viernes, 8 de julio de 2011

Peach's Castle in GoldenEye

Shooting action arrives to the the Mushroom Kingdom!
Download de patch here
While I was doing the Kakariko map I thought about other N64 game levels that could be addapted as multi for GoldenEye and Perfect dark. I even wrote a list. The truth is I had in mind another map from Super Mario 64, but sice some people asked me about the Castle and it's one of the most iconic backgrounds in the system, I started working on it.

I did a test last summer with the Castle Grounds only for Perfet Dark after Wreck asked me (1) (2). But there were a lot of graphical issues and lag, so I put the project on hiatus until I was able to focus on it.

Unlike with Kakariko port, which I had to retexture myself, I inquired a new process in order to keep textures and I was able to do it thanks to SubDrag. We spent two days trying different programs, exporting from one to another, until I was able to load the map in Deled and port it to the GoldenEye Editor.

I spent the next few days doing clipping, focusing in the stairs. In my previous levels I always did this kind of clipping as a ramp, but for this one I wanted the players to feel every step. It gave me more than a headache, but after redoing it a couple of times it was perfect.

Another big issue I encontered was with doors. Making the models was easy, but making them work propertly took a couple of days. The swingming doors pivoted in a wrong spot, getting in the way of the player. SubDrag figured it out after comparing with the other GoldenEye doors. The issue with sliding doors was that they were big and disappeared when you got close to them. I fixed that after redoing the door.

Once the map was funtional it was time to make it look good thanks to the new Editor features coded by Subdrag. I included environmental mapping to the portals to Dire Dire Docks and Hazy Maze Caves, which only needed small tweaks to be perfect. I also did envmap in the mirrors from the room that takes you to Snowman's Land to increase the impression background was reflecting in the mirror.

Another big visual enhacement was automatic shading. In Kakariko I had to do it myself by hand, making up the values for vertex shading. But now the Editor had a build in feature that lets you add lights and choose the type, color and intensity of them. In two days I shaded all the map. Making it on my own would have taken weeks or even months! And it wouldn't have looked as good.

After three weeks it seemed ready, but after testing the level on console a lot of issues appeared. Textures that didn't mipmap (had to reduce their colors), flickering polygons (had to redo the Castle facades and some other walls), textures that didn't match exactly (fortunately the Editor had a new feature for that). After four days and dozens of tries the level was finally ready for release!

Additional thanks to SATURN_81 for warning me about a clipping issue in the fish tank room.

There will be a Perfect Dark version, but I can't port it as it's now. I'll have to chop the level even more to prevent lag when a lot of sims and players are involved.

The utilities I used were:
-'1964 v1.1' emulator and 'Nemu 64 graphics (combine debug)' graphic plugin in order to rip the geometry as VRML and textures as BMPs
-'3D Studio MAX R6' to merge the VRMLs and make them fit perfectly.
-Meshlab, Anim8r y XSI in order to export from 3dmax to Deled without losing anything.
-'AutoCAD 2004' to model clipping and fix part of the polygons.
-'DeleD CE' to chop the level and export as OBJ.
-'Irfan View' to edit some textures.
-'GE Setup Editor' to edit the GoldenEye rom: adding textures to the rom, injecting the level, fix and colour textures, adding shadows and lights, edit the colision (clipping) and portals, put guns and spawn points, modify the skies settings, change the image and name of the map... and creating the patch.

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