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1  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Tower of Heaven v.2.0.0 (flash) on: October 12, 2018, 10:44:14 PM
Hey everyone! I've been on a nostalgia binge lately, as in, I've been working on a couple of map projects I'd been wanting to do for a very long time but never did for a number of reasons. Tower of Heaven is one of these.

I don't know if JonLeung is actually going to accept this map since it's basically an online flash game, but it's a rather famous one that's been around for almost a decade. Most people (including me) remember it for it's great Game Boy-style soundtrack, but it's still a simple but enjoyable little thing.

There's not a lot to say about this map. It shows the whole game along with the various restrictions that the god of the tower imposes on you. That's basically it.

I used a lot of connecting arrows in order to center all the main levels in the form of a tower, except for the last one which I moved to the side both because it takes place outside the tower *and* to make space for the map legend. A player with an eye for details will notice while playing that the graphics of the individual blocks and the positions of the dandelions will probably differ from my maps. That's because there's a bit of randomness; the blocks' positions are the same but their graphics are not. There's also a number of graphical artifacts that I kept in order to be faithful to the game, like the occasional light dot in a darker area that doesn't belong there, of there being nearly identical yet different shades of the same colour in the same map for the same tiles, which doesn't make sense. Anyway, enjoy!

2  General Boards / Mapping Tips/Guides / Re: How do I stitch together a bunch of screenshots in to make a map? on: August 27, 2018, 08:57:08 PM
Well, I've been using good old Paint (no .net here!) and yeah, that's pretty much what I've always done. I paste the screenshot in the canvas while zoomed in at the appropriate level, then I move it around until it's exactly where it needs to be. Considering that Paint doesn't have layers, that's not always easy and sometimes I have to change the "background" colour and the transparency mode in order to temporarily remove said colour to make the alignment easier. I sadly have no idea how to do it using  something more sophisticated like or Photoshop Sad.
3  General Boards / Map Requests / Re: Oracle of Seasons: one missing map on: May 15, 2018, 09:38:59 PM
I don't actually remember why I never mapped the Hero's Cave in this game. Then again, I remember being under a lot of self-imposed stress at the time, trying to keep up with Revned and probably obsessing over a whole bunch of meaningless details.

A few years back, I played with the idea of doing specific area maps that would include every seasonal variations and also every cave and building interiors. But then I got upset because the regions as they are defined on the minimap didn't fully correspond to how they are separated as separate seasons as you played, blah blah blah... Like for the first time, meaningless details.

I can't promise anything, but I'll try to get the Hero's Cave done over the next few weeks if you can wait that long. Thanks for the interest by the way!
4  General Boards / Map Gab / Re: Lilly Looking Through (PC) on: April 13, 2018, 07:00:39 PM
I also wanted to talk about how I mapped the whole thing "as close to perfectly as it could be" to quote myself.

You see, Lilly Looking Through is a game made in flash and the vast majority of its graphics are accessible from the get go. Basically, each of the ten areas has all of its static graphics laid out in one or two .png files; that includes the various background/middleground/foreground layers as well as every large and small static objects. This was great because the game uses a lot of alpha transparency across various layers, which would have been impossible to capture accurately while playing. I was basically able to reassemble every screen in GIMP from it's individual components, transparency and all, using the perfect source graphics instead of the very slightly altered version that Flash displays using subpixel rendering.

There were a bunch of animated effects that were trickier, like the animated reflection of the sun in the ocean that was partly hidden by several foreground objects. Thankfully, the game doesn't care if you edit or otherwise mess with its graphics files. So for the example above, I just went and deleted every graphic from the .png file except the ocean. When i got back to that area in the game, I could then see the background layer with the animated effects without any of the foreground objects in the way. I repeated that same process for every screen where a particular animation, lighting or color effect had to be captured in-game.

Hopefully, the result were worth the efforts.
5  General Boards / Map Gab / Lilly Looking Through (PC) on: April 13, 2018, 05:47:57 PM
Well, it's been a while since I've posted anything. More than a year in fact, and that wasn't even a full project, just two orphaned maps. But I never really stopped mapping you know; I just grew so obsessed with perfection that I became unable to live up to my unrealistic standards...

...or some stupid stuff like that.

Anyway, this single map has been a long time coming. I'd pretty much mapped the whole game as close to perfectly as it could be about two years ago, but then it all sat untouched until last week because I was never satisfied with my ideas for the overall presentation. Thankfully, I managed to get over that and it's at least functional if not that great-looking. It'll have to do.

Lilly Looking Through is a pretty small and somewhat unremarkable game. It's more or less a classic point-and-click adventure/puzzle game like those I used to play as a teenager, one where you have to "solve" the current area/screen before moving on to the next one. As a game, it's nothing great mind you; the puzzles are somewhat easy for the most part although they can get tedious, and there are some puzzles with color addition and subtraction that can get quite annoying if not outright frustrating toward the end. All in all, it's pretty short with only ten areas and the story, such as it is, is barely a prologue for something bigger that was never made.

HOWEVER, the game still manages to present an intriguing world through its visuals and ambient music, one I would have loved to explore further in a much longer sequel. The title of the game refers to the player's character, Lilly, finding a pair of magical goggles early on that, when worn, allows her to see but more importantly, to interact with her surroundings but in the past. What's more intriguing, you eventually realize that these past versions aren't all from the same time or era; in one location, you get to see it during the last ice age while in another, it's probably just the night before.

Here, then, is the whole thing in one single map :

DON'T save this one, as Imgur seems to convert any .png over 1 MB into a .jpg. I'll be sending JonLeung a link to the full quality file (~35 MB) as an official submission and you can grab that one then if you like.
6  General Boards / Gaming / Re: A game about amusement park on: February 22, 2018, 05:36:18 AM
You're almost certainly talking about Theme Park right? Unfortunately, I never played it myself or any other simulation game aside from the original Sim City.
7  General Boards / Map Requests / Re: Modern 2010s 2D/2.5D wishlist! UPDATE!! 3D FF map in progress~ on: February 05, 2018, 08:16:37 PM
I gave the recently released Celeste a try and it really rekindled that passion for mapping I used to have. It also made me realize something: do you know what ended up slowly killing my interest in mapping?

Making clean, perfect-looking maps. Seriously, if it wasn't for my obsession with capturing or recreating all the layers of a map, getting all the sprites to use the right animation frame, recreating or outright removing transparencies and lighting effects, I would have fully mapped a dozen more games over the last few years.

Games like Fez, Shovel Knight, Shantae: Risky's Revenge, Celeste, Rain World, and probably a few more. I gave them all a try but without being a coding genius capable of extracting graphics and map data from a game's original files, it sometimes takes *forever* to assemble even one screen correctly (I'm up to about 7 hours to recreate a single, non-scrolling screen from Celeste AND I'M NOT EVEN FINISHED).

I don't know. Clean screenshot maps will always look best and they'll always be my preference, but I'm starting to feel like maybe I should just say "FUCK IT", grab a whole bunch of screenshots, do some very minimal editing (removing the player's sprite for example) and just post that. I mean, some mappers have already done that and sometimes, a "dirty" map is better than no map. I've already done three such maps for Celeste because I just loved that game and I really wanted to see full maps for it, but I've been really hesitant to actually post them. Looks like once again, I'll have to triumph over my worst enemy (i.e. me).
8  General Boards / Maps Of The Month / Re: 2018/02: Sonic Mania (PC) - G.E.R. on: February 03, 2018, 10:29:46 PM
Congratulations on the award G.E.R.!

Modern 2D games rarely get mapped because of the relative complexity of their graphics so it's nice to see that some people are still trying Smiley.
9  General Boards / Map Requests / Re: Modern 2010s 2D/2.5D wishlist! on: December 11, 2017, 05:35:41 AM
Shovel Knight has been partially done by TerraEsperZ, no idea if they're still working on that

Unfortunately not. I've always mapped using screenshots and, whenever possible, emulators that could disable layers. Shovel Knight has many layers that can't be disabled so you're left with two choices: take a ton of screenshots and extrapolate what you can't see using the game's individual tiles (a gruelling task), or extract the layers straight from the game's code. I'm nowhere near smart enough to do the later, and trying the former took me several weeks to assemble the game's simplest maps.

As much as I love this game, I simply don't have the patience and energy to keep mapping it. Sorry Sad.
10  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.
11  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 5¼-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!
12  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.
13  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!
14  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
15  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
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