Author Topic: Battletoads (NES)  (Read 57481 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline TerraEsperZ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2286
Battletoads (NES)
« on: August 15, 2007, 09:53:42 PM »
This is a sort of companion to my "Battletoads And Double Dragon" thread. I'm really not sure if I'll be mapping the whole game since several stages are tough enough to play as it is even without worrying about mapping them. Level 10 - "Rat Race" and Level 11 - "Clinger Wingers" are almost impossible for me to beat even with savestates.



Anyway, I've already mapped two of the easier stages, Level 1 - "Ragnarok's Canyon" and Level 4 - "Arctic Caverns" so I'm posting WIP versions for now. Additional maps may or may not be posted later on.



As usual, I only add the items, bosses and objects that are already there as you encounter them, which is why the first stage is almost empty (all the pigs come out of the ground or through holes in the mountains). It also means that in the fourth stage, the blocks of ice that appear from behind you as you progress through the stages are not included, but those you meet head-on *are*.



Level 1 - Ragnarok's Canyon

User posted image



This level was pretty much straightfoward. Aside from the screen scrolling upward and downward and bit at certain spots, it was easy to do. I filled in the empty spots to get a fully rectangular map, then I did what I could to best represent the boss. The thing is, when you initially meet it, you only see part of its leg since it's so big. So using the PPU viewer in FCEUXDSP, I extracted all the tiles for the Tall Walker boss (enabling me to show a bit more of it) but that wasn't enough to reconstruct it completely. So instead, I then mapped the actual area that you see when fighting the boss from his point of view (in red) and adjusted the position of the info on its display and its blasters to suggest that the whole area is seen at once from its POV. And since we get to see more of the stage after beating it, I added that part after the boss view.



Level 4 - Arctic Caverns

User posted image



This level took a while to map because it actually has a parallax scrolling background, or at least as close to it as the NES could get. This has forced me to take screenshots of the whole level, and then to remove by end all of said background. It took several hours but it wasn't so much hard as it was long, since the background is actually made of identical tiles that are "scrolled" internally, thus the tiles to remove were always exactly 8x8 pixels.



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me
Current project that are on hold because job burnout :
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)

Offline Maxim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 974
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2007, 02:04:40 AM »
I hope you were using some editing software that lets you snap mouse-clicks to the nearest 8 pixels.

Offline TerraEsperZ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2286
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2007, 05:03:46 AM »
Nope. I simply made sure that the areas removed were multiples of 8 by watching the size of the selections in Paint, and for the hard parts like all the diagonal platforms and ceiling, I used template of little 8x8 or 16x16 squares aligned diagonally.



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me
Current project that are on hold because job burnout :
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)

Offline Maxim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 974
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2007, 05:55:02 AM »
Wow. I don't know if I could map anywhere near as effectively without having a configurable grid overlay (PSP7 for me). I find Paint masochism hard to understand.

Offline TerraEsperZ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2286
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2007, 07:25:42 AM »
True, Paint doesn't have much in the way of options (in fact, it has practically none), but the copy and paste process is quick and easy to use *and* doesn't require a complex combinaison of keyboard keys to accomplish. That's all I really need 99.5% of the time and the keyboard thing is important because I tend to rely on it a lot because it's just faster and easier to hit two keys than to go through several levels of submenus just to select a function.



In PaintShop Pro which I tried to use once, everything is harder and more complicated to do. In Paint, a simple [Ctrl]+[V] will paste an image and the Background color is removed in the process. In PaintShop Pro, you have to use something like [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[E] to paste a "Transparent Selection" but if you haven't filled the canvas with a color, the removed color will instead be empty/transparent or something like that instead of just plain white. I don't like how pasting and moving a selection, and scrolling the canvas work either compared to Paint. And heck, just selecting a foreground/background color to use is just incredibly complicated because you have plain colors, gradiants, patterns and even "transparent" which I just don't know and don't care to know how to use. I just have no patience for it when Paint is just easier.



As for the tool to replace a color, it's harder to use properly than the program I use exclusively for that, called VicMan's Photo Editor. It doesn't work with very large images but for individual screenshots it's just quick and effective. I select a background color, I select the color tolerance (usually 1 because I only ever want to change a specific one) and just click away on the colors to change and they are replaced by the background one. Trust me, I tried to do that with PaintShop Pro and I kept messing things every third click I made.



More complex and powerful doesn't always mean better and it certainly doesn't mean easier. I only ever resort to programs other than Paint when I need to do special things (color replacement, layers) and next time I need to, I'll probably use Paint.net which is a free yet very powerful graphic editor that I recently downloaded.



Paint masochism? No. Beauty in simplicity? Heck yes :)



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me
Current project that are on hold because job burnout :
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)

Offline Maxim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 974
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2007, 01:26:51 PM »
I could discuss this at great length but it's somewhat OT. I tend to Ctrl+V -> magic wand select transparency -> invert selection -> Ctrl+C to get fine control over transparent pasting, then it's just Ctrl+E to paste it in. Colour replacement is easier, it's CTrl+right click the old colour, Ctrl+left click the new colour, double-click to do it globally or brush to fix it. (Unlimited undo always helps.) It's just a matter of getting used to it.

Offline TerraEsperZ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2286
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2007, 01:35:20 PM »
I'm just stubborn and fixed in my old ways, and unless I'm forced too I don't feel like spending the hours necessary to become as efficient with a better program as I am with Paint. Maybe one day ;) ?



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me
Current project that are on hold because job burnout :
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)

Offline JonLeung

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3377
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2007, 02:20:16 PM »
I've stuck with using Paint Shop Pro 3.12, which I'm comfortable with.  I tried PSP 7 but for some reason the antialiasing bugs me and the "select area" tool doesn't feel quite right, I always seem to miss a border of a pixel width.  Don't know if either of those can be fixed or adjusted.  I do use GIMP 2.0 to do some advanced stuff like transparencies.  I have PhotoShop somewhere; maybe I should use that 'cause that's something one can actually put on their resume.  I don't usually use plain old Paint, but I suppose for a lot of copying and pasting it's at least adequate for that.



A grid would be handy...I'm used to working without it, but I should at least give it a shot...I should see if GIMP has that.



Back on topic, I remember how everyone loved Battletoads because it had some of the best graphics on the NES...Nintendo Power devoted a third of their entire June 1991 issue to it...a full playthrough with maps with a comic interspersed, continuing from the previous issue's prequel-of-sorts comic.  The franchise hasn't really been that great since (actually, Battlemaniacs was good too but too much of the same), but the original is definitely awesome.



Except for the sheer difficulty, of course.  That tower stage is killer, the races are nuts, and I think there was some kind of bug that made it impossible to finish with 2 players or something?  Maps would be cool to see the stages that few people have ever passed or even gotten to.  Can't wait to see the pipe maze stage!...assuming you get around to mapping that, of course.

Offline TerraEsperZ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2286
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2007, 03:21:38 PM »
I'll start a thread about graphics program tonight so let's reserve the discussion for that :)



Going back to Battletoads, the Pipe Maze will be very easy actually since it's just a straight-foward platforming level. It's Rat Race and Clinger-Wingers that are worrying me, since both are tight races where the slightest mistake will cost you the whole race. Playing perfectly and taking screenshots at the same time will be daunting. We'll see once I'm there, but I'll try to map all the ordinary stages before the races.



I'm also wondering how the heck I'm going to map Level 12 - The Revolution or as most people call it, the Dark Queen's Tower. Your character always stands in the middle of the screen while the tower itself turns in the background. How can I represent all the platforms around the tower in an easy and straight-foward manner?



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me
Current project that are on hold because job burnout :
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)

Offline Maxim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 974
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2007, 02:02:34 AM »
I'd thought of that myself. You could make a cylindrical projection, by a lot of copy/paste work, where the entire tower appears front-on (as it appears in the central section of the screen). The viewer would have to realise it wraps from one side to the other, and you'd choose the most pleasing point at which to cut it. The most pleasing would be some kind of fully 3D interactive monstrosity that I'd have no idea how to construct.



As for mapping hard stages - I tend to make heavy use of multiple savestates. Always have one at the start of the level, and another that's a running "doing as well as I can" state. From each of these running states you can play forwards to take maps, then when you're satisfied with a section, play through it again "properly".

Offline JonLeung

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3377
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2007, 06:38:21 AM »
For "The Revolution", I was thinking pretty much exactly the same as Maxim's suggestion, as there's pretty much no other way to do it.  You'd pretty much have to consider taking screenshots of only the center part, and once you figure out what the circumference of the tower is (ie. the map width), then it'll be all set and be pretty easy - that is, if the game wasn't so unforgiving.



But then...and I'm trying to remember...is the circumference of the tower the same all the way to the top?  If not, it's still doable, it just might look a little funny, and it wouldn't be able to match up all the way around, or something...

Offline Maxim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 974
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2007, 07:24:26 AM »
It'd still work in that case, it'd just have extra borders on the sides for the narrower parts. It'd still be quite confusing, maybe the solution would be to make a PDF papercraft version?

Offline JonLeung

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3377
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2007, 08:29:25 AM »
I don't remember how that worked...when going from a wider part to a narrower part, is there pretty much only one place where you can jump up?  If so, then that's not a problem.  Because if not, that's where it would get messy.  Or if the part where you jump up to the next level isn't on the same side as the previous time it happened, you might end up with a tower that doesn't look symmetrical.  I think.

Offline TerraEsperZ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2286
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2007, 01:02:16 PM »
Wider and narrower are meaningless in terms of gameplay because you can always go all the way around the tower. It's just the background of the actual tower that varies in width as you climb it but it never affects you.



I think the simplest solution for me might be simply to map it from several points of view. the most basic would be to do the front and back, but depending on how the platforms are arranged, more views such as four maps each being rotated 90 degrees from the previous one might be needed.



Or I might do as Maxim first suggested, and do a cylindrical which would make the relative placements of the platforms easier to understand, but the tower itself wouldn't fit in this format, not without alterations to make it much wider than it appears.



I'm starting to get the same vibe I had while mapping Castlevania: Bloodlines which had all kinds of mapping challenges. I think I'll take a look at how to do The Revolution when I get back home on monday evening (I'll be away all weekends, so I won't even get to try anything until then).



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me
Current project that are on hold because job burnout :
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)

Offline TerraEsperZ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2286
RE: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2007, 09:19:57 PM »
I've been working on The Revolution for a bit and this is what I have so far:



User posted image



On the left is the tower by itself without any of the platforms with all the tiles captured/changed to remove any trace of the rotation animation. On the right is what I've managed to map so far of the position of the platforms and springs shown with a flat wrap-around projection. This is mostly for reference at the moment as I'm not sure it would look good as a final map considering I'd have to mangle the tower itself to add it behind the platforms.



The most likely scenario will be to make two maps, showing the "front" and "back" of the tower. All that remains is to map the position of the remaining platforms and springs, then determine exactly where to place them on the tower depending on the angle of their position and put them there. I think I'm still good for a few hours of work ;)



---

"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." [...] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. - Captain Jean-Luc Picard



B*tch, meet reality. Reality, meet b*tch. - Me
Current project that are on hold because job burnout :
-Drill Dozer (GBA)
-Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis)
-Naya's Quest (PC)