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Topics - TerraEsperZ

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Maps In Progress / Sonic Advance 2 (GBA)
« on: August 14, 2014, 09:57:30 pm »
I hope nobody's bothered by me seemingly starting several projects in close succession. I just had a rough time this summer dealing with personal stuff but now that most of it has been sorted out (I'm not going to discuss it here, but the slight change in my avatar might clue you in), I've been feeling re-energized and I've had an urge to map I hadn't felt in years. That, and I've been feeling nostalgic for Sonic. Again.

Anyway, I gave the second game in the series a try. Given how huge its maps get, I wanted to know if it was possible to map the levels in a timely fashion using my camera Lua script (it is, it just took a few evenings to capture everything from the first level) and if MS Paint could handle the image size (it can't, nor can GIMP with only 2 GB of RAM without pausing for minutes every time I do something, but creative use of Irfanview has allowed me to paste together smaller sections together until I had the whole stage).

Concerning the first map (in case, hopefully, that I make more), which is Leaf Forest, as with the first Sonic Advance game, I had to be creative with the backgrounds which had parts that aren't really tileable in every direction. I did some pixel editing to turn the clouds on the horizon into a standalone cloud to cover the sky, and also edited both layers of "trees" (I'm *guessing* they're incredibly stylized trees given the name of the stage, Leaf Forest) so that tiling them horizontally would give them a bit of a slope in order to follow the flow of your movement across the stage (otherwise, they would have either covered too much or too little of the whole thing). There was also a lot of empty space under the stage which I've filled by repeating the patterns above the void to make the whole thing look better.

The map is practically final but I haven't assembled a header for it yet (as always, the header is rarely final until the whole game has been mapped anyway) so JonLeung, in case you wanted to post it to the site right now from this thread, just know an updated version will be made in the future. I've also finally got used to Photobucket's interface and what not, so the map is linked directly this time. Nope, Photobucket is still being a piece of shit, just less of one than most other hosting site. *sigh*

Leaf Forest - Act 1:

Leaf Forest - Special Stage 1:

Map Gab / Sonic Battle (GBA)
« on: August 12, 2014, 02:10:46 pm »
This is just a little something I've been distracting myself with for the last few days. The idea of trying to map the "3D" battle arenas using an isometric format was tempting, and thanks to DarkWolf's Texture Skew utility for the vertical surfaces and a method using MS Paint found online for the floors, I've been able to assemble 99.95% pixel-perfect maps for this game. The 0.05% discrepancy is due to the fact that a few maps have objects with diagonal tops which, when seen at a standard 26.565 degrees angle, become jagged which forced me to double a small number of pixels to fill in the gaps (we're talking 64 additional pixels per maps for two maps, so not a big deal at all).

The presentation is rough but the maps look great. I only have two more to assemble plus a few traditional maps for the overworld and this is finished. Terrible game however, requiring hundreds of matches and rematches to get to the end of the game, and a whole lot more to get all the skill cards. The only reason I mapped this was for the technical challenge and to satisfy my curiosity.

Maps In Progress / Shovel Knight (PC)
« on: July 29, 2014, 08:20:55 pm »
I'm afraid I'm likely not going to work further on this project, if only because separating the layers and the sprites has been a *massive* pain. We're talking close to a dozen hours for two (more like one and a half) stages. But I at least managed to get two maps out of it, so everybody wins?

These reveal all the secrets but I'll also be submitting versions with them hidden to the site.

Plains (of passage):


I didn't think it was good etiquette to revive the previous MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck thread that hadn't been updated in almost three years. But just in case anyone here still cares about it despite the comic having been put on hold for the last 8 months, I have something good to share.

If you didn't know, there have been a rather large number of music albums released for the comic, with some songs that were featured in the various animations but others that are the work of artists exploring the characters and the setting musically. One interesting song was "Rex Duodecim Angelus" from the album "Alterniabound", a rather long song that aims to portray the epic battle between the Trolls and their 12 times prototyped Black King. It tells a story with a recurring motif for the Black King and features the themes of the individual Trolls, staging attacks and counterattacks and just being all around awesome.

Well, a group of fans has been trying for years to animate the whole thing but I personally never thought it would ever get finished, if only because there were so many people involved and such projects tend to die an ugly death mired in dispute. Turns out I was dead wrong and they just released the finished animation!

Of course, since several dozen people work on it including a whole bunch of artists with varying drawing styles and levels of skills, it's very uneven as a whole and the editing sometimes makes it difficult to understand what's going on. Some parts are quite ugly but when it looks good, it's just as good as the official animations and it certainly makes the final battle in Sgrub appear incredibly epic.

Have a look if you have 7 minutes to spare: [ S ] Rex Duodecim Angelus

Maps In Progress / Drill Dozer (GBA)
« on: May 15, 2014, 10:48:26 pm »
I know it's been several months since I've submitted anything but I haven't been resting all this time (only some of the time). The truth is, I've started several projects that ended up proving to be too demanding on a technical level for very little reward. But since I'm tired of never showing anything because it's not finished, I actually spent all the time I needed to come up with the finished presentation for this project so even if I never finish it, at least a couple of maps will end up on the site as official submission.

Anyway, here are the maps done so far for Drill Dozer for the Game Boy Advance.

Red Dozers' Training Course

Area 1-1: Skullker Hideout:

Area 1-2: Skullker Factory:

Area 1 Secret Area: Restricted Area

Area 2-1: Art Museum:

Area 2-2: Museum Vault:

Area 2 Bonus: Employee Area:

Area 3-1: Kuru Ruins:

Area 3-2: Sunken Ruins:

Area 3 Secret Area: Forgotten Ruins:

Gaming / Nintendo 3DS stuff
« on: November 16, 2013, 05:47:06 am »
Is it too late to join the club? I'm finally taking the plunge and buying a 3DS (the A Link Between Worlds bundle to be exact) after several weeks of convincing myself that with the excellent state of my finances, I really could stand to treat myself to a little something nice for once.


Laugh if you will, but it's really hard for me to spend money for things that I don't *need*. It took me weeks for example before I bought a tablet, months for an MP3 player, etc. Anyway, I'll post my information on the 22-23, whenever I'll actually receive the thing.

Gaming / Sonic the Hedgehog 3 - The Michael Jackson connection
« on: November 13, 2013, 07:29:13 pm »
If you're a fan of the old Genesis Sonic games, you might have heard rumours over the years about Michael Jackson's supposed involvement in writing some of the music for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. And if you hadn't, then now you do.

Anyway, people have been researching this for years and especially folks from the Sonic Retro website. To sum up the situation, here's what Wikipedia has to say about the whole thing:

Michael Jackson's involvement

According to STI director Roger Hector, Michael Jackson was initially brought in during development to compose music for the game, even though no mention of his involvement was included in any of the game's credits. This was supposedly due to the scandals that arose around Jackson at the time. His involvement was removed from the title, and much reworking, including all the started music, had to be done. These claims are dubious, however, and various interviews have made it clear that any involvement Jackson may have had was done without the knowledge of Sega's executives or marketing staff, and no contracts or formal agreements had ever been made. James Hansen, of Sonic Stuff Research Group, retorts that Cirocco (credited as "Scirocco" in Sonic 3) still has possession of presumably a demo version of fabled soundtrack. "I actually have "ALL" of the tracks...," he writes, "from the original humming of Michael calling in the middle of the night leaving messages, to his ideas at Record One with Matt and Bruce. - BUT, I don't think I can let any of that out to the public without permission." In December 2009, Michael Jackson's composer Bradley Buxer (credited in Sonic 3 as Brad Buxer) told French magazine Black & White that Jackson was actually involved with some of Sonic 3's compositions, supposedly not being credited because he wasn't happy with how they sounded, due to the lack of optimal sound reproduction on the Genesis. Buxer also claimed that the ending music of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 later became the basis for Jackson's single Stranger in Moscow. Recently, it has been revealed that the music for Ice Cap Zone shares the same chord progressions and instruments with "Hard Times", a previously unreleased track by The Jetzons, of which Buxer was its keyboardist and songwriter.

In October 2013, GameTrailers dedicated an episode of its Pop Fiction mini-series to discerning Michael Jackson's involvement. Roger Hector, who previously stated in a 2005 interview that Jackson's involvement in the game was dropped due to scandals surrounding the artists coming to light, reaffirmed his stance, stating any similarities to Jackson's music in the final game was not by design on Sega's part. Whilst GameTrailers were unable to interview Buxer to confirm his stance, and was about to close their investigation they were able to find and speak to an anonymous source who was directly involved with the games development. They echoed Buxer's statements that Jackson left the project due to his displeasure with the sound quality and that tracks that he had worked on before he left the project, which was before the scandals concerning him were made public, remained in the game unaltered with Jackson choosing to remain uncredited. Carnival Night Zone was specifically mentioned as one of the tracks he composed.

If you want to see for yourself the two examples emboldened above, follow the following links.
(Does anyone know how to embed a YouTube video in this forum?)

Compare Sonic 3 - Ending Theme with "Stranger in Moscow" by Michael Jackson (the first part until 1:02).

And even more obvious, compare Sonic 3 - Ice Cap Zone with "Hard Times" by the Jetzons.

Maps In Progress / Shantae (GBC)
« on: November 06, 2013, 08:27:24 pm »
I've decided to claim this game to map, and although it's still early, I've already finished the introduction level, with a few more in various states of completion. The labyrinths will require a lot of polish since they features a ton of fake parallax effects that will need to be corrected.

And to put some weight behind my claim, behold!

Scuttle Town (Under Attack):

Gaming / Mega Man's spiritual successor - Mighty No. 9 by Keiji Inafune
« on: September 03, 2013, 09:36:00 pm »
If you're a fan of the classic 2D Mega Man games, then this post is for you.

In case you've been living under a rock for the past few days, there's a new Kickstarter that just started a few days ago by Mega Man's co-creator, Keiji Inafune. Titled "Mighty No. 9", it's aiming to be a spiritual successor to Mega Man and it definitely shows by the design of the main character. It's pretty much certain that the gameplay will be different enough from Mega Man to avoid being sued by Capcom but the main music composer is already confirmed to be the man responsible for the music of the very first game.

Anything else you can find out on the project's Kickstarter page. I know I'm backing it.

Just like I promised several weeks ago, I've finally finished the maps for the amazing game Machinarium. The delay was mainly due to being on vacation, the size of the image I was working with (which Paint didn't appreciate) and the amount of pixel drawing required for all the arrows and dotted lines.

There are two maps, the "City of Machinarium" proper and the retro minigame "Game in the Brain" (name taken from the expanded soundtrack). The first one is *huge* thanks to me using the 100% size graphics while playing (each screen is 1250 x 790 pixels in size) but Hotmail/Outlook just can't handle attachments this big. I've had to upload them to my new Mediafire account where you'll be able to find them, and will only post smaller, low-quality samples in the forum.

First off, the City of Machinarium (10 985 x 11 046 pixels, 44 MB).

Second, the Game in the Brain (3 065 x 1 759 pixels, 3 MB)

JonLeung, if you do read this thread, consider this a submission. There's really no point in sending you a mail with the same link as included here.

Message Board Help / One of my thread seems to be corrupted...
« on: February 17, 2013, 05:37:18 pm »
I recently posted an update in my Maps in Progress/Clock Tower (SNES) thread and maybe it's because my attachment was too big (though still under the limit at ~700 kB) but my post never showed up and the thread page seems to end before it should right after the previous message. Is it just taking *that* long to upload the file (~20 minutes at this point) or this the board just go corrupt on me?

Map Gab / New Ghostbusters II (NES)
« on: February 10, 2013, 12:19:08 am »
This is another game that was essentially fully mapped (three and a half years ago) but never finished but since this project is complete, I decided to put it in its own thread.

If you remember playing a Ghostbuster II game that sucked, well it most likely wasn't this game. What?! Two different games for the same movie? Well yeah. This game only came out in Japan and Europe and was made by Hal Laboratory (who eventually gifted us with the wonderful Kirby series). It's nothing special, but it's at least a very playable game with good graphics, enjoyable music and it actually follows the plot of the movie pretty closely.

Why did it take me so long to finish these? Well, I couldn't find a satisfying way to assemble the various rooms in each stage together. You see, every room or area in the game is either one or two 256 x 240 pixels screens in size. The outer walls of most of these are slightly smaller than the one/two screens and often show details of the rooms beyond them. The problem is that when you start assembling rooms by matching doors and such, things no longer fit together. In short, what you see beyond the walls of the room you're in, and what's really in those rooms once you get there is usually slightly different; some walls will be off by a tile, a bathtub will be gone, etc. It might even become impossible to connect some rooms as doors will no longer align correctly (see level 1, 4 and 5).

In order to collapse the various rooms as much as possible, I had to do a lot of minor editing. Namely, I pretty much had to remove everything beyond the walls of most individual rooms, using only their interior for assembly and in some cases, slightly altering the walls themselves to reflect how they all end up connecting together. Referring to my thread about altering maps, this is definitely a case where I find minor alterations not only acceptable, but preferable.

Regarding the names for the stages and bosses, they aren't official in the context of the game but are either directly taken from the movie or are reasonably descriptive enough.

One last thing. You can choose any two of five ghostbusters (Peter, Ray, Egon, Winston and Louis) at the star of the game. While I personally prefer Egon and Winston, I went with the first two choices offered (Peter and Ray) for the maps. I doubt anyone would have noticed ;).

Map Gab / Gradius (NES)
« on: February 04, 2013, 08:14:14 pm »
Well, this is the mystery project I was referring to when talking about correcting errors in a game's original maps.

I really wasn't interested in mapping this game at first. The whole thing started when browsing the Internet for my name combined with maps and I found a reference on a Gradius message board mentioning an error on one of my Gradius II map. This was followed by a temporary surge of interest in the Gradius franchise and seeing that the first game hadn't been mapped fully, I decided to do it.

This was relatively easy to do. As I mentioned in the other thread, I did some minor "corrections" so they won't look exactly as they are in-game, but like an ideal version of them. My obsession for mathematical and geometric precision pretty much required me to slightly move all the standard enemy sprites by 1 or 2 pixels to align them to the 8 x 8 pixels grid. I also moved an enemy in Stage 6 that obviously wasn't appearing in the right place, and flipped vertically two tiles in Stage 7 which were upside down.

I also chose to add a few notes like the *official* names for the bosses and sub-bosses (which is why some aren't plural when they should be) as well as notes regarding how to get the 1-ups and access the stage warp.

Mapping Tips/Guides / Correcting the original mistakes in a game's map?
« 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?

Maps In Progress / Makai Toushi SaGa (Wonderswan)
« on: November 26, 2012, 09:48:07 pm »
For those who remember, way back in 2011 when I started mapping The Final Fantasy Legend for the Game Boy, I mentioned my desire to also map its graphically superior Wonderswan port. Well, I've started doing just that!

The game is essentially the same with very little gameplay changes, barely improved music but most importantly, some great-looking early SNES-calibre visuals. They do a lot to breath some much needed life into the Game Boy's barebone graphics (with some exceptions).

Since the game was never released in English, I had to use a translation by Tower Reversed. It's not the best in terms of how item names are handled to fit within the 7 tile limits (and some names I suspect were not translated at all, like So-Cho being called Boss here) but until/unless Aeon Genesis Translation release theirs, I'm stuck with using it. If a superior patch is ever released, I'll simply upgrade my maps with it.

Anyway, here's what's done so far, to be updated as I complete them.

*Updated 2017/02/05 but most recent map dated 2012/12/23*

World of Continent - Overworld:

World of Continent - Base Town:

World of Continent - Hero's Town:

World of Continent - Armor Castle:

World of Continent - South Village:

World of Continent - Bandits Cave:

World of Continent - Sword Castle:

World of Continent - Shield Castle:

Paradise Side-World - Overworld:

Paradise Side-World - Paradise Village:

Torture Side-World - Overworld:

World of Ocean - Overworld Surface:

World of Ocean - Port Town:

World of Ocean - Northeast Island Town:

World of Ocean - Old Man's Cabin:

World of Ocean - Overworld Seafloor:

World of Ocean - Undersea Town:

World of Ocean - Dragon Palace:

Fish Statue Side-World - Overworld:

World of Sky - Sky Town:

World of Sky - Hidden Town:

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