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31  General Boards / Mapping Tips/Guides / Map versioning? on: May 28, 2016, 11:22:24 AM
Here's something that's been going around in my mind over the last couple weeks. Should I use versioning in my maps?

At first, the question might seem silly. We're not talking about something major like software where newer versions might add or remove features and correct bugs. Still, simply using the month and year to denote when a map has been altered doesn't feel satisfying anymore.

I've been thinking of adding a version number, something relatively simple like "Major.Minor.Patch", with a major version number (only changed if I redo a game completely in a visually different way), a minor version number for cosmetic alterations or format changes (deciding to present information differently), and a patch number for corrections and fixes.

Now, I've never had to handle versioning. While newer maps would start with a v1.0.0 right off the bat, I'm not sure how I'd handle existing maps for incomplete projects. Should I start them at v1.0.0 if I don'y remember how many times I've changed them? Also, I'd prefer to avoid JonLeung being pissed at me for having him re-upload a whole bunch of maps just to add a version number.

I'm not really looking for confirmation or anything, just your comments and thoughts on the subject.
32  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future on: May 22, 2016, 09:54:58 PM
Great work as usual FlyingArmor! I just don't tend to comment on your maps since they're almost always about game I don't play, but I appreciate the efforts all the same.

Tell me, since you're usually mapping pretty complex RPGs, are you afraid that you might miss stuff? I've found over the years that even games that are considered classics still might have secrets to them that aren't know to most and thus, would not be mentioned in FAQs or walkthroughs. I tend to be stressed that there might be some secret areas or items that I didn't find, that aren't really listed anywhere online yet might be known to some gamers and then I'd come off as being kind of an amateur...
33  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: What a horrible night to have a curse. on: May 22, 2016, 07:07:24 PM
The mistranslation of "Wallachia" into "Warakiya" isn't a problem for me since Wallachia is a region while "Warakiya", although fictional, would be the actual name of the town. Curse of Darkness, which is a direct sequel to this game, introduces a lot of fictional places with names that have nothing to do with the actual Romania like "Baljhet Moutains" and "Cordova Town". I think you're safe using "Warakiya" as the town name even if, in reality, it was a mistranslation of "Wallachia".
34  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: What a horrible night to have a curse. on: May 22, 2016, 06:16:00 PM
This has become one of my pet peeve lately, when only some stages have official names or when the manual conflicts with the actual game or with supplemental material like an official Japanese strategy guide.

I know it's not unusual for people to start using song names from the soundtrack to name the stages. I still have in mind a slight update of my Gradius II (NES) maps to correctly name the stages and it was frustrating to find that there was very little out there that was backed by official sources, including the Gradius wiki and the Gradius Homeworld forums. I actually had to track down a translated interview published in the "Gradius Portable Guidebook" where the stages for all four main games where definitely named. And even then, I had to use the other games as inspiration for the last NES stage since it is exclusive to that platform; I used "Cell" since that's the official name for every organic level in the main series.

In your case, the manual does give us some names that I think you're right to use. They sound a bit corny, but it works better with Castlevania's original horror movie aesthetics than with Super C's (slightly) more serious science-fiction setting. However, you might find yourself having to come up with names by yourself, which you did and I think they work very well for the remaining stages. My only fear when doing this is the possibility that my invented names might be quoted elsewhere as being official later on when they're not. I find it really aggravating when I want to be as comprehensive as possible and there's only partial information. Do I use what's official and invent the rest, or do I stay with numbers? And even that wouldn't work here since level numbers are reused across multiple paths.

My honest opinion? The current names are perfect, and I'm saying this as the person obsessed with being accurate and as official as possible.
35  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: What a horrible night to have a curse. on: May 17, 2016, 04:18:39 PM
Actually, several stages aside from the Clock Tower have their layout represented accurately in that minimap, which I find to be a nice effort on their part. It certainly wasn't necessary but is a nice thing to notice.

Ah, yes, The Tower Of Terror is for sure another one.  (And now that I look at it I seem to be missing the "The" in the name in the clickable link, I'll have to fix that soon...)  Probably easy to spot because it's a vertical stage as well.  But I'm having trouble distinguishing how the other ones are supposed to be like their mini-map (especially since it's twisted around counter-clockwise-like), at least just by looking at the tiny thumbnail image of the full version.  Lacking a third dimension in the actual stage (in and out assumedly correlating to north and south, when the stages generally go "right" or east), I can only assume some of the paths that deviate north and south on the map are doing that without necessarily having a visible clue of that.  If that makes sense, I could be rambling...

I can clearly see the layout of the following stages which, interestingly, I would consider to be "hard" structures unlike the others that are more general areas like tunnels, forests, etc:

The Clock Tower of Untimely Death
The Haunted Ship of Fools
The Tower of Terror
The Causeway


Anyway, I love that you two have dedication to go back and redo maps that you feel could be improved.  I love that you even have dedication to keep mapping - so many other mappers have come and gone but you two are among only a few that have been around since near the beginning of VGMaps which was fourteen years ago that still put out maps, whether revisions or totally new.  Keep up the great work!

I think I'll always love mapping. I just sometimes lack the time or motivation to go all the way through a project. I've been fascinated by fictional maps ever since I read The Lord of the Rings at the age of 12 and I was already doing maps for some of the first computer games I played on my own PC (Wolfenstein 3D and Lands of Lore). I wish I still had the files to those maps so I could share them with you Smiley.

Of course, that will lead into my next problem these days which is that I rarely find things that I both want to map and aren't already mapped by someone else.

With me, I seem to be pretty lucky in that most of the games I tend to want to map are available for the taking, which is a little strange since a number of the games I've mapped are from very popular series (Final Fantasy being the predominant example). Even Jon has made that observation numerous times over the years. And even if someone does take on a game I would have liked to do myself, I usually see that as a good thing; it's one less game that I have to worry about.

The best thing is either to prefer games that aren't well known and/or liked, or games that are more likely to be mapped to help players rather than look good. The majority of Sonic the Hedgehog games still haven't been mapped well in my opinion. Sure, you'll find a ton of maps with technical information for speedruns and such, but nobody bothers making a full map that includes a modified background that fits the layout well. That suits me fine since I'd love to tackle that very aspect if I had the time.
36  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: What a horrible night to have a curse. on: May 16, 2016, 09:09:46 PM
Hey, it's your work and you decide how it works best for you. Over the last few years, I've noticed how much more critical I am of the choices made by mappers in terms of labeling, layout, including important sprites like visible weapons, items and bosses, etc. Heck, I'm often critical of my own past work, but I lack the time and motivation to go back and redo them. Besides, I'd rather not start going "George Lucas" on said work if I can help it; the urge is there to "fix" my "mistakes" but I try to keep it in check since said "mistakes" are simply different choices I made back then and would be likely to change again sometimes in the future. Better to keep the past as is.

Going back to my comment. There was a time when I loved just about any well assembled screenshot map I would lay my eyes on, but as I grew in experience and as my tastes changed, I started noticing little things that I would have done differently, little annoyances that made me wish I had the time to do those maps all over again but do them "my way". Of course, that would be completely *nuts* since the list of games I'd want to map again myself keeps getting longer as I get pickier. So, consider my comments for what they are, personal suggestions but nothing more. You already did an amazing job mapping that series and you've certainly achieved your goal of making great-looking art.
37  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: What a horrible night to have a curse. on: May 16, 2016, 07:51:42 PM
Actually, several stages aside from the Clock Tower have their layout represented accurately in that minimap, which I find to be a nice effort on their part. It certainly wasn't necessary but is a nice thing to notice.

And personally, I would have enjoyed that full map of Castlevania 3 even if you had to use a few connecting lines here and there. There's just something about having an entire game visible with a single glance that appeals to me. Thanks for the more continuous map for Simon's Quest by the way; it's a lot easier to figure where you are when everything is laid out horizontally like that. The only thing it missed I feel are the names for the various areas. True, they're not exactly given to you out loud but it would make it more complete while not being too obtrusive since all areas are rather small and easy to separate from their neighbours.
38  General Boards / Map Requests / Re: Sonic 4 Maps on: May 06, 2016, 06:44:23 PM
Revned's right. Us regular posters/mappers already all have our own pet projects that's occupying most of our free time and there's just no incentive to drop everything to fulfill the seemingly endless list of requests. Especially when the people asking have no idea how much work is entailed by even the simplest mapping project (NES, GB, etc), much less for a modern PC or console game.

Heck, I've got projects at various stages of completion for which there are requests, some of which have been lingering for years. Guess what? I'm not going to suddenly rush back to them just because someone asks for them again. That's not how I work. I know it might sound stupid, but mapping to me is a creative endeavour. If I'm not in the mood or don't have the mental energy for it, nothing will get done.  No matter how often you might ask, no matter if you were even to pay me for it.
39  General Boards / Map Requests / Re: Sonic 4 Maps on: May 05, 2016, 02:36:53 PM
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was released on pretty much every console under the sun a few years ago. Episode 1 is apparently quite possible as there used to be a thread on the forums.sonicretro.org site where someone had managed to extract the graphics and the various blocks the levels are made of since everything is basically 2D. Unfortunately, that thread doesn't seem to exist anymore or at least, I can't find it. Episode 2 is mostly impossible unless you're the god of 3D hackers since the game is entirely 3D.
40  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: Robert's Map Development - Rips, Guides, Originals, etc. on: May 04, 2016, 05:07:38 AM
Welcome back to VGMaps Smiley. Don't mind the quietness and do share your work with us. Hopefully the place will become more active before summer is here (hopefully!).

That's a great list of rather dissimilar games. For your Doom maps, I imagine from your description that they'll look kinda like the in-game ones from Duke Nukem 3D, but with sprites as well? I can't wait to see them.
41  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: Drill Dozer (GBA) on: May 01, 2016, 09:18:22 PM
Well, the sun is back at last, along with some much-needed mental energy and I've finally resumed active work on this project.

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

-Area 3-2: Sunken Ruins
-Area 3 Secret Area: Forgotten Ruins


I've also updated it with revised versions of every previous maps. I did a lots of tiny changes like:
-Changing the position of a few rooms to straighten connecting arrows.
-Altering the spacing between rooms to make said arrows more visible.
-Changing the color for some treasure labels because I hadn't realized that they were red before being examined and turned grey after.
-Correcting a few stray pixels.
-Changing the date to reflect the revisions.
42  General Boards / Maps Of The Month / Re: 2016/05: Lady Stalker: The Apocalypse Engine (J) - George s on: May 01, 2016, 08:45:39 AM
George s made an awesome job mapping both games, especially given how difficult isometric games tend to be on that front. The more complex areas are connected in all sorts of non-intuitive ways and it's a miracle that he managed to make them look are comprehensible as they are. I would have given up much earlier if I'd been trying to map it.

Also, I want to remark on just how much more interesting these maps are compared to the Landstalker ones. The mine area in particular with the rail tracks going around the mountain in multiple ways is especially stunning visually. It also seems to have more "verticality" in general too which is nice to see and rather rare in isometric games.

Let's hope we see more from him!
43  Main Boards / VGMaps Social Board / Re: Out of town April 28 - May 1 on: April 25, 2016, 06:59:05 PM
Have a great time!

...And is it weird that I never noticed both voices were by the same guy?
44  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: My mapping projects on: April 07, 2016, 04:21:43 PM
Are you going to map both Yo! Noid and Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru? I know both games feature very similar if not identical levels in terms of structure, but it would be really cool to switch from one version of a level to the other just to see how radical the changes are.

And about Roger Rabbit, it's always both weird and cool to realized you completely overlooked part of a game way after the fact Smiley.
45  General Boards / Maps In Progress / Re: Drill Dozer (GBA) on: March 22, 2016, 05:36:03 PM
So yeah. I'm still alive, though I haven't mapped much over the last few months. I'm hoping to correct that but as always, free time is a rare commodity these days.

Updated first post with the following map:

-Area 3-1: Kuru Ruins
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