For those who don't know the project, Its a Re-engineering of Sonic X-treme ( the scrapped Sega Saturn sonic game) using videos and images as reference material to re-create various environments and gameplay ideas.
( yes, I like to think of this more as a Visual Re-Engineering project than a fangame. Although I must say AXSX is a fangame at heart since I've added some of my own concepts and ideas.
I use the word Visual since no gameplay code officially has been made public)
Back in late 2005 and early 2006, I was working on A rendering project, re-modeling some Sonic CD areas in HD for a video I had planned to render and show off on youtube. ( This will be my next Fan Game)
Unfinished models from 2005 - 2006, (I wanted to update The Sonic look and feel without going to realistic)
Meanwhile at the Senntient.com forums, Chris Senn was releasing information and assets for Sonic Xtreme. Xtreme was my favorite Cancled sonic game of all time.
I had an obsession with it ever since I picked up Gameplayers magazine (with the red Shoe diaries article) fresh off the news stand at the local Toys R' Us back in 1996.
I wanted that game so bad! After a long period of waiting and no news on the game, I called 1-800-USA-SEGA to check on a release date. (This was around or after Xmas of 96.)
The Sega rep informed me that the game was still on schedule and that he got to watch some footage that would blow Mario 64 out of the water)
I recall him saying that Sonic was faster than before. lol
So ... Yeah fast forward back to Senntient.com again. I started a few side projects re-creating some of my favorite sonic Xtreme environments shown in various screenshots for fun.
(Note: Senntient.com at the time was the hottest place to hang out for us Sonic Xtreme fans that were burned by Sega's cancelation of the game.)
The Pre AXSX environment mockup:
Xeniczone saw what I was doing and came to me for Modeling and animation help for his Metal Sonic boss stage and 718 demo re-creation.
My Job? Simple, I was to clean up and animate the Metal Sonic model found in the Sega Saturn SDK, and reproduce the green hills shown in the 718 screenshot, for use in Xeniczone's game that he was programming.
One thing lead to another, and a team was born.
(Note: Project AXSX stands for Andrew Xeniczone Sonic Xtreme)
Early AXSX Stuff:
My Metal sonic clean up and improvements:
This is where it all started Folks
Our first attempt to get a boned and rigged Metal sonic into Game maker proved annoying.
shown here is Xeniczones 718 stage created before I joined on as a team member.
However screen was taken just after I joined, since we were adding metal sonic.
This game started out on Game Maker 6 using ultimate 3D.dll for the rendering.
We worked on and off ( a Moth here and a month there) on the Game Maker version, There were many restarts on the engine, and we went threw maybe 5 versions of the fisheye until it was right.
Using game maker to do a 3D game everything but the renderer had to be made from scratch, all the tools we needed had to be coded ect.
We worked until winter 2010 ( for 4 years) At that time releasing a closed public beta, after which Xeniczone could no longer work on the project, I guess he hit his limit.
Without a programmer and nearly finished engine , the project was on a sinking ship, it was either sink or swim at this moment.
At the time the GM engine had various problems:
1: collision issues where not salved 100%
2: adding to many level props such as rings and badnicks slowed FPS down the engine so much that it became unplayable on slower systems.
The final Closed beta demo before moving on to a new engine:
The level is based on the E3 video's Jade gully, but custom texture work had been done to make it a winter them.
Along comes Sonic GDK built with UDK by Xak , I thought that if I could make the fisheye work in UDK, than perhaps Xtreme could live on in Sonic GDK.
(One thing that caught my eye was that UDK has friendly art tools that wouldn't need to programed from scratch)
After the fisheye was proven to work, I went to Xak for advise, we hit it off, he was interested in porting our AXSX and its concepts over to SGDK.
Xak worked hard day and night re-producing the AXSX engine and its concepts in far less time than our first engine.
At this moment XGDK was born. We continue working on the engine even now adding many finishing touches to the engine,
(Note: Even today, AXSX is not a perfect.
From day 1, (spring 2006 till today April 25th 2013) collision issues have plagued this project. )
The E3 Redsands Tunnel ( as I like to call it) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJj-jUW2gzY
When I first came aboard, I had no game making Knowledge, however I have had plenty of photorealistic 3D modeling and rendering under my belt since 1998, as a hobby.
It was hard to let go of the high polygon, and high quality texture workflow and adapt to the world of game making.
At first Me and Xeniczone did not agree on making a Sonic Xtreme HD with high res models and textures.
However he was ok with a compromise to meet somewhere in the middle as long as the graphics were somewhat Sega Saturn comparable.
(Note: Game maker with Ultamate3D.dll supported shaders and high res mesh without causing issues with frame-rate)
Early AXSX, The compromise: ( and yes we were aware of scale imperfections we later corrected this, the textures should have been self illuminated here making the environment to dark. (Also was fixed later)
At this time the game resembled Sonic Xtreme at heart but with a little more.... umm polygons.
Over a year into the project, we switched gears and wanted to do a more accurate sonic xtreme re-creation that was more faithful to the screens and videos. So,,, we started over for the first time.
Game Maker version Screens after we decided to go full out classic:
E3 Jade gully recreation, models from scratch: (Running in Game Maker Version)
Yes yes the colors don't match because the picture was taken with an I-phone on a bad quality projector hooked up to the computer.
(This one was taken before camera matching in engine had been in place,,,,, also the resolution was experimental here)
(to show camera matching in 3d studio max to later tweak the in game camera to match)
For the past year or two, I've had access to actual level models threw a tool that the Hacking Genius SANiK had made to view and later Export the Level models by reading from the original Sonic-Xtreme .def file format.)
(Sadly only PC Version Level models are available, not the ones I've been recreating from scratch)
(Note: Up until the point of acquiring the models, I was never really interested in them, as they were the PC version of sonic Xtreme which did not interest me as much as what was shown in magazines for E3 96.)
I did a few livestreams showing how the level clean up process worked. I worked nearly non stop for over a month to clean over well over 45 levels during my winter vacation.
You can check out a few videos of the level clean up process here: http://www.livestream.com/tuxmask75
During this work period and many like this, I've pushed my body beyond the limits by working over 14 hours a day, every day , even to the point of becoming sick on a few occasions.
A side project taken to improve AXSX:
Green hill zone 2.5D
Back during the first 4 years working in Game-maker, Xeniczone and I also took many breaks to work on the 2.5D aspect of the engine ( for use in A sonic CD Remix project).
I modeled Green Hill Zone in 3D so as to use it as a tool to tweak than compare our physics to be closer Sega's Sonic 1.
This in turn benefited the main AXSX engine as well.
Our early Path system for GHZ 2.5D:
This used 2 models that sonic had no collisions with. however the models had a force that pushed sonic to the center of the path. when running left and right,
However if the player pushed sonic in the direction other than left and right no resistance was given and the player could freely leave the 2.5D path.
A few still work in progress screens of the UDK version of the game, all of the following areas have been recreated from scratch including 97% of the textures.
The process for recreating the 718 demo, was very Tedious and boreing....
Using an emulator we ran the official leaked demo in wireframe mode.
Had to do Sonic's spin dash than jump to a certain height within the emulator and pause it just right, so that each screen grab was exactly the same camera height and angle.
Wondering how we got the correct height each screen shot?
Luckily while in wire frame mode we had a line across the screen caused by the background image.
This line would scroll up and down as sonic jumped.
( see below screen shot the line is near the top and is blue)
The key was getting the reference screen shot at the right moment.
A lot of screens were taken at the wrong moment, >__< 20 or more were required in some cases per level section.
After all the reference pictures were completely gathered..
I than moved onto 3D studio,
At this point I had a flat plane divided into the same amount of tiles as the original 718 demo.
Than the fun began,,,
Had to match the camera height and angle, that of to the pre-captured wire-frame reference pictures and the plane mesh.
from there,,,I just modified the vertex heights for each section.
And, so,,,,, there u have it, a very nearly identical model to the original 718.
Below...Camera matching the 3D studios model to the emulator screen grab.
(early screen of in process modeling)
Below...the finished wire frame product. ( well it may need some tweaks here and there)
As for the textures, I ripped them from the leaked 718 demo myself.
The hard part was getting them to be 100% identical in placement to that of the original.
Texture placement replication took me and my Wife about 4 to 6 days total.
We used a gird printed out on multiple papers.
I had to memorize each of 5 textures pixel layouts and recognize them when viewing in the emulator.
Each texture was assigned a number 1-5 or something.
When I saw the texture, I would than the number out to my wife.
She would than wright that number down on the grid.
god there were latterly 1000's of positions,
We ended up double checked the whole thing for accuracy twice.
After that was done ,, we reversed the process and my wife called the texture numbers back to me, so that I could place the textures on the model.
So glad this model has been finished...
it was... so boring,,,,wanted to shoot myself lol
A quick peak at Some of the process used to recreat textures for redsands tunnel
Made custom texture filter for photoshop.
Basically its purpose is to give back some details to textures that were found but scaled down within the leaked Xtreme texture pack that originally had bigger texture counterparts shown in magazine scans and Videos.
Many of the early shown Xtreme screens illustrated textures at 64 x 64 and 128 x 128 res instead of 32 x 32.
Now this is not perfect, but it sure does look closer to the original screens when applied to the models.
Would have kicked ass and saved a lot of ****ing around time if the original content were leaked.
(no blur filter or enlargement filter was used in generating the larger sized textures,
basically I had scaled up the 32 x 32 texture using hard edges ( nearest neighbor (preserve hard edges ) in photoshop so that the pixels look remained as if it had not been scaled up.
Than I had applied my detail adding filter to that.
From top to bottom:
32 x 32 original leaked texture
64 x 64 the res I will be using for the stage I'm working on.
128 x 128 just to show it.
Screen capture from the E3 Promo video. its easy to pick out the texture paturns by looking at the pixels. the video's image is so washed out and dull that the true color would be unrecognizable.
I feel fairly confident that I have the colors nearly where they should be if lets say the real textures surface at some point in time.
I'd say this area is around 90% finished at time of this screen which is kind of old now. The tunnel runs equivalent in length and layout compared to what's seen in the E3 videos.
The stalactite placement will not be as accurate as the rest of the level recreation, they are too blurred to make out all the position details. I'll try my best to place them.
Also added some black fog in the distance to more closely match screens and videos.
The only textures I did not make are the magma and magma pit walls.
The pipes are made by rendering a model in an orthographic view than taking into Photoshop for touch up work and adding shadows under the pipes to give depth.
I did make a little change to the level by adding pipe end caps that were not shown officially.
The pipes ended abruptly before, so I thought it would be nice add the ends for a little extra polish.
I may try another pipe endcap idea instead of the ones I have now. (not sure yet)
Sorry if showing my 7 years of hard work bothers you. I'm also posting this so that I can get some help with programming.
The game is using UDK, does that not count as an Unreal Engine project ?
I think he is talking about the other imagery and the videos. You have content displayed from Game Maker, 3D Studio (?), and the Dark GDK, it's getting confusing. So far, I only found one image from the Unreal Development Kit. Perhaps you have any more images or videos of the game made on the Unreal Engine 3 (UDK)?