note, how is that new Sonic 3 Delta coming along?
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
  9. Chainspike

    Chainspike

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    S3C 0517 has leftover data in the padding as well. Considering it is a month later than 0408, there likely won't be anything pre-0408 to be found here, although it is still worth a look. As we've seen before, it is always possible for earlier data to show up.

    Regarding the new Sonic 3 Delta:
    Currently, I've named it Sonic 3C Delta to distinguish it from Esrael's old hack. This name is of course, temporary at the moment and it can always be changed later on. The hack will be somewhat based on a hypothetical build of Sonic 3C, utilizing leftover data that was found as well as taking inspiration from concept art. Implemented prototype features will also be finished (Flying Battery and Lava Reef for example). I'll probably make a hack thread in the coming weeks and release a demo.
     
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  10. Master Emerald

    Master Emerald

    A green crystal Member
    Couldn't they use animated tiles just for that?
     
  11. Chainspike

    Chainspike

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    Since the Death Egg is actually a sprite here, I imagine that they would have had to create many different individual sprite frames. Maybe they just thought it looked better like this.
     
  12. Chainspike

    Chainspike

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    Well, no surprise, there was more to be found hidden inside S3C 0408's leftover data, and it's pretty interesting. S3C 0408 seems to contain leftovers from at least two older builds.

    Located at $AFB68 there is Misc Nemesis art for Sandopolis Zone that contains an earlier version of the cascading pulley object:
    [​IMG]
    The hoist wheel has an almost entirely different design and the shading on the cable itself is less complex.

    At $B2C46 there is early Misc Nemesis art for Sky Sanctuary Zone, which features an earlier design for the collapsing platforms:
    [​IMG]
    These platforms are quite different in appearance, and are more consistent with the look of the floating platforms than the ones used in the final.

    Then, there's a data select icon set for the S&K zones located at $23A3DE, which was found in the leftover data, but also exists in the normal ROM area. The S&K zones weren't implemented in the data select menu until S&K 0525. Upon closer inspection however, this is actually an earlier icon set that contains some differences! Flying Battery is still using its original icon from Sonic 3, Hidden Palace is missing entirely, and older versions of Lava Reef and Death Egg can be seen:
    [​IMG]
    None of the palettes were recoverable, so these are using the same palettes as the final.

    Additionally, Jorge found an earlier rendition of Flying Battery's magnetic pendulum object at $AE31A that has a different base design. Like the S&K data select zone icons, these graphics did exist outside of the leftover data, but were impossible to see normally:
    [​IMG]
    It's amazing that there are still things to be uncovered in this prototype, despite how long ago it was discovered.
     
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  13. BSonirachi

    BSonirachi

    Opa-Opa takes flight! Wiki Sysop
    Oh wow!

    For documentation purposes on this page, could you post all of the S&K Data Select icons that exist in the normal and leftover data? Even if some of them may be the same as the final, covering as much unused stuff as possible is always good.
     
  14. Chainspike

    Chainspike

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    It's been a while, hasn't it? A bit before the amazing Sonic 1 Prototype was released, Jorge and I made some discoveries in Sonic 3C 0408, as well as Sonic 3C 0517, and Sonic & Knuckles 0525. However, I never followed up with it here until now. So without further delay, here's what was found:

    Sonic 3C 0408:
    At $AE9A6, a misc Nemesis archive of Mushroom Hill Zone object graphics exists leftover from a pre-0408 Sonic 3C build. Jorge noticed that the pole objects would've been wooden instead of metal like the in final game:
    [​IMG]
    It's also worth noting that the pollen object was relocated in VRAM, which at one point would've led to a funny bug where the pollen graphics get corrupted during the Hey Ho miniboss fight.

    Sonic 3C 0517:
    At in $24028E, a KosM archive of the animals seen in the good ending (dolphin and bird) exists, however, the dolphin is mapped to a different palette and so far I have not been able to find a suitable match:
    [​IMG]
    This is using the palette from the final game, but surely that can't be right.

    At $2413C4, a KosM archive is present of the receding Tornado sprites used in the ending. The endings for Sonic and Tails don't appear to be programmed in Sonic 3C 0517, however, these sprites can be seen in Knuckles's ending which is partially working in this build. I'm listing this here because like the Eggrobo sprites up above, I've never seen this mentioned before. The Tornado sprites in this build are curiously missing the rocket booster attached to the bottom of the plane.
    [​IMG]
    I'm assuming this was a artist mistake that was later corrected to keep consistency with the rest of the game. It also exists in Sonic & Knuckles 0525.

    At $240B62 is a KosM archive of Super/Hyper Sonic's ending pose. On the surface, it may not look like much, but this sprite is actually mapped the Super Sonic palette seen in the final version of Sonic 3.
    [​IMG]
    I suspect this was changed in order to make it easier to palette cycle (Sonic 3's is completely static). As of writing this, I also noticed that his eye seems to be slightly thinner in the older sprite. This also exists in Sonic & Knuckles 0525.

    Sonic & Knuckles 0525:
    There's quite a bit to unpack here, but starting off at $D36C0, an earlier sprite render for Sonic falling on the title screen can be found:
    [​IMG]
    Now, the intriguing part about this is that the Sonic & Knuckles title screen has not actually been programmed yet, and the ROM is still very dependent on Sonic 3's data to function, so a ton of related graphics exist for it and go completely unused.

    Then, at $D4D90 we have a early title screen banner for Sonic & Knuckles!
    [​IMG]
    Interestingly, mappings also exist for these early graphics, but I was unable to actually get them to work right (the image above was assembled from scratch). It seems to me the mappings and art are from different time periods...

    Following all this we find early title screen frames for Sonic & Knuckles, with great help from Jorge who tracked down the enigma mappings:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Knuckles is mostly final here, aside from some pixel edits on his shoes. Sonic, however, has noticeable differences around his eyes which looks a lot more like a raw render (think 1103). There's also some shading differences on the ground, which were apparently simplified slightly in the final. The numbers seen here are for the animated tiles, but I didn't patch over them since I didn't come across any inside 0525 itself.

    Probably the most amazing thing in here, a completely unique ending sprite for Sonic that goes completely unused!
    [​IMG]
    The arrangement is guess-work, as I didn't come across any mappings.

    Lastly, there are the ending logos. Sonic & Knuckles can be found at $165240 and Sonic 3's is $165762, both of which are KosM.
    [​IMG]
    Similarly to the Tornado sprites, these can be seen (S&K's logo only through hacking) in Knuckles's ending. Unsurprisingly, Sonic 3's logo lacks the "&Knuckles" text, possibly a holdover from the intended Sonic 3C release.

    These prototypes never cease to surprise me. A side project of mine has been a disassembly of Sonic 3C 0408 and I've already found a few unused things in the coding, but that will be a later post. I realize this thread pertains to Sonic 3C 0408 specifically, but I didn't think this stuff was too unrelated. If it's a problem though, someone please let me know.
     
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  15. N!NJA

    N!NJA

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    Collecting all Cartridge based Sonic games and their regional variations!
    upload_2021-3-4_17-40-27.png

    Looks similar to this minus background color.
     
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  16. Chainspike

    Chainspike

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    It does, though looking at the ground shading underneath Knuckles's fist, I think the one seen in that video is already based on the final game.
     
  17. Overlord

    Overlord

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    ....it really does, oh wow. Nice job!
     
  18. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

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    What in the US box art is going on with that Sonic sprite.

    In fact in general what the hell was up with Sonic 3's end graphics, file select graphics, and title character renders? They're wildly inconsistent
     
  19. Lurker

    Lurker

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    They were probably made by different artist. And Sonic 3 was most likely rushed out so. Personally I like this Sonic 3 sprite more than the others(except the ear). Saying that, now I can't unsee the ear
     
  20. Robjoe

    Robjoe

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    The great Sega QA archive leak strikes again! Thanks for sharing, Chainspike/anyone else involved! As usual, seems discoveries have been lurking right under our noses for well over a decade.

    I think that comes down to some things being 3D renders adapted into sprites, and some other things being more conventional hand-drawn artwork. Sonic 3 generally tries to go for the 'pre-rendered' look, which I'm sure stems from disappointed artists trying to salvage whatever they could from the canned SVP game. It is kind of interesting however that they don't seem to have used the models for the ending sprites. Perhaps the ending was thrown together at the last minute and they figured it would've taken too long to pose, convert, and clean up more model shots, instead resorting to having someone just draw new Sonic and Tails poses? If I recall correctly, our Sonic 3 1103 build doesn't have any trace of an ending sequence yet. But then when developing the latter half of the game, they still seem to have stuck with the style, even though they seem to have started preparing endings earlier on based on what Chainspike has unearthed here. Perhaps they wanted to stay consistent with Sonic 3A's ending, even at the expense of breaking style with most other large character graphics in the game? Hard to say....

    Also, I just had a realization that, while not technically proto-related, is kind of bugging me now:

    Never quite clicked with me that the credits uses the Sonic 3 logo from the US box/marketing. Granted "SONIC 3" is as it appears on the title screen, but was the bent red "THE HEDGEHOG" used anywhere else in Japan? I could understand if they made different versions for each region, but it's the same in all three ROMs. I wonder why they didn't use the simpler Japanese box's logo, or do what Sonic 2 did and draw something entirely different.
     
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