Gotta Load Fast

sonic-loading-01Sonic on the Spectrum. Can you imagine the fun as our spiny hero spins through the labyrinthine zones at supersonic speeds, navigating loop-the-loops and seeing off hordes of robotic obstacles en route to thwarting Robotnik’s latest sinister scheme? (and yes, I do still call him that because that’s his name!!!) Can you imagine the fun, all packed onto one super cool blue cassette?

No, me neither.

But I’ve been on something of a Sonic nostalgia hit lately – it happens every once in a while. I tried to make a 3D model of Dr. Robotnik, with hilarious results – I shan’t be uploading that any time soon. Hence, we have a Sonic loading screen, Spectrum style. I realise now that I did something similar back in November with André the Giant’s mug, but this time I used a full colour pallette. Well, full colour as far as the Spectrum is concerned. That’s fifteen colours. And I didn’t even use them all.

My biggest failing here was going in all leisurely and not really bothering about one of the Spectrum’s biggest artistic challenges: colour clash. The Spectrum cannot handle more than two colours in the same 8×8 pixel tile, of which the game screen is made up; should that occur, the more prominent colour will take precedence. While generally easy to avoid in still images (if you’re more awake than I clearly was, anyway), it can rear its head frequently during gameplay, with anything animated changing colour depending on which part of the background it’s up against.

Anyway, I decided I should probably sort it out, and so I turned to the handy Image2ZXSpec application to convert my finished drawing to Spectrum mode, and spent a while whittling the clashes down. If you’re really bored, you can play spot the difference with the top and bottom and see what I had to change. It’s still not perfect, but I think it’s about as good as it can get without starting again. Still a really fun process though. I always seem to enjoy working to the constraints of this machine, and I am not surprised to see many others are to this day creating similar things.


    • Jacob said:

      Hi Camilla, no, I haven’t been on here much at all recently – I’ve been really busy with work and just haven’t had the time for it. But I’ve got some time off now so hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Brilliant job. The colours, even with limitations, are just stunning to see.
    Sonic’s a classic alright.
    And good to see you back 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Hi, TVTA! Glad you enjoyed this – I’m sure I’ll do more, the loading screen concept was really fun. Sonic is absolutely a classic. Sonic 2 on the Mega Drive was the first game I ever played. Not a bad way to start!

      Thanks! Nice to have some time for this place again, hope to catch up with you soon ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • One of my brothers had the Mega Drive and was always playing the Sonic games. Remember playing Altered Beast a lot and Mickey Mouse Castle of Illusion (that was so addictive!). Plus fighting and sports games.
        Yay, yes, you should def do more loading screen designs – they look well impressive.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        My sister bought a Mega Drive in about ’96, quite late really, but of course I loved it (when I was allowed to actually play on it) and still do. Those Sonic games are the best, in my opinion. I could never get into the 3D ones that came later. I had the Master System version of Castle of Illusion and absolutely loved it! That’s a blast from the past. Might be a worthy candidate for a future Spectrum outing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Be cool to see Castle of Illusion 🙂 The background scenery, colours and characters were so visually pleasing, as well as the spooky music I recall.

        Liked by 1 person

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