You expected yet another SADX interview, but it was me, Chocola!
Of course it is another SADX-ish interview! (Though some emudev interviews and other stuff is coming soon) This one is “SADX-ish” because you could say that it technically involves more of SA2 than SADX; but it is pretty specific again with another X-Hax and Chao Island member: Krzys! (hence yet another Chao)
Another of the members of the Chao Research Team at Chao Island, Krzys (or krzys2) is the developer of a new Chao Editor (which is simply named “Chao Editor”, but often referred to as “Krzys’s Chao Editor”) for Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Adventure 2; which is quite interesting considering how the only other editor avaliable was Fusion Chao Editor back in 2011, but the main reason behind this editor existence is how it was designed to have support for a popular SA2 mod called Chao World Extended.
It added a lot of interesting features, but Fusion Chao Editor didn’t work with it very nicely, and it didn’t have any updates since some years ago; so Krzys’s Chao Editor would be a lifesaver for people that needed an editor but also wanted to enjoy this revamp mod (it does support the exclusive features it add as well). This is the reason why I bring to you this interview (and by the way, the History of SADX Modding article is almost near-completion; so expect some few more interviews happening before it finally comes out), so please enjoy!
[Also, if you don’t have a good context about Chao yet, or haven’t checked out Exant’s interview , you can do so here.]
Alright so first of all, thank you so much for this opportunity! I remember enjoying Chao Garden a lot many years ago and messing around with Fusion Chao Editor; it was recently when I found out about your editor and I consider its very cool that you are working on something like that!
Greetings! Thanks for having me here.
I glad you think that the Editor I have created is cool, tons of work has been put into it and I am still looking forward to updating it in the future.
Since when or what time you started working on your Chao Editor?
I have started working on the editor around January of 2020, but before that I have also worked on other tools, which lead to it being created. First program was Chao Calculator which was like a level and evolution simulation where you could “feed” animals to chao and program would show you leveling progress. After that came Chao Exporter/importer, Randomizer and finally Chao Editor.
Interesting! Do you remember what were the first communities you joined online?
Actually, I think the very first community I have joined was actually Chao Island. I have lurked there from my early years, looking through forums, threads, general info and even old rumors which were debunked. I think it happened around 2009, but in 2013 I have finally decided to stop lurking and created an account for myself.
It was absolutely worth it, as I had many fond memories of those day. Today forums are less populated, as people tend to chat more on discord, but it is still cool we have an opportunity to occasionally have threads on forum!
That sounds very nice! I saw that you are on X-Hax as well; did you join the IRC channel before the Discord launch, or you joined there sometime after?
I joined X-Hax and Chao island discord channels around 2019, but I had Discord somewhere from around the start when it was just getting popular.
What was your first experience with Sonic?
My very first experience with the Sonic franchise started around 2004-2005 when I was around 5-6 years old. Parents bought us Sonic Adventure DX for PC, and I immediately fell in love with it. I remember running around the Station Square and enjoying the Chao Garden. Mostly I didn’t understand how some of the game worked, like Big’s story, but I still enjoyed it. I even remember asking my brother to help me with some stages or bosses. But my main interest was the Chao Garden, as it was an unknown little world where you could create your own pet or even companion – Chao. I would say it was one of the first games I was really invested in!
What other things would you comment about your experience with the Chao Garden?
I had tons of fun with Chao while being a child/teenager. I played both Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Adventure 2. It always had countless hours of content and even after taking breaks I always wanted to come back to it. Actually, 2019 was one of those years where I again installed Sonic Adventure 2 and finally decided to join Chao Island Discord server when I had learned that it was a thing.
But after countless of years, experimenting, learning about Chao, finally creating all S-Rank Chao, I have started to play it less and less. Perhaps it is a side effect of creating tools and studying game more than playing, cause most of the time gameplay consists of testing, running in background and even more testing.
It would be really amazing if SEGA finally decided to bring back Chao Garden into one of their new games.
Did you work on any mods for SADX or SA2?
I haven’t worked on any serious mods for SADX or SA2, but recently I have released “Chao Transporter Fixes” which aims to fix some texture errors and inconsistences in SA2 Chao transporter. One most noticeable fix is wallpaper not tiling properly and being cut off where repeating tiles connect. But mostly I work with tool creation for Chao.
Did you use (or play with) any mods for SADX around 2012 or before?
Absolutely! I have been introduced to modding world pretty early thanks to Youtube. I still remember browsing youtube searching for some mods, be it Super Sonic models, retextures, simple modifications to speed, just anything!
As always, model modifications were always on top priority back then. I clearly remember Zarosguth’s mod being pretty popular with character model modifications. I have used it for quite a while myself, but after a while I always swapped to other mods. I bet many mods from the past are lost in time by now, but I will always have fond memories of them. But I definitely remember watching every single one of Zarosguth’s videos about SADX mods!
Since the introduction of Mod Loader in 2013, what have been your favorite mods for SADX? (and SA2 as well if you have favorites for it)
I think my favorite mods for SADX are definitely Lantern Engine and Time of Day cycle mod, which changes between day, evening and noon. Lightning and different time of days really bring life to the game.
For SA2 though, definitely Chao World Extended, it is so far best mod for Chao garden, restoring many cut content like organ. Also it added new faces, expressions, interaction between Chao, new grade, new eye colors and just many other amazing stuff which really bring life to the garden. By now, in my opinion CWE is a must for every person who enjoys playing with Chao, as it brings a lot to the table and generally improves Chao system.
Great! What did you think of Fusion Chao Editor? (And what inspired you in making your own Chao editor?)
Fusion Chao Editor is an ideal and best tool for Vanilla SADX and SA2. It has amazing interface, it is easy to learn and generally well polished editor. It is amazing tool to view chao stats and edit them. I fully recommend it to all the players who play the game without mods.
As great as FCE is, it wasn’t updated for quite a while and with introduction of CWE, many new features were added which started to conflict with the Editor. Good example of that are new lenses introduced in CWE. If FCE would detect unknown value, it would reset it and turn into something else, like golden eggshell.
This was quite a problem for some, as their progress would be lost, especially people feared for their Hyper fruits being erased which cost a lot of rings. These problems led to people asking for new editor, or thinking about contacting somehow with Fusion so he would update his. That’s where I have decided to create a new Chao Editor.
I took full inspiration from FCE and in my tool created similar layout of the editor even, so people could easily adapt to new editor. In addition, new editor had new features like DNA, personality and even tree modification. I always wanted new Editor to look like chao transporter, so it would feel like from the game, that’s why many assets from the game are present. I also had amazing opportunity to work with AWildDayDreamer, an amazing artist who helped with button icons, which really brought life to the editor!
The Chao Editor I made was never meant to replace FCE, but it serves as alternative for people who use mods. I have tried to create an editor which would be as mod friendly as possible.
In addition, Chao community was really helpful, constantly helping with ideas for the editor, giving advice on how it should look. Whole Chao Island team was really supportive, and gave a lot of information about the game, which I really appreciate. People like Exant, Mindacos, UltimaNumber and many others really sped up the creation of the tool with their tips and knowledge about the game.
Very nice! Can you talk me about the key features in your editor?
I have created Chao Editor to resemble style of the Chao Transporter, with modified assets from the game. Many of them were remade or took inspiration from. Chao Editor is universal to all 3 games: SADX (Steam), SADX (2004) and SA2.
Chao Editor tries to be as optimized as possible, giving a chance for people with weaker pc’s to use it. This was done by updating only that data which is present in the current selected tab. Chao Editor has all features which were present in FCE like Garden/Chao/Animal/Fruit/Hat/Seed/Black Market data, which are updated in real time.
Chao Editor adds some new features like trees and data about personalities which was found in recent years. Some of that data is unused in vanilla game, but it was included just in case modders will use it in their mods. To add to that, Chao Editor fully supports Chao World extended, people don’t have to enable anything, if Editor detects mod installed in the game, new features automatically appear! Chao Editor also serves as a hub for my other tools, which can be launched from it, all you have to do is to place all the exe’s in the same folder, and then you can launch them from the Editor!
Sounds good! On the note of Chao, what are your favorite gardens in both games?
I really enjoy Neutral Chao Garden from SA2B, it feels smaller to other gardens, but still it has the best atmosphere in my opinion! Amazing waterfall, cliffs where you can hide the hats, pool where chao can enjoy swimming. It simply feels small and cozy!
Do you currently have any Chao?
Oh yes I do! I have around 7 main chao I am really fond of! The Main one is Yami; she’s my very first all-S Chao, and she’s present in all of my tools as icons.
Now that’s a fun bunch! Chao-related stuff aside, what are your thoughts on both Adventure games?
I really enjoy both but from different aspects actually.
If I would want to have fun in stages, I would absolutely go SADX, stages are fun there, you have more freedom and can come up with amazing strategies how to beat your previous scores, in addition it has area outside of missions to explore, which can be a lot of fun just to run around aimlessly. Sadly, vanilla SADX lacks a lot in Chao Garden, and many things are broken and not functioning. Many things were fixed thanks to mods, but I rarely go play SADX for the Chao Garden. I especially enjoyed the story in SADX, upgrade system and it had a nice variety to it.
In SA2B tho, stages are lacking for me. In many cases you are stuck in linear places where you only have to move forward, there is no freedom and main goal is to know layout and use ability at the right time, that’s why stages don’t feel as rewarding as they are in SADX. In addition, removal of the world where you can freely roam is big minus, I get it why they did it, cause there is big variety of stages and it would be difficult to connect them, so its design choice. But even if SA2B lacks in stages, it really improves in Chao garden, that’s why many people prefer SA2B over SADX if it comes to garden. But overall, I like both but from different angles.
Interesting! How much did you enjoy your stay in Chao Island?
I really enjoy it. Ever since I lurked on forum, joining in 2013, I absolutely loved this community. There are always people to talk to, joke around and improve. Chao Island team is always supportive and I am always happy to work with them.
No matter how many times I took breaks from Chao Island, I always came back and after rejoining it in 2019, I tried to bring something to the table and do something for the community myself. That’s how my tools came to existence and how I joined the Chao Island team myself. I am really happy to be part of such an amazing community!
What can you comment about the Chao Research Team?
They are absolutely amazing. Everyone one is very talented and because of that we improve and create amazing things! It was thanks to many of members of Chao Research Team and community in general which really gave me strength and will to make many of my tools!
What do you think about all these efforts (mods and tools) that have been worked on in X-Hax and all these years?
The work done there can’t be described by words. There are so many people collaborating, updating tools and in general creating amazing things which inspire many people. It is really difficult to start modding the game, but seeing how others do it, fills you with such determination that perhaps one day you gonna make something cool too, especially when you are supplied with tools which will help a lot with that.
Outside of the Adventure games, what would you say that are your favorite Sonic games?
I really like Sonic Heroes. It is really unconventional game in the Sonic franchise, but it is so fun. Not everyone will agree with me on this one, but it has amazing charm and levels. And the last boss and its music are simply perfect. It also has amazing two player mode, with every team having their own abilities special attacks, I remember having a blast with it! And, oh my, the Seaside Hill stage, simply gorgeous!
What are you working on currently?
Right now I am not really actively working on anything, as had exams whole month, but when I feel like it, I optimize code of the tools for future updates. I still plan to do couple updates for Chao Editor, and update Chao Calculator with some new data present in new CWE update.
What other modding communities have got your interest before?
Actually many, usually if I really like the game and there is modding community for that, it means I am there. Usually I don’t create mods myself, but I actively mod the games. Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age series, Dark Souls, and other games I probably have modded too. I especially enjoyed modding Dragon Age Origins, as it basically is my all-time favorite game.
Interesting! What can you say that you learned from working with SADX/SA2 and Chao mods?
I basically have learned C# programing language actually! My journey started from simple console application for future Chao Calculator in C++ which then got transferred into C#. With these projects I really got interested working with C# and gain more knowledge in .Net. It is even funny to look behind sometimes and think that everything started from simple console application.
That’s fascinating! On that matter, do you know any material that you would recommend to people that want to start learning C# or .Net?
I could really recommend IAmTimCorey channel, it has many good information about these topics, but I wouldn’t strictly say that those are best guides. The thing I have learned myself was, just get an idea in your head, look basics, and jumps in blind. Don’t know how to do it? Google it, fast video, now recreate it and modify to your needs. Done. Next goal. And just keep pushing until you make it, never blindly follow tutorial and do step by step and person does, just take it and use it in your own example. Otherwise, you will forget new info after a day.
That’s useful to know! Do you have any greetings or special thanks for someone?
I absolutely want to thank the whole Chao Island community and Chao Island team for all the support and inspiration they have given me. For all the fun, talks, streams and even random jokes which made no sense! For every person who has taken their time to make this community shine brightly with joy and happiness!
Got any special mentions?
I would really want to thank Exant, Mindacos, DarkyBenji, UltimaNumber for all the help and support with my tools, their fantastic mods and contributions to chao community!
Special thanks to Roaxes for awesome ideas and suggestions for my tools and for amazing moderation of the community!
Special thanks to Mooncow for keeping the community together, constantly inspiring others to create something together!
Special thanks to AWildDreamer for being amazing artist and helping me with assets for my tools and a lot of feedback on the Editor and amazing stream which brighten the day everytime!
Special thanks to Shaddatic for being amazing person to talk and laugh around and for all his amazing contributions and mods!
Do you have anything else to add?
All that comes to my mind is…Chao are cute, that’s is why they won over hearts of many people. And yes, Chao are liquid.
Sonic Team, you know we miss Chao, and we would really enjoy a little bit of it more of it in future games if possible. In meantime, make sure you check out all the amazing contributions people make for decades-old games!
Thanks for this opportunity! It was a pleasure to talk with someone behind one of the main tools used in Chao modding; it is intriguing to know about their developers, and I’m grateful about your work (just like many others).
Thanks for having me, it was fun!
I’m really looking forward to finishing the History of Sonic Adventure DX article on my site; and thanks to your help and with Chao Island members, I can get to give a spotlight to the whole Chao community as well!
I am really glad I managed to shed some light then! Have a nice day 🙂