Author Topic: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future  (Read 109598 times)

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Offline FlyingArmor

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Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« Reply #165 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.

Offline TerraEsperZ

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Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« Reply #166 on: January 04, 2021, 10:49:19 PM »
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.

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 too am curious as to how you'll handle the crystal ball stage ;)
Current project that I really should try to finish:
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)

Pending project:
-A ton of stuff that will never be finished

Online JonLeung

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Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« Reply #167 on: January 05, 2021, 08:24:34 AM »
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.  Assuming this looks okay, that is.  With the cartoon style (since it is based on the 1992-1993 cartoon), she has large areas with one solid colour each (hair, face, shawl), so that probably won't be an issue (other than perhaps looking flat or plain in the immediate area).  But if the pixels are oversized into these big squares, I wonder if the edges and details, like the outline of the nose and mouth, might look odd, especially when looking right at screen level.  That will probably be dependent on how much larger the individual pixels have to be.  As a look at the entire area, that seems to be the most logical idea that I imagine, but it's probably just one of those things that needs to at least be tried out to see.

Offline FlyingArmor

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Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« Reply #168 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!

Offline FlyingArmor

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Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« Reply #169 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.

Offline Electromax

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Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« Reply #170 on: March 18, 2021, 06:20:25 AM »
Enjoy reading about the layering challenges upthread! I didn't notice until reading your comments what was "faked" for the map like that, which is always the goal  :)

Tomba on PS1 mixed sprite billboards with 3D level geometry and parallax scrolling, so I had to do some goofy tricks to try and stretch/tile/recreate gradients over larger areas to simulate the effects as best as possible.

https://vgmaps.com/Atlas/PSX/Tomba!-VillageOfAllBeginnings.png
They swap out BGs as you move across the level, so here the clouds are used in the first part but when you climb up they secretly swap it out for a "forest canopy in distance" BG. No great way to blend them nicely so I just left a big artificial crop on it where it appears.

https://vgmaps.com/Atlas/PSX/Tomba!-LavaCaves.png
This one had a cool graphical effect on PS1 I couldn't duplicate in Blender to make the caves recede into the darkness, so I just cropped the main red outer wall shell I had and duplicated it, shrinking and making it darker each time. It actually is fairly different to in-game (which also has pulsing lights) but at a glance I got it close enough to be happy.

Your FF7 maps are one of the biggest influences that made me decide to try my hand at some of my own, btw.

Offline FlyingArmor

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Re: FlyingArmor's Map Projects Present and Future
« Reply #171 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!