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The Retro Engine, also known as the Star Engine, is a game engine created by "The Taxman" (Christian Whitehead). It is designed to deliver features from the 32-bit console era and below, and focuses on things like raster effects, palette manipulations, 'mode 7', and other features of retro games from back then, unlike modern engines today. The engine is multi-platform, and it fully supports modern essentials such as widescreen and online functionality.
List of Retro Engine games
- Sonic the Hedgehog CD (2011)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2013)
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2013)
- Sonic Mania
- Sonic Origins
The Taxman and Stealth (Simon Thomley) remade and remastered Sonic the Hedgehog CD (2011) for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, iOS, and Android, Sonic the Hedgehog (2013) for iOS and Android, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2013) for iOS and Android using the Retro Engine. These new features for the games include upgraded graphics, widescreen display, 60 fps, remastered soundtracks, and many more features.
In 2016 Sonic Mania, another Retro Engine-powered game, was announced and fully released in 2017. In late 2018, with Christian joining the new game studio known as Evening Star, it was decided to rename the Retro Engine and its RSDK format to the Star Engine and the Star SDK respectively.
In January 2021, 3 games based on Retro Engine were reverse engineered. The user Rubberduckycooly released two projects on GitHub: one for Sonic 1 and 2, and the other for Sonic CD. Despite binaries being freely available, the player is still required to obtain a copy of the game's data through official sources such as Google Play, AppStore or Steam. The effects on modding community are still to be evaluated, for example, what are the benefits and downsides compared to ROM hacking. According to the author, there's no plans for Sonic Mania to be also reversed due to the game's steep complexity compared to previous releases.
In August 2022, despite the previous statement, Sonic Mania decompilation got it first 1.0 release. It can be checked out on it's GitHub repository alongside RSDKv5 engine component. This project allowed non-official ports for video-games such as PS Vita and WiiU.
Most up to date news can be checked on the dedicated thread in the Sonic Retro's forums.