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Sonic Stuff Research Group

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by saxman, Feb 24, 2024.

  1. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member


    Until the late '90s, we didn't have anything but some games and a couple emulators.

    No wikis.

    No hacking guides.

    No subject matter experts.

    This website didn't even exist, nor did this online community of researchers and enthusiasts. So how did we get here?

    The complete answer has multiple prongs to it. But what started as a series of separate smaller efforts to blow the lid off the games starring our favorite gaming mascot would eventually come together under one roof known as the Sonic Stuff Research Group and gain the attention of the wider Sonic internet fandom at large, and eventually Sega itself.

    At the 2023 Retro World Expo (RWX), SSRG co-founder Andy Wolan, along with alumni SSNTails (SRB2), Rlan (SFGHQ; Sonic the Hedgeblog), and myself got the opportunity last summer to discuss what started this rocket ride, covering the many milestones and achievements that would come along the way. And though he didn't speak, Striker (who took on SSRG post Emulation Zone era) came with us to make everyone look perdy on camera.

    In total, we did three panels. We are very appreciative of those who came out to meet us in person, and we're also looking forward to being able to share our talks with the rest of you (finally!).

    Stay tuned...


    Update - April 19:
    Video 1/3: Going In Blind - Hacking a ROM for the first time!


    One down, two more to go...
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2024
  2. NO CARRIER

    NO CARRIER

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    "Striker ... make everyone look perdy on camera."
    Ya, he detected and replaced one of our malfunctioning cameras right before the start of "Panel 1". Without the swap, we would have lost good close-ups for half the panelists!

    Video production status:
    Panels 2 and 3: Editing complete, but I want to see if I can improve audio quality of the output before it's released.
    Panel 1: Editing has started.

    Want to help?
    While I am editing Panel 1, if anyone wants to contribute to the production, here are a few things I could use:
    - static (or animated) "name bar" graphic. Something Sonic-y. I'll use it at the part where we introduce everyone on stage. Not needed, but would be a nice touch.
    - A recording of yourself saying "Mega Panel", but in a voice similar to that of the announcer of the "MEGA CD" ads in Japan. Currently using my voice pitched down an octave or two, but I can give others a shot if interested
    - (anything else that comes to mind as I'm editing will appear here)

    Beamer the Meep, I am using your "MEGA PANEL" graphic on the Panel 1 "title card". (See above video.)
     
  3. Ravenfreak

    Ravenfreak

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    O'Fallon Mo
    Sonic 1 Game Gear Disassembly
    I would have loved to come out there and meet you all, these days it's sad to see SSRG dead... Sure there's a handful of people who post here and there but it's probably nothing like it used to be. (Even when I joined in 2010, it seemed a bit dead compared to Retro...) I love learning about the roots of Sonic hacking, and it makes me wish I could have been part of it all back then. I look forward to seeing the videos when they're done!
     
  4. NO CARRIER

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    The "Reunion" and "Reverse Engineering" panels go over a lot of historical information about the community, so you will definitely find them informative.
     
  5. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    PANEL 1/3
    Going In Blind - Hacking a ROM for the first time!




    This is the first of three videos we have. In this one, I demonstrate on the fly how to digest a ROM full of unknowns. My old friend, SSNTails (co-creator of Sonic Robo Blast 2), sits in to offer sarcasm and general commentary. Lots of back-and-forth with the audience. We had a lot of fun.

    I managed to figure out how to change some things. Made a few (humorous) mistakes. But in a tight ~45 minute window, I think it worked out alright. I employed many of my tried-and-true methods, some going all the way back to the old Sonic 1/2/3K Hacking Guide days, to help me along the way. And I show (hopefully) that pretty much anyone can do this stuff and that we "techie" people aren't actual superheroes!
     
  6. Ravenfreak

    Ravenfreak

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    O'Fallon Mo
    Sonic 1 Game Gear Disassembly
    Loved watching this! I make the same mistake you did in the video every once in a while, heck sometimes I forget to switch from text-string to hex-string and wonder why I can't find a hex string in the file I'm messing with. :V But yes, us techies are not gods at all! We all started from somewhere, and we're only human so we make mistakes.
     
  7. Overlord

    Overlord

    Now playable in Smash Bros Ultimate Moderator
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    Fascinating - as someone who was present in one of your IRC talks on this back in the day, I'll have to give this a watch later.
     
  8. Garth

    Garth

    Member
    It was truly a great watch and fantastic insight to the processes involved in the hacking scene.
     
  9. NO CARRIER

    NO CARRIER

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    Dr. Robotnic Voice Impersonation Request for SSRG Video
    Are you or someone you know good at impersonating Dr. Robotnic's voice from AoStH? (Or any show.)

    I would like to record Dr. Robotnic saying two lines for use in one of the SSRG panel videos we are working on from RWX 2023. Reply below or DM me if interested in helping out.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2024
  10. NO CARRIER

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    Update:
    Plans are to have the "reunion" panel recording up by 4th of July weekend. We have one last things to complete before the video is done.

    The third and final panel, "Reverse Engineering" is done but I need to go back and redo the audio since I have better tools at my disposal now.
     
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  11. Qjimbo

    Qjimbo

    Your friendly neighbourhood lemming. Oldbie
    Really great to see you guys reuniting! I really enjoyed trying to rebuild the SSRG website back in the early 2010s, unfortunately I had to retire from maintaining the site at that time. It's amazing how SSRG was actually kind of pioneering in it's approach of getting all these different websites and projects under one "roof", almost like how social media websites try and do this today.
     
  12. NO CARRIER

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    Thanks. I liked your "Hacktube" idea during your iteration of SSRG. One video you did that I still remember was how you cut and pasted raw hex from Sonic 2 into Sonic 1 to get spindash to work. I understood what you were doing more or less, but the fact that the video didn't explain how you knew that specific data represented the spindash code make it look like digital sorcery!

    You should come on down to RWX this August and say hi. Striker will be there, along with Saxman, SSNTails and myself. Headcannon is going to be there as well. Though I imagine a trip from Vancouver to the opposite end of the continent is a huge ask of you.
     
  13. Qjimbo

    Qjimbo

    Your friendly neighbourhood lemming. Oldbie
    Thanks for the kind words, and the invitation! Don’t think I can make that happen unfortunately due to the distance and family commitments but sounds like it will be a great event.

    Hacktube was a fun project, of course the web has completely changed now with java applets, like the one hacktube used, being blocked in most browsers, though it seems like the Internet archive has figured out a new way to make ROMs playable in a browser which is neat: https://archive.org/details/Sonic_Advanced_Edit_R2_by_Rika_Chou_S2_Hack_f1

    As for the tutorial I believe it was Assembly code rather than hex but yes I was always a little unsatisfied with that tutorial for that reason, it could have done a better job of explaining exactly where the spindash code came from and how it was derived!
     
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  14. NO CARRIER

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    Hmm, so the Hacktube ideas lives on, at least on archive.org. Neat!

    No worries if you can't attend, I understand. Recordings of the panels will be posted, eventually. :) I think most of the people who came to our panel last year lived in or between NYC and Boston, with a few from outside the northeast region. (Saxman, SSNTails and Rlan excluded.)