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Archive for February 17th, 2010


   
 

Free Stuff Friday for February 19, 2010

It’s time again for Free Stuff Friday! We didn’t have a video or a blog for our last giveaway, but as promised, we’ve returned to form!

With all the great games launching this month, we’ve got some great prizes for you. Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll, Aliens vs. Predator, and Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing are all represented. Let’s get to the video!

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On the Block

1. Super Monkey Ball Prize Pack

Win one of the hot orange AiAi shirts like the ones the SEGA staff were sportin’ at the recent launch event for Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll at the Nintendo Store in New York. They look just like AiAi’s shirt! Shirts are size Large. Also with the shirt, you get some cute pins and a coupon for Chiquita bananas.

2. Super Monkey Ball Prize Pack 2

Same prize pack as above!

3. Aliens vs. Predator Comics

These are two thick books full of AVP comic goodness from Dark Horse. Aliens vs. Predator Omnibus Volume 1 & 2 could be yours.

4. Sands of Destruction Complete Anime Series DVD

Have every episode of the Sands of Destruction anime at your fingertips.

5. Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Sonic Toy and Sonic Shirt

Hot off the presses! Get one of the brand-new Sonic toys in the Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing collection from Jazwares. It’s Sonic with his signature blue car. Other toys (such as Tails and Knuckles) will also be available for purchase next week at Toys R Us. With this, you also get a yellow “game on” Sonic shirt — size medium.

6. Bayonetta Replica Gun

Get a limited-edition replica gun just like Bayonetta’s.


How it Works

1. You must be following us on Twitter to be eligible. (If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can create one by going to http://www.twitter.com and click the green “get started — join!” button in the center of the page.)
2. At random times on Friday, we will announce the prize we are giving away, and what number of response you need to be to win. Send us a direct message (DM) via Twitter and be that number to win the prize. (@ replies do not count as entries!)
3. All followers are eligible to win all prizes, unless a restriction is noted. Restrictions are usually due to the prize being region-locked. For example, US games that won’t work on UK gaming systems. There may also be age restrictions due to the rating of the game.
4. We will announce the winner on our Twitter feed once eligibility is confirmed.

Make Sure We’re Following You on Twitter

If you are currently following us on Twitter, please be sure that we are following you as well. You can do this by making sure that SEGA is in your “followers” list, or by going to DoesFollow and typing SEGA in the first blank, your Twitter username in the second, and pressing the “check” button. You can reverse this to be sure that you are following us. If you are following us, but we’re not following you, please send a message to @SEGA and we will follow you. This is important, because only people we follow can send us direct messages (DMs), and DMs are the only way to enter the giveaways.

How to Send Direct Messages on Twitter

There are a few ways to send us a Direct Message on Twitter. The easiest way is to go to our Twitter page and select “message” under the “Actions” heading in the side bar. If you do not see “message”, this means that we are not following you. Please send a message to @sega to let us know, and we will follow you. When you click “message” you will be taken to a window where you can type a message and press send.

You may also select the “direct messages” tab from your Twitter homepage, and select SEGA from the drop-down menu at the top of the page. Again, if you don’t see our name there, it’s probably because we’re not following you. Let us know, and we’ll follow you.

There are also many Twitter clients that you can use instead of using the website. These include TweetDeck, Twitteriffic, Tweetie, and Twhirl. Each of these programs works differently, so you’ll want to figure out how to send a direct message on the program you use. If you want to send us a test message, we’ll let you know if we received it or not.

 
   
   
 

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Dev Diary 4 – A Tour of Sumo

Building Shot

ASR Dev Diaries – Part 4 – Where I actually talk about the game for a change…

Why hello again! It’s me, Steve Lycett, inviting you to come inside out of the cold, hang up your coat, grab a nice cup of tea and have a guided tour of the Sumo office! We’ll take a look at some of the work being done on ASR today. It’s about time I talked about the game I’m sure!

Artists

First, welcome to the SEGA room. You can tell it’s the SEGA room as we’ve got our OutRun2 and Virtua Tennis 3 cabs over there – occasionally I have to get the spanners to the OutRun one to keep it in working fettle!

You’ll notice we have a light side of the room, that’s where the artists like to sit. They’re over to our right and are busy finishing off all the tracks and characters you’ll soon be playing.  ASR has been a big job art wise, we’ve got 24 tracks in the game, spread across 8 classic SEGA IP’s. As you’d expect, we’ve got Sonic tracks, so there’s ones based on Seaside Hill, Casino Park and of course Final Fortress. This game we’ve taken our Sonic cues from Sonic Heroes, but classic fans don’t worry too much, we’ve also revived a few Badniks to chase you around!

There’s also tracks based on Super Monkey Ball, Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, Jet Set Radio Future, Samba De Amigo and House of the Dead EX. They’re a diverse bunch taking in all manner of lovely sights, a few special cameos, shortcuts and huge jumps galore. Plus of course the obligatory corkscrews! Oh – and before I forget to mention, that’s not counting the 3 special Battle Arenas we have too. So I guess that makes 27 tracks.

Of course, the poor art team didn’t get to make just 27 tracks. They also worked along with our special art team in Sumo India to make another set of 27 tracks for the Wii. These are all the same tracks, but re-worked to run as nicely as possible on the Wii. So I guess that’s 54 tracks. Oh but wait, we also had to make the same set of tracks for the DS, so that’s 81 tracks. Oh and we also had to optimise the tracks for Split-screen multiplayer so that’s… Bah, I’ve run out of fingers to count on!

No wonder the art team has been going grey! That’s just the tracks too!

On top of all those, we’ve also got over 20 playable characters. As you’ve probably spotted, all our characters have their own unique vehicle to boot. So Sonic has his own car, the Speed Star, which we developed in conjunction with Sonic Team over in Japan.  So yes, Sonic has his own car, but we’re not limited to cars. Oh no! We’ve also got characters on bike, so Shadow, Ryo and others can take to the road/beach/jungle – and if they do a wheelie, gain boosts where the cars can’t. Did I mention I like motorbikes? I can’t think why the bikes got a special move no-one else did!

If bikes aren’t your thing (and why not!) then you’ll also be pleased to hear we’ve got other selections. You’ll have seen Tails in his all new Tornado Racer, but we’ve also got Ulala in her custom Astro Glider and we’ve even managed to cram four ChuChu into a Rocket to race too. Plus we might be enjoying racing with a very special sentient space ship too! The flyers have their own trick too, whilst they don’t get wheelies, they don’t have to worry about being slowed down on surfaces other vehicles can’t run full speed over.

All these characters have to be built, textured, set up and animated. I should take a moment to mention the animation, we’ve tried to get a lot of life and energy into the game, and I think our animation team has done an amazing job! You’ll see characters react as they’re both winning and losing, watching each other pass and firing weapons at each other.

Then we had to do a whole suite of special effects for the All-Star moves, we’ve got characters going Super, Choas Spears, Monkey Balls, Airships, Giant Frogs, the lot. Again, these need specific assets for all platforms… It’s been a lot of work!

Let’s leave the art time alone to finish the job then…

Coders

If we wander across to the other side of the room, we get to where the coders live. You’ll notice the lights are off here…

All this art is great, but without an engine to power it, it’s not going to be much of a game. To this end we’ve been using our in-house Sunshine engine to make it all whizz around at high speed. If you’ve played our OutRun conversions, VT3 or Sega Superstars Tennis, you’ve already played with Sunshine!
Of course, each platform has its own tailored set of Sunshine too. So we’ve got specific rendering on PS3, on 360 and on Wii. We’ve got to make sure that whether you play Single Player or 4 Player, it’s nice and smooth an enjoyable too. So the code team have been wringing out every last drop from each platform the game is on.

They’ve also been making sure you have good AI to race against too. We have three distinct difficulties you can pick from with the AI. Start on Beginner and get to grips with the game, and the AI will go easy on you. Move up to Advanced, and the gloves come off! If you think you’re a racing legend, tip the slider up to Expert – then we’ll see how good you really are. You’ll need to drift all those corner, fight for lines and use your weapons tactically to win. You’ll also need to master the tricks you can do mid-air for more boost too! The AI certainly has!

Code wise, they’ve also been busy with our Mission Mode. Here we’ve got a diverse set of missions from such things as a bike only race, to smashing pots with Big, boosting as much as you can with Beat – and well let’s say there’s all manner of different things in there.

We’ve also been busy on the multiplayer side. All the console versions have full online support, including DS. Go out and race with who you like. If you want to play with just friends you can too. If you want to add AI to mix, go for it!

It doesn’t end their either. Back in split-screen land, you can opt to play on our Arena’s in a number of modes. Go for a straight battle, or play Capture the Chao, King of the Hill or compete to grab those Chaos Emeralds!  Or go for a Knockout race, you really don’t want to be in last place when that countdown runs out…

Actually – we’ve got to visit the DS team now, they’ve been busy building the game from scratch on DS. We’re really, really proud of our DS version, we’ve managed to pack the whole game from the big platforms into that tiny little cartridge.

Finally, whilst we’re touring, there is just time to wave at the Design department. No matter how big a SEGA fan you think you are – you’ve got a long way to go before you beat these guys at their SEGA knowledge. Whether they’re writing character bio’s for the SEGA shop and SEGA collection, of tuning the handling, or forcing the art team to sneak in more cameo’s and references, they’re always trying to force in more SEGA than is probably healthy.

Meeting Room

Finally, before we shake hands and wave goodbye, you can cast a look at where the Production team sits. Yes, I know we’re the boring ones obsessed with schedules and budgets and paperwork, and the unpopular ones for making everyone stay late. Though I can tell you, when we show up with enough Pizza to feed an army, we do get the *occasional* smile! But spare us a thought; we have to make sure the unruly lot actually finishes the game on time so you can all play it!

So that’s our little tour over, you’ve been in, seen us all busy at work, and yes, we’ve got more than enough suggestions on what else we could cram in, and whilst we’ve hoped you have enjoyed your visit, please show yourself out – as we’ve got to get back to finishing the game off!

 
   
   
 

Sonic & Knuckles Hits Virtual Console

Sonic & Knuckles — the second part of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and the last stop, continuity-wise, of 2D Sonic on the Genesis before a brief sixteen year rest — is now available on Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console.

Sonic and Knuckles - XBLA

Like it’s Xbox Live Arcade counterpart, Sonic & Knuckles features the “lock-on” technology of the original cartridges, replicated in digital form: If you have Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and/or Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and you have Sonic & Knuckles, you can unlock a variety of special features:

Sonic the Hedgehog: Unlocks the game Blue Sphere, the Chaos Emeralds bonus stage from Sonic 3.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Have the option to play as Knuckles in Sonic 2! This includes using Knuckles climbing abilities to reach areas that were previously inaccessible, and also makes some areas of the game more challenging because of Knuckles weaker jumping ability.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3: Play through Sonic 3 as Knuckles, and complete the original storyline!

Sonic and Knuckles - XBLA

In my humble opinion, Sonic & Knuckles is also probably the most challenging of the original Sonic games. The levels are wildly creative, designed around both Sonic’s speed and jumping and Knuckles unique (and strangely satisfying) climbing ability, as well as all the different shield types available.

 
   
   
 

Napoleon Total War- Two New Community Trailers

Napoleon Total War Black Logo

Two new Napoleon: Total War Community Videos are now available for view across the blogs or our YouTube channel (in glorious HD). The first trailer covers off the playable factions within Napoleon and the second covers all the new features to expect in the upcoming game. Enjoy!

Community Trailer 1

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Community Trailer 2

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