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Author Topic: Alien 3 (Sega Genesis)  (Read 8722 times)
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Guest
« on: January 30, 2007, 11:18:24 AM »

Hi everyone, I'm new here . I'm currently in the process of making my first set of maps ever.



I've seen how great all the maps hosted here are and fancied having a crack at it.



So far I've done an entire level for Alien 3, but it looks awful. The score/radar/ammo is plastered everywhere, as well as odd black bars as a result of the aspect ratio feature on Kega. But I am making the map from scratch, making sure I copy and paste over all the hideous extras.



Here's a link to the actual full map I made, so you can see for yourself just how nasty it is.



http://www.plmccoy.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/images/alien3_stage1_1.jpg
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Grizzly
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2007, 11:38:18 AM »

One very important thing when mapping: Do not use any filters, best would be not even to use the Scale2x option, but mapping the game at its original resolution. It should be quite a small window then but it will be definitely easier to remove objects not wanted on the map because you have to edit far less pixels.

And for Genesis, there's a special Gens version that supports turning off some layers. I think it is the version which you can find here: http://www.spritesmind.net/_GenDev/index.php?page=tools



Well, seeing the link above I wonder if that Mega Drive Map Maker might be of any help, too.
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JonLeung
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2007, 12:13:08 PM »

I second that point of using the original resolution and no filters.



Also, please work with images in the .PNG format.  .JPG is great for photo-type images, sure, but when dealing with graphics, you will definitely want to use a lossless-type of image, like a .PNG.



To put it simply, when an image is of something that is pure red, for example, you can cut/copy/paste/crop it and resave it a gazillion times as a .PNG and it will still be one solid shade of red.  However, if at any point it becomes a .JPG, there will be "compression artifacts" - in short, even a pure colour will get muddied up, and each resaving recompresses it and distorts it more.



Unfortunately, you won't be able to continue from that .JPG.  You'd have to start over, and never save it as a .JPG.  Stick with .BMPs and .PNGs to keep the image clean and clear.



Funny, I was reading about .PNGs on Wikipedia earlier today and I'm not sure why.  Maybe I can find a portion in it that explains it much better.



EDIT: Here we go.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PNG#Comparison_with_JPEG
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Guest
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2007, 08:53:19 AM »

The beta of my full stage 1 map will be finished and uploaded sometime tonight. Then I'll go over it, making sure items and enemies are in place. It's looking good now Smiley
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Guest
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2007, 07:17:49 PM »

http://www.plmccoy.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/images/stage1_1.jpg



There it is thus far.



All thats left to do now is put in the aliens - its tricky determining exactly where they start since they run from off screen when you get close. Also one or two ammo pick-ups to place, as well as mapping the air-duct section and merging it in the right place. Will do that sometime tomorrow maybe, depending on my university workload.
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Guest
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2007, 07:19:03 PM »

Sorry, the previous address was wrong, its a .png file, not a jpg. Here's the correct addy.



http://www.plmccoy.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/images/stage1_1.png
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RT 55J
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2007, 07:39:46 PM »

Is there any reason that the image is twice as big as it needs to be?

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Guest
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2007, 08:44:50 PM »

No need to be condescending. Like it says at the top of the thread, "I'm currently in the process of making my first set of maps ever." I don't know what the standards are for map-making.
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2007, 09:14:50 PM »

I'm sure RT 55J didn't mean to offend. All of us regular mappers take for granted the fact that maps should, whenever possible, be done on a 1:1 pixel ratio. It's most likely that you were playing the game with a 2x display ratio, so each pixel is doubled in size and your emulator takes screenshots of what is actually displayed, not what the emulator emulates.



The available options to correct it are either to play the game at the original size when taking screenshots (though the game might be harder to play at that size), or to reduce either the screen captures or the finished map to half-size (without resampling or using any smoothing features, so that the original pixels which are doubled here go back to their original size).



It looks good so far, though there's still room for some improvements, providing you feel like putting more time on it for aesthetic reasons:



-Parallax scrolling background: This is those backgrounds that don't move at the same speed as the main map. At several points in the underground part, there are sections where the wall is missing and you can see what looks like pipes and "speakers". As you can see on your map, those sections are a bit messy, but there are no magical solutions to correcting them.



The normal way to deal with them is to disable the layer for the background, hoping that it will be replaced by a neutral color that is easily removed (that might not be the case however; if, say, that color is black and the foreground already is full of black, you won't be able to easily remove it). After that, you also take screenshots with the background layer enabled but the sprites and foreground disable to try and capture the background separately. Once you've done that, you can then simply paste the main map over that assembled background so it will show up in the area where you removed the color. This probably sounds really confusing without any images.



Another similar part would be the moving clouds on the surface. The best looking way would be to capture the surface area without the clouds, then capture a screen with the clouds alone, then paste that section several time to cover the length of the level, and then paste the surface over it. In this case, it wouldn't look much different as the differences aren't really visible, but some of use can be really anal about such tiny details. Well, we usually are about our own maps anyway, so don't be afraid of being abused by us for that.



-Animated sprites: Again, this is only a question of preference, but it really looks better when animated sprites are all captured in the same frame. For one example, the rotating fans at the bottom of those tall shafts should look the same way for consistency, as should the captured people.



Hope I didn't scare you Wink Then again, most of the regulars have been mapping for at least a few years. We've had time to learn and improve.



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me
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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
JonLeung
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2007, 09:34:27 PM »

There now, aren't .PNGs much better?  Mmmmm, so much cleaner than .JPGs.



As TerraEsperZ mentioned, the double-size thing is an easy fix.  Simply do a basic resize to half the dimensions (no smoothing effects or anything like that) and voila!



User posted image



Just set the emulator to not "double up" from now on and you wouldn't even have to do that tiny step at the end.



The most noticeable thing is the parallax background, also just as Terra has already covered.  If you want to continue working on this map, recapturing those parts somehow will go a long way.  I haven't worked much with Genesis emulators myself, but there hopefully is a way to toggle foregrounds and backgrounds on and off which would make doing that a relative piece of cake.



(Great to see this forum fulfilling one of its original purposes...cultivating new mappers with the techniques shared by others.)
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DarkWolf
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2007, 08:51:40 AM »

Alien 3 doesn't work with the modified version of Gens, however I still have a computer capable of running Genecyst, I may be able to help you out if Genecyst can emulate the game.
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2007, 08:59:25 AM »

There are actually games which don't work with KMod installed!? Damn, then I've lucky so far it would seem.



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me
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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
DarkWolf
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2007, 09:30:42 AM »

Genecyst can emulate the game, therefore I can help you get full backgrounds if you need them.



Terra, Alien 3 is the only one I've seen that doesn't work with KMod.
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Guest
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2007, 10:33:12 AM »

Thanks for the input guys.



I did try the kMod version of Gens but it just crashed each time I tried to load Alien 3. I'll have to figure something out.



As for the animated sprites, I've already started thinking about that. I've took a screenshot of an alien and cropped it closely, then coloured in all around the alien using a single colour - yellow in this case. Then I used the layer tool in photoshop to hide the yellow colour ever so slightly with no tolerance, making the background of that layer invisible, so that the alien sits in the level nicely. It works great so I can just use that same image for all my aliens. Or at least the ones that use the same animation - obviously I'll need a separate one for the aliens that cling to ceilings or crawl out of the ground, but the same method applies.



I assume that's how most people to it?
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2007, 11:46:56 AM »

The specifics of the tools used might differ, but I think most people here do the same thing. Personally, I mostly use Paint and paste in sprites by using the "transparency color" as the background color, which Paint automatically removes. Looks like you're really motivated to do this, so I'm eager to see the finished map Smiley



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - 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
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