Feel free to comment on this post to share your opinion on SADX downgrades.
Upset that the version of the game you grew up with is complete trash? You can vent out your frustrations here. Want to defend some of the changes in SADX or point out an error in the comparisons? Suggest something we missed perhaps? This is also the right place to do it.
If you haven’t yet, please take a look around to familiarize yourself with the things discussed on this blog. We welcome informed opinions rather than baseless claims!
This is also sort of a guestbook for this blog, so you can share your impressions, report technical problems with different pages or request new sections.
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Amazing, amazing blog. I’d massively appreciate a post clearly showcasing Japanese sonic adventure’s blurry feet top speed animation in motion rather than just an image. Against the egg hornet would be a good place to showcase it from the side.
Love this site. Just read through everything; a fascinating read. The only thing that could move it from good to amazing is if a page were added somewhere that gathers together links to the mods such as the dc assets and lantern engine to make it easier to find.
A “How to fix SADX on PC” section is coming soon!
would be good if you could add extra high detailed models so they fit with the main characters such as replacing the echidnas with Knuckles model for example. Iam not sure how mich effort that would require.though
Great website all the same
I really appreciate you taking the time to put this website together! I hope that someday SEGA decides to release Sonic Adventure with all of its original Dreamcast polish.
Also, I would like to see you make an “Updates” section to let us know when you add a new page or add information to an existing one 🙂
Hi, thanks for the comment! I’ll see if I can set up a regular blog-like “News” page, but at the moment you can follow me on Twitter where I post about updates: https://twitter.com/pkr_sadx
Sounds good! And thank you for the swift response 😀
I appreciate the effort and detail put into all of this, but it DOES always feel like there’s some sort of leaning bias towards the original.
Emphasis on ‘feel like’, though, since often I can have trouble with this sort of thing, interpreting things wrong or letting them sail right over my head, combined with the reputation the Sonic fandom has in my head having a high likelihood of giving me a negative impression and thus tainting my judgement of this, like if going into a game expecting it to be horrible and so taking any flaws over the top whilst ignoring the game’s strengths.
Excellent blog! A few minor things I’d like to point out, mostly related to technicalities regarding the GameCube version of the game:
“The Gamecube uses a slightly different aspect ratio than the Dreamcast, but the port was not adjusted for the Gamecube’s aspect ratio. The picture appears slightly squished horizontally on the Gamecube, even on an emulator.”
This is actually incorrect. The game renders internally at a different resolution, which is then properly stretched to 640×480 when being played on real hardware. Emulators are the ones that render it incorrectly, although this can be rectified in Dolphin by simply setting the aspect ratio to “Stretch to Window,” provided it’s at its default size.
Interestingly, this leads to a rather funny screw-up: the GameCube version’s FMVs are 640×448, but they were cropped down rather than resized – thus, they’ll appear incorrectly on real hardware, correctly on emulators, and with a smaller viewing area in both. What an absolute disaster.
I can’t comment on the FMVs (yet), but I do have something to say about the aspect ratio:
1) The Dolphin option you mentioned was used for all Gamecube footage on this blog. It does look better than the 4:3 option, but it doesn’t completely resolve the aspect ratio difference.
2) Before mentioning the Gamecube’s aspect ratio I checked against footage captured from real hardware and it was indeed stretched. Here’s a video captured (supposedly) from a Gamecube: https://youtu.be/6JGDaiRO02c?t=150 And here’s how it compares against SADXPC: https://dcmods.unreliable.network/owncloud/data/PiKeyAr/files/Videos/Misc/squish.png
Although the zoom is slightly different between pictures, you can see Sonic is noticeably taller in the left screenshot if you compare his head proportions.
Here’s a screenshot comparison from Sonic Retro that also uses footage from actual hardware: http://www.sonicretro.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/sa_comparisson_character.png – same proportion difference as in the one above. You can also tell by the elongated letter A in Amy’s name.
It appears that the game’s aspect ratio is technically incorrect but the TV or capture hardware may or may not stretch it to fit a standard sized picture.
Internally the game is rendered at an incorrect aspect ratio, most definitely. This was very common for games of that era, both in order to give a softer look on out, and to potentially improve performance if only slightly. In the GameCube’s case, this scaling is not done on out, but is left up to the TV. Unfortunately, capture hardware and fixed pixel displays (EDTVs, HDTVs, etc.) do not properly handle this, whereas CRTs will take whatever they get and scale it to fit a proper 4:3 aspect ratio. Thus, any footage of the GameCube version of Sonic Adventure DX will not conform to the proper aspect ratio unless manually adjusted after the fact.
I think I was wrong about Dolphin, though – the window’s resolution is not actually a proper 4:3 resolution either – when Stretch to Window is on, at the default size you’ll see a 620×480 picture.
Additionally (I meant to mention this in my last reply,) whether 640×480 is even a 4:3 resolution by default can change depending on the kind of hardware you’re using, due to different displays having different pixel shapes. CRTs have rectangular pixel shapes, which are wider than they are tall, in comparison to fixed pixel displays, which uniformly have square pixels.
I made an alternate title/logo for this blog: https://i.imgur.com/YGffRle.png
(awesome blog btw)
Hey there. I wanted to use this blog to chip in a bit and say that the Gamecube version actually has the best quality opening of all versions (intro specifically, not the other FMVs). The only problem is that it uses the DX logo and both it and the Dreamcast versions are slightly cropped at the top and bottom, a problem that the PC version does not have. However, it also has a much lower bitrate than the Gamecube version so using it is not ideal.
I’m telling all this because I have actually put together a version of the opening that combines all 3 versions to hopefully make a “definitive edition” of sorts. Using the GC version as the main video source, PC version to fill in the top and bottom cropped on the GC version, and the original logo in the DC version. I would like to know if I should post a link to my edit here or via email. I don’t know if you are still accepting updates for the conversion, but I thought I could help out in this area at least.
I’m going to need some proof for this because I’ve compared the videos myself and found the 2004 PC version’s intro video to be the best. The Gamecube version’s video is also lower resolution – 640×448 vs 640×480, so it gets stretched by the game (at least on the emulator) to display properly. But it’s probably cropped like the Sonic Team logo video, in which case it could potentially compare in quality. I need to look into this.
Nice that you made a combination though, I’d be interested to see it. Even better if you have the uncompressed video (or better yet, an archive with all video frames as BMP/PNG) – I’ve done a similar combination for the recent DC Branding update, where I combined footage from Dreamcast, PC 2004 and PS3/X360 intros, and my preferred method was splitting the videos into single frames using ffmpeg, combining frames and rebuilding the video from them.
Alright, here’s a video link. It’s in a .7z file and is a lossless .avi.
I actually decided to leave the PC version out of it and render at 640×448 because the PC version’s bitrate is just way too horrendous and there are times when it looks really obvious at the top and bottom how pixellated it is compared to the GC version, especially since DC version is also cropped. If you want proof that GC looks the best, you could take screenshots of shots in the intro that are particularly busy and see how much detail you can make out in them between versions. Here’s mine, for example (GC is the first link):
(for the record, the 360 version is basically a port of the PC version with the same crap bitrate and a poor recreation of the DC intro’s logo animation on top of it. it’s basically the worst of the bunch)
Okay, disregard my previous video link, it had color problems. This time I applied chroma smoothing in VirtualDub first and then rendered in Vegas.
Thanks for the upload.
The comparisons look convincing, indeed the Gamecube version looks a lot better. It also seems that the quality difference is too noticeable to make combined frames, so I agree that it’s better to use the video as-is, especially if it doesn’t require stretching.
I’m going to take a look at your edit soon, though I think I’ll probably make my own version of the whole thing. Anyway, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I will update the Miscellaneous page soon.
Alright, thanks. Looking forward to your thoughts.
did you correct the lighting that even dreamcast seemed odd with such as the lighting based on time of day thats used for indoor sections Or where they corrected with another mod ?
That’s handled in the Lantern Engine mod by SonicFreak94. At the moment the lighting in those areas remains the same as in the Dreamcast version.
Oh I see its up to sonicfreak then
The website is great, but could you not mention lighting IN EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE? It’s obvious that if the game engine lacks it, all the stages lack it. It would be nice to see actual differences in Action Stages/Adventure Fields pages. Why aren’t you putting a message about sound quality loss?
And also, you said nothing about ZERO Boss in Bosses article. Are there really no differences (EXCEPT LIGHTING BUT IT’S OBVIOUS) or did you forget about it?
I was thinking if I should bother replying to this comment at all, because the complaint makes little sense and the comment itself reeks of arrogance, but then I thought it might be useful for posterity, so here you go.
First of all, there’s a separate section dedicated to sound and music quality downgrades in “General”. It wouldn’t make sense to discuss the sound quality loss in every level article because the majority of sounds are the same between levels, while textures and lighting are not (I do mention missing level-specific sounds though). Before this blog came to existence there was some guy trying to convince me SADX lighting wasn’t bad by demonstrating me videos from Emerald Coast and Red Mountain Act 1. The lighting system is broken in SADX, but depending on the level the differences can range from barely noticeable (Emerald Coast, Windy Valley) to extreme (Final Egg, Mystic Ruins base). This is why lighting is discussed and compared in all levels. Same for texture quality. If it’s OBVIOUS to you, this doesn’t automatically make it OBVIOUS to everyone else, and I’ve had some people say they didn’t understand the difference until they saw the side-by-side comparisons. In general, the downgrades in the port are very noticeable, but a lot of people thought it “wasn’t a big deal” until they read the blog. If everyone thought it was obvious, there wouldn’t even be need for this blog.
I think you’re also missing the entire point of the blog, which is to discuss the specific differences between SA1 and SADX that can be considered downgrades. This is why there’s a strong emphasis on graphics, particularly lighting, special effects and textures – the areas where most of the original game’s charm was lost in the ports. For the purpose of this blog those are the “actual differences” to be discussed in level articles. I didn’t set out to make a general “SA1 and SADX differences” blog, so if you’re curious about different object placement or whatever, you’re looking in the wrong place. This blog is mainly aimed at a relatively small group of people who don’t know how or why the ports are vastly inferior to the original game.
The ZERO boss fight uses the same arena as the E-101R fight, which 1) has already been discussed in the Bosses article, and 2) has the same downgrades as the Egg Carrier Exterior, so I didn’t feel like talking about it yet another time. There are some OBVIOUS LIGHTING differences with the level and Zero’s model, but you seem to be aware of that already.
Also I think that glass reflection textures are better in DX. Though they’re less detailed, it’s better than having glass reflecting clouds and blue sky at night.
SA1 has over a dozen of unique glass textures (Station Square has several unique reflections with further variations for day, evening and night, Speed Highway glass is different from Casino glass etc., the police cars in Chaos 0 have a different reflection compared to Speed Highway and Station Square cars etc.), whereas in SADX most of these are replaced with one texture, often with the reflection effect toned down or disabled. Yet you pick out one single instance where one of the unique SA1 textures doesn’t fit well (which is mentioned in the blog too) and that is somehow enough to make the SADX glass reflection textures better. Smh.
Would it be ok with you if I used some images from this blog to create a video showing off some of these downgrades? I’ll be providing my own images as much as possible along side them.
Sure, it would help if you mention the blog in the video though.
If you’re from the BetterSADX team, I’d also appreciate it if you read the comparison on this page: https://dreamcastify.wordpress.com/2017/11/09/fixing-the-pc-version-of-sadx/
I certainly will mention the blog since my video isn’t going to go into as much detail as this blog does
tcrf.net states that in the Dreamcast version of Emerald Coast, the water is attached to the skybox and moves with it. In the GameCube version, the water is rendered as fixed squares. Is it true? Is attached water implemented in DC_EmeraldCoast?
He mentions that on the Emerald Coast page actually. The water is noticeably cut off before it reaches the skybox in the Gamecube version.
Hi. I think this blog is pretty interesting, and I honestly was kind of surprised to know how flawed the ports are overall. Although, this is the not the only time that Sonic had pretty subpar ports done, *cough* Sonic Genesis *cough*. I heard this game had weird stuff going on the porting department, but didn’t think it was that bad–boy I was wrong. But I guess this is why I felt that SA1 was progressively getting more broken, having played the GC version first, then to Xbox 360, and lastly to the Steam version. Despite it being broken port with major downgrades from the Dreamcast original, it was still pretty fun game to play overall. Makes you kind of wish SA1 had a porting treatment similar to Whitehead and/or Headcannon’s fashion with Sonic 1, 2, and CD…
Two questions, but might you intend to cover anything involving the core gameplay itself? I really hope I’m not going nuts with the collision, because from recently playing it on Steam–I experienced a lot of weird solid interactions, like somehow falling through the loop in Emerald Coast as Sonic, struggling to grab the car to enter the sewers as Big (like the collision generally wouldn’t let me get into proper position and/or hold the car)–in fact seems like I’m having a hard time trying to grab anything large, and again with Big… finding myself rotating around rapidly in Ice Cap Zone from touching walls. My other question is, will you in the near future, you’d cover in whatever was changed around in SA2?
Hi, thanks for the comment!
It’s hard to talk about collision in detail because little is known about the inner workings of it in both games, and people are quick to cherry pick any small mistake/inconsistency to dismiss the entire argument, so I try to avoid discussing things without detailed technical evidence. There are certain things that have been proven true, though:
1) I heard that the Emerald Coast loop problem happens in all versions of the game if you don’t hold forward while running through the loop, so it isn’t a problem introduced in SADX. The original game’s collision is quite terrible, but the question is – does SADX improve on it? And this is where it gets complicated because there’s conflicting evidence, but the fact that the loop glitch happens in SADX too doesn’t speak in its favor.
2) The collision system was reworked in SADX. The data structure used to store collision has additional fields in SADX, and in many levels collision was added or removed, or rearranged by editing the collision model’s polygon order. SADX also generally “prefers” cuboid collision, while SA1 uses a lot of spheres and cylinders.
3) When using model-based collision (as opposed to special collision data structures), SA1 models are technically compatible with the SADX collision system, but sometimes there are weird and inexplicable issues with them, like characters becoming able to stand on air in strange places, or not being able to walk smoothly on certain surfaces. I ran into this while porting SA1 levels to SADX PC in my mods, particularly with Station Square. The SADX Preview prototype on the Gamecube (which retains DC level geometry in some areas) suffers from similar issues in the parts where level geometry hadn’t been updated yet – again, Station Square.
4) It’s easier to cause collision-related glitches in SADX. For example, in Windy Valley Act 1 it’s easier to make Sonic slide in place by jumping around the grassy bricks. It happens in the original game too, but not as often. This is one example I can remember off the top of my head, but there are several more. In addition, SADX has weaker (removed) collision in some areas, which causes issues such as Sonic falling to his death near the start of Final Egg 2 if you spindash backwards.
The above are the factually true, and from there we can only speculate what the deal with SADX collision is. I’m inclined to believe that the widely accepted claim that “they tried to improve collision” in SADX is incorrect. To me it looks more like they couldn’t get the original game’s collision system to work properly on the Gamecube, and had to resort to some crappy workaround that resulted in all those collision differences. Note that this is just speculation, there’s currently no evidence to prove that it was indeed the case. On the other hand, I don’t see any evidence to the contrary either, because other than making a few areas solid SADX sure doesn’t “improve” much in the collision department.
Regarding the plans for this blog, I intend to write another post on SADX extra content, such as Metal Sonic and Mission Mode. There’ll also be a “What went wrong” post, which will discuss some of the potential explanations on why SADX ended up the way it did (with clear separation of facts and speculation). The collision bits described above will most likely be used in that post too. As for SA2, SPEEPSHighway did some SA2/SA2B comparisons on her tumblr a while ago, so you might want to check those out. I’m not interested in SA2 at all, so this is for someone else to look into.
I don’t remember the Dreamcast version’s collision being terrible cause I never ran into any collision problems in the Dreamcast version.
Well, I have run into many collision issues in SA1 DC. It’s just slightly less awful than the ports in this regard. You can fall through the floor (happened to me in Final Egg 3) and go through walls in some areas, plus I’ve always disliked how the character can randomly start sliding in place, or how you get all jerky when you go against a wall. There’s no doubt that collision is one of the game’s weakest points.
In SADX, collision problems that weren’t there in SA1 (or weren’t as bad in SA1) can be divided into two types: 1) issues stemming from the reworked collision engine itself, and 2) issues caused by changes to collision data. For example, the removed invisible barrier at the start of Final Egg 2 is the second type, while the weird behavior of the Chao Egg in the Station Square shop is the first type.
The only problem I’ve ever had with the Dreamcast game was in Windy Valley at the part where you have to go up an air column to hit a spring. Usually I just go up the front, but sometimes the ramp is very glitchy. Definitely not as bad as DX, I remember falling through the floor in the Mystic Ruins area multiple times.
This blog is quite interesting. I now appreciate SA1 a lot more due to the Dreamcast mods, though SADX GameCube was my first experience of Sonic Adventure. I like both versions, but Dreamcast on the graphics side, GameCube on the water distortion effect and Game Gear games.
Glad to know you found it interesting! I’m planning to add a separate section on SA1 vs SADX water – I’ve been a bit harsh on the Gamecube version’s implementation of the water effect, so the separate page will be slightly less critical and more technical.
I still think the Gamecube version’s distortion effect doesn’t fit in this game, particularly because it clashes with underwater texture animations that become much more difficult to see. The implementation is also flawed because it produces artifacts around things above water that aren’t supposed to be distorted, but they probably wouldn’t be able to do much better on the Gamecube even if they tried.
I’m loving this conversation but, with the Final Egg conversation, there should be a goal capsule near the start of the level out of bounds.
I figure that since you fixed/removed the SADX speedrun stuff, will you put the DC speedrun route back?
The capsule was removed in SET layout fixes (which are now integrated into the main mod), there’s an option in config to disable SET fixes and revert to original Dreamcast layouts for all levels. The capsule is still there in original SET files.
I see this in the default.ini “EnableSETFixes=Normal” and I know to put it in the config.ini.
I don’t see anything in the customization.txt for it so I don’t know what to put there.
Ah, nevermind, I got it. =)
Hey! Do you mean on making a version of this website focusing on the differences between the various versions of Sonic Adventure 2?
Also, can somebody backport the DX Egg Carrier garden to Dreamcast Sonic Adventure? The original Dreamcast EC Garden is way too dangerous to playthrough IMO.
Sorry, I’m not interested in Sonic Adventure 2. As for backporting the Egg Carrier garden from SADX into the Dreamcast version, it’s possible in theory but very tedious to do in practice, and I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that anyway.
If I wanted to make custom levels and paths for SA1 DC, how would I do so? The dreamcast Station Square garden is fine, but I’d love a “best of both worlds” garden for both Mystic Ruins and the Egg Carrier…and I’d imagine that I’d have to either make it myself or learn how to do so and consider if I want to lol.
Also, I wonder if it could be possible to make a Dreamcast Conversion mod of the Gamecube SADX Preview prototype…or maybe use it to port things like the original a-life system to the final SADX GC? If the chao coloring could be restored, along with all the original models and levels and whatnot, and all the text restored where it’s supposed to be… it might be possible to produce a “second-best” version of SA1 that’s closer to the DC version than the PC 2004 port of SADX…
Of course, it also makes me wonder if Japanese SA1 DC exclusive features like the “onion blur”, the Casinopolis cowboy girl, the higher quality music files, and the level select text (available on some but not all of the post JP 1.0 SA1 releases) could be brought to the US, EU, or JP “International” releases of SA1 DC.
“…than the PC 2004 port of SADX could allow” was what I meant to say for that one sentence.
I spent a couple of hours searching through this site, yet there doesn’t seem to be any mention at all of the weakened collision detection in Sonic Adventure: DX with the exception of mentioning a removed invisible barrier on Final Egg (which doesn’t count.)
Maybe I’m missing something, but that’s one of the biggest issues with the ports as it leads to problems which never existed or affected gameplay in less significant ways in the Dreamcast version.
Collision is tricky to talk about in general because it’s wonky in both games, and a lot of issues found in SADX are also applicable to the Dreamcast original. I also wouldn’t call it a big issue (with the ports) because honestly the original game was already quite terrible at it.
You can see my other comment regarding collision in my response to Aerylin Dracyl below (or above I guess).
I think it might be worth pointing out that the page about the character model downgrades has a bit of outdated info, it mentions that the AutoDemo hi-res textures are available in the Dreamcast Character mod when they were removed from the mod a few months ago. It’s kinda nitpicky, but I hope you don’t mind me pointing it out!
I have to agree 100% on this, don’t get me wrong, the GameCube does have enhancements (Sky Chase Character Models), but the majority of SADX has downgrades, please, do what ever you can to play the Dreamcast release. (plz don’t steal)
But just because a game’s buggy, doesn’t mean it isn’t fun, SA1 is a great example, SA1 was and is a buggy mess, as Sonic Team rushed the game to completion resulting in ALOT, of scrapped ideas.
I’m not trying to defend SADX for what it is, i’m just saying the Dreamcast version is also buggy.
SA1 isn’t buggy
Infact I think it’s fair to say, if you want a port done right, play SA2B, it’s still has its issues (Cutscenes), don’t get me wrong, but it’s overall a better SA2. (huh BetterSADX & BetterSA2)
lol toxic what a cuckboi tbh
nice blog though
needs more pics of you succin dic
you were born to succ
This is the only comment on the blog so far that I would describe as “toxic”, so indeed maybe it’s time to rewrite the rules. People commenting here are generally pretty considerate, so there’s no need for that paragraph.
From your message I can at least deduce that you’ve enjoyed the blog, which to me is all that matters.
This was an amazing read. I remember picking up SADX for the PC years ago, and after playing it for a bit I unhappily dropped it, realising this was not the SA1 I remembered from my youth. I couldn’t really place why exactly, although the extra ‘content’ was the final straw for me. But this blog wonderfully put into words the dissatisfied feelings I had with SADX. Kudos, and thank you.
Maybe you should make a sequel called GameCubeify where you list the upgrades in Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.
About the character models. I’m really curious as to what a Sonic model with the DX polygons and the DC fur textures would look like.
There was a mod like that before ItsEasyActually’s Dreamcast Characters mod came out. I think it was called “MimicDCTextures” or something along those lines.
Oh cool, looks real nice 😀
Sonic fans are such manchildren lmao
Many pages pics are broken. Can you fix?
Any examples of broken pics? They work fine on my end.
this was a pretty fun read and wow these ports are bad. I still think the game aged fine and is still pretty good
This was quite the amazing read. Really goes to show how much effort can go into the comparisons to really showcase the differences between the two/three versions. Only took me 7 paragraphs to make me fall in love with what is written here (sorry for being a bit cheesy, don’t know how else to say it).
The first time I officially got to play Sonic Adventure was on my fourteenth birthday (six years ago) and yes, it was the Dreamcast version. I was admittedly debating if I should get a Dreamcast when I could get the game on other platforms, but then I realised I also wanted a Dreamcast to play other games like Marvel Vs Capcom, Looney Tunes: Space Race, Crazy Taxi, Shenmue, and Wacky Races. Simply put, I’ve owned a Dreamcast for more than half a decade as of now and I’ve never regretted the decision (even though some hardware issues like automatic resetting were annoying to deal with).
As for my thoughts on Sonic Adventure. It’s still one of my Top 5 Sonic games. Sonic’s gameplay is some of the best it has ever been in the franchise. Great control, superb level design, admirable spectacle, solid platforming, etc. I also enjoy Tails, Knuckles, and E102 Gamma for the most part. Amy was okay and Big sucked (obviously). Definitely my second favourite 3D Sonic game, just behind Sonic Adventure 2 which I also got on Dreamcast at a later time.
By the way. Merry Christmas. 🙂
Was a good read overall, though I feel like there is a bit of Dreamcast bias here and some problems are a big exaggerated with how big of an issue they actually are. It’s still interesting to read up on all the texture differences and such (though I myself prefer the GameCube textures for things since I prefer the more realistic approach to the world’s look, I can definitely see the appeal of the less realistic more colorful textures of Dreamcast though.
Honestly though, despite its issues and downgrades in certain areas. SADX isn’t that bad of a port all things considered, most of the added glitches aren’t things people find without looking and hell, a lot of people played this version and loved it just the same, since at the end of the day it’s still Sonic Adventure. Looking at criticisms of the common populace for SADX, almost all the complaints you’ll find are just people not being a fan of the structure, or not being a fan of the awkward cutscenes and bad lip syncing, (which is just a thing that comes with all versions.)
Like I’d personally play SADX over Dreamcast myself when I go back to it, since there was never any major issues I had with it that went beyond certain things the Dreamcast still had to put up with (looking at you Big,) and at the end of the day I’d sacrifice the better lighting and such for the better character models, but thanks to the various mods you can have the best of both worlds on PC now anyway.
I hope that one day we get a proper remake of Sonic Adventure 1. Give it a whole new modern engine to better showcase the game’s original intended look now that there’s less hardware limitations, and they could update character models across the board so that everyone looks closer to the official art.
A nice way to compare the versions, especially noting how downgraded and broken the PC version is, but I feel the descriptors as a whole are far too biased against SADX on GameCube. Changes that by all means seem perfectly acceptable, even good or improved, are written off as “one of the few times…”, or “If you ignore the fact that…then it’s an acceptable change”, or “It’s not a better or worse change, just subjectively different”. I feel like a lot of pages could use rewriting with this in mind, because while it is perfectly valid to think SADX downgraded the visuals, trying to say that certain extremely minor changes are “Completely unacceptable” comes off as extremely childish.
Any specific examples where it says a minor change is completely unacceptable?
Speed Highway, Knuckles section. The description of how the windows were changed from an experimental subtle reflective surface to a more immediately understandable clear blue, you describe as such:
“For a supposedly ‘enhanced port’, this kind of quality degradation is unacceptable.”
There’s also a lot of really weird points made, such as saying the SADX fountain in Speed Highway is “less original” (translation: they made it look like a fountain). I understand that the goal of the blog is to paint SADX in the worst light possible, but again, you can do that with less obnoxiously biased writing.
Lol, I disagree. The “experimental subtle reflective surface” as you describe it is a simple environment mapping effect that is also used in many other areas in the game. It’s used more often to simulate reflective surfaces, but here it’s combined with transparency to make it look like windows, and I think it works quite well. There is nothing suggesting it was “experimental”, it’s a conscious design choice that, unlike many other things, survived all the way through the prototypes to the final game.
Now look at the DX version of those windows. The environment mapping effect and transparency were completely removed, and replaced with what you call “a more immediately understandable clear blue” texture. Windows have glass. This change makes it look like there is no glass, and someone drew a picture of a window over a solid wall. Even in terms of quantifiable downgrades (as in, what you can objectively count), two effects were removed, and the textures were replaced with a copy of the same texture, whereas the original game had more glass textures in this area (and generally a lot more unique glass textures throughout the game, while SADX mostly reuses the same exact texture – not in this level though). So yes, it’s a downgrade, and an unacceptable one for a port that is claimed to be a better version of the game. And it simply looks bad. It’s just like the toned down or removed window reflections in Station Square – they just remove bits of the game’s atmosphere and aesthetic.
I also disagree about “really weird points”. I don’t find anything weird about the fountain looking “a bit more original” (this is the actual quote, not the one you reworded) in SA1. It’s a thing players noticed when I did a poll on which fountain looks better, and whether the DX fountain looks “more like a fountain” is highly debatable. I don’t think either of them looks close enough to a real fountain, but DX actually pushes the realism of it even lower by the blurred water texture at the bottom of the fountain. Ever seen fountain water look like that? I haven’t.
You’ve also missed the entire point of the blog, which is explained on the start page. I don’t have any agenda to destroy SADX’ public image, all I want to do is help people realize how much disservice SADX did to the reputation of the original game. SADX might’ve been an okay “meh” game on its own if only the much better looking Dreamcast version hadn’t been released 5 years before it. I don’t care that you grew up playing the Gamecube version and it looks better to you because you’re used to it, it’s just that it’s a bad port of the original. You may claim my writing is obnoxiously biased all you want, but in reality you’re just defending poor aesthetic sacrifices made in an attempt to salvage the game’s performance on hardware that was lacking the features to run it properly.
….OOOOR, I’m someone who’s played both versions, own both on original hardware, grew up with neither, and came to my own conclusions based on my own personal experience. The idea that SADX’s graphical changes are what caused the reputation of the game to become more controversial is honestly not much more than a theory, there’s plenty of people who have played the Dreamcast version and didn’t like it, and plenty of people who played the GameCube version and liked it. You may say “But the review score decreased from Dreamcast to GameCube”, when the exact same thing happened to Adventure 2 (which had next to no notable graphical downgrades).
I’m not “defending poor aesthetic sacrifices”, I have a preference and an opinion. Neither game looks “OBJECTIVELY” better or worse than the other, they’re different interpretations of the same base idea. What you say “simply looks bad”- It’s your opinion, your personal preference, one that is not automatically shared with the rest of the world. Maybe, just maybe, some of these changes were not made due to hardware limitations, but because the developers wanted to create a different aesthetic for the game?
Whether or not that aesthetic is what you wanted out of the game, that’s your opinion. And I will keep claiming that your writing is obnoxiously biased, because it is, and you’ve proven it here. With all due respect to the effort put into compiling this blog, it is simply not a fair assessment or comparison of the Dreamcast and GameCube versions. It is a Dreamcast circlejerk.
I have data to back up my argument (or “theory” if you prefer) presented on this blog, which you may or may not find convincing. You presented a couple of counter-arguments with examples which I didn’t find convincing, and I explained why.
The review scores situation has been addressed by Speeps previously (see: Final words page), and I think it’s clear enough. The comparison with SA2 is indeed notable because the jump between DC and GC is from 89 to 73 according to Metacritic. I don’t see the score for the original Dreamcast version on Metacritic, but Speeps’ post has a good summary of the scores it got at the time – and it was a game that was near universally praised. Now the Gamecube version has 57 points on Metacritic, which is a pretty big difference from that. So the example you gave actually supports the opposite of what you’re claiming. But review scores don’t really mean much. A lot of those reviewers never played the Dreamcast game and didn’t compare the two. Many of them just played the DX version and assumed it was like that in the original, and that leaked into the general perception of the game (SEGA helped a lot with that too with their 2010 ports) – which is part of the problem this blog has tried to address.
Also, it’s not just reviews. There’s plenty of people like you mentioned who didn’t like the original or liked DX, but I think you’re also leaving out a pretty sizeable group of people who played the PC version with mods, and their views on DX improved considerably. The reaction to this blog among the people who have read it has also generally been very positive, at least among those who bothered to comment or reach out to tell me personally. I also still get thanks weekly for the mods I originally made (or was involved with) years ago, with keywords like “restore”, “fix” or “improve” all over the place. There’ve also been people who came forward and told me the mods and particularly this blog have opened their eyes on how bad of a port DX really was (some claiming to have grown up with the Gamecube version), and how the original Dreamcast version was so much richer of an experience. Those are all people I can actually quote or refer you to. But just like those unspecified people you mentioned, it doesn’t really matter because we don’t have reliable statistical evidence. So this whole argument has little meaning regardless of which side on the DC vs DX debate you’re standing on. Also just to note, the SA2 port does have a lot of notable graphical downgrades, it’s just not as well documented. A lot of ports from this era have pretty bad graphical downgrades, including SA2B and SA2 PC. SA2(B) issues are less obvious because the original game already had pretty simple and bland lighting, and they couldn’t break it too much (but where they could, they did – see the cutscene fix mod for example, which is just a drop in the ocean). Phantasy Star Online ports also have graphical issues. The Skies of Arcadia port has pretty bad issues with music and some graphical problems. The PC port of Billy Hatcher is also pretty terrible, with very familiar issues with lighting and sound quality. You just don’t hear about this much because nobody has taken the time to document all those issues with those games in detail. Like nobody wanted to address the elephant in the room with DX for years (I contacted Sonic news sites back in 2005 or so) until I went ahead, teamed up with others (for some projects) and made the mod(s) and the blog. And now there are videos on Youtube with hundreds of thousands views on the subject, 20K likes and less than 1K dislkes. Now combined with mod download statistics on GitHub and ModDB, this site visit history etc. we could maybe use that as some statistical evidence to start with.
You may have a preference and an opinion, and I agree that how much of an issue a specific downgrade is can be a matter of opinion, but you’re missing a few important things in your argument. First of all, SADX is as much of a reimagination of SA1’s idea as the 2018 Shenmue ports are reimaginations of the ideas behind the original Shenmue 1/2 (they do have graphics/asset/lighting/sound differences compared to the originals). Or how Sonic Genesis on the GBA is a reimagination of the original Sonic 1 on the Genesis. SADX is a so-called “enhanced port”, not a remake or reimagination. The 2010 ports only prove this, as they dropped the “DX” branding altogether and sell the heavily downgraded ports as if it was the original game, with the “DX” content (which is just Mission Mode and Metal Sonic) locked behind a paid DLC. You want an example of an idea reimagined? Sonic 2 HD. Duck Tales Remastered. The newly released Crash and Spyro remakes. Those are re-imaginations. SADX Gamecube is 90% the original Dreamcast game underneath, just with broken graphics due to the lack of OIT/sufficient resources (VRAM for textures) on the Gamecube, broken sounds, and a bunch of assets butchered in a failed attempt to hit 60 FPS on the Gamecube. It’s clear as day, and you actually trying to make an argument that removing glass on a window and replacing it with a solid texture could’ve been done in a legitimate attempt to reimagine the aesthetics of the game I feel needs no rebuttal. I mean yeah sure. Like, they also recompressed textures and reduced their resolution (Final Egg) to make a different aesthetic. This argument sounds familar. Kinda like Randy Pitchford defending pre-patch Aliens: Colonial Marines (the part where he talks about the “crack in the glass”). In fact, that’s almost exactly what Iizuka sounds like in his wonderful “Director’s Commentary” video. We’ve been through this before.
And let’s not forget that SADX downgrades go beyond just the graphics. At the very least include sound and collision. Although SADX graphics are undeniably heavily downgraded, it’s a “lazy” port in every area imaginable. Did they remove sounds (most of which are still there but don’t play because of bugs) because they wanted the game to sound fresh? Did they make SADX collision worse because they originally wanted to make the game more challenging? How is this all justifiable in a version of the game that came out 5 years later on (supposedly) more powerful hardware, on certainly more powerful hardware a few years afterwards, and is clearly advertised as the original game, or even the better version of it? And at the same time see that Game Grumps video where they exploit the Emerald Coast loop glitch (which I recently confirmed DOESN’T happen in the original game), do you honestly think it didn’t affect the game’s reputation for the worse?
Finally, I wouldn’t say it’s a Dreamcast circlejerk. I think I’ve stated quite clearly on the front page and also on the emulation page that the ports have some advantages, and that the Dreamcast version may not be the best option to play the game right now. But I don’t think my writing is as biased as you claim it is. I also don’t find any arguments I made on the blog “childish”, and most of the stuff you mentioned in your original post like “If you ignore the fact that…then it’s an acceptable change”, or “It’s not a better or worse change, just subjectively different” actually doesn’t sound biased to me, quite the opposite in fact. And the “just a few” part is simply true, because that’s what it is. There are only a few changes in SADX that are done by adding and not removing something. The window glass thing is an example of a pattern that consistently happened across the entire game. Just comparing the amount of effort it would take to make the Dreamcast version look similar to the Gamecube (spoiler: character models aside, not much, even with current tools), and making the Gamecube version look similar to the Dreamcast, is a major indication of how much of a downgrade DX was. For example, you can make DX Ice Cap and some Station Square textures by taking the Dreamcast textures and playing around the hue/saturation sliders in a graphics editor (by reducing saturation, of course). You can make some Emerald Coast and Final Egg textures by literally reducing their resolution. You can break some UVs and replace some models with copies of the same models to make stuff look inconsistent. You can make SA1 lighting look very similar to SADX by removing most of the color in the palettes. You can disable environment mapping effects on windows and map a single texture to them like DX does. Doing this all in reverse requires a bit more effort regardless of whether you think it’s a worse aesthetic for this game. So most of such changes are effectively downgrades, and the very few ones that aren’t are mentioned as such.
Anyway, as you can see, I try not to censor other people’s comments, and I fully expected someone to come in and try to push a counter-narrative, I just wish it happened earlier when I had more energy to talk about this stuff. So I hope people see both your comments and my responses to it, and decide for themselves which is right. As for me, I still stand by every word on this blog, and I tried to back up my argument as much as I could when I originally made it. There have been some things discovered in the recent X360 prototype leak that gave us more insights into why SADX is so bad, particularly in the collision department, and that may be discussed on the blog someday. I probably won’t be rewriting it because someone thinks it’s childish or biased though.
Well, fair enough, there isn’t much I can do to change your mind, and I understand that this is a passion project for you and everyone involved. I do still believe that the original GameCube scores for Adventure DX were not lowered so drastically PURELY due to these “downgrades”; again, Adventure 2 was already getting criticism for its port a mere 6 months later, and by 2003 the standards for platformers and games in general had changed a lot from what they were back in 1999.
Everything else you wrote, there’s really not much I can say that I didn’t write already in my original posts. It’d just be a tiresome back-and-forth at that point, between “SA1 DC had more impressive effects and look better” vs “the more simple replacements in DX often look better despite not being as technically demanding”. I understand that most of the replacements in DX aren’t as nuanced in their implementation or as fancy in their technical prowess, but the simple point I was making is that that doesn’t automatically mean DX looks WORSE in those instances.
Take the helicopter in Speed Highway for example. On DC, it’s got shiny reflections all over it, no doubt impressive for the time, but now it just kind of looks like…a spoon. The DX version isn’t nearly as shiny or impressive, but its got textures on it that make it look like, yknow, a helicopter. That’s the way I look at most DX changes, and I think its one thats healthy to have when comparing the versions rather than acting like DX is the devil set out to ruin everything you loved about the original game.
Either way, I can’t get much done commenting here, and I doubt most people even read these comments. The most I could do would be making an equivalent to this blog specifically for GameCube DX, to highlight areas where its more simple graphical redesigns have artistic appeal in their own right, but for now I think we’re done talking here. Good luck with the blog in the future.
The review scores problem wasn’t purely because of graphical downgrades (also again, it’s not just graphics), but it contributed to the overall situation. Also, as the front page states, the main problem comes with the later ports, which are the most accessible ways to play the game right now. And again, this isn’t only about reviews, this is also about the downgraded ports people have played, and the Gamecube version perhaps wasn’t the worst contributor to that. In terms of actual butchering of the game, though, there is no competition – the issues with the PC port and its derivatives are downright silly at times, but it was the Gamecube where the biggest amount of damage was done. If the Gamecube version was just a one-time thing, and the 2010 ports, for example, re-ported the original Dreamcast version with enhancements (as they claimed), I probably wouldn’t have gone into so much detail critiquing its design choices. It’s a poorly made port of a poorly designed game, which was also made for a console that wasn’t quite ready to run it. But we got that as a base for all later ports, so the Gamecube version gets no easy pass from me.
You’re shooting yourself in the foot with that helicopter example. Let’s see what the page has to say about it:
“The grabber basket that brings Sonic to the upper level has lost its shiny surface (environment mapping) and is now properly textured instead. This is arguably an improvement over the original model. The helicopter went through a similar transformation, only retaining the shiny effect on its windows.”.
Where does this say the helicopter looks “objectively worse”? There’s also a paragraph below describing a similar situation with the cars.
I mean yes, it’s a bit nuanced, and not all changes are complete downgrades, there are some questionable/debatably good or bad changes, and there are some undeniable improvements, which I tried to describe as such. But most DX changes aren’t like that. While a lot of the differences would’ve been okay-ish if it was an independent game with no point of reference, SADX is a derivative product by definition, it’s an “enhanced port” which should either improve the original game or at least not make it worse. If there’s enough examples for a website like this to be put together arguing that so many changes in DX made the game worse, there’s something wrong with the “enhanced” part.
I would actually be interested in a Gamecube equivalent of this blog (or perhaps you editing some of the posts on here), but from the way you came in and wrote the original comment, the points you’ve made and the vocabulary you’ve used so far to describe my writing makes me feel we probably won’t get along too well as a team. So if you want to make your own version of the blog, go right ahead, though I highly doubt you’d be able to find as much data for the Gamecube version to support your argument. If you do it though, don’t forget about the PC version and the Steam and nextgen console ports, because those are the versions of the game that are the most accessible, which not only retain all of the downgrades from the Gamecube but add their own technical issues.
By all means, this is your blog, and your work. I have no interest in editing this blog specifically when its your project, for you to handle. We have different mindsets, working together on the blog wouldn’t be productive at all, and I never claimed to think DX is a perfect enhancement. As an “enhanced port”, it makes too many controversial changes (though, that’s usually to be expected with reimaginings of games, even ground-up remakes like the Crash trilogy and 3D Zelda remakes make changes that aren’t met positively by their respective fanbases).
I would gladly get started on a GameCube equivalent, but I don’t see why you think I’m obligated to rope in the PC/Nextgen versions alongside it for my blog too…? That’s what your blog here is for, highlighting how things got *worse* overtime with *each port*, I’m just interested in highlighting how the GameCube version specifically is an improvement in most ways in my eyes. I agree wholeheartedly that the nextgen versions are inexcusably lazy, bad and scummy ports to sell as “the current” version of the game with how much they break from the GameCube version.
I also don’t know why you’re implying I need “data to support my argument” for the GC blog…? 90% of what the discussion is about regarding SA1 vs DX is the visuals, which is just a simple matter of showcasing screenshots. Most technical downgrades, such as the removed sounds and collision alterations, I agree aren’t good, but are also barely noticable. For your Emerald Coast loop walkway example with the Game Grumps, sure that’s something exclusive to DX, but walk two steps past that and you’re met with a loop that’s buggy as all hell in EVERY version. In that same Game Grumps episode, after they’ve fallen through that walkway a few times, the episode ends with Arin getting on top of the loop as the ocean goes mad; Something achievable in every version. Point is, some exclusive collision bugs didn’t make a flawless game appear buggy; It just made a buggy game look slightly buggier.
Well, for some actual feedback for this blog to make this whole exchange a little less pointless…your discussion about the framerate between versions is shockingly lacking in evidence. You claim at various points that the Dreamcast version is a near constant 30FPS and that the GameCube version is an inconsistent 60, as if you’re comparing Colors to Unleashed on PS3. From my experience, the Dreamcast version drops frequently; everytime you light a mirror in Lost World, everytime there’s too many enemies on-screen or too much is being loaded in at once (like if you make skips in Twinkle Park), or even just when things blow up with Gamma. If you really believe that the GameCube framerate is less stable and drops more frequently (cutscenes running at 30 obviously doesn’t count) then I would appreciate seeing some evidence for it, showing areas where the Dreamcast version remains solid while the GameCube version drops, or where the GameCube version drops harsher than the Dreamcast version.
Look forward to Directorscutified, I guess <3
If you want to focus specifically on the artistic merits of the Gamecube version rather than the game’s degradation as a whole (which started with the Gamecube version), I guess yeah, that makes sense. You’re still fundamentally wrong with your treatment of DX as some kind of reimagining of the original. It’s comparable to Rayman 2 ports, or different versions of Sonic R and Sonic 3D Blast, or SA2 and SA2B, none of which are reimaginations despite containing asset and content differences from the original versions.
I’m going to do the same thing you did with your original argument and make a claim that you’re biased against the Steam and nextgen console ports. There’s always an argument to be made in favor of inferior versions of the game. Why don’t you think the X360 version is a “reimagination” of the Gamecube version? And it clearly has a lot of improvements, too. It runs at a fully steady 60 FPS. Its near-fullbright lighting makes it easier to see things and navigate the game’s confusing levels. Its excessive character gloss makes it easier to distinguish them against the game’s backgrounds (kinda like the the windows in Speed Highway are more “understandable” in DX). Its butchered texture quality makes you feel nostalgic for old games with low quality textures. Its broken UV animations with the water in Casinopolis going in the wrong direction are hilarious and add to the fun of the game. The Game Gear games were a needless distraction irrelevant to the main game, and removing them was the right choice (even though they’re technically there locked behind an inaccessible menu). The added glitches make the game more fun for speedrunners who exploit them. You can make up all sorts of sophistic claims to make it sound like the game only got better, and to a certain extent it really did, mostly by the merit of running on more powerful hardware. But all these arguments distract from the fact that the majority of those changes were downgrades, most of which also have a technical explanation on why and how they make the game worse, mostly amounting to removal of detail or things not working correctly, which is a valid criticism for an “enhanced” port that came out several years after the original game.
With the collision example, yes the actual loop is glitchy, but a huge chunk of that video wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the “enhancements” of DX. And it isn’t claimed anywhere on this blog or in my comments that SA1 collision was great or the game itself was perfect, but its bugginess tends to be exaggerated a lot because of the flaws introduced in DX, especially considering that other games made around the same time don’t get as much flak for similar or even worse bugs – see Speeps’ post on review scores, where she talks about this. That video is an example of how these newly added issues made the game’s reputation worse. That’s really all there is to it. And the removed sounds and added collision issues only contribute to the “death by a thousand paper cuts” situation. None of these downgrades would’ve made a difference to the game overall if they weren’t so numerous. The whole game consists of little details, and once you ruin so many of them it just barely holds together, and the game’s weaknesses are much more exposed now that the vibrancy and detail of the original are streamlined or completely gone, and the added technical issues and glitches are just the icing on the cake.
I agree that adding framerate comparisons would help the point. I don’t really find the lack of them that “shocking” to be honest, it’s a known fact about the Gamecube version and I honestly thought it was obvious that the game struggles to maintain 60 FPS most of the time. Yes SA1 DC does have quite a lot of areas where the game skips frames, but overall it manages to run at 30 FPS more often than the Gamecube version manages to maintain 60 FPS, and that is “arguably” (quote from the page) more consistent than the Gamecube version’s constant struggle to maintain 60 FPS. That was the point made on the page, not that the Gamecube version dips worse or drops in areas where the original doesn’t, but that the whole 60 FPS claim is invalid for the Gamecube version because it’s not 60 FPS most of the time. But yes, actual numeric comparison of framerates/frametimes would be nice to have. Also, I don’t see why the cutscenes at 30 FPS would not count.
Anyway, yeah, good luck, and I’d probably link your page on here if you manage to put something together.
There’s a bit of stuttering from the camera’s movement during cutscenes. it seems to only be from moments when the camera is supposed to move smoothly. It doesn’t happen to models or gameplay during the cutscenes. Is there a fix for this?
Do you have a rip of all the textures from SA1 (DC) or could you direct me to a site that has it all for download? So far I’ve only been able to find rips of the Gamecube textures.
The Dreamcast Conversion mod comes with all textures from the Dreamcast version.