VGMaps
November 23, 2017, 11:29:12 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: Correcting the original mistakes in a game's map?  (Read 9412 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« on: January 28, 2013, 09:47:11 PM »

Hey guys. I haven't written on the forum much lately, though that doesn't mean I haven't been mapping (in fact, I've probably been mapping too much, though I haven't finished anything yet).

Anyway, I realized something while mapping a particular NES game that shall remain nameless (for now). In short, the game's maps are rather imperfect. First, one of the map clearly has a few instances of bad tiling (where the tile is upside down compared to how it should be). Second, most of the sprites are *almost* but not quite aligned with the usual 8 x 8 pixels grid. Almost always by 1 or 2 pixels, but it's driving me nuts. Lastly, one level features enemies appearing in specific formations in the background but in one single instances among close to a hundred, the enemy appears in the right place horizontally but a few tiles too high.

My question is, how would you feel if a mapper (me or anyone else) "corrected" a map to make it look a bit better or simply how it should have looked? I did it once already with Sonic Advance but I was dealing with three remote places on two separate maps where single 8 x 8 pixels tiles were missing from the foreground. In this case, although the changes would directly affect things in the player's way, nobody would notice unless they took screenshots to compare and point out how I "misaligned" everything. And in this particular case, I also feel justified in aligning everything on the basis that in the game's sequel, everything *is* correctly aligned to the grid which only makes the first game seem sloppy in terms of coding.

I often like to point out the authenticity vs aesthetic debate. I was previously a fan of the former though lately I tend to lean toward the latter. What do you all think?
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
Revned
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1091



« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 12:28:29 AM »

If the changes are particularly pervasive, I feel like there should at least be some note on the map so as not to seem "deceptive". It might even be worth making two versions of the maps.

As an example (which I ended up abandoning due to difficulty), consider the Saturn version of Castlevania: SotN. I made correct versions of the maps, but (as you know) the port vertically squashed everything. It looks awful. I intended to make a second version of the maps with the graphics unsquished, and I would not have replaced the currently posted maps. It just wouldn't seem right.
Logged

TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 06:14:10 AM »

I like your use of the term 'pervasive', though instead of resolving my dilemma, it simply changes the question I have to ask myself. Are my changes too pervasive? I'll have to think about it...

Though I did think of at least one advantage by fixing little mistakes on a map: anybody stealing your work and claiming them as their own would have a hard time explaining all the spots where they diverge ever so slightly from the original. The fixes would constitute a sort of 'signature' so to speak of the mapper.
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
JonLeung
Administrator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3129


« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 12:03:47 PM »

I had a big freaking response where I misread your question, thinking you were asking about replacing someone else's maps that are already on here - a real can of worms.  Rereading your question, I realized my goof-up.

Anyway, if accuracy and aesthetics must be on opposing ends of a continuum (accuracy can be beautiful, but I guess it wouldn't be an issue then), consider what the aim of the map is.  Though many of us place an emphasis on having pixel-accurate images, I'm sure most people would not notice or even care if you flipped a tile here or shifted some sprites by two pixels or whatever.  If it was a background thing that wouldn't affect gameplay if it looked a certain way, I'm sure it's not a big deal.  If it is a foreground thing that would affect gameplay if it looked the way you want, or if you were redrawing entire tiles, then that may be another story, but certainly not the end of the world.

And Revned, funny you mentioned that about Symphony Of The Night.  I was thinking not that long ago if it would be interesting to have the Saturn areas added to the PSX map, unsquished, and with a PSX palette (if applicable), to see what a "complete" castle should look like.  But even if so, would some see it as some freaky butchering-restitch job...like Frankenstein's Monster...is it really that abnormal/disgusting?
Logged
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 02:38:55 PM »

Of course, you're right it wouldn't matter to anyone except for the most anal of fans. I mean, I already did it when I slightly altered some background tiles for Sonic Advance in order to extend and/or make the backgrounds tileable. I know I keep repeating myself, but I get way too OCD-like when I'm mapping (no disrespect to anyone actually suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorders).

As for adding the Saturn exclusive areas to the Playstation maps, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't fit. I can't remember where I saw someone attempting it but basically, it ended up with the realization that the new areas basically had a different pixel-to-screen ratio than the one in the main game. Once unsquished, a single screen (a square on the mini-map) of the new map was larger than a single screen of the old ones so the new maps would be a bit too large to fit correctly with the existing full castle map. Of course, Revned will be happy to correct me if I'm wrong.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 02:40:21 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
Revned
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1091



« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 06:56:17 PM »

I think the only alignment difference comes from the Saturn version not cropping the top and bottom tiles, and I don't think that would have affected anything had I just added those areas to the PSX version. Creating a combined version was, in fact, my goal, and I was planning on posting it on the forums only. The tests I made looked fine, but it would have been too much work to fix everything since the backgrounds and foregrounds were not stretched the same.
Logged

Peardian
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 627


Busy busy


« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 09:40:47 PM »

For the most part, I leave everything how it is. However, I made exceptions in my Yoshi's Island maps. See, because of how the game is made, you can never see the top or bottom blocks. The developers knew this, and took the opportunity to hide some graphical quirks with the engine. For example, the tall mushrooms in 6-3, when placed over the bottomless pits, still end at the bottom with tiles that look as if it is growing out of stone. I opted to fix things like this, as well as filling in areas that were left empty or didn't fill the whole 256x256 area, for the same of making the map look the way it "should" to the player. Another example is the background walls, which a number of levels have unsightly chunks of the walls left just out of view. Since these would also ruin the feel of the map, I removed them. Aside from that, though, I never try to "correct" anything.
Logged

MM (10%) - SMA3 (33%) - DNS (0%)

Come check out the Nintendo 64 Mapping Workshop!
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2013, 09:55:50 PM »

I pretty much ended up choosing to make the small changes I mentioned earlier:

-Flipping two tiles upside-down so they fit with the rest of the background. Anyone looking at it would notice that the tiles weren't right;
-Aligning all the minor enemies to the grid to make everything more consistent. This one is more to satisfy one of my many quirks, but it also prevents half of these enemies from being obscured by the background thanks to offset placement;
-Putting a single enemy where it should have been. Now this one is *technically* messing with accuracy, but it makes the map look much more elegant. All the other enemies of the same type start in the middle of particular hole structures in the background, and leaving it untouched makes it stand out by being the only one in the middle of no where as well as leaving the only empty hole in the entire level.

I know some people would refuse to see any artistry at all in assembling a screenshot map, but depending on your goals in doing so, you *can* be creative in certain aspects. It's not like the games themselves are always perfect. Many NES games for example are infamous for having all the sprites offset downward by 1 pixel relative to the background, and from reading on the NESDev forum, it's actually an artifact of how the NES displays thing. You need to code around this or else all the sprites resting on the ground will overlap by 1 pixel, and believe me, that 1 pixel stands out way too much to me. I can't remember if I've ever submitted a map where that was the case, but in many unfinished projects I actively corrected this since the programmers didn't.
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
JonLeung
Administrator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3129


« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2013, 08:25:23 AM »

In The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past, I chose to keep the odd-looking portion of the Death Mountain area between the upper and lower parts.  You can actually just barely see the corner of that rectangular landmass in-game, and even if I wanted to change it, it would certainly be an undertaking.  But the changes you're talking about seem minor compared to that, and perhaps more technically and/or quantitatively measureable as being "not quite right" (i.e. the one-pixel thing).

If you remember from when we put together the Super Mario Bros. 3 maps as a group, we had decided to put the whole 1-Up/Super Mushroom sprite fully on top of the block.  In actuality the Mushroom sprites would be one pixel lower when fully risen out of the block (so the bottom outline overlaps with the top of the block's outline), just like what you mentioned, Terra.  But we weren't trying to show it exactly as it would appear in the game after hitting the ? blocks; if we were, the blocks would look like they were in their "already hit"/"non-?" state.  But that wouldn't be helpful as there are some instances of plain "non-?" blocks elsewhere.  Making images is obviously a visual craft, and sometimes you just have to go with what you think looks right.  While these are maps, no one's (usually) going to care if some off-screen tile you would never see in normal play is changed, or if you remove a cloud layer on an overworld map, etc.  Or as in the latter case, it's because they are maps, that you wouldn't see such things, even though you would in the game.

Speaking of "third" Mario games, this has always bugged me: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 has an area called "Parsely Woods".  Obviously they intended it to be Parsley.  I guess anyone involved in making video games can be fallible, whether it's involving tiling or spelling.
Logged
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2013, 08:23:52 PM »

I would never change a map in a way that would essentially "betray" its content. However, I have no problem editing a map to remove garbage data that shouldn't be normally accessible, or in the case where several stages are actually part of the same map in memory but you just never notice while playing. The latter happened with Battletoads where Stage 13 is actually contained in an unreachable part of Stage 11, right under the starting point, using the same tileset but with a different palette. I actually like to show stuff like that when I find it, which is pretty rare to be honest.

As for bad translation, names are something I would refuse to correct *unless* the name wasn't entirely official and as such, open to a bit of interpretation. I can't quite recall a situation where that was the case though.
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
DarkWolf
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 621



« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 09:07:01 AM »

I made some changes to the Xargon over-world maps.  They are areas the camera can't normally reach, but I wanted the maps to look more like a natural landmass instead of something that just ended abruptly.
Logged
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 09:57:47 AM »

Something like that I would handle on a case-by-case basis. On my first maps, I used to fill empty areas to end up with a fully rectangular image, but over the years, I've had to deal with many maps where it was easier to simply end the map where the camera stops. However, if it's possible to "extrapolate" a bit to fill a small missing area and have it look good, then more power to you.
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: February 19, 2013, 10:18:11 AM »

Yea, this is a topic I have dealt a lot with as well.  Most often when I make "corrections" or additions to a map it is part of the map that is off the edge of the screen and normally not visible during game play unless you look in a name table viewer or something.  I will also complete make up graphics using tiles from other parts of the game and some times even adjusting those to make the edges of a map look nice.  I did this a lot in the following map and in my opinion it looks great and was worth doing:

http://www.nesmaps.com/maps/SuperC/SuperCMapArea08.html

My guess is just looking at the map you can't tell all the stuff I added but there was a lot all through the level.

Also I do it a lot for SNES games that have a BG that scrolls at a different speed to make it line up with the map, or to make it so it repeats.  I did this in Donkey Kong Country and Actraiser quite a bit.  I will normally leave mistakes in the map from the game if it is in the FG of the main playable area that is highly visible in the game.

Example of a SNES map I modified the BG layer a lot to make it fit with the foreground of the map:
http://www.snesmaps.com/maps/Actraiser/ActraiserMapFillmoreAct1.html
and
http://www.snesmaps.com/maps/DonkeyKongCountry/DonkeyKongCountryLevel13Map.html

However in my Photoshop files I always make a folder called "Fixes" and put them all in there, so I can easily turn them off and see the original map from the game.

So to sum that all up, as long as it does not effect the game play and it makes the map look better or how it "should" have looked then I normally go for it.
Logged
Trop
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 849


« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 10:54:21 PM »

I suppose you can count me as one of the anal fans that only wants to see what was originally there.  One of the things I've always loved about maps like these is that they show you parts of the game you can't see in the game.  If I'm looking at somebodies idea of how the game should look over how it is it ruins it for me.  I realize I'll get a lot of garbage data this way but I want to see the whole, real, thing as art represented by game data and it's bugs over pen and brush.  I don't pretend I know the mind of the game creators well enough to know what they intended for their creation to look like as opposed to how it came out and changes, even small ones, seem like I'm crossing that line.

Some of my Broken but accurate maps:
http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/SuperNES/SuperCastlevaniaIV-Stage5.png
http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/SuperNES/BreathOfFire-KarmaForest.png

I could have easily smoothed this out but that's not how it was.  Of course it's not like I don't modify maps but when I do I want it to be obvious that they're my new artistic creation.  There was no glowing in game here:
http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/SuperNES/EnergyBreaker%28J%29-WindForestEltois.png

... Is it just me or do I rain on a lot of parades around here.

Edit: If anyone wants to modify my maps or replace them with better versions go nuts.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 10:55:14 PM by Trop » Logged
TerraEsperZ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2225



« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 11:20:33 PM »

Hey, everyone's entitled to their own opinion. I personally don't see those first two examples as problematic.

For one, because let's face it, Castlevania IV doesn't really look good. It works when you play and combined with the music makes a killer mood but the graphic tiles themselves in general are about as nondescript as those from Castlevania III-Dracula's Curse. You can't even tell at a glance what's kind of garbage and what isn't.

As for Breath of Fire, I assume you're referring to those unattainable chests but they still look like they fit on the map even if they suggest secrets that might not actually be there.

I still personally try to be as accurate as possible but very minor mistakes bother me more than large areas of quasi-garbage because they stand out so much. Leaving a few empty 8 x 8 pixels tiles uncorrected in Sonic Advance would have made the background visible there and it would have looked out of place so I patched those. Similarly, flipping two tiles vertically in Gradius worked because they stood out from the rest which were all correct. And of course altering the background to fit a level is, in my eyes, the least objectionable change of all because depending on how they scroll, parallax backgrounds will often mess you map up unless you fiddle with them. And even then it doesn't always end up looking good but it's still better than leaving them intact and untileable.

I guess intent is also a factor in whether it would be permissible in my mind to alter a stage. If the map's purpose is to showcase the game's graphics and the layout of the stage itself, then altering minor defects to make it look perfect makes sense. However, if I want to show a map in its entirety out of curiosity (showing out what the coders intended to include but never finished, or how a bunch of stages are actually connected together without ever appearing so while playing, etc) then I'd refrain from changing anything.

Another example would be having to complete a game's font (which I always use for the map header) that's missing some letters. Modern game with lots of text are almost always complete but some older games only have whatever letters are needed and nothing more, so I try to use bits and pieces of the existing letters to assemble the missing ones (particularly the "Z" for my alias which is often a missing letter). Or, in the case of the NES when it uses splitscreen effects, doing a better job at displaying the split point than the NES did most of the time (with flickering garbage pixels and one part being offset vertically by one or two pixels).

To make a long story short: I used to be way more inflexible where accuracy was concerned while mapping. All it ever did was cause me a lot of stress which in turn made me stop mapping because I'd literally freeze and be unable to allow myself the freedom of not being perfectly accurate. I can do without all those neuroses so I prefer to trust my instinct and judge on a case-by-case basis.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 11:43:41 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!