This is a list of all distinct Sonic Adventure (+DX) versions that can be obtained today as far as I know. Originally I wanted to make a branching timeline of SA1 builds, but I couldn’t find a good way to put it on a blog, and I also realized some builds, like the Autodemo, don’t necessarily fit in a single timeline, so here’s a list instead. There is also a lot of information on SA1 development on TCRF, which I recommend if you want a timeline of SA1 development with screenshots and other details.
Let’s start with the original game on the Dreamcast. Note that I’m not including builds that we don’t have, such as the Tokyo Game Show demo and the version used for the Tokyo International Forum unveiling video (assuming the footage comes from a single version of the game).
|Sonic Adventure (Autodemo)
|Contains a mix of binaries and assets in various states of development. Some stage files were built for an older version of the main executable.
There’s a lot of stuff written already about this version, so I won’t go into details. I have two copies of the actual disc, which looks orange in real life unlike the scan on Hidden Palace which looks more red, but that’s probably just a scanner difference. I dumped it, and the contents were completely identical to the Hidden Palace version.
|Sonic Adventure (Japan)
|The earliest official release of SA1 on the Dreamcast. Japanese language only. Some cutscenes have different camera angles compared to later releases. Some SET objects and camera setups are different in levels. This version has running “motion blur” effect for Sonic and Knuckles and the cowgirl billboard in Casinopolis, which were removed in later releases. This version also has some programming differences, such as collision for the burger shop man and different Lost World spikes behavior.
|Sonic Adventure Taikenban
|Demo version for the Japanese market. Mostly similar to the original JP version. The only version that introduces programming and SET layout changes to make the game easier.
|Sonic Adventure – Trial Version for E3
|A version of the game with an in-progress localization. Contains an early version of the English script and different voice acting. Some character sounds are also unique to this build. The title screen has a completely different design, and the level select menu has difficulty ratings. Starting with this version the running blur effect is missing. Cowgirl is replaced with another billboard starting with this build. Some SET layouts have been updated to reduce Z fighting. Some cutscene camera angles were also updated starting with this version.
The date in
IP.BIN is interesting because it’s later than Limited Edition despite being an earlier version of the game. The actual game was likely compiled in spring 1999 (not earlier than March 12, as indicated by the strings present in
|Sonic Adventure Limited Edition
|1.001 and 1.002
|1999.06.03 and 1999.06.04
|This version was available in the US for a short time before the final US release. Unlike previous versions, the level list in Trial Mode no longer matches the game’s internal level list. Internet features are replaced with a short demo. The Internet demo is also present (although not accessible normally) in all versions of the game after this one. This build has incomplete localization in languages other than English, and the menu to change the language of messages and voices isn’t functional yet. There are at least two variations of this build, however the only differences are between
IP.BIN files, which have different dates, region codes and version IDs.
|Sonic Adventure – Trial Version
|Generator Vol. 1: 1.002
Dream On Vol. 2: 1.000
|Generator Vol. 1: 1999.09.09
Dream On Vol. 2: 1999.09.30
|Generator Vol. 1: 1999.07.08
Dream On Vol. 2:
|Demo version based on the US release. Unlike Taikenban, this demo doesn’t play cutscenes except those played after waiting on the title screen.
|Sonic Adventure: Tournament Disk
|A demo version used in an event called “Sega Dreamcast Mobile Assault Tour”. In terms of completion, this version is somewhere between Limited and final 1.004. Almost all binaries have the same content as 1.004 except different pointers to accommodate the recompiled 1ST_READ.BIN. There is no browser but there are references to the Internet demo like in Trial. Files for other European languages are not finished yet. Other differences are leftovers from the Japanese version or have to do with the game being a demo. More details on TCRF.
|Sonic Adventure (US)
|First American release. Mostly the same as Limited but with finished support for other languages. From this version onwards the game includes the TV Settings menu to select between 50 and 60 hz modes.
|Sonic Adventure (Europe)
|The first version that introduces an animated title screen. Some SET layouts were updated from US 1.004 with minor fixes.
|Sonic Adventure International (Japan)
|Mostly the same as the European release. Both Japanese and American SA1 websites can be accessed via the built-in browser.
|Sonic Adventure International (Dreamcast Express Extra)
|Included on the demo disc “Dreamcast Express Extra”. Unlike the other demos, this one comes with an animated title screen. Pressing Start takes you directly to Sonic’s Emerald Coast, which drops you back on the title screen after you beat the stage. Although only Emerald Coast is playable, the game includes all cutscenes and gameplay demos that play after waiting on the title screen, so you can see several Action Stages and Adventure Fields ingame. This demo lacks English HUD and menu textures, so the game will have visual glitches if the console’s language setting is not Japanese.
|Sonic Adventure (US) – Sega All Stars version
|Second American release based on European or International.
On the Gamecube we have two very interesting prototypes which fueled a lot of SA1/SADX research. Much of the knowledge on the game’s internal workings came from the first Preview prototype years before we got the X360 version with debug symbols. Apart from the prototypes, the builds on this platform haven’t been studied as thoroughly as the Dreamcast version. It is notable that the Gamecube ports have sequenced sound effects, which use a Gamecube adaptation of the MLT file format that was originally introduced in Dreamcast SDKs. Interestingly some character grunts are similar to the ones found in the E3 1999 version of SA1 DC, and some changes to assets are similar to the Autodemo and early prototype screenshots of SA1, but that’s a topic for another post. There is no doubt that SADX code is based on a later version of SA1, most likely 1.005 or International. Also, all versions of SADX have a leftover texture archive with title screen textures from SA International.
|Sonic Adventure DX – Preview
|This version appears to be based on SA International and contains work-in-progress “DX” changes. Some features that were disabled in later builds are partially functional in this build. This version has a lot of debug functionality. The original game’s palette lighting system can also be activated in this version, although it doesn’t look correct. The Chao system hasn’t been reworked yet and is mostly functional and similar to SA1 DC. Although other languages are present, the game only works correctly in Japanese. This build has leftover binaries from an even earlier version of the port that hadn’t introduced the “DX” changes yet. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to boot the earlier build due to version differences between the REL files.
|Sonic Adventure DX – Review
|Most “DX” features and redesigns have been finalized. The Chao system is a work in progress. There is also a Chao debug menu. Languages other than Japanese are functional. Like Preview, this version has leftover binaries from an older version of the port without the “DX” changes.
|Sonic Adventure DX (Japan)
|The first official release of SADX on the Gamecube.
|Sonic Adventure DX (Europe)
|Although the binaries were recompiled, there are no known differences from the JP release other than default language.
|Sonic Adventure DX (US)
|Although the binaries were recompiled, there are no known differences from the JP release other than default language.
|Sonic Adventure DX (Gamecube Preview Disc)
|A demo version included on the Gamecube Preview disc. Functions similar to the Trial version on the Dreamcast. This release and the Challenge Version are the only two versions of the game that use colored banners in the character select screen. The Start button is disabled during gameplay. No cutscenes are included, however the intro movie plays after waiting on the title screen. The music loops 3 times before the intro movie plays.
|Sonic Adventure DX Challenge Version (Gamecube Interactive Disc Catalog Summer 2003)
DX ISO: 2002.09.05
|Japanese language only. The title screen has a subtitle that reads “Challenge version”. No cutscenes are included, however the intro movie plays after waiting on the title screen. This version has time restrictions, and the timer counts down instead of up. Otherwise this demo seems similar to the GC Preview Disc version except Sonic’s level is Speed Highway instead of Emerald Coast.
PC builds of Sonic Adventure DX (2004)
There are two distinct “base” versions of SADX PC – the original 2004 port and the “Dreamcast Collection” 2010 port. The 2004 port is where it gets really complicated as there were releases in different countries and the details on the actual differences are fuzzy. There are versions released in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Sweden, Australia, Israel, Brazil and Singapore, which may have minor differences. I know for sure the EXE in the Hungarian version is different from the “regular” European version. However, I must also say that the differences between these versions are so minor that almost all assets in
sonic.exe are placed at the exact same addresses as the US version. One notable exception is the Korean version, which I have included as a separate entry in the table.
All versions of the 2004 port share the same features and downgrades. The 2004 PC port is based on the Gamecube port as it contains strings mentioning REL files. One interesting thing about the 2004 and later ports is that they use the blue water texture in Emerald Coast, which was used in prototypes but replaced with a green one in the final version on the Gamecube. The 2004 version uses WMA files for music and voices unlike the versions before and after it that use ADX. This port also abandons sequenced sound effects and switches to a different soundbank format containing raw PCM WAV files.
|Title / Country
|Trial Version B (Japan)
|Includes one level for Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. Unlike the Gamecube demo, this version doesn’t have colored banners in the character select screen and doesn’t play any cutscenes. The title screen plays a longer version of the main theme (normally heard in the main menu) on repeat.
|Trial Version A (Japan)
|Includes a level for each of the six characters. Other than that it is the same as the B version.
|Trial Version A (Global)
|Same as the Japanese demo A but in English.
|The earliest full release of SADX PC. Japanese is the default language, but all other languages are also supported. The title screen, the intro and the main menu background are always in Japanese. This version comes with SafeDisc copy protection and hasn’t been researched much.
|This is the version of SADX PC used for research and modding.
|Mostly the same as the US version except more advanced copy protection. There may be different protections (SafeDisc or SecuROM) in different releases. There was a protection-free re-release in “Sonic PC Collection” in 2009.
|A complete Korean localization of SADX PC, including all ingame dialogue, all menus and a colored manual. This version is unique in that it contains different assets translated to Korean, as well as various programming changes related to localization. It is also the only version of the 2004 PC port that has unique
FONTDATA0.BIN and related structures in the EXE to support Korean. Voice language is English. Japanese voices are automatically replaced with English voices, although the actual files for Japanese are still included.
The new ports (2010 onwards)
In 2010 SEGA released a bundle for PS3 and X360 called “Dreamcast Collection”, which contains ports of several Dreamcast games including SA1/SADX. Although it is bundled as “Sonic Adventure”, the core game in these ports is based on the 2004 PC version of SADX. However, it does put back the original Dreamcast title screen with ripples. While they share almost all of the downgrades of the original 2004 PC version, for obvious reasons these ports have completely different rendering and sound systems that were developed by SEGA of China. They use shaders for character lighting and switch back to the ADX format for music and voices. Interestingly shaders and textures for water distortion are also included, which suggests that they were going to reintroduce Gamecube water effects, but there is no water distortion ingame. In addition, the soundbank format was revised, and sound effects switched from WAV to ADX.
These ports also introduce many additions wrapped around the original game’s systems, such as a texture replacement hook using DDS textures, support for achievements and online leaderboards, a different main menu system, new screens for credits, controls and tutorials, new fonts etc. Game Gear games are inaccessible (but still technically there), while Mission Mode and Metal Sonic are unlocked via a paid DLC.
This collection was also released on PC twice – in 2011 (physical) and 2016 (Steam). The 2016 version is known as “Dreamcast Collection Remastered”. Little is known about the differences between the 2011 and the 2016 versions, but on the surface they appear to be the same. The version of SADX currently available on Steam is the Remastered version. The Steam version comes with the DLC force enabled, and the Dreamcast title screen is inaccessible. If enabled via hacking, the DC title screen is a static image, although the model for the animated title screen is present in the binary.
These ports are the least researched and for the most part don’t present much interest. However…
X360 prototype builds
In 2020 several development builds of the X360 port were discovered, including a near-final build with debug symbols. The debug symbols have helped a lot in identifying assets and code in the PC version. I’m listing all known builds of the X360 version, including the final one.
|The executable in this package is not the actual game, but some kind of X360 leaderboards and DLC test. Interestingly it does include shaders.
|Same as above.
|Same as above.
|This version is missing some features specific to the 2010 ports that would be implemented later, such as mipmaps (so in this build the game looks pretty much like the 2004 PC port), European language translations of
CON_REGULAR_E.PVM and some logo screens before the game starts. The title screen is a static image, and the “Press Start” texture is from the Gamecube version.
This build has a different version of the image used for the 4:3 border.
|This build introduces the animated title screen, more logos and a new “Press Start Button” texture.
This version has a “Face recognizing” password screen which appears to be the developers’ attempt at a joke.
This version is missing the 4:3 border image.
|This version introduces files
SOC_FONTDATA1.BIN, although they are also referenced in Build 135 which doesn’t have them. These files are used for the subtitle font in the final version.
This version has the same 4:3 border as the final version.
|2010.03.25 or 2010.03.26
|Introduces automatic mipmap generation and a new font for the file select screen, as well as French, German, Spanish and Italian translations of
CON_REGULAR_E.PVM. In all previous versions of the game
CON_REGULAR textures were only in English and Japanese.
|No known differences from the final version. However, this build has a leftover “Test” folder that contains a PDB file with debug symbols, which makes it the most important prototype of the whole bunch.
Before this build, all assets that were originally in the DLLs in the 2004 version were compiled into the main executable. From this build onwards they are split from the main binary again.
If you own a rare version of the 2004 port, let me know! The Korean version was a big surprise and very interesting to look at. Maybe there are more unique versions out there?