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Sonic the Hedgehog (Prototype)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by drx, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
  2. RetroJordan91


    The REAL Blue Sphere Guy Member
    According to the Hidden Palace link, there’s a May 1st, 1991 date, but I’m not sure if that’s the actual prototype date or the date the final build was completed before release.. the latter would make more sense
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
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  3. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    That's when the final build was completed. Either April 31 or May 1.
  4. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    I always thought it was kind of awkward that the classic games gave you 1ups for collecting 100 and 200 rings but not 300. Rule of three anyone? But this proto may explain why it's like that. Sonic 1 originally gave you 1ups for 50 and 100 rings, but they latter upped those values to 100 and 200 and didn't bother adding a third check for 300 :V
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
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  5. TailChao


    I Must Eat Muffin Gear Oldbie
    Being Busy
    Another fantastic prototype, my sincere thanks to everyone involved. It's rad as hell to see this stuff actually move and be able to interact with it after almost two decades of looking at grainy screenshots or videos.

    Upon trying it out - some of the layouts are brutal, they really toned down the difficulty for release. Heh, and the huge plungers in Marble Zone which need to be stomped downward feel like a predecessor of that infamous barrel except these were snipped out. It's all so unfinished and so wonderful.
  6. Diablohead


    Indie dev Oldbie
    Near London
    I forget if I said so last night but huge thank you to everyone involved, this is a huge milestone and an amazing look at how sonic came to be and some of the ideas they had for their first attempt. It does seem like they had a clear goal at this point and many ideas like labyrinth never ending water slide were already being worked on.

    I think the biggest thing in my eyes is the early special stage, was it going to be as we know it for emerald hunting or was it going to be a gate to somewhere else? the unused icons like the magnet, skull, W icons, it's really cool.
  7. Yuski


    Dragons, dragons everywhere! Oldbie
    I follow the community’s prototype hunting since 1998. Historic day for Sonic fans, and it’s crazy finally it was dumped at least!
    I’m curious what’s more is hidden on it!
  8. TheOcelot


    Scooty Puff Jr sucks! Member
    Yeah, this is an amazing find. Such a blast to play through. Thank you to everyone involved.

    I really like the trippy background and night theme of Sparkling zone and the neat cave/crystal/hidden palace vibe with Labyrinth's background. So weird playing through it without any water, obviously it's very incomplete.

    Some of Star Light zone's more chaotic level design (not in the final release) reminds me of some weird areas from Collision Chaos and Palmtree Panic in Sonic CD.

    So surreal seeing the horizonal spike crusher implemented. The extra route at the end of Marble zone act 2 is interesting. Was probably a good idea to remove it to prevent the act going on too long.

    No idea if this was shown-off when it was live streamed (I only saw half of the stream); you can speed up the rotation off the special stage so it rotates super-fast and then slow it down again.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
  9. Just want to thank everyone involved in this special release. I'm so, so, so happy this was found and preserved. I don't have as much history with Sonic 1 or remember it quite as fondly as a lot of people who've been waiting for this day for years, but seeing everyone come together to celebrate such an important and coveted prototype makes me smile. I can't wait to play this later. Again, thank you so much.
  10. FollOw


    The sun sets forever over Black Water Park Oldbie
    This is amazing and it now gives me hope we can someday find the GHZ mountains and welcome sign prototype!
  11. Mastered Realm

    Mastered Realm

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  12. Wireframe


    Logged back in for the first time in 10 years just to say damn, this is incredible. Congrats to everyone at hidden palace and thanks for providing the rom dump for free Buckaroo!
  13. RetroJordan91


    The REAL Blue Sphere Guy Member
    What’s more insane is that this prototype is from even EARLIER than the one shown in the SEGA Shinsaku video:

    If I had to take a guess, maybe yesterday’s find is from early 1991?? Like between January-February? I’m likely wrong but hell that would be crazy.. here’s hoping there’s a date somewhere in the ROM
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  14. Quarterman


    Just another day in paradise. Member
    Wow, I cannot believe the proto was found, especially after all these years. I am stunned and thrilled that we can finally answer some of the mysteries that are as old as the community itself. Congratulations to everyone involved!
  15. Diablohead


    Indie dev Oldbie
    Near London
    Watching this vid again yeah it's nice to see the changes between our build and the one in the video! the spring yard bg was changed but the lights that pulse on the walkways is still the old graphic, spikes added to the bumper ect.

    This is so fun to compare.

    Oh little thing, when sonic does the unique jump at the end, if you place an enemy down and try to jump on them you take damage so it was more then just a graphic change, you lose your attack ability too.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
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  16. RetroJordan91


    The REAL Blue Sphere Guy Member
    Yeah we are just getting started with the comparisons lol I can’t wait to see if anything else pops up.. History in the making and we want more!!
  17. Roebloz


    I'm contributing to the TCRF articles on Zone Comparisons, and I already found a zipping bug in Labyrinth Zone Act 1 + Weird bottomless pit behavior in Clock Ork.
  18. synchronizer


    The feet remind me of Palmtree Panic’s boss. Sonic CD was originallly a Sonic 1 reimagining, so I wouldn’t be surprised.
  19. vladikcomper


    Tech Member
    Sonic Warped
    So, I had a few hours to take a closer look at this historical find. Not sure if some of these have alredy been discovered by the others or not, but here we go...

    Here are my notes focusing primarily on the technical aspects and overall engine behavior differences in comparison with the final ROM.
    Please bear in mind, these are based (mostly) on pure observation (with a little help of VRAM debuggers), no disassembling or sophisticated debugging and code analysis involved (I'm afraid I don't have enough time for that).

    SEGA screen

    This one obviously looks like an unmodified placeholder copy-pasted straight from some sample code (the one that is usually found in SDKs). It isn't even integrated with some of the game's most basic routines.

    For one, this screen doesn't use standard fade in and fade out routines. While it appears to be fading out, this sequence is actually performed by the next game mode (the Title screen) as a part of screen initialization code (this is actually the way every game mode was programmed in Sonic games: it always fades out and clears the screen after the previous one).

    But most notably, this screen doesn't call the sound driver update routine during VBlank (again, lack of integration), so when you soft-reset the game, all music and SFX are not stopped properly, so the last notes keep playing, unless the screen fade out and the sounds are stopped properly by the Title Screen initialization code.

    Camera system

    The vertical level warp is only halfway coded and is not working as intended.
    This can be seen in Labyrinth and Clock [W]ork zones, where if you fall through the level's bottom boundary, camera will immediately warp to the top of the level instead of continuing to go in the intended direction, seamlessly connecting the bottom and the top parts of the layout (the way it works in the final with the "endless" waterfall in the beginning of LZ3, or in SBZ2 layout).

    Vertical camera movement also differs from the final.
    It's mostly noticeable at the beginning of Sparkling Zone 1, when red spring launches you to the top of the wall. The camera moves rather slowly while you running up the wall; it's only when you jump off the wall or run off it that the camera catches up.
    This is because when Sonic's grounded, the vertical camera movement is limited to 6 pixels/frame (as opposed to 16 pixels/frame in the final). This actually is reminiscent of the way camera behaved in earlier prototypes, where it would slowly adjust to the floor level Sonic was on, as can be seen in this footage.

    VRAM notes

    I didn't have much time to analyze all the zones, but here is what I noticed so far:

    • Lamppost was not implemented at this time of development. Its VRAM slot is instead occupied by this unused smoke art (already present in @rika_chou's post):
    • Marble Zone for some reason loads Splats art near the slot where Caterkiller is located in the final:

    Caterkiller itself is not present in the zone.​

    Sound differences

    The following SFX differ from the final:
    • A1 appears to be an early version of Special stage entry sound, while it's lamppost touch SFX in the final;
    • A8 is an unused explosion sound, which doesn't seem to exist in the final (replaced with SS entry SFX in the final);
    • A9 is a weird low-pitched version of the spinning sound, resembles BE;
    • B0-B1 are continuous siren-like sounds; there is nothing similar to these in the final;
    • B2;
    • B3 appears to be some electrical sound, likely indented for Clock [W]ork zone;
    • BA seems to be a different version of SS glass block touch SFX;
    • BF is another continuous sound, purpose unknown;
    • C2 is higher pitch version of enemy explosion SFX; replaced with oxygen warning sound from LZ;
    • C3 is an alternative version of boss explosion; replaced with Giant Ring warp sound in the final;
    • C9;
    • CA.

    General bugs

    Sound driver:
    • Sound driver is appears to be more glitchy; breaking platform SFX sometimes got distorted.

    • Spikes have improper collisions; you sometimes can get hurt when jumping over them;
    • Lights on GHZ's boss chain are not animated;
    • Those in-level GHZ balls have generally broken physics, as they can go through floors or start floating in the air instead of going in the direction of a slop or falling off correctly;
    • Invulnerability time counter can be set incorrectly in rare cases; after awkwardly getting hurt by the spikes I was able to retain full invulnerability (as indicated by Sonic flashing and not being able to collect items) for several seconds straight.

    Debug mode-specific:
    • Camera's bottom boundary lock is not restored when you exit the debug mode;
    • Sonic's speeds are also not cleared, so if you enter/exit debug mode repeatedly while being in the air, Sonic's falling speed never stops increasing.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
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  20. Diablohead


    Indie dev Oldbie
    Near London
    Just wondering, since splats loads into marble and has a spring leg with red bumper on the tip, I wonder if the spring mod for eggman's pod was once a marble boss thing?