Sonic 3 prototype assets discovered in Sonic Jam (Game.com)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Chainspike, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. Chainspike

    Chainspike

    Stealing rings since 1994 Member
    154
    33
    28
    Death Egg Zone
    S3C Delta
    (Reposted from The Supreme Topic of 'Other' Knowledge)

    Not sure if this deserves its own topic or not, but recently some interesting things surfaced regarding Sonic Jam. No, not the Saturn version, the other one. Released on the failed "Game.com" Tiger handheld.

    This game was a compilation of sorts, featuring a zone from each of the Genesis Sonic titles. As such, Sega supplied the developers with many assets from the Genesis Sonic games. Some of the assets that they were given also happened to be from earlier in development:
    [​IMG]
    Seen above are Tails swinging sprites from Sonic Jam compared with the equivalent sprites from Sonic 3C 0408. These sprites were left unused and were overwritten by Tails's super transformation in later prototypes, as well as the final game.
    [​IMG]
    These laughing sprites for Knuckles are also different, styled much more like Sonic Triple Trouble.
    [​IMG]
    Then there are the skidding/stopping sprites, which seem to.... wait...what's up with that middle frame?
    [​IMG](Credit to Fred Bronze for restoring the sprite)

    It appears that this frame is leftover from Knuckles's earlier design! Notice how the fist is even reused from the Sonic 3 prototype sprite. And to think that this was hidden away in such an obscure Sonic title all this time. I wonder if there's anything else in here?

    Prototypes of this game show even more changes:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    (thanks to TheBlurCafe for finding the prototype images)
    Mushroom Hill is using different graphics here; the final is almost identical to S&K. In the second image, Knuckles is using a very peculiar sprite, possibly as a placeholder?
    There's plenty of other changes seen in other pre-release screenshots:
    [​IMG]
    As terrible as this game is, it might be worth looking into it more simply for the possibility of any prototype content that the developers may have utilized.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
    • Like Like x 14
    • Informative Informative x 6
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • List
  2. Vangar

    Vangar

    Member
    Awesome find. I just went down a rabbit hole on trying to emulate the game.com . The official emulator isnt compatible with current tosec rips, and the mame setup is a hole i dont want to go into right now. Are there any other alternatives? I wanted to play the game to compare with what you have posted here ....
     
  3. McAleeCh

    McAleeCh

    Oldbie
    984
    12
    18
    Fascinating discovery! I'd say the existence of the open-mouthed laughing Knuckles sprites is one of the most interesting finds, as it provides a possible answer to something that's always bothered me about Sonic Triple Trouble - namely, why the artists didn't stick closer to Knuckles' iconic Sonic 3 laughing animation when drawing his Game Gear sprites. With this discovery, I'm inclined to believe they were supplied the same early versions seen here as reference, as what they produced is actually a pretty faithful replication of these alternate sprites...!
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  4. TheJart

    TheJart

    Member
    17
    1
    1
    This is super neat. In hindsight though we’ve known the Sonic Whistling sprites were used in the game for a long time so more beta sprites hidden away in the game isn’t a huge surprise. That being said, Now i’m super curious how many More Knuckles Sprites were made in this style before they started reworking them sometime before the new prototype. I want to see a lot more of that style
     
  5. This is cool, love that Angel Island BG!

    Looking forward to seeing more stuff ripped. Maybe more goodies will be found
     
  6. Fascinating. I leads me to wonder if Sonic Team supplied Torus Games with Sonic 3 assets for Sonic X on the Leapster. It does apparently use authentic-looking sprites for normal gameplay.
     
  7. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    I'll find the old avatar eventually Member
    12,377
    97
    28
    Working on my art!
    I'd love to see colorized versions of the Knuckles laughing sprites. They almost look less weird than the final grin one but it's hard to tell with the back and white.

    Speaking of hard to tell, that Angel Island background. Are those volcanoes or something?
     
  8. The prototype Knuckles sprites make me want to know what his laughing animation originally looked like with his big ass head.
     
  9. Chainspike

    Chainspike

    Stealing rings since 1994 Member
    154
    33
    28
    Death Egg Zone
    S3C Delta
    Here is a couple other minor things I noticed after posting:
    [​IMG]
    Looks like this was a sprite mistake that was later fixed. In Sonic Jam this sprite is used for crouching, while in S&K it is used after climbing up over a wall.
    [​IMG]
    This one appears to be an altered frame for hurt/falling. It doesn't appear anywhere in S3/S&K as far as I know.

    EDIT: Possibly this as well
    [​IMG]

    If you look around you should be able to find a ROM that will work with the official emulator. Keep in mind the official emulator is rather slow and the music doesn't seem to work properly. I had trouble getting it to work in mame/mess as well, but it did have better emulation.

    I was also thinking about this. There are certainly some sprites used there that aren't present in S3/S&K, although some of them appear to have been made exclusively for the game.

    That's an oddity for sure. The final game uses an overly simplified version of MGZ2's background for Angel Island, so it begs the question as to where that early background comes from.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  10. True Dude

    True Dude

    Member
    1,329
    13
    18
    Some of these are definitely prototype sprites, (That Knuckless one especially) but I'm wondering if the ones with more minor changes like the Sonic hurt frame were done to make the sprite more readable with the more limited palette.
     
  11. McAleeCh

    McAleeCh

    Oldbie
    984
    12
    18
    I'm inclined to think this particular one may be the result of an error in converting the sprites to Sonic Jam's limited palette rather than a genuine proto sprite.

    First, note that - ignoring the sock for a brief moment - everything else is exactly the same as the final sprite, except with transparent pixels where Knuckles' socks should be... for both feet! Second, even the foot the sock is connected to appears identical, which would place it at completely the wrong angle for the sock to connect where it does. And third, the misplaced sock connecting to the tail seems to have simply been drawn into the available transparent space from the final sprite, rather than overwriting any other existing pixels.

    At a guess, I'd wager what happened is that somehow the green socks were accidentally converted to the transparent colour when converting this sprite to Sonic Jam's limited palette. This would have left one foot entirely disconnected from Knuckles' body, which seems to have been later noticed and an attempt made to fix it. I'm guessing whoever did so misinterpreted Knuckles' tail as being his leg, and so drew in the missing sock where they thought it should go - the limited colours make the angle of the foot more ambiguous as the metal plate is no longer clearly visible. The other missing sock was never fixed, presumably since at a glance that foot doesn't appear obviously disconnected from Knuckles like the other foot would have - the fact that his hands overlap it tricks the eye into thinking the foot is connected to him in some way.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  12. Josh

    Josh

    TGC Warrior Oldbie
    1,432
    57
    28
    USA
    Take those pre-release screenshots with a grain of salt. Tiger's Game.com marketing was built on lies. That special stage graphic in particular looks like a black-and-white screenshot from the Genesis original. (The final special stage doesn't look as good.) And I remember TV and print ads featuring footage that was blatantly just "3D Blast running on Genesis, but with no color."
     
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  13. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    I'll find the old avatar eventually Member
    12,377
    97
    28
    Working on my art!
    Lol "Get Black Spheres" :V
     
  14. Hez

    Hez

    Asshole Oldbie
    3,102
    44
    28
    Hell
    Your mother
    Ayy someone finally posted this! I had gotten word from someone on discord that this was found.
    [​IMG]

    My two cents in the restoring of those sprites. I do like the laughing better. Its a shame they scrapped it.
     
    • Like Like x 7
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  15. McAleeCh

    McAleeCh

    Oldbie
    984
    12
    18
    Nice restoration of the laughing sprites - only thing I've noticed is that on each laughing frame there's two pixels of the highlight on the dread nearest Knuckles' mouth which have ended up tan instead of the lightest red shade. These two colours share the same shade of grey in the Sonic Jam sprite, so it's understandably difficult to pick them apart when trying to work backwards to restore the original sprite.

    Other than that, though, it looks absolutely perfect - I'd imagine the rest is pretty much accurate to how the original would have looked. = )
     
  16. Here's my take on it:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    Member
    590
    25
    28
    Here's a gif of Hez's colorized sprites (with some alterations) next to the final and Triple Trouble animations for comparison:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    And here are the frames:
    [​IMG]

    Edit: Added the TT sprites
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  18. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    I'll find the old avatar eventually Member
    12,377
    97
    28
    Working on my art!
    Now I know why the grin spites bug me. Knuckles head is way too far down in the final. The laughing ones look more natural
     
  19. TheInvisibleSun

    TheInvisibleSun

    OVER THE TOP TECHNO-BLAST Member
    1,469
    13
    18
    Buffalo, NY, USA
    Sonic 1 Color Contrast
    Oddly, the laughing sprites remind me of this:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Sir_mihael

    Sir_mihael

    DON'T TRUST THIS MAN Member
    To this day I've never figured out what Sonic Team were trying to make Knuckles do in that SA2:B opening. Nah, fuck just doing a cool fighting post just sort of awkwardly bark at the camera instead.

    Triple Trouble's laugh seems to look the best of the bunch, especially as I found the Sonic 3 laugh sprite to be really un-Knuckles like.
    Then again, the face came back again in Advance 2- under slightly less Chuckling circumstances, mind :V
    [​IMG]