In this interview, both i (Rummy) and DaisukeDoi gathered to ask questions to both PixelsTay and SAWhane. You may know PixelsTay for being the lead behind Sonic & Knuckles Newtrogic Panic (Don’t forget Illusion Specter as well, it’s his Indie Project!) There's also SAWhane here who is a co-lead for the project as well. (Not to forget about Nihil/nullspace too.) SAWhane has been a rising talent within the Art scene for their wonderful illustrations invoking a Y2K aesthetic which has been gaining a resurgence in the past few years. Same can be said for PixelsTay as they often share and work together on these projects. Without further ado, this is our interview we’ve had with the duo. Starting with SAWhane.


(Let's Jam!)

Rummy: How did you get started in your artistic endeavors?

SAWhane: I think I started back in like 2015’ ish around 5th grade, was just scrolling through videos on YouTube then I decided at home I wanted to draw something and obviously I drew sonic, and overtime I kept at it and made realize that I have knack for coming up with things in terms of the visual department and it’s always been like this even before middle school. I think I started taking my art serious around high school sense now it’s definitely a passion I wanted to do, and even as a kid I always wanted to do game dev but I just didn’t know what but now I know and I’m happy I’m still pursuing it.

Rummy: I think folks have taken notice of your art from its smart mix of sharp and curvy shapes, what were your influences and what sort of ideals have you taken from them?


(SAWhane's Artwork)
SAWhane: A lot actually, I think it really started developing around 2019. My first influence was Scud the disposable assassin, Jojo, JSR, Persona, Sonic, and just a lot of stuff in general.

Rummy: Scud is really good, good stuff.

DaisukeDoi (To both): What made you two decide to work together in the first place? Like how did you two get to know each other to make Newtrogic Panic the way it is?

SAWhane: (Thinking..) I’d send him DMs about doing Newtrogic stuff lol, I think around March of 2020 that we really started to talk a lot.

PixelsTay: Yeah’ I invited Shane at the time because I don't think no one would’ve wanted to make promo art for me. (Laughs)

SAWhane: It was at a period where I wanted to work on Fangames and wanted to get my foot off the door but I didn’t know how.

DaisukeDoi (To PixelsTay): What got you into game development in the first place? You're pretty popular with your skills in the community, especially with using Clickteam Fusion.

PixelsTay: I actually did some modeling back in 2019 on Roblox. But I left the scene around 2019 and started working on my fangame. I tried working with Gamemaker at first but I didn't have any scripting knowledge so I moved over to Clickteam Fusion.

PixelsTay (Continuing): Freedom Planet kind of inspired me to use Clickteam Fusion as well. It was pretty impressive that it was able to pull off some amazing visuals. Especially for a game made in Clickteam. When I moved to Clickteam, Nihil (nullspace) was the one who taught me how to work with Clickteam Fusion.

DaisukeDoi (To PixelsTay): That's a lot of insight, I've seen a lot of improvements and evolutions of how frameworks and game design is done in the Sonic fan game community over the years, but me and many other people have also heard of the issues that come with being a Clickteam dev. Do you have any personal dev stories with Clickteam? And what would you say to budding game devs who want to use the engine for their own projects?

PixelsTay: Clickteam has some limitations yeah, I don’t know what other people’s issues with Clickteam are, but for me. It’s the level editor mainly. It doesn’t contain any sort of tileset system. So each tile are just a bunch of separate objects. I have no problems with programming stuff since I know exactly how that engine works.


(Behind The Curtains of S&KNP)
PixelsTay (Continuing): To me, it doesn’t really matter what engine you are gonna use. If you can pull off cool stuff from it or you know how to use it. Then use it! (Laughs) But the engine's limitations also have to fit with what kind of game you are going to do too. You can’t make 3D in 2D for example! (Laughs)

Rummy (To PixelsTay): The reception for Newtrogic Panic during it's original SAGE 2019 showing wasn't the most kind, how did you feel about the negative opinions and what did you do to course correct and most importantly, what did you learn from this?

PixelsTay: I felt pretty bad for the first week after release (laughs). But after that, I continued to try and improve on both the art and gameplay some more.

PixelsTay (Continuing): Until after DEMO 4 (2020) released, I started to see groups of people who liked S&KNP or those who disliked it. I asked myself “Did I make a fan game only to please what they (the audience) liked?” and that’s when i learned that i couldn’t please everyone or expect them to like my game. So i decided to revamp S&KNP one last time. Put our creative ideas and influences more and the result of it is now what you see as of recently.


(Screenshot from S&KNP)
PixelsTay (Continuing): I didn’t want to treat this project as a professional project because at the end of the day, we’re just doing this for fun and we get nothing in return for it.

Rummy (To PixelsTay): Illusion Specter is your current indie project, how did that project get started and how are you feeling about it currently?


(Screenshot from Illusion Specter)
PixelsTay: Illusion Specter is only a project that happened because i became bored working on S&KNP. (Laughs) Plus I wanted to try something original as well. It feels good every time you see your own character moving around and doing things.

Rummy (To SAWhane): Besides your Illustrations, you have also been a part of the fangame scene, how has that been fairing for you in the past several years? and what sort of advice would you give to an aspiring individual who wishes to strike into the fan game scene?

SAWhane: Pretty decent over the two years on my side, I usually like helping out with projects I find interesting, I think for aspiring fan game devs or even game devs in general, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help on things, The worst answer you're gonna get is no.

Rummy (To both): The current iteration of Newtrogic Panic has a lot more style than ever, There seems to be a lot of Y2K influence being pumped into its DNA. It's quite fun to look at all the highlights of that Aesthetic ringing out of this title.

SAWhane: It is I think the more y2k push was that we just talk a lot and just keep throwing ideas on the wall and see what sticks, I think Tay wanted my art style to be prominent for how Sonic and Knuckles would look and it kinda just spawned from there. I still find it funny the direction shift only happened because Tay’s PC died around late 2020.

Rummy (To SAWhane): WHAT! Tay’s PC Died around then? That’s quite interesting (Laughs), I do really wonder how things could’ve been if not for the major loss of data.

SAWhane (To Rummy): I think most of the older MFAs went away but Tay at least has the important stuff, his PC old and stinky….

PixelsTay: I actually never heard about Y2K before, but one day Echo (the main composer for S&KNP) mentioned Y2K when i showed the new logo to the team, that’s when i first heard about it. Both me and Shane grew addicted to the style as we dug into it. Mixing it with Sonic gives the game a major 2000s vibe. But we did take inspiration outside of Y2K.

The duo went on to tell us about their inspirations which ranged from Shumps, Mega Man, Guilty Gear to Akira and Kill La Kill. As well as Futureexpress and IIDX. How S&KNP has all of their influences in mind to create their catching aesthetics.

SAWhane: I think the aesthetic for Newtrogic is well rounded. It isn't just Y2K, some aesthetics actually play to the characters, Sonic and Knuckles is more so graffiti while Eggman and his stuff in general is very Y2K.

PixelsTay (To SAWhane): Yeah, S&KNP’s setting is Neo Newtrogic High, basically a rebuilt version of Chaotix's main setting. so most of the stage themes you'll see in game will mostly just be very futuristic to show how highly Eggman's technology developed.

SAWhane: I honestly think the change that honestly solidified Newtrogic’s art style change going forward was Sonic’s new sprite.

Rummy (To SAWhane): Right Sonic! You've been showing off gameplay of the game containing the sprites, a lot of folks seem to love the charm the folks within NP have brought to it, how does it feel having your style be adapted into a pixelated form and with the animation detail to boot?


(Don't fall Sonic!)
SAWhane: I was really happy, it honestly felt really surreal seeing my style being animated and being able to play it furthers that.

Rummy (To both): Seems like the both of you are a good idea of what the future holds for Newtrogic Panic, how are things with the development, any milestones to make note of?

SAWhane: I think in terms of milestones we actually got the first half of TGZ2 done and Sonic’s main sprite sheet is almost done, there still has to be a lot of work to be done even for just a final demo and we really want to go all out for it.

PixelsTay (To SAWhane): (Nods)

Rummy (To both): It was nice having this chat, you two have shown a lot of love for your craft and can't wait to see what you guys cook up in the future, any last words for those reading?

SAWhane: Lots of plans for Newtrogic so I really hope the wait for the final demo is worth it.

PixelsTay: Yeah, We really put a lot of work on this one.


With that, this was our interview with PixelsTay & SAWhane. Below we will have their personal twitter accounts, both S&KNP & IS’s twitter linked for you to check them out. Thanks for reading.


S&K Newtrogic Panic
Illusion Spectre

INTERVIEW BY: RummySM & DaisukeDoi