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Sonic X-treme

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Title Screen

Sonic X-treme

Developer: Sega Technical Institute
Platform: Sega Saturn


GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.


We could only wish we were playing this right now... maybe...
This game was never completed and/or given a public release.
As a result of this, keep in mind that the developers might have used or deleted some of the content featured here, had the game actually reached store shelves.

Sonic X-treme was intended to be the first 3D Sonic adventure, developed from concepts stretching back to the 32X era, but ran into a myriad of development problems. The game's cancellation (and replacement by a port of Sonic 3D Blast that was, in fairness, superior to the Genesis original) is widely considered a large reason for the Saturn's commercial failure.

A disc containing an early Saturn tech demo was discovered in 2005 and released to the public on July 17, 2007. In 2014, ASSEMblergames user Jollyroger found a set of data discs that belonged to the Point of View studio, which included early PC builds of Sonic X-treme, level editors, and an unseen prototype made by Point of View dated July 14, 1996. The PC builds only supported Windows 95 and the Nvidia NV1 video card, so Jollyroger modified the builds to render in OpenGL for better compatibility.

Hmmm...
To do:
Document the other leaked builds: POV 714 on Saturn and the v37 level editor.

v001 Build

The earliest build of Ofer Alon's Sonic X-treme engine on PC, executable dated November 28, 1995. It was found as a binary in the POV archive (no source code was found). It does not use an NV1, but rather renders using software. Therefore, this build will run on any PC running Windows 95 to Windows 10 with no modifications at all. While there is not much to see in this build, being a very early technical demo, it marks the beginning of a crucial point of Sonic X-treme's development.

  • You must put the SONCBOOM folder in the root of your C drive in order for the executable to run.
  • There is no controllable Sonic in this build.
  • You can use the mouse to move the camera around and explore the level. To stop the camera from moving, you must move your cursor to the center of the window.
  • You can reset the level by pressing any key. This moves the camera back to the starting point.
  • The level contains some animated graphics, including bouncing balls and pixelated Sonic sprites (which may originate from earlier development on the 32X).
  • The engine's code is very basic at this point, and thus is extremely light on system resources. On a modern PC, it runs exceedingly fast, and the slightest mouse movement can move the camera far from the actual level.

v37 Build

This build is reminiscent of the E3 1996 trailer, bar the fisheye effect. It is a PC version-only build. The initial release of this build by Jollyroger featured only one level, the E3 Jade Gully level. Subsequent releases added scrolling background support to the OpenGL backend, gamepad support, music support, and included all the levels from the source archive. The build was recompiled by Jollyroger for modern machines and converted to render its graphics using OpenGL instead of an NV1, but the original NV1 build was also released.

A semi-functional Modern Windows/OpenGL port of the level editor was also released.

  • The demo starts with a jungle level (often referred to as an early iteration of Jade Gully), which was promoted at E3. In a later release, a dialog box appears allowing you to select a DEF (level definitions file) to load.
  • This demo lacks the "Fisheye Lens" feature found in later PC builds.
  • Music and sound effects are absent in this build.
  • Sonic can jump by pressing X and has an infinite jump, and can enter into "Ball Mode" by pressing Z and can be exited the same way.
  • This demo has the "World Rotation" feature: when Sonic enters into "Ball Mode" and touches a wall or a slope, thus changing the direction of gravity and the rotation of the level itself.
  • There are rings scattered around the level, but they aren't collectible and were changed from blocks to actors by Jollyroger, which is why they don't have any collision (which was their behavior in the real Windows 95 version).
  • There are some enemies in the level that cannot hurt Sonic and cannot be defeated by him; instead, they act just like blocks. In a later release, Jollyroger changed the enemies to actors, removing their collision.

v37 Level Editor

Acactussayswhat?
Please elaborate.
Having more detail is always a good thing.

This editor was programmed by Ofer Alon to assist designers in creating levels for his engine. However, according to Chris Senn, the editor was quite difficult to learn how to use, hindering the team's progress while the release deadline approached.

  • The editor has two modes: "Edit Mode" allows you to edit the level, while "Run Mode" allows you to play-test the level. This allowed designers to test changes on the fly, and quickly go back to editing.

v40 Build

This build has both a PC and a Saturn version. At this point in development, the code was in the middle of a huge rewrite, so many features are broken. The code wouldn't even run properly the way Jollyroger originally found it, so it had to be partially rewritten.

  • Only one level was found that works with this build without any modification (FRESH.DEF). The level is tiny, and only has one texture; a blue/purple checkerboard.
  • There are rings and enemies scattered throughout the level, but they actually act as blocks. Unlike v37, Jollyroger did not convert them to actors.
  • The fisheye lens featured in Chris Senn's "New Worlds" videos and at E3 is present in this build, and even works in the Saturn version!
  • The world rotation feature that was in v37 is broken in this build; entering "ball mode" does nothing.
  • The PC version has full animation frames for Sonic, rings, and enemies. The Saturn version only has two frames for each in order to increase performance.

714 Build (POV Saturn Demo)

Acactussayswhat?
Please elaborate.
Having more detail is always a good thing.

Dated July 14, 1996, this build is running on a completely different engine coded by Point of View for the Saturn. While there is no fisheye lens effect, it is more polished and functional than any of Ofer's PC or Saturn engine builds.

718 Demo

Dated July 18, 1996. This was the first demo of Sonic X-treme to be found. It is from the "Project Condor" stage of development, and uses Chris Coffin's boss engine.

  • The demo starts with the Sonic X-treme logo.
  • A preliminary title card appears with the level name "Jade Gully".
  • The music that plays in this demo is Quartz Quadrant Good Future from the Japanese and European versions of Sonic CD.
  • There are 50 rings in the test level.
  • There are floating diamond-shaped objects scattered around the level, but only the first one shoots Sonic up in the sky.
  • The score counter keeps going up by itself for some reason.
  • When the time runs out, it loops back to 5 minutes.
  • An early Game Over screen can be triggered by pausing and pressing C. The game over music is also from the Japanese and European versions of Sonic CD.

v53 Level Editor

Jolly roger does not have the source code to this build of the editor; only binaries were found. Thus, there is unfortunately no way to port it to modern systems. He released one screenshot of the v53 editor running on Windows 98 in 2014, but two screenshots were previously found in the "PackageX" level archive that leaked in 2009. For many years, these two screenshots were the only glimpse the public had of Sonic X-treme's editor in action. Presumably, the "New Worlds" videos that Chris Senn and Ofer Alon pitched to Sega's PC division showed this build of the editor in "Run Mode". The engine was much more complete at this point, rings were collectible, there was a functioning HUD with a ring count and a timer, and an interesting "paths" feature that had Sonic running along scripted pathways in the levels.

Unused Graphics

Sonicxtremebossfloor.png

These textures can be seen below the playfield in the 718 build, and were used in the Metal Sonic boss fight.