Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Megaman Battle Network Official Complete Works is here!

I finally got my copy of MMBN OCW in the mail today. It's so awesome. I never expected to own a Battle Network book so incredibly detailed. And the cover is holographic. That was a nice surprise. All the pages are very glossy and finely printed which was probably really expensive to print. I read the entire book today and here are my trivial observations.

  • There is a typo on some page where Chinese candles or lights are mentioned. "Heating" is misspelled.
  • On Duo's official art page, the alternate Duo chip image still has a Japanese label.
  • The "BassAnly" chip is called "Bass Anomoly" in the book several times.
  • On Topman's artwork page, his chip is also shown translate. It reads "Grrr" as opposed to Japanese characters.
  • Shadowman's special chip is called "Image Slash" in the book when it is called "Split Up" in the game.
  • The book admits that "Spoutman" was an error in localization. In MMBN6, it should have been "Aquaman", "Aqua Cross", and "Aqua Beast". Eraseman's localized name remains unchanged.
  • Some of the comments are actually much more aggressive than anything that appeared in the game such as Gyroman's operator, Charlie telling Mayl that he'll meet her in 10 years and Tora calling Lan a "smart ass".
It was fun reading about the design process. I got the impression that the design team was always rushed, yet seemed professional and enthusiastic. I liked hearing about the connection to the pixel artists. It's a lot of work for them and I felt they should have gotten more recognition. I wonder how much more content and detail the game would have had if they were given more time. Hearing that specific chips couldn't appear as detailed as they should have been left me thinking.

Overall, the book is brilliant. I learned and relearned things I was forgetting. I will treasure this book for as long as I can. It is a tome of indispensable artwork and information I desire.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Battle Network logo stuff

Yeah, I'm still learning design stuff and I decided to revisit this whole Megaman Battle Network logo thing. I understand it differently now and I was able to recreate the Megaman Battle Network 1 logo. Yeah, it's quite awful. Here's my version made entirely in vector and edited in Photoshop, as the official one was clearly made in.
The first Megaman Battle Network logo (recreated by me).
I don't think it's great. It seems lazy and unprofessional unlike the Japanese one. The outline turned out blocky which seems unintended. "Battle Network" is written in what was probably their first and only font choice. It turns out the font is Helvetica Rounded Condensed Bold Oblique, just as I suspected. The roundness doesn't really fit in my opinion and the kerning is bad. Then there's a distracting blue sphere in the middle for some reason. Later titles put the emblem in there. The actual emblem feels reversed. There shouldn't be any blue and it contrasts oddly. The yellow ring should have been larger and it isn't. The purple is consistent with the Japanese logo, at least. The entire thing is overdone in generic Photoshop effects - some which don't really help.

But anyways, I thought it could be remade to be truer to the Japanese logo, yet preserve some of the elements that are consistent in the localization of the Megaman series. Here is my attempt.
A redesigned version of the MMBN logo.
The green color is there and the emblem has a notable yellow ring around it. I ditched the rounded font for a squarer font. I like the notable spikes in the outlines around "Megaman" a lot more than the round ones. It doesn't feel as bleak and cheap as the original one and I think I can use the vector outlines I used to make this on future projects. I'm always taking fangame logo requests - or rather, I request my services. It's a shame to see the old, shoddy logo from the first game come up almost every time a fangame is being made. It just feels 2001.

Oh, and here are the source files. Maybe people can make their own logos more easily now.

Friday, March 25, 2011

BN6 AI Hacking

It's looking good. Prof. 9 has been working on a new hack that allows the user to change the order attacks are used in. It even allows bosses to use chips! Awesome stuff here that I'm sure will open lots of possibilities. I'm hoping to use it creatively in the Hard Mode patch so bosses won't have to be unnaturally buffed.


Great, right? It has also been brought to my attention that I actually have a very committed fanbase when it comes to my Hard Mode patch. Had I know that, I probably would have put more time in the patch all this time. I want to finish the Hard Mode patch but I don't know when that will happen. But I'm sure it will be a treat for those replaying the game.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

10th Anniversary of Battle Network

The TREZ logo is based on Megaman's head
from the Megaman 25th Anniversary labels.
I couldn't forget this date. Battle Network turns 10 today, which is a long time if you think about it. That means I would have been 8 when the first game came out which means it 2 years before I even owned my first handheld. I don't feel like telling my whole story again, but I'll just mention the basics.

I didn't start following the Battle Network games until around 2004. By then, marketing was in full swing and it caught my attention. I'm kind of sure Battle Network 3 was the first Megaman game I played. I had seen stuff on Megaman X in emulators before but I didn't start playing those games until after I became interested in Battle Network. The series had a nice run and I really enjoyed the series's second half of life. I always get on board with these things a little late. I never really purchased any merchandise. The only Battle Network games I owned was Battle Network 6 and Battle Network 5DS. The other stuff I own, I won at Comic Con '06 which includes a Magnetman toy, those shiny Japanese promo stickers and the Megaman X pogs. A friend also gave me a Protoman Battle Chip and I bought an Energy Bomb Battle Chip at the swap meet, which I now carry on my keychain. That's about it, I guess.

I missed out, sure, but I made up for it. Despite not having every piece of merchandise or game, I still managed to make it out on top. I know pretty much everything about the entire series, excluding the anime. I helped create the most popular Battle Network fansite out there. And after all this, I'm actually fairly influential. So yeah, the Battle Network series did have a nice run. I just hope some more Battle Network-related things come out in the future. Perhaps like a much-needed graphical enhancement on the 3DS...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Free backgrounds

I'm working on a project for school, so I've made more stock backgrounds to work with. It's all generally the same with the "burst-portal-warp-thingy" concept. Sometimes they're more fun to make than the actual project.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Battle Network Official Complete Works is official!

So today Udon finally uploaded the preview pages for both Official Complete works titles. I am very excited to see the book nearing completion. I am placing my order tomorrow and I hope to be reading the book by next week. The release for the Battle Network book has been set as next Wednesday and I hope it's true this time, which it likely is. I think the comments are neat and the quality of the artwork is amazing. It will totally be worth the purchase.

Also, I mentioned that there are preview pages. Just as I predicted, the preview pages featured artwork which before had only been ripped from blurry scans. I ripped the page with the BN3 bosses and I think they came out great. A little small, but clean.

Bubbleman (BN3)
Desertman (BN3)
Kingman (BN3)
Metalman (BN3)
Metalman (EXE4.5)
Punk (BN3)

Everything else has already been seen before or it's too small to be useful. Still, these are neat. I'm looking forward to the book.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More Japanese websites stuff

So following the success of my previous harvest, I decided to look around for more existing (and now defunct) Japanese websites in hopes of finding rare images. My search led me back to the TakaraTomy site. This time for Star Force accessories. Unfortunately, the entire website wasn't archived and there wasn't enough flash content. I did get a few things worth sharing and I can actually post all of them here.

These images were featured in a little Flash movie. It's nothing special. Just Mega and Geo appear and become Megaman.







I excluded the purple city background. I think it already exists somewhere. This movie featured something I hadn't seen before. The strange blue background with the yellow wave road is kind of neat. Might work well as random background filler since that's the only thing I can think of that would make it useful. Also, some green lines accompanied that background to create an effect. Also neat stock. And finally, the game's Japanese logo was featured, and fairly large with transparency. This is good reference because someone I made a logo for on TREZ wanted a new logo based slightly off of this and it helps to have a decent quality reference.


Ah, and one more thing. I took a look at the Battle Chip Stadium website again and I looked around for the TV commercial it claimed to have. Well I found the page where it was supposed to be on but the commercial does not exist anymore, unfortunately. The small flash visual did use another piece of artwork with transparency, though.

It's the artwork from the Falzar version boxart. Neat that both were available because just like last time, it's difficult and maybe even impossible to get them out this clearly. It's great that all their sites back then were almost entirely based on Flash. Oh, and the TV commercial could have been seen in two sizes: 320x240, and 480x360. It's interesting to see how quickly technology advanced considering 480x360 was the highest resolution you could watch the video at in 2006. Today, 1920x1080 video streaming is very possible and 480x360 resolution video is the minimum. And if you look at the dinosaur that is Windows Movie Maker for XP, you can still save videos for a "Pocket PC" playing at a mere 208x160 pixels and "video for dial-up" at 160x120. That was before Youtube, obviously. Videos have come a long time since the days of the Battle Chip Stadium website.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Japanese Rockman EXE website stuff

Yesterday I decided to go looking for this one website I found one time shortly after EXE6's release in Japan. Unfortunately, it becomes very difficult to look for these sites since they have removed the page. The regular Wayback Machine at Archive.org wasn't working very well. It was too slow or incomplete, so luckily the featured a new beta service with faster speeds and more complete pages! Here are all the goods.

I started with the Takara Tomy site linked to from the Rockman EXE  page at Capcom.co.jp. I knew that page worked, but the link stopped working several years ago. Thanks to the Wayback Machine, I was able to visit the page and was greeted with an interesting flash visual. It featured lots of transparent, blurry, PNGs, but good enough quality that I want to post here.
It opens with the Rockman EXE Beast logo. It's kind of hard to get this at a clean resolution since almost all sites related to the anime used very low-quality graphics on their web pages.

Buster Megaman artwork. I found a higher-res version before but this one, being a derivative of the original, already has a transparent background and therefore keeps that sparkle on the tip. Removing the background with the sparkle intact would have been rather tricky.

This is the least interesting visual from the batch since it already exists somewhere, in higher-res, and it isn't very difficult to remove the background.

I've wanted this graphic for a long time. It first appears in the EXE6 preview trailers. It's basically the Gregar render only with attack elements.

The Falzar render with the attack elements. These look a little more distracting, but at least you can finally see the tip of Falzar's tail! It's always cut off in other prints.

The page was still sort of interesting. It's kind of like the Megaman NT Warrior site, only with the focus being on the merchandise. I was looking for a page with the Battle Chips on it, and this wasn't the site. Upon further investigation I found the Batosuta Battle Chip Stadium website. Unfortunately, the site was taken down around late 2006 and has since been replaced by an abandoned fan site. Luckily, the Wayback Machine preserved all their content before they went off and it is filled with goodies.

The opening visual features the Battle Chip Stadium logo.

The flash document then compiles the same graphic as seen on the Gregar version boxart. Lan is seen separate here, which is GREAT since removing him properly from the boxart was difficult, if not impossible.

Same goes for Megaman. Finally, it's just him AND it's a transparent PNG.

 The Gregar image is also on its own separate layer and FINALLY he can be seen almost completely and against a transparent background. 

The background is the last layer and it uses a neat little trick. Rather than use the same background one time, they sloppily chopped it up where it wouldn't be seen and made it look continuous. Too bad it's too small to be useful for anything.


That was just the opening visual. The small flash promo is where the best goods are.
That's right. You saw it here first! A medium-quality version of the Forte Falzar Beast thing. I think they added some weak outer glow to it, but it shouldn't be that difficult to fix. It's a transparent PNG, so it's good to go. I mean it! Go ahead and overuse it. It's been absent from the Internet for too long!

Sometimes it's hard to forget that the Battle Chip Stadium was the only "game" from the EXE series that used 3D graphics in their battles. A bit lazy with the emotion windows being their mugshots from the game, but the 3D models seems to be accurately resembling their sprite, which is really neat. Maybe if a clearer, up-close shot of Bass's sprite there could be found, a very accurate sprite could be spritten.

Oh, and there is also this dark Protoman. I hate how they can never get their "dark" color correct.

He's clearly purple here so I can only assume the 3D model is more correct. The mugshot is also purple, so yeah.

Falzar Beast artwork without a background! Again, the original background made it tricky to remove properly, especially with the motion blur they crafted.

In this screenshot, both 3D models closely resemble their sprite counterpart. If only they had higher-quality screenshots in 2006.

Gregar Beast render without the background. These are still decent quality despite being on a flash page.

It's amazing how it just looks like a 3D version of the sprite. I bet it would have idle animations as well so he wouldn't just be standing there awkwardly.

The flash page also had this unusually high-res background.

The BCS page also had a preview of all the chips, including a PDF. PDFs usually have more vector content, but the site only used them to hold low-quality JPEGs, so that's too bad. The chip images are also quite oversaturated. Maybe somebody thought they looked dull? I'm sure they're not THAT saturated. The chips were also small and low-quality. They're still higher-quality than the game's chip images, though. Here are some previews.



I'm really glad I found this site before it was truly gone. It's just too bad I couldn't archive Capcom USA's site from 2006. That would have been neat.

Oh, but "How do you get to see all the chip images?". I've made an archive of all the goods a snatched available for download. The Battle Chip Stadium website also had some background music, so I threw that in, too. I haven't heard it, but it can't be that great.

Download the goods

Update: I forgot to download and include the other chip pages in the archive. You can download the rest of the chip pages along with the extracted PDF image in another archive.