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Sonic Mania - Green Hill Zone

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

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^


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Halfway Celebration Month, part 2: PESCROBATICS

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


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All things in balance, as they should be

Halfway. In three months and three days. That's how long it took, which, truth be told, isn't very long at all.

I'm jittering as I write this. It's incredible, how much everyone's come together to help this thing out. I dunno what to say! Like, "THANK YOU", I scream from the rooftops, and it still doesn't feel like enough. Halfway to the goal. I gotta admit, I thought we'd peter out at about a thousand like the last major Sonic project did, and I have never been so glad as to be so completely and utterly wrong.

I had a lot of fun with the header image, it must be said. Thanegg, with his Chaos Gauntlet, is probably the perfect representation of "halfway". And the Phantom Realm suits on Sonic and the flickies, too. But the real standout there is the Phantom Rider, whose Jimmy the Motobike was definitely well worth all the effort I put into it.

Yep, I know I said I was doing the Hard Boiled Heavies every 500, and I GUESS it's almost true, but I really struggled making a version of Jimmy the Motobug that an Eggrobo could straddle without falling off. I have a few experiments saved away for a rainy day, but I ended up throwing in the towel on that. After all, LEGO is no stranger to oversized motorbikes with action features like 76123-1 Captain America: Outriders Attack. Just look at that build! Not to toot my own horn, but that thing is stunning and works surprisingly well in brick form. It's almost like it was made for it...

Back to the milestone, though. This truly is special, isn't it? That's why I'm going to be making big updates weekly, for the next month. I'm not talking random sketches like usual - the coveted second module, the fourth badnik, the original versions of this project before I made it based off Green Hill, and even... a new minifig???? We'll see how it goes, but I have a lot in store for you that I'm eager to show off. June is gonna be a real bonanza!!!

All in all: Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. Halfway there... oo-ooh, living on a prayer. Doesn't mean we can rest on our laurels, though. So much left to do, just as many people ahead of us as there are behind us - so it'll be tough, but I know we can make it through. Just gotta keep on running faster! <3


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GREEN LIGHT RIDE(RS)

Congratulations to SUMO Digital on the successful launch of Team Sonic Racing! From one kart-racer lover to another, you've managed to make a well-mined genre fresh and distinctive. All the best!

I figured a good way to celebrate both the game's release and my project's steady progress upwards (even while I've been preoccupied with other things) would be to put together the Cyclone from Sonic Drift. Sonic's personal racecar is sleek and shiny, and while the LEGO version has a few harder edges, it still manages to capture a lot of its essence.

Speaking of - sorry for not being around lately. My exam season and thesis were both a special kind of awful, but now I'm freeeeeeeee!!! I will be more on the ball now that I've rested properly. ^u^

Much thanks to Brickset for featuring this project back on May 8th, which I would've posted about earlier had I not been extremely busy with work, and big congrats to Mukkinn and their Dinosaur Fossil Skeletons project for passing the Ideas review! Hopefully the playable piano ALSO does - but I completely understand the need for a little more extra time in the oven on that decision.

Next up: I have some special surprises in store for the 5K supporters mark. A full month of weekly project updates. A new Badnik. A new module. And to top it all off, something just as fast as Sonic's Cyclone, and way more dangerous...


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Every hero has a Mega Drive

I'm supposed to be preparing for an exam tomorrow, but honestly? I couldn't resist.

Nothing here is a super involved build or anything - it's mostly a proof of concept regarding the minifigs. The small drone ("buzzbomber"?) and boombox were things I included to round out the scene, kind of like if LEGO Dimensions was still a thing by this November...

Anyways, what did y'alls think of the trailer?

EDIT: Congratulations to the Seasame Street project on hitting 10k! Proud to be a supporter on that one for sure, what a sweet concept. I don't know if I'd be able to hustle up Modular money for it, but I know for sure that if it did happen the world would be richer for it. Machu Picchu and the Adams Family House, too!


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BLASTER MASTER

Putting the bullet in bullet time, the Heavy Gunner is here to to punish and enslave!

The main Hard Boiled Heavy in Mania's marketing, the Gunner is definitely a fan favourite, and it's no exception on my end. His profession suits his role as the aggressor in a high-octane chase, and it's fun to knock his own missiles back into his truncheon-wielding cronies.

As nice as his design is though, it is the least original of the Hard Boiled Heavies. When I started concepting the Heavies, my first step was to put together a basic Eggrobo so that I knew what I'd be working with (which I'll show off eventually, but is teased at the bottom of the header image!), and the only non-colour/print changes from that build were the transparent siren cone id 4589b and new weapon build.

Speaking of that weapon. If you remember the original art the Sonic twitter account showed way back when, you'll probably notice that that picture's gun has one barrel, versus the four transparent 1x1 round plates ID 4073 on the brick-built version. This was a decision of pragmatism; I decided there was no effective piece to properly represent the hole whilst also maintaining the square outline (I considered 2x2 turntable base ID 3680, but any attempt to darken the inside of that would lead to a black rim on the gun itself). Since that was out of the question, I instead took a page from the Phantom Gunner's form - a hand-held missile rack instead of a single launcher, which in some ways is more accurate to the in-game three-missiles-at-once shot the Gunner takes from his helicopter (even if the count is wrong).

Another interesting tidbit about that gun - the handle is modified plate with wheel axle ID 4488, which my gut feeling told me wasn't a set-legal grip due to the compression-based connection, but fascinatingly HAS been used in actual sets in a similar fashion. My specific exenoration is 70657-1 Ninjago City Docks, which includes two arcade machines - the Junkbot one is my favourite for personal reasons, but the fascinating one is the dark red generic ninja sidescroller cabinet. It has a joystick represented by the previously mentioned axle plate with mechanical claw clip ID 48729b attached around it. If I had to guess, it's specifically legal because the axle's end ridge isn't under compression - which means the bigfig hand's grip should probably be alright too.

Anyways, apologies about how it's been so long since I've had a good build to talk about here, and thank you so very much for your kindness and patience with me. I'm entering exam season, so the slim pickings may become even thinner for the next month, but I'll try to have little things for you all on the road to 5k no matter how long it takes for us to get there.

Your support is without doubt welcomed warmly, whether you were first on the train almost two months ago or just taking an interest today. Either way, you're here with us now - and that's what matters. <3

EDIT: Just learned Play Well Portugal covered this project back in March. Obrigado! (I don't know Portugese either, but I hope the sentiment is appreciated...)

EDIT II: just2good?????? It was a little while ago, but many thanks to him for mentioning this project in j2gOSRS #12! ^u^


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Circumstantially simultaneous

Just popping in to wish everyone a good day. This date has personal importance to me, so it's extra special that we reached a nice, round number right around now. (In case it wasn't obvious, the "612 pieces" set size estimate is 100% not a coincidence. c; ) Thank you all so much for making this hapen.

Of course, speaking of round numbers - the next Update will be number 20, and that'll come along when we hit 45%. See you then! <3

EDIT: Forgot to note - thank you to メοメοErica Christyメοメο, Captain Brickstarz, and Thefoster5555 on YouTube for making videos about this project in the past week! It's very much appreciated. ^u^


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SPACE-EGGS

Hi everyone! Sorry for it being a while since my last update. As I mentioned in the comments, I've been a little under the weather and haven't had the spare energy to build additional stuff for this project or what have you.

I shouldn't just leave the project to the wolves while I'm recovering my will and drive, though! To that end, here's a little thing I'd like to do going forward - unique pieces of art tying the Sonic Mania project with other LEGO Ideas projects that have passed significant milestones. It makes sense to do this for every 100 supporters, but we'll see how it goes.

For example, here's a piece of art to go with the SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket reaching the 10k supporter threshold - congratulations to that project, and wishing it luck in review. Here we can see it taking its obvious place in the background of Lava Reef Zone's second act, where in the original game Eggman was preparing to launch his rocket to the Little Planet! I wonder if they'll include an alternate stickerset to rebrand it, should it get produced...

As always, your support is warmly welcomed and appreciated. We're currently a hair under 44%, even without me paying any attention or care to the project for a little over a week. Thank you all!


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Who were you expecting... the easter bunny? (April fools!)

The japery of April 1st is upon us. Here's a modified version of the main project's build for an offsite gag! I can't pretend this is the new face for the project here because the LEGO Ideas Project Guidelines are very strict on not allowing projects to completely change direction even as a goof, but I hope you'll appreciate the effort I put into this fun Sonic Forces-based twist on Green Hill.

I actually really enjoyed that game, but I must admit there are many who don't agree - and there are legitimate grievances about not having much of an identity at times, to the point where recolouring Green Hill and the giant Egg Robot was enough to adequetely represent the game. That's the real crux of this joke, not any actual dislike! My favourite parts where the game does really come into its own wouldn't translate to LEGO that easy without the use of new elements, which is why it wasn't near the top of my brainstoming pile when figuring out the direction of what would eventually become the Sonic Mania project.

Both Infinite and the avatar/rookie (the two coolest additions by far) would need new sculpted head pieces in order to really shine, and my attempt at the Forces version of the Phantom Ruby is a bit weak compared to how the Mania version turned out and might do better with a dedicated part as well. I'd love to see them in LEGO form, but given the restrictions I'm working within it's completely out of my wheelhouse.

Of course, this version of the original build completely ignores all restrictions on what colours are available for what parts. I might go for a more serious attempt based on an actually distinctive part of the game like Sunset Heights another time, given (and I must stress this, since I don't want to seem too mean-spirited with the joke that led me to create this) I did actually have fun with Sonic Forces.

Still, thank you so much for 4,300 supporters! I hope the tomfoolery of today does not overwhelm you. ^u^;;

EDIT: Just found out Crazysonicfan110 made a YouTube video yesterday asking people to support this project. Their efforts are warmly appreciated!!


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A little something else...

Hi, everyone! This isn't necessarily an update to the project itself (more on that below), but I felt like sharing this MOC here would be appropriate given y'alls are likely Sonic fans.

I had some spare time and an abundance of parts not currently occupied by any sets the other day, so I took the opportunity to design a few things. One of those was an upgrade to the LEGO Dimensions 71244-1 Sonic the Hedgehog Level Pack, a set which I would consider a strong companion piece to the hypothetical end result of this project, given that it stars Modern Sonic verus this one's Classic.

Per that era divide, this is specifically a rendition of the design from Sonic Adventure rather than a more neutral version with silver wings. It lacks the deco prints that in-game model posesses, but other than that I consider it a pretty faithful rendition of that build's colorway and shapings.

If this MOC interests you, check out my Flickr page - either in my profile, or through this direct link to the build's album! Obviously it'd look better with a Tails the Fox minifigure, but we work with what we have, not always what we'd like...

Why doesn't this count as an Update, rather than just a MOC? Well, this project is about Sonic Mania. Why would I muddy the waters with elements from Sonic Adventure? All of the updates I've done so far have been things that the eventual product designer from the Ideas team could consider as alternative elements to work with the base concept without raising eyebrows, not completely unrelated additions.

Even if I were to change the colourscheme and tweak some of the shapes involved, the Tornado doesn't even appear in Green Hill Zone, just Angel Island and Mirage Saloon. As it stands I'd rather avoid overcomplicating the set with thematic aberrations when there's so much you can do within the base concept as described in the project title already!

Anyways, thank you all for your support! We passed another few hundreds since the last update, including a totally benign number which nonetheless seems to resonate with people, since I got more retweets on that than most other updates. I'll have more to share with you in due course, and the next major update will definitely be a content addition unless something wacky happens.

Let's keep this momentum goin' <3