Author Topic: 2021/02: Sonic Battle (GBA) - TerraEsperZ  (Read 810 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JonLeung

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3373
2021/02: Sonic Battle (GBA) - TerraEsperZ
« on: January 31, 2021, 10:01:11 PM »

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to TerraEsperZ's Sonic Battle (GBA) maps.

An ancient robot is recovered by Dr. Eggman, who seeks to use its destructive power in his quest for world domination.  Unwilling to fight for Eggman, the robot is discarded, where it is found by Sonic The Hedgehog.  Sonic names it "Emerl", after the Chaos Emeralds that power it, and the two of them search for the Chaos Emeralds to fully restore Emerl's sentience - but Eggman wants Emerl back!  And this is the story of the GBA game, Sonic Battle, a Sonic game that is really more about battling than running around.

Battles take place in three-dimensional arenas.  These are mostly constructed with textured rectangles for a very blocky design (with the only exception being the cylinders, which are more like octagonal prisms, in Tails' Lab).  Though this is still interesting, considering that this is on the GBA, a handheld that, while capable, is not really known for its 3D.  A number of games that do are indeed impressive, including this game!

What is even more impressive than a GBA displaying it is a mapper mapping it.  In gameplay, the camera is not limited to just an isometric perspective at a fixed distance.  However, this is the aesthetic choice that TerraEsperZ made, which works very well, considering its "blockiness".  Each of the arenas are seen at four angles, which seems like four times the work, but this quadrupled effort is logical and necessary to see it all.  And that's after figuring out how to even extract and present this accurately in the first place!  This isn't "just" the typical stitching-together of screenshots (not to say that isn't a lot of effort in the first place)!  One has to go above and beyond for a 3D game like this, which is exactly what TerraEsperZ did.

So to recognize the effort put into tackling this technical challenge to bring us more Sonic maps, TerraEsperZ's Sonic Battle (GBA) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for February 2021.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2021, 01:24:08 PM by JonLeung »

Offline TerraEsperZ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2286
Re: 2021/02: Sonic Battle (GBA) - TerraEsperZ
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2021, 09:31:48 PM »
I was just really lucky that the game doesn't have a real 3D engine with texture mapping and true perspective.

Rather, it's all just distorted maps and sprites I think, with everything using the same "scale" so to speak. After learning how to turn flat images into 2:1 isometric surfaces for walls and floors while preserving every single pixels, I was able to basically recreate the maps as perfectly as possible.
This was actually really helpful in helping me map the overworld for Equinox.

I sadly can't get my head around real 3D modeling (I'm stuck with outdated notions of textured polygons like in the old DOS days) so this is the closest I'm likely to ever get to mapping a "3D" game!

Also, reading the dedication and the submission date just reminded me that it's been both only and already more than 6 years since my Grandma died :(.
Current project that are on hold because job burnout :
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)