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SAGE (Sonic Amateur Game Expo) 2008


Shadix
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Shadix & MarkEchidna Presents

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Hey guys, I'm the promotionals director and corunner of SAGE 2008, along with my buddy MarkEchidna, and I wanted to share some of our plans for this year, as well as inform you guys of different ways you can participate.

Table of Contents (As this post is likely to get pretty long-winded)

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Section 1: General Expo Information

1.1 - What is SAGE

1.2 - When is it?

1.3 - Registration

Section 2: The Event

2.1 - The Games

2.2 - Special Guest Appearance from Ryan Drummond

Section 3: What YOU Can Do

3.1 - SAGEcasts

3.2 - Workshops

3.3 - Extras

3.4 - Competitions

General SAGE Information

1.1 - What is SAGE?

The Sonic Amateur Game Expo, or SAGE, is an online gaming expo held annually at http://www.sagexpo.org/ to showcase the latest in the fangaming community. Traditionally its main purpose has been to showcase fangames based on the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise, however it is open to any freelance developer that wishes to participate. 2008 marks the event’s 13th itineration. In the past we’ve had many great games introduced, special guests, fun events, and this year will hopefully be the best yet. It’s a huge opportunity for fangamers to show off their latest product.

We usually draw in about 5000 unique hits per day, going off 2004’s statistics, and the participation continues to grow.

1.2 - When Is It?

August 17th - 24th

1.3 - Registration

When August 4th comes around, we'll be opening up our registration. It will be an automated form that will help you get your game registe quickly and efficiently.

Our game registration this year requires some sort of semblance of the game you will be showing at the event on your booth. It's going to be a direct link to your game, and we will be shifting through these to see what booths work.

The Event

2.1 - THE GAMES

Featured Titles:

games.gif

2.2 - Special Guests!

guests.jpg

2.3 The Entertainment

We have more jam packed shows for you than you can shake a fist at!

Evening SAGEcast Entertainment

Concerts:

concerts.jpg

What YOU Can Do

3.1 - SAGEcasts

SAGEcasts are returning, and we need some timeslots cove! You can register for as many as you want, all you need to do is send me an email to coordinator@sagexpo.org with "SAGEcast" as the subject and I will handle your time requests as needed.

Some of the events being held:

-Karaoke & Competition

-DJ Mixing Shows

-Possible Concert Performance from Taxman's Band, "The Polites"

Some ideas for what you guys can do in this area:

Concerts\Performances: If you have a band or you make teh awesome musics, contact me about possibly performing on the radio during the event.

Multicasts: We have this worked out so it works, if you guys want to, especially the folks here that run the podcast, want to have a live show with multiple hosts. I would just suggest in this instance that you guys get together more-or-less a flow for your show.

Skits: In the honor of Slingerlands SAGE finale show last year, writing a scripted show is also a really cool way to get some attention, possibly with voice acting and the likes.

3.2 - SAGE Workshops

We've actually been lacking these lately, the workshops give individuals opportunities to actually teach their fellow peers something they don't know, or expand on something they do know.

Some example Workshop subjects:

-Rom Hacking

-Level Design Theory

-Background Designing

-Spriting

-Modelling

-Programming

3.3 - SAGE Extras

I am also looking for extras for an extra section to the site which will be explained in greater detail if you chose to participate. Any extra stuff that doesn't fit into a casual catagory, like comics, videos, sekret software releases, contact me.

3.4 - Competitions

The Complete Game Contest: Complete your game by August 8th and get spotlighted on the site.

The Remix Competition: Remix a Tune from Sonic CD, results will be published on the Music Section of the site as well the remixes themselves. Tangible Prizes are still under consideration.

Remix Competition Rules:

-Composition must be at least 2:00 in length.

Judging:

Compositions will be judged on the following criteria

-Arrangement

-Production - This ones pretty self-explanatory, pay attention to your mixing\eqing and use of effects and panning.

-Relevance - While originality is good, it can easily go overboard and you lose what made your source song your source song. Overly-liberal mixes send a bad signal to someone trying to fulfill their craving for nostalgia.

-Originality - Midi Rips are bad. There are ways to keep the original song intact without having your song be the original song.

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Ooh, music compo :D

wait, so this expo is... not in the real world, is it? :(

No, it's completely online. I'm sorry if it might seem like a drag for those of you who are used to going to real expos like MAGfest. At least you don't have to pay anything to participate. ;)

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Really cool guys, wasn't really expecting everyone to be this excited about it.

Remember to email me or IM me at shadixep if you wish to have a SAGEcast timeslot during the event or want to hold some kind of workshop.

Also, another question for you locales. Do you guys know how to draw attention to a music competition here? I suppose I need some help getting people interested in participating. (I've never ran a comp competition before). :E

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  • 3 weeks later...
This is really awesome, Shadix!

Ironically, I was just playing sonic mega collection and having a nostalgia overload.

haha, thanks. Just to fill you guys in the show starts in several hours.

In addition to our huge roster of guests, Mike Pollock, Eric Iwasaki of Naughty Dog and Lee Brotherton of (here?) have joined for the show.

In addition.

We will have a Karaoke Tournament Tuesday for a special call-in during the Richard Jacques interview.

We will have a Sonic Robo Blast 2 tournament with $20 dollars prize and a SAGE 08 T-Shirt.

We will have a Special gameshow trivia with Mike Pollock Thursday, where the top players in our ranked trivia bot statistics will get to compete for the chance to go one on one with Eggman himself!

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It sucks tthese are all demos and not full games. Some of the level design is as good as the original.

Well then again look at E3. It's an expo to show off their games and get publicity. The only sad part is that usually the games end up not getting finished at all, due to the nature of fangaming.

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BE WARNED. LONG POST IS LONG.

Some of these titles aren't bad. The biggest problem across the board among a lot of the titles I've played are the physics tend to be way off for a Sonic game. That probably has more to do with Multimedia Fusion than anything else, but a lot of games need to retool the air-physics to be a little more loose rather than having Sonic maneuver like a concrete block whenever he goes airborne. Though largely, I had fun playing around with these games, it has to be said. I'd like to hear everyone else's opinions too, considering I'm about to spout a very long post of mine.

Mecha Madness has potential, but it seems to be pretty mired in bad level design as far as I've played. Areas where you have to repeat portions of the level if you fall, especially in a game with the aforementioned concrete block physics, are a big no-no in a Sonic title. Plus, the basic foes having so much health so early in the game feels weird, though it can work to your advantage if you can cluster them together and beat the snot out of all of them at once. Also, get some better music. While I appreciate Rize's Rude Awakening OC Remix as the menu music (Big Castlevania fan), it's not really appropriate for a Sonic game, nor is the stage music for most of what's here. Angel Island's music seems to fade away before long, and that really doesn't do wonders for presentation. Moreover, it uses those damn Sonic Advance sprites. Personally, I hate those sprites, though the design choice is probably to mitigate lots of spriting work to make Sonic look like he's fighting properly. That much is understandable, I guess. Still, I think custom sprites would suit the game better considering its engine is trying to be unique as well.

Sonic Rebirth is a neat concept, but it would definitely be better if the music wasn't low-quality MIDIs that put you to sleep. The physics need work here too. Still, kinda fun and reasonably polished and the graphics are pretty nice. Use of different Sonic sprites than from the games is a bonus, too.

Sonic Fusion was meh. Very good speed comparatively speaking, but poor airborne physics make this speed a hindrance when trying to do anything complex. Common enemies that inexplicably take more than one hit to do in really hold it back, especially with the rooms that force you to fight them before you can go anywhere. This was a contentious point in Sonic Rush. It didn't work well there, and it certainly doesn't work in a fangame. And again, the Sonic Advance sprites were used, and I am still not a fan of that. Customs or older Sonic sprites would work better, in my opinion.

Right now, Emerald Ties feels closest to a complete game out of the lot of them. Decent physics, good (largely custom/modified Sonic 3) graphics and level design, and a coherent (if a bit out-of-character) story. I like the particle effects and the little touches like the flames left behind when Sonic's running at top speed. The new shield type is actually fun and intuitive. The returning elemental shields work just like they did in Sonic 3 and feel quite at home.

I haven't played beyond the second zone, but my chief complaints come from the Boss Battle in zone 1 being really dark for no reason and the inexplicable just... movement of Robotnik into a place where you can hit him. That boss fight doesn't feel polished and detracts from an otherwise excellent fangame. On another note, the physics could stand to be loosened in the air just a tad, but Emerald Ties has far better physics than most other demos there. If you go to SAGE, play this game.

The one exception would be Sonic: Fated Hour. This game feels a lot like a tech demo (which it is, really), but there's a lot of raw potential there. The physics engine is actually excellent, it's the fastest fangame out there, and the sprites are bright, colorful, and animate well. This one feels really close to the mark for mechanics. The level design is pretty good, minus the part where you have to climb up a shaft with collapsing bridges. The game isn't *quite* polished enough yet to sell me on that as a wise design.

The idea of skill loadouts seems to be taken from Secret Rings, but it actually looks interesting, and the sets do in fact play differently. All of the mechanics aren't in place yet, so there's more waiting to see a finished product.

The other critique I have is that the level itself looks rather plain, even if Sonic looks good. There's not a lot going on with it and it doesn't really feel like it changes much. Some foreground scenery would really help break it up.

I dunno, this may be the one to watch in the long run. I believe it's this game that's been in development for ten years, which I guess makes it the Duke Nukem of Sonic fangames, but if the project actually gets done, this may be one of the definitive fan titles for Sonic.

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As you may have known SAGE has been going on for the past week at http://www.sagexpo.org/ (I'm running it). Besides possibly the best game (demo) lineup we've had, there have been so many events and special guests I have to make a list:

-Eric Iwasaki (A veteran developer from Naughty Dog. Worked on shaders and stuff.)

-Chris Senn (You guys should know who this is)

-Richard Wheeler (Worked on Sonic Xtreme)

-Lee Brotherton (Dreams of an Absolution, EGGMAN Remix, Sonic Rivals soundtrack, etc)

-Richard Jacques (We did an audio interview of this guy, composed Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic R, Mass Effect, Head Hunter, SEGA Superstars Tennis, some songs for Jet Set Radio, a mix of Dreams Dreams on the new NiGHTs game, and most recently music for Sonic Chronicles.)

-Mike Pollock (We held a trivia gameshow over the SAGEcasts with him acting out in character while the winners of our trivia challenged him, it was freaking fun.)

-Ryan Drummond

You can get transcripts and times via the SAGE site.

Saxman finally released ProSonic, Stealth released a new build of E02. Tons of fangames to check out as well.

Basically, Howard Drossin will be appearing in the channel Friday night at 12EDT. This will be an excellent opportunity for you guys to get off all those deep dark questions about possible Michael Jackson involvement in Sonic 3, or his possible work on a soundtrack for Sonic Xtreme. Jun Senoue is also theoretically stopping by Friday to say hi.

You can get there by our IRC channel:

irc.rizon.net

#sagexpo

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