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Messages - FlyingArmor

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Glad to hear this issue got resolved!

Maps In Progress / Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« on: September 27, 2021, 06:59:35 PM »
Hey all! Long time no speak.

I haven't been doing much lately as far as mapping goes, though I've done a little here and there. There's one map I've been working on and off for the better part of this year: a map of the Isles of Wynmar from the recently released RPG, Nox Archaist. It's been rather interesting working with Apple II Hi-Res graphics to say the least, haha. I've still got a long way to go before finishing the game, but I've got more than half of the overworld captured thus far.

The only other major mapping I've done is mapping out the Commodore 64 version of Ultima IV. I used Tiled along with the C64 tileset to construct the maps while looking at the PC maps I've already compiled. Mapping out the Britannian overworld tile by tile took quite a number of hours, though it beats having to do so with just screenshots. I should have all the townes and castles and villages submitted some time tomorrow.

Now that the PC version of the game is fully mapped, comparisons between the PC and SNES versions can be made much more easily. While I at first sided more towards the SNES version, after mapping out the PC version, I've taken a better liking to its colour scheme, even the extremely iron-rich soil that is pervasive across all of Britannia! ;D

As I was getting closer to completing this map set, I kept on discovering more items that can be picked up! Namely the crosses in cemeteries as well as pennants being two examples. I think I had simply looked at them in-game and surprisingly discovered that they weighed a certain amount in stones. I don't think I included those two things in the map legends, because I would have had to amend a number of other maps I had already finished working on, and I simply wanted to get the maps to Jon as soon as I possibly could. So whenever I find some spare time, I'll add those items to the appropriate maps.

Maps In Progress / Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« on: March 21, 2021, 02:18:50 PM »
Yeah, some games don't allow for clean, aesthetically pleasing representations as two-dimensional maps, so one has to tweak things and get creative to get them looking as close to the authentic article as one can. It can be really tough at times, can't it?

It's wonderful to hear you were inspired to take up mapping from seeing my humble maps! When I can find some time, I'll be sure to peruse your maps for Tomba and Vagrant Story. The cursory glance I've taken of both map sets thus far leaves me very impressed!

Maps In Progress / Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« on: March 14, 2021, 05:41:38 PM »
Li'l update from me! I've got about 16 more maps for Ultima VI: The False Prophet (PC) done. All that's left is 6 more, most of which are huge, expansive dungeons like Destard and Hythloth. I'll take care of 'em one by one, and before I know it, they'll be ready for prime time!  ;D

I also decided to submit a couple of maps from Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness (PC). I put them together a while ago and was going to release them with the other mappable areas of the game all at once, but I haven't gotten to that yet, so Sosaria will have to do for now.

Maps In Progress / Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« on: January 10, 2021, 11:34:51 PM »
This is the kind of challenge I miss the most about mapping.
Sometimes, you'll just run into a game where some elements just seem impossible to represent properly on a static map. You get frustrated and might spend days, weeks or even months trying to come up with a solution. And one day, it finally just pops into you mind and after a bit on tinkering, you implement your workaround and produce something amazing!

I had those moments of figuring out how to present things more accurately when I was working on Final Fantasy VII, where there'd be multiple layers of lighting for some areas that I couldn't simply layer on top of each other and have the resulting image be what I'd see when actually playing the game. But once I had figured out how to layer those things properly in the late areas, I went back to previously finished maps and added the extra layers that I didn't bother with. The map that comes to mind where that happened is the Whirlwind Maze, with the greenish-blue wavy mist. I think I had to manually mask out the foreground elements not affected by those layers by inspecting multiple in-game screenshots with slightly different animation frames to see which pixels the mist didn't affect. It was lots of tedious work, but ended up looking fabulous when it all came together. :D

If all the rooms for the stage seen in the crystal ball can be rearranged (hopefully without twisting "door lines" too much) into a compact, roughly circle-like cluster, then you could have a giant-sized crystal ball and a giant Granny overlooking the entire stage.

That'd be a really interesting way of doing it! I'd have to first put together all the rooms and then see what I can do with them, and if it works out that they can be arranged to fit into a circular pattern, then great! If not, I suppose the most background I'd add to the rooms would be the colour gradient behind Granny. Or maybe I try my hand at smoothing out the pixelated edges of a scaled-up Granny so it wouldn't be as obvious that she's been scaled up. It would not be as true to the in-game graphics as I would have then tampered with them, but it'd better reflect the spirit of that level. I'll give it more thought once I get to that point though!

Maps In Progress / Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« on: January 03, 2021, 10:03:16 PM »
Yesterday, my maps for Exodus: Ultima III (PC) were posted, so more old-school Ultima goodness is available for viewing here! Although most people don't have much fondness for CGA graphics these days, I kinda like how the colours were used for this port.

And just a little bit ago, I got the bathroom level done for The Addams Family: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt (SNES) and it should be up fairly soon. It was quite an ordeal getting all the elements of each room together the way they're presented in-game. I had to come up with a solution for the backgrounds in the taller rooms, since the art for the background doesn't scroll vertically, so I just took the gradient part and stretched it to the height of the room, and kept the sink, mirror, and door elements at the bottom along with the horizontally parallax scrolling bubbles.

For the underwater portions, I managed to get the colour math correct for most of the layers except for the wavy water layer, but just as I am typing this out, I may have stumbled upon a solution, so I'll need to resubmit this map once that's figured out.

And as for Jon's comment on the stage in the crystal ball, that'll be an interesting challenge to tackle, especially since I don't like to leave platform game stages without their respective backgrounds present.

I got a little further with Ultima VI: The False Prophet (PC) since I last submitted maps in October. I've been a little slow with this project since I have two desktop computers that I switch between: my old Windows XP machine that I've had since 2011, and my newer Linux Mint machine. Since I'm so used to using Photoshop and all its handy keyboard shortcuts, trying to use GIMP has been a rather painful experience. Maybe if I can figure out how to get Photoshop to run under Wine without it throwing error messages at me, I wouldn't have to constantly switch between both computers.

Maps Of The Month / Re: 2021/01: Legacy Of The Wizard (NES) - FlyingArmor
« on: December 31, 2020, 10:35:16 PM »
Thanks very much for the honour, Jon!

I started mapping this game because I wanted to fill in some of the gaps in the NES Atlas here on VGMaps, which I was surprised to discover were fairly massive (only about 40% coverage of North American released titles at the time). I liked the look of the game, so I gave it a go.

At first I was mapping away slowly, and then I started to wonder just how big the game world actually was so I'd have some rough idea of how much more there was to cover. After doing a quick image search, I discovered it was absolutely huge! At the time, I wasn't using cheat codes, but soon switched to using them which saved me a ton of time.

For me, this game was fun to map, but I wouldn't want to play it, especially if I was going into it without any previous knowledge. But it certainly is nice to look at though. :D

Maps In Progress / Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« on: July 23, 2020, 06:47:22 PM »
I just submitted two maps for The Addams Family: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt for the SNES. I had actually mapped them five years ago, but didn't think to submit them until I had a few more of the levels done. Since then, I hadn't made any more progress, but since seeing this game on Jon's Requests list, I thought I may be as well submit what I've got.

Also, I've begun making a bit more progress with mapping Ultima VI: The False Prophet for the PC. Because there are so many more items you can actually pick up in this version, I thought the legends would get a bit unwieldy with the sheer number of items that can be acquired (like chairs, wall mounts, silverware, inkwells, and other such furnishings), but after mapping Cove and Skara Brae, it doesn't look to be too bad so far, though I wonder how bad it'll get with the bigger towns like Britain, haha. :D I haven't submitted anything yet, but will likely do so in the next few days once I have a few more maps put together.

Thanks Terra! I'm glad that you find the pressure plate portion easy to understand. I just noticed a mistake with room 12 where the step markers are in the wrong instances of the room, so I'll be sure that's fixed for my next update.

I totally understand your frustration with how to depict the dungeon levels, as I had had them as well. I was at first wanting to show them in the more traditional way rather than in the squares I eventually put them into, but after examining some of the levels from this dungeon as well as others, I opted for the square layout partly for saving space as you mentioned, but also so it would be easier to see where the ladders connect between levels without the need for alphabetic markers. Another consideration was for the Up and Down spells, as it would be easier to see where you will end up between levels. Also, there are levels that wrap around from all sides anyway, and if mapped out traditionally would end up with maps that go on forever in all directions, so confining those ones to squares is a necessity (the fifth level of Dungeon Wrong being one such).

But I do understand they're a bit more difficult to read. When I was going through this dungeon to verify where things were as well as the pressure plate stuff, I was looking at my map and having to double and triple check that I was going in the right direction a few times. Luckily with Ultima III, the dungeons don't wrap around on themselves, so they'd be easier to make maps for as well as read, though each level is four times as big (16 x 16 tile grid as opposed to 8 x 8 in Ultima IV).

It's not too hard to stick with something you love, so while the user interface is rather clunky and would be considered very unintuitive nowadays (reading the manual is certainly mandatory for a game like this!), I do love it for its world-building and the art style the PC version exhibits. And I suppose a hindsight reason would be because it is not nearly as brutal as a lot of CRPGs were in the 1980's, such as Wizardry or Pool of Radiance, to name only two examples. After seeing a number of videos highlighting retro RPGs from that era through Matt Barton's channel on Youtube, it gives me an extraordinarily great appreciation for not having to pool and split gold constantly, memorize then rememorize spells after they've been used via camping, or roll then reroll your stats over and over again to make sure your character has a relatively decent balance for their character class, then rinse and repeat five more times. So comparing it with those games, Ultima IV isn't that bad. Plus having a save editor really helps! :D

Not too long ago, I finished up Phantasy Star II. It is no wonder this game needs maps for anyone to make any sense out of its labyrinthine dungeons, as was provided in the instruction manual when it first came out back in 1989. I hope my maps can help those struggling with navigating this game to get through it without ripping their hair out. ;D

And speaking of games from the 1980's, I have recently sent in the map of Dungeon of Despise from Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar for the PC. I had submitted my maps for the townes, villages, and castles back in January 2019, but had struggled with laying out the dungeons in an aesthetically pleasing way since then. After much trial and error, I finally came across a style that I liked for the dungeon levels as well as a way of depicting where the pressure plates in the various rooms are and what happens when you stand on them. So all in all, I'm happy with what I came up with and will now apply this to the rest of the dungeons in the game. Mapping the Abyss is gonna be quite the ordeal though, but I'm up for the challenge!

Maps In Progress / Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« on: March 27, 2020, 10:21:53 AM »
Wow, very cool! Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Jon. I never thought anything like this would be done with my maps, so it's really nice to see this! One thing I didn't know before watching the video was that the boss fights take place in separate areas from the main dungeon, so I suppose I'll have to amend my map with those. :)

Map Requests / Re: JonLeung's Requests
« on: January 22, 2020, 12:06:11 PM »
I've been working on Dragon Warrior II on and off for the past year. I just have a few more dungeons to map out, then labeling can ensue.

Secret of Mana is also a game I've been thinking of working on for a long while. With all the hard work done thanks to Tropicon, arranging and labelling the maps should be a piece of cake.

And I see you're requesting the PC version of Ultima VI. :) Seeing that it will be 30 years old this year on June 1st, it would be a fitting time to have it all mapped out by then. Though listing out every item that can be picked up is going to be madness... I'll try mapping out a small area, like Cove, and see how crazy it gets! :D

Maps In Progress / Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« on: January 10, 2020, 12:27:04 PM »
One game I didn't think I'd be finishing up is Lufia & The Fortress of Doom. I was going through the game capturing the enemy sprites for a sprite sheet I'm making and I noticed there were several areas I didn't bother mapping when I was working on this game ten years ago.

They were mostly shrine type areas like the four shrines that warp you to Doom Island and other areas where no chests or hidden items exist. From a gameplay perspective, I didn't think mapping those areas out would've been all that helpful to players looking for hidden items and such, so I suppose I skipped them for that reason. Well, many years later, and I'm much more likely to map out any area that's seen in-game, even if it's just for short cutscene. :D

Maps In Progress / Re: Nosferatu (SNES) Mapping
« on: October 01, 2019, 03:01:54 PM »
Hey Robert. It's great to see new people contributing to video game cartography!

It's been about seven months since you have posted here, so I was wondering how far you've gotten with mapping this game? I'm curious because I've been watching a let's play of this game by the Japanese group "Ii Otona-tachi" for the past two months or so, seeing Taichou and Ossan die over and over again, and use up all their continues to get through all the levels on hard mode. I think I've made it up to part 42 and they've finally gotten to Nosferatu at the end of Level 6, though they didn't last long there. :D

Through watching their videos I got to see what a really amazing game Nosferatu is, so it'd be awesome to see your maps from that game make their way onto VGMaps. Those two maps you've shared thus far look great and I look forward to seeing the more complex level layouts found in later levels.

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