Sunday, February 24, 2013

The problem with Castlevania Judgment

If you followed my progress you might have noticed that I have taken a fair share of influence from Castlevania Judgment for the Wii. Tonight I would like to take the opportunity to talk about Castlevania Judgment itself. Mainly the biggest problem I have with the game.

You see, screw the complaints about the odd fighting engine, the characters being redesigned by artist of Death Note (which resulted in Shanoa looking like a nun and Dracula sporting udders), the good guys being bigger jerks than the forces of evil, alternate costumes just being palette swaps and the overall game not feeling overly polished. Those things didn't bother me and being given the opportunity to play as Cornell from Legacy of Darkness made up for a great deal.  No, the greatest evil in this game isn't represented by Dracula, Galamoth or the Time Reaper, but by Maria Renard.

Yes, 12-year old Maria Renard from Rondo of Blood.

Her character design (what's that supposed to be anyway? Pink BDSM loli?) and voice acting alone make me want to scratch her entire existence from the disc, but then there's her moveset. Most of the time she's just randomly flying around the screen, being lunged at her opponent by the owl in her staff. Her special attack has her falling to the ground so her owl can do all the work for her. Every hit she makes sprinkles Microsoft Clip Art all over the screen, and she NEVER SHUTS UP.

So it's a fighting game and in true fighting game fashion there's a story mode which details the motivation of why the character in question is there. We are introduced to newcomer Aeon who provides the plot device as to why people from different time periods can interact, and from there they just kind of have a go at each other until the most powerful warrior is chosen who will attempt to defeat the Time Reaper.

Now Simon Belmont takes the opportunity to test his abilities against the legendary three warriors from Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Shanoa just wants to get out of the Time Rift as fast as possible to continue her mission to hunt down Albus. Cornell seeks someone to help him control the werewolf form. Dracula obviously seeks revenge for his many defeats (yet because of the greater threat of Galamoth he also seems to be the most reasonable of the playable characters).

Maria Renard's story and motivation? Beating up the other Castlevania girls because they have larger breasts than her. No, really, that's her story mode. We have the most annoying 12-year old on the planet running around seeking fights with both allies and enemies because she is insecure about her body image.

I mean seriously? Who thought this was a great idea? Did we really need to ruin a beloved Castlevania character (... even more) just so we could have extreme close ups of Sypha and Carmilla's boobs?

There's a lot of Castlevania characters that I would have liked to see in this game and it didn't have a ton of features anyway, but I would have seriously preferred not to have Maria at all.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Of bricks and Castle Centers

It's been a while since there's been some major advancements (real life, other projects and all that) but here's some recent tweaks in the Castle Center.  

The floor tiling here needs some more work but I think the overall feel of the room works nicely. In rooms with a lot of textures I feel it is better to have variations on similar textures rather than throwing a bunch of different stuff together.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Portrait: Carrie Fernandez

So here's my first attempt at replacing the low resolution portrait of Carrie Fernandez with a custom one. I'm a complete beginner when it comes to portraits though so I'll probably attempt another one as I hopefully get better (which seems a reasonable expectation considering how long this project is taking).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Entrance to Castlevania

One of the most obvious parts of the Forest of Silence I neglected so far was the actual entrance to Dracula's Castle.

Yeah, that really doesn't look good

I sloppily copied a brick texture over the old one and called it a day. I was perfectly aware that it didn't look good at all. I just hadn't gotten around to improve/fix it yet.

Castlevania Judgment (Wii)

Once again inspiration came in the form of Castlevania Judgment. Here's Carmilla in the Castle Gate stage. I realized very early on I couldn't duplicate this look of the castle with any degree of accuracy because the castle model and the setup of the textures simply do not allow for it. It did provide the overall starting point I wanted to base the new design on though.

I feel that originally the look of the two towers didn't mesh well with the main gate. It seems like the towers and the middle section had been built by two different builders. My intention was to put some consistency in the design.

The transition from tower to main gate still could have been done better, but this is easier said than done considering the entire tower consists of a single tiled texture. There is more variety on the main gate but it still has similar problems with the actual texture placement.

As seen from the Boss Battle area.

Friday, July 13, 2012

July 2012 Release

Right over there ->

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Castle Center hallway and Medusa

Castle Center

I didn't intend to make the hallway appear darker but I think it turned out pretty nicely. The Castle Center itself is probably the most intimidating level to texture so far. Nearly every single room has it's own set of textures.

Tower of Science

I was working to put a chained Medusa based on her Legacy of Darkness appearance in that tank. I liked the idea that Dracula either turned villagers into Gorgons or kept Medusa herself chained up to somehow use her as a means to control the Medusa Heads (In Castlevania 1 you did have to fight a lot of them before confronting a statue that turned into Medusa herself).
Now that I'm replaying Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia on DS however I sort of see a resemblance between this creature and Rusalka, the boss from Somnus Reef (Link). Since I am trying to tighten the timeline (as far as that is possible by altering textures of course) I'll likely go with that interpretation instead.

So here's a screencap of something that probably won't make it into the actual pack:

Heck, at one point I was considering putting Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades and Grant Danasty in the different tubes as a way to explain the fakes in Symphony of the Night and Portrait of Ruin.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Forest of Silence

I went back to fix a couple of textures in Forest of Silence. All in all this level is nearly finished.

I did attempt to make it look like TihuĊ£a Pass (the one Borgo Pass from Bram Stoker's novel is based on). Sadly there is only so much that can be done with the original look of the game and a place that looks completely non-threatening (at least in pictures, I've never actually been there).

So here's a huge post to show of a couple of screens.

Forest of Silence

The most noticeable change from the previous version is the improved treeline. Originally I had simply taken a picture of several trees, erased the edges to make it look like a pine forest and darkened the texture to make it harder to notice that it weren't pines. Right now the trees are actual pines, properly cropped and as a result can appear a lot more clearly and detailed.

A lot of the buildings and pathways in this levels are in ruin. I imagine that the walls and buildings outside of the castle itself wouldn't necessarily be subject to the chaotic nature of Dracula's Castle. Dracula's creatures could have possibly (re)built the walls and gates in the time between Castlevania's resurrection and Carrie & Reinhardt's adventure. That's why I went with a boulder texture instead of giant bricks. (Yes, the giant skeleton doing construction is my justification).

Another shot of the treeline. The skeleton was also nice enough to pose for a good shot (making them a lot nicer than the Castle Center female vampire). In a post from January I said I didn't touch the actual bones. I found out I lied since I did smooth out the edges and forgot about it.

I painted the statue myself. It isn't an exact replica but I think it does the job. I already talked about the werewolf here.

As a kid I always thought the moon in this game was rather intimidating. I'm rather disappointed I couldn't get that menacing grin out of an actual picture of the moon (or am I the only one who notices the grin?).

I think the textures inside the buildings really complement the lighting here. At one point I considered putting a lot more green patches on the ground (it is supposed to be a forest after all). Sadly I haven't found a way to make it work.

I don't understand why a canyon cut by a river would look like a rock slide. Especially with walls cut this straight. I guess the canyon could have been the result of an earthquake but the broken bridges between them seem to make that rather unlikely.

In an attempt to close the gap between Castlevania and Bram Stoker's Dracula I decided to make the signs say "Borgo Pass". Luckily investigating the sign merely says "route" so I was given some freedom (considering it is a rather useless description and written in lower case I'm assuming the developers intended to replace this text with something more useful).

I scaled the texture of the torch from the previous 256x256 to 512x512 as it is a recurring object throughout the game. I originally put a desaturated version of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper on the banner. Right now it is Giovanni di Paolo's illustration of Dante's Paradiso, canto X.

It turns out the inside of the tombs share a texture with the top of a previous pillar. It still looks pretty appropriate. Lucky accident I suppose.