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Speculations and things I want to straighten out

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Quexinos, Mar 10, 2008.

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  1. Quexinos

    Quexinos

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    Okay this topic is in no way supposed to offend anyone and I am not pushing my beliefs on anyone. There's just some things that have come up recently that I either want to straighten out or just give my opinion on. So here goes.

    They kind of go hand in hand so what I'll do is present what is considered factual here.

    1. The giant emerald in Hidden Palace was nothing more than a breakaway object. This was confirmed by the designer of the level.

    2. The desert level in the mock up of Sonic 2 was never called Dust Hill officially. This is true because we have really old concept art that referred to it as "Desert Zone". Brenda Ross, the designer for the level, DID call it Dust Hill in an interview, but she was most likely confused by the many emails she got earlier that referred to the level by that name.
    Don't debate this one anymore, you showed me WHY it's not Dust Hill. Thanks.

    3. In an interview Yuji Naka said the Hidden Palace was going to be where Sonic learned to go Super... but this is disregarded because Naka most likely said what everyone wanted to hear instead of the truth.

    Okay, so these are the three points I want to talk about. If you can't stand someone trying to debate a little bit, back down now, I don't want to be flamed... BUT do feel free to shove facts in my face with a "Nya nya, you suck" if I totally get something wrong.

    ----------------------------

    Let's talk about number one.

    1. I'm not going to argue with this. I consider it 110% fact since the level creator, Craig Stitt (or whatever his name is) said so. Not to mention it just makes sense since Hill Top and Chemical Plant had similar "blocks" over their tubes. When this news was presented, there were a few people here and there that came up with the excuse that it was so long ago that Craig just completely forgot what it was really for. Eventually, the majority of fans just accepted the fact that it was no more than a breakable block, end of story. This is considered fact and anything else is basically just plain wrong.

    So the formula seems to be, if the official creator and designer of the level said so, it must be true. Makes sense to me.
    Then we move onto number two.

    2. IIRC, Brenda Ross' email was posted on some site and she was bombarded with emails asking her about "Dust Hill" so that's why she called it Dust Hill. The zone was never called that, Brenda Ross was simply confused... at least that's what most people say.... I don't get this though.

    We take what Craig Stitt said with 100% accuracy, but not what Brenda Ross said? She actually said with complete confidence in the interview that the name of the desert level was Dust Hill. There were a lot of "I thinks" and "It was a while agos" in the interview, but the one thing she did NOT falter on, was the name of the zone. If it was not called Dust Hill she probably would have said, "I don't remember the desert level's name." but the fact that she said it with so much certainty really makes me believe that it was Dust Hill at least at one point.

    So we have those concept pictures of "Desert Zone" right? This proves the name was Desert Zone. Well.. no not really since similar pictures of "Cyber City" were released and we know by the time Wai's beta was found that it was changed to "Genocide City."

    Also, who first called the level Dust Hill? Where did the name come from? I've been in the community a long time and I'm sure of the fact that no betas were present when the name first came up. So that means there was no Wai beta when the desert zone was ALL READY being called Dust Hill. Whoever first called it Dust Hill had done research and KNEW the name and chances are, what it was intended for.

    Now for the fact that Dust Hill leads to Mystic Cave. Well names change in betas. The level select in a beta should never be taken with 100% accuracy. What's the devloper's priority? Get the stage select right or make sure the zone plays well? The most recent betas found have "Sky Fortress" leading to Wing Fortress. I just don't think that the level select should be taken as fact especially when we have developers of the level telling us otherwise.

    Now, maybe the slot was there for the real deserty zone and they scrapped it and developed Mystic Cave in that slot. Maybe the desert level somehow evolved into Mystic Cave. I don't know, but I do have doubts that Dust Hill was ALWAYS the same as Mystic Cave. I found this interesting, in an article referring to many of the levels in SOnic 2, BOTH Dust Hill AND Mystic Cave are mentioned:

    http://www.sonic-cult.org/imagebin/sgmakingof5.jpg - Here many zones are mentioned including Dust Hill.
    http://www.sonic-cult.org/imagebin/sgmakingof6.jpg - Here Mystic (Cave) is mentioned indicating that they were separate zones at one point.

    The main problem with this is that it implies that "Dust Hill" was playable at some point and if it was the desert level, we know this can't be true. It does make me wonder if they were given a list of zones or something though.

    So this is what we have:

    A. Brenda Ross said with complete certainty that the desert zone was called Dust Hill.
    B. The name Dust Hill was being used before the Wai prototype was discovered.
    C. Dust Hill DOES lead to Mystic Cave but this doesn't prove anything (IE Sky Fortress leads to Wing Fortress ect...)

    So I guess the questions are:
    Why are people who call the desert level Dust Hill chastised for "falsifying information?" If anything, it's just as false to say with 100% certainty that the desert level was just called "Desert Zone"

    Why do we take what Craig Stitt says as completely true when we don't take what Brenda Ross says as true? What's the point of doing interviews if we're just going to pick and choose what we like and come up with excuses for why some information is less or more accurate than the rest.

    This brings me to three.

    3. The big question is why on earth would Yuji Naka lie about Sonic? I would hope that Naka would love his creation enough to not spread lies about it.

    The fact that the Hidden Palace was in Sonic 2 so early on (probably the first zone ever worked on) and so late (wasn't it up to like 38 hours before the final release?) proves that someone sure as hell thought it was important. If it was just a plain old zone, they probably wouldn't have had any trouble scrapping it. But clearly, something was special about this zone that it was with the game for so long. It was even given its own song while Wood Zone and the others never were. This zone was important so I have a hard time believing that it was just an ordinary zone. Something was supposed to happen there and for all we know, it could have been Sonic going Super for the first time.

    Again, why interview Naka if we just pick and choose what we like and say "This is fact" and "that is fact" when Naka himself says it is or isn't.

    Bottom line of this:
    I think interviews should be taken as fact or not, NOT both. I don't think we should go through interviews and say, "Well this is true because so and so isn't but this isn't true because they probably forgot or just lied." Unless people we interview can be proven wrong with 100% certainty, they should be taken as a higher authority than fan speculation

    Why? Well let's say this:
    10 years ago, I drew a picture of Sonic crying (I didn't really but let's say I did). Someone else sees it (in the current time, IE 10 years later) and says that he's laughing. He says I just simply forgot and you all believe him over me, even though I'm the creator of the picture. Isn't that a bit silly?

    As for "Dust Hill" or "Desert Zone"... either both names should be fine or both names should be wrong.

    That's all I wanted to say. I'm not trying to force my beliefs on anyone. You are welcome to think as you like, but this is just some stuff that has bothered me for a while. Thanks for reading (please don't trash >_< I worked hard on this)
     
  2. Tweaker

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    I don't know specifically about the origin of the "Dust Hill" name—it was probably based on a logical link between the style of level and the level names revealed in several preview magazines.

    However, lemme just recycle this bit when it comes to the "Well, maybe the slot used to be something else..." argument:
    And that's that! :thumbsup:
     
  3. Hivebrain

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    Since 1 and 3 seem to contradict each other, we can only accept one of them as true. Number 1 is the more plausible, in my opinion.
     
  4. Quexinos

    Quexinos

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    In response to Tweaker: Hmm I didn't know that. I can see what you're saying. If it was nameless at first THEN Dust Hill, it must have evolved into the name Dust Hill.

    But consider this:

    1. Nameless zone is added to prototype
    2. They plan to add Dust Hill to a later prototype so they add the name to the level select
    3. They begin it, but it sucks or whatever so they remove it. This results in a glitch in the source code which makes the name "Dust Hill" point to nameless zone. It would make sense since they couldn't completely REMOVE Hidden Palace or else they'd have a similar result.

    Just a thought. Probably not true though.

    How do they contradict each other? Because the emerald was just a breakable object proves that Sonic wasn't supposed to learn to go super in that level?
     
  5. Tweaker

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    I don't know if "Deep Caves" was ever a name, to be completely blunt... I've seen Jan post about a bunch of magazine articles but I've never seen a single one of them.

    What I do know is that Dust Hill was the first public name, to our knowledge, for Mystic Cave. Period. There is no getting around that, considering the developmental cycle. It's irrefutable.
     
  6. Hivebrain

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    Presumably it would be some sort of giant chaos emerald if HPZ is where Sonic learns to become Super Sonic, rather than a smashable block. This isn't forced to be the case but it seems reasonable given how S3K's HPZ works.
     
  7. Quexinos

    Quexinos

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    It's hard to argue with that logic so I won't. It does make me wonder though, why Brenda Ross said it with such certainty. I wonder if it was called Dust Hill at one point and then the name switched to Mystic Cave or whatever.

    Not really. There could still be breakable emerald blocks and Sonic could have learned to go Super some other way. Also S3K's HPZ wasn't called HPZ until the very end. Remember that :thumbsup:
     
  8. Tweaker

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    What I always thought would happen is that, if you had all the chaos emeralds and approached the large emerald, you'd transform above it, breaking apart the emerald and opening up the path below. That's an idea I intend on toying around with, anyway... :P
     
  9. Quexinos

    Quexinos

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    Plus, I didn't want to bring it up but I'll give it a shot, I do remember an interview done with Naka before the game came out. I remember him saying there was a secret in the game that you could unlock. I guess the "secret" could have been Super Sonic, but it's not really a secret when the game outright says "YOU CAN CHANGE INTO SONIC SONIC NOW LOLS!" A hidden level might be a secret though.

    ...
    Now if only I could find that interview ;_;

    I do have a question though, is Brenda Ross' entire interview thrown out or just the "Dust Hill" part? I still have problems taking a level select over someone who worked on the level's word but... I can understand how one would come to that conclusion that Dust Hill had always just been Mystic Cave.
     
  10. Sik

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    being an asshole =P
    SuperSonic was added 36 hours before the release. Obviously it wasn't the secret. I'll repost a theory I said in another topic: if you don't have all Chaos Emeralds, the games would finish in Wing Fortress and you get the bad ending. Otherwise, the Wing Fortress would fall or Sonic would jump away (like in Flying Battery) and finish in Hidden Palace. At the end he learns how to become Super using the emeralds (there's the secret), then he would be able to fly to the Death Egg. And maybe here it makes sense Death Egg being a full level rather than just two bosses, because otherwise you wouldn't be able to use SuperSonic.

    Wow, the more I think on it, I think the nearer I get to what Sonic 2 should have been like...
     
  11. muteKi

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    So you mean the system that's been in place for pretty much EVERY SINGLE GAME SINCE SA?

    Not to seem angry at you or dismiss your idea, it's just a tad too formulaic for my tastes (come on! Super Sonic in regular levels again PLEASE!).
     
  12. Vlcice

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    On the other hand, the level list there doesn't include any "Mystic Zone" - just Dust Hill Zone. It also lists "Emerald Zone," "Aquatic Ruin Zone" and "Neo Green Zone." Meanwhile, the level descriptions cite Mystic Zone in place of Dust Hill. I get the idea that someone was told about the alternate name but didn't replace every instance of it in the article, or that they were confused about which alternate names referred to which levels.
     
  13. drx

    drx

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    Uh, this is a false equivalency.

    Give me one example of a zone that got a name change and got a name from another zone, in development of any Sonic 1-K game.

    I'll say this -- artists knew fuck all when it came to the grand scheme of things, they were simply told to draw stuff.
     
  14. Scarred Sun

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    Good question! Let's dissect it.


    1. There is what appears to a crocodile's head on the desert zone screenshot, could you tell us what the rest of crocodile looked like?
    I don't remember anything like that. You'll have to send me the image so I can see it.


    I'd be willing to wager she's correct on not remembering this—given that we know it was a mockup shot, and that no enemy is ever used in two different zones in Sonic 2, the person who created the mockup simply pulled the crocodile art from another digitizer disk.

    2. What other badniks were on the desert zone, and what did they do?
    I had nothing to do with creating enemies or characters, so I don't remember, I'm sorry. I would only Grab images to use as placeholders when showing my art in various stages.


    Confirms number one. Brenda may have been the one who actually made the shots for western press.

    3. If you could would you recreate the desert and woods zone?
    I think they would look great in 3D. But no, I'm happy with what I do now for a living, which is running a few websites and writing.
    4. Could you explain the type of equipment used to program the games?
    Nope. You'll have to ask a programmer.

    5. What kind of computers were you using?
    We used a Japanese proprietary system called a digitizer. All the employees at Sega Japan used them. Basically you did the work on a grid like system, and you saw the results on a second screen, then you'd have a TV screen set up for color correction.

    6. Which operating system was it running under (UNIX, DOS, etc.)
    N/A

    7. What kind of compiler was the game compiled under (C, ASM, etc.)
    N/A

    8. Explain the "synthesizers" some more. [He meant the "digitizers".-ICEknight]
    N/A

    9. How were graphics for the game generated and what programs did you use to generate them?
    See question #5.


    Not relevant to question at hand

    10. Explain the process of how a level was designed: from concept to final product.
    That's a question for Yasuhara, The game designer for Sonic.


    Here, she clearly admits her scope in the development: she made level art. In Naka's Sonic 2 commentary, he states that there were originally 18 zones planned for Sonic 2. Given the ten final zones + Hidden Palace + Wood, that leaves six zone concepts. It's really not that unfeasible that preliminary art was made for them before the decision to make it into a level or not was done.


    11. How far into the design did desert zone see? Was a boss for that level ever created?
    I think that Dust Hill was completed entirely, and woods zone was mostly done. Once you have the initial key pieces, you can go fairly far with building a level.


    This is a hinging question here. I'd personally lean towards her saying that this is in regards to the ART design, which she would be more aware of than LEVEL design, and it's not a stretch to say the level art may have been completed.


    12. Could you make a rough sketch of how the level layout was?
    God, no. Sorry.

    13. ? [I don't know what happened to this question; don't ask me!-ICEknight]


    Not relevant.


    14. Why were these two zones ditched?
    The last artists added to the team were myself, and a guy named Craig Stitt. Craig did the Hidden palace zone, which made it in. I came along later to create the desert/winter dust hill zone and the woods zone. There was a massive amount of pressure to finish this game, and my zones, and perhaps one others of Craig's, if I remember correctly, had to be scrapped. We were all upset, naturally, but that's the nature of the game industry. 50% of your stuff is likely not to be used.


    OK, Brenda here claims HPZ made it in. We know that didn't happen, though it was certainly late in the game before it was pulled. We also know from...Stitt's interview, I think it was, that Yamaguchi preferred Japanese zone art. This isn't that shocking, and from what I read of this interview, though she's credited in the final, it may be entirely possible her work wasn't used in the final build.


    15. Why would there be a crocodile in a desert?
    I don't think there was one. It's been 9 years, so I might not remember.


    See 1/2.


    16. Well, some people suspect that the screen shot was not an actual screenshot. Rather, it was an image created using a computer and some paint program. What do you have to say about this?
    It was a real level.



    17. Was Dust Hill Zone ever completed? If not, at least how far was it?
    I think it was completed. I couldn't have gone on to create the woods zone if it hadn't been. They just didn't have time to add it to the game.


    See 11.


    18. Was Dust Hill Zone planned to be put back into the game? Reason asking is because I notice how the Oil Ocean Zone music changed for level selection 03 - supposedly to get the correct music to match the beta music.
    N/A


    Not relevant.


    19. Was Wood Zone ever completed? If not, at least how far was it?
    About half way done, I'd guess. Or a bit more.


    This might explain why Wood Zone is in the state it's in at the Wai Prototype—it looks like the level designers are waiting for extra tiles to be drawn.


    20. What other objects were in the desert and woods zone? There are plenty of empty object slots in the binary, so we figure that plenty of it once had data there.
    The desert zone was as you see in that image, with cactus and assorted plants. It was designed to have a palette change, which turned the sand into snow, and you'd have a winter scene. We had to be fairly ingenious with such a limited palette. In the winter zone, (that's what I call it), instead of cactus, I had created Christmas trees, which I thought looked kinda cool. I remember the woods zone having pink flowers somewhere. Hey, I am a girl… heh.


    Entirely possible, given the Sabaku zone mockups and EHZ/HTZ art recycling. May also have been cut from level development for this reason, as this technique may not have been perfected until Sonic 3's development.


    21. What was Dust Hill like was it huge, what was the landscape like in general, etc.?
    I think half above ground, and half below. It would depend on the level. Sonic would travel through the sand or snow tunnel, depending on which palette was being used.


    Valid, though I don't think this ties it to Mystic Cave Zone or anything.

    22. Was Dust Hill related to Oil Ocean in any way with the hot sun and all?
    Nope.
    23. There is another zone, referred to as the fifth lost zone, the 01 zone, some think its emerald hill zone act 3, do you know anything about this?
    N/A (means I have no idea)
    24. Do you still have any materials in used in development, like layouts, graphics, etc. in the “synthesizer” formats or any other formats. [He meant the "digitizers", again.-ICEknight]
    No, It was all left at Sega years ago.
    25. Do you have any paper materials like a design spec for the levels or any level sketches you can show us.
    See answer #24.


    Not relevant.


    26. If you can, can you explain why sonic is off center in that desert zone screenshot.
    He was just dropped in for placement for the marketing folks. It was totally random and has nothing to do with any real gameplay.


    Well, there you have it. It's not like we didn't need written proof of that.


    27. Did the desert, winter, and woods zones have specific names?
    Desert was dust hill. I don't remember the rest.


    I also take the stance of the e-mails mixing Brenda up. For instance, 9 years ago I was in high school. I went to a valentine's day dance. I definitely remember going and that it was valentine's themed. If one of my friends said it was called the Stupid Cupid Dance, I probably would go with that, assuming they remembered it better. However, that might have just been their nickname for it—according to the yearbook, it was actually the Red and White Dance.


    28. Is Mystic Cave Zone in any way related to the desert zone, because in the beta be have has Mystic Cave Zone play when Dust Hill Zone is selected.
    N/A
    29. Was there ever any fire sprite in the desert zone because there's been a fire sprite found hidden in a Sonic 2 ROM image.
    N/A



    30. Was there ever a Genocide City Zone even in development?
    That sounds familiar, but I can't be sure.


    I'm sure she heard the name, as it was in level select. But that certainly doesn't tell us anything we don't know.


    31. Did Dust Hill Zone have any music, if so did it stay in Sonic 2 final's sound test?
    N/A
    32. Was time travel a concept intended for Sonic 2 ever?
    N/A
    33. Did Wood Zone have original music, or was it a time travel zone (assuming that theory is true)
    N/A
    34. Do you have any screenshots of any of the lost levels?
    N/A
    35. Is there the possibility of you finishing the levels in a ROM and anonymously releasing it to the sonic community?
    No. I could get sued.
    36. There is speculation that the boss to the desert zone was a flying pyramid, any truth in this.
    There was no boss designed for that level, if I remember correctly. If so, I never saw it.
    37. Do you know anything about Genocide City?
    N/A
    38. Was act 1 outdoors, with act 2 indoors of the desert zone? (like Sandopolis from Sonic 3)
    N/A
    39. What is the deal with the unusual ring positions in that desert zone shot?
    They're unusual because I put them there. Lol. I'm not a game designer. They were there for temporary placement only.
    40. If you were asked to complete these missing zones for the Sonic Compilation on DC, would you do it?
    No. I'm way too busy now. Also, as I said, there are legal issues. Sonic is very well protected. I think for a while there, that particular character kept Sega of America from going under. He did generate a massive amount of money, didn't he?


    Again, not relevant.

    So as to whether Brenda Ross' interview is thrown out, I would say no, it isn't. What is thrown out is the way these questions were understood at the time they were given and how they are today. Provided, it doesn't tell us a lot as far as development goes, and there are things I'd love to ask today, but that's what we have.
     
  15. Quexinos

    Quexinos

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    After reading it... I can see how she'd be influenced to say the desert level was Dust Hill. As I also said though, I don't like the idea of interviewing these people and just deciding what we think is right, especially based on something controversial such as a level select. Level selects have been proven to be inaccurate time and time again.

    I'll repeat a hypothetical case:

    1. Nameless (which WILL Be Mystic Cave) zone is added to prototype
    2. They plan to add Dust Hill to a later prototype so they add the name to the level select
    3. They begin Dust Hill/Desert Zone, for whatever reason they remove it completely. This screws up the coding for the game which makes the name "Dust Hill" point to nameless zone. The same effect would have happened if Hidden Palace had been completely removed. The level data would no longer be correct. It's why they didn't completely remove it. Why didn't they change it?

    Why would they? It's a level select. The more important thing is that the level worked properly.

    Again, it's a THOUGHT on how it could happen. I'm not presenting it as fact, and I can't prove it.

    BUT
    Because of the Cyber City/Genocide City deal I don't believe the name was going to be just "Desert Zone." A desert zone yes, but saying it was the actual name is as false as saying it's Dust Hill IMO.

    Meaning... Brenda Ross vs Craig Stitt or Brenda vs Craig and Yuji Naka or... which?

    BTW you said the Post NA Prototype had Mystic Caves but it was unnamed right?... How was it presented in the level select or did it take Green Hill's place?
     
  16. Sazpaimon

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    That's what's called a 'placeholder.' You don't expect "Wood Zone" to be the actual name for the forest level do you? It's too generic and they can come up with something better. The level was just scrapped before they came up with a decent name.
     
  17. Quexinos

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    Actually I never thought about it. That makes sense, though. Wood Zone. Desert Zone. They're both boring. So you're saying "Desert Zone" just never got a cool name... or wood zone or whichever. That actually... is a really good point.

    Basically it means that if the desert level WAS in the beta, they would have named it "Desert Zone." Wood Zone kinda proved that... thanks for pointing that out.
    And I guess my whole thing about them adding the "desert zone" and then deleting it and Dust Hill pointing to Mystic Cave... well then where'd "Desert Zone" go in the level select right?..
    EDIT:
    err sorry not "Desert Zone" but whatever name was holding Mystic Cave at the time.

    I guess the only thing then is:
    Why did Brenda say it was Dust Hill? That just bugs me, if she wasn't sure she shouldn't have said it. It's like the ONLY thing in the interview that is said with certainty.
     
  18. Sazpaimon

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    I'll go with what scarredsun said. It was 9 years dude. You go 9 years of something you've never given any thought about, then suddenly your email addresses is leaked and get a barrage of emails asking about this "Dust Hill" zone with that mockup image attached, your memory would be tainted too.
     
  19. Quexinos

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    Yeah, but still if she wasn't certain, she shouldn't have said it. It's just my stance on it, but I guess she didn't care much. She seemed pissed off about the whole thing anyway (not that I blame her) I'm not trying to argue that it's called Dust Hill anymore, you basically disproved that. It DOES just make me wonder why she'd say something she wasn't sure of, but again, I guess she didn't care.

    Oh well thanks for clearing that up. I didn't know about Mystic Cave being nameless and then having the name Dust Hill and I never would have thought of the "Wood Zone" thing. That's how you learn, by asking :P

    ..

    Are we still saying Naka just said what everyone wanted to hear though?
     
  20. Sazpaimon

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    Thing is, she WAS certain of what she was saying, doesn't mean she was right. Years ago I was certain santa claus was gonna come down my chimney and give me wonderful gifts under my Christmas tree. Was I right? No. I got coal. Lousy dirty COAL! I'LL KILL YOU SANTA. I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU

    That said, I take everything Naka says with a grain of salt. You have to understand that all interviews done by professional places are re-transcribed to sound better. Take for example the interview gamespy did on Yuji Naka. BMF54123 posted this little tidbit about a month or so before the interview was published. You can see that the actual interview was done in a much less.. professional manner. That said, I reiterate earlier by saying that I take all professional interviews with a grain of salt because we don't know what was really said between the two.
     
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