Another SADX-related interview; but a bit different this time around. Speeps (known as SPEEPSHighway on Youtube) is yet another X-Hax member and one of the people that I knew from a good while that did have a great interest in the Sonic Adventure games. Simply put, if you have seen Speeps Youtube channel, then you may have guessed that one.

On top of posting SA-related content on Twitter, Speeps’s Youtube channel had several interesting videos related to both Sonic Adventure games, including but not limited to prototype explorations, debug menus and modes, level development and secrets, Dreamcast DLCs, cutscene explorations, and all other kinds of easter eggs as well. (and memes, many memes)

Another thing that Speeps often covered was Chao-related content, being a fan of Chao in both of these games; and used to be a Chao Island moderator for that matter. (Chao Island is a Chao fansite, which also contains extensive information for both games Chao systems)

These videos gave interesting insight into certain details from both games, and also helped with some other research-based projects, like PkR’s Dreamcastify site (as well as helping with some other SA mods). And of course, despite that wasn’t a “advanced tech member” like the previous interviewees, it still was nice to do this interview, from knowing more about the reasons behind researching, as well as getting to know some stuff related to Chao in both Adventure games. Please enjoy!

This interview was conducted on May 14, 2020

Alright, first of all, thank you for this chance; since I had joined X-Hax, I always was intrigued with the amount of research done, and had watched several of your videos about Sonic Adventure. In fact, I also remember watching those two videos about Dreamcast landtables on SADX, which had inspired me in trying to do something with textures (and then PkR would do his thing; the rest is history :p)

So…what can you say about yourself to begin with?

I live in the UK and I’ve been looking into the [Sonic] Adventure games for about 10 years now. There isn’t much to say about my personal life, I did Computer Science at university and now I’m waiting for this pandemic to blow over so I can find myself some work, so I’ve got a lot of free time on my hands right now.

What would you say that you are skilled with?

Uhh, well when I first got my computer just about every part broke down at some point and it took basically rebuilding it from scratch before it could work again, so I guess that could count. At Uni I studied C++, Java and Networking primarily, I also did some 3D graphics but that’s never been my strong point.

What would you say or remember that was your first experience with Sonic?

When I was really young I used to play Sonic games on an ancient mega drive emulator called KGen. I didn’t know how to play properly and couldn’t beat the MHZ2 boss, so at the time I always wondered what this “Flying Battery” thing the demo kept playing was.

One day I saw a relative playing a 3D Sonic game (SA1) and I got to play for a bit. I think I managed to play as Knuckles in Speed Highway for a few minutes but that’s all I got to play at the time.

That relative gave Sonic Jam the following Christmas – the Easy mode Jam had was great for letting me learn how to play. I was amazed when I figured out how to lock on Sonic & Knuckles, S3K is still my favourite in the classic series. I learned how to get into the level select and debug modes before I ever saw most of the Act 1s in that game, because Jam’s Easy mode cuts them all out aside from AIZ, MHZ and LRZ.

I first had SA1 and SA2 on the Dreamcast a few years later. My SA2 disc was an old Echelon rip where Eggman fell through the floor in Cannon’s Core!

What do you remember thinking when you saw Sonic Adventure for the first time?

It looked better than R and I think that was also the first time I ever saw a Dreamcast, so I was wondering what the thing even was.

Since how long have you been part of the (online) Sonic community?

The first time I interacted with anyone online in the Sonic community was in 2009, when I joined the Chao Island forums. Previously I’d been with part of a Zelda community, but I guess everyone got fed up with antics of a dumb kid so I ended up going elsewhere. Chao Island was great and I met a lot of people I still talk to today on there, including the owner. I used to be staff on there, but now I mostly just pop in occasionally on its Discord to help out with research.

I joined Retro in 2010 but I think it took about 7-8 years to actually be able to post due to the validation system the forums had. I think that was for the better in the end though, I would’ve looked really stupid on there if I’d been allowed to post back then lol.

Other than that I was briefly active on the Sonic Stadium forums but that’s about it.

On the topic of Chao, what can you mention about Fusion’s Chao Editor? (and were you around in the day it released?)

Fusion was an admin on the Chao Island forums and was always teasing about this amazing new Chao Editor he was working on. At the time, the only Chao Editor around was the old SADX PC Memory Editor, which had been around since 2004. It was a good tool, but it lacked a lot of desired features (like Second Evolution) and it was clear a new one needed to be made, so that’s what Fusion did.

When it was first released I put out a video showing off how it looked and the different types of Chao you could make with it that you couldn’t with the old one. Originally it didn’t work with SADX Steam (It wasn’t out at the time), but the Steam version wasn’t nearly as popular at the time so there weren’t too many complaints about it.

You downloaded the tool from his website, which had some of the coolest products of Chao research around at the time. Alongside his editor, there was a Chao preview tool (Using images from CI’s gallery) and an in-progress guide to SA2B’s Chao boxes with very helpful screenshot guides. It’s still up now, though all his research by this point has already been carried over to Chao Island.

Version 2.0 (Dec 2012) of the Chao Editor added compatibility with the Steam versions of SADX and SA2B. Further updates were put out over the next 4 years, but were mainly compatibility fixes whenever there was an update for one of the games that broke the editor.

Unfortunately, Fusion later left the community (for personal reasons) and his website hasn’t been updated since January 2016. FCE gradually became outdated – there were numerous compatibility issues with Chao World Extended, the extremely popular overhaul for the SA2B Chao System.

Nowadays the tool of choice for the Chao community is Krzys’s Chao Editor. It has everything FCE had, but it’s compatible with Chao World Extended. It also adds customization for CWE features, such as its Eye Lens system.

How would you describe the scene of SADX modding in those early years?

The mod loader wasn’t around so you had to keep a back up of all the original files and overwrite them in the system folder directly. The biggest mod at the time was Sonic RDX, because it was the only one that changed the stages. Everyone wanted to make a mod like that, but nobody really had the skill – what was more common at the time were model edits of Sonic running around retextures of Emerald Coast, probably with different music. That stuff was all simple enough to comprehend.

I made my own mod at that level in 2010 and it was unimaginably awful. It was basically a bunch of recolors with SADXTweaker edits running around stages with maybe one or two pieces of geometry moved. I also put Super SADX in it, which was a brand new and pretty revolutionary mod at the time where you could play as Super Sonic in any level.

The biggest changes were in the SS Chao Garden, where I colored it yellow and moved that cover above the fountain over to the circular grass spot, which I thought looked amazing. Unfortunately, almost everything from that time is gone. All of the images were hosted on Tinypic and any videos were deleted from my YouTube channel years ago – including one very funny one that had one of my friends pretend to be a screaming Chao in a silly voice. He’s still a bit irked over it being gone forever because he can’t do said voice any more. The only thing left is when I made a family tree of all the Chao I had at a time when the textures were still around:

One of my friends tried making a similar mod at the same time and I got really angry because my copyrights were obviously being infringed, looking back it’s really funny.

This is the type of silly stuff I was up to in those early days, I was entirely a Chao person playing SADX.

Around what time you joined X-Hax (and can you comment about your mainstay in there)?

I didn’t join X-Hax until way later, in May 2018. That was when the Discord server was first put up – I didn’t like IRC so I barely ever went in there before that.

The first day was pretty funny in there because on the first day of a large server it always gets quite spammy with everyone flooding in. I don’t think I talked in there too often for a while after that, because I didn’t know anything about modding with the disassemblies at the time so it all looked confusing.

When I did, it was mainly about some other topic or something in the Dreamcast version. With the help of Exant and MainMemory I learned how to set up SA2 mods. The first mod I made for SA2 PC that had code was Menu Overhaul. Generally X-Hax is where you learn how to do all that because there’s more resources in there than anywhere, including how to open the disassembly.

Screenshot of Sonic Adventure 2 (PC) with Menu Overhaul mod. The easiest difference is how it resembles more the Dreamcast version menu than Gamecube/Battle menu.

I’ve got the role “Mom” in there because someone asked me if I could be their mom and I said yes.


What was your first mod for SADX PC (if you did one)? And what (or who) inspired you in researching Sonic Adventure 1&2 as much as you did?

Other than that really crap thing I did 10 years ago? The first mod I made for DX PC was in 2014, only a year after the AutoDemo was found and research into it was still pretty young.

The AutoDemo has object layouts for a lot of stages, but unless they were playable you couldn’t get to see them. Other areas (like the Egg Carrier) were playable but didn’t objects, which was a huge pain. If you tried just copying the files over to later versions, it would load all the right POS/ROT/SCL data but it wouldn’t load the right stuff because the object list was different.

I used SADXLVL’s SETEdit to compare the AutoDemo and Final layouts to each other. I used that to write up what the AutoDemo’s object list was then update it to match the final game’s list. It wasn’t perfect, but most of the objects were fixed and it let you see how different the areas used to be. I got Lost World and the Egg Carrier done – you can still find the videos on YouTube, but the annotations that originally accompanied them explaining the changes have been lost.

As for what inspired me it would probably be seeing Sonic RDX for the first time. The beginning of me getting into the Dreamcast version was a few years later when I saw videos of it on YouTube, particularly this one:

I didn’t remember much from how the DC version looked when I was young, only that the train station in Station Square was a different color. I played SA2 a lot more than SA1, and only got a GameCube for the Chao.

What can you comment about these two landtable ports (Red Mountain and Twinkle Park) you did back in 2014? I remember being impressed with those, and actually had commented in one of them.

It was at that time that the SADX modding tools got to a level where you could replace the entire landtable for a stage. I remember some really old video that did it for Speed Highway 3 and wanted to try it myself, which is where those videos come in.

They were a quick cut/replace job of the landtables. When I first tried playing I noticed they still didn’t look how they did in the DC version (due to the lighting changes) and looked kind of grey. SADXLVL let you tint the materials, so I made my own recreation of the lighting by tinting the geometry – it’s noticed the most on the tracks in Twinkle Park 1, which were all tinted blue but did come out looking great at the time.

Of course, this meant all the objects were unchanged. I remember at the time being annoyed at how I couldn’t get the kart dash panels to light up like the DC/GC version’s did.

I didn’t release it because other stages broke when I tried to replace them, especially Speed Highway. It was a problem caused by textures, but I never figured out how to fix it so my game was left in a half broken state where the game crashed as soon as you tried going to Speed Highway 2. Eventually I did a full reinstall.

I did make some fun progress on that though – I made a decent recreation of the original title screen by putting the (flat U1.0) DC title screen graphics over the top/bottom borders of the DX title, which covered the whole screen and didn’t scroll. The Press Start text was baked into the graphic like the JP version and everything else was made blank.

The opening FMV was replaced with a downloaded youtube video of the Dreamcast one, which looked bad but it had the original Sonic Team logo at least. The “SEGA”/”Sonic Team” screens in DX were replaced with the Dreamcast logo and the DC version’s “SEGA”.

…oh my god I found out I have an old video on youtube of me playing half of Sonic’s story with my DC mod attempt on

It was messing around with the cutscene controls, but it has the texture swaps I did on that time.

Woah, now that’s interesting! On that topic, what did you think of SADX 99′ Edition back when it was out? That one was a project I was working on to make the game look similar to the Dreamcast, but at first consisted solely of textures because I didn’t know more.

I thought it would end up like my attempt, but then PkR came out of nowhere and I’m glad development kicked off from there. His lighting research was new to me, I tried looking myself years before but all I did was change random bytes (completely unrelated to the actual lighting data) and the only result I ever saw was when half of Ice Cap 3 got covered in yellow vertex colors somehow.

What did you think of the efforts like Dreamcast Characters, Conversion and Lantern Engine?

I thought it was great that the Dreamcast version was finally making it to a wider audience, because pre-DC mods it was fading into obscurity. DC characters was a requested mod for a while because it came after the other two – I used to follow IEA’s progress on it, it was pretty good.

I first started talking to PkR when I gave him new graphics for HD GUI, because the ones the mod originally came with didn’t resemble the Dreamcast version’s that well, particularly the monitor and life icons. I ended up doing a good handful of things for that mod, including reshooting every credit image in the game. (We had fun getting those to not double the mod’s filesize)

I also helped out with his efforts on DC conversion sometimes, like if he wanted to compare how an object worked between ports.

Very nice! What can you comment about SA Tools and the tools it has?

SA Tools has come a long way from when I first started using them and they’re needed for anyone who wants to make a mod of these games. The ProjectManager is easy to use, splits everything (including unidentified models) and even builds the mod for you, so it’s a great resource to have.

The event tools helped a ton for Cutscene Revamp, which was a major effort between End User and I to fix up SA2 PC’s cutscenes – that took 6 months!

Can you give me some detail about this Cutscene Revamp mod?

Cutscene Revamp started in February 2019 and released in August 2019, it was a joint effort between End User and I to fix as many problems as we could with SA2B’s cutscenes as they were plagued with sorting errors, and most of the models were tinted grey due to material color being applied where it shouldn’t (like DX PC). It also makes every scene compatible with 16:9.

Plus it’s a light DC conversion for them in that we brought back DC cameras and models, though some can be toggled (Hero Intro).

You know the President’s limo cutscene in SA2B? Most of the background models in that scene had to be rearranged for it to show up properly, which wasn’t fun considering there were over 200 of them. Getting the shadows of the storefronts to appear right was annoying – they’re solid black in SA2B, but if you make them transparent again they look exactly the same because they’re loaded before both the floor and the skybox, leaving a black void. That stumped us for a while until we figured out what was happening.

Anyway, CR badly needs an optimization update (or even a do-over of some scenes) but I’ve been dealing with other stuff too much to do it. A mod I released later (No Model Tinting) fixes almost all of the model tinting automatically, so a few of the manual fixes would be obsolete. It also has a file that fixes the brightness of the entire game (SA2 PC is 10% brighter than the DC/GC versions, apparently a dirty fix to deal with a problem in the Xbox version). Some parts of Cutscene Revamp darkened the lighting manually as a workaround, so that needs to be taken out at some point.

Pretty nice!

What was your involvement with the Dreamcast DLC restorations for SADX? I saw in your channel that you had several videos about Dreamcast DLCs, so I’m assuming you maybe had something to do with the DX ports of those.

Before PkR learned where the DLCs stored the properties of each object, the mods placed them manually in the closest estimated spots. My stuff was helpful in finding out where most of the Y2K Rings were, but it was only a short period before he got the original data and made everything 100% accurate.

I wasn’t the first one to make vids about the DLCs, but I was the only one who covered them all. I had to visit a lot of different sites to track them down, but now they’re all safely archived on Dreamcast Live.

My biggest contribution to SA1’s DLC is the Kadomatsu stuff.

At the end of 2016 I noticed one of them couldn’t be found anywhere online (The Kadomatsu New Year pack) and started raising the alarm about it. It was bad, the only real mentions you could even find of it were 20 year old Japanese websites (At one point I got really close and found a download page, but it was an inactive email-based system that hadn’t been up since at least 2006). All you got in English were copies of Retro’s DLC page, which was in such a state at the time it didn’t stick out as something that was potentially lost content.

I had one of my friends write up a Lost Media Wiki article about it (with everything I dug up about it) and I revamped the Retro Wiki page, later adding the part about that particular pack being unobtainable in 2018 after further unsuccessful attempts to find it. I’m glad word got out about it, I can’t believe the 20 year old lost content was found from a guy buying a random VMU!

*laughs* Well, that’s nice!

PkR helped out with trying to find it too but he couldn’t find much else about it. It was bugging me for years lol.

Outside of the Dreamcast DLCs and Autodemo stuff, what have been your best findings on any researches you have done?

The first thing I ever “found” on the Dreamcast was when I first tried playing DC SA2 on an emulator and saw it had an unused 2P layout for City Escape that didn’t match the GameCube version. That was years before I started playing DC SA1 again (like 2009) and all the original screenshots I took are lost, but I did upload videos about it years later, using annotations that no longer exist.

Video of Sonic Adventure 2 (Dreamcast) unused City Escape layouts for 2P Mode. Note that this is a re-recorded video of the same topic, which was not hidden but had slowdown.

Editor’s note: Here is a link to the same 2P City Escape video by Speeps; except that its on Insidious, a Youtube player that supports loading annotations (in other words, has the original annotations that the video featured back then).

When I first started using the Dreamcast SA1 again the first thing I did was figure out how to make the game run at 60 FPS all the time, since it only did so otherwise in menus and Twinkle Circuit. I uploaded a vid with a codebreaker code to make it run on console, but later just listed the relevant addresses for each version.

The first big thing I found in SA1 was that Gamma had an unused cutscene that was supposedly planned to play if you failed Final Egg. I’d just learned how to rebuild a Dreamcast disc after changing the files, so some level of modding was possible – this was done by swapping event files around.

In early 2016 I mainly focused on the prototypes for the two games because there wasn’t much documented about them, starting with SA2: The Trial. I found a bunch of neat stuff in it – Sonic Wind was called “Long Range Homing” and had a weird rainbow effect. There was also a pretty extensive camera debug in there, shame you couldn’t use it for the whole game. You can find both of these mentioned on the TCRF page for The Trial.

When I was done with the prototype stuff I went on to look into the final versions of the two games. I wanted to record playthroughs of SA1’s original Japanese version, since at the time there wasn’t much footage going around of it (Well, I imagine there was probably a lot more in Japanese videos but I didn’t know how to look for those at the time). The only thing I could find was a vid by Tracker going through Emerald Coast:

Playing through the Japanese version for the first time was great. There was a lot of stuff I wasn’t expecting, like Station Square’s cameras being so different and the spiked platforms in Lost World behaving differently. I uploaded the playthroughs all at once in August 2016.

Those JP videos are the entire reason I met my girlfriend, Windii, when over the now-removed YouTube message system she asked if she could translate the dialogue. We spent the next month or so putting that all together. These messages are part of the conversations we had at the time:

I still have the original subtitle files she sent too, but they’re outdated now compared to her latest set of translations, which are on her own channel:

Can you talk about your involvement with PkR’s Dreamcastify site project?

When Dreamcastify was being put together there was a discord group with channels for various parts of the game, like every stage, as well as other stuff like character. PkR made a list of differences and we took either screenshots or videos of them in the DC, GC and PC versions. The pages were done one at a time but it didn’t take that long to get everything together. I liked working on Dreamcastify for that matter.

What would you say that are your favorite Sonic games?

Out of the Classic games I love S3K, it has a great story structure and doesn’t slow the game down horribly by forcing me to not lose 50 Rings to get into a special stage. I love both Sonic 3 Complete and A.I.R.

I like all the Dreamcast titles, even Sonic Shuffle. A friend of mine told me that the CPUs can’t steal your cards as badly if you remember to press X to shuffle them a lot, and that makes it a lot easier. Shuffle is also harder to emulate properly, I don’t know about the emulators that’ve popped up recently but on Demul you’re stuck using the renderer that can’t go above 640×480 if you don’t want weird graphical glitches.

My favorite game after that is Unleashed, because there’s so much to do in those Hub worlds that expands on what SA1 started, like the NPCs. You can feed Sonic weird food, or have him tell a woman in Shamar he’s actually female! When Unleashed first came out I fully agreed with its backlash, but only because I had the Wii version, which somehow got the best ratings out of all of them despite having far more Werehog stages.

What did you think when I reached out to you for this interview?

Everyone else you’ve interviewed has done way more technical stuff than I have so I was a bit surprised to be honest.

I’d say that all the research you have done on Youtube has also helped spark the interest of many on Sonic Adventure, as well as giving an insight on Autodemo stuff, and as I had mentioned, the Dreamcast landtable ports you had inspired me in working in SADX99′, which ended up inspiring PkR (again) into Dreamcast Conversion. So I would have to say “thank you” for that too.

Hahahah, yeah, it’s part of the long chain of events that brought Dreamcast Conversion into existence.

Any comments about the current X-Hax community?

If anyone wants to learn how to mod SA1 or SA2 it’s definitely the place to be.

Do you have any greetings or special thanks for someone?

Shoutouts to Exant, MainMemory, PkR, Sonikko (Birb), -[DEXTERITY]-, End User (he helped a huge amount with working with SA2 events), ItsEasyActually and the rest of the X-Hax community. Also Mooncow, the Chao Island discord server and my friend Sable. Special Thanks go to my girlfriend, Windii.

Got a message to the Sonic community (and the X-Hax community)?

Uhhh, I can’t think of anything really inspiring but if you’re interested in modding or researching a video game, take the time to check out its local modding community! Every game has one and the people who take part in it will gladly help you out.

Outside of SADX/SA2, what other modding communities have got your interest before?

I was into N64 Zelda when I kid and tried using some of the modding tools (Utility of Time), but I never understood it at the time because I wasn’t familiar with how OOT loaded maps and objects.

Same with Chrono Trigger modding, I didn’t know how to use the main tool for that (Temporal Flux) at the time, but I went back a few weeks ago to screw around and it’s a lot easier than I remember it being. This might sound bizarre but I turned Crono into a drug addict named Bungo who lived in a rat infested house:

I was also into Super Mario 64 for a bit, playing with Toad’s Tool 64. I tried turning Big Boo’s haunt into Peach’s Castle 2, but came out like trying to turn Speed Highway 1 from Night to Day – basically terrible. Mario 64 modding went a long way since I saw it then, because it was mainly just object layout changes at the time.

I also did some messing around in Luigi’s Mansion and joined the modding discord for it. They’re doing sweet mods there, like work in progress overhauls of the entire game. Meanwhile, I was just making jokes:

I tried Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 as well. For Sonic 1 I made a stupid hack that put a poorly drawn version of my friend’s face over it and pressing C would make him scream the SEGA sound. For Sonic 2 I made a “Boost button” that just increased Sonic’s speed when pressed, there’s not that much else to say about them. So obviously that would be Sonic Retro in terms of modding community.

Do you have anything else to add?

Do you know that picture of Sonic saying “Keep your fetish away from me”? That happened because of a really weird anon I got once on Tumblr


Well, thank you so much for this opportunity, it was good talking to you! Even when you may not have been a “tech member” like the others, you still inspired many people and your research was useful, and I must thank you on behalf of the many fans of Sonic Adventure out there.

I’m almost done with my article about the History of SADX Modding; but of course it is good to have more perspectives, and thank you for providing some few stuff that I wasn’t aware of (and some other that I had forgot to touch in there, like the Chao stuff)

No problem! *thumbs up*