Last Friday we hosted a Dev Q&A on the Minecraft Discord server to commemorate the release of the Sonic the Hedgehog Minecraft DLC pack (available now in Minecraft Marketplace!).

Joining us were a few key members from Gamemode One, the developers of the DLC pack.

What program(s) did you use to model the characters?

Cade, Lead Gameplay Developer: We used Blockbench to make our models. It’s a great tool for Minecraft Modeling!

Has SEGA supported the development of the Sonic pack?

Chinara, Communications Director: Absolutely! This DLC is an official collaboration between Mojang Studios, SEGA, and Gamemode One. We got to collaborate directly with Takashi Iizuka, and it was a great experience to work with both SEGA and Mojang Studios. This also allowed us to use official Sonic sounds!

How hard was it to put Sonic into Minecraft?

Eeb, Gameplay Developer: Starting out, we had no idea how to go about implementing Sonic’s Spin Dash and speed. It took us many weeks of prototyping before settling on the currently in place sprint-based momentum system, and we kept tweaking and making small adjustments to it until the very last day.

Can Sonic the Hedgehog roll in the DLC?

Jack, Game Designer: You can hold down sneak to charge up a Spin Dash and will keep on rolling as long as you don’t stop moving! You can also roll around loop-de-loops.

How long did this take to make?

Cade: The actual development period was about 4 months. This includes things like making the textures, building the map, and programming the behavior. It was a pretty busy time to get it out so quickly.

Who is the youngest/oldest of the team?

Chinara: Our team ranges in age from approximately 16-30!

What is the speed of Sonic in this DLC?

Eeb: Speed mob effect 22, with boosts 24, boosted Super Sonic is 33.

For Jack, how did you become a game designer and what was the reason for becoming one?

Jack: I started making Minecraft maps for Java many years ago, until I started working on Marketplace as a developer. Over time I found that I enjoyed game design more and pivoted to that instead.

For Chinara, as a Communication Director at Gamemode One, what things did you work on and how was your experience?

Chinara: I get to talk with all of you! I help players learn more about the map and our blocky Sonic through marketing (and making memes with the Comms team), as well as help with support questions and bugs that come in from players. Both Sonic fans and Minecraft fans have all been so nice and welcoming to this map, so it’s been a great experience.

Was there anything you couldn’t bring in due to time constraints?

Cade: We initially wanted to include an Eggman boss fight at the end of every second act, but we felt it was more important to spend the time improving the feel of the game in other places. Boss fights are hard! One other thing was making the Tornado 2 in the hub rideable. We couldn’t quite get it working with how we make Sonic move.

Who is the best dev?

Cade: Eeb.

Eeb: It’s me.

How strong is Super Sonic?

Jack: In our DLC, Super Sonic is unkillable unless you fall into The Void so…ermm… he’s stronger than everything except The Void.

What was your favorite character and why did you like them?

Chinara: I think I have to say Amy! Her hammer attack is so fun. But Shadow is probably a close second.

Jack: Tails is my favorite! It’s just super cute how his tails spin when he runs really quickly.

Do you have any regrets?

Eeb: A dumb mistake in hindsight, but I spent way too much time working on, was a script that would generate loop-de-loops with parameters for the plane, direction, starting rotation degree, rotation amount, offsets, radius/size, and time length. We ended up only using it twice, one of which I had to extensively edit because the shape wasn’t perfectly spiral, and most of those parameters ended up unutilized. Plus, I had to manually rewrite most of the loop’s mechanics anyways by the end of production to add support for backwards paths and multiplayer.

Which Sonic games did you look at when making the DLC?

Jack: We based things on a mix of old and new Sonic games, and, of course, with our own twists. The three zones we included are based on Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1, Chemical Plant Zone from Sonic 2, and Sonic Generations’ version of the Sky Sanctuary Zone.

Does Sonic eat cheese?

Chinara: Absolutely, especially on chili dogs. He was upset to find out that cheese does not exist in Vanilla Minecraft but knowing that both cows and milk do exist – he has now taken up making artisan cheeses in his downtime from racing.

What challenges did you encounter when creating the DLC?

Jack: Sonic is a huge franchise, and it was very hard deciding what things from what games we wanted to include. For the zones, we knew we had to have Green Hill Zone and Chemical Planet Zone, but we spent much longer deciding the third zone. We ended up speaking with SEGA and settling on Sky Sanctuary Zone, but Carnival Night Zone was a close second!

What were the worst problems or bugs you encountered while making the DLC?

Eeb: I’m sure each one of us has their own different answer, but jittery loop-de-loops haunted me throughout production. I was forced to sneak in some awful “solutions” past Cade. Seeing I still have kept my job, I’m guessing no one has found those files yet.

Will there be a Sonic the Werehog skin?

Jack: There is one! We added as many characters as skins as we could.

What is your general pipeline?

Chinara: For marketing, we generally focus first on key art when the product is just beginning to near the end of development, as it goes through the most iterations and requires stakeholder approval and different crops for all the places it will end up. Then we work on our screenshots and panoramas that go to the store. Usually at the same time we develop a skeleton plan for our marketing and start brainstorming what additional assets we’ll want to create, whether that’s renders or in-game capture. For Sonic, we focused on a gameplay-first approach, so players could see for themselves how unique the gameplay of the DLC is!

Are there Tails and Knuckles?

Jack: Yes! You can play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Shadow, and Amy. They all have different stats and their own special abilities.

Did you like adding certain easter eggs?

Jack: We added as many easter eggs as we could think of to the hub. The Chao Garden from Sonic Adventure may or may not be hidden somewhere. We also added a special type of Chao that you only get to see if you complete all the achievements.

Can you give us hints for any future collabs?

Chinara: While I can’t say anything specific, there is definitely more great stuff in the works! Maybe even something from us, coming out very soon?

These were just some of the fun highlights from last week’s Q&A. To go back and read the full chat, and to be a part of more Dev Q&A’s in the future, be sure to check out the official Minecraft Discord

Written By
Lindsey S