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Naoto Ohshima, Twin Star, Wonder Hedgehog, 1990 Tokyo Toy Show, and other goodness

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Gryson, Mar 2, 2022.

  1. Pengi

    Pengi

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  2. saxman

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    I have seen that scan, but thought they were just two panels drawn on a page. I didn't realize it was trying to show a two-player mode. Interesting.

    In any case, I recall folks finding some bit of code in Sonic 1 that was later reused in Sonic 2 for the two-player split screen. So they may very well have actually toyed with the idea early in the game's development.
     
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  3. Pengi

    Pengi

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    I’d be interested in reading about that. Is it anywhere on the wiki yet?
     
  4. Snowbound

    Snowbound

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    I think this twitter user is compiling an archive of Sonic 1 concept art. He’s someone who may be able to help fill in gaps. That said I do not know him and am not endorsing him as a source or person. Just raising a possibility
    On yeah you absolutely can’t expect Ohshima to always get back to you. I was more concerned about giving him a chance to respond to the new timeline prior to the video’s publication (in case there was a misunderstanding in the article due to the language barrier). You’ve done that already so I’d say you’ve done your journalistic due diligence
     
  5. Blugenesi(Jarty)

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    I get that, I’m more worried about where that Rabbit fits into all of this and honestly I refuse to believe they went hedgehog - rabbit - hedgehog again
     
  6. Snowbound

    Snowbound

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    They could’ve been considering the rabbit and the hedgehog at the same time and went back and forth between them. It’s prob not a good idea to refuse any possibilities that are not eliminated by primary sources.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2022
  7. Linkabel

    Linkabel

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    Yeah, I don't see why that would be impossible. Ideas get used, thrown out, and then reused again as projects go along.
     
  8. ChaddyFantome

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    The last thread that tackled the subject also talked about Sonic and Madonna is a dreamland, which immediately sparked allusions to the eventual NiGHTs Sonic Tea, would make after Sonic 3&K. Even now, wishes and dreams are a recurring theme and throughline in the series in the Sonic we got. That said, it really stands to reason that the desire to work on NiGHts , (and even Balan now looking at things) stems from this original concept Ohshima and the team and the Team were heavily impassioned about before we got the Sonic we got. While I greatly love the Sonic we did end up getting, it makes a LOT of sense why they worked on Nights instead of immediately working on the next Sonic during he Saturn with this in mind. This was a vision they were in love with that they wanted to be properly realized but couldn't have as they originally envisioned with Sonic.
    It also explains why games like Sonic CD look so...esoteric by comparison to the games like Sonic 2 and Sonic 3, and why the beta's of Sonic 1 look more esoteric than the final version. There was an active attempt towards grounding the series in a more "real" and "concrete" space in time as the series went on via influence from the SoA side (which I think was for the best personally, but that's neither here nor there).

    Both series very much are designed around the raw experience afforded to the player through the experience of play, which is very resonant with the themes of realizing that which is in ones heart without letting it be tainted or inhibited at the heart of Sonic team's work.
    Thanks so much for sharing this. I find it so incredibly fascinating and affirming to find this kind of stuff and how it slots into all the conceptual and design info regarding the series as a whole.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2022
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  9. McAleeCh

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    Re: the Tokyo Toy Show 1990 demo - interestingly, since the OP was posted, another image of the booth the demo was displayed in has been uploaded to TCRF - although what's on screen isn't clearly visible, it does include a view of the Mega Drive unit hooked up to the booth playing the Sonic demo, along with the cart inserted into it. Unfortunately the scan quality is well below acceptable standards, with a lot of the image obscured by excessive JPEG artefacts. The source is listed as the August 1990 issue of a Japanese magazine called micomBASIC - does anyone have the know-how to try and track down this issue to see if a better scan can be obtained?

    A better scan may also give a better basis for figuring out what's on the screen, as it does look like the demo is actively running from what little can be made out in the present scan - I think I can just about make out what looks like Green Hill's grass on the lower left and one of the large clouds in the upper left, though with the heavy compression artefacts in the current version it's hard to be certain.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2022
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  10. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    I may be mistaken, but is that Hoshino-san in that shot?
     
  11. Linkabel

    Linkabel

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    He looks older than him at the time, plus didn't he join Sega around the time of CD's development?
     
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  12. Gryson

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    A few points about the TTS demo (which we can see is running on real hardware):

    1) It doesn't really mean anything that there is a controller attached in that photo. The two photos together show that all of the consoles have controllers attached. This may have just been the default setup for the show, and there may have been some sign as to whether or not a game was playable. A controller also might have been necessary to navigate menus to start the autodemo, for example. So, the absence of a controller might have meant something, but the presence of a controller doesn't really add anything concrete.

    2) I think two separate questions are being conflated:
    a) Was the TTS prototype in a playable state (i.e. could controller inputs be used to move the character)?
    b) Was the TTS prototype playable at the show by attendees?

    Question (a) is most likely yes. There was clearly an autodemo running at the TTS (based on how screenshots from different magazines match up), and the autodemo was probably just a bunch of key inputs stored in memory. It would have been trivial to enable controller inputs instead. Naka could have easily thrown a playable 'concept' prototype together - he had already released Ghouls 'n Ghosts at this point. He's also said that the TTS prototype only scrolled horizontally, so it wasn't at an advanced state.

    Question (b) is unknown, and I'm not sure it's a particularly relevant question beyond basic interest. An autodemo was clearly running, but it's possible that an attendee could have pushed a button on the controller to start a playable portion. The prototype didn't have any significant content, so I'm not sure what the point would have been, but maybe the attendee could run and jump on a closed loop or something. That's pure conjecture - I'm just pointing out that the presence of an autodemo doesn't exclude something else.

    3) I should add: What I see as the importance of the TTS build is that it shows the near-final design of Sonic, an intermediate state of design of Green Hill Zone, and the sense of speed that was clearly important to the developers. It was clearly running on real hardware, but we have no way of knowing how much of the code from this build was actually used in the final game.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2022
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  13. McAleeCh

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    Update on this - having done some searching, it seems a better quality scan already exists as part of a PDF of the full magazine over at archive.org. The image in question is on page 215, and while it's small (and what's on-screen remains frustratingly obscure) it's clearly way better quality than the artefact-ridden mess that's currently been uploaded on TCRF. Won't have the chance to until tomorrow, but if nobody else has already done so before then I'll rip the higher quality version and replace the one on TCRF accordingly.
     
  14. Gryson

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    FYI: No searching/ripping needed, the link to the original scan is listed on that TCRF page you posted under 'Summary'. You can just click it and zoom in.
    Spoiler: it doesn't show anything new that I can spot.
     
  15. I feel like it's a stretch to say "most likely yes" to Question (a) here based on the information available. It's definitely possible, but I don't see any concrete evidence either way. Separating the two questions is an interesting exercise; if Question (b) is a yes then (a) is definitely yes, but if (b) is no then as you say that's no guarantee that (a) is also a no.
     
  16. Gryson

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    I mean, I guess it's technically possible they made an engine that ran on real hardware in real-time with graphic tiles, stored all of the input data in memory, and just never enabled the controllers, but that sounds a bit odd to me, since the programmer would definitely want to test out the movement. Either way, it's a small technicality. The important thing is that the demo was running in real-time on real hardware (whether controller input was enabled seems trivial).

    Or are you suggesting there's another way they created the autodemo? Maybe I'm overlooking something?

    Edit: It's semantics, but I think "working" is a better term here than "playable". The '90 TTS build is a working build - it runs on real hardware. The problem with "playable" is it's a bit vague. Is it playable if, for example, it doesn't have any collision detection or enemy AI (or enemies at all)? The TTS build might not have those, but it's still a working build.

    People might have different things in mind when they talk about whether or not the demo was playable. I think we have a good picture of what it was now, though: a bare-bones working build that had an autodemo showing off the character design and animation, multi-layered background design, and scrolling speed. That's all it was.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2022
  17. Blue Spikeball

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    Come to think of it, Twin(kle) Star sounds like a name Naka would come up with. He was the one who coined Phantasy Star's title.

    This, coupled with the previous reports that the roll mechanic came from him, makes me think that maybe Ohshima is misremembering and these design documents are actually from after he (Naka) joined the team.

    I mean, even in the cited quotes here, Ohshima claims that the main character became a hedgehog after Naka came, and these documents show a hedgehog-looking character curling into a ball to attack enemies, which is described as "a 'rolling attack' (Wonder Hedgehog)."

    I agree with Blugenesi that the notion that these elements precede Naka and the hedgehog concept feels farfetched and makes for a really contrived development timeline.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2022
  18. Gryson

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    Be sure to check my other posts analyzing the photo - the main character is definitely a hedgehog and is listed as such.

    I'm pretty sure Twin Star is not coming from Naka, though. He said that was Ohshima's thing, from before he joined the project.
     
  19. Forte

    Forte

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    Is it just me, or is the Nightmare Thirteen resembling Kirby's Nightmare in Dreamland final boss?

    The whole Twin Star concept is super interesting to me, the character design from the early art has Alex Kidd in Miracle World vibes, the early Sega stuff that I really like.

    Mr. Oshima should write a biography book / developer diary or sth, and include some documents within it (the ones he can of course). I would love the one from Naka too.

    Everything You guys post here is just pure gold, Thank You.
     
  20. Powpuck

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    There was also a proposed armadillo. Based on an old docu, at least one of them looked like this:
    [​IMG]

    Given the predilection of armadillos and curling up, and the giant Jean Claude Van Damme arm (ARM-adillo, har har) suggests that both rolling and grappling were considered at some point. (and, as I already noted before, the same video features a distinctly not-sonic rabbit and kangaroo, for whatever that's worth.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2022