Author Topic: Battletoads (NES)  (Read 90819 times)

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Offline Peardian

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #45 on: March 31, 2010, 09:30:02 am »
With the proper settings, you can make gifs with 255 colors and zero color loss. I could animate it for you if you don't know how yourself. I've been working with Jasc Animation shop for seven years. :P
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Offline TerraEsperZ

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #46 on: March 31, 2010, 11:35:49 am »
Thanks for the offer, but I'd prefer to learn how to do it myself. When I first made GIFs for these maps, I had a hard time finding a free program that could do it without messing with the colors *or* the pixels themselves (shitty optimization). I thought I had found one back then (but I don't remember what it was since that was prior to my hard drive crashing) but comparing the GIFs and APNGs it's obvious that the colors were changed.

I would appreciate to know more about making GIFs with Jasc Animation Shop, but I like to keep my options open since APNG has the added bonus of making animated pictures with more than 256 colors (per frame even).
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Offline Peardian

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #47 on: March 31, 2010, 01:23:29 pm »
Getting the best quality is really simple. When you go to save the animation, you get the Optimization dialog with all kinds of options and settings shown, simplified down to a slider. Clicking the Customize... button lets you change the individual settings for the animation. The color optimization options are all on the first tab. The dropdown list on top is for the number of colors you want in the palette. Even though the animation will only have a handful of colors (I'd be surprised if it went over 31 for an NES game), you'll want to select 63 Colors. The reason for this is that it enables the Optimized Octree method for optimizing the palette, which will keep almost all of the colors exactly the same. If you have a palette file of the colors in the map, you can choose to load that as well. You might not need the Reduce Colors By section, but the best choice for it is Nearest Color, which will prevent any dithering in high-color images.

With those settings, you can just click OK, Next, Next, Next, Finish and you're done! The last screen even tells you how much space was saved through optimization. This method will work with anything up to 255 colors, a hard limit to break even on SNES games unless you have multiple rooms with different tilesets together in one image.
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Offline Revned

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #48 on: March 31, 2010, 01:47:06 pm »
On further examination, you can get PNGOUT to preserve the bit depth and palette by passing in the options '-ks -kp' on the command line. So if you ensure that each frame has with the same palette you can PNGOUT them individually and then combine them into an APNG, assuming you can find a tool that doesn't recompress the frames.

I'm rather busy this week, but I can write some code this weekend to do the second part if none of the existing tools work.

Offline TerraEsperZ

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #49 on: March 31, 2010, 07:16:48 pm »
I finally found a (somewhat complicated that I can nonetheless happily handle) process to make it all work:

1) I first make a PNG file that includes every frame for the map, so that all possible colours are included.

2) I optimize the PNG in PNGGauntlet which reduces the palette (this is a bit of a waste but I'm not interested in switching to a different graphics editor simply for the option of saving PNGs with an optimized palette).

3) I open up said file in Paint which will retain the optimized palette. I then select the area for each frame and save them in separate files which will thus all have the same palette.

4) I optimize the files for every frame in PNGGauntlet again with the "Retain Palette Order" option checked.

5) I assemble them using JapngEditor, a Java APNG editor which, unlike APNG Anime Maker, will retain the palette and bit depth if they are the same across all frames.

6) I enjoy the fruits of my labor which, in this case, is smaller than an animated GIF *and* a non-animated PNG :)

« Last Edit: March 31, 2010, 09:58:35 pm by TerraEsperZ »
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Offline Revned

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #50 on: March 31, 2010, 07:30:59 pm »
Very nice! I'll keep this in mind next time I try this.

[EDIT] If you want to really optimize it, you can include the plain background as the first frame and then use the blending/dispose options to include only the animated elements in the following frames.

[EDIT2] I tried using a smaller (7x4) frame with an offset instead of a full sized frame. This is only 175 bytes bigger than the original PNG.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2010, 08:21:43 pm by Revned »

Offline Peardian

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #51 on: March 31, 2010, 09:44:32 pm »
Glad you found a method that works, even if it sounds a bit complicated, but keep in mind that not every user (more than half) who sees it will be able to view the animation. I can't view it in any of the browsers I use. :(
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Offline TerraEsperZ

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #52 on: March 31, 2010, 10:04:27 pm »
Thanks for the tip Revned, but I was already using partial frames with offsets, which is why they took a bit longer to make. I've added them as attachments to my previous post, which is a neat feature I hadn't thought about until now, though I suspect it might not be the best one to use when posting too many big files or else it might start taking to much space on the server...

Yeah Peardian, I realize this which is why I'll also look into making those into GIFs, but I think it's nice to have the option for fully accurate and highly optimized animated maps. If my plans for Level 12 - The Revolution come to fruition, I doubt a GIF file would be able to handle it considering the height of the map (6392 pixels) and my plans for 32 full frames.

*EDIT*

I've found Jasc Animation Shop and I've been following your instructions Peardian. Seems to work well :)
« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 07:44:05 am by TerraEsperZ »
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Offline TerraEsperZ

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #53 on: April 05, 2010, 06:42:21 pm »
I'm currently working on animating that damn rotating tower. Before setting out on that particular task, I hadn't thought about how I would handle the clockwise/counterclockwise/bouncing moving platforms and spike balls... This is going to take quite a bit more time than I had expected, and I'll have to sacrifice a bit of authenticity to achieve my goal. I won't be including the enemies since most of them appear from off screen, a guideline I followed thoroughly with the other Battletoads maps. Also, one of the moving spike ball bounces around the tower but doesn't do it in such a way that it bounces an integral number of time, so if I were to animate it the way it actually moves, once the GIF/APNG goes back to frame 1 that ball would appear to suddenly move to an arbitrary position; I'll have to "fudge" with its exact bouncing pattern a bit to make a pattern that repeats well.

As a result of the above, don't expect anything else from me for at least a couple of days.
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Offline TerraEsperZ

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #54 on: April 08, 2010, 09:53:01 pm »
Here's a little something to satiate you while I'm working on animating this damn tower.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/5976/rotatingtower.gif

Don't expect the final tower to be animated like that though. With 8 frames to move the distance of a 16 pixels wide background tile, and with 32 such tiles, I'd have to animated a total of 256 frames for a totally smooth rotation. Also, each frame requires the precise placement of 32 separate radial sections that contains the platforms and springs, so multiply 256 frames by 32 sections and you get an insane number of pasting and adjusting (8192 to be precise), not to mention having to manually position the moving platforms and objects.

The plans for the moment are for 32 frames, moving the length of one section each time and since this movement is also the length of a background tile, I should technically *not* animate the tower as above.

...Though I just might if only to give some visual variety. Hmm...
« Last Edit: April 12, 2010, 07:19:59 pm by TerraEsperZ »
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Offline TerraEsperZ

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #55 on: April 14, 2010, 10:02:02 pm »
I've been rather busy last weekend and this week too, but I managed to finish the first 8 frames out of 32 for the tower, meaning a quarter rotation so far. Yay! Since I'm also animating the moving platforms and spike balls, it might become difficult to make out how fast the camera is going around the tower. To be sure, just follow the Rash sprite at the bottom; as for moving objects, those moving clockwise rapidly move behind the tower, while those moving counterclockwise stay in the middle of the frame as if immobile. I might add either an angle counter or a little diagram that shows how the tower's rotating in the final GIF to make it easier in the viewer.

*EDIT*

[Image Removed - See two posts down for finished version]
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 07:37:09 pm by TerraEsperZ »
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Offline TerraEsperZ

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #56 on: January 24, 2011, 10:12:08 pm »
Just wanted to inform you guys that I'm putting Dawn of Sorrow aside for a few weeks (that game is really taxing to map whenever there are parallax backgrounds to handle) to put some more work on this game. That's why I submitted all the maps I've completed so far last week. I've also found a few ways to improve the assembly speed for the frames of the rotating tower with templates that facilitate object placement, so I've managed to completed frames 9 through 21 out of 32 during the last few days. I should thus be able to submit a much better map for Level 12 before next week. I'll also try to fix the opening post because it's really just a big mess right now after so long.
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Offline TerraEsperZ

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #57 on: January 26, 2011, 08:10:01 pm »
And it is *done*: Level 12 - The Revolution (Animated)

Sadly, no thumbnail because ImageShack is being a dick as usual. It probably doesn't look like much, but this level took me close to 30 hours in total to capture, plan out and assemble. Heck, if I was any good at hacking and coding, I probably could have ripped the map data and created the map by code in a tenth of that time, but I'm not so there's no point in thinking about what could have been.

Anyway, as usual I've tried to be as visual as possible and the only thing I might add on the final submission is a small compass so you can easily tell the tower orientation without having to rely on the background and several sets of objects all moving at different speeds.

But here's how it's supposed to look:

-The player's sprite (Rash) at the bottom is immobile, so he's the best indicator of orientation;
-Most platforms move at the same speed as Rash, so that means that while playing, they are immobile too;
-A few spike balls and platforms always stay in the middle of the screen because while playing, they are moving right;
-A few other spike balls and platforms are moving to the left faster than everything else because while playing, they are moving left (duh);
-The background doesn't seem to be moving at the same speed as the actual rotation because I'm using artistic license. In short, the tower has 8 frames of animation for every rotation step, and there are 32 steps. Since I've made 32 frames, I would have had to use the same tiles for each frame which means the tower would have looked immobile. So changed the tiles each frame even though it looks like the tower is rotating 8 times slower than it should because, hey, at least it's turning.

Comments would be appreciated, even though suggestions for major changes will most likely be ignored considering how long it took to finish it as is.
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Offline Maxim

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #58 on: January 27, 2011, 11:01:44 am »
It's very impressive. I feel it's a good compromise to represent the difficult level style without making it too complex, although obviously a more complicated version could do more. Animated GIF wins on compatibility, even if it is labour-intensive :)
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 11:02:05 am by Maxim »

Offline TerraEsperZ

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Re: Battletoads (NES)
« Reply #59 on: February 08, 2011, 04:18:14 pm »
Another level done, namely Level 5 - Surf City. And again, ImageShack is being difficult and refusing to make thumbnails for it. Given how long this level is, I decided to split in two maps, using the Big Blarg boss fight as the separation point.

[LINKS REMOVED]

Note that the water mines are positioned correctly horizontally but not vertically since their exact position is completely random, but you at least know when to expect them. Also, I manage to capture the full vertical resolution of the stage by freezing the camera and identifying the various 256 x 256 pixels sections of the stage and using those to fill the areas I could capture otherwise.

*EDIT 27/04/12*

I needed space in my free ImageShack account, so I've decided to remove the maps from this post. You can find them on VGMaps here.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 09:04:13 pm by TerraEsperZ »
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