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1  General Boards / Map Gab / Re: ( Genesis ) Castle of Illusion: Staring Mickey Mouse on: August 12, 2017, 08:18:58 PM
Yeah, it's definitely been quiet lately. I still hang around but I just don't have the energy to post anything I'm doing at the moment. Maybe soon hopefully.

Going back to you, those maps are nicely done! I personally much prefer maps in general with the background unless its inclusion makes them unreadable. In your case, it's definitely better with it.

It's nice to see that there are still people interested in mapping out these older games. It's starting to feel like with most of the classic games already mapped, few people are trying to keep the tradition alive to try and map as many of them as possible. Like JonLeung tends to say, it's amazing that all the Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog games haven't been mapped properly yet for example, and there are way more classics still missing. Hope you hang around during these quiet times until we experience some kind of rebirth of the VGMaps forums.
2  Main Boards / VGMaps Social Board / Re: VGMaps is now 15 years old! on: May 29, 2017, 09:00:56 PM
Looks like I'm a few weeks late to this thread, but happy birthday to VGMaps all the same!

Wow, 15 years! It's almost difficult to appreciate how long that is in terms of Internet time, and especially for a noncommercial site! I think I can count on one hand the number of fan sites I used to frequent back then that are still around, so it's one hell of an accomplishment. I don't remember when I joined the forums exactly, but I do remember submitting my very first maps back in 2004 (they were for The Goonies II (NES)) so it was probably a bit before that. Growing up with Nintendo Power and their numerous maps helped feed a growing interest in game maps that really started with my first PC and one of my first games, Wolfenstein 3-D.

I think I inherited that PC back in 1993 or 1994 from a cool uncle we didn't get to visit often but who loved gaming. Along with a few dozen pirated games (from a BBS) like Space Quest I and IV, Wing Commander II, F-117A Stealth Fighter and of course Wolfenstein 3-D which he'd already shown us while he was alive, he had a bunch of binders. They were filled with photocopies of instruction manuals (those flight sims manuals were *thick*) and a few primitive maps for Wolf 3D. I was intrigued so I looked through all the 5ΒΌ-inch floppies and found more of those maps. He made them in AutoCAD and I remember having to use a small converter to turn them into something I could print. The maps were barely adequate to get a vague overall view of those levels, but it mostly served to make me feel a connection with my uncle. I wish he had been alive so we could have talked about maps together...

I started making my own maps shortly afterward. First, I reproduced all the maps for the first Lands of Lore (PC) in WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS using ASCII characters and using a walkthrough from a french gaming magazine. Shortly afterwards, I started doing my own maps for Wolf 3D using graph paper and reproducing them in good old Paint for Win 95. Those are also lost to the mists of time, but it would have been nice to still have them for comparison with my later work.

Finding VGMaps eventually allowed me to fully explore what quickly grew to become not just a hobby, but a passion. I wish I'd been more active the last few years. I'm certainly not lacking in ideas for projects, but time and energy make it difficult to get anywhere significant with any of them. But I'm still working most days, never saying anything to avoid creating expectations I know I can't fulfill. I used to be angry at fans making content and projects they'd never finish, but boy do I get it now. A hobby like this one you do because it's fun and challenging, but when it stops being fun, when it becomes an obligation, that's when it's time to either take a break or move on.

Well, I have no intention of moving on, but I honestly wish I didn't need as many breaks as I've been taking lately. I wish the forums were still active like in the "good old days", but I guess things change, people and technology move on and it's a bit foolish to pine for some mythical era when things were so much better. Maybe the VGMaps forums will experience a renaissance someday, that would be nice. Maps will still be submitted even if it doesn't, but I guess I just miss all the energy going around when so many classic games were being mapped and we'd all be asking each other for help and discussing techniques and such.

Before ending this, I'd really like to thank Jonathan Leung for creating and maintaining VGMaps all this time. You helped make this community a place where geeks like me could indulge in a weird passion and feel at home. I'm glad you're still not looking forward to quitting, so here's hoping for many more years of quality videogame maps!
3  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: Sonic Battle (GBA) on: April 07, 2017, 08:02:08 PM
And that we have another Sonic game fully mapped out.  I really feel that VGMaps is missing much from some franchises, and Sonic is one of the biggest ones that currently doesn't have much representation here.  Not snubbing the great maps we DO have, but numbers-wise it isn't as close to completion as, say, Mario, and the two of them are supposed to be rivals!  Certainly the ball was dropped along the way, but in the 1990s, come on!  I know there's more to be mapped in Sonic The Hedgehog 2/3/& Knuckles, and I'm pretty sure that was Sonic's peak.

In my opinion, it seems only the mappers on this site really care about mapping the Sonic games in all their glory. There are already full maps out there but they're either straight rips using a map editor or technical maps more interested in noting obstacles for speedrunners, lacking backgrounds or any attempt at being aesthetically pleasing. If I had the time and *especially* the mental energy, I'd love to go back and try doing the Genesis games again but that ain't happening anytime soon. Maybe once I start getting some restful sleep over the next few months...

Anyway, thanks again for the Sonic Battle maps; so what is your next project, Terra?

Just take a look at my signature, it's still current. Finishing Lilly Looking Through would be nice, since it's all mapped but I again stumbled while trying to assemble everything in a pleasing way.

Shantae (the Game Boy Color one) would be nice to go back to since a few months back, I finally found out why I had so many problems with inconsistent colors back in 2013. The game uses a lot of fade out/in between areas and rooms that leave most colors in the palette a tiny bit too dark (it messed up a ton of screenshots). That's something that can be fixed by going in/out the subscreen but I just lost all motivation while trying to correct the colors of the few maps I had done up until then.

I'd also like to continue mapping Sonic 3D Blast, if only because I love 2D isometric games. But I remember finding a problem with the way I filled the empty spaces in Spring Stadium (I used 8x8 tiles instead of the game's 16x16, so some tiles are not aligned with the grid) which means I have to fix that before I can actually progress further.

I'd love to continue Naya's Quest, a freeware puzzle game with isometric graphics where the perspective is deliberately making it hard to understand how rooms are laid out. This was actually one of the most stimulating project I'd started in a long time aside from Antichamber. I'd found a great way to communicate how the rooms were actually structured using animated GIFs but doing a single room (out of 30+, plus a bunch more for the New Game+) took forever to capture/clean/disassemble/reassemble everything so I got frustrated with that too. I should at least make a thread to share the few rooms I've assembled so far...

And that's not even going into all the other projects that haven't been abandoned, but are still in need of time and polish. Honestly, in my present state, I'm happy for whatever map I manage to drag out of limbo for submission. There's no shortage of work to be done, that's for sure.
4  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: Sonic Battle (GBA) on: April 04, 2017, 09:12:57 PM
Two and a half years later, I finally finished the Overworld map. This game is now finally fully mapped!
5  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: TerraEsperZ's thread for Corrected and No Longer Missing maps on: March 19, 2017, 06:13:05 PM
Two years later, (only) two more maps!

Project number 6 (still unfinished, updated in its own thread):

Max Payne (GBA):
-Part 1: Roscoe Street Station
-Part 1: Live From The Crime Scene


Finished "unfinished" map count: 42
6  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: Max Payne (GBA) on: March 19, 2017, 06:11:07 PM
Well, I've somehow managed to have a great week in terms of rest and energy, which has allowed me to finally finish, polish and submit the first two maps for this game that I hadn't touch in over six years!

Thanks to the game storing all of its texts as plain ASCII, I was able to edit it in order to fully capture all three fonts used and use one of those for the header. I'm also trying a new "date as version number" format but I'm not sure I like it that much. I also thickened the outline, moved things a bit in order to put a bit more space between rooms and even added in a little custom "Start" label.

I've updated the first post by adding the following maps:

-Part 1: Roscoe Street Station
-Part 1: Live From The Crime Scene
7  General Boards / Gaming / Re: It's MAR10 today. So what Mario game are you playing or replaying? on: March 10, 2017, 08:41:19 AM
You know, I had no interest in buying a Switch just like I skipped on the Wii U. But damn if The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild isn't trying hard to change my mind. It very well might be what sells the system to me, just like Super Mario Galaxy sold me on the Wii. I'm just not completely sold on the hardware yet, with the sometimes unresponsive left joy-con, the rather short battery time, the uneven performances between the docked and portable configuration... I'm really hoping they release a revision somewhere down the line that will make it a "must" rather than a "maybe".

Going back to MAR10, I can't believe it's been almost a year since I've played a Mario game! I still haven't finished Super Mario 3D Land or New Super Mario Bros 1 and 2 but then again, I've given up hope of ever fully completing games like that. I'm just not good enough and don't have the time or patience to hang on long enough to become good enough. Also, holy crap! It's been almost three years since I "switched" to an HD TV and thus, three years since my Wii has been in the closet. I hope it's still working because some Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 goodness would be really fun right now.

8  General Boards / Map Requests / Re: Mega Man Maps on: February 14, 2017, 05:55:55 AM
I'm curious as to why you disliked it this much. I've never had the chance to play it (though now I just might thanks to your link...) but there are already aspects of it that don't sit well with me: I'm not a fan of the the voice acting and the gameplay looks like it's quite different with enemies and bullets no longer going through solid blocks.
9  General Boards / Mapping Tips/Guides / Re: Reliable image hosting sites (paid or otherwise) that WON'T alter your file? on: February 05, 2017, 09:55:41 PM
Sorry for taking a month and a half to reply (it actually felt way longer). Turns out I'm probably suffering from sleep apnea (this diagnosis is about to be confirmed) and this is why I'm basically never getting enough rest despite sleeping more than average, and why I've been experiencing signs of depression (lack of motivation, patience, concentration, etc) since around summer. Believe me, I've been trying *really* hard to motivate myself to get back into mapping but I've ended up spending quite a bit of my free time "vegging out" instead. Anyway...

I've actually managed to spring into action a bit today and finally moved most of my more recent map galleries over to Imgur and updated a bunch of my posts to reflect that. Since their policy on hotlinking isn't exactly clear, I chose to have every thumbnail link to the full album for a given game, since linking directly to the images would prevent them from making any money from ads and I *would* appreciate Imgur staying in business as long as possible.
10  General Boards / Mapping Tips/Guides / Reliable image hosting sites (paid or otherwise) that WON'T alter your file? on: December 05, 2016, 05:57:10 AM
Hey everyone. Sorry for the major radio silence over the last several months. It's become increasingly harder to motivate myself to map (or play, or read, or do anything that's not a professional or social obligation really) so there's probably something messed up with my body or something. Guess I should get that checked out...

Anyway, the meat of my question, for the umpteenth time since I've started making videogame maps, is *where* oh where can I host all the images I want to share with you guys? I've become so discouraged by having one hosting site after another disable hotlinking (which I'd understand for large images, but even for thumbnails?) or suddenly reduce the size and quality (but no the file size!?) of everything I'd uploaded that I just stopped sharing anything I was doing lately. Granted, I wasn't accomplishing much, but I probably would have posted something if only to inspire the kind of technical discussions that used to be so frequent here years ago.

From what I've gathered, what I apparently want is a CDN, a content delivery network, but I'll be honest in that I don't know what that is, how to get one, much less how to get one that's suited to me, and the hassle behind the whole concept makes me want to not even start looking. ALL I WANT IS A PLACE I CAN HOST FILES THAT ARE SEVERAL THOUSAND PIXELS IN RESOLUTION AND A FEW MEGABYTES IN SIZE THAT WILL GIVE ME THUMBNAILS FOR LINKS AND WON'T ALTER THE FILES THEMSELVES. I'll even pay for it, in the hopes that said sites won't close down like so many others before it.

Am I asking for too much? I'm just so tired of dealing with this shit, which I recognize is incredibly unimportant shit in the grand scheme of things. But it's yet one more factor on top of the pile of stuff that's sapping my motivation.

Can anyone help?
11  Main Boards / VGMaps Social Board / Re: I created my own font, Crypteuz! on: October 11, 2016, 07:21:39 PM
I've actually been trying to do just that for the last few days and I'm almost done! Unfortunately, going from 6 x 16 to 8 x 8 pixels doesn't look as good as I'd like and I had to do two things I was hoping to avoid:

1) I had to alter the proportions of the font, shortening and widening everything. The geometrical basis for it is now somewhat gone.

2) Lowercase letters with a descender had to be moved above the baseline because there's no space left under it. As a consequence, they're harder to read as being lowercase.

Additionally, I pretty much have no idea how to handle everything that's not a letter or a number at that scale. The "rules" for them worked as long as there was a middle point in each segment that I could use for more details, but squashing down means there's now no middle pixel in any segment (it's hard to explain, so just trust me on this).

Bonus time! Since that TrueType font looks really bad (and newer versions of Windows love to mess up all that pixelated goodness), I'm including all three size of Crypteuz for use with BitmapFontWriter, which has been my favourite tool for writing text using game fonts. Just convert the PNG files into BMPs and you're set to go!

(But seriously, this is for novelty only. I'm well aware that nobody would want to use this in any sort of regular basis...)
12  Main Boards / VGMaps Social Board / I created my own font, Crypteuz! on: October 07, 2016, 05:10:38 AM
Forgive my enthusiasm, but I'm just really happy whenever I actually manage to create something I'd consider artistic, given how rigid and resolutely logical I tend to be. Anyway, I started thinking about making my own personal font when I was in college (so close to two decades ago!) and I was doodling in the margins of my school planner. I then forgot about the idea until very recently when I felt really inspired and just *needed* to get it out of my system.

You can see/download the TrueType file at http://www.pentacom.jp/pentacom/bitfontmaker2/gallery/?id=3261 but honestly in that format, it's not that good looking or that readable. I just needed a way to officially state that I created it and that website (BitFontMaker2) was the easiest way to do it. I've attached a PNG file with a cleaner version at the end of this post with multiple sizes and shadows, which is what I'll use if I want to make a signature or something.

The name Crypteuz is reallly weird but it's kinda hard to think of a name that nobody else has come up with already, so I just went with a combination of "cryptic", "obtuse" and "TeuZ", the latter being an occasional online alias of mine. As for the font itself, "cryptic" is kind of appropriate since many letters are hard to decipher. I was more concerned with the geometric purity of everything and I gave myself a set of rules concerning how the letters, numbers and the rest could be structured. Like I said, the intent was more to create something that represents me and how I think rather than making a font that was good looking and functional. You can still comment and/or criticize it of course, this is the Internet after all!
13  Main Boards / VGMaps Social Board / Re: YouTube channel! on: September 26, 2016, 07:15:32 PM
Subscribed!

On a more serious note, good first video. You seem pretty comfortable with the camera and I liked the humorous bits. The subject of course wasn't that interesting to me since I've had all three "The History of Nintendo" books for a few years now but you gave a pretty rounded look at the first one and I hope it gets more people interested in the series. I'm curious how relevant some of the information in the third book (NES/Famicom) might be in the English translated version since a lot of it is concerned with how the Famicom was released and supported in France.

Oh, I also wanted to offer some good news regarding the still unreleased fourth volume about the Game Boy family. A blog post by the author in June 2016 confirmed a tentative 2018 release. So it's going to be a while but it hasn't been abandoned!
14  General Boards / Maps Of The Month / Re: 2016/09: Star Trek (NES) - KingKuros on: September 05, 2016, 01:47:34 PM
I wish I'd been as into Star Trek when this game came out as I was a few years later during TNG and DS9 because I would have loved playing it then. Too bad the space map has all the planets scrolling by at different speeds, thus making it sort of unmappable. Anyway, great job KingKuros!
15  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: Vorpal86's Map Projects - Current and Complete on: August 28, 2016, 08:20:16 PM
I honestly have no idea what would need to be done to get those Milon's Secret Castle maps posted on the site, but I'm glad you at least linked to it. I remember renting that game back in the NES days and it seemed so hard and obscure. Secrets could be anywhere and objectives weren't obvious. In fact, I only beat the first boss and reached the well because a friend told me how to proceed but I ended up losing all my lives in the well. Talk about a hard game.
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