ASSEMbler Games discovers Ofer’s PC work
Sonic X-treme had quite the development saga. Between employees almost working themselves literally to death to disputes over engine technology, it has become one of the great mysteries of the Sonic community. Or it would be a mystery, if not for the efforts of former Sega developer Chris Senn to provide everything he still had regarding the project. We’ve heard music, seen sprites, and even watched video. But beyond brief tech demos, never have be actually been able to play a working, functional build of Sonic X-treme.
That may change at some point in the future, going by a post on the ASSEMbler Games forum made by user “jollyroger”. It seems that jollyroger has acquired some materials from an old, now-defunct developer known as “Point of View”. You’ll best remember Point of View as the developer behind Ready 2 Rumble Boxing and early entries in the NFL Blitz franchise. According to jollyroger, Point of View at one point was enlisted to help develop Sonic X-treme, something that was not widely known:
As far as I know, very little is known about POV’s effort to work on Sonic X-treme, and it would be great to add that part of the puzzle to the very complicated story, so I would kindly ask everyone to help me find the parts I need, so that I can work on this for a while and hopefully at some point create some sort of release, something for PC and something for Saturn.
Later posts in the thread state that jollyroger has work done by Ofer Alon on the attempted PC port of Sonic X-treme. According to what we know from Chris Senn, after the project was canned for the Saturn, Ofer and Chris tried to pitch Sonic X-treme as an exclusive game to the “Sega PC” branch. Sega PC rejected them, apparently because they were more interested in porting Sega’s console games to the PC and not generating original software. According to Chris, the PC version they showed to Sega PC was pretty far along, and was the basis for many of the videos he released of the project. Having access to Ofer’s work on this version could be a big score in the saga of finally having a playable build of Sonic X-treme.
There’s one problem, however:
Some code is supposed to run on Windows 95 (I have a full Win95 PC setup), and I found the required compiler, but it also requires a Diamond Edge 3D NVidia NV1 video card, which I am now trying to source; any help is appreciated.
The code also requires the NVidia NV1 SDK, which I am also trying to find.
Additionally there is some Saturn sources and two Saturn CD Emulator (Mirage) DSK files, with what I presume is POV’s engine running some kind of Sonic X-treme demo.
Early on in the 32-bit Console Wars, one of the battle lines being drawn between the Playstation and the Sega Saturn was what style of polygon to use. Polygons are geometric shapes that make up 3D models in videogames. The Playstation went with triangle shaped polygons, whereas Sega decided to use square-shaped “quad” polygons on the Saturn. What this ultimately meant is that when porting a game from one platform to the other, all of the 3D models had to be rebuilt specifically for that hardware. Playstation models using triangles were incompatible with the Saturn’s quads, and vice-versa.
Triangles became the dominant polygon format, and are still in use by modern games. But before that, Sega PC struck a deal with the then-fledgling graphics card manufacturer nVidia. Some of nVidia’s first PC-based graphics cards actually used quad polygons, and even came bundled with PC versions of Sega Saturn games that utilized that hardware. These graphics cards even had Sega Saturn controller ports built in to it to complete the experience.
Judging by what jollyroger is saying, Ofer’s work on Sonic X-treme‘s PC port requires one of these Diamond Edge 3D NV1 cards in order to run. Unfortunately, as one would expect from a dead, unpopular format like this, they are extremely rare (no pun intended.) There are two Diamond Edge 3D NV1 cards listed on Ebay as of writing this, and both have a “Buy It Now” price of over $200.
By extension, what this means is that even if jollyroger finds a way to get Ofer’s Sonic X-treme PC code working, it is unlikely you or I will be able to play it on a modern system without an extra layer of work.
If you know anything about the materials jollyroger needs to see what state all of this Sonic X-treme source code is in, or want to see what other goodies he acquired from Point of View, you can read the ASSEMbler Games thread here.