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Archive for March, 2015


   
 

Free Stuff Friday – March 20th, 2015

Free stuff Friday! With recent changes to SEGA, the amount of Free Stuff Friday giveaways we do is going to decrease significantly. That said, when we have time and can set something up, we’re going to do our best to get some of the SEGA merch out to fans.

On The Block

SEGA 3D Classics - Classic Contest Prize

This week, we’ll be supporting our 3D Classics with a chance at the Classic Contest prize – the SEGA hoodie. We’ve got a mix of sizes, from Small to Extra Large that you can pick up in today’s giveaway. We have four hoodies to giveaway today, good luck!

How it Works

Free Stuff Friday - Sign up for Twitter

1. You must have a Twitter account and be following @SEGA 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.

Free Stuff Friday - Example Tweet

2. Giveaways start around 11am Pacific Time on Fridays. We tweet a message with instructions and participants send a Direct Message (commonly called DM) in return. Send a Direct Message changes depending on what Twitter client you are using, we recommend reading this helpful tutorial before the giveaway day.

Note: @SEGA is verified, you can send a Direct Message without being followed. This is totally against everything Twitter has taught you about Direct Messages, but it really works.

Example of a typical giveaway:

@SEGA Tweets: “GIVEAWAY: Sonic T-shirt, size L. Be the 15th person to DM “Sonic Adventure” to win!”

You see this, and want to win it, so you send us a direct message that says “Sonic Adventure”. If you are the 15th person to do so, you are the winner! Quotation marks do not matter, capitalization does not matter, but spelling does matter! (Note, this is just an example, please do not Direct Message this example phrase).

3. We will announce the winner the following week across our blog in the next Free Stuff Friday giveaway. Please read the official rules at the end of this post to confirm eligibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’ve never used twitter before, how does it work?
A: Twitter is really easy to use! Twitter has a helpful tutorial that walks you through the basics.

Q: How do Direct Messages work again?
A: Check this guide on how to send Direct Messages using the default twitter clients on the web or on a phone.

Q: How can I be sure my Direct Messages are reaching you?
A: Send @SEGA a Direct Message with the word ‘test’ and we’ll respond to confirm we’ve received it.

Q: I have a question for SEGA on Friday, around 11am Pacific Time, why aren’t you responding?
A: We’re probably swamped with messages while running the giveaway, try messaging us later in the day or when it appears to be less busy.

Q: I won a Sonic Shirt that’s too small for me, can I exchange it?
A: No, we don’t allow for exchanges or trade ins. The prizes are up for grabs as is, so in some cases you’ll want to be sure you can use it (like a shirt), or are in can redeem it (like a game).

Official Rules & Regulations

Sega of America, Inc.
Official Rules – Promotions for Twitter

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

This promotion is administered by a U.S. company and in compliance with U.S. privacy laws; by entering you are agree to all the terms and conditions of the Sponsor’s Privacy Policy.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Twitter.
You understand that you are providing your information to Sega of America, Inc. and not to Twitter.
Any questions, comments or complaints regarding the Sweepstakes
must be directed to the Sponsor and not to Twitter.

Age of Eligibility: The Promotion is open only to individuals who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older and individuals between the ages of thirteen (13) and twenty-one (21) who have the permission to enter of a parent or legal guardian who agrees to be bound by these Official Rules.

How to Enter: Sponsor will announce the prize we are awarding, a word or phrase, 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!)

How Many Times You Can Enter: Limit of one (1) direct message per person per prize.

How Winner(s) Will Be Determined: Winners will be randomly determined on an “nth entry basis”; i.e. For example, Sponsor will randomly which entrant will be selected for a given prize; i.e. the 50th or 100th.

How Winner(s) Will Be Notified: Winners will be notified on Twitter through Direct Messages (DM) as well as through email.

Where and When Winner(s) Will be Announced:Winners will be announced at least one week after the promotion starts on the SEGA Blog (blogs.sega.com).

(1) Description – Sega of America, Inc. (the “Sponsor”) is offering the above referenced Promotion and will award the prize or prizes described above via a random selection method. The promotion is available for entry only on Twitter. If you do not yet have a Twitter account, create your FREE account at http://www.twitter.com. Visit https://twitter.com/SEGA and using the prompts follow SEGA on Twitter. Your activity on Twitter in regards to this Promotion are governed by Twitter Terms of Use at https://twitter.com/tos.

(2) Eligibility – The following are NOT eligible to participate: Employees, officers and directors of the Sponsor, its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, divisions, advertising, promotional, fulfillment and marketing agencies, (collectively “Promotion Entities”) their immediate families (parent, child, sibling & spouse) and persons living in the same households of such individuals (whether related or not), are not eligible to participate in the Promotion.

The promotion is void in all countries currently under sanction by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury to include: Balkans, Belarus, Burma, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, DR of the Congo, Iran Iraq, Liberia (the former regime of Charles Taylor), Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. Please note that the list of sanctions countries ca change at any time, however, a current list can always be located at http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/programs

Further, the promotion is void in any jurisdiction where prohibited by law, rule or regulation.

(3) Entering the Promotion – Creation of false accounts on Twitter is prohibited. (Message, data rates or other charges may apply if you are participating via the use of a SMART mobile device; check your mobile plan for rates and details. Participation may not be available on all carriers.) In the event of a dispute as to any Entry, the authorized account holder of the Twitter account used to enter will be deemed to be the entrant. The “authorized account holder” is the natural person assigned the account by the online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning the accounts. You may be required to show proof of being an authorized account holder. Any attempt by any entrant to obtain more than the stated number of entries by using multiple/different/duplicitous e-mail addresses, the use of multiple identities, registrations and logins, or any other methods will void that entrant’s entries and that entrant may be disqualified. Entries that are incomplete, contain irregular or invalid information, or are corrupted are void and will not be accepted.

(4) Data Collection – Sponsor collects personal information from you when you enter the Promotion. By entering the Promotion, you agree to all of the terms and conditions of Sponsor’s Privacy Policy. For information about how personal information may be used, see Sponsor’s Privacy Policy, which is available at http://www.sega.com/legal/privacy.php
(5) Prizes – There is a limit of one (1) prize per person per Promotion. The odds of winning in any given Promotion depend upon the number of prizes available and the number of total entries received for that Promotion. In no event will the value of any single prize exceed $600 and the total value of prizes in any given Weekly Promotion Period will never exceed $5,000. All approximate retail values are expressed in U.S. Dollars. In the event of unavailability Sponsor reserves the right to substitute an item of equal or greater value.

(6) Prize Awarding – If you are potential winner and a minor in your jurisdiction of residence, your parent or legal guardian must accept the prize on your behalf by providing their name and complete mailing address for the purposes of prize fulfillment. If you do not respond to the Sponsor’s Prize Notification Message by the date indicated in the message, the prize is forfeited and will not be awarded. If you have provided an invalid or inaccurate email address or postal mailing address for the purpose of prize fulfillment any returned communication or prize items will be forfeited and in this event at Sponsor’s sole discretion an alternate may be selected. Any unclaimed prizes will not be awarded. In compliance with Canadian law, any potential Canadian winner will have to correctly answer a multiple part mathematical skill question as a condition of being named a valid winner. Acceptance of a prize constitutes permission for Sponsor to use winner’s name for advertising and promotional purposes as Sponsor so determines without notice or further compensation, except where prohibited by law. Prize recipient shall not be permitted to (a) replace his/her designated prize with another prize or item, (b) transfer or assign his/her designated prize to another person, or (c) substitute any prize or prize component for cash. In the event of unavailability, Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All federal, state, local, and other taxes on prizes, (including any applicable import taxes on prizes) are the sole responsibility of the person accepting the prize.

(7) General – At the conclusion of any given Promotion or prize winning cycle and the selection or naming of the published winner(s) for that Weekly Promotion Period or prize winning cycle, Sponsor, in its sole discretion, has the right to modify any rule associated with the Promotion including but not limited to the requirement for entry, number of entries you can receive, the number and value of prizes available and the deadline for entry or participation prize winning activity including, or at Sponsor’s sole discretion, to discontinue the Promotion completely.

By participating in the Promotion, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which shall be final and binding in all respects. By participating in the Promotion, participants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless Twitter and Promotion Entities from any and all damages whether direct or indirect, which may be due to or arise out of participation in the Promotion or any portion thereof, or the acceptance, use/misuse or possession of prizes. Further, the Promotion Entities do not make any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to the use of any prize, including, without limitation, quality, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose. Further, no responsibilities are accepted for any additional expenses, omissions, delays, re-routing, or acts of any government or authority.

All decisions of the Sponsor in any matter relating to this Promotion shall be binding and final. If there are fewer eligible entries than the number of available prizes, any unclaimed prizes will not be awarded. Sponsor is not responsible for technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunctioning of any computer, cable, network, hardware, software, or web site. Sponsor is not responsible for lost, interrupted or unavailable network server or other connections, miscommunications, failed telephone or computer or telephone transmissions or technical failure, jumbled, scrambled or misdirected transmissions, for incorrect or inaccurate entry information, howsoever caused, or other error of any kind whether human, mechanical or electronic. Entrants found tampering with or abusing any aspect of this Promotion, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified. If disqualified for any of the above abuses, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate entrant’s eligibility to participate in the Promotion. Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Promotion may be in violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Sponsor reserves the right to terminate, cancel, suspend and/or modify the Promotion if any fraud, virus or other technical problem corrupts the administration, security, or proper play of the Promotion, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. In such event, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prizes at random from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment. The Promotion and the rights and obligations of Sponsor and entrants will be governed by and controlled by the laws of the state of California, applicable to contracts made and performed therein without reference to the applicable choice of law provisions. All actions, proceedings or litigation relating hereto will be instituted and prosecuted, without resort to any form of class action, solely within the state courts of California located in San Francisco, California and federal courts located within such state and county with respect to any action, dispute or other matter pertaining to or arising out of the Promotion. In the event any provision of these Official Rules will be held to be unenforceable, these Official Rules will continue in full force and effect without such provision.

 

Sponsored by:
Sega of America, Inc.
350 Rhode Island Street, STE 400
San Francisco, CA 94103

 
   
   
 

A Celtic Invasion! New Factions Announced for Total War: ATTILA

Total War: ATTILA - Celts Culture Pack

As the skies darken, Rome’s grip on the Britannic isles weakens. The native tribes sense that their hour of emancipation is at hand; the time is right to expand their rule by axe and fire. From the mists at the very edge of the world, the Celts rise!

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Playable for the first time in Total War: ATTILA, the Celtic tribes of the Ebdanians, Caledonians and Picts specialize in swift and deadly warfare. Every unit in the Celtic roster has the Guerrilla Deployment trait, enabling them to deploy almost anywhere on the battlefield – even behind enemy lines.

The Celts offer a unique play-style focused on raiding, looting and sacking. Each faction benefits from its own unique traits, but all share Celtic cultural traits that vastly increase their income from these activities. An all-new Celtic roster is available for recruitment, alongside new units unique to each faction.

Total War: ATTILA - Celts Culture Pack

With new objectives, skills, tier-5 buildings, ancillaries and a new narrative event-chain, the Celts Culture Pack features a huge array of new content for ATTILA players. An exact release date for the Celts Culture Pack will be announced at a later time.

 
   
   
 

SEGA @ EGX Rezzed

SEGA Logo header

SEGA is headed to this year’s EGX London show from March 12th to March 14th. The show will feature a chance to come out and meet our SEGA teams, play our games, and even walk away with some special giveaways. Read on for all the details…

Total War

Total War: Attila

Creative Assembly is bringing a eight playable PC’s dedicated to Total War: Attila, first consumer hands on with Total War Battles: Kingdom 2, and Total War: Rome 2 – Wrath of Sparta DLC across two PCs on the show floor. Find us on the Ground Level, Room: East Side Mall.

15 Years of Total War – To celebrate 15 years of Total War, previous Legacy titles will be playable across 8 PC’s including Rome, Medieval 2, Shogun and many more including the accompanying DLC. Scratch cards will be handed out to consumers which will contain a code to either a free game, DLC, a one of a kind Viking helmet and up to 3 gaming laptops! (courtesy of MSi)

Developer Sessions – On Friday 13th at 2pm, Creative Assembly discuss how the animation process has evolved Total War games over the last 15 years

Game Jam – Creative Assembly will be supporting this years Game Jam following the success of last years Rezzed and EGX activity. The Prizes and GameJam theme will be announced by Creative Assembly on the opening day of the show.

Tembo The Badass Elephant

We JUST announced Tembo The Badass Elephant and it is playable this weekend at the EGX Rezzed show! Come by and check out the newest partnership between SEGA & Game Freak! Find us on the Ground level, Room: Quayside 1.

Missed our announcement? Check out the trailer for more info:

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Leftfield Collection

leftfield

Once again, SEGA sponsor the hugely popular and successful indie arcade the Leftfield Collection. Over 20 indie games on offer for public feedback, play testing and showcasing. This a ticket selling event which has grown bigger and better year on year.

Drop by and Say Hello!

We look forward to seeing you at the show, come by and meet the SEGA of Europe team!

 
   
   
 

3D Out Run Classic Contest

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

Round 3 of our Classic Contest series is all about 3D Out Run! For each game, we’re having players complete a few skill challenges to be entered into a classic SEGA prize – our super popular SEGA controller hoodie. Are you up to the challenge?

Classic Contest, Classic Prize

SEGA 3D Classics - Classic Contest Prize

Our prize for all of the 3D Classic Contests is a very special SEGA hoodie. This will not be sold in stores and is your chance to own one of the most sought after SEGA hoodies we’ve made. In contrasting navy blue and grey, the hoodie is 10oz, embroidered, and awesome. Don’t miss out!

How to Enter

As you might expect for 3D Out Run, our challenges are all based around beating the game in various ways. If you’ve been following our Interview series, you might have spotted a few of the optional upgrades that unlock on completing the game. These are extremely helpful in earning the second challenge, but not required. Good luck!

Challenge #1: Complete 3D Out Run in any of the end points and unlock your first upgrade.

Challenge #2: Complete all of the 3D Out Run tracks (A through E) to unlock the original Arcade Mode.

Then email a photo of your screen beating the challenge and submit it to Sega3DClassics@sega.com with the subject, “SEGA 3D Classics Classic Sweepstakes – 3D Out Run.” In the body of the email provide your first/last name, email address, state and country of residence, your age and date of birth. Easy!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. See Official Rules at http://blogs.sega.com/?p=20502 for FREE entry. Open to legal residents of the United States, D.C. and any member state within the E.U. excluding residents of U.S. territories, possessions and overseas military installations, 13 years of age or older. Ends 3/25/15 at 11:59:59 PM PT.

Classic Official Rules

Sega of America, Inc.
SEGA 3D Classics Classic Sweepstakes Series
1st Classic: 3D Fantasy Zone
Official Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
See Section (3) of these Official Rules for FREE method of entry by email.

(1) Description – Sega of America, Inc. (the “Sponsor”) is offering “SEGA 3D Classics Classic Sweepstakes Series” (the “Classic Promotion Series”). The Classic Promotion Series consist of (8) separate sweepstakes (“Sweepstakes”). In all Sweepstakes in the Classic Promotion Series winners will be determined and prizes awarded on the basis of random selection from eligible entrants. The 3D Out Run™ Sweepstakes (“Promotion”) begins at 12:00:01 AM Pacific Time (“PT”) on March 11, 2015 and ends at 11:59:59 PM PT on March 25, 2015 (“Sweepstakes Period”).

By participating in the Promotion, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which shall be final and binding in all respects. By participating in the Promotion, participants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless Facebook and Promotion Entities (defined below) from any and all damages whether direct or indirect, which may be due to or arise out of participation in the Promotion or any portion thereof, or the acceptance, use/misuse or possession of prizes provided for or in connection with the Promotion. Further, the Promotion Entities do not make any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to the use of any prize, including, without limitation, quality, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose. Further, no responsibilities are accepted by Sponsor or any other Promotion Entities for any additional expenses, omissions, delays, re-routing, or acts of any government or authority.

(2) Eligibility – The Promotion is open only to legal residents of the United States, the District of Columbia and any member state within the European Union who are eighteen (18) years of age or older at time of entry and individuals between the ages of thirteen (13) and seventeen (17) who have the permission to enter of a parent or legal guardian who agrees to be bound by these Official Rules.

Employees, officers and directors of the Sponsor, its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, divisions, advertising, promotional, fulfillment and marketing agencies (collectively “Promotion Entities”), their immediate families (parent, child, sibling & spouse) and persons living in the same households of such individuals (whether related or not), are not eligible to participate in the Promotion.

Void in Puerto Rico, all other U.S. territories and possessions, overseas military installations, and where prohibited by law, rule or regulation. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.

(3) How to Enter – There are two (2) ways to enter:

Via Game Purchase and Game Play –
• Purchase and play 3D Out Run. Unlock the first upgrade and take a photo of showing any of your unlockable upgrades, (your “Upgrade Picture”). To receive one (1) entry send an email to Sega3DClassics@sega.com, attach your Upgrade Picture to the email, enter “Upgrade Entry” in the subject line and in the body of the email provide your first/last name, email address, state and country of residence, your age and date of birth.

• Continue game play to complete all of the 3D Out Run tracks (ending A – E) and unlock the Arcade Mode; take a photo of the arcade setting in the options screen (your “Arcade Picture”). To receive one (1) additional entry send an email to Sega3DClassics@sega.com, attach your Picture to the email, enter “Arcade Entry ” in the subject line and in the body of the email provide your first/last name, email address, state and country of residence, your age and date of birth.

FREE Entry by email –
To enter without a game purchase and game play, to receive one (1) entry send an email send an email to Sega3DClassics@sega.com, enter “SEGA 3D Classics Classic Sweepstakes – 3D Out Run” in the subject line and in the body of the email provide your first/last name, email address, state and country of residence, your age and date of birth.

There is a limit of two (2) entries per person regardless of entry method and a limit of one (1) prize per person for the entire Classic Promotion Series.

Any attempt by any entrant to obtain more than the stated number of entries by using multiple/different/duplicitous e-mail addresses, the use of a sweepstakes service, the use of multiple identities, registrations and logins, or any other methods will void that entrant’s entries and that entrant may be disqualified. Entries that are incomplete, late, or contain irregular or invalid information, or are corrupted are void and will not be accepted.

(4) Data Collection – Sponsor collects personal information from you when you enter the Promotion. By entering the Promotion, you agree to all of the terms and conditions of Sponsor’s Privacy Policy. For information about how personal information may be used, see Sponsor’s Privacy Policy, which is available at http://www.sega.com/legal/privacy.php

(5) Prizes
– Ten (10) winners will each receive a Sega branded sweatshirt, approximate retail value (“ARV”) is thirty U.S. dollars ($30).

There are a total of ten (10) prizes, with a total ARV of all prizes of three hundred U.S. dollars ($300). The odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received.

(6) Prize Awarding – Winners will be selected in a random drawing from all eligible entries conducted by Sponsor on or about March 27, 2015. Potential winners will be contacted within one (1) business day of the drawing by the e-mail address associated with their entry (“Prize Notification”) and provided with a Prize Claim Document (“PCD”), which must be returned to Sponsor within five (5) days of the Prize Notification. If any potential winner is between the ages of thirteen (13) and seventeen (17), his/her parent or legal guardian must complete the PCD with his/her information and accept the prize on behalf of their minor. Non-compliance with any of these requirements and/or the return of Prize Notification as undeliverable will result in disqualification, winner’s forfeiture of the prize and (at Sponsor’s sole discretion), and the selection of an alternate winner. Any unclaimed prizes will not be awarded.

Acceptance of a prize constitutes permission for Sponsor to use winner’s name for advertising and promotional purposes as Sponsor so determines without notice or further compensation, except where prohibited by law. Prize recipient shall not be permitted to (a) replace his/her designated prize with another prize or item, (b) transfer or assign his/her designated prize to another person, or (c) substitute any prize or prize component for cash. In the event of unavailability, Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All federal, state, local, and other taxes on prizes, (including any applicable import taxes on prizes) are the sole responsibility of the person accepting the prize.

(7) General – All decisions of the Sponsor in any matter relating to this Promotion shall be binding and final. If there are fewer eligible entries than the number of available prizes, any unclaimed prizes will not be awarded. Sponsor is not responsible for technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunctioning of any computer, cable, network, hardware, software, or web site. Sponsor is not responsible for lost, interrupted or unavailable network server or other connections, miscommunications, failed telephone or computer or telephone transmissions or technical failure, jumbled, scrambled or misdirected transmissions, late, lost or mis-directed mail, for incorrect or inaccurate entry information, howsoever caused, or other error of any kind whether human, mechanical or electronic. Entrants found tampering with or abusing any aspect of this Promotion, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified. If disqualified for any of the above abuses, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate entrant’s eligibility to participate in the Promotion. Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Promotion may be in violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Sponsor reserves the right to terminate, cancel, suspend and/or modify the Promotion if any fraud, virus or other technical problem corrupts the administration, security, or proper play of the Promotion, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. In such event, Sponsor reserves the right to select winners and award prizes at random from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment. The Promotion and the rights and obligations of Sponsor and entrants will be governed by and controlled by the laws of the state of California, applicable to contracts made and performed therein without reference to the applicable choice of law provisions. All actions, proceedings or litigation relating hereto will be instituted and prosecuted, without resort to any form of class action, solely within the state courts of California located in San Francisco, California and federal courts located within such state and county with respect to any action, dispute or other matter pertaining to or arising out of the Promotion. In the event any provision of these Official Rules will be held to be unenforceable, these Official Rules will continue in full force and effect without such provision.

(8) Winner Information – Winners will be announced on or about April 15, 2015.

Sega of America, Inc.
350 Rhode Island Street, STE 400
San Francisco, CA 94103

© SEGA. ALL rights reserved. SEGA is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. SEGA, the SEGA logo, and 3D Out Run are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA Corporation.

 
   
   
 

Grandmaster Trunk! SEGA & Game Freak Announce Tembo The Badass Elephant

Tembo The  Badass Elephant

Announcing TEMBO THE BADASS ELEPHANT for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC as a digital download on each platform.

Part Commando. All Elephant. TEMBO THE BADASS ELEPHANT is a larger than life, 2D side-scrolling action adventure from the creative geniuses behind the Pokémon games, coming in Summer 2015.

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Shell City is plunged into a state of emergency after coming under attack from the devastating forces of PHANTOM, led by a mysterious masked commander. Terrifying war machines emblazoned with skulls tear through the city leaving a trail of destruction in their wake! As the National Army struggles to contain PHANTOM, General Krenman sees the mammoth task at hand and calls upon the only thing that stands between Shell City’s obliteration and its salvation; the peanut chompin’, villain stompin’, PHANTOM romping BADASS Elephantidae…TEMBO THE BADASS ELEPHANT!

HRRAAANNHH!!!!!!!! (Is the last thing those PHANTOM goons will hear…)

Tembo The Badass Elephant

Aided by his faithful avian companion Picolo, it’s up to TEMBO to jump, smash, punch, swing and butt stomp his way through the PHANTOM hordes as he aims to bring about the end of their tyrannical onslaught. Featuring 17 cleverly designed 2D side-scrolling levels, a whole host of deadly enemies and unique comic book style art, TEMBO THE BADASS ELEPHANT is the heaviest action adventure of the year…weighing in at about seven and a half tons of fun.

Tembo The Badass Elephant

“We’re delighted to be working with Game Freak to bring this heavyweight adventure to an audience we feel it will have relephants to,” said John Clark, the Senior Vice President of Commercial Publishing for SEGA Europe. “It’s a trunkful of fun and we think gamers are going to love it. Hopefully more than my rubbish elephant puns. ”

Be sure to check out all the screenshots in our Flickr album and let us know what you think in the comments below!

 
   
   
 

SEGA 3D Classics – 3D Out Run – Part 4

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

We’re two days away from 3D Out Run launching on the Nintendo 3DS! Here is part 4 from our interview with developer M2 and SEGA of Japan which originally launched on Game Watch & Impress. New Songs and the credits, don’t forget to watch the credits!

New Songs with 100% Real Out Run Sound Juice!

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

– OK, so we’ve been talking about Namiki-san, the porting master. But now I have questions for Namiki-san, the composer. I’m surprised that completely new songs have been added this time around.

MN: Ah yes, the new songs. Whose idea was that again?

YO: Well, it started with the fact that Out Run has a history of adding new songs when ports and sequels get made. So when we started the discussion about what we were going to do this time, we came up with the idea of creating remixed versions and using streaming to play them, similar to the Sega Saturn version. Or perhaps include songs that were added for home console ports, such as the Mega Drive version’s “STEP ON BEAT” or Out Run 3D’s “SHINING WIND.” Or even perhaps take these console versions, and remix them into arcade board versions (YM-2151 versions). And within those discussions, the first issue that popped up was that everyone wanted to avoid using streaming because of data volume concerns. And there was also resistance to simply dropping in songs from the past. So then naturally it came down to putting in new songs. I think it was either Matsuoka-san, the director, or perhaps Kikuchi-san who made the call.

MN: I joined the conversation once those two got to talking about it. And since it’s us at M2 making this new song, of course we are going to forgo streaming and make it run within the Z80 sound programming, using the FM sound source and the onboard PCM source that the arcade version uses for its own songs. So we decided to write new songs using Out Run’s native data format. (laughs)

NH: In other words, we’d write songs that would play on an actual arcade board if you put it onto a ROM.

MN: I don’t think anyone else would even think about doing this. We’re back in “What the heck are you talking about?” territory.

– (laughs)

YO: Even within M2, I don’t think this is something that anyone would propose internally unless it was Namiki-san himself.

NH: Jane-Evelyn Nisperos, aka Chibi-Tech, isn’t too different. She was responsible for the tune “UPA-UPA” in 3D Fantasy Zone. When we told her that it had to play on the original sound driver, her face just lit right up. She had this expression like “Of course! You know, you just have to do it that way.” Although for Fantasy Zone, we ended up using streaming for that particular situation.

YO: Well that was just one song, it was small so it didn’t have a big effect on the data size, and we had bigger fish to fry on that project.

MN: A bit of a rewind, but back in 2008 when they were working on the System-16 version for Fantasy Zone II for the PlayStation 2, I was working as an exclusive composer for Basiscape*. I got involved with that crazy project, and M2’s programmer Saito-kun and I did a lot of work investigating the data format for SEGA’s FM sound source drivers.
* Basiscape is a Japanese music composition firm that primarily focuses on video game music.

After that, when we added HAYA OH to 3D Space Harrier, Saito-kun went and just dropped it in before I could say anything about it. (laughs) I ended up fixing some pitch issues and doing some other adjustments after that. So we basically had already figured out a lot of the technical aspects regarding SEGA’s sound hardware. When it came to adding new songs to Out Run, it definitely seemed to be in the realm of possibility.

So our advantage was that we could use all the instrument data from the FM sound source, the rhythm sounds on the PCM—all the sounds that already existed in the arcade version of Out Run—and use those to make new songs that had a similar feel to the original songs. You could go as far as to say the songs were made with pure, “100% Real Out Run Sound Juice.”

YO: The sound is utterly unadulterated.

NH: Nothing added, nothing taken away.

MN: The song I worked on is titled “Cruising Line.” The other songs have words like “wave,” “shower,” and “breeze”—in other words, shining imagery of oceans and wind that give you a sense of going on a drive. So I wanted to put in something that sounded like that, too. I wanted to avoid throwing the word “drive” in there since that’d just be too obvious. (laughs)

NH: It would have been a bit on the nose.

MN: Reminiscing back to the 1980s, Japanese people started referring to driving cars using English terms like “to cruise” or “go cruising,” probably in the latter half of the decade. And with Out Run being more mid-decade, I was wondering if people had actually started saying that yet, but still felt that “cruising” had a nice ring to it. So I went with that. I was also worried that if the name invoked a specific image, it would stand out too much once it was lined up with the other songs. So I thought back to Japanese fusion bands that were popular at the time, like “Cassiopeia” and “Square,” and felt that something abstract might be nice. The word “line” struck me as a keyword that didn’t have one specific meaning, and could be used to mean a road, or even the horizon, or even an airplane vapor trail. (laughs) Or something like that…

I really feel like those three songs in the original arcade version were very key to the game, and I was aiming to subtly add a bit of color. I mean, I think everyone really loves those original songs, after all. And I didn’t want to really force things with a name that really stuck out. Just trying to fill a supporting role here.
In regards to the song itself, I personally got the impression that out of Japanese fusion musicians, Out Run’s songs might have been inspired by the likes of Naoya Matsuoka. So I felt compelled to put in a bit of that 1980s Japanese fusion-inspired style.

YO: Really going back to the source there.

NH: So very Namiki-san.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run
Lots of people think of ocean-side palm trees when you talk about Out Run.

MN: If you really want to get into details, it’s more Japanese jazz piano or Japanese Latin fusion than anything else. Naoya Matsuoka-san’s album, The September Wind, has a cover with this 1980’s style American graffiti illustration (done by Hiroshi Nagai) with palm trees by the ocean-side, which was a very common sort of thing at that time. I made me think of things like the illustrations for FM STATION magazine done by Eizin Suzuki. I really feel like Out Run’s overall image, from the style to the sound, was inspired by the art and music of the day.

That said, if I followed those same influences and created a song along the exact same lines, what would be the point of composing a new song? Where would the challenge be in that? So instead I tried something with a little more Japanese fusion flavor, rather than Latin fusion.

It’s not as if I made a conscious effort to reference existing bands’ albums, but when I was in my teens, I would come across this style of music on records, the radio, or TV from time to time, as well as had guitarist friends who would cover those kinds of bands. So I tried making something in the vein of that era.

The song is upbeat and fresh, and even compared to the other Out Run songs. The intro especially is pretty cheerful and upbeat. I wanted to make something that had a different approach from the pre-existing three songs, and thus set out to make something that seemed light and bright and exciting from the get-go.

And then there’s the fact that Out Run features this situation where you are having a fun drive with your lover, so I felt that the song needed to be something you would listen to with your significant other. When I asked myself what the motivation was for the new song, that’s where I would end up. Well, back then I was a junior high school student… Now I’m just some guy in his 40s (laughs), but I still wanted to make a straightforward song with that feeling of driving through the beautiful countryside, in love with a pretty girl in the passenger seat (bashful laugh). It’s a little embarrassing, I suppose. I wanted to play up the feeling that this was a special, treasured time.

ALL: (grins)

– I think it’s great that someone who was around during that time found that kind of motivation. I wish I could ask Chibi-Tech about the song she made, too.

NH: She’s actually at a concert in Europe at the moment. Sorry about that. We will send along a comment from her once she returns.

MN: Actually one more thing, sorry. There’s another hook I tried to work in. When you run through the courses in Out Run, the course backgrounds change, right? At first it’s the coast, and in the new version it’s got cliffs and big gates… The scenes change, and the song itself goes through transitions as well, through the intro, an A Melody, and a B Melody that roughly correspond to the scenery. I wanted the listener to be able to freely call up an image of the scene, and I wanted to make it so that image changes to match the transitions in the game. So that’s one thing you could listen for.

The intro portion is very upbeat, the A Melody has a very cool, clear weather feeing, and the B Melody has the feeling of a field of flowers. Out Run has some rather cool sounding songs, but I wanted this song to have a bit of a pop sound to it. In the main chorus, it comes back to a feeling of driving forward in your car, and I wanted it to make people think, “I wonder what the scenery looks like up ahead.”

Toward the end of the song, the mood changes suddenly, and it chills out a bit. It’s similar to PASSING BREEZE which was one of the original three songs, so in a way it’s a bit of a homage, or at least paying respect, in that it’s following in those “moody” footsteps.

So by mixing all these things—Out Run itself, the background of the 1980s, Japanese fusion, and an image of what driving through the beautiful world of Out Run with the woman I love might be like—I got “Cruising Line.” Please give it a listen.

Oh, and one more thing. I’ve spent a lot of time making music for shooting games for companies like Cave, so one of my themes with my work is that the music needs to sync with the progress in the game. I tried this with 3D Out Run as well. It’s not perfect and I wasn’t sure how far to take it, so it’s a little rough in spots, but I did write the song with that in mind. So if you can drive well and not wreck, the song should change when you hit the crossroads.

I felt that this would make for an interesting goal for the player, who by getting better at the game and driving well, could hear the music change as they went through the forks in the road. This could be another thing that motivates the player to become a better driver. If you can do it, making it to the goal becomes even more satisfying. So I consciously made the song that way. That was perhaps one more reason for me to make the new song. A new song that coexists with the gameplay itself.

NH: So Namiki-san, yup. Very much so.

MN: Depending on the person, it might be a song that just goes in one ear and out the other. But since I got to work on this project, I wanted to put in as much as I can (laughs). I hope people like it. The original three songs are a very hard act to follow, so I would be very happy if people would choose to listen to the new song, Cruising Line. It’s a song that my current self would write for a game of that era.

NH: I’d really like it if you would write a new song for Thunder Blade.

MN: (laughs)

YO: You can control the speed of your chopper in Thunder Blade, so it might not be a good fit for him.

NH: That’s the response I was expecting… (all laugh).

YO: I’d really like it if Namiki-san would write a new song for some other game (laughs). I’d like to suggest Virtua Racing, perhaps. In other words, actually have background music.

MN: And Thunder Blade was done by Kouichi Namiki, anyway.

NH: Double Namiki!

– (laughs) And Horii-san’s dream just gets bigger and bigger. Namiki-san, thank you so much for your time.

A Word From Chibi-Tech

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run
The new song from Chibi-Tech, Camino a Mi Amor.

– What did Out Run mean to you?

Chibi-Tech: My introduction to Out Run was actually quite unusual from many other players, to be honest! I was still a kid when Out Run was released, and only stared at kids older than myself in the local mall playing the game and giggling whenever the game characters flew out of their car during a crash. But even when I tried playing it for myself, I couldn’t even accelerate the Ferrari because I was still too small to even reach the pedals with my feet at that time…

Only by the early 90s I was finally tall enough to play the game, but coincidentally MTV had started airing a commercial teaching young viewers the dangers of drinking and driving. What made this commercial peculiar was that it featured actual Out Run gameplay… with an actor’s hands trying to steer the game and crashing the car repeatedly—complete with the scariest jingle added during each crash!

YouTube Preview Image

The message would seem so cliché and corny nowadays, but at the time the commercial’s message was frighteningly effective, and in my young age it made me genuinely scared to play Out Run! I had (and still do have) an immature and overactive imagination, and my fear was so profound that I had thought the cabinet’s seat was booby-trapped to eject me out of my seat whenever I crashed my car—and that I would hear that dreaded jingle during my final moments of life! Only after finally playing in its proper way did I realize that playing Out Run in the arcade was quite fun—and was not the frightening machine that was out to haunt your every crash.

– Can you describe the process of writing the song “Camino a Mi Amor”?

Chibi-Tech: It was actually spawned from an idea I had from long time ago: I grew up in California, where the radio airwaves equally consisted of both English and Spanish-speaking stations. When I just graduated from high school and gas prices were still cheap, I used to drive literally everywhere around California with my car while turning up my car stereo loudly. Yes, I was THAT person. During that same era, I had an insatiable addiction to Latin freestyle dance music. There were many Spanish-speaking Latino-oriented radio stations around my town, and the local English/Spanish hybrid radio station would play Latin freestyle dance music whenever I drove to both college and my receptionist job. One day on my way to work I thought to myself, “You know, I really think this kind of music would go really well in a cruising game like Out Run!”

Fast-forward to today as a composer for M2, and I realized that my little dream could finally come true! Out Run could finally mirror real life where you can tune in to the local Spanish dance hit radio station! Especially since Out Run’s existing soundtrack already had a Latin-influenced European vibe, it was only inevitable that I add Latin freestyle dance to its list of stations.
——————————————————————————————————————–

YO: In order to understand what Namiki-san is getting at, I encourage everyone to try reading this interview again once they have listened to the song, and I think you’ll be impressed. Namiki-san’s “Cruising Line” is all the way to the left, and Chibi-Tech’s “Camino a Mi Amor” is all the way to the right.

In addition, I’d like to announce that the Out Run soundtrack is out as well. It features songs from the arcade version of Out Run, Turbo Out Run, Out Runners, and Out Run 2. AND! As a bonus, the two new songs from the 3DS version are also included. And of course, you can buy them a la carte, should you prefer.

Buy on iTunes
Buy on Amazon

NH: We even made a sound ROM for this!

YO: That’s right. For this soundtrack, we didn’t record off the 3DS. We burned a sound ROM specifically for Out Run, and actually put it on the arcade board and recorded it. Those soundtracks are truly the real deal. Though in a way, it’s sort of a backwards way of doing it, since the new songs were made originally for the 3DS, so perhaps we should have recorded them off the 3DS instead. (laughs)

– Amazing. I’m really excited about that.

Don’t Forget The Credits!

– As always, it sounds like 3D Out Run had its share of stories to tell.

YO: Everyone on the staff really digs in and does everything they can on their own work. A lot of tuning and polish went into 3D Out Run to recreate the memories of the arcade version to the fullest extent possible. I hope everyone can relive the fun of the original Out Run on the Nintendo 3DS.

NH: At the very least, people need to try driving through the big gates at 60 frames per second. I also want to say a world of thanks to Game Center Nyarise in Nagano, who had a perfectly working arcade cabinet. I have to tip my hat to those who put in the effort to keep a kit like that in actual operation. Oh, and as always, we included staff credits that make you overlook the lower screen completely. Please check it out.

– Oh yes, I’m looking forward to that. I always make a point to not look at them now, and instead watch them on my own after release.

NH: The staff really got me this time, too.

– Speaking of the credits, we first touched on them in our interview about 3D Fantasy Zone. It seems people are really watching them, and looking forward to them as well. I’m excited, too.

YO: We made 3D Super Hang-On really sharp looking, but then we didn’t have any spare time to do anything with 3D Galaxy Force II and so it’s just flying. And then we had a lot of people tell us that the Giga Drive ones were a bit bland.

– Everyone found 3D After Burner II to be quite funny. It was really good. This is another aspect of the series that has been getting better and better over time.

NH: I’m hoping we can earn a reputation as a company that goes crazy on the credits.

– “We’re doin’ it… even though no one asked for it,” sort of thing.

YO: The staff credits started to get out of hand back around 3D After Burner II. Romyu-san worked on that one. And when Koga-san saw what he did, he freaked out and did a number on 3D Fantasy Zone. Romyu-san is responsible for Out Run.

The credits sequence was based on 3D Super Hang-On at first. I thought it was a little bland, so I made the mistake of saying, “The people who saw 3D Fantasy Zone’s credits will have their expectations up, so we might be better off just showing the user’s replay instead, like we did for 3D Galaxy Force II.”
But we were told that to put in the replay at that point would be quite a task, and we were talking about potentially just having the credits. But they said they wanted to give it another shot before the final version. And after just a few days, this is what they came up with… Want to take a peek?

– No thanks. I’ll watch it when I download the retail version!

NH: Are you sure?

– I’ll leave it for the release version, thanks!

YO: This one is really impressive considering how little time they had to put it together.

NH: Since we did such a good job on the 3D Space Harrier credits, it started with the idea that we could make something that really shows off what we can do, like an advertisement. We wanted to put our credits in the games back in the Virtual Console titles, but we ultimately were not able to. We had ideas like “playable credits” and the like. But in the end that didn’t become a reality and now here we are with 3DS. There are a lot of companies out there with really impressive staff credits, after all.

– That said, it’s a challenge to put together something that’s fun using the resources you have available.

NH: We have some really neat tools at our disposal, so we can use those to make things without even getting a programmer involved.

– Seeing how much fun you guys have with the credits makes it fun for players too, so I’m really looking forward to see you continue it in the future. Though in reality, it might be more like development teams trying to one-up each other (laughs). The bar keeps rising and rising (laughs).

NH: It certainly is.

YO: So with that, we have packed as much as we can into 3D Out Run despite not having much time after the 3D Fantasy Zone release. But this is the climax point of this second batch in the series.

– You mean this is it for the second round?

YO: No, that isn’t the case. But the next title is sort like an encore after the main finale. Oh, and I should mention that the next title isn’t Thunder Blade. I’ll just get that out of the way.

NH: N-No!

– (laughs) Thank you very much, gentlemen. I’m anxiously awaiting the next title. Thank you for your time!

 
   
   
 

SEGA 3D Classics – 3D Out Run – Part 3

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

Another blog update means we’re one day closer to 3D Out Run launching on the Nintendo 3DS on March 12th! In the previous two updates (part 1, part 2) we discussed the technical details in building 3D Out Run, as well as adding in new features or fixing old bugs. Starting today we look at the sound from 3D Out Run and tomorrow we’ll have an update covering the music!

Lots of really interested stuff as always, it’s especially cool to learn that 3D Out Run is the first version to fix a few lingering sound and music bugs from the original arcade hardware. All through a good ear and a strong attention to detail – incredible. As always, we appreciate hearing what you think of these updates!

Reproducing a Game’s Sound Isn’t as Straightforward as You’d Think!

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run
This is what recording the environmental sounds looks like. Namiki-san is in the cockpit with Chibi-Tech picking up the sounds from the side.

– Alright, let’s bring Namiki-san into the conversation, and ask about sound-related topics as they pertain to 3D Out Run.

Manabu Namiki (below MN): SEGA graciously allowed us to record our sounds for After Burner II as well as the ones for Out Run at their warehouse back [in 2013]. We took these back and edited them, and set them aside as standbys for when any actual work was needed. So I actually did the core work for 3D Out Run’s sound back in October of 2013.*

There were a number of things we ran into when doing the sound recreation for Out Run. The first problem was this one bit in the waveform data for one of the PCM ROMs that is always on and the ROM itself was mass manufactured with it that way. In other words, one of the ROMs in the production version of Out Run has corrupted wave data.
* 3D Out Run was released in Japan on April 23, 2014.

Naoki Horii (below NH): He’s correct. And people who are well-informed on the topic might be aware of it. Even the Sega Saturn version had to address this issue.

– I see…

Yosuke Okunari (below YO): This problem cropped up back when Wavemaster was doing the soundtrack for the 20-year Anniversary Box Edition, and we were recording sounds straight off the arcade board itself. We asked the original composer, Hiro-shishou, to review the data, and there was something “off” about it. The fact that sound being recorded straight from the board was “off” was “off” in and of itself. Anyway, since the sound coming off the arcade board was apparently incorrect, they knew were going to have to re-record it, so we burnt a new ROM with the sound data and recorded off of that. So the issue is fixed in that soundtrack.

MN: In other words, in a similar fashion to what we were talking about in the 3D After Burner II interview, Sega pulled the source file off an 8” floppy disk and burnt that onto a new ROM for that 20th Anniversary Box Edition, which they used to restore the master waveform data to the state before it was corrupted during mass manufacturing, and thus allowing us to record it in its originally intended form. That recovered waveform data is what we are using in 3D Out Run.

– (Laughs) I see.

MN: Another thing was “Splash Wave.” There’s this glitch later in the song where the melody and other parts of the song get out of sync. This even happens on the version included in the 20th Anniversary Box Edition, but we fixed this in our version with the exception of the Arcade Mode. We used the same technique we used to fix the song “Defeat” in 3D Galaxy Force II.

Let me explain: First in regards to the melody getting off beat, I thought this might be caused by a part of the melody’s music data that indicates how long a note should play. So I listened to the recorded version of the music to figure out where exactly the song gets out of sync and started my search there. It wasn’t really something you could spot visually by looking at the digital data, so I tried narrowing down the location by listening to it. At the same time, we were analyzing the playback programming on the Z80 and the music note data, and finally found the telltales we needed to track down the notes we were looking for.

I ended up going through the hexadecimal music data to find the intro part of the song, then followed along saying, “Okay, yes, these are the notes for this part.” I found the request number for “Splash Wave” in the sound program and followed that to the entry tables it referenced—in other words, I tracked down the address where the song data was stored, and just started reading that data. I found the melody part within each track, and followed that data from the start. As I did that, I was able to narrow it down to the later part of the song.

NH: What was it? A specific channel’s clock was off by one?

MN: Well, let me take a look right now.

– (Laughs)

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run
More pictures from the recording sessions.

NH: Back in the X68000 days, I used to make my own sound drivers and editors as a hobby, and when I would compile things I could look at the total clock count data. So it was pretty easy to notice, “Hey wait, this one channel has a few too many in it.”

MN: That was possible because the compiler was counting the steps. But this time around, there wasn’t any useful function like that we could use.

– So this means Namiki-san dumped the binary data and went through it all himself? Wow, that’s impressive.

MN: I found it by basically writing comments next to every single line of hexadecimal, like “This is the intro here.” To an outsider, it looks like a fool’s errand.

ALL: (Laughs)

NH: Well you say “a fool’s errand,” but for us, it’s more like being a museum curator.

YO: You never come in contact with this sort of thing unless you are actually doing the porting work for a game.

NH: If you only play the games, these aren’t issues you typically experience.

YO: Even when making soundtracks, you typically don’t go this deep either.

MN: I suppose so. The desync we are talking about here is very subtle, at a level where you might completely miss it if you weren’t really following along with the melody. Oh, here, I found the sound data! The count value that sets the length of a note was 6 counts over, so it was 48 milliseconds too long. The song is perfectly synched until partway through, but this caused the desync toward the end. With that fixed, it plays correctly all the way through. I believe this puts it back into the form Hiro-shishou originally intended. This is the first time this fix has ever been made, right?

YO: Personally, it’s not something I can really discern the difference for, but if it wasn’t done for the Sega Saturn version or the 20 Anniversary Box Edition, then yes, it’d be a first. By the way, if you want to hear the original, just put the game in Arcade Mode and everything will play like the original.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run
They removed the panels and tried to kill the fans as much as possible to get a clean recording.

MN: And actually, there was one more thing. This is for “Splash Wave” as well. In the intro part of the song, I found this issue where a ride cymbal in the PCM’s rhythm palette starts taking over the PCM channels reserved for the background music, overwriting other instruments like snare and bass drums. This affects the 20th Anniversary Box Edition’s intro portion as well, resulting in sounds getting cut off during the song.

It looks like all the versions that have been released to date have been in this state, and it’s subtle enough that if you just listen to it, you’d probably think that’s the way it’s supposed to be, without giving it a second thought. But for better or worse, since I am involved in the project, and I found the issue, it really bothered me…

– (Laughs)

MN: Normally, Out Run reserves 6 PCM channels for background music. The remaining 10 channels are used for sound effects. But in this case, the ride cymbal was taking over those 6 background music channels. In the meantime, though, during the intro part of the song the game itself is just getting started, so the number of channels you need for sound effects like the car peeling out from the start line is limited. Leaving PCM channels reserved for sound effects but not using them—well, that’s a waste, so I worked with our programmer, Saito-kun, to see if we could reserve some of those sound effect channels for music for a limited time.

– What!?

NH: I’d heard you guys were doing that. Is that something you could burn onto a ROM and fix the PCM on the original arcade board?

MN: That wouldn’t be possible, as we didn’t fix it directly using Z80 code.

NH: So you fixed the data after it had been emulated.

MN: It’s not that it wouldn’t be possible to modify the Z80 code directly, but doing so would probably have some effect on the sound effects. For 3D Out Run, we change the reserved channels only for certain parts of the timeline, to avoid affecting the sound effects. It’s kind of hardcore.
This idea to temporarily change the number of PCM channels used for the background music was something Saito-kun came up with. I asked him to just make more channels, and he came back with the idea to manage the number reserved over time. I was really impressed with him. It’s one of those things only Saito-kun could come up with.

NH: Well I think everyone’s really impressed with you, too, Namiki-san, even the people reading this interview. There’s not much difference. You two are almost equally impressive, and that slight difference is only noticeable in our office.

ALL: (Laughs)

YO: As always, a fine example of the elite and talented motley crew at M2.

MN: Yeah, this sort of collaboration could only happen with comrades in the motley crew.

NH: In a typical environment, people wouldn’t even understand what you were saying.

MN: The response would be, “What the heck are you talking about?” And that would be the end of the conversation.

– (laughs) You guys.

MN: We work at M2, the Promised Land, after all.

NH: Cut it out with this “Promised Land” nonsense.

– (laughs)

YO: Well, you’re one of the chosen few who has wandered the desert and arrived at this “Promised Land,” Namiki-san. (laughs)

– That’s right. (laughs)

MN: Well now that the issue is fixed, that sound of the PCM hitting those beats without interruption just feels good. That rhythm section in the intro, you know? And if you switch it back to Arcade mode, it reverts to the original set up, so the interruption in the sound is restored.

NH: The Out Run fans really pay attention to this sort of thing.

– That reminds me. You mentioned it earlier, but environmental sounds are included this time, correct?

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

YO: Everyone expects this stuff from the games now, so we hadn’t mentioned it yet. But yes, Moving Cabinets and Environmental Sounds are in.

NH: The Deluxe and Standard kits are included, of course. And as a little bonus, we threw in the Upright arcade cabinets as well.

YO: However, note that not every behavior associated with the cabinets is reproduced this time around, so in a way, you could say this is all just extra stuff on the side.

– What do you mean?

YO: The basic movement for the Out Run arcade machine is that the part you sit on moves left and right, but the front part of the machine where the monitor is doesn’t really move. So, if we had tried to reproduce that on the 3DS, you wouldn’t see any motion on the 3DS screen itself.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run
The front part of the Deluxe version of Out Run doesn’t really move at all.

NH: We tried a lot of things back at the office, and we decided that including cabinet motion would be pointless if no one could tell it was happening. So we enhanced the motion a little, to convey the general impression rather than stick to exact realism.

YO: It ended up as a bit of a mix with Space Harrier’s cabinet behavior.

NH: The background is the same background that’s in 3D Galaxy Force II, so it’s like playing the next game in that same arcade.

YO: We didn’t put a Chiba background in there this time, so please don’t bother looking for it.*

* 3D Galaxy Force II features a hidden 3rd background type that looks like countryside in Chiba Prefecture, southeast of Tokyo. You can access it by going to the “Background” settings and holding A with TYPE highlighted for about 5 seconds.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out RunSEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

The Moving Cabinets and Environmental Sounds are part of this project’s appeal.

NH: We just barely got it in, so we didn’t have any time at all to go and take pictures.

– (laughs) OK, backing up a bit, can I ask you to talk in detail about the environmental sounds? Did anything interesting happen during the recording process?

MN: So regarding the machine sounds, we basically put the sound assets in like we always do, but for Out Run, I made a specific adjustment to them. You know the sound that the pedals on the Deluxe and Standard machines make when you press them, that “bak bak bak” sound? I really wanted to get that right.

NH: We’re getting into “What the heck are you talking about?” territory again. (laughs)

MN: Relative to the sound when you throw the steering wheel all the way to one side, or the “gacha” sound when you switch gears, I dressed up the sound for the pedal a bit more, accenting the “bak” sound and making it sound like perhaps it’s coming from beneath you. So it’s a little different than just integrating the recorded sound. This is the first time I’ve tried this for these physical games in the 3D Remaster Project. This is the first game that came equipped with a pedal, after all.

YO: That’s true. It’s the first car driving game, and 3D Super Hang-On didn’t have pedals, nor did we record environmental sounds for it.

MN: I have strong memories of playing Out Run and the feeling of pressing that pedal down. And while you can’t actually press a real pedal with your foot on 3DS, I thought it would be neat if when you play it with the Environmental Sounds turned on, it would feel just like you are sitting in the cabinet and hearing the sounds. So I put a lot of work into it. I think it’s at a point where if you have memories of playing the original arcade machine, by playing with the brake and accelerator sounds, those memories will come flooding back. Please give it a try.

YO: I’d like to add one more thing to the sound topic, and again this is one of those things that everyone has just come to expect, but you can adjust the volumes for the music, the game sound effects, and the environmental sound effects separately. Even though it’s all emulated internal sound. (laughs)

On top of that, there are 3 levels of engine volume you can switch between, separate from the volume settings. Many of the previous ports allocated more sound resources to the background music and sound effect playback, rather than the engine sounds. So we thought that there may be players who aren’t really used to the arcade version’s engine sounds if they had been playing the ported versions. Turning the engine sounds off completely makes it all feel a little empty, so we decided to put in 3 levels of volume. So for people who care about that sort of thing, feel free to adjust it per your preferences.

– (laughs) Such attention to detail!

Join us Tomorrow for Part 4!

Tomorrow we finish our blog series on 3D Out Run with a look at some of the music and the creation of new tracks. We hope you enjoyed this update and are excited for the release of 3D Out Run on March 12th!

 
   
   
 

SEGA 3D Classics – 3D Out Run – Part 2

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

We’re back with part 2 of our interview with developer M2 and SEGA of Japan talking about the SEGA 3D Classics. In this section of the interview we look at a few of the new options available in 3D Out Run. Yosuke Okunari (SEGA of Japan) and Naoki Horii (President of M2) aren’t satisfied in just bringing out the best version of Out Run ever, they want to add in a few extras to make it even better. But new options aren’t always so easy to implement, so read on and see how it all came together. Enjoy!

A New Machine That’s Speeder Then The Original With Constant Gear-Gacha!

Yosuke Okunari (below YO): Alright, let’s talk about the “Grantanoff” — the new features, starting with the new songs and then the new car. So for the new song, I’m going to bring Namiki-san in to talk about that, and for the new car, we added an American-style car. And that’s not all. When you think Out Run, you think of a candy apple red sports car, so we’ve gone and mixed things up with a not-candy apple red sports car.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

Before you start the game, on the attract screen, you can now choose your car on the lower touch screen. The car types are linked to a particular ability, each with an improved aspect over the original car. One has better handling, so it doesn’t drift as hard as the original. The next one has improved fenders so it doesn’t get thrown aside when it runs into other cars. And then there’s the one with the improved engine. It has a higher top speed. And then last but not least, one with improved tires. This improvement allows you to run off the road and not lose speed.

*Check out the 3D After Burner II interview for details about “Grantanoff.”

Naoki Horii (below NH): You’ve probably got it figured out already, but there were a lot of things that had to happen to get each of these power-ups added. For example, raising the top speed with the engine—when you are running at the frame rate of the original Out Run, and you go over the speed of 293 km/h, the amount your car moves around and the collision detection of the objects starts to not match up, and you can clip through things. It’s just too fast (and so the collision isn’t detected in time).

So to get the engine upgrade to work, we had to go in and rework the internal processing quite a bit. Now, your hit collision extends out further in front of your car when you have a high top speed.

– This sounds similar to the glitches that happened when you added the Spin Dash to 3D Sonic The Hedgehog.

NH: That’s right. It’s something we wouldn’t have known about had we not tried to make 3D Out Run.

YO: If you go with the improved engine, your max speed will go to 352 km/h.

– That is quite a power-up.

NH: Oh, it certainly is.

YO: When you speed up the car, the game proceeds quicker as well. As a result, it actually makes handling more difficult.

– I see.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

YO: Your car will change color or design depending on which parts you choose. This is because I said that I initially said I wanted to add more cars. M2 told me, “With this schedule? Not going to happen.”

– (laughs)

YO: You know, because in Out Run 2 you had a lot of car options. But that said, there wasn’t really much time to design new cars, and since this is an emulation-based game, we can’t really add in a lot of new designs anyway.* There are limitations on data volume and palette, as well, but I pleaded with them to add in at least one. M2 felt that just a single car would be a bit lonely, so they volunteered to change its capabilities.

* In order to add a single car, you need to add in new sprite angles for the left and right side, as well as animations and patterns for crashes.

NH: We have some young designers on staff, and when we first got started with the additional content, they were all like, “Are you sure you don’t want drifting or anything like that?”

– That’s the striking difference between Out Run and Out Run 2. That and the fact they were different generations of games.

YO: Well, we weren’t looking to change the gameplay for this first-generation Out Run, but we still wanted something that brought a new flavor to the game. So this is what we have.

– Two body types, and some different colors.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

YO: When you use the upgraded parts, the timing for avoiding other cars changes. If you powered up everything, it would probably get pretty easy. But if you don’t equip every part, and say just go with the engine, you will notice you fishtail all over the place, and it’s pretty fun. Each part makes the game a little different, and I hope everyone finds the fun in that.

– Well this sounds like it’ll be fun. Not only does the car behavior change, but the difficulty changes as well.

YO: There is separate save data for “Normal” and “Tuned,” as well. You’ll get more parts every time you cross the goal line, so the more you clear the game, the easier it gets (laughs). So your first goal might be the hardest one. For those who think it’s too hard, you can lower the difficulty and remove the other cars from the road. Or save halfway through. In any case, just try to get through to the finish line, collect all the parts, and have fun trying them all.

For the tires you get at the very end, it basically puts you into a state where you’re basically always using the gear gacha trick. Scitron* put out a strategy video long time ago about the SEGA “physical experience” games, which included Out Run. They played through the full game using the gear gacha technique, pretty much off the road the whole time. We made it so you can try that yourself without having to use the gear gacha technique, because it’s an automatic gear gacha machine. But of course there’s obstacles like rocks and whatnot, so you have to have an understanding of what lies outside the course. If you get into it, it becomes an entirely different game. (laughs)

* Scitron is a Japanese multimedia company that was known in the 80s for their video game soundtrack publications.

– It’s its own kind of fun. The gear gacha technique is really hectic, and not having to do it is easier on your hardware.

YO: If you’re the type who actually wants to do the gear gacha yourself, you can go to the Input Settings and set the gear type to “Hold.” This will make it so the gear is set to LO when the button is held, and HI when it’s released. Or if you set it to “Switch,” repeatedly pressing the button will switch between LO and HI gear, so try and see which one you like. And I should note that there are four parts that you can get, and when you get to the ending the 5th time, one additional thing will be unlocked. That’s the “Arcade” Mode. I mentioned this earlier, but this mode lets you play a faithful reproduction of the original running at 30 FPS.

NH: Actually, that’s not all. Most of the bugs we fixed for this port that were in the arcade version come back.

– Reverting to its ancestral form, I suppose.

YO: For example, there’s actually a bug in the original arcade version and the previous ports—the displayed times are wrong. This time around, the way Arcade Mode records sectional times is the same as the original, while the Special version has this bug fixed. So even if you race the exact same way in the two modes, your times will differ slightly.

NH: Specifically, the time counter and the lap time counter use different calculations. The counter on screen counts 60 frames as one second, while the lap time counts 64 frames as one second, so there’s a 4-frame difference.

YO: The fun in Out Run is all about running through these courses over and over, so there are a lot of elements you can enjoy—whether that’s the differences between the Japanese and Overseas versions, or the spec differences between the Normal and Tuned cars, or even the internal differences between the Special and Arcade versions. There’s a lot of gameplay to be had here. You times are recorded at every checkpoint, so you can even have fun doing speed runs.

By the way, when we were talking about the “Grantanoff” for this game, there was an idea that was similar to Super Hang-On’s World Mode where you could run all 15 courses one after another. We actually went as far to build it out, but killed it in the end.

After putting it in, we found out it was actually really boring. It made me realize how crucial the forks in the road were to Out Run’s game rhythm.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

NH: The road forks are what make Out Run a really tight game.

YO: But since we went through the trouble of making it, there was also a discussion of just putting it in anyway. But the director, Matsuoka-san, was very strongly against it.

NH: I wanted to include it because we had put quite a lot of time into it, but even if we left the forks in there, you drive through the same locations in the end no matter which way you go, which seems pointless. So we just ended up cutting it.

YO: We ultimately couldn’t make it more interesting than the normal game. The fun in Out Run is all about starting from the beginning each time and driving through the different branches. We really didn’t have a choice.

NH: We talked about how nice it would be to create a course editor, but then what would we do about the finish lines?

– If you edit them, then you would have been able to connect the courses in ways they’ve never been connected before.

YO: It’s an issue of whether the end result is fun enough to justify the work involved. We also want to make sure it doesn’t undermine what makes Out Run fun. Those who have tried 3D Super Hang-On’s World Tour mode might have been looking forward to it, but it just didn’t make it this time. If it’s something you wanted to try, I’m sorry!

– There were some people who thought there would be a mode where you could play all 15 courses. Or thought there’d be an editor that allowed you to tweak the car graphics.

YO: We actually looked into that a bit. But even though it’s an old game, there’s quite a few patterns you’d have to create!

NH: And if you don’t understand how palettes work, you can’t make anything anyway.

YO: We even discussed taking polygon based cars and allowing people to edit the textures, and then converting those into pixel versions. (laughs)

NH: The moving tires are animated through the palette, so it would get really complicated. (laughs)

– Oh, wow, you guys really put some thought into it.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

YO: The point is: Is it interesting as new content? How does it extend the game’s fun? For Out Run, in the end we settled on making it so you could drive various types of cars.

NH: I think you’ll find it feels really nice if you give it a play.

YO: If you were one of those people played it back in the day, you’ll be able to get a taste of what made old driving games fun.

NH: It’s a different kind of fun from games created with polygons.

– A fun not found in modern racing games

Stay Tuned – The Interview Continues on Monday

Thanks for staying to check out part 2 of our interview with developer M2 and Sega of Japan for our SEGA 3D Classics. Starting Monday we dive into the interview with Manabu Namiki and focus on the sound and music design.

 
   
   
 

SEGA 3D Classics – 3D Out Run – Part 1

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

3D Out Run arrives on Nintendo 3DS on March 12! While translating this month’s interview from GameWatch & Impress, we realized it was incredibly long. Much longer than our normal blogs are, which are already pretty lengthy. To help break everything up into a more digestible format, we’re posting the interview across four updates leading up to the release next week. The first two parts cover the game with Yosuke Okunari (SEGA of Japan) and Naoki Horii (President of M2). The second two parts features Manabu Namiki and focuses on the sound and music design.

If you love these interviews, post and let us know! We really feel passionate about being able to deliver such an in depth technical look into how these games are created. Thanks for reading, enjoy part 1 …

A Word About The Original Arcade Version

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

The racing game Out Run began operating in 1986 as the forth entry in SEGA’s series of “physical experience” games. The gameplay follows a man and woman as they throw their car canopy back and race across the countryside, crossing checkpoints within the given time limits. Players need to avoid running into other cars and off-course obstacles or else be violently thrown from their vehicle. The pyramid-like course structure resulted in 16 possible routes.

The arcade cabinet came in Deluxe, Standard, Cockpit, and Upright versions, with an accelerator and brake at your feet, and shifter with HI/LO positions on the left side of the seat (the Upright kit’s is on the right). The Deluxe and Standard cabinets moved with your steering, and when you ran off course or crashed.
There were two game versions: Old and New. The Japanese market saw a mixture of both the Old and New versions, while overseas arcades ran the New version. The courses differ slightly between the two, and the New version has a couple of bugs fixed.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

One of the ground-breaking features of the game at the time of its release was the ability to choose from three radio songs before you started playing: MAGICAL SOUND SHOWER, SPLASH WAVE, and PASSING BREEZE.

There was also a time when players of Out Run were particularly focused on speed runs of the game, and a bug was discovered where you could maintain speed even when running off course by rapidly changing the gearshift, which came to be known as gear gacha. This play style led to many of the arcade cabinets seeing a shorter-than-expected lifespan, due to wear and tear on the gear shifter.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

The arcade board itself was an evolution of Space Harrier’s, and was dubbed the Out Run Board. It used two MC68000 processors and a Z80 for sound control, and was capable of displaying 128 sprites at one time. The sound itself was done with a YM2151 and a SEGA proprietary PCM, which were not only used for sound effects, but also for the rhythm parts for the background music.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run
The Out Run Deluxe arcade kit kept in SEGA’s warehouse.

Setting A New Standard For Ports

– It’s finally Out Run’s turn for the 3D Remaster Project. Shall we start?

Yosuke Okunari (below YO): It’s the third game in the 3D Remaster Project’s second batch, and the 11th game overall. Honestly, I didn’t think we’d be able to continue this far. But it is time to release what some consider to be the climax of the series, 3D Out Run. I want to thank you and everyone else for supporting us.

Naoki Horii (below NH):
Yes, thank you very much.

YO: Actually, I was thinking this game would come out sometime in the summer of 2014 (the title released in the spring of 2014 in Japan). Last year’s series finished up in the summer, after all. I’m glad we were able to keep on track.

NH: Is this a compliment? Or are you saying you didn’t think we could do it?

YO: Well, we got some help from various groups, and as a result you can all take a drive during Golden Week*. I’ve always timed arcade game releases to coincide with long break periods, so personally I think it really worked out.

* Golden Week is a period at the beginning of May in Japan where three national holidays line up and the public takes advantage of this to take up to a week and a half off.

– I think Out Run is a title everyone’s been waiting for.

YO: You know, people always ask why we didn’t put the really famous games from SEGA’s physical experience lineup, like Out Run and After Burner, at the front of the series rather than the end.
The first batch was focused on the base groundwork, so we could figure out if these 3D conversions were even possible in the first place. It started with Space Harrier, which M2 started by telling us it wouldn’t run, but through time and effort they got it running in the end. We placed a lot of importance on this, so we worked on games that we had experience with in previous projects.

And thanks to you all, we have received very positive feedback on 3D Space Harrier. And with this second batch, we started by releasing games that were of particular interest to the Japanese users. The reason we didn’t do After Burner II and Out Run in the first batch is that these are games that M2 hadn’t worked on in the past, and would be much more difficult to develop, as well as the fact there’s a lot of other “paperwork,” so to speak, that these particular titles required prior to being released.

For Out Run especially, there’s a number of reasons we cannot simply release the original arcade version as-is, and thus it’s previously been considered “unportable.” But we’ve heard so many people tell us, “Release Out Run!” And of course, it’s a title we want to release as well. I mean, if you are going to have Space Harrier, Super Hang-On, and Galaxy Force II, it’d just be strange if we didn’t also have After Burner II and Out Run.

NH: Well, won’t it be strange if we don’t have Thunder Blade!?

– (laughs)

YO: You really just don’t give up on that. Would it really be that strange if we don’t?

NH: Wouldn’t it? I mean, the game really does stand out.

YO: It only stands out because you keep bringing it up in these interviews.

– Well, I’d like to see you guys put out Thunder Blade.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run
3D Out Run upper screen on the Nintendo 3DS

YO: Anyway… We knew that if we were going to do a second batch, we knew that we’d need to see if these two games were going to be possible. So with that decided, we started with After Burner II and went through the things we needed to confirm one by one. Ultimately we were able to bring out 3D After Burner II in a form meeting everyone’s expectations, more or less.

Next was Out Run. 3D Out Run was basically being done in parallel with After Burner II, with the same core staff doing the development. And let me just preemptively answer the question that’s burning in the throats of all the hardcore fans reading this interview: the car design is not the same as the original.

Since we knew that we couldn’t do a 100% reproduction of the original, we had to ask ourselves if we should even bother doing the port. This was the first hurdle we had to clear. Can we really retain the essence of Out Run? What are the things we can do?

We took a hard look at the porting history of this title such as the Sega Saturn version, the Dreamcast version, and the Xbox version, and decided to aim once again to not only port this game again, but set a new standard by retaining the good stuff—everything that was within our ability to do so.

I said this back when we started the SEGA AGES 2500 series (Japan-only), but we’ve continued to deliver games that capture the experience and feeling of playing the games back when they were originally released, resurrecting these famous SEGA titles for the current generation. We’ve done that by doing faithful ports, or with new ideas such as moving arcade cabinet modes and environmental sounds recorded off the cabinets themselves.

Everything we are now capable of, all the ideas that we’ve come up with to get you as close as possible to that original arcade experience, all the ways we can extend the fun, all the results of our trial and error… We’ve brought it all to 3D Out Run.

– There was some doubt when the news came out about the fact that the player’s car would be different from the original. But it seems like there was a bit of a situation surrounding that. Personally, as long as it’s not something that changes the gameplay itself from the original, I don’t think some amount of change is a big problem. But I wonder how our readers feel about it.

YO: If it were a budget or schedule constraint, then there might have been something we could have done, but that wasn’t it. So we appreciate everyone’s understanding for 3D After Burner II and 3D Out Run.

Run everything we can at 60 frames per second! A better-than-the-original Out Run.

– So tell us a bit about any technical hardships you guys had this time with the porting work.

YO: If you’re someone who’s been reading all our interviews to-date, perhaps you’ve noticed that there seems to be less talk about our trials and tribulations with the porting work for the second batch of games.

NH: Perhaps.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run
3D Out Run’s map screen. Of course it’s in 3D, too!

YO: This is because about half of the talk during the first batch of interviews was about how M2 told us that a game wouldn’t run, but then they used their technical know-how to make adjustments to the program optimization and data organization and make something that basically runs just like the original, pushing the 3DS to its limits.

First Horii-san said Space Harrier wouldn’t work, and then he said Galaxy Force II most certainly wouldn’t work. But in the end they were able to get them running, so for the second batch with After Burner II and Fantasy Zone, they were able to get things started relatively smoothly because of the breathing room we’d created with our previous achievements.

NH: Our hard work is paying dividends.

YO: That said, that hard work came back once again with Out Run. When was it that you showed me Out Run working for the first time?

NH: It was quite some time ago. Wasn’t it back in the spring of 2013?

YO: It’s worth noting that our second title, Super Hang-On, ran on the same arcade board as Out Run (commonly known as the “Out Run Board”, though it was the 2nd game on the system). So when the work on Super Hang-On was finished, M2 figured that with a little more effort, they could get Out Run working as well.

NH: Super Hang-On had an Out Run Board version as well, so we had a rough idea as to the work that would be involved.

YO: So with that, I had them show me the game running. But I immediately rejected it saying, “No. This isn’t going to work.” And the reason was because the port was running at 30 frames per second.

NH: Yes, but the arcade version rendered at 30 FPS as well.

– Oh, the original runs at 30 FPS, too.

YO: Out Run is the only game from that era of SEGA arcade “physical experience” games that ran at 30 FPS. All the other ones ran at 60 FPS. Out Run used a new arcade board that was a souped up version of Space Harrier’s Harrier Board, but I think because the development team put an extreme amount of work into the visual aspects of the title, the game was released running at 30 FPS. I don’t think anyone complained at the time, and it never bothered me personally until the Sega Saturn version was released.

– The Sega Saturn version! Wow, that was a really amazing port, wasn’t it?

YO: When you played the Sega Saturn version normally, it would run just like the arcade version at 30 FPS, but by putting in a cheat code, you could run the game at 60 FPS. It was a true testament to Rutubo Games, the developers, and I bet it caused those who played in this mode to “see the light,” as it were. I was actually in charge of the marketing for that game back then, and I was really impressed with Rutubo’s work the first time I saw it.

So when M2 first showed told me the game and said, “We got Out Run working,” I thought back to that and said, “This is going to have to run at 60 FPS.”

NH: Even though rendering at 30 FPS was being faithful to the original, there was a precedent for 60 FPS.

YO: The reasoning was that since the Saturn version ran at 60 FPS, the fans are undoubtedly going to want to see it running at 60 FPS. And since M2 is the sort of company that gets fixated on things like running at 60 FPS, it’s really a must-have.

NH: Well, you know… You aren’t wrong, but in order to get it rendering at 60 FPS, you need to get it running at around twice the speed of the arcade version.

– It reminds me of when we were talking about the Neo Classic version for 3D Galaxy Force II (that game’s Special Mode).

YO: Oh, yeah. It’s exactly like that. (laughs)

NH: Even if something’s impossibly difficult, if we keep whispering in the dev team’s ear, somehow it ends up happening.

– (laughs)

YO: Though in that situation, we were talking about putting in graphics with twice the resolution of the original, all while the memory usage was already redlining.

– What you’re saying is that for 3D Galaxy Force II, it was a battle with memory management, but for 3D Out Run it’s a battle with using the machine power efficiently.

YO: That’s back when we were working on 3D Galaxy Force II and M2 was telling me that it was impossible. (laughs)

– So nothing ever changes (laughs). M2 just simply tells you it’s not going to happen.

YO: …Well, that’s what they said, but later when we finally got around to doing the second batch, we talked about how we were going to do Out Run this time around, but M2 would have to bring their best and get it running at 60 FPS. They never promised that they could, but we just kind of ignored that and gave it the green-light anyway.

– You once again “cut through the hemming and hawing,” as you put it? (laughs) Well, I guess there was a precedent for it working out in the end.

NH: Yes, and we ended up agreeing to it…

YO: The development started, and the first version that M2 uploaded didn’t have anything running at 60 FPS. Though, to be exact, there was a switch that simply read, “Smooth.” (laughs)

– (laughs) “Smooth Mode” was what they called the cheat in the Sega Saturn version, wasn’t it?

YO: I said to the director, Matsuoka-san, “The fact that you have this switch here… This means you’re going to get it running at 60 FPS, right?” And he said, “Well, we’ll do our best, but I’m not in a position to say that we can actually do it.”

NH: That’s why I like Matsuoka. “I’ll do my best.” In my case, I just say, “Yeah, I guess we have to do it, don’t we?” And it just ends in hardship for everyone.

– (laughs)

YO: So then some time went by and the alpha version arrived. When you turned on this Smooth Switch, everything rendered quicker. I got all excited, saying “Wait, what!? It’s running at 60 FPS! Matsuoka-san, you did it! All you had to do was put your mind to it!” But Matsuoka-san said, “No, look closer.” It turns out only the road was being drawn at 60 FPS, and all the other objects like the billboards and other cars were still running at 30 FPS.

NH: We were able to get everything running at 60 FPS by addressing each spot one by one.

– I see.

YO: So then some time passed and the in-game started to run in 60 FPS, starting with the other cars, then the billboards, and so on. Director Matsuoka was telling me, “We are gradually putting what we can into 60 FPS, one thing at a time.”

NH: And it’s not just a split between background and foreground objects. There are more detailed categories than just those. So every time we put something new into 60 FPS, we’d send the ROM around internally and ask, “Can you tell what’s different?” And a discerning colleague would spot the new area. That was our “60 FPS Evaluation Committee,” as it were.

And by repeating this process, we were able to get the ending and the startup scenes up to 60 FPS as well. The Saturn version left those portions at 30 FPS. Though I’m not sure there’s a point to running those scenes at 60 FPS!

– (laughs)

NH: We were on a mission to run every part of the game at 60 FPS. However, we eventually started running out of processing power, so we ultimately had to go back to the way the Saturn version was and run the ending at 30 FPS. I guess there are reasons why Rutubo did things the way they did. (laughs)

YO: In any case, we had a talk and decided that we’d just keep working on upgrading individual parts, and if we run out of time that’s the best we could do, and that’s fine. Once we had the objects running at 60 FPS, we went and took this “Special” mode that we created and just made it the default, in the same way we did with 3D Galaxy Force II. We want the user to experience Out Run in all its glory right out of the box, and the best way to do that is at 60 frames per second.

NH: Though making that the default made life a lot harder for us.

YO: Taking our Special content and making that the default was sometime just before beta, wasn’t it?

NH: Yes, it was quite recent.

– (laughs)

YO: When we showed Nintendo what we were working on, it was still in a state where the 30 FPS and 60 FPS bits were mixed half and half. Later we had something that was mostly running at 60, but there were still bits like the crash scenes that were still at 30. There were a number of 30 FPS scenes still in there, actually…

But when you get it to that point, you start thinking, “Isn’t this good enough?” But in the final stretch from beta up to the final version, more and more bits and pieces of 60 FPS kept creeping in. And before I knew it, everything was running at 60 FPS. Toward the end, I couldn’t even tell what was being changed in the last few updates.

– Speaking from a render processing standpoint, you guys saved a lot of machine power in 3D Galaxy Force II because you made the upfront decision to use streaming for the music, right? But for 3D Out Run, you’re emulating the music as well. Did you ever consider changing your initial plans to emulate everything

NH: Not really. We figured that we got things to work with the Y-Board, and it didn’t really seem right to stream the music to achieve double the rendering on the Out Run Board.

YO: If you want to reproduce the music through streaming, you end up with a much larger data size. Most users get by with using the SD Card that their 3DS comes with, which would be a 2GB card for normal 3DS and 4GB for the XL. Since we are releasing a lot of games in this series, we want the users to be able to line them all up on their 3DS at one time, you know? So we want each title to be as small as possible. M2 is especially keen on this. I asked them if they were really okay with no streaming, and they were very obstinate about wanting to do it with emulation.

NH: We didn’t know if we could get everything running at 60 FPS, but we knew we wanted to do the sound via emulation. That never changed.

YO: We had the intention of doing everything through emulation from the get-go, but then I had this fixation on getting everything running at 60 FPS, so I was raising the bar even further. (laughs) We support widescreen this time as well, like it’s no big deal. But that means things not displayed in the original need to be rendered on screen, and this requires more rendering power. For 3D Galaxy Force II, the original version always displayed wide so it was doable, but for After Burner II and Out Run, if you just widen the display area it causes empty spots where sprites aren’t being rendered, so you have to fill that in. That caused a bit of trouble on our part, didn’t it?

NH: Yes, that’s right. And you can see things you weren’t supposed to see.

YO: For After Burner II’s take-off and landing scenes, the aircraft carrier takes up the entire screen in 4:3, but when you display it in 16:9 it looks strange if you don’t show the ocean on the sides. And when you land on the carrier and come to a stop, the movement of the water has to stop, but in the original 4:3 the water keeps flowing off screen. So you have to make efforts to stop that, too. Basically you have to put work into fixing things that you never noticed in the original.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run

The original ran at 4:3, so by displaying in widescreen, portions that were not previously rendered are now visible, which requires data to be displayed there as well as increasing the area that needs to be drawn, which in turn increases processing requirements.

– There’s additional work that occurs because you have to clean up stuff that was not visible in the original because it was outside the screen frame.

YO: Like if you were watching a movie, and you saw something off the set, it sort of kills the magic.

– You have to hide backdrops and mic booms and all that off-camera.

NH: Hide all that piano wire for the fight sequences!

YO: Throughout the entire development process with Out Run, the graphics guys were pursuing any means possible to get rid of any differences with the original, while the programmers we focused on doing whatever possible to increase speed. Running things at 60 FPS of course creates bugs and glitches as well, so those also had to be addressed. In that sense, this was the most difficult project out of the second batch of ports.

NH: Upgrading every single little thing so it runs at 60 FPS took the most time. If you could just tweak the clock of the entire system and turn everything up to run at 60 FPS, well, that would be easy. But you can’t do that with this.

– I have one thing that’s been bugging me I’d like to ask about. To get a game that originally ran at 30 FPS to run at 60 FPS, it’s double the number of screens you have to draw, so you have to draw two frames for every one frame the original drew. How are you synthesizing these new additional frames? You’re not just drawing the same frame again, right?

YO: We didn’t have the Saturn source code available to us, so we weren’t able to thoroughly investigate how Rutubo went about handling it, but the Saturn version’s 60 Frame Mode had this aspect where everything ran really smoothly, but it also lost its sense of speed. 3D Out Run does not suffer from that.

NH: The game itself is running at the same speed as the original, so once the game finishes drawing a frame, the next image—the image displayed 30 frames later—is also finished drawing. At 60 FPS, we are basically calculating where the background and objects will be placed between the previous frame and next frame, and adding that additional frame in between.

SEGA 3D Classics - 3D Out Run
3D Out Run’s settings menus. As you might expect by now, there are four options for each.

– So it’s the same technique that TVs employ for screen smoothing.

NH: This is what I’ve been talking about, getting every single little thing to render at 60 FPS. The Saturn version probably used the same idea. Since the speed you move at is known, you can use that to calculate that in-between frame.

– Oh, I see. So adding on to that, the scrolling is sync’d with the car’s movements, so if for example the car slows down, couldn’t it break the 3D? For example, if you got a game over during a fork in the road, it’d just freeze the screen like that, right?

YO: People who don’t read these interviews might just drive through those parts and think nothing of it. That certainly was the case with me. But for those out there who are reading these interviews, I want you to know that M2 put a lot of work into the forked road sections to make them so they look natural in 3D. I’m sure they’d be happy if you remembered them when you are taking those turns. (laughs)

NH: Just as Okunari-san is saying, obviously we have to make it look 3D. I feel like asking the people out there reading the interview to think that it’s really amazing is a bit futile, because it’s so obvious that it needs to be there. (all laugh)

– If you didn’t take a still screenshot of it, I don’t think I would have noticed it either. This isn’t the sort of thing you’d notice if you hadn’t been taking screenshots back in the day when everything was interlaced. When you take games that use line buffers and bring that onto games that buffer the whole frame, you run into a lot of tough issues. Though this isn’t something that matters much to the average player.

YO: I’m sure people who know what we’re talking about are grinning right now. (laughs) The kind of people who watch the transition between scrolling left and scrolling right in Fantasy Zone with one eye closed.

What we did in Out Run was built on what we did on After Burner, and that was built on what was done on Galaxy Force II, Super Hang-On, and Space Harrier. The technology we’ve built up over past projects is what makes the next project possible.

– Most people, including myself, would think that once you got Galaxy Force II working, it would be trivial to get any of the other “physical experience” titles working on the 3DS.

NH: Well, you wouldn’t be wrong. Of course, there are certain exceptions to that, like adding 3D and whatnot.

– Not to mention things like the System-24’s rather strange architecture.

But Wait, There’s More (and more, and more)

This concludes the first part of our translated interview from Game Watch & Impress. Tomorrow we’ll close our part two with a look at the extra features and updates in 3D Out Run. On Monday, we’ll kick off our translated interview with Manabu Namiki on the game audio. Thanks for reading!

 
   
   
 

Hot Wheels Crazy Taxi City Rush Sweepstakes

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SEGA®
Hot Wheels Crazy Taxi City Rush Sweepstakes
Official Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.
VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Twitter.
You understand that you are providing your information to Sega Networks Inc. and not to Twitter.
Any communication regarding the Hot Wheels Crazy Taxi City Rush Sweepstakes must be directed
to the Sega Networks Inc. and not to Twitter.

This promotion is administered by a U.S. company and in compliance with U.S. privacy laws; by entering you are agree to all the terms and conditions of the Sponsor’s Privacy Policy.

1) Promotion Description: Sega Networks Inc. (the “Sponsor”) is offering the “Hot Wheels Crazy Taxi City Rush Sweepstakes” (the “Promotion”) and will determine winners and award prizes via a series of random drawings. The Promotion begins March 5, 2015 at 12:00:01 AM U.S. Pacific Time (“PT”) and ends at 11:59:59 U.S. PM PT on March 19, 2015, (“Promotion Period”). Within the Promotion Period there are two (2) weekly entry periods (“Weekly Entry Periods”) conducted per the schedule below.

All entries received in any given Weekly Entry Period are eligible ONLY for that Weekly Drawing and will NOT be “rolled forward” for inclusion in any subsequent Weekly Entry Period or Drawing. However all entries received in each of the Weekly Entry Periods will be eligible for the final Overall Grand Prize Drawing.

2) Eligibility: The Promotion is open to (i) individuals who are at least eighteen (18) years of age at time of entry and (ii) individuals at least thirteen (13) and less than eighteen years of age having their parent or legal guardian’s permission to register. Employees, officers and directors of Sponsor, Promotion Administrator, its advertising, promotional, fulfillment and marketing agencies (collectively the “Promotion Entities”), their immediate families (parent, grandparent, child, sibling & spouse) and persons living in the same households as such individuals (whether related or not), are not eligible to participate in the Promotion.

The promotion is void in all countries currently under sanction by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including: Balkans, Belarus, Burma, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, DR of the Congo, Iran Iraq, Liberia (the former regime of Charles Taylor), Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. Please note that the list of sanctions countries ca change at any time, however, a current list is available at: http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/programs.

Further, the promotion is void in Quebec and any jurisdiction where prohibited by law, rule or regulation.

3) How to Enter: There are two (2) ways to enter –

(a) Via game play and video submission on Twitter: Download the game, Crazy Taxi™ City Rush, (the “Game”) to your Android or Apple mobile device. (The Game is available for free download at Apple’s App Store and Google Play.) Play the Game and use the Kamcord integration built in-to the game to create a thirty second to one-minute video of a Game mission in which the car features the Hot Wheels decals (your “Game Video”). NOTE: To use the Hot Wheels decals on your car, you must purchase the usage with in-game currency or acquire usage of the decals via completed missions. To receive one (1) entry, visit https://twitter.com/CrazyTaxiSEGA and follow the instructions to upload your Game Video using the hashtag #HotWheelsCrazyTaxi. There is a limit of five (5) entries per day. A “day” is defined any twenty-four (24) hour period beginning at 12:00:01 AM U.S. PT and ending at 11:59:59 PM U.S. PT during the Promotion Period. Game Videos must be uploaded in accordance with Twitter Terms of Use at https://twitter.com/tos. Use of inflammatory language and inappropriate matter will invalidate your entry. Message, data rates or other charges may apply; check your mobile plan for rates and details. Participation may not be possible on all carriers. Note that proof of Game Video submission does not constitute proof of delivery or receipt.

(b) FREE entry via email: To receive one (1) entry send an email to CrazyTaxiSega@sega.net with “Hot Wheels Crazy Taxi City Rush Sweepstakes” in the subject line of the email. In the body of the email provide your first/last name, age, and country of residence.

There is a limit of five (5) entries per day regardless of the entry method used to enter.

Creation of false and/or multiple accounts on Twitter for the purpose of entry are prohibited. In the event of a dispute as to any Entry, the authorized account holder of the Twitter account used to enter will be deemed to be the entrant. The “authorized account holder” is the natural person assigned the account by the online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning the account. You may be required to show proof of being an authorized account holder.

By submitting your Entry, you represent and warrant that the Entry conforms to these Official Rules and that Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may disqualify your Entry for any reason at any time, including if it determines, in its sole discretion, that it fails to conform to these Official Rules in any way or otherwise contains unacceptable content as determined by Sponsor, in its sole discretion.
4) Prizes Available in the Drawings–
Week One: Three (3) Hot Wheels Gift Baskets, Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) $100 USD each. There are a total of five (3) prizes available in the Week One drawing with a total ARV of $300 USD.
Week Two: Three (3) Hot Wheels Gift Baskets, ARV $100 USD each. There are a total of five (3) prizes available in the Week Two drawing with a total ARV of $300 USD.

Overall Grand Prize: One (1) Hot Wheels 2014 Master Set – The full collection of four hundred forty two (442) Hot Wheels cars released in 2014, ARV $549 USD. There is one (1) prize available in the overall Grand Prize drawing with a total ARV of $549 USD.

The odds of winning a prize in any drawing is dependent upon the number of eligible entries received in that specific drawing.

All federal, state and other taxes on prizes are solely the responsibility of the applicable winner. There are no prize substitutions or options available. However, in the event of unavailability, Promotion Entities reserve the right, exercisable at any time in their sole discretion, to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. Any costs associated with prize acceptance and use not specified herein as being provided, are solely the winner’s responsibility

5) Data Collection: –By entering the Promotion, you agree to all of the terms and conditions of Sponsor’s Privacy Policy, which is available at http://www.sega.com/mprivacy/

6) Winner Selection and Confirmation: Winners will be randomly selected in a random drawings conducted per the schedule in Section One of these Official Rules. A potential winner (“Potential Winner”) will be contacted within two (2) business days of the drawing via a message on his/her Twitter account (“Prize Notification”) requesting contact with the Sponsor to provide an email address for the purposes of providing a Prize Claim Document (“PCD”). If you are a Potential Winner who entered via email you will receive a Prize Notification via email with the PCD as an attachment.

The PCD must be printed, completed and returned within five (5) days of the date indicated on the Prize Notification email. If any Potential Winner is under the age of majority in his/her jurisdiction of residence (“Minor”), his/her parent or legal guardian must provide his/her information for the purposes of prize fulfillment and accept the prize on behalf of the Minor. Failure to comply with any of these provisions will result in disqualification and forfeiture of the prize. Return of Prize Notification or prize as undeliverable for any reason will result in disqualification and forfeiture of the prize. Entrants agree that the decisions of the Sponsor are final and binding. A Potential Winner is not an official winner (“Winner”) until his/her eligibility has been verified and Potential Winner has been notified that verification is complete.

7) General: You agree to comply fully with each provision in these Official Rules. Any person attempting to defraud or in any way tamper with this Promotion and any person who does not comply with these Official Rules, will be ineligible for any prize(s) and may be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If, during the Overall Promotion Period, for reasons beyond the Sponsor’s control (including, but not limited to, tampering or computer virus infection), the Promotion is not capable of running as originally planned, the Sponsor, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to cancel or modify the Promotion, without liability and to the extent feasible, and will select Official Winners and award prizes from among Entries received prior to cancellation or modification via random drawing. Sponsor is not responsible for Internet, computer hardware and software, phone, and other technical errors, malfunctions, and delays. Entries, which are incomplete, inaccurate, irregular, or otherwise not in compliance with these Official Rules, are void. Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual it finds, in its sole discretion, to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Promotion or web site. Sponsor may prohibit an entrant from participating in the Promotion or winning a prize if, in its sole discretion, it determines that said entrant is attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Promotion by cheating, hacking, deception, or other unfair playing practices (including the use of automated quick entry programs) or intending to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other entrants or Sponsor representatives.
CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEB SITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE PROMOTION MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.
8 ) Release of Liability and Issues of Law: By participating you release the Sponsor and Twitter, their affiliates, partners, subsidiaries, officers, directors, agents, employees and all Promotion Entities associated with the development and execution of this Promotion and their respective employees, officers, directors and shareholders (“Released Parties”) from any and all liability with respect to and in any way arising from participating in this Promotion or acceptance or use of prizes.

You also agree that the Released Parties are not responsible or liable for any injury or damage to your or third person’s computer system related to or resulting from you entering the Promotion or the downloading of any materials associated with the Promotion (including, without limitation, any server failure or lost, delayed or corrupted data or other malfunction), either directly or indirectly.

You agree that Released Parties shall not be liable for personal injuries, death, damages, expenses or costs or losses of any kind resulting from your participation or inability to participate in this Promotion or parts thereof or acceptance of, use of or inability to use a prize or parts thereof including, without limitation, claims, suits, injuries, losses and damages related to personal injuries, death, damage to or destruction of property, rights of publicity or privacy, defamation or portrayal in a false light (whether intentional or unintentional), whether under a theory of contract, tort (including negligence), warranty or other theory. Official Winners agree to release the Released Parties from any and all liability and responsibility with respect to the prize (including any property loss, damage, personal injury or death). Official Winners acknowledge the Promotion Entities have neither made nor are in any manner responsible for any warranty, representation or guarantee, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, related to the prize.

Released Parties shall not be liable for failure to supply a prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, terrorist acts, earthquake, war, fire, flood, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal), labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Released Parties’ sole control.

The Promotion and your Entry are subject to applicable national, state and local law, rules and regulations. THE CALIFORNIA COURTS (STATE AND FEDERAL) SHALL HAVE SOLE JURISDICTION OF ANY CONTROVERSIES REGARDING THE PROMOTION AND THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SHALL GOVERN THE PROMOTION. EACH ENTRANT WAIVES ANY AND ALL OBJECTIONS TO JURISDICTION AND VENUE IN THOSE COURTS AND HEREBY SUBMITS TO THE JURISDICTION OF THOSE COURTS. The Promotion is void where restricted or prohibited by law.

9) Information about the Winners: The names of the winners will be posted on Twitter.com/CrazyTaxiSEGA and https://www.facebook.com/crazytaxisega within approximately five (5) business days following the conclusion of each drawing.

10) Communication – Any questions or comments regarding this Promotion should be directed to the Sponsor at CrazyTaxiSega@sega.net

Sponsor:
Sega Networks Inc.
612 Howard Street, Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94105

Android and Google Play are trademarks of Google Inc. App Store is a service mark of, and Apple and iPhone are trademarks of, Apple Inc. Google Inc. and Apple Inc. are not sponsors of or in any way affiliated with this Promotion.

SEGA, the SEGA logo, and CRAZY TAXI are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA Corporation.

Hot Wheel and Mattel are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Mattel, Inc.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

 
   
   
 


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