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Project AXSX (2013 and Beyond)

Discussion in 'Fangaming Discussion' started by Andrew75, Apr 25, 2013.

Are you interested in playing project AXSX?

  1. YES, count me in, I would love to play this game.

    261 vote(s)
  2. I may play the game, (not sure how I feel about it yet.)

    43 vote(s)
  3. Nope! Game looks like shit. I love only modern HD games.

    7 vote(s)
  1. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects

    AXSX originally started out recreating assets from scratch and by hand to try and replicate what was seen in blurry magazine scans and videos.
    but much of that has been pushed aside by official leaked assets throwout the years.

    (To better explain: I must point out that Levels that were built by hand using magazine scans for reference,
    are now still done by hand, but using the original definition and pcx map files as a guide to rebuild levels as the original engine would have rendered them.)

    Enjoy the brief history of the original topic :
    up until this point.

    Main Project Team:
    Unreal 4 Version (Current Engine)
    Andrew75: Project lead, Art guy, Minor Blueprint programing, shader Artist, testing and quality assurance, research.
    CDVDT: Technical Adviser.
    Meinukey: Blueprint Wizard, Programmer, and technical Adviser.
    TravDarkFox: Hud programmer + Random Programmer.
    Winterhell: Sprite Animation Programmer + Random Programmer.
    Xak: Lead programmer for XGDK Unreal 4 engine, technical Adviser.

    UDK Version: (Canceled)
    Andrew75: Project lead, Art guy, Kismet Programming, shader Artists, testing and quality assurance, research.
    Skarik: Programming, shader programmer, and lead bug fix guy.
    Xak: Main engine programmer for Sonic GDK (base to XGDK), and Lead programmer for XGDK engine.

    Game maker Version: (Canceled)
    Andrew75 Project lead, Art guy, Programming, shader programing, testing and quality assurance, research.
    Xeniczone: Lead programmer for Game maker version (now discontinued)

    Hi guys, How's it going? There is just so many things done with the project, that its hard to pick what to show and what not to show.)
    (also, sorry about any bad grammar and formatting)

    Thought that I would Make a new AXSX thread, since the other one is a cluttered with randomness. Also so that a recap can be done.
    CD Remix will get its own topic when the time comes.

    For those who don't know the project, Its a Re-engineering of Sonic X-treme using videos and images as reference material to re-create various environments and gameplay ideas.
    ( yes, I like to think of this more as a Visual Re-Engineering project than a fangame. Although I must say AXSX is a fangame at heart since I've added some of my own concepts and ideas.
    I use the word Visual since no gameplay code officially has been made public)

    Pre AXSX:
    Back in late 2005 and early 2006, I was working on A rendering project, re-modeling some Sonic CD areas in HD for a video I had planned to render and show off on youtube. ( This will be my next Fan Game)

    Unfinished models from 2005 - 2006, (I wanted to update The Sonic look and feel without going to realistic)
    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]

    Meanwhile at the forums, Chris Senn was releasing information and assets for Sonic Xtreme. Xtreme was my favorite Cancled sonic game of all time.
    I had an obsession with it ever since I picked up Gameplayers magazine (with the red Shoe diaries article) fresh off the news stand at the local Toys R' Us back in 1996.
    I wanted that game so bad! After a long period of waiting and no news on the game, I called 1-800-USA-SEGA to check on a release date. (This was around or after Xmas of 96.)
    The Sega rep informed me that the game was still on schedule and that he got to watch some footage that would blow Mario 64 out of the water)
    I recall him saying that Sonic was faster than before. lol
    So ... Yeah fast forward back to again. I started a few side projects re-creating some of my favorite sonic Xtreme environments shown in various screenshots for fun.
    (Note: at the time was the hottest place to hang out for us Sonic Xtreme fans that were burned by Sega's cancelation of the game.)

    The Pre AXSX environment mockup:

    On July 5th 2006 Xeniczone saw what I was doing and asked if I could help with Modeling, texturing, and animation for his Metal Sonic boss stage and 718 demo re-creation.
    My Job? Simple, I was to clean up and animate the Metal Sonic model found in the Sega Saturn SDK, and reproduce the green hills shown in the 718 screenshot, for use in Xeniczone's game that he was programming.
    One thing lead to another, and a team was born.
    (Note: Project AXSX stands for Andrew Xeniczone Sonic Xtreme)

    Early AXSX Stuff:
    My Metal sonic clean up and improvements:

    This is where it all started Folks
    Our first attempt to get a boned and rigged Metal sonic into Game maker proved annoying.
    shown here is Xeniczones 718 stage created before I joined on as a team member.
    However screen was taken just after I joined, since we were adding metal sonic.

    Engine History:
    This game started out on Game Maker 6 using ultimate 3D.dll for the rendering.
    We worked on and off ( a Moth here and a month there) on the Game Maker version, There were many restarts on the engine, and we went threw maybe 5 versions of the fisheye until it was right.
    Using game maker to do a 3D game everything but the renderer had to be made from scratch, all the tools we needed had to be coded ect.

    Our level editor made with game maker:

    The Fisheye before our current vertex shader fisheye:

    We worked until winter 2010 ( for 4 years) At that time releasing a closed public beta, after which Xeniczone could no longer work on the project, I guess he hit his limit.
    Without a programmer and nearly finished engine , the project was on a sinking ship, it was either sink or swim at this moment.
    At the time the GM engine had various problems:
    1: collision issues where not salved 100%
    2: adding to many level props such as rings and badnicks slowed FPS down the engine so much that it became unplayable on slower systems.

    The final Closed beta demo before moving on to a new engine:
    The level is based on the E3 video's Jade gully, but custom texture work had been done to make it a winter them.

    Along comes Sonic GDK built with UDK by Xak , I thought that if I could make the fisheye work in UDK, than perhaps Xtreme could live on in Sonic GDK.
    (One thing that caught my eye was that UDK has friendly art tools that wouldn't need to programed from scratch)
    After the fisheye was proven to work, I went to Xak for advise, we hit it off, he was interested in porting our AXSX and its concepts over to SGDK.
    Xak worked hard day and night re-producing the AXSX engine and its concepts in far less time than our first engine.
    At this moment XGDK was born. We continue working on the engine even now adding many finishing touches to the engine,
    (Note: Even today, AXSX is not a perfect.
    From day 1, (spring 2006 till today April 25th 2013) collision issues have plagued this project. )

    Videos of XGDK in development:
    First steps with UDK

    The new X-mas demo in UDK winter 2011

    Newer level ( outdated video) PC version of red sands

    The E3 Redsands Tunnel ( as I like to call it)
    Art History:
    When I first came aboard, I had no game making Knowledge, however I have had plenty of photorealistic 3D modeling and rendering under my belt since 1998, as a hobby.
    It was hard to let go of the high polygon, and high quality texture workflow and adapt to the world of game making.
    At first Me and Xeniczone did not agree on making a Sonic Xtreme HD with high res models and textures.
    However he was ok with a compromise to meet somewhere in the middle as long as the graphics were somewhat Sega Saturn comparable.
    (Note: Game maker with Ultamate3D.dll supported shaders and high res mesh without causing issues with frame-rate)

    Early AXSX, The compromise: ( and yes we were aware of scale imperfections we later corrected this, the textures should have been self illuminated here making the environment to dark. (Also was fixed later)

    At this time the game resembled Sonic Xtreme at heart but with a little more.... umm polygons.
    Over a year into the project, we switched gears and wanted to do a more accurate sonic xtreme re-creation that was more faithful to the screens and videos. So,,, we started over for the first time.

    Game Maker version Screens after we decided to go full out classic:

    E3 Jade gully recreation, models from scratch: (Running in Game Maker Version)

    Yes yes the colors don't match because the picture was taken with an I-phone on a bad quality projector hooked up to the computer.

    (This one was taken before camera matching in engine had been in place,,,,, also the resolution was experimental here)


    (to show camera matching in 3d studio max to later tweak the in game camera to match)

    3D studio render

    (In Game maker with gameplay, new textures and model 100% scratch)(level not finished here, missing a lot of assets)

    A later 718 recreation modeled from scratch: textures ripped from the official 718 demo. More on this later:

    Jade gully PC Version 100% modeld from scratch using videos (this was done before SANik's Tools) took about 3 weeks work.
    (Game maker engine screen, older screen before fixing the fisheye power)
    Also a video of the level running in game maker showing fisheye real-time tweeking.

    For the past year or two, I've had access to actual level models threw a tool that the Hacking Genius SANiK had made to view and later Export the Level models by reading from the original Sonic-Xtreme .def file format.)
    (Sadly only PC Version Level models are available, not the ones I've been recreating from scratch)
    (Note: Up until the point of acquiring the models, I was never really interested in them, as they were the PC version of sonic Xtreme which did not interest me as much as what was shown in magazines for E3 96.)
    I did a few livestreams showing how the level clean up process worked. I worked nearly non stop for over a month to clean over well over 45 levels during my winter vacation.
    You can check out a few videos of the level clean up process here:
    During this work period and many like this, I've pushed my body beyond the limits by working over 14 hours a day, every day , even to the point of becoming sick on a few occasions.
  2. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    A side project taken to improve AXSX:
    Green hill zone 2.5D
    Back during the first 4 years working in Game-maker, Xeniczone and I also took many breaks to work on the 2.5D aspect of the engine ( for use in A sonic CD Remix project).
    I modeled Green Hill Zone in 3D so as to use it as a tool to tweak than compare our physics to be closer Sega's Sonic 1.
    This in turn benefited the main AXSX engine as well.

    An In game maker screen of GHZ 2.5D:

    GHZ 2.5D lives on in Sonic GDK ( in the Classic GDK engine video)
    UDK world editor view of GHZ 2.5D

    Besides GHZ 2.5D we also set up a terrain to test sonic physics on in Game maker
    A few in game screenshots:

    Our early Path system for GHZ 2.5D:
    This used 2 models that sonic had no collisions with. however the models had a force that pushed sonic to the center of the path. when running left and right,
    However if the player pushed sonic in the direction other than left and right no resistance was given and the player could freely leave the 2.5D path.

    A few still work in progress screens of the UDK version of the game, all of the following areas have been recreated from scratch including 97% of the textures.

    The process for recreating the 718 demo, was very Tedious and boreing....
    I'll Explan.....
    Using an emulator we ran the official leaked demo in wireframe mode.
    Had to do Sonic's spin dash than jump to a certain height within the emulator and pause it just right, so that each screen grab was exactly the same camera height and angle.

    Wondering how we got the correct height each screen shot?
    Luckily while in wire frame mode we had a line across the screen caused by the background image.
    This line would scroll up and down as sonic jumped.
    ( see below screen shot the line is near the top and is blue)
    The key was getting the reference screen shot at the right moment.
    A lot of screens were taken at the wrong moment, >__< 20 or more were required in some cases per level section.

    After all the reference pictures were completely gathered..
    I than moved onto 3D studio,
    At this point I had a flat plane divided into the same amount of tiles as the original 718 demo.
    Than the fun began,,,
    Had to match the camera height and angle, that of to the pre-captured wire-frame reference pictures and the plane mesh.
    from there,,,I just modified the vertex heights for each section.

    And, so,,,,, there u have it, a very nearly identical model to the original 718.

    Below...Camera matching the 3D studios model to the emulator screen grab.
    (early screen of in process modeling)

    Below...the finished wire frame product. ( well it may need some tweaks here and there)

    As for the textures, I ripped them from the leaked 718 demo myself.

    The hard part was getting them to be 100% identical in placement to that of the original.

    Texture placement replication took me and my Wife about 4 to 6 days total.
    We used a gird printed out on multiple papers.
    I had to memorize each of 5 textures pixel layouts and recognize them when viewing in the emulator.
    Each texture was assigned a number 1-5 or something.
    When I saw the texture, I would than the number out to my wife.
    She would than wright that number down on the grid.
    god there were latterly 1000's of positions,
    We ended up double checked the whole thing for accuracy twice.

    After that was done ,, we reversed the process and my wife called the texture numbers back to me, so that I could place the textures on the model.

    So glad this model has been finished...
    it was... so boring,,,,wanted to shoot myself lol


    A quick peak at Some of the process used to recreat textures for redsands tunnel
    Made custom texture filter for photoshop.
    Basically its purpose is to give back some details to textures that were found but scaled down within the leaked Xtreme texture pack that originally had bigger texture counterparts shown in magazine scans and Videos.
    Many of the early shown Xtreme screens illustrated textures at 64 x 64 and 128 x 128 res instead of 32 x 32.

    Now this is not perfect, but it sure does look closer to the original screens when applied to the models.
    Would have kicked ass and saved a lot of fucking around time if the original content were leaked.

    (no blur filter or enlargement filter was used in generating the larger sized textures,
    basically I had scaled up the 32 x 32 texture using hard edges ( nearest neighbor (preserve hard edges ) in photoshop so that the pixels look remained as if it had not been scaled up.
    Than I had applied my detail adding filter to that.

    From top to bottom:
    32 x 32 original leaked texture
    64 x 64 the res I will be using for the stage I'm working on.
    128 x 128 just to show it.

    Screen capture from the E3 Promo video. its easy to pick out the texture paturns by looking at the pixels. the video's image is so washed out and dull that the true color would be unrecognizable.
    I feel fairly confident that I have the colors nearly where they should be if lets say the real textures surface at some point in time.

    I'd say this area is around 90% finished at time of this screen which is kind of old now. The tunnel runs equivalent in length and layout compared to what's seen in the E3 videos.
    The stalactite placement will not be as accurate as the rest of the level recreation, they are too blurred to make out all the position details. I'll try my best to place them.
    Also added some black fog in the distance to more closely match screens and videos.

    The only textures I did not make are the magma and magma pit walls.

    The pipes are made by rendering a model in an orthographic view than taking into Photoshop for touch up work and adding shadows under the pipes to give depth.
    I did make a little change to the level by adding pipe end caps that were not shown officially.
    The pipes ended abruptly before, so I thought it would be nice add the ends for a little extra polish.
    I may try another pipe endcap idea instead of the ones I have now. (not sure yet)

  3. Falk


    Really interesting recap read. Thanks for taking the time to 2.0 the thread.
  4. P3DR0


    b0ss Member
    Nerdiest thread I've ever seen.

    Great reading, really interesting stuff, specially of AXSX's backstory, it was nice knowing about it. There are some lovely screenshots in there, that Sonic model is adorable and so is the 3D terrain ones. It's freaking suberb (and a little scary) to see face to face the old screenshots and the "new" ones. And how you were able to recreate some stuff from low quality photos and videos).

    Your skills and dedication never fails to impress me, Andrew. Great stuff. Incredible thread, can't wait to see more of it.
  5. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    Warning if you have epilepsy do not watch. (Flashing textures)
  6. Mastered Realm

    Mastered Realm

    Lookin' good! And looks fun to play, too!
  7. P3DR0


    b0ss Member
    Andrew thinks we're stupid, guys. He got some X-treme footage and wants us to believe that it's hi-- OH WAIT

    Jokes aside, looks extremely well done and most of all, very faithful. The engine seems to work like a charm. Loved the the update you gave to the sound effects and the objects physics, it adds a lot, imo. If I didn't knew that this project existed, I'd probably asume that someone was able to capture X-treme footage in HD.

    Awesome, bro. Keep up the hard work.
  8. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    Thanks for the positive feedback guys. it really means a lot when people show interest in this black sheep project.
    The game is...not perfect yet, A few issues remain, The biggest issue, which is not game breaking, but kind of irritating.
    Is when you want to jump up while standing next to a wall, sonic will go up about 25% of the total jump height, than behave like he hits his head on a ceiling than comes crashing down to the floor again.
    This can get in the way when jumping up to a platform for example.
    The other issue with collision has to do with the floor and small block steps.
  9. Ell678


    Am I Annoying You? Member
    Barrow, England
    Sonic Incursion
    Looks amazing! Can't wait to play it myself.
  10. Falk


    Sonic meets Dungeon Keeper
  11. Dashtube


    'Cause I find memes funny Member
    Sonic Exodus
    Dayum! This looks really, really solid. Not to mention the platforming in this looks and feels like it's gonna be really entertaining.
  12. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    I never really went in depth about the nightmares of sonic Xtreme spiriting.

    There are a total of 7,074 Standard individual texture sprites for Sonic X-treme, ( not counting the ones within the DEF file leak a few years back)
    4,095 of these are individual Sonic sprites. the rest are badnicks.
    Some years back before the DEF leak even, all of the sprites were leaked as PCX files,along with the source DeluxPaint .ANM files before they were converted to PCX.
    I remembered seeing some higher quality sprites within magazine scans which showed frames of animation that we did not have which were also higher resolution.
    So one day a few years back I thought to myself, what if there were more sprites hidden within the .anim files. Sooo... with a little help on the forums here, and a little later, after some more research I found a converter that only worked on Windows 95.

    I did not find any higher resolution, or missing sprites for sonic, However What I did find were higher quality Sprites with a higher spectrum of colors.
    Each of the 1000's of sprites were not centered the same. So I had to manually locate the centers, than crop each image one at a time, to make them 64 x 64.
    Next, I set up sprite sheets, with each animation getting its own row. After that I did some tests with and without filtering in the game engine.
    the filtered images looked horrible where they were masked off, so I came up with a photoshop filter that took pixels and extruded the edge color along a magic wand selection.
    the results were much better. ( I wont be using filtering in Xtreme) but at the time I was not sure. At least this is a good concept that could be used in future projects.

    Anyhow the whole process took me most of 2 months to complete.
    At some points I went into Zombie like trances, mindlessly editing each sprite like a robot programed for endless repetition.

    Comparison of the original leaked PCX file(Left), and my Re-Rip (Right)
    Notice the smoother gradiants threwout?
    Spritesheets before my filter.

    Spritesheets with my filter.

    And an in engine comparison.
    Notice the colors on the edges on the right side don't have the blended with hidden pixel color effect shown in the image on the Left.( they look darker on the left because of the green border)
    I'm sure that some of you fan game makers can use this idea in your games. Hope to see my name in your Special Thanks credits section if used. Thanks.
  13. winterhell


  14. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    Oh yeah forgot to mention, One of the biggest reasons for the next demo's delay is due to setting up a lot more in the way of sprites.
    Some of what will be added to the game include death sprites, non rotational area loop sprites, background run up walls sprites, swinging on pole sprites, and many more.

    Sprite sheets are finished of course and they are inside UDK, its just the programming side of things that need to be done.
    This wont be started until the 6th.
  15. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    I was just thinking about all of the features that this project has going on under the hood.
    Never really gone in depth with features.

    I'm going to list a few features off the top of my head,
    If we look at Sonic 1. It uses about 8 Sprite directions without smooth rotations in between them. basically sonic 1 flips and rotates the sprite at 90 degree angles to achieve all his directions. and than there are sprites for the diagonal movement.
    GHZ 2.5D did things the same way.
    Now if we look at a number of fan games they use a single sprite angle and just smooth 2D 360 Degree rotate them for slope interaction. its probably the most simple way to do things. although it looks so much better than the sonic 1 method.

    1. Lets jump to AXSX. AXSX only uses the smooth 360 Degree method currently. But that will soon change.
    Both Sprite Methods depending on the situation will be used soon.
    (For example: In a non rotating camera area with a loop, it will use the sonic 1 Method. While level and camera rotational areas will use the smooth 360 degree rotation method.
    The soon to be finished sprite system will incorporate over 4000 Frames of animation for sonic alone. The vast number of frames is required since there are multiple angles within a given level.
    (there is a chance that this may become to complx, and we may not be able to pull off all the angles) lets find out.

    This is just Half a Sphere here, imagine each angle you see here getting its own sprite. the sphere is 16 angles by 16 angles deep (when hole)

    2. Fisheye system, which includes: Fisheye shader, Billboard+fisheye shader combo, Also Enemies and other sprites can appear to change facing direction relative to how far they are from the center of the Screen, ( this basicly makes it look like the enemy is viewed from the side when its off in the distance to match the fisheye effect)
    3. Full 3D gameplay with kind of close to accurate Sonic Sega Genesis physics.
    4:fully dynamic 360 degree (Sphere) local or non local gravity system ( not just a 2D system like sonic and knuckles death egg zone)
    5. gravity off system ( This can lock slope physics at any gravity direction when needed)
    6. the camera system itself is also pretty complex. there are a number of cameras always interchanging with eachother depending on gameplay mode and style.
    7. 3 gameplay systems include Boss, Classic physics and level rotations mode.
    8. Animated level path system ( geometry).
    9. Spline path system which works with both 3D gameplay as well as 2D gameplay. ( I think this is a first for any fangame) not sure though.
    10. Dynamic animated depth plane switching system. (combination of Xak's programing and my flexible Kismet setup.)

    All of this is thanks for being able to use Xak's Sonic GDK (and thanks to his hard work), Now I know that SGDK may not be perfect, but it offers a lot of nice features out of box.
    Most of the thing's I've listed above are of course AXSX exclusives.
  16. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

    A wise guy eh. I know how to DEAL with wise guys. Member
    The Land of Waldos
    Sonic Utopia, Sonic Overture

    But seriously I've been following this for a while and I'm stoked for it.
  17. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    I loved that show growing up. lol

    Also Hopefully people can overlook the collision issues and still have a fun playthrew.
  18. Flipside


    Wait, we've already past 2013?! Oh wait no. Still 2013. Phew!...

    Man, AXSX looks beautiful! So much detail and dedication.

    I always imagined a finnished Sonic 2 HD that gave you the ability to view the Character Log and Concept Art that they put on their website. Maybe you could bundle the game with your own developer notes. Even if it's just a few text files right next to the READ ME.

    Looks great, but it's hard not to suggest more features. Must... resist...

    Oculus Rift compatible! Sorry. I tried not to, but I can't help myself. :P

    I hope I'll be able to play it on my old laptop... If not, maybe I can find a Let's Play of it on Youtube...

    I also wonder how bad this game could be with motion controls. Just the thought of someone with an Oculus Rift strapped to their face flailing their arms, getting dizzy and falling out of their chair... I find that hilarious! Just laying on their belly yelling "Xbox! Pause! No not... Pause!... Xbox! Menu!... Off?... No, not that! Stop jumping, Sonic! Stop it!"
  19. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    I have been considering adding in some development FAQs somewhere. Perhaps as an un-lockable.
  20. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    Hey guys !
    Looking for someone who could shine some light on post # 52 here:
    The following is Referring to sonic X-treme, If anyone has any info please let me know.

    *Quote #52* "On a side note, the Guardian Sphinx boss has been ripped by X-CulT."