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We love SUMO Digital. We love Steve Lycett. And now with NiGHTS returning back to his rightful spot on the character roster for 'Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed', we love Steve and his company even more. With the Don't Forget NiGHTS campaign now successful in its goals, it seemed to be the right time to sit down with Mr. Lycett and talk about everything that's gone on with the character in the last three years, including how the Flagwaver cameo came about and what went into NiGHTS being drafted for this sequel.

Hello, Mr. Lycett.

Thanks for agreeing to have a very NiGHTSy themed Sonic & AllStars Racing Transformed interview with us here at NiGHTSintoDreams.com.
Steve – No problem, it’s a pleasure to take some time out to have a chat!


1 –
The first time around when you SUMO's were making a SEGA themed racing game, by our knowledge NiGHTS was absent from the roster. That's when we ignited your email inbox, lol. What was your first reaction to the outcry for NiGHTS? Was you expecting such a fan response for the character?
Steve – Panic! All of a sudden I’d got a huge flurry of emails about a character we’d not planned to include, and at a stage when really it was just too late to add anything major to the game! I think both ourselves and SEGA hadn’t understood how much of a big deal it was that we’d not planned inclusion for ASR, we were certainly corrected on that in a very short space of time!


2 -
Naturally, we understand that due to that time in development it would have been impossible to implement NiGHTS as a playable character. However, you didn't want to leave us empty-handed so you incorporated the character in to one of his greatest cameo moments yet, the flagwaver. Who's idea was it to give NiGHTS the checkered flag and how did you go about including it so late in development?
Steve – Yeah, buy that point we were pretty much deep into Alpha, one of the later stages of closing a game down. You’re not really supposed to be adding anything that late in the day! Our first discussion was if we could add a character, but creating a vehicle, building a character and a full set of animations had to be ruled out as we simply didn’t have time available to do it. At the same time though, we were trying to solve how we could add more life to the opening of a race. When we looked at both problems at the same time, we released we could use NiGHTS as the flag man and solve both problems in one go!
However, just having the solution was only the start of it, we then had to take the character model from SST, get it in and working, resolve how he’d enter and leave the scene and discuss it with Iizuka-san to make sure he felt we were using NiGHTS in an appropriate way.
By the time all that was done and approved, we were into Beta, and there you *really* shouldn’t be adding anything. We reached an agreement that if caused any serious bugs or problems that we’d have to let it go. Thankfully though everything went right thanks to the passion of everyone involved to do it, and finally it made the final game. Phew!


3 –
Moving on to the sequel that you're currently working on. When you decided you were heading for the Racing genre again was NiGHTS a strong candidate for the roster after all the initial backlash from the first game or did he take a backseat while other characters were decided upon first?
Steve – Well we didn’t dare not include NiGHTS this time! NiGHTS was on the original character shortlist, plus we also wanted to base a level around the original game too. However, that didn’t mean an automatic inclusion! First we needed to make sure we could work out how we could make NiGHTS work as a vehicle on land, air and sea, plus the same needed to be true of the track!
We also had to run initial designs past Iizuka-san again to make sure he was happy we were capturing the spirit of the original game, and it was Iizuka-san who suggested the character actually transforms into a vehicle. Once this clicked into place, we knew it would work!
You still need to test the characters at focus groups though to make sure they appeal to a wide audience, both of SEGA and non-SEGA fans. Here though, what we discovered was that NiGHTS really resonated with a wide audience, especially with the fairer sex.
That all done and out of the way, finally NiGHT’s made the cut!

4 – The first time around, we all asked for NiGHTS as playable. This time you've not only given us NiGHTS but Reala too, as well as an entire race course dedicated to NiGHTS into dreams history and nostalgia. Going from a cameo in the first game to two playable characters and a track, what made you guys suddenly decide to pour on the NiGHTS sauce for this game? Furthermore, what made you guys decide to include Reala as the second NiGHTS related character and not another character, such as one of the dreamers (Elliot, Claris) or Jackle (another fan favourite boss)?
Steve – Track wise, it made sense for this game. We did consider it for ASR, but when you’re track bound, and the original game really didn’t have tracks in that sense, it didn’t make for an automatic fit. Now though, we’ve got land, air and sea. When we looked for classic SEGA games where you fly… Well let’s say it was a shoe in!
Reala came about as when we asked Iizuka-san about how NiGHTS would work, he drew concepts for us showing both NiGHTS and Reala as vehicles. Since they work in a similar way, we decided to include Reala too.
We have set rules for sizes of vehicles in the game though, with Jackle being a boss, this probably wouldn’t have worked as well. Plus for the track we went with the theme of dreams and nightmares. We felt boss characters definitely belonged in the nightmare sections, so we saved those for there. In fact you’ll see Gillwing, Puffy and Wizeman in those sections!
For the drivers, we did consider the dreamers from the original game or Journey into Dreams, but we felt that no matter which set we’d chose, fans would complain we should have used the others! Instead we thought it’d be fun to use the Pians and one of the enemies (the Guardle) to act as drivers instead! Especially as they need to fly sometimes!

5 - NiGHTS and Reala as characters are able to morph and shapeshift. You've incorporated this element in to their design in Transformed, seeing as they become the vehicles themselves. How did you come about this idea and what other designs did you go through before settling on the ones that you have given them? At any point were they considered to drive a vehicle or were you heavily set on making them the vehicles from the get go?
Steve – Well originally we designed a very abstract vehicle that morphed to match the surface. On Land it has Ideya like nodes to make it float, on water it sprouted a fish like tail to move – and in the air it grew wings.
However, once we saw the concepts from Iizuka-san, we dropped this in favour of the transforming characters, which in hind sight were much closer to what the characters did in the original games. Given the transformation aspect of the game, I think this was the right choice to make.

6 – The first time around, SUMO was blasted with the lame overused response "But, why is Sonic in a car?". You all handled the negative flack really well and went on to selling one of the best kart-esque racing games of the last few years, so Sonic in a car actually worked out pretty well, lol. The flack in regards to NiGHTS now is "But, why is NiGHTS the car?" …how are you choosing to deal with this years cliched negativity? Personally, i love what you've done with NiGHTS because i feel it shows that you've paid attention to the characters details and made them stand out from the rest of the roster.
Steve – LOL, you know, the ‘Hedgehog in a car’ statement has become part of the teams vocabulary! For example when we were discussing tracks and what kind of water surfaces we could race on, I put forward the idea that we could race on Lava. There was some dissent to this. ‘But you’ll burn!’ we heard ‘Lava is dangerous!’ they added. I explained that we really could take some liberties as at the end of the day, we had fantasy characters racing in fantastical environments, with the exact words ‘Yes, I see your point, but there is a hedgehog driving a car…’ It was a done deal from that point on!
We also appreciate that NiGHTS being the car, plane and boat are a surprise, and I hope that as fans were hoping to see what kind of vehicle we’d develop as they’d loved the ones from ASR. However, we agreed with Iizuka-san – who created the whole series – that this was the right thing to do. Once you sit and think about it, it’s perfectly natural in the context of the game, I think with time the NiGHTS fans will accept this.

7 - It could be that people are worried they won't get to see NiGHTS or Reala as themselves at all throughout the game. Can you prove those theories incorrect and will we be seeing the characters in their normal forms too?
Steve – You know, people really shouldn’t worry about this. You will see both characters in their natural forms in the game. You’ll also hear them talk, and although it wasn’t shown in the work in progress trailer we revealed at Summer of Sonic and Sonic Boom, they’re very much animated now!  So relax, it’s in hand!

8 - As far as NiGHTS goes in Transformed, this is the first time we've seen new content designs for NiGHTS (such as the character never being a plane or a car before). You had NiGHTS and Reala in AllStars Tennis but they were pretty much just as they were, straight from 'Journey of Dreams' and handed a tennis racquet. Regarding Sonic Team, how did you go about getting these new designs and features for NiGHTS approved by them? Was there any moments where the designs weren't working at all? Anything left on the cutting room floor that you can tell us about?
Steve – I guess I’ve already answered this, but really, it was Sonic Team who provided the ‘transforming’ characters angle to us. They’ve been really supportive, not just for this game but for Tennis and ASR too. For example when we were making Tennis, it was as Journey into Dreams was being made. We were provided with assets direct from their game to use how we saw fit, which resulted in the Aqua Garden court. In terms of things cut, there hasn’t really been anything bar the original vehicle concepts, and with hindsight, I think we’ve got the better solution!


9 -
The track itself is phenomenal, seeming to be inspired heavily from Spring Valley from 'NiGHTS into Dreams…' then allowing us to head through portals in to various boss levels, such as Gillwings Lair and Wizemans arena. From what i've seen, it's technically 4 courses all mixed in to one race track! What made you decide on such a course for the NiGHTS brand and how did you go about choosing which bosses and levels would appear? Were there any moments where it was designed as just one level without all the extra's included?
Steve – Actually, if anything it was waaaayyyy more complicated before. The design team had this concept that you’d have two Dream Doors to choose from at one point, and depending which route you’d take you’d wind up on sort of a dream river, either on the normal surface, or racing on the surface but from the other side! We had to tone that down a bit.
They also wanted to take a perfect dream like Spring Valley and then make it change it to a nightmare version, but when we discussed this with Iizuka-san, it was clear this wasn’t in the same frame as the original game. There is always a disconnect from Nightopia and Nightmaren basically. It’s fine to transfer between them via a Dream Door- but you can’t mix elements from one with elements from the other.
At this point we decided to do the dream and nightmare sections, so this is what you’ll see in the final game!

10 – Speaking of NiGHTS levels, the character has flown through some pretty amazing places, Soft Museum and Memory Forest are some of my own personal favourites. When choosing a level to focus on what made your team decide on Spring Valley and were other levels considered to be base grounds for the track?
Steve – We always try and find what we consider to be iconic things from the source game, and bring these into our game with some form of twist or change. When we looked at NiGHTS we really wanted to have some nightmare sections and for that, you need contrast. Hence we picked Spring Valley, it provided the contrast we needed, and it was iconically NiGHTS. We also tried to pick elements from the original game – we discussed elements from Journey of Dreams and NiGHTS into Dreams being mixed but again on direction from Iizuka-san that the games were separate, we pulled back to sticking with elements seen in the original.

11 - From your experience in handling the NiGHTS brand for this game and dealing with fans such as ours, what do you think it is about NiGHTS that would make people want to campaign for him? Do you personally see any qualities in the character yourself?
Steve – Really, if you look at the series, it often weaves elements about overcoming doubt and fear and believing in yourself. If you believe you can do things, usually you can. I think that’s resonated with the fans, and certainly, what you tend to find with NiGHTS fans is they’re overwhelming positive – most of the time!
Do I see elements of the character in myself? Not really! I think I have a less than serious frame of mind a lot of the time which could perhaps be compared – but I’m not sure I’d look good in purple!

12 – Now that NiGHTS is too busy racing, who's going to be waving the flag now?
Steve – On this one, you’ll need to wait and see. All I can say is as we start races in the air, it needs to be a character who can fly. Let speculation commence!

13 – Who knows where the future will take SEGA and SUMO, but if the two teams would ever create another entry in to the AllStars series are we going to have to remind you all of NiGHTS again or are we in safe hands from now on? (I know i'm waiting on a SEGA BrawlStars. Would personally love to, as NiGHTS, paraloop Shadow the Hedgehog while fighting on top of a Tem-Jin Virtuaroid, lol) ;D
Steve – You know, we’ve got plenty of ideas for more All-Star games, but we really need to finish this one first! If we did more would we include NiGHTS? Well certainly, if it fits with the game we’re making, but as always I better not make any promises as you never quite know what you’ll be doing next!

—-

A huge thank you to Steve Lycett for his time in answering these questions for us.

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Summer of Sonic 2010 - London. It's been well over a week now but I've been having a hard time trying to pinpoint everything good that happened on the day. I don't mean that in a generic way in the slightest, really, it was THAT good. I wish you'd all been able to attend, but to those of you who I did get the chance to meet and put in all that hard work – thanks for giving DiGi and I a perfect day :)

So where do i start exactly? Humm, well two days prior to the convention we had a lovely (stealthy- since him coming to SoS was a secret) evening meal in China Town with SEGA America's Ruby Eclipse. I've known Ruby for a good few years now since he used to frequent our forums long before he became a community manager at SEGA, long before any journeying of dreams, owls or other assorted bat-tights. Remember those days? Well Ruby's always been a big NiGHTS fan so it was great to finally just sit down and have a bit of chill-time. It's pretty interesting chatting to Aaron because he's like the SOA version of our AAUK (just without the hilarious Owl impressions). Perspectives make me smile. It makes me happy too that my own community members really follow their dreams. I'm a proud old admin ;-;

Reading the dinner menu was fun, we found you could actually order an ENTIRE roast pig (booked 24hours in advance mind!), but we settled for our regular fare, followed up by almost criminaly delicious deep fried icecream. Afterwards we took him on a bit of latenight sightseeing for photos. There exists a video of Big Ben bonging with DiGi cursing his head off in the background. All in all a great night out with good company.

The next day consisted of me running around doing everything I'd failed to do 3 days beforehand. This year we didn't want to be selling any Studio Imagni stuff at the con since last year was great but we were kinda stuck behind a table most of the time (well poor Jof was!) so this year we wanted to just mingle and enjoy the show. And boy what a show it was!

A few days prior to the convention DiGi and I had travelled down to AAUK's new house. You see, not only was Kevin doing his regular duties as community manager and running a huge fan convention – he was also in the middle of moving home! I'm not entirely sure how he managed to stay sane with all that going on at the same time, but a large box of plastic crabs may suggest otherwise. Kev, Becky and Blake were pretty much juggling home unpacking with Summer of Sonic delivery boxes. That takes some kinda madskills. So we just made it worse for them by handing them a stack of 600 NiGHTS campaign flyers, haha. Yeah the SoS crew were good sports and let us advertise our campaign by putting a flyer into every Summer of Sonic goodie bag this year. If you want to see my art up close you can check out my upload here:

Well after about 5 days of not sleeping due to some random insomnia I was suffering from… SUMMER OF SONIC – HAD ARRIVED!

Up at 6am we were determined to get to The Pavillion early enough to grab us some free swag, which included an amazing Metal Sonic figurine. We love collecting game and anime action figures and stuff so we had to get one of these. Actually we ended up with 2 of everything since we got a bag each. A funky exclusive Sonic print bag made especialy for the convention. If I'm feeling generous enough I might hold a mini competition later on where you can win my bag.

To cut a long story short, long queue was long and it started raining. We were also heckled by some drunken Kiwi's, Rugby fans, which DiGi took great skill in giving chatback to and banishing. Just standing in the line I had a lot of requests for photographs mostly from the general public (probably confused by my slightly mad hair, lol). The event was late in opening but from experience I've never attended any sort of convention where the thing opens on time, I didn't really mind waiting anyway since I knew it would be worth it. A few of the staff came up and talked to us personaly, letting us know something of the setup nightmare the crew were having to deal with inside. Problems with expensive computer equipment being stolen, excess furniture, capacity rules thrown in at the last minute and unhelpful venue staff were really pushing the team to the limit. But amazingly, despite all this, they took it in their stride and continued to give their personal best. I know the Sonic fanbase gets a lot of stick sometimes but when the staff work together to get stuff done they really pull a bit of a Sonic Heroes 'Team work' thing. It's all rather magical, lol. But I'll get into that more later. Standing in the queue we were approached by two lovely chaps from a website I follow on Twitter called Sonicitalia.net they recognized me because of the hair (yeah I get that a lot lol XD). It was at this point that I was told that a lot of attendees rather than wearing name badges have their forum/twitter/facebook avatars printed onto their T-shirts. Great stuff. Suddenly it was a lot easier to recognise folk I knew online!

Then like reaching some kinda spiritual (slightly more blue tinted) Mecca – we were IN. Just narrowly avoiding what became dubbed 'The Pidegon Panic Zone' we were handed two dayglow orange SoS goodie bags by the TROOPER OF A MAN ~ Urtheart. With our heads half in the bags and half remembering how to walk forwards we entered into the main hall which was something of a spectacle of Sonic goodness. My inner NiGHTS fangirl felt both a sudden twinge of jealousy and pride, haha. Nah, I'm just glad that our fanbase is always welcomed so warmly in the Sonic one. I guess we're like the really campy annoying spandexy cousins that only come around once a year to 'borrow' the lawn mower and never return it. But it's all good.

My memory fails me a bit here but i think the first person we bumped into was Dreadknux, telling us that we did indeed HAVE a Studio Imagni table (set up right next to STC's lovely Nigel D none the less), whoops, so if I wanted to use it to sell quick sketches or whatever I was free to do so. I considered making DiGi stand on the table and busk rap style for our lunch but I figured he wouldn't be too into that. So we left the table idea alone (for this year anyway!) and trotted off like ungrateful gits to enjoy the full awesome of the con itself :D

Something I will say straight away is that I was definately less shy with approaching people than I was last year. I've gotten to know a lot of the Sonic community better since then, especialy the staff, since we all went to Alton Towers and Expo together this year. Great bunch of guys and girls. This year we had tons of people come up and ask us for photos with them, knowing who we were. I guess hassling SEGA so much and being generaly irritating makes you some kinda fandom D listers, lol. We had a good few jokes about burning Sonic merch and campaigning for our own convention. It felt really nice to fit in and share in the laughs. After attending the hideously huge Expo this year I felt a lot more connected to the atmosphere of Summer of Sonic. I mean I might draw anime styled stuff but to be honest I don't really know a lot of anime things, I watch the odd DVD now and then but I wouldn't exactly say I'm a Otaku. Summer of Sonic was different, probably because everyone was there because they were fans of one universal thing – Sonic. Sure they might all have clashing opinons on what makes the series good or have website rivalries online, but for one day everyone just chills the hell out and gets on. It's nice. Very full of nostalgia too. When I was a kid I'd always wanted to go to the comic conventions down in England to meet the Fleetway bunch, but the distance made it impossible. Now I live in London this has been my chance to catch up on everything I missed as a Sonic obsessed teenager.

So many fans turned up! Something like well over 800 I think? After a while I lost count of the people I hugged to death and yelled hello at. We walked around taking in all the sights, eager to see what was to be seen this year. Firstly there was an ASR tournie happening on the second floor which DiGi took part in, good sportsmanship, even if some people were using the Tails boost glitch >___>;  ahem. The amazing rare merch cabinet made a welcome return, this year it had the actual Pixel Palace Sonic sketches on show from That Guy With The Glasses. Also the NiGHTS chao plushie and some amazing little Sonic plushies I'd never seen before. There was a crab in the cabinet… but somebody stole Kevins crabs! D: *lol* (that sounds so crazy but it really did happen). It's kinda sad how people will go to a convention and lift stuff like it belongs to them. I hope whoever was kind enough to steal things was jumped on the way home :]

Also two of the main events this year was the presence of both playable Sonic 4 and Sonic Colours. We stood in the line at one point to play Sonic Colours but after seeing how slow the line was moving we felt it best to give up our spaces to the hardcore Sonic fans and wandered on our merry way. From what we seen of other people playing Sonic 4 it looks great! I'm really looking forward to both games coming out. It's odd to say it but for once I'm actually properly excited. You should be too ;) This is Sonic Cycle combo breaking.

Wandering around the hall more we found the crazy mr Elson Wong selling his comics and art (DiGi's evil twin i think!), the STC online crew, Nigel being SWAMPED by adoring fans snapping up more of his original painted art that he was selling last year (I managed to get a quick wave in there), and a big area for people to chill and draw. That's one thing i definately liked this year, the amount of chairs and sitting spaces available. Very comfy sofas. Because it's all well and good walking about but with that many people in one place things get a little hot. Well actually quite a -lot- hot since there was no air conditioning, but to be honest i think it added to the experience haha. What's a real convention without sweaty fellow geeks? XD Other things I got to see was the AMAZING pixel/hama bead comic that Becky and Kev had created by hand. Dot by dot! I was so impressed they finally got it finished considering how massive it was. There was also a table with some neat Sonic customised dolls, backissues on sale and a mystical shop that i didn't get to even breathe on because it was so busy! There was a lot to see and do. This year we mostly hung out at the stage since last year we missed everything. At the stage we were treated to some hilarious animations, flat out comedy moments (come on Vger being forced to Caramel Dansen), Never Mind the Buzz Bombers – with the cutest littlest Sonic fan ever. I swear he knew more facts about Sonic than some of us older people. Which reminds me, DiGi and I had a few mumsy 'aww' moments upon seeing various little kids enjoying themselves on the day. It was a real reminder that Sonic spans real generations, from us kids in the early 90's to todays little guys. I really hope him and NiGHTS continue to be heroes for a new wave of youngsters discovering gaming. In a world full of grey and brown FPS games with not much but death and realism I'm glad that people can still appreciate the colorful imaginative fun games.

There was also a Kareoke singing competition Wrecks Factor Live! The guy who really stole the show was T-Bird's little brother who did a hilariously GREAT performance of the Sonic Underground themesong. Cosplayers were also out in force this year with the chance to win a trophy for best costume on stage. People kept asking if I was cosplaying as Knuckles…. what? XD I think it was my red hair and the goggles. My underlying Knuckles fanboyisms must still be apparent after over a decade, gosh! I kinda wanted to be cosplaying as NiGHTS but I'd have to remake my cosplay. Maybe next year. On my travels around the hall I came aross a BIG THE CAT COSPLAYER – who I promptly attacked for a photo. Just to prove the NiGHTS fanbase has no hard feelings at all towards the feline, even if he did get into ASR and NiGHTS didn't :p

Like I said I bumped into too many cool people to mention but an honorable mention goes out to Syaming-Li who not only is just badass but created the most spectacular Sonic custom converse shoes ever. So we stood there taking photos of his feet – because yes we're weird like that. No, really, look at his shoes:

Dude.

Another honorable mention, actually scratch that, HUGE GLITTERY SLOBBERING THANKYOU, goes to Nemain. She gave us one of the nicest moments of the con. We're just standing there chatting away to people and this girl of clearlyinsanemadness comes up to us brandishing a Christmas NiGHTS plushie. It turns out she won the recent Elliot/NiGHTS ebay lot and wanted to just GIVE us Christmas NiGHTS to keep. For nothing. What the hellllll! XD DiGi nearly cried, seriously. It was so sweet of her to come up and thank us for our campaign and stuff, never mind give us a damn rare as hell Christmas NiGHTS plush. Needless to say she is like my favourite person of the entire convention now and I can't ever thank her enough for the happiness she gave us :) It's stuff like that that reminds me why I'm a fan in the first place, no not because people sometimes give me free stuff lol, the fact that people love NiGHTS enough to do nice things for other fans. It just reminds you it's all worth it you know? If you can get reactions like that. Christmas NiGHTS was later seen gleefuly downing Baileys and Ice in a drunken binge that shall never see the light of day. As long as Kevin never uploads his photos haha.

Then convention ended on something of an insanely spectacular high with the famous Crush 40 doing a live show for us. Proper mosh pit. I could go on and on about how great it was but all you have to do is watch this video to see how electric the atmosphere was. Singing along with so many Sonic fans was just… wow!  Epic stuff. Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli.

 

After the crowds had left and things had closed for the night we got a chance to talk to Jun Senoue personaly. At the time I didn't realise he'd actually done some work on Journey of Dreams… gah! But he's such a cool guy ;_; So polite and insanely talented. Knowing that we were talking to the guy responsible for so many great melodies over the years just made me infinately happy. He stopped us as we were walking off to tell us that us fans are the reason he is here doing what he loves and DiGi and I kinda fangeeked in unison haha. We love ya Jun!

Then, bizzarely the strangest thing happened for me. We'd just experienced this amazing convention – but the most real fun I had was helping the staff close it up for the night. DiGi and I stayed behind to help out the Sonic lot and it was just… I can't really explain how I felt but, it felt good. These people who were left at the end were my friends. The people who had given their time and love to this convention and here we all were at the end taking down the posters, pulling sheets off tables and picking up litter together. Singing, joking running about like madmen trying to get everything tidy again. I even helped clean the Loo's! (Best way to spend a Saturday night! haha) It was at this point Elson Wong and DiGi really got time to chat and the pair of them were hilarious to listen to. DiGi and him cussing major profanity at the tables as they tried to pull the cloths off just made me lose it. At one point there was an impromtu sing along of Dreams Dreams that carried quite far up the hall. Kev was tired out his brains and STILL managing to give us orders. Me, Ruby Eclipse and Graham from SEGANerds were taking down all the fanart done by people and little kids and it was seriously one of the most blissed out moments of my fandom. Quiet, nice and prettymuch a joint feeling. Proper Teamwork. Eventually it came to an end and we all posed for a staff photo, I hope it appears online soon because I'm probably grinning ear from ear in it.

And then… well then there was a lot of this. I can't remember getting home very well, but that's the sign of a good night out!

Summer of Sonic 2011. You all have to come. Thank you SO much to AAUK and Becky firstly for putting in insane amounts of patience, stress and hard work, I only ever get to see a fraction of what goes on behind the scenes but I know it's more than an undertaking. Becky sista thanks for keeping our Kev sane and healthy :D Thanks to Dreadknux for being a hardworking cool dood and letting us in the front door (you always make me laugh too much). And to the rest of you ugly lot who put in your beans we love you all (yes even you Rory) and we hope you'll never give up your passion for the fandom. Thanks for the great memories.

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Recent happenings

16 June;  Author: TRiPPY

Hi folks, TRiPPY here with a bit of an update on things that have been happening lately. Well first things first I had London MCM Expo to contend with and it went very well. Seeing my art up on a big video screen was epic, as was watching Bentley Jones do a live performance of 'So Much More' from Allstars Racing. Thanks to all the people involved with that and thanks to all the Sonic/SEGA community people I got to hang out with over the weekend. Great times were had.


Sexy times.

Now straight after that I had to unleash my art portfolio www.lynnetriplett.com in the hopes of getting a little bit of local work coming in. But within 24 hours I had a job interview in Sheffield and now I work for SUMO Digital. Yeah… it's not sunk in for me yet either. It's ironic that all this came about because of NiGHTS hahah. Let that be inspiring to you.

SUMO Digital are the wonderful, friendly and talented chaps who brought us Sonic and SEGA Allstars Racing amongst other great titles. The people who pushed to get NiGHTS into ASR for us. Now I work for them as a concept/2d artist. And you can bet your burning merch that I'm going to give them my 100% effort and loyalty since they done so much for our community. I know this might effect my ability to personaly report on any future (i wish) NiGHTS related leak things, but I'll make up for it by giving you guys my best work on-game. I'm not going anywhere from the NiGHTS fandom. If anything this might actually help us, lol.


Job gets!

So what else have I been up to lately? Well DiGi and I are very much on the campaign bandwagon and have a new NiGHTS related website to open next week. But you'll have to wait and see what that's all about. :)

Speaking of NiGHTS, Sonic Stadium recently interviewed Iizuka-san and someone popped a question about the possibility of new NiGHTS stuff. Go check out the full interview here:
@ Sonic Stadium

Hope you guys enjoyed E3. I think Nintendo's lineup impressed me the most with love being shown to their classic IP's … and yes we all want to play with Microsoft's Kinect. Can't wait to get my hands on a 3DS either!

Later :D

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I swear, these SEGA community days just keep outdoing themselves! It's been a couple of weeks now since we got home but I wanted to spend some good time trying to remember all the details of what was a brilliantly fun trip. I mean the SEGA JoD demo in my house thing was epic enough but then this SEGAfest of community love was something I wish happened every other weekend! The whole thing was really quite surreal… and trying to find a place to start from is hard when it was 48 hours of madness. But lets start from the very beginning…


The invites.
Were we excited? Why yes we were! Though… when SEGA threatens to 'take you away' after months of you irritating the hell out of them with NiGHTS DLC emails you get slightly worried. DiGi considered this SEGA's revenge since DiGi and rollercoasters do NOT mix. There were quite a few jokes going around about 'technical difficulties'.

A press release appears what will you do?

Sonic The Hedgehog spins into Alton Towers Resort!

Alton Towers Resort teams up with the world’s most famous hedgehog to revamp classic attraction

This February half term, Alton Towers Resort’s famed attraction Spinball Whizzer will be receiving an exciting makeover. The Resort has teamed up with iconic video gaming character, Sonic The Hedgehog, to be the new face of the ride Sonic Spinball, opening on 13th February 2010.

Since 1991, SEGA has sold more than 60 million copies of computer games featuring Sonic The Hedgehog worldwide. Famous for his incredible speed and spin attack, this gaming icon is the ideal character to re-launch Spinball Whizzer.

Spinball Whizzer was one of Alton Towers Resort’s much loved attractions. Opened in 2004 and with an impressive drop of 54 feet, the coaster gives each rider a unique experience by spinning and dropping in different directions, allowing you to ping and spring your way around this pinball-themed twisted track that is full of surprises!

Alton Towers Resort’s guests will also have the chance to relax in the Sonic The Hedgehog room at the Alton Towers hotel. The rooms will be fully themed around the Sonic universe. Guests can also enjoy playing the latest Sonic games in the dedicated gaming area of the room.

Morwenna Angove, Sales and Marketing Director at the Alton Towers Resort, said: “It’s a great joint venture between the Alton Towers Resort and SEGA. The affiliation of both brands will add to the great family offering at the Resort for kids seeking fabulous family fun and adrenalin addicted adults”.

Escape to the Alton Towers Resort this February Half-Term and enjoy an early preview of Sonic Spinball as well as some of the Resort’s best attractions before the main season even begins!

So we didn't sleep much that night. Mostly due to the fact that DiGi always leaves his packing until the last second. One of the main things we had all been worrying about was the weather since it had been snowing and pouring down with rain on and off in London. As fun as rollercoasting with snow in your teeth would be we weren't really feeling the extreme weather thing. But lo and behold SEGA must have some kind of Weather Control Emeralds because the next morning the rain had almost vanished (almost).

The trip on the underground to the meetup point consisted of DiGi joking about everything that can go wrong with rollercoasters and how I wasn't going to get him to go on ANYTHING even if I got pouty about it. The man was determined, you gotta give him that. But I am a TRiPPY and I gets what I want :P
So we wandered around outside the infamous Ritz in central London trying to find anyone that remotely resembled a Sonic fan. You can usualy find them wearing a lot more blue than usual. NiGHTS fans are easy to spot by their disregard for clashing colors and dayglow hair. Both fanbases have that distant 'I'm an admin online and I lost my soul' look in our eyes. Then from out of the station bops AAUK and Echohawk with their posse, all looking suitably blue. We then proceeded to annoy the general public by all standing in the middle of the pavement chatting about the trip and things that had conspired a few days beforehand. Our little group started to get bigger as more and more familiar faces arrived from both the Sonic community and gaming press. Soon we were a veritable mob of chattering flashy nerds as our private coach pulled up down the street and we all climbed onboard. It was later revealed to me that our awesome driver did infact look a lot like Man of Arms from He-Man (thanks Rory).


I will drive you by the POWER OF GREYSKULL!

When I was first told about this trip I didn't realise that so many people were coming along from the media, which was really fun, even though most of them take ages to get on a bus. There were people from magazines, newspapers, websites all sitting on this big coach with us community guys ready for the journey ahead. Alton Towers is a fair distance from London (around 142 miles) so you can imagine the fun of being stuck in a bus for around 4 hours with all these people. And yes, we had sandwiches, AMAZING sandwiches and flapjacks. Very nice posh lunches by SEGA, though I seemed to inherit about 4 bottles of water and apples in my handbag. DiGi decided on having -another- tuna sandwich which probably wasn't a great idea considering he was on a long distance drive and would then be straight on a rollercoaster…. yeah. But it was all very relaxing as the coach started to drive through drizzly central London and I sat eating my epic flapjack looking out the window at people walking past. In all the time I've lived in London I've never been down Oxford street on a bus, haha. So that was nice for me. Quiet morning mumbles turned into rowdy community banter as we all woke up a bit and started heading proper north. North is an amazing place, it has trees and everything.


*story ACTUALLY continued today thanks to my server letting me upload things again XD; sorry guys*

 

Credit goes to AAUK (SonicWrecks & SEGA Europe), Vger (EmeraldCoast), G (SEGANerds) and Rory (TSS) for the stolen photographs, because i roll like that.

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