Author Topic: Electromax - getting to work on PS1 maps!  (Read 273 times)

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Offline Electromax

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Electromax - getting to work on PS1 maps!
« on: March 17, 2021, 01:10:22 PM »
Hello all. Longtime lurker. My first submissions for Tomba and Vagrant Story on PSX went live yesterday.

https://vgmaps.com/Atlas/PSX/index.htm#Tomba
https://vgmaps.com/Atlas/PSX/index.htm#VagrantStory

I've always liked game visualizations/infographics and trying to summarize a game as succinctly as possible, in map form or videos or whatever. I have a full set of Silent Hill maps similar to VS I need to create upload-ready versions of, and am midway through the original Tomb Raider.

I've always loved the maps from the likes of FlyingArmor and StarFighters76 so would love to provide some high quality content for the PS1 section. I tend to post regular updates on Twitter - https://twitter.com/hatersgonnahate and use the maps on my Youtube channel. Hope to have plenty more submissions!

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Electromax - getting to work on PS1 maps!
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2021, 12:25:09 AM »
Wow, 3D content. Very great that such games get maps now. Thank you very much.

I have been absent for some years. What kind of tools would I need to be able to fly around in the 3D geometry of a game? Is it game-specific or is there something that I could use for, e.g., every PS1 game because it depends on the emulator?

Offline Electromax

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Re: Electromax - getting to work on PS1 maps!
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2021, 06:01:31 AM »
In my case, I am using custom javascript tools to look at the level data outside of the game itself. For example, for VS someone has open-source tool to look at individual rooms if you have a copy of the game: https://github.com/morris/vstools

I loaded up each room one by one, got a good image of it, then composited the levels together in photoshop. It's imperfect but better than using screenshots or something in an emulator because it can render the assets and high resolution. Silent Hill was a similar process (https://www.moddb.com/downloads/silent-hill-level-viewer-202). A lot of these games have small projects like this devoted to unpacking them, and I have helped with some and leveraged others.

For Tomba, same thing - level geometry extraction, extracted objects, arranged objects (platforms, swing poles, etc) in Blender and exported that base layer, then added the sprite elements like items etc. in photoshop. I actualy tried using emulator screenshots for this before putting more work in, and it looked pretty awful.

For Tomb Raider, I've been working on a code submission to noclip.website that can extract the data from BIN files and render them there. Plan on TR2 and 3 also.

In terms of games that I don't currently have a good path forward, Metal Gear Solid and Mega Man Legends are high on my list but I haven't found good projects or documentation about their file formats yet, so TBD.

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Electromax - getting to work on PS1 maps!
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2021, 11:41:38 AM »
Thank you for the thorough explanation. So it requires individual understanding of the level data format which a game uses.

Seeing the noclip.website, I really get interest to understanding what's going on there. The size of each individual game folder's program files in the noclip source repository still is immense at first sight but compared to starting from scratch with a complete viewer it might actually be feasible.

I will have a look at it, maybe first experimenting with a game for which the level data format is known.

Offline Electromax

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Re: Electromax - getting to work on PS1 maps!
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2021, 07:00:39 PM »
noclip has a discord where the main author Jasper is pretty active/helpful. You basically need to write the translation piece between raw data and something you can feed to his basic rendering components. Since it has everything from PS2 to N64, there isn't a ton of shared code across games. But I don't know how much easier learning all that is vs. standing up a simple ThreeJS viewer yourself or something - I've found it difficult and Tomb Raider is a well-documented game in terms of data formats. I have the geom rendering in the app but haven't figured out proper way to load textures and haven't had a good chance to dive into it again.

Offline Electromax

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Re: Electromax - getting to work on PS1 maps!
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2021, 07:07:52 AM »
I've been sharing classic Tomb Raider maps as I assemble them. Most are on my Twitter feed, a couple examples:
https://twitter.com/hatersgonnahate/status/1377198997740347393 - TR2 - 40 Fathoms
https://twitter.com/hatersgonnahate/status/1376192309650411523 - TR - Palace Midas
The isometric maps for TR1 are done but need cleanup pass and labels etc. Haven't finished topdown map for 2/3 yet but maybe ready in a week or two.