AuthorTopic: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest  (Read 22368 times)

Offline Helm

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Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

on: September 23, 2009, 04:32:25 am
I love this old Genesis game 'Rings of Power'. You can learn more about it over at mobygames. It looks like this:


What I've wanted to do for a while is make a pixel-perfect full world map of the game (it has a seamless world) but doing that by hand would be extremely painstaking as the game is huge and you only see 10x10 tiles on the screen at any one time. So I was wondering, do any of you have leet genesis hacking/mapdumping skills? If not, do you know on which internet community I might ask where they do?

that's a shot of the in-game overworld map stitched together:



Look at a section of the in-game map up close



Obviously the game feeds from this overworld 8x8 piixel tile map to recreate the terrain on the fly in the game's engine. The data it checks for each tile probably just is something like 'face, elevation, tile type'.



Of course feel free to discuss the game and its graphics, for all its shortcomings, it actually succeeds in many places. I might make someone like that one day.

« Last Edit: September 23, 2009, 11:47:05 pm by Helm »

Offline Helm

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #1 on: September 23, 2009, 11:47:53 pm
I've gotten a friend to dump the map and we'll see if we can stitch it together automagically. If so I'll post the wonder that'll be the full overworld map here soon.

Offline Helm

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Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #3 on: September 24, 2009, 03:19:31 am
That is an incredibly viable world map.  Interesting to see how much geographical attention went into making that.

Offline Mathias

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #4 on: September 24, 2009, 03:38:36 am
I had to grab a copy of that insanely gigantic world map, wow. Thanks for that. (for the unenlightened [or perhaps not geeky enough] - load the map in yer browser via the link there, let is display at 1:1 and use your mouse scroll wheel button to click and drag around to auto-scroll)

And gotta love the 404 error page on caverider - http://caverider.com/temp/ - tried to browse the directory to see what other nifty stuff I could find but it's disabled. Cool backbuffer junk bg! Great idea.

Can't comment much on the game, I've never seen it before. I take it the gameplay is what makes you think it successful. The pixelling doesn't seem impressive to me but I may not be considering it in context of it's release era, or how difficult the palette is. I only recently picked up pixelling, as you probably know, so I don't have that "culture" to draw on. I'd certainly like to try the game, should I ever come across a ROM, but my time to actually play games is short these days. Though, I do love how effective their iso tiling system is. I love a good procedural system, one capable of randomizing output sensibly. Boosts replay value. Whether or not they chose to use some procedural functions for some parts I don't know, but they could've.

Offline Dusty

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #5 on: September 24, 2009, 04:10:23 am
Heh, I found the area in Helm's first screenshot.

Offline Dai

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #6 on: September 24, 2009, 04:23:37 am
Note that map is still full of broken buildings, seams, bits of sprites, implausible areas of tundra, it was a first pass, we'll fix it up soon enough. Yeah it's a nice map, considering it is meant to be viewed 10x10 tiles at a time.

You're right the pixelling isn't amazing, the main restriction is 16 hand picked colours out of the 512 available, the map is drawn by software routines, flexible but laggy. It's basically a nostalgic thing for Helm, even so, I think you can see some love went into constructing it all.

(Apparently I haven't posted before, hello!)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2009, 04:31:26 am by Dai »

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #7 on: September 24, 2009, 05:19:18 am
This is one of those games whose graphics would greatly improve just from altering the color palette to be easier on the eyes.  I personally don't think the actual pixel work is that bad when it comes to tiles and character portraits (though the character sprites on the main game area leave a lot to be desired), just doesn't have a lot of the refinements we're used to today.

Offline Helm

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #8 on: September 24, 2009, 08:04:51 am
I intend to print it up and put it on my wall when it's done, heh.

I think the pixelling is pretty good not in the parts themselves but the sum of the parts looks pretty convincing! Of course I'm taking into account what else was out there in the earlie 90's in these Ultima-style world-roaming rpgs, especially isometric, and extra especially, on the genesis.

The color selection IS pretty horrid (seems to me it's a left-over from people in Naughty Dog working on DOS based EGA before they did this) and very primary and I agree a palette remap would do wonders for this... perhaps an activity to consider for later.

I'm pretty psyched Dai is doing this cuz it's something I've been thinking about since I was 10 years old.

Offline ilkke

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #9 on: September 24, 2009, 08:49:50 am
So do the broken sprites etc mean that you've been ripping this by hand afterall?

Also, +1 for the palette edit activity
i

Offline Helm

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #10 on: September 24, 2009, 10:55:55 am
no, Dai has been using an emulator that's used for tas and with some hacking magic I don't understand he makes the character teleport a few paces, takes screenshot, teleports, screenshot etc and then he wrote something to stitch up the screenshots.

Hey, go right ahead and change the palette wherever, whenever.

Offline tocky

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #11 on: September 24, 2009, 11:34:09 am

hardest thing is getting the deserts to look right with everything else. I ended up yellowing out most of the bright indexes to try and get a proper sand ramp - but it shares the white with the polar stuff, which is hard to sort.

I kinda like the original EGAness, jumps straight from bright pink to dark maroon like that-  and that green, and liberal use of gray... There's a certain charm in it.

The mountains are awesome.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2009, 11:45:52 am by tocky »

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #12 on: September 24, 2009, 11:58:07 am
Here is my edit, but only of the first screen (didn't think of taking other landmarks as well.)

I would have kept the grass relatively bright, but because the dirt walls have black as a significant part of their coloring, I chose to keep the browns dark and darken the grass instead to get comfortable contrast.

The portrait was a challenge since it affected the text box and the mat as well.  There needed to be a lowered contrast between the colors that make up the blatant airbrushing on the text box so that not only does it look better, but it makes the text more readable as well.

My biggest regret is that the house lost its red colors.  This is my fault though, for reducing the amount of colors too hastily (wanted to incorporate the dirt and the grass even further).

At this point the biggest improvements would come from actually editing the pixels, though I choose to just edit colors.

Offline Helm

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #13 on: September 24, 2009, 05:39:21 pm
I had a nap before and I was dreaming of editing the color palette in the world map and thinking - in my dream - how it's all 16 colors reused on the whole world map and so it's practically impossible to do well since you need bright colors to differentiate climate variation in areas. In my dream, I reasoned that what I would end up doing was just desaturating the palette and putting a 'color spike' in the color wheel towards which I'd move most bright colors... which is what you both did in your edits.

So although dream-Helm agrees with you, I still feel there might be different ways to salvage the palette.

And yeah, I agree the mountain tile is just great great great.

in any case, you just have to keep the pure white.

Also do remember to bitstretch your results for 5bit colorspace, the genesis only had 512 colors full palette.

Offline Helm

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #14 on: September 24, 2009, 06:32:09 pm
here's how I'd do it



it's not much, but I think it's enough before it becomes monochromatic. Perhaps I could play with the contrasts a bit but I kinda LIKE it bright and sunny.

edit: here's a further color balance modification click for bigness.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2009, 06:43:15 pm by Helm »

Offline tocky

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #15 on: September 24, 2009, 07:12:06 pm
I had another whack at it.



I think this meets the colour restriction, 3 bits for each of RGB?

Offline Helm

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #16 on: September 24, 2009, 08:22:28 pm
I think it's 5 bits for every channel. Yours still look too monochromatic, like seen through a broken monitor almost!

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #17 on: September 25, 2009, 12:58:15 am
A quick edit to try and address monochromaticness of my pic by making the main green less yellowish while keeping the brightest green the same:

I decided to go ahead and brighten to try and capture a bright day, and it turns out that brightening the dirt tiles don't clash with the black as much as I expected.  Probably poor perception of contrast under the darker conditions.

The Genesis controller is only becoming uglier and uglier as this happens, but IMO it shouldn't be there in the first place so I am not really worried.

« Last Edit: September 25, 2009, 01:00:24 am by KittenMaster »

Offline Dusty

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #18 on: September 25, 2009, 01:13:01 am
Wow, those are some really brown edits.

Offline Helm

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #19 on: September 25, 2009, 01:13:54 am
Yeah they look like filters more than a hand-picked palette.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #20 on: September 25, 2009, 01:20:09 am
Dang.  I suck at this then.

Offline Dusty

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #21 on: September 25, 2009, 01:33:24 am
edit : nevermind
« Last Edit: September 25, 2009, 02:38:38 am by Dusty »

Offline ptoing

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #22 on: September 25, 2009, 03:33:27 am
Something like this I think works OK. Obviously if the art was made with a nicer 16 colour ramp from the get go it could be much improved. ROMHACK D:

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Helm

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #23 on: September 25, 2009, 03:14:09 pm
http://caverider.com/temp/rings_of_power_genesis_world_map.png

This is the final, clean map.

http://caverider.com/temp/ropmapani.gif

and this is the animated version, warning, 9 megabytes

This is all thanks to Dai

:D
« Last Edit: September 25, 2009, 03:17:31 pm by Helm »

Offline Dai

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #24 on: September 25, 2009, 05:41:20 pm
My first instinct would be to bring the deep water blue much closer to the highlights, with lower sat green instead of cyan in the shallows. Their deep water transition is jarring and the highlights are noisy, for me. Aside from that, I think it'd end up looking a lot like ptoing's. The original colour set is quite a usable and appealing selection on the whole, no need to change the whole character of it. The other edits lose a lot of the colour range which is a problem when you have one palette on the whole world, but they'd make decent overcast and evening palettes. I think the game only has a night time palette swap? http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3445/3833258639_2dd43149db_m.jpg Maybe a wasted opportunity.

Offline Helm

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #25 on: September 25, 2009, 06:05:47 pm
Yeah I pulled the deep blue up, perhaps it could be done further. I'm not sure if the deep blue is used anywhere else in the sprites besides the water, I mean majorly. I'd have to check, if not, it could use a lot of lightening.

Offline HughSpectrum

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #26 on: September 25, 2009, 06:19:23 pm
I made a new color edit. I didn't post it since it was mostly a desaturated version's of Ptoing's anyway, and that it didn't use 5-bit colors.

But yes, the blues exist solely for the water and the occasional flag on buildings, and lowering the contrast does help the water quite a bit especially in taming the noisiness, though I feel it hurts the palette's full potential.

Offline Arne

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #27 on: September 26, 2009, 08:18:33 am
Slightly related, I dumped Utopia (another isometric game) a few years ago. Never occurred to me to also dump the game maps and plot in ore/fuel deposits. Perhaps I should do that.

I generally prefer to dump (reverse engineer the gfx routines) over ripping (taking screenshots). In some cases that's not easily done though, Exile's map and Solar Jetman's sprites for example.

In Utopia the gfx were bitplaned, each with a different height but constant width. The heights were stored in a table. Since the game doesn't load during map scrolling and there's some complex design going on, I figure the map data must be pretty much uncompressed, probably a simple array. It's possible that they used bits of a byte as flags or something. Stuff like that is tricky to figure out.

Once you have the gfx and map data, writing a thing which draws the map is almost trivial. Of course, if you got that far you can also edit the gfx and map in the game. :D

With older games like in your example (actually, 1991, that's the same as Utopia), chances are that they had to use tricks to make things fit into memory and if that's the case, dumping is much harder. The iso map uses height in a way that Utopia doesn't.

I prefer seeing plain colors on maps like these, but graying a few colors to use as bridges (or just plain saturation contrast) might be a good idea. I'd definitely desat one of the grass greens. Helm pretty much did what I wanted to do, pulled in some desat blue in the darker green, warmed up the lit green. I see a problem with the grays though: in one case a light gray is a shadow, and in another it's the lit side. This creates an inconsistent feel if you're going for a consistent cold-warm ramp (roads/mountains feel cold). It might be possible to keep the light gray relatively cold instead, by warming up the white (but I'm not sure if you can afford not having a neutral white).


The chaotic dithering in the water is something I'd change.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 08:38:12 am by Arne »

Offline Arne

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Re: Rings of Power (Genesis/Megadrive) World Map quest

Reply #28 on: September 26, 2009, 01:42:04 pm
I was noodling around, tweaking the colors, then I indexed the image with previous palette by mistake. Incidentally that was my 16 color palette. Surprisingly, it used my indexes pretty well. It just missed using my light cyan on the flags. (I don't mind the water being flat though.)

« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 02:14:11 pm by Arne »