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Messages - Jackster

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I haven't gotten a chance to say it, but thanks so much for this month's Maps of the Month.

This game was also reason I got back into mapping after over a year's hiatus. It actually all started when I saw an episode of GameCenter CX where the show's host Shinya Arino played this game. After seeing the game hasn't been mapped yet on this site, I took the opportunity to come back and do work on this game. I went through a ton of research during the process, and I feel like I've done all I could with making the best maps for this game anywhere on the internet.

So again, thanks for giving me this for the third time now. It's such a pleasure. ;)

Map Requests / Re: JonLeung's Requests
« on: June 09, 2022, 04:51:54 pm »
I remember first hearing about Plok when it was advertised through Burger King Kids Club. I definitely remember this comic page that was in the Kids Club Adventures magazine. Unfortunately, I never played it (that is until now).

One fun fact I found out when researching this game, is that the original creators of the game, John and Ste Pickford, now own the IP to the game as well as the Plok characters and has since created an ongoing webcomic based off of it, drawn by Ste Pickford himself.

Maps In Progress / Re: Jackster's Map Projects
« on: June 08, 2022, 04:43:16 pm »
After almost a whole month working on this, the maps are now done and finally up.

Plok! (SNES)

Man, I don't know where to even start with this one:
  • This game sure had a lot to offer. Since I never really played this game up until recently, it got confusing at first. Multiple times, I had to go back to add stuff in after I was familiar enough with the game.
  • To my surprise, the shells were on the same layer as the foreground, so all I had to do was find the code to freeze the animation (which also freezes all background animation; just that one code), and run it through Screenshot Autostitcher. Saved a lot of time compared to other games where collectables are in the sprite layer and had to rip them separately.
  • The backgrounds took the longest time to do. At first, I thought they were static background images, but it turned out to be made up of reused tiles. The Cotton Island/Legacy Island backgrounds for instance, while they don't scroll, were basically the same tiles with a different color palette for each level. So I hatched up a plan to expand the backgrounds and use the recycled tiles to recreate the expanded areas. While it wasn't all that difficult to do, it was tedious work that took me longer than expected.
  • I went and tried out Aseprite 1.3 during the making of these maps, as this version introduced a new tilemap system that made recreating those backgrounds quicker and easier than normal.
  • There were parts of the levels in the game that were left incomplete since they were unreachable anyway without cheating or hacking (such as some of the Fleapit levels). So I had to recreate those areas as well.
  • After submitting the maps, I got told by Jon via email that the overworld maps were missing, which I completely forgotten about as I meant to do those after I got done with the levels. So I spent 4 hours this morning mapping those and submitted before I had to go to work. These contain both marked and unmarked versions.

So yeah, it was a wild ride, and I'm relieved that I finally got this game done.

Maps In Progress / Re: Jackster's Map Projects
« on: May 18, 2022, 02:13:22 am »
The first of 3 Klonoa puzzle platformers is now mapped. The other two, Empire of Dreams and Dream Champ Tournament for the GBA, are already on my to-do list. This one was an attempt to add more stuff to the Wonderswan page as well.

Klonoa: Moonlight Museum (Wonderswan)

Maps In Progress / Re: Jackster's Map Projects
« on: May 04, 2022, 08:09:04 pm »
The maps are up now! Each map contains both marked and unmarked versions inside, and many of them even have solutions.

Atlantis no Nazo (NES/Famicom)

This game took me over 3 weeks to map, because of how much stuff I had to put into them. Ripping the maps themselves was easy, but adding in the secrets, strategies, solutions, etc. was very time-consuming. I originally wanted to add in a flowchart connecting all of the zones after I got done with the maps, but because I spent so much time adding in new stuff to the maps after researching, I was exhausted and didn't really feel like doing it. I just wanted to get this done and over with.

Had to rely on a Japanese guidebook I found on, a Japanese walkthrough with pictures, a combination of Capture2Text and DeepL, a GameFAQs text walkthrough, a flowchart I found on StrategyWiki, a code site containing addresses that aided me through this game, and a few 100% speedruns of the game on Youtube and Twitch. It was a lot of work.

With this finally out of the way, onto the Swan of Wonders!

Maps In Progress / Re: Jackster's Map Projects
« on: May 04, 2022, 12:59:29 pm »
While I'm waiting for my Atlantis no Nazo maps to get in, I went and filled in something from Jon's request list: the Great Cave Offensive section of Kirby Super Star is now fully labelled.

Kirby Super Star (Super Nintendo)

Wanted to try my hand at ripping these maps with the Graphic Debugger feature in Bizhawk rather than relying on the Autostitcher. As a result, the black gradient that usually appears at the bottom of the screen is now gone. The maps were then combined and labelled the same way I did with the maps for The Amazing Mirror: using Clip Studio Paint.

Maps In Progress / Re: Jackster's Map Projects
« on: April 15, 2022, 01:25:25 pm »
It's been a while since I did any maps for this site, so I'm going to attempt to get back on track starting with a game I watched in an episode of GameCenter CX: the Sunsoft game Atlantis no Nazo.

A preview of what I have so far. With 100 zones I have to do, this is going to be a loooong journey.

Maps Of The Month / Re: 2021/11: Shining Wisdom (Saturn) - Jackster
« on: November 02, 2021, 05:21:13 am »
Hi, thanks so much for the Maps of the Month again, and it's funny too as this not only marks the first year that I've joined the forums, but also the first year I started work on my first maps, which was for this game.

It actually all started when I had interest in playing through all of the Shining games that Sonic Software Planning/Camelot had worked on before moving on to Nintendo games. After playing through the Genesis and Game Gear games I finally moved on to the Saturn games, with Wisdom being the first entry. Almost immediately, I was lost; this game had no navigation, no in-game map, and to make it worse hardly any walkthroughs or maps online. The only thing that came close to a map walkthrough of this game was this Japanese guidebook:

Considering that I didn't want to fork out money for a game guide that I would not use anymore after finishing the game, I decided to make my own maps instead. Which is why I am now here. It sure was a hefty journey, relying on the only Youtube longplay walkthrough I could find and GameFAQs only text walkthrough of the game, as well as postponing work on this game for a while so I can work on other maps for other games, but either way it got done and submitted and I learned quite a lot since then. But even after beating this game, I never did get around to playing the later Shining games after that. Someday I will though.

I don't know when I'll be back to making maps again. I had to stop back in March after I strained myself from working too hard, and I'm now in the middle of working on a personal project of mine not related to this site, but I do plan on picking up where I left off eventually.

Maps In Progress / Re: Jackster's Map Projects
« on: March 12, 2021, 02:14:43 pm »
Since this game has been sitting on my Current Projects list for weeks, I finally got around to finishing it today.

The Apprentice (Philips CD-i)

Map Requests / Re: JonLeung's Requests
« on: March 12, 2021, 02:22:34 am »
Refresh with Ctrl+F5 or Shift+F5.

Ah, that worked! I can see them now.

Map Requests / Re: JonLeung's Requests
« on: March 11, 2021, 04:59:55 pm »
Is it me or are the Mother 3 maps missing on the site?

Maps In Progress / Re: Jackster's Map Projects
« on: March 06, 2021, 05:01:36 pm »
After some time on and off, my next Game Freak game is now complete.

Pulseman (Sega Genesis)

I underestimated this game. Apparently, this game makes extensive use of pseudo-transparency on a whole bunch of levels. There was like 2-3 rooms that was nothing but that. Because of that, I strained my hand in the process and there were times where I had to take breaks from mapping in order to recover. So glad to be done with this game.

Besides fixing the transparency, I also went and fixed up a bunch of the backgrounds so the foreground is a lot more visible.

Maps In Progress / Re: Jackster's Map Projects
« on: February 19, 2021, 03:06:55 am »
A new map of mine is now up.

Toy Story (Sega Genesis)

This one was an attempt on some ideas I had to map these levels and to challenge myself to see if I can pull it off. The results were pretty good if I say so myself. You can watch how Traveller's Tales pulled off some of these effects here and here. These videos helped me further understand how to map these.

The ideas include:
  • Getting the perspective right in the side-scrolling levels. Notice the floor with the furniture sides matching it. What I did was rip the background from Bizhawk's VDP Viewer, cropped and edited the floor so it looks straight, tiled it in Clip Studio Paint to expand it throughout the level and stretched it to give it a perspective. The sides were just animated background tiles made up of 22 frames that i had to rip each one by hand. Then I used CSP's perspective guide to place each of those frames to match that of the floor.
  • Simulating pseudo-transparency the way it's displayed on a CRT rather than an emulator (i.e. the coin tubes in Level 10 and the glass in Level 12), something continued from mapping Kirby's Dream Land 3 that I plan to do for future Genesis games. Had to use filters for Bizhawk and Kega Fusion, as well as watching a speedrun played on a real console and CRT, as reference in order to pull this look off.
  • The 3D 'Doom' level. I already knew some basics in 3D modeling for Maya, so making the map for this level wasn't entirely hard. Ripping the textures from the game took some thinking though since what you see in the level is rendered in the VDP Viewer too. So what I came up with was to position myself so I'm facing the wall straight and screen capturing each of the textures from there. It's not perfect, but since the textures are going to be distorted anyway when rendered in an orthographic view, it doesn't really matter.
  • The 3D driving level. This one I had to eyeball on the road for; to see how far the turns go, how far the straight parts of the road go, etc. As for mapping it, if you're familiar with Clip Studio Paint, you would know that there is a ribbon feature in its brush engine where you can easily draw things like chains and rope with. So I created my own road texture in Aseprite, turned it into a ribbon brush in CSP, and drew it on a vector layer for easier editing. I was originally going to add in the background stuff like the buildings and the trucks, but that would have been difficult to get the textures for. So I left them out.

Maps In Progress / Re: Jackster's Map Projects
« on: February 06, 2021, 04:55:13 pm »
After many weeks working on this game that took longer than expected, it's finally done.

Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SNES)

There was a lot of things I've learned along the way as I was mapping this game, as well as simulating other features such as pseudo-transparency (which I would later use for mapping the underwater levels in Smart Ball). It was quite a trip, but I'm glad that yet another big project is now out of the way.

Maps In Progress / Re: Jackster's Map Projects
« on: January 26, 2021, 05:35:46 pm »
With that one, long Kirby project out of the way, time for an easier one.

SmartBall (SNES)

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