Product Idea

Sonic Mania - Green Hill Zone

UP + DOWN + ALL AROUND

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Watch out for the spikes as the Newtron tries to stop you from getting up to the moving platform!

Hi all - sorry for my absence lately. I had a fun time with some friends and then a bunch of examination resits to contend with, and just as I'd sat down to design a new Module the Ideas team only went and gave me Staff Pick and I had to scramble to give them my proper thanks! I'm reasonly recupterated now, though, and I think you'll agree it's worth the wait.

It's lots of fun designing modules with action functions; interestingly, this is the first one with a geared system per my BIONICLE heritage. The platform really does move up and down with each twist thanks to a frictionless technic beam piston! The little extra touches make it fun, as well - the spike pit ala that one section in the original act 3, and the spiky bush to decorate things.

The Newtron is one of those extremely elegant Badnik designs, and I think it's almost as pleasing as my Motobug build. It doesn't use a single new part design or colour so you can build it right now, and it pegs using its 3mm legs into the little headlight bricks to clutch onto the wall before rocketing off and giving you a bad time.

Thanks for your interest and help, everyone! I don't know when the next build Update will be, but I do know we're closing in on the two thirds mark, which is super impressive. My birthday is later this month... can we reach it by the 19th? ;D


STAFF PICK??

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Thanks for staff pick! <3

Quick update today. I'm still busy as a bee, but when I got the email telling me this had happened I couldn't NOT react.

LEGO Ideas editorial team, thank you all so very, very much for your kindness and discretion! It is absolutely my honour to have this project be today's staff pick, and I hope you're all having as nice a day as you've just made mine. ^u^

Or, in other words - virtual chili-dogs recieved. <3


SIXTY PERCENT

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Hi, all! We just hit 6,000 - so thank you so, so, so so so so so so so so SO much for all your help.

Of course, there's still quite a way to go - but it's less than how far we've come, which has me optimistic. Coupled with the fact that the Sonic Mania project is on the first page of the "Most Supported" tab and not likely to leave it, I'm definitely feelin' good. Again, thank you.

I've been showing off a Hard Boiled Heavy every 500 supporters, but we ran out of them at the 5,500 mark - so instead, here's the standard Eggrobo design, just as it appears in the Angel Island cutscene at the start of Mania Mode! The ones that were turned into the HBH didn't carry guns, but the ones in Sonic & Knuckles did - so I've included a standard stud shooter. It's not a perfect rendition of their gun, but that one includes many details that don't nicely match up with anything I could build, so playability was prioritised.

That leaves me wondering, though. What sort of stuff do you want to see from this project next? I definitely want to make another module, but I'm too busy to engineer anything complicated right now. Enemies from other zones, maybe? Or expanding into the Phantom Heavies as a whole? I look forward to your feedback!

In any case, thank you all for supporting this. I do legitimately appreciate everyone who's signed up and clicked that blue "SUPPORT" button. Of course, if you haven't already - please tell your friends and family about the project. Every single person helps! But that we've made it this far is wonderful in and of itself.

I'll see you next time. Peace! <3

(PS: congrats to the The Office project AND the NASA Spacecraft project!)


F.A.Q. 2.0!

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Hi all! Sorry for the delay on putting this together. Been a bit busy. Hopefully it's worth the wait, though!

--- Frequently Asked Questions 2.0. ---

This is really cool! Who made it? Is it real? When can I buy it?

Thanks! I designed it myself, using stud.io - it's kind of like LEGO Digital Designer, but kept up-to-date. Unfortunately it's not real quite yet - LEGO Ideas is a platform which allows people to submit their concepts for the chance to get it turned into a real set. This will only happen if 10,000 people click the "support" button, though - so make sure to get an account and click it to help out! I promise they won't send you spam emails...

Why no Tails or Knuckles? Or Mighty, Ray, Metal Sonic...

LEGO Ideas explicitly prohibits Product Idea designers from asking for new part designs in their concepts. Sonic's head is a pre-existing part design from 2016, but I have no such luxury with any of his friends - save one. I recently did an Amy based on her Mania Adventures design, using Sonic's headpiece with different printing! It's not perfect, but it's the only other minifigure I could include while staying within the rules...

You've done 30 Updates so far! Some of them are just text, but a lot of them are builds. Will they be in the set if/when it reaches the 10k milestone?

The short answer is "some of them". So, I put a lot of effort into making the base project capable of standing by itself, but here's my current thought process:

If the LEGO designer assigned to testing the feasibility of this set decides that they can reduce the parts count of the Egg Robot mech significantly without impacting its functionality, or isn't happy with the Loop & Extra Life module because it doesn't include any action function, they might be able to insert other Badniks or modules into the set without breaking their budget. If you haven't seen these yet, you can check them out on the Flickr album for this project here!

I also designed all five Hard Boiled Heavies. My advice to the LEGO designer who would end up responsible for this is that it might be a good idea to include one for extra play value, if the budget allows. The comments section is leaning in favour of the Heavy Magician, but I can understand if SEGA might prefer the Heavy Gunner instead.

Why does Sonic have those short legs that don't move? Why don't you use the standard legs, or the medium length "teenager" legs?

The argument against the standard length legs is that the LEGO Dimensions design of Sonic uses standard length legs and has green eyes, pretty definitively marking him as a toy of Modern Sonic. Since the Classic Sonic from the Mania universe is shorter than Modern Sonic (as per the games Generations and Forces), I decided the two couldn't be the same height as minifigs.

The medium length legs is harder to defend against, though. I thought they were appropriate, but when I created the renders for this project, the medium length legs weren't available as LDraw parts. They are now, but I need to figure out how to sideload them into stud.io, my building software of choice.

Another data point is that everyone in the Flintstones set has the same leg length, despite the fact that Barney should be shorter. This suggests the medium length legs are not available as dual-molded parts yet, which Sonic would need for his shoes and socks. Since this limitation exists, the LEGO designers may need to pick a less appropriate leg length in order to get this produced.

You can't do this! LEGO has already done a Dimensions Level Pack for Sonic, and the LEGO Ideas rules say no pre-existing licenses...

That's not a question! Doesn't mean there's not a good explanation as to why I can do it now, though. It used to be forbidden, but there was a quiet amendment to the LEGO Ideas rules some time in the past year that prohibited only active licenses - so since there was only one set in 2016 and nothing since, the license is considered expired and has been removed from the list of stuff not allowed.

Why Green Hill Zone? Wouldn't Studiopolis, Press Garden, Mirage Saloon or Titanic Monarch be better representatives of the game this project bears the name of?

You're right that Green Hill Zone isn't particularily "Mania"-y as a choice. However, this was a calculated move: I feel like it's pretty important that the concept be immediately recognisable to anyone who lays eyes on it. Consider the IP-based designs that have already won the LEGO Ideas lottery: They were clear, immediate, and direct to the point with respect to the franchises they're based on. Honestly, it's possible the fact this project is marked as "Sonic Mania" and not just "Sonic the Hedgehog" could be a point against it in this metric - but the quality of the game being known both by the hardcore fans and the general gaming public definitely helps.

One other thing worth noting is that it was pretty important this project contain a giant robot. Eggman is Sonic's enemy, and if you can't add any of his friends, you need to have him - but he can't be defenseless and on his own, and his standard vehicles are a bit on the unimposing side. You know what kids and adults alike dig? Giant robots. In Sonic Mania, Green Hill is the only zone which contains a robot large enough that Eggman can ride inside of it, but small enough that the set is not infeasible to produce. You could maaaaaybe make a two hundred dollar set based on Titanic Monarch, but that would be kind of empty without a collection of minifigs to fill it - and no Tails or Knuckles or anyone else, as stated above, makes that concept kind of weak.

--- END F.A.Q. ---

No plans for next week. Hopefully you'll stick around, though! I do have some vague ideas, but no promises - it might be another two weeks instead. In any case, I hope you enjoyed the F.A.Q. 2.0! <3


WHAT-IF: The original concept that became this...

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It may surprise you, but Green Hill wasn't where this all started! While I started off building Egg Robots, the fundamental vision for this project came together with this specific build... based off Chemical Plant!! It had just been shown off at E3 2017, and I was motivated to make something that did the exciting previews appropriate justice.

You'll notice a lot of interesting similarities, including the same basic spring-and-lever combination that made it into the "Spring and Palm Tree" module for this concept, a ring on a small stand, and the presence of an extra life on an elevated platform. However, instead of a to-scale classic Motorbug, I included a Generations-inspired Spiny, and the larger tower also posessed an action function of its own - the rotating blocks, which I had a lot of fun with. Personally, the biggest conceptual difference was that instead of being modular, the components were attached via a hinge!

You'll note I said this was rejected - it's a slight exaggeration as I never actually submitted this. I was very close, though - these renders from mid-2017 should prove that, back when I was on a far weaker machine and it ate more of my processor budget. In the end, what made it not work was that LEGO Ideas had, a few weeks beforehand, announced that it would no longer be accepting new projects based on active licenses. Since Sonic and LEGO had an active agreement from 2016 (which expired shortly before I submitted the Green Hill project), that effectively left it dead in the water.

Ultimately, though, I'm glad this didn't work out - I learned a lot from it, and as a result feel like the Green Hill project is way stronger. The lever mechanism for the rotating blocks was never actually built, and is likely prone to catching given the lack of clearance it has and the (however minor) tolerance differences between LEGO pieces. Plus, Chemical Plant was admittedly a boring pick. I know Sonic fans have a bit of beef with Green Hill lately, but it allowed for the Egg Robot to be included in the set alongside buildable scenery - what's better than that, play-wise?

This was originally shown off as part of the TSSZ interview, but I decided it was worth showing independently.

No plans for next week. We'll see whether I have anything to show off - strong likelihood I'll reheat the FAQ, since that's gotten kind of buried over the past few months...


A Rosy by any other name

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Have no fear - Amy Rose is here!

Yep, I promised a new character minifig and I'm here to deliver. While she was never in the game itself (beyond being referenced in the Metallic Madness bossfight), I feel her appearance in Mania Adventures #6 is more than enough to qualify her.

I know people might be a tad disappointed that I didn't go for any of the other four playable characters - Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, Ray - but I need to make it extra clear: LEGO Ideas does not allow for Product Idea creators to suggest new parts, and because they wouldn't work with the Sonic head like Amy does, it's very unlikely they'd be able to happen.

Still, I hope you appreciate that I found a way to make Amy work! I wasn't sure until recently, which is why I only started promising her a little while back ^u^

As the anniversary month is over, the Heavies are all present, and I've finally shown off another minifig, I'm planning to take a bit of time off next week to focus on my other hobbies. There'll still be an Update, but it'll be a recap of my rejected Product Idea from 2017 (as revealed during the TSSZ interview) rather than anything new to the die hard follower. Thanks for your patience and support! <3


HEAVY IS THE HEAD (Happy birthay, Sonic!)

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Happy birthday, Sonic! Watch out, though - the Heavy King is here to crash the party!

That's right. With the completion of their ruler, all five Hard Boiled Heavies are now ready to ruin that hedgehog's day and chase after the Phantom Ruby. Will their antics get rid of Sonic once and for all, or will they be another in a long list of robotic schmucks shown the door?

Thanks for your patience - this was ready quite late yesterday, so I decided it was worth holding back for a good time. I think you can agree it's worth the wait, though - this nice shiny picture has lots of little touches and minor improvements to the existing WIP Heavies. For example, I realised I was overthinking the Gunner's rocket launcher part selection - a good ol' standard 2x2 brick does the job for its barrel just fine! The Shinobi has additional printing on his feet, and the Rider also has her mace. The Magician hasn't recieved a single change, but her build was already perfect! (Please note that the toys cannot actually float in the air, and I only had them do it in the render for the sake of presentation. :P)

Which Heavy is your favourite? If you wanna, vote for the one you'd most like to see included in the main set concept in the comments! Can't guarantee that if this set is picked up for production that they'll be included, but if there's a clear winner I'm sure they'll consider it...

You'll note there's still no Jimmy the Motobug in his normal form - the issues I mentioned in the 5k special last month are still present. If you want to see my take on Jimmy's Phantom form, though, please take a look there!

Speaking of reaching number milestones - we reached the 55% mark two weeks ago, which was pretty wild! I wanted to keep the Halfway Celebration Month rolling, though, so I pushed it back a little bit - and in that time we've already hit 56% as well!! Thank you all so very, very much. I know I say this every time, but I legitimately do appreciate that you take the time to help this project out. Your warm kindness is cherished. <3

In other news - check out the full 53 minute interview I had with TSSZ! If you've watched parts 1 and 2 already there's no need to rewatch, but if you want to see the project's original early concepts...

Next time - the moment you've been waiting for... a NEW CHARACTER. Stay tuned!!


Halfway Celebration Month, part 4: BOMBS AWAY (plus interview pt2!)

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A simple update today, because I was busy all week. As requested by a few people, here's the Eggman Bomb!

The mini-explosive was actually designed during the initial development period of the project, but I decided not to include it in the original pitch because I felt like it drew attention away from the Motobug as a small enemy build, and was way less iconic. Of course, if you want to make something have more synergy with the main build - the only solution is to add an action function!

To that end, the big mech now has a catapault component! It obviously looks ridiculous, but it only pegs on via two studs so it can easily be removed whenever you want to display the mech instead of play with it. It's certainly not a spring-loaded missile or anything, but I think kids would definitely enjoy messing around with it - and it certainly recreates the forward-launching effect of the Eggman Bombs from the original game.

In addition - check out part 2 of my interview with TSSZ if you want to hear some more behind the scenes info. It aired at a time Europeans could actually watch, so if you look at the chat replay, you'll see me! If you haven't already, by the way, you can watch part 1 linked in the Update below.

As the Halfway Celebration Month draws to a close, I just want to thank you all so much for your continued support. We hit 5,500 since the last Update, and I mean it when I say that I couldn't have done it without you all. Thank you! <3

I remember promising a new character. They'll be along soon enough, but an interloper's taken control of next week's Update. Who's ready for the Heavy King? >:3c


Halfway Celebration Month, part 3: #TheFinal interview, part 1!

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Hi, everyone! This won't be a traditional update, but something very special happened recently...

The kind folks at TSSZ asked for a moment of my time to ask me a few questions a little while back. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of exams so I had to keep pushing things back and back. I did finally get it together enough to get in a quick discord call, which ended up producing over an hour of solid audio!

To that end, the first half of the interview was broadcast recently on TSSZ News' Twitch account. Find the on-demand video for part 1 here!

We talk about a lot during it, but one definitely important thing is that I go over a bunch of interesting details about the project's history. Did you know that before I started working on this version of the pitch earlier this year, I'd basically finished polishing a completely different one before Mania had even come out?  They'll be in the interview's stream as an advance exclusive, and then I'll post them as an Update later.

In other news, thanks to the people sharing this project in the replies to the Sonic twitter account posting about the SEGA Arcade Cabinets anniversary vote. It's a shame that the cabinets didn't win, but speaking frankly they were dead in the water the moment they were put in direct competition with the ISS. People go bananas for Space-themed LEGO stuff, myself included. I have two copies of 70841-1 Benny's Space Squad!

Combined with that and the customary announcement in the LEGO Ideas Weekly Digest for hitting the 5k mark, we've gotten pretty close to 5500. Since we're currently still enjoying the Halfway Celebration Month, I'm going to add the Heavy King update the week after the end of the festivities so the new stuff is spaced out. How does that sound?

In any case: thank you all so very, very much for your support and attention. It means a lot to me to see how far this has come. ^u^


Halfway Celebration Month, part 2: PESCROBATICS

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Hi everyone! Thanks for your continued support. As promised, here's a fresh new module - AND a new Badnik build, all in one!

The "Rickety Bridge and Waterfall" module comes in a little large for a module at 214 pieces, but it actually splits into "foreground" and "background" components, in case you'd like to display the latter with a little extra distance away. The foreground component's bridge uses low-friction Technic axle-pin converters across its length to allow it to sag a little under the weight of anything standing on it, just like in the game itself! Of course, the real stars of the show are the Choppers to go with it...

The previous few Eggman's robots I've put together have been pretty easy to just place down and leave as a display, but I knew that wouldn't work out with the Chopper - its customary leaping is its most distinctive trait, so much so that it's been aped quite a few times across the breadth of the series. Clearly, then, I would have to take a different approach.

I recently picked up 76124-1 War Machine Buster, aka Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Mechsuit-In-The-Movie. Criticism about wholesale invention of more toyetic elements to the merchandising of an extremely secretive plot aside, it's definitely a fun build with the standout System weapon designs, the stud shooter and the flick-fire missiles. It was this set, in fact, that made me realise the Chopper was more feasible than I thought!

My first approach was to use a stud shooter, but the front of the projectile had too much weight to it, so I graduated to the flick-fire missile base - which also allowed me to incorporate a Technic-brick-based waterfall, rather than just a small pile of rocks meant to represent a background mountain like I had previously been using.

As a result, the rear fins of that Badnik seem to have been lost - a compromise in accuracy to ensure that it can actually be played with. If you're not quite happy and think you'd rather display it, it's easy enough to remove the flickfire component and replace with a cone - but I think I made the right choice for the sake of it as an actual playset.

Just like how the Buzzbomber reused the Motobug's new face tile print to make it possible to build it even if LEGO decides that it's not essential to include in the set, the Chopper reuses the revised Crabmeat's new eye tile print on round tile ID 98138. I would suspect a point in its favour to being included is that this part is not specific to the Mania theming - a squared robotic eye on a white round tile is a fairly reusable concept, and could be reused in Classic and Creator sets going forward without any issue.

In any case, I hope you enjoy this module, and I apologise for how long it took between me promising it and it actually arriving. There were too many false starts in the prototyping phase, but I think you'll agree it was worth the wait. Thank you very much for your patience!

Coming up next: I did a voicecall interview with a certain Sonic fansite thanks to hitting the 5k mark. They haven't announced it on their end yet, but stay peeled to my Twitter feed for further news - and I'll make sure to update here when a concrete date and time is announced, too.

Until then, peace! <3