The long and winding logo

Well, the logo itself its neither long nor winding: it fits into a 22×18 grid of squares measuring 8 pixels a side. Long and winding was the process which brought to its creation. I’ll spare evereyone the lesson about the importance of a logo in modern communication. But I’ll stress that to create a coherent logo for the Lost Cave was for us a way of respecting the creators of the original one.

THE DRAFT: The very first draft didn’t take much time and, surprisingly, it captures the mood of the final version quite well. Done with the good old GIMP 2.6 (just before they made the program useless to my purposes) whthout caring about coin-op limitations. The small “Bubble Bobble” font comes from the Game Boy version of game.

NO TILEMAP CHANGE… My first attemp was based on the assumption that a good logo could be obtained even without changing the tilemap of the logo screen. Further inspection with an old arcade gfx editor called TURACOCL gave me this scenario. What does it mean? I could not put gfx on the empty places on the map. And, what’s worse, I was forced to use the same 8×8 character for those brightly coloured coordinates. So every “blue #62” block had to be filled with the same content.

… NAME CHANGE: How you could see, there were several limitations. To render faithfully the draft logo was really difficult, whith those holes in the middle. So I tried to come out with something else. Quite radical, indeed, since I had to change the name of the game. Scaling down the Bubble Bobble little logo was also a pain in the ass. The little cute dragon from Bubble Bobble Jr. was meant to patch a holein the logo, but at the same time I was happy to embed it there, since BB Jr. brings back sweet personal memories. Still, “Lost 100” was a weird name – not bad, but it was not the name I wanted to give to the ROMhack. “Lost Cave” had been chosen as an hommage both to Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels and to Pitfall II: Lost Caverns.

LIGHT IN THE CAVE! when the hopes of using the “Lost Cave” monicker seemed, well, lost, my fellow caveman Aladar wrote me an email. We had no contact for some months, and he was happy to see the project was not dead, as witnessed by this post, and said that, during the hiathus, he managed to get control of the Bubble Bobble code to a deeper level, allowing me to do many nice things. “Just ask what you need”. Wow. Can I just create a bmp with indexed color and inject it into the game and use it as the logo, redefining the opening title tilemap? “Yes”. So the “Lost Cave” name could survive. I kept the “Lost” words I already created and went on.

THE 4:3 RATIO, OLD MONITOR TEST: Bubble Bobble hardware displays a 256×224 image, that is, a 8:7 ratio picture. In the original coin-op pixels are not square: the ratio is stretched to fit the 4:3 ratio of the old CRT screens. As I went on creating the logo, I tried to check how the graphics would appear on the real thing, aptly simulated by MAME emulator  video options. Here’s a WIP example, which also shows how I upgraded the old TAITO logo to the ‘new’ one (click on the picture to see how MAME simulates via HLSL lots of analog monitor effects, pincushion included):

 

THE LARGE LOGO: At this point, I just finished the “LOST CAVE” writing and polished the “Bubble Bobble” one. Actually, it was quite good like this, but the lower rightmost part of the bubble cloud felt a little too empty. I could resize the cloud, but It would have been a pity, its shape perfect as it is. Also, the “LOST” part and the “CAVE” one were quite unbalanced, being the A and V very large. Loved the diagonals per se, but they had to be more vertical.

THE ALT-ALPHA This logo version really split the testers of the alpha version which beared it. somebody found the dragon face (taken from the border of the Game Boy Color version when played inside the Super Game Boy hardware for the Super Nintendo, blame me for my nerditude) Somebody found it wonderful, somebody found it crappy. In the end I agreed that it’s not totally bad but quite naïf, just as the whole Game Boy Color version of the game.

THE TOO MUCH LOGO: Since Bubblun and Bobblun are two, why not putting two dragons in the logo? Yes, the ones from the Game Boy  Bubble Bobble Jr. game. Clearly too much. To think that it took maybe one week to Mitsuji-san to create the original logo!!!

 

 

THE FINAL LOGO: In the end, I’m still unsure about the final shape of the logo! Writings are ok, well balanced and so on, but the lower rightmost part of the pic has not been fixed yet. So… let’s wait for December 11th!

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Release date

Every release date is tentative. Shit happens. But why not trying:

Yep, it’s the fourth anniversary of MTJ / Fukio Mitsuji’s death. Some Bubble Bobble action is the best way to remember him in a cheerful way, don’t you think?

Since the Lost Cave is now full of tweaks, hacks and surprises, I ‘ll try to post some of its features in the next weeks, just before the release of the game patch. For now, I updated a little bit the About, Method, Staff and Download sections.

(The NES Bubble Bobble fans may have noticed that the girl in the bubble is THEIR NES PONYTAIL GIRLFRIEND – of course we brought her to The Lost Cave and coloured her a little bit in order to be coin-op compliant! I love her 4-pixel earrings.)