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Author Topic: What a horrible night to have a curse.  (Read 2162 times)
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Revned
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« on: May 14, 2016, 10:31:55 PM »

I was always a little disappointed that both of the existing Castlevania II maps are arbitrarily broken into three pieces. I was in the mood for mapping a few weeks ago, so I spent a weekend making my own maps which add new value to the atlas:





It's up to Jon whether to post the daytime map in addition to the two already on the site. These are the widest maps I've ever made, and this is the first time in ages that I've had my tools choke (pngout crashes, for example).

I'm also working on some minor revisions to Castlevania 1 and 3 so that my whole collection is consistent. Mostly just small things like tweaking the headers/outlines, adding some moving platforms which I had previously chosen to omit, and fixing a few errors I've noticed.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2016, 10:41:01 PM by Revned » Logged

JonLeung
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2016, 09:13:59 PM »

So now you've taken on all of the NES Mega Man and Castlevania games?  This is why you're awesome.

Both series' current status, however...not so awesome...  Guess we have Mighty No. 9 and Bloodstained to look forward to (Kickstarter spiritual successors to those series) but they still might not be quite the same.

I think it would be cool if the Nintendo NX does end up being called the NEX, and with cartridges (as per one of the more recent rumours).  Then, assuming the third-party support is up there, or at least with Capcom and Konami on board, it might be cool to continue that retro trend by having rebooted Mega Man and Castlevania games....that are actually good.  Wouldn't that be something?  Well, even if they don't want to take the retro thing too far with the NX or whatever it ends up being called, a rebooted Mega Man and Castlevania would still be cool, obviously if done right.  Maybe Mega Man doesn't need a reboot...just needs new games.

Anyway, good work on these maps.  Didn't realize Castlevania II is so small.  But then again there's all that backtracking...and mansions too, I guess.
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Revned
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2016, 06:37:32 PM »

Thanks! It was an easy map set, so it was nice to complete my trilogy (other than the mansions). If you're wondering whether I'll go back and tweak my Mega Man maps to match the header/border style, the answer is "no". I'm happy with those maps; I just wanted consistency within this series.

One of the things I wanted to do was create a full map for Castlevania 3, but it didn't pan out. The areas just don't connect very well:




The ship could be forgivable since it's supposed to be in motion, but the lower right section doesn't work either. The whole exterior unfortunately just doesn't line up well enough with the in-game map for it to work out (without rotating individual levels).

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JonLeung
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2016, 06:59:33 PM »

Now that I see this, I think it's really neat that they went to the trouble to make the Clock Tower Of Untimely Death match with its in-game map, kinda.  I don't think anyone would have cared if they had just made it a straight vertical line (which is what you would expect a clock tower to be).  Unless it was in Nintendo Power (I know it is in the NES Game Atlas) who actually noticed this back in the day?

I mean, I know the paths match in the Dr. Wily castles in the Mega Man games, but there were obviously liberties taken with this map here that it seems more interesting that they even bothered for this one stage.
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #4 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.
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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
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2016, 08:14:50 PM »

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.
I might give it another shot when I finish the rest of the tweaks I'm planning, but no promises. It's just not very satisfying to me that only 5 of the 19 stage connections would actually fit together without connecting lines.


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.
I don't know, I've never really been one for labels. I guess I just prefer to present maps as art which can stand by itself, rather than as a guide. I even considered removing the items (hearts, meat, etc.) from my Castlevania 1 and 3 maps for that reason, but decided they weren't too obtrusive. In this case I think I'll just point to Rick Bruns' map if you're interested in "completeness" or as reference material.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2016, 08:34:02 PM by Revned » Logged

TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #6 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.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2016, 09:10:19 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
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2016, 09:30:57 PM »

Yep, I agree with the sentiment and feel the same way. It really is an art more than a science, and every artist has a different style. None of these decisions is "right" or "wrong".

I think I really figured out my style and became happy with my skills about 5-6 years ago, and mostly just want to revisit my really old maps which I don't feel are up to snuff. I'm not planning to constantly revise things forever. Looking at my list of maps, I only expect to revisit ~3 more games, and then I'll be satisfied. 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.
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JonLeung
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2016, 08:24:59 AM »

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...

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!
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FlyingArmor
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2016, 03:49:35 PM »

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.

Having said all that, when the game happens to not be an RPG, they usually tend to all be taken though. Smiley That can explain why I mainly work in that genre exclusively (with a couple of exceptions here and there).

Also, nowadays I'm focusing more on obscure Japanese RPGs that almost no one has heard of, so I don't really have to worry all that much about people "taking" those ones away from me, haha.
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #10 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.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 04:24:34 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
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2016, 05:02:16 PM »

One of the problems with Castlevania III which I had forgotten is that there isn't a complete, canonical list of level names. The main sources which I'm aware of are the manual and the Nintendo Power guide, and they're inconsistent and both incomplete. I have no idea if the Japanese guides contain any names.

My previous maps had used a mix, and I'm not sure how I originally came up with names for the unnamed levels. I'm trying to improve them as best I can this time around. Here's the WIP list with sources, with my decisions so far in bold:

Level 1
manual: "the village of Warakiya"
NP: Warakiya
real life: Wallachia

Level 2
both: the Clock Tower of Untimely Death

Level 3
NP: Forest of Darkness
music track: Mad Forest

Level 4a
both: The Haunted Ship of Fools

Level 4b
manual: Murky Marsh of Morbid Morons
NP: Dire Mire Marsh

Level 5a
NP: Curse Castle: Tower of Terror

Level 5b
NP: The Lost Son of Dracula (part 1), Hall of the Skull Knight King (part 2)

Level 6a
NP: Curse Castle: Causeway of Chaos

Level 6b
manual: Sunken City of Poltergeists
NP: The Sunken Temple of Sarnath

Levels 7-10 are all unnamed, although both sources call it Curse Castle as a whole. Maybe I should just make one big map like I had discussed and avoid this problem altogether Tongue
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #12 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.
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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
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2016, 06:44:42 PM »

Thanks for the support!

I'm definitely going to use "Causeway of Chaos" instead of just "Causeway" like I have now. It sounds more similar to the other names, and fits the style.

I had used "Mad Forest" before, which apparently comes from the soundtrack, but I've discovered that most other sites do refer to it as "Forest of Darkness". I think it's worth changing if only for consistency with the community, even though it's the only one of the bunch which actually shows up in-game (in the sound test).

I kind of want to go ahead and call it "Wallachia" since it's clearly just a case of phonetic mistranslation, but all the print material does consistently call it "Warakiya". Although, I guess they also consistently call Sypha a "he", another mistranslation which has since been retconned

I'll probably stick with my previous names for the rest, but I'll keep crossing my fingers that I can find official names, like maybe they have actual Japanese names which I could use
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #14 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".
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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
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