VGMaps
November 22, 2017, 07:57:22 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The Immortal (NES)  (Read 13203 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« on: September 15, 2009, 08:37:04 PM »

Another project started with so many remaining uncompleted, but since I actually took time searching/hacking memory values to help me, I don't intend on dropping this until I'm finished.

...

Yeah, I don't fault anyone for doubting me.

Anyway, I was looking through scans of my first real Nintendo Power issue and saw that old game called "The Immortal" which I never actually played. So I got curious and cautiously tried mapping a few rooms and tried to assemble them together to see if it would work or if the game coders had been smoking crack again while designing the levels. Surprisingly, the rooms fit perfectly despite the isometric perspective. So I decided to give it a try.

The game, for those who never played it, is basically a sort of dungeon crawler with involved one-on-one combat where you have to time both your sword swings and your dodging and try not to tire yourself too much. There are a number of simple puzzles and many, *many* deadly traps everywhere, most of them hidden.

Since the perspective is isometric, there is a section of the floor in every room that is hidden by the southern wall, which coincidently usually contains traps; finding every trap so far took some time.

Another thing that annoyed me is how some enemies will start running toward you as soon as you enter the room even if they are off-screen so it was seemingly impossible to find out their starting position. However, enemies would not reset to their starting position if you came back to their room, so it meant that their position would remain in memory for the duration of the level. That's when I decided to do some memory searching.

Using FCEUX's memory search functions, I manage to isolate a range of addresses for the horizontal and vertical coordinates of moving entities relative to their current room. Since there are several ranges of values always in the same order (all the horizontal positions, all the verticals, etc), they're probably memory arrays:

-0698h to 06A2h: Contain the horizontal positions, starting with the player's and then the various other entities (troll, goblin, will o' the wisp, bat, etc)
-06A3h to 06ADh: Contain the vertical positions
-06CFh to 06D9h: I don't know what the values represent, but freeze the value and the entity will no longer exhibit sprite animation
-06E5h to 06EFh: I don't know what it represents either, but freeze it and the entity will no longer react to your position (i.e. turn to face you)

By identifying which addresses represented which entity on each level and freezing the necessary values, I could ensure that after entering a room, every enemy would be completely frozen as if I wasn't even there. That felt extremely satisfying for my desire to be as accurate as possible.

I'm still undecided on how to handle rooms joined by ladders (link with arrows, ladder tiles, letters, numbers?), so don't be too hard when looking at the following previews... Also, these are the ones with all the secrets (traps, triggers, ladders, etc) revealed. I'm actually considering posting finished maps both with everything hidden and revealed.

Level 1:


Level 2:


Level 3:


God I love the new board! It's so much *easier* to use  Grin
Logged

Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2009, 08:47:57 PM »

Oh yeah, I forgot that I had to spend some time completing the game's font since there are a few missing capital letters. Since each one is at least 16 x 16 pixels, they saved up some space in tile memory by not including letters that weren't used anywhere in the game.  For the sake of completeness (and just in case I ever needed them), I tried my best to edit the existing letters to recreate the missing ones. Tell me what you think:



The letters that I added are B, J, K, Q, U, V, X, Z. I actually think most of them are quite acceptable, but I'm not that happy with the last two which is annoying since I need a capital Z for my name. Any suggestions?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 09:02:40 PM by TerraEsperZ » Logged

Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
snesmaster
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 181



« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2009, 08:51:04 PM »

Great job on the maps so far.  I like the way you transformed the arrows so they match the perspective of the game.  Also the way you faded the arrows for Level 3 look great.  I think they are easy to follow.  I had no problem telling what connected to what.  Nice work on finding codes to freeze the enemies.  When I mapped Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa, I was lucky that there was an item in the game that froze all enemies so that made finding a code very easy since I just had to make it so that item was always active.
Logged
snesmaster
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 181



« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2009, 08:58:10 PM »

I think the letters you added match the style very well and they are all fairly easy to read.  If you had not said what letters you added I would not have been able to tell.  Do you know of a free program that lets you create fonts so you can just type the words in instead of moving graphics of the letters around to make words?
Logged
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2009, 08:59:49 PM »

I'm *very* slowly making my way toward being an acceptable sprite artist, in a "functional way" of course. As for the memory hacking, it's my first real try and some of it I only manage to figure out by pure luck, namely freezing their sprite animation and orientation.

This game came out on several other system at the time, namely the Sega Genesis, but from what little I've seen, the NES has been made to have more action. Maybe they thought the kids would be bored? To make up for lacking one full level, a lot of rooms in the NES versions are filled with floor and wall fire traps, there is on average more music while playing, and every time you stop doing anything for a few seconds (or heck, even if you don't) an annoying bat will appear out of nowhere and starting circling you while making you lose health at an alarming rate. Freezing that bloodsucker was extremely helpful. Otherwise, the levels are apparently mostly the same in terms as the puzzle and general geography.
Logged

Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2009, 09:01:54 PM »

There's Bitmap Font Writer which I once used, but I've grown annoyed at all the preparation required to make the font behave like I wanted. I suppose if I included tons of texts on my maps I would pretty much *have* to use it, but make do without at the moment.
Logged

Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
Will
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 590



« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2009, 09:41:45 PM »

I think what you chose is good. The game reminds me of Data East's arcade game "Dark Seal". The capital letters you recreated were very artisitic and the angled transformed arrows you did make the link seem believable. If you're not happy with the capital X and Z, you may want to use existing fonts as a guideline to recreate them from scratch. Type the keywords in Google "Blackletter Fonts" and "Viking Fonts" to get fonts that are as close to this current font as they can get. Keep up the good work.
Logged
Maxim
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 972



« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2009, 01:22:50 AM »

I like the randomised pixellated fade on the arrows. In level 3 the arrows are somewhat Escheresque, in that a foreground arrow goes behind the stage itself; I'd never draw an arrow over a screenshot, so I'm not sure what to suggest.

Is the "wall thickness" implied by the game or just what looked good?

The top of stage 3 does suggest a small amount of crack, as the two ladders are not far enough apart to leave room for a vertical passageway for both.
Logged
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 05:40:03 AM »

Wall thickness is perfectly accurate between rooms connected by doors (I used Level 2 to check this since it has several rooms connected in a loop), but anything goes once ladders enter the picture. I tried to keep the top and bottom of ladders aligned horizontally, but Level 3 has so many ladders that the layout might be geometrically impossible. I might change its layout eventually.

Oh, and thanks for the font suggestion Will. I thought about it but had no idea where to start looking.
Logged

Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2009, 08:30:44 PM »

Sorry for the lack of update, but for once it wasn't because of loss of interest. I simply had to deal with some family drama lately (nothing really serious fortunately) as well as more obligatory overtime, so what little free time I prefer to spend *playing* games instead of mapping them. Things should clear up soon hopefully.
Logged

Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2013, 11:10:02 PM »

Three and a half years later, I've started preparing what I had almost completed for submission (and if time allows, complete the remaining maps).

As you might expect, my style has evolved somewhat since then, and I wanted to share the new layout I've decided to use. Unfortunately, those of who you who liked the angled pixelated arrows might be disappointed to see them gone but I'll likely use some shading effects for lines passing behind rooms once I've reached later levels.

The first map is basically Level 1 with everything hidden, a "beauty map" of sort. The second is a Baldur's Gate-inspired version where I'm trying to point out all the secrets and traps with colored outlines (green for secret passages, yellow for trap triggers and red for deadly traps). It's very busy and lacking a legend for now so consider it incomplete. I'll probably do a beauty map with the secrets and traps added but without all the pretty lines.

A note about the room outlines: you'll notice they make it more obvious that doors aren't aligned at the same angle as the walls. I tried moving the rooms a bit vertically (relative to the canvas, not the in-game map) to have the doors aligned correctly but suddenly that loop in Level 2 didn't match and some walls had to become thicker to compensate. Thus the misaligned doors were retained since in the long run, the overall map looks better that way to me.
Logged

Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2013, 09:14:59 PM »

After a dozen hours of tinkering whenever I actually had free time, I'm finally happy with the layout and format I came up with for these maps.

First, a "beauty map" that shows the layout of the rooms as they first appear and nothing else.

Second, a map showing every enemy as well as the location of every item and trap, the whole thing being colored coded for your convenience. As you can see, there's a lot of red signifying all the various instant death traps featured in this single level. This game isn't considered brutal for nothing.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 09:23:55 PM by TerraEsperZ » Logged

Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
snesmaster
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 181



« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2013, 07:22:26 AM »

Job well done, they look great!
Logged
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2013, 10:11:31 PM »

If anyone feels like I should be further along with this project, there's a very good reason why it doesn't look like I am. I've been redoing these maps over and over for the past few days, adding, removing and correcting minute details to satisfy my cravings for precision and whatever will make my mind at ease. The good news is that I'm moving forward nonetheless, which is a change from my usual "I can't make this exactly the way I want to so I'd rather not do it at all".

Anyway, here are (hopefully) the final revisions of the maps for the first two levels.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 11:19:16 PM by TerraEsperZ » Logged

Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2013, 10:12:06 PM »

And for the third level.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 11:19:43 PM by TerraEsperZ » Logged

Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)
-Lilly Looking Through (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!