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Tails in Sonic 2 (8-bit) *!Release!*

Discussion in 'Engineering & Reverse Engineering' started by Hackwrench, May 18, 2020.

  1. Lostgame

    Lostgame

    producer/turnablist. homebrew dev. cosplayer. Oldbie
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    The O.I.C.
    Omigosh, what?!?

    I mean, ugh, I have issues with Sonic 2 SMS, I absolutely cannot stand the boss of UGZ, even playing the SMS version with the larger screen than the GG version that I grew up with gives me no love.

    I can *do* it, I just don’t get joy out of it. Everything after that is pretty much a-okay.

    This is massively impressive, and will cause me to do a replay.

    Before the internet, I had always wondered what I was missing on how to play as Tails.

    I painstakingly got all the Chaos Emeralds on the GG version, thinking; maybe this is it...of course, no. :P

    Tails has always been my favourite. This is amazing.
     
  2. Hackwrench

    Hackwrench

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    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
  3. Sonic Hachelle-Bee

    Sonic Hachelle-Bee

    Taking a Sand Shower Tech Member
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    I love your hack. Sonic 2 (GG) is the first game I ever played. Playing the game as Tails is incredible. Congratulations!
     
  4. E-122-Psi

    E-122-Psi

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    I have to say I'm impressed by this. We don't see enough 8-bit hacks and this is the character hack that always needed to happen.

    I like you even altered the cutscenes according to the role reversal.
     
  5. Hackwrench

    Hackwrench

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    An honor to hear that from you. I've played so many of your hacks.
    You know, I remember being on a message board years ago (early 2000's) where this was being discussed and remember someone saying "This would be an easy hack as Tails' palette is loaded in every single level." I waited, figuring that hack would come within a few years or so. I never thought that I'd be the one to do it, and that it would be in 2020.
    I have to thank RavenFreak and Glitch for pointing me to the disassembly. Without them, the cutscenes would be unaltered, the life icon wouldn't be reworked, and the hang glider would Sonic's white glider until Tails starts to use it.

    What's next for me? I'm looking at Sonic 1 SMS. I found MaSS1VE which is supposed to be able to do some editing, but I can't even get that program to launch. If I have to go in hard mode.. well, it wouldn't be the first time.
    And for the YouTube channel, I'm going to be showing off some exploits and easter eggs that I managed to find, that to my knowledge are not widely known if at all. Quite a few of them are in Sonic games.
     
  6. nineko

    nineko

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  7. Glitch

    Glitch

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    This is great! I love it.

    Here's one for you: in underground zone act 3, wait for the timer to get to 9 minutes (or set $D29A if you can't be bothered to wait), then jump off the ledge and hold down+2 while Robotnik lifts you up. If you time it perfectly, when Robotnik lets go you can immediately hold right, jump over the boss and go straight to the animal capsule at the end.

    This only works if the timer is >9 minutes so it's useless for speedruns :(
     
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  8. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    Realise I'm bumping a thread from two years ago, but I was playing your hack this morning (there's something absolutely charming about finally playing as Tails after all these years) and it occurred to me that you'd mentioned Sonic 1 and the lack of editor way back when it was released.

    Over on smspower, there's a terrific new editor created by Maxim that has support for new sprites. Not trying to sway you here, everyone's free time is their own, but if you were plugging away in secret with a hex editor, then this might make life easier!

    View topic - STH1EDWV - Sonic the Hedgehog editor - Forums - SMS Power!

    Great job on the hack, I love the little touches like swapping over the characters in the intro and the sprites used when you look up and down riding a mine cart. It's very well done.

    EDIT - dodgy grammar
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2022
  9. Hackwrench

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    Thanks! And you're the first person to mention the mine cart sprites. When I did the hack, I made a rule for myself to use as many original sprites from the original game as possible. Both looking up and down in the mine cart are from the cut animation of Tails crying.
    Here's another little thing that I did. The reason that his fill in sprites are redrawn 16 bit sprites is because they're used on the title cards. In Sky High zone, the reason Tails looses his tails when he gets on a hang glider is because they're missing on the title card as well. Alternately, in Sonic 2 and 3 (16-bit) when Tails balances on a ledge, his tails are missing. But the Gimmick Mountain title card has one of these sprites with his tails included. So when I redrew those sprites, I included them.

    And thanks for the link to the Sonic 1 editor. I checked it out a bit and I haven't found anything in it yet to change the sprites. Which is fine.... (I've had the sprites done for a while now)
    sonic the hedgehog - Tails3.png
    Swapped with a tile editor. Sprites were the easy part. The difficult part is the large art used in the game. (No custom title screen)
    As for plugging away in secret... yeah.. you got me!
     
  10. Bobblen

    Bobblen

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    Ha! That's awesome. I'll hold my hands up and admit I have no idea how to use the sprite replacement capability, just that I read on the forum post that it was possible (and the author posted a few screenshots using it). You can certainly view the title screen and ending credits screens in the editor, but quite how one imports new tiles in is beyond me!

    All I've done with it so far is create a little hack which moves the emeralds and extra lives into new hiding places (and modifies a bit of terrain to support this), I haven't tried anything smarter than that yet. Good luck with the hack
     
  11. PimpUigi

    PimpUigi

    ------- Route Magician ------- Sonic CD Technician Member
    Hey Hackwrench, I recently discovered this and have been sending it to my friends. :D
    But I really prefer the Game Gear version for its difficulty and boss music.

    Is it possible you could create a Game Gear variant? Or if not ... maybe an SMS version that uses the Game Gear's boss music?
     
  12. Hackwrench

    Hackwrench

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    Glad that you like it. I saw your post on YouTube too.
    You said it right, era accurate is really what I was going for, which is why I used as many original Sonic 2 8-bit sprites as I possibly could. And the resized 16-bit sprites were made and used as they were used in the zone intro cards.

    As for a Game Gear variant, someone else did ask me about one before. I did make one, but it's incomplete. I've been trying to figure out how to edit the compressed art, or for a tool to come out to do it, but so far no luck.
    I have been considering releasing it as a beta recently though.
    Any interest?

    gg sonic 2 - Tails.png gg sonic 2 - Tails-1.png gg sonic 2 - Tails-3.png
     
  13. Ravenfreak

    Ravenfreak

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    Sonic 1 Game Gear Disassembly
    Aspect Edit should be able to edit all the compressed sprites. It's just a matter of locating the compressed sprites you're needing to edit. I don't believe there's a list of rom contents for the Game Gear version... Emulicious is a handy emulator that has debugging features that can help you locate compressed sprites in the game.
     
  14. Hackwrench

    Hackwrench

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    I tried that once. The edited sprites ended up being more data that the originals, so when I would put them into the bank, it would corrupt the rom. Am familiar with Emulicious, it's helped me quite a lot, especially with the S1 hack that I'm still working on.
     
  15. Blastfrog

    Blastfrog

    See ya starside. Member
    I would chalk that up to the developers being lazy, I doubt it was intentional. The tails are typically a separate sprite, they probably just didn’t include it, rather than deliberately remove it. Though you do mention how he has his tails in the balancing sprite, which is certainly inconsistent with the former.
     
  16. Hackwrench

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    I actually have a theory about that balancing sprite. The title cards are indeed lazy, yes. Every Sonic and Tails sprite on each of those cards are simply 16-bit Sonic 2 sprites, with Underground zone as an exception. My theory is that Aspect received a very early sprite sheet from Sega to use for reference, which they simply used. I believe that sheet had those tails on his balancing sprite.
    On the Sega/Sonic Team side, early on, I believe that they were removed deliberately, with perhaps an art director saying that we'll use the wagging tails on the separate sprite instead. After that, it was either forgotten about, didn't look right, etc.
    Of course, I wasn't there, so I don't know for sure. It's just the feeling that I got when working with the art for a long period of time.
     
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  17. Blastfrog

    Blastfrog

    See ya starside. Member
    Actually, Sonic is using his Sonic 1 sprites in the S2 8-bit title cards. I've heard people say it's his CD sprites, but that's impossible given the development timeline since the only replaced sprite in the 0.02 build (December 1992) compared to S1 is the springing frame that has the shoes redrawn, and that was cut anyhow in favor of the twirling spring animation (not to mention that the balancing frame in Gimmick Mountain's title card is clearly S1's). Also worth noting that Sonic is using his brighter/more saturated prototype palette in the S2 GG autodemo in the "coming soon" screen.

    That could very well be the case. My money's on "they forgot to add the tails back". It just makes no sense that his tails would disappear, since they're his defining characteristic.

    One thing I find amusing is that there is absolutely no point in having a separate tails sprites for quite a few frames, such as his walking animation. The tails there are synced with the main player object (they're actually baked into the main object's sprite mappings), and are exclusively used for just the walking animation. There's also a layering issue. In Sonic 2, the tails are always behind him, which is weird. In Sonic 3, they alternate between underlapping and overlapping depending on which half of the walking animation is currently playing, but this still causes problems.

    The ideal solution (and Mania does this) is to bake the tails directly into the walking frames, and manually crop out the parts where the leg and arm closer to the viewer are (so facing right, his right arm and right leg should overlap the tails, and his left leg and left arm should underlap the tails). This would not only save ROM and RAM space, but also reduce the number of sprites per line and thus mitigate the possibility of sprite overload on Genesis hardware.

    Mania also has his tails included for his balancing animation, though they drew new frames to match Sonic's CD balancing poses. It makes sense to do that, because Tails' sprites in S2 have a lot more in common with S1 Sonic than S2 Sonic, including the balancing frames being based on Sonic's S1 balancing poses (not to mention not having a back-facing balancing anim), as well as not having an in-between frame for ducking and looking up. Sonic CD's forward-facing balancing frames were based directly on his S1 balancing frames. So for stylistic consistency, it makes sense to have given Tails Sonic's CD poses for both forward-facing and back-facing balancing animations.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2023
  18. Hackwrench

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    Oh yeah, you're right. I spent 1000% more time examining Tails' sprites that which set Sonic's were slipped my mind. As for them being CD sprites, I wouldn't say 100% out of the question. I don't know the changes made between S1 and CD, but what if Sega had a master sprite sheet that they kept internally, which they updated when an artist made a sprite or two that looked better. (I did this myself.)
    The 8-bit titles do that too, likely because like you said, sprite overload, especially on older sms/gg hardware. The only thing I can think of is that they really wanted his tails to move at a different frame rate than the animation of the rest of his body.

    Speaking of sprite comparisons between games, I bring more evidence that 8-bit S2 Tails was based off an older sprite set.
    tails walk.png
    Here's a little thing I made when I was making the hack. 16-bit sprites to 8-bit sprites, Line 3 being the original walking sprites used in S2sms/gg, line 4 being what I used in the hack since Sonic had a 6-frame walking animation where Tails has 4.
    Besides the head not nodding, the body positions are extremely similar, so much that I was able to skew 16-bit sprites down and only have to touch them up slightly for them to work. I'm guessing that Aspect did the same thing back then.

    Also, if anyone knows how to make Sonic have a 4 frame walking animation instead of 6, could you show me? I'd love to use Tails' original walk cycle without my custom filler frames. I've attempted it several times with results ranging from crashing to hilarious. Thank you in advance.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2023
  19. Blastfrog

    Blastfrog

    See ya starside. Member
    It's a possibility, but I find it unlikely. S2 8-bit was released in November '92, while the 0.02 build of SCD was from December '92. Literally the only modified sprite in that build is the springing frame, and only the shoes were modified. It has some additional new animations, but none of them were replacements for S1's, such as how the final SCD replaced the skidding and balancing animations. With the exception of the spring frame, none of the sprites from S1 have been modified yet. Besides, I doubt that any SCD assets were shared anyhow. Yes, there is the Green Hills theme being quite close to "You Can Do Anything," but that's likely only because the same composer was involved.

    Underground's title card appears to use crude edits of Sonic and Tails' balancing faces. I think Sonic's body is an original drawing by aspect, as it bears no resemblance to any existing frames.

    I somewhat doubt that. Aside from the addition of new animations, the only difference between Wai build and later builds is the addition of a shine spot on his rolling and spindash frames. That being said, the inclusion of Tails' tails on the S2 8-bit title card is an oddity. Perhaps they manually added them in for Gimmick Mountain, but forgot to for Sky High? It just occurred to me also that in Sky High, he's using his flying frame and not his spring frame rotated 90 degrees like Sonic's.

    I think you misplaced the first 8-bit frame relative to the 16-bit sprites. I think it's supposed to correspond with the second 16-bit sprite, not its first. Note how the right foot is pointing forward and not upward, and the left foot is pointing back and not down as much. Also note the position of the right hand, it is overlapping the belly like the second 16-bit frame, unlike the first 16-bit frame where it is not. I think what Aspect did here was cut every other frame, meaning frames 2, 4, 6 and 8 were kept, not 1, 4, 6 and 8 as you have it here.

    I just checked the Sonic Chaos prototype (the one with the sprites closer to S2 16-bit) and there they are using 6 frames while skipping 2 and 6 from the 16-bit version. If you keep his animation at 6 frames, I suggest using frames 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8. This would require redrawing the first frame from that 4 frame anim to more closely match the first frame of 16-bit, as it currently resembles the second frame of 16-bit more closely. I'd also suggest using the Chaos proto sprites as a reference to re-add the head bobbing.

    On an unrelated note, I've always found it odd in the 16-bit game how they gave Tails 8 frames at S1's frame duration, while their initial version of S2 Sonic had the framerate (crudely) doubled with a 12-frame count. Their second version of S2 Sonic was reduced to 8 frames and reverted to the S1 frame duration, however, it appears they screwed up the code and caused the first frame to last only 1 refresh. They also screwed up the alignment on frame 5 and shifted his entire body forward by 1 pixel (and the Tax/Stealth remake didn't fix this! Argh...). I wonder why they didn't give Tails 12 frames, or new inbetweens for looking up or ducking. Perhaps he was made before S2 Sonic? That would certainly explain why Aspect wasn't given either version of S2 Sonic if it didn't exist yet.

    If the animation system is anything like the 16-bit animations, then it's simply an array of sprite indices, you could remove certain indices. However, I highly advise against making it 4 frame, it will look choppy and cycle too quickly. If anything, I would suggest leaving Sonic be at 6, and expanding Tails to 8. That, or just leave it all alone and have them both be 6 frame.
     
  20. Hackwrench

    Hackwrench

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    Whoops, I did. When I animated it, I left off frames 1 and 5, not 2 and 5. Just fixed it, thanks.
    It doesn't look too bad actually. The only reason that I'd like to use it is to keep it true to what was used at the time.
    I tried something like that, or at least I think I did. The result was that it still played 6 frames, with the last two frames being the next two sprites after the walk cycle. Several other sprites were shifted up two sprites as well.
    I could do that if I knew how. Same roadblock for me as making a 4 frame cycle. I actually have an 8 frame walk cycle ready to go.

    When I made this, I made it as a "What if" game. As if it were released back in 1992. Now if I were making a "remaster" version and throw the restrictions out the window (which I'd love to do someday) I'd love to push the sms as far as I can. Add a 12 frame walk cycle? An 8 frame run cycle?
    First, I just need to know how to do it.