~ Kim Justice, 22.12.2015"The arrival. Oh, my lord, the arrival. The disappointment. The embarrassment. The degradation. The shock. It couldn't really be THIS bad, could it? ...yes, yes it could. AND it was British."
Before I start, a backstory on the topic and how it came to be. I'll put that in a spoiler for the ones who don't want to read my backstory on this crap that calls itself a fighting game.
Some years ago I started making a Screenpack of a game I really enjoyed as a kid back then. You wouldn't believe I really liked Rise of the Robots for the Sega Mega Drive, do you? Oh god, how low I have fallen ...
Well, it was one of the few fighting games we had on our console. We had the SF2 Turbo Beta, Fatal Fury, Brutal: Paws of Fury, WWF Royal Rumble, WWF Super Wrestlemania and this one. As a kid I partially was really scared of the game, since the tone of it was so dark and the depressing sounds of the Genesis soundtrack of the game didn't help at all. Still, I always wanted to play through this mess of a game and finish it.
After I tried it back in 2007 in the 7th grade and found out how to cheese the AI, even on hard difficulty, I was satisfied. That was, until I attended for the diploma for Game Designer in university in 2017 and one of my presentations was "Rise of the Robots: the rise and downfall of a gaming company". This was when I really started digging into the rabbit hole that the company behind this game had dug itself into. I never would have imaged that the developers behind this game had put so much work into this ... game, I guess. They had technologies other studios would have only dreamed of at this time. They had the newest 3D modelling technologies and a team that apparently knew how to model good-looking high-poly models. That was a breakthrough in 1993/1994. Well, that was, until Donkey Kong Country released in November 94, just like Rise of the Robots. They arrived on the market around the same time. Though Rise only had the Amiga version at this time - the SNES version released one month later, and the Mega Drive Version was Europe exclusive, and even released a few months later: February 1995. At this time, with the game's graphics and music toned down this much - mind you, Killer Instinct already released in the Arcades in North America on October 28, 1994, with the SNES versions following in NA on August 30, 1995 and in Europe on September 21, 1995, respectively. But why do I even mention DKC and KI in this regard?
Well, both of these titles did what Rise of the Robots did, but better. They used 3D Models that they converted into sprites.
Even though, probably their process of doing so was wildly different, since DKC and KI were made by Rareware, a much more known studio. High hopes were set for Mirage by their publishers, especially Time Warner Interactive and Acclaim Entertainment, both being very popular publishers.
TLDR; this is where I decided to make a better game out of it. A game somebody actually could enjoy. Because I really liked the 3D models and how much work went into them. I still have the vision that this could actually be a decent fighting game.
All it needs are high quality sprite rips, some sprite editing, and somebody who actually wants to invest his free time into making a Mugen out of all of this. And this is where I come into play. I know I can do it. I just need motivation sometimes.
This project layed on ice for so many years mainly because I got lazy with Font Factory and stopped working on this whole project because of lazyness with the fonts. But my motivation is back now and I'm determined to work on this project again.
So far, my progress looks like this:
The menu design is based on the Mega Drive version, the options screen also is. Although the "background" from the options screen moves here, it didn't on the Mega Drive. This is just to appear a bit more appealing.
I forgot to record the character select. Here a screenshot of it:
You see that the select screen is mirrored, which kinda looks odd and honestly, I don't like it anymore in retrospect.
I don't know yet how I'm gonna solve this for the select screen, but this is a topic for the future.
The main goal right now is to make own fonts for this game. I took the fonts from another Screenpack as a placeholder, but I cannot use them since they are not mine. I'd only get in trouble. Also, I want the screenpack to look as close to the original as possible.
Next step will be the sprites - I don't want to use lower quality sprites. Obviously, the Game Gear version is not used for sprite ripping, but the SNES and Mega Drive versions I won't use for the sprites either.
I made a screenshot using the 3DO Version and put it in comparison to a Sailor Moon 3DO sprite and a Street Fighter (Capcom vs SNK 2) PSX sprite. The size seems to match, but I don't have a proper method of ripping from the 3DO, just look at the blur between the sprite and the background:
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Right now I'm working with someone who tries helping me understand how we can seperate the sprites from the Amiga Version from the background. He was able to open a savestate with Maptapper and see sprite parts, but a) the palette they show is corrupted and b) we don't know how to access the sprites that Maptapper gave us.
Amiga Emulation doesn't work properly on my gaming laptop right now and thus, I neither have the means to properly rip sprites out of the PC/DOS port nor the original Amiga version, mainly because neither of those versions have means for background exclusion or frame advance. 3DO is the nearest I got to (that one has frame advance), but I can't seem to find an emulator which can draw the sprite outlines sharp/pixelated, and even then, it isn't given that one that has a sharper drawing method also has frame advance. Recording and using video footage for sprite ripping isn't an option, since my OBS and Graphics Card don't get along when I want to record lossless footage, so blurring is involved and I can't have that on sprites I want to use in Mugen.
Any feedback is appreciated. I hope I keep the motivation now and don't lose it again.
Also, if anyone can provide me with information on how to get the sprites, I would be really glad. I kinda wanna do everything on my own with this project, but I can ask for information and/or pointers at least.