Spotlight: A Bit of Everything with SONICTHEHEDGEHOGXX
Take a trip through Venezia sometime to ease your mind. There’s something calming about the aesthetic of the city that forces a grin every time you’re in it. No stranger to building mega titles on ROBLOX, SONICTHEHEDGEHOGXX has a lot on his plate. He’s in the process of rebuilding sections of Venezia, which has been sitting atop the Games Page in both “Top Paid” and “Top Earning” categories for at least a month, to give it a more modern look. He’s a prolific video editor who made “Out of BLOXY Cola,” which won a BLOXY award earlier in the year (and we still can’t figure out how he did certain parts). He’s also the Commander in Chief of the First Encounter Assault Recon (F.E.A.R), one of ROBLOX’s largest and most powerful groups at just over 140,000 members strong.
The point? He’s a busy guy. Which is why we appreciated the fact that he took the time to have a chat with us about managing so many large-scale projects, and find out what he’s got next in his seemingly never ending bag of ROBLOX tricks. First…
The story of how Venezia came to be is quite a humorous tale of miscommunication. The original idea for Venezia, according to SONICTHEHEDGEHOGXX, was for it to function as a base of operations for F.E.A.R. “Venezia” was a name that SONICTHEHEDGEHOGXX had always liked, but never associated with any particular meaning. What he didn’t know is that “Venezia” means “Venice” in Italian. As many builders like to reconstruct real-life cities, most early visitors started leaving comments saying things like, “This looks nothing like Venice.” SONIC was confused.
“At first people had thought I made an Italian group and Venezia was the HQ,” he says with a laugh. “To this day some people continue to be confused by the name.”
I hadn’t really thought about it, but it was during this conversation that I told him that certain parts of Venezia do have a modern-Italian look going for them. He went on to explain.
“Once I sorted out where the confusion came from with the name, I decided to make a part of the map look Italian,” he says. “I wanted to make something that looked like a more modern, futuristic version of Venice.”
Thus Venezia was split into two distinct sections: “Old Venezia”, which features the Italian flair of small shops and colorful awnings, and “New Venezia”, which is a sprawling futuristic city with skyscrapers and businesses. He tells me that Venezia has been redesigned four times, and he’s in the process of a brand-new revision that will be available to play in the near future. The city is continually evolving.
“When I first published it in 2012, I was going to keep it open for a week or so, then take it down,” he recalls. “I was really surprised with how people reacted to it. I saw how many people ‘liked’ it, so I decided to keep it up and keep the updates coming.”
Venezia, it turns out, has nothing to do with SONIC’s F.E.A.R group as he had originally intended–it stands on its own simply as a beautiful place to explore, shop, and interact with others. SONIC tells me that he sees Venezia as much more of an RPG place, and that he plans on adding cops and criminals to incorporate gameplay elements. F.E.A.R’s Headquarters exists today as Alianor II, which is a massive fort.
“I began noticing large clans emerging on ROBLOX in 2010, like UCR, RAT, and Elite Wing. I decided then that I wanted to make my own group, but I never expected it to become so big,” he says. “I noticed that most groups that became super popular had recruitment centers, so I figured I’d start there. I made the recruitment center for F.E.A.R before I even made the group.”
He goes on to tell me that owning a group became a very rewarding task, especially in terms of learning as the group grew. He mentions that MeowMixxed (now known as PhantomHourGlass) was integral in helping him understand his responsibilities and develop the organizational skills needed to run the group. MeowMixxed was the perfect tutor–he was the leader of RAT at the time, and also helped SONIC design the logo for F.E.A.R.
“MeowMixxed really showed me the ropes. He showed me how to make things more organized, how to list allies, write guides, make uniforms, and generally share information with people who were eager to join.”
He remembers trying to figure out how the promotion system in F.E.A.R would work, and that in and of itself was a learning experience.
“Ranking in F.E.A.R was originally about how many KOs you could earn,” he recalls. “But I learned pretty quickly that’s not what promoting should be about. Getting promoted should be about your activity, and level of maturity, commitment and leadership. I try to be as active as possible, but when I get busy I have plenty of high-ranks to help me run the group.”
“I’m very proud of them,” he adds.
Making “Out of Bloxy Cola”
Watch this BLOXY Award winning film:
With over 50,000 views on YouTube, this video became a favorite among staff here at HQ–it looks unlike any of the hundreds of submissions we received. To close this Spotlight article, we had to talk with SONIC about executing this project.
“It was a lot of work,” he says with a laugh. “I used to do stop motion films with action figures when I was a kid. It’s a very slow process, but the end result is always something that looks very unique. I decided to learn how to use ROBLOX CFraming tools to replicate that look. I used Sony Vegas Pro for special effects, blurs, and rapid movement.”