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Author Topic: VGMaps.com Atlas Project: Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night (PSX)  (Read 117075 times)
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Revned
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« Reply #225 on: February 20, 2012, 11:10:38 PM »

Here are the mostly complete Saturn areas. I still need to add headers and will probably change the borders. The Underground Garden area really doesn't fit the style of the rest of the game. The colors are bad, the tree is too cartoony, etc. There are a number of technical oddities in the port as well. The backgrounds are stretched horizontally, the doors are rendered incorrectly, and some rooms have an extra 4 pixels at the bottom of the screen, but most don't.

I'm going to go back and tweak a few things in the PSX maps. I'm also considering starting on the inverted castle...
« Last Edit: February 20, 2012, 11:18:31 PM by Revned » Logged

TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #226 on: February 20, 2012, 11:31:27 PM »

It still lives! No seriously, it's great to see the project getting even more complete than it already was.

It's not really obvious on these maps but while playing, did you observe a difference in terms of graphic resolution? I've seen screenshots of the game and it's painfully obvious that the standard resolution of the PSX was simply stretched to fit the Saturn's, with every other line and column being doubled and it's especially visible with diagonal graphics like stairs.

I've heard that the new area though don't have stretched graphics and use the Saturn's native resolution, so I was wondering if that led to some conflict with these new areas in that, these new rooms might not fit the existing room template precisely. Is that the case? It might explain why some of these new rooms are slightly taller that all the others. As for the doors, I haven't seen anything wrong with them just from these maps  but being 3D objects, they might be rendered at the same resolution they were before while all the other graphics were slightly stretched. In fact, I'm not even sure if all the PSX areas are simply stretched during rendering or if the tile graphics themselves are stretched so the result would be slightly larger graphics. Or something like that, I'm not sure anymore at this hour (1:30am)...
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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 #227 on: February 21, 2012, 12:11:42 AM »

Every fourth pixel column is duplicated in the backgrounds, but not the sprites. This makes each screen that would be 256 pixels wide in the PSX version 320 pixels wide in this version. There is no stretching in the vertical direction, yet each screen is 21 pixels taller. I haven't investigated how these 21 pixels are used elsewhere, but each room does still occupy a 256 pixel tall area.

The new areas do have stretched graphics. I didn't even bother trying to reconcile the template, I just pieced everything together in-place. I have considered "fixing" the horizontal stretching to get a clean version to look at, but I'm not sure how well it would turn out given that the sprites would not change size. If I did, I could drop these into the full castle map just for fun.

The red border around the doors is slightly out of place. I'm not completely sure that it's not an emulator glitch, so I'll have to do some investigation.

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JonLeung
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« Reply #228 on: February 21, 2012, 04:12:49 PM »

How did I not see the post made on this thread here yesterday?

Continuing my trend of mostly-insignificant-but-multiple coincidences lately, I had not seen the post from Revned added here yesterday, and yet earlier today I was randomly thinking "I wonder if Revned will continue mapping Symphony Of The Night?"  No word of a lie.

I am very excited to hear that a completed Symphony Of The Night is a possibility!  Cheesy
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Revned
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« Reply #229 on: February 21, 2012, 10:31:44 PM »

I put together a comparison image of the two versions, using the original template. As you can see, both versions use the same vertical scale, but the PSX version clips off the top and bottom rows of tiles. I had considered trying to complete these tiles for the original map, but decided it would be too much work.

In the Saturn version some rooms have another row of tiles at the bottom and we see 4 pixel rows from them. The majority, however, have nothing there and we see the background through it.
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Revned
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« Reply #230 on: March 01, 2012, 12:39:13 AM »

Done! I'm eventually going to use this pixel border style on the PSX maps and update the headers to match these.
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Revned
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« Reply #231 on: March 22, 2014, 06:19:57 PM »

So, I’ve still been working on this project, but very infrequently. There are a number of things I want to resolve before I even think about doing the reverse castle. I’ve made a bunch of progress, but rather than continue to sit on the ones I’ve finished, I just sent them to Jon so you all can see the improvements so far.

There are tons of little things I changed that no one will probably notice, so I’ll attempt to make a changelog here for those who might be interested.

Overall
  • New headers like I used for the Saturn maps. I’m quite pleased with how the minimap looks:
  • Changed my outlines to be less visually harsh
  • Thanks to a level viewer called SNEER which showed up a few years ago, I was able to fairly easily fill in the partial tiles that are cropped in-game. Some rooms actually have the full 256x256 pixels defined, but most are only 256x224. For consistency, I decided to only include the tiles that are at least partially visible in-game.
  • It seems that every emulator, even in software rendering mode, has problems with sprite distortion in a few instances. The backgrounds are fine, but some of the backgrounds are built with sprites. Each emulator distorts things slightly differently, too. I assume this has to do with the fact that the graphics are rendered on 3D surfaces, and the projection to 2D is not always perfect. I spent a lot of time correcting the instances I found.

Abandoned Mine
  • Realigned the background

Alchemy Laboratory
  • Realigned the backgrounds. I had originally aligned the entire first area’s background such that I wouldn’t have to figure out how to replicate the transparency on the colored tanks with items. It actually wasn’t hard to do right.
  • Fixed distortion in the sparkly white globes
  • Fixed a save room that I had backwards
  • Fixed a one-screen room that was the completely wrong room (thanks, SNEER!)

Colosseum
  • Fixed distortion in several parts of the background

Entrance
  • Fixed inconsistent water
  • Fixed inconsistent glow on the rocks in the Merman room
  • Fixed distortion in the hanging wall blocking the entrance to the Marble Gallery
  • Realigned the trees in the backgrounds, fixed bushes which were incomplete
  • Controversy time! I really wasn’t happy with how I handled the clouds in the first version. I did it just by mirroring the background, but that caused this displeasing Rorschachian effect that looked nothing like what you’d see in-game:

    It also required me to put the clouds at a very specific height so that the incomplete top section was obscured by the foreground. The areas look so much better with the clouds down lower, though:

    I agonized over this for quite awhile, and I eventually caved and customized the graphics to make them repeat cleanly. I made sure to restrict myself to two tile widths, and using the original graphics with all sorts of blending layers in Photoshop I got something convincing:

    I think I did a fine job, even though the purist in me is very uncomfortable with it. At some point I’ll revisit the Underground Garden Saturn maps and do the same thing, since it uses the same background with a different palette.

Long Library
  • Fixed some of the wall graphics which I didn’t get right since they’re off-screen. SNEER to the rescue!
  • Realigned the backgrounds. The lighting effect still isn’t perfect, but I improved it slightly.

Marble Gallery
  • Fixed distortion in several of the statues, the clock face and the pink blocks
  • Added the Ouija table enemies. I consider them part of the castle, so I thought it made sense to include them unlike the other enemies.
  • Realigned the background in the long room, and fixed the middle which actually has a non-repeating segment

Olrox's Quarters
  • Realigned the backgrounds. Big improvement in the aesthetics of the large room:

Outer Wall
  • Made separate maps for each weather effect
  • Fixed distortion in the raindrops, and used the clouds ripped using GLIntercept rather than my previous best attempt at capturing them.
  • Fixed distortion in the elevator engine
  • Enlarged the room at the very bottom since it extends beyond where I had it previously

Underground Caverns
  • Improved distortion in the gears in the bottom left room. I say “improved”, because the graphics are actually smaller than they appear, and are thus stretched even on the original hardware.
  • Realigned the backgrounds, fixed slight distortion in the purple columns
  • Synchronized the waterfalls that are so subtle I forgot about them the first time around

Still todo
  • Catacombs - I’m done except for the 3D effects in the lava rooms. I tried really hard to replicate the effects properly, but I couldn’t get it right. Still not sure what to do. Notable distortion that I didn’t realize wasn’t intended:
  • Royal Chapel - Need to finish filling in some partial tiles that don’t show up in SNEER, also figure out what to do with the backgrounds
  • Clock Tower - Almost done, just some work to do on the backgrounds
  • Castle Keep - Need to fill in the partial tiles, redo backgrounds
  • New full castle map

Maps coming maybe someday
  • “Final Stage: Bloodlines”
  • The intro running segment outside the castle
  • Nightmare
  • The reverse castle. Note that filling in the partial tiles in the main maps might have made this considerably easier since I can now “just” rotate the maps and then palette shift them. Remains to be seen.
  • A super map that includes both castles, the Saturn areas and the intro running segment. This would require manually fixing the stretching in the Saturn maps, which is hard since the sprites are not stretched. It would be so cool though.

Whew!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2014, 06:26:17 PM by Revned » Logged

Trop
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« Reply #232 on: March 22, 2014, 10:15:46 PM »

I just started playing this game for the first time yesterday. 
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #233 on: March 23, 2014, 07:18:01 PM »

Now that's a *true* mapping master at work! I'm a bit jealous because this is the kind of perfectionism I'd like to apply to some of my past work, but experience has proven just how unhealthy it is for me to obsess over such details for too long.

I'm actually surprised to see how much distortion the game's 3D engine produced because it's not really apparent even when looking closely at the map. The DS Castlevania games also feature that kind of distortion thanks to using a similar 3D engine but it doesn't occur nearly that much with the actual foreground and background layers. Instead, it occurs mostly with sprites and large objects but since I had to rebuild the majority of each room using the game's tiles, whatever distortion that was present was quickly corrected.

Good luck with the reverse castle and if you find an easy way to palette shift whole areas at once, feel free to share your secrets. Simply switching to a different emulator that calculates color values differently gives me nightmares and usually results in me recapturing whole areas that were already done.
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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 #234 on: March 23, 2014, 11:43:53 PM »

Thanks, Terra. I know what you mean about it being unhealthy about obsessing over the details for too long. That's why it's taken me so long to get this far. It's been what, ~7.5 years since I started this project? If I wasn't so focused on ultimately insignificant details I could get so much more momentum.

As for palette shifting, I hacked together a quick command line tool so that I could shift the palettes as rendered in SNEER to the palette of my maps. It's really hard to set up, though, because it requires two identical images in each palette, and a target image that has only colors which appear in the source images. It sometimes takes me half an hour or so just to get things set up right so that I can shift the palettes. Things like alpha transparency are complete non-starters, so I'd still have to supplement with additional captures.
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JonLeung
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« Reply #235 on: March 26, 2014, 08:57:32 AM »

Really glad you're still working on this!  Sorry I didn't have time to comment earlier, though I don't think there's much I would say about this that hasn't already been said earlier, by myself or others.  It may be a while yet, but I am still looking forward to the complete version of both castles together in a single image!  Goes without saying that it will definitely be one of my favourite maps.  Would be hard to top that.  Even if there might be larger maps, I doubt there would be maps as impressive.  Hopefully it can still be something printable, but that's going to be one huge-ass poster (and I usually avoid saying things like "huge-ass" but it seems fitting here).  I imagine that it shouldn't take another 7.5 years, though?  Though the last 7.5 years sure went by quickly, in my opinion...

(In the meantime, I wonder if anyone will map the DS games, so we get our Castlevania fixes until then?)

I rarely have time to play games more than once these days, but I have considered replaying Symphony Of The Night with your maps as a guide.  Though I can at least play the first half.
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vorpal86
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« Reply #236 on: April 02, 2014, 05:15:48 PM »

Doing a fine job on these maps. There are quite a lot of them in this game. I've played the game and am just before defeating Dracula or whatever comes my way. Got about 98% of the Normal castle done. Haven't got to the upside down one yet.

Konami put a lot of work into this game. And just think, the unsung Simon's Quest is this games father. Perhaps? I thought this was done. Guess there is more maps than i thought.

Good day
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Revned
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« Reply #237 on: September 14, 2014, 12:54:30 PM »

Time flies. Can't believe it's been six more months already! I finally finished up all of my planned revisions and mailed them to Jon. Unless I find any outright mistakes or stumble on better techniques for my not-quite-perfect sections, I think I'll be happy with these as finally final products. And now, details:

General: As mentioned before, I've completed all the partially visible tiles, fixed some distortions and redid the headers/borders

Castle Keep
  • Moved the moon and clouds down and extended the clouds to the far left:
  • Fixed a clipped pillar at the bottom
  • Changed the button for the hidden staircase to be un-pressed for consistency with other buttons


Catacombs
  • Fixed distorted candles and lanterns (previewed in my last changelog)
  • Fixed distorted background in the spike room
  • Fixed distorted coffins (with the red skeletons)
  • Redid the lava. I never figured out how to replicate the transparency in the lava under the bridge, so I had to stick with screenshots spliced together. Not really an improvement over my original version, but I had to do it to fix the flickering glow under the lava which was not properly synced
  • Redid the backgrounds in the lava rooms. I had previously not even attempted to replicate the depth effect on the backgrounds, but now I've used non-linear scaling which approximates it pretty well. Much closer to the in-game appearance, even though it's not perfect.


Clock Tower
  • Realigned all the backgrounds
  • Fixed a couple of instances of clipped graphics


Royal Chapel
  • Fixed inaccuracies in the trees behind the staircase room, thanks again to SNEER
  • Fixed distortion in the bell ropes, and improved distortion in the bells themselves (they're intentionally stretched a bit)
  • Replaced my best attempt at replicating the background clouds with captured+spliced versions. I had originally approximated this by skewing the cloud graphics manually. The benefit of that approach was that I could handle the perspective appropriately in the multi-screen rooms, but I was never able to get the fade-out to look like it does in-game. I changed my strategy and instead just took screenshots and spliced them together, which looks better, but isn't perfectly consistent regarding perspective. An acceptable trade-off, I suppose.


Underground Garden and Hell Garden (Saturn-specific areas)
  • Redid the background clouds as I did with the Entrance backgrounds


and now, time for a surprise! Brand-new bonus maps:

Final Stage: "Bloodlines"



Nightmare



Forest



The forest was interesting and challenging because it has more distinct layers than anywhere else in the game. Here's a peek at the composition:



Enjoy!
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #238 on: September 14, 2014, 02:08:33 PM »

Now we only have to wait a week or so for PNGGauntlet to be done optimizing this beast before we get to enjoy the fruit of your work! I'm looking forward to comparing between the two version for all those details you've changed. On the other hand, now I'm feeling guilty for never going back to my Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow maps and correcting several bits of flawed transparencies...
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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 #239 on: September 14, 2014, 02:13:21 PM »

Oh, you shouldn't have to wait that long. Jon can post them directly; I've already optimized them with the help of my 12 core workstation at the office Smiley
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