SAGE 2014: Sonic Time Twisted Developer Bryce “Overbound” Stock Interview Part 1by Michael Westgarth February 21, 2014
Our SAGExpo coverage begins NOW–and what would SAGE be without a heap of fan games and a hearty dose of organisation? We got in touch with the man that provides both — Bryce “Overbound” Stock, creator of Sonic Time Twsited and co-organiser of SAGExpo 2014 Act 1.
See what Overbound had to say about Sonic Time Twisted, fan reaction and more in the first part of this Sage 2014 developer interview:
TSSZ: To those who don’t know, who is Overbound and what do you do?
Stock: My name is Bryce Stock, I am the creator of the fan game project Sonic Time Twisted, co-owner of Sonic United, webmaster of Sonic Fan Games HQ, and co-organizer of the next SAGExpo.
TSSZ: What is your goal with Sonic Time Twisted?
Stock: I want to finish a fan game that is of the same caliber as Sonic 1 through Knuckles [Sonic & Knuckles].
TSSZ: Does the SAGE ’14 demo of Time Twisted mark a significant step in the game’s development?
Stock: The last demo of Sonic Time Twisted came out in 2010 after which I changed engines to the AeStHete engine by Mercury because it was more accurate and bug free. So for two years I built levels and designed graphics for the AeStHete version of Time Twisted.
But AeStHete is bigger than Time Twisted. Mercury, the creator, wants to turn AeStHete into an entire Sonic game creation package. A project of that scope will probably take a few more years. All I required is a solid engine that I can program on top of. So I asked my friend AeroGP if I could use his engine which uses physics very similar to AeStHete and not only did he agree but he wanted to work on the game too. So we’ve been nonstop since last June. In that time we finished his engine and built five acts.
TSSZ: Is a completed version of Time Twisted now in sight?
Stock: Yes, thankfully. I should have it finished in another year or so. I know that many fan game projects die off but I have been working towards this since I was 12 years old making games in GM 3.3 [Game Maker] and MS paint. I’m not about to leave the project unfinished.
TSSZ: What’re your favourite new features in the SAGE ’14 demo?
Stock: I’d say the time travel. Unlike Sonic CD time travel is almost instant and you don’t have to reach high speeds to travel. Plus, unlike previous demos, each time zone is a completely different level with some of its own locations, badniks, and bosses.
TSSZ: You’ve been working on Time Twisted for over nine years, during which a lot of new, official Sonic games have been released. Have any of these new games affected your work on Time Twisted?
Stock: Not really. Even games I like such has Sonic Generations and Sonic 4 Episode II had very little impact on the game. I suppose that’s because a lot of the stuff I like about those games is reminiscent of the Genesis/ Mega Drive games.
TSSZ: With Sonic-esque indie titles such as Freedom Planet on the way, why stick with Sonic?
Stock: I love Sonic he has been a part of my life since I was about 5 years old. I was even thinking about developing Sonic games back then. So if I were to do a Freedom Planet type game I would have to throw away part of my dream. After I finish Time Twisted I’ll work on something else.
TSSZ: How do you react to and deal with criticism regarding Time Twisted‘s demos and development time?
Stock: Blaze wrote a pretty bad review of Time Twisted in 2008 which prompted me to pretty much start over [link to the review]. I scrapped everything. It was for the better though and I am grateful to Blaze that he helped me see that. At the time though I was rather angry and SFGHQ and TSSZ were not on the best of terms. I’m glad that that has all changed now.
More recently I am pretty much ignoring criticism, it was very helpful when I was younger but I am much more confident in my abilities now. I can make my own decisions.
This year’s release will probably [be] criticized too, likely for being too difficult. I designed it that way so that seasoned Sonic players will have a difficult time beating it in one sitting. I envision players getting frustrated and quitting the game only to come back later and trying again because they have to see that next level. Based on the people I’ve given the game to so far, I am succeeding in that.
TSSZ: When Sonic Time Twisted is complete, are you onto the next Sonic project, or will you be taking a break from making your own fan games?
Stock: I will likely make a game that is very similar to Sonic like Strife and LakeFeperd are doing now. Actually I have plans to tie it into Sonic Time Twisted’s ending.
TSSZ: Where can TSSZ readers find you?
Stock: I am usually on the Sonic United and Sonic Fan Games HQ forums which you can find at: www.sonicunited.org/forums
Sonic Time Twisted has a website too:
Check back Sunday to read Part 2 of our talk with Bryce “Overbound” Stock, in which he discusses SAGE 2014, the future of SAGE and the recently announced Sonic Boom!