|Fast Facts on Sonic the Hedgehog 2 HD|
Latest Version: Second Tech Demo
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 HD (S2HD) is a Sonic Retro open community endeavour. Its purpose is to remaster Sega's classic Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with high definition (HD) graphics and music, whilst at the same time precisely preserving the original gameplay (that continues to set quality standards to this day). S2HD will not be limited only to presenting a beautiful graphical and musical version of the original. New features that were not present in the original will also be made available. Some examples are especially the online multiplayer modes and extra levels.
The idea of creating a high definition version of Sega's classic Sonic the Hedgehog 2 first appeared on a website called "Alchemist Defined". An artist calling himself Billy had drawn an incredibly impressive piece of artwork, which showed Sonic about to fight the last boss of the game in the "Death Egg Zone". The low-resolution sprites were richly brought to life in this phenomenal piece of artwork: both the background and the characters had been completely remastered. A number of video gaming websites quickly discovered the image and were soon showing it off on their homepages. The question had been posed; "What would Sonic 2 look like in high definition?"
The "Sonic Retro" community had always taken a keen interest in all things related to Sonic's classical era. On December 6th 2007, a member of this community called "Athelstone" found Billy's image and excitedly posted it in the General discussion forums, while asking the very same question - what would it be like? The thread was soon moved to the "Creative Works" section of the forum.
Three months later, on March 8th 2008, a member of Sonic Retro called "Vangar" created a discussion thread asking for a game engine he could use to start work on such a project. The thread gained a surprising amount of interest! Many members of the community quickly began to post concept images of what the game ought to look like. To begin with, fans would merely apply graphical filters to the original low-resolution graphics. A member called "Yarharhar" then posted an image of a completely remastered Sonic, along with a method describing how he had drawn it! It was not long until a member of the community called "Vincent" was so inspired by Yarharhar's effort, that he took it upon himself to begin remastering a whole set of Sonic's character frames. Sonic 2 HD had begun!
However, the most difficult tasks still lay ahead of the project. How would we organize ourselves to achieve this goal? What game engine would be used to make it a reality? One possibility was to use a modified Genesis emulator, which would display the graphics from the original game ROM in high definition. However, it was decided that this would be far too limiting for the project. This is because the bugs and slow downs from the original game would be replicated, rather than fixed and improved upon. It would also be impossible to expand upon the project if its foundation was just an emulator.
Another possibility was to use a custom made engine that had already been created. A member of the community called "Taxman" had already created a popular Sonic engine called "Retro Sonic". Unluckily, the physics in his engine were not yet close enough to the original genesis series for it to be used (despite the fact that Taxman's engine boasted an incredibly impressive level development kit for designing original Sonic levels). It was likely that Taxman would eventually perfect the physics in his engine - but rather than wait for him to accomplish this, the community thirsted for the Sonic 2 HD project to move forward.
After a time, a staff team had been formed. Since Vincent had already remastered many of Sonic's frames, he became the project leader and the lead artist. A member called "SANiK" had even created an online database, which allowed contributors to upload all of their artwork, while members "Athelstone" and "Blue Streak" coordinated some of the community's contributions while giving suggestions and guidance to other project staff. Eventually, the administrators of Sonic Retro granted us our own community forum for the Sonic 2 HD project - but we still didn't have an engine!
Members of the community were starting to cast doubt upon the project - was it really going to become a reality or not? Then, out of the blue, a long-running member of the community called "LOst" privately informed the project staff that he had already been developing his own engine for a number of years and would like to be a part of the project. The staff were astounded at the accuracy of his physics, since they were based upon Sonic 3 (which fixed many of the bugs present in Sonic 2's physics). We finally had an engine! On September 15th 2008 the first technical demo of Sonic 2 HD was released - Sonic has returned!