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Archives for: February 2012

Ghostbusters PDF eBook Preservation Project - Ghostbusters: The Return, Real Ghostbusters Toy Booklets, And More!

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Feb. 24, 2012 at 8:13 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Ghostbusters 2, Real Ghostbusters, Books, Toys
When I started the Ghostbusters PDF eBook Preservation Project, one of the books I most wanted to preserve was Sholly Fisch's novel Ghostbusters: The Return. Even though it isn't a very old book (it came out in 2004), the publisher, iBooks, went out of business two years after it hit the market, thus ensuring that the very limited supply of books that were printed would become instant collectibles. Copies on eBay and Amazon Marketplace currently go for $100 or more. I bought my copy back in 2004 and have never read it or cracked the spine, It is as 100% Mint as 100% Mint can be. I bet that I could get a nice amount of money for it, but as hard up for cash as I am, that will be one of the last things I will ever sell. I might sell a kidney before I sell that book. Hey, I have two kidneys, but only one copy of the book :-)

It gives me great joy to announce that Ghostbusters: The Return can now be downloaded in PDF format on the Ghostbusters Books page. It was a true group effort in getting the book to be part of the preservation project, so be sure to check out the notes/credits link under the book cover for all of the gory details. The Ghostbusters 2005 DVD Movie Scrapbook has also be added to the Ghostbusters Books page.

I scanned in a bunch of the Kenner The Real Ghostbusters toy advertisements and "Action Toy Guide" booklets (just The Real Ghostbusters pages), which can all be found on The Real Ghostbusters Merchandise page. Almost all are PDFs, though the poster at the end is a singular image. This is actually the smaller of the two Kenner posters that I have. I didn't scan in the large poster/calendar because it is WAY too large to do without some careful planning first. It's the source for some of my holiday images that appear throughout the year on the top side of this blog.

Over on the Ghostbusters II Books page you can now find the junior novel by B.B. Hiller and a coloring book. With the coloring book, I made an exception to my rule about not adding children's books to the project. Not because it is exceptionally well done, but rather quite the opposite. It is the "Troll 2" of Ghostbusters merchandise. It is truly "so bad, it's good". Just take a look at the book's depiction of the four guys:

Image

Yes, Ray has a mustache that would make Tom Selleck jealous, and Egon has lost his glasses (an essential element of the character) but gained poofy hair (for lack of a better description). I know that they can't draw the guys to look exactly like the actors, due to likeness rights, but they couldn't have drawn them to look more different if they tried. There's a way to make them somewhat resemble the actors without being exact likenesses. Just look at what the comics have done the past few years. Anyway, if there's one positive to the coloring book, it's that it was written up based on the script and not the final cut of the movie, so a lot of deleted scenes are represented in it. Also note that Kenner's The Real Ghostbusters toys are being used as the Ghostbusters' equipment (PDF page 50), and the Gigameter looks nothing like it does in the movie (PDF page 22). I can only guess that the artists were not shown a single photograph of the equipment from the movie set (and didn't think to look at photos or videos from the first movie), so they drew the equipment for the book based on what they could find from the animated series and their own ideas. And yet, the slime blower looks fairly accurate to its movie counterpart (PDF page 101).

Finally, I scanned in and made into a PDF ebook the Biltmore Hotel brochure I got back in 2004. You can find it on the Sedgewick/Biltmore Hotel page at the top of the Fun Facts section.

A big round of thanks to the tireless efforts of Matthew Jordan for helping to make a lot of these ebooks possible. Without your help, a lot of these books would have been forgotten decades ago. Richard Roy is also helping to preserve vintage Ghostbusters books. He just uploaded high-resolution scans of NOW's The Real Ghostbusters #1 and #2 comic books to the Ectocontainment's Comics section, and moved The Real Ghostbusters in Ghostbusters II trilogy from his old site to that page, too. You'll definitely want to check all of that out, and keep an eye on the Ectocontainment's Comics section for future updates.

[UPDATE - 2/25/2012]
I want to give a quick bit of thanks to the guys at the Ghostbusters Wiki for mentioning the eBook Preservation Project (and this update, specifically) on their site. Those guys understand exactly what the project is trying to accomplish.
The reason behind all this is because in most cases, the materials that are being covered are becoming harder to find and costly to get. This project is to help fans that don't have the funds or came along late in the game so to speak. The Preservation Project is just for that, to keep the history of ghostbusters available for future generations.
Although I'm the one to give the project a name, it is not my project, per se. It belongs to all Ghostbusters fans. Richard Roy is doing his part to preserve the past by scanning in the NOW comics. Matthew from the Ghostbusters Wiki has been helping with scanning, cleaning-up images, and providing materials that I don't have. I still have a LOT more work to do with my collection of items directly related to the movies and animated series. I'm hoping that other webmasters will put some out-of-print books and materials in high-quality formats on their sites as well. Maybe one of my fellow webmasters will want to start archiving all of the old West End Games RPG books. I may not be interested in them, but I'm sure that a lot of folks are, and would love to have the opportunity to read some of them.
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Ghostbusters The Video Game Unlockable Art Galleries

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Feb. 8, 2012 at 11:30 PM , Categories: Games
The realistic version of Ghostbusters: The Video Game contains art galleries which are unlocked as you progress through the game. Now on Spook Central you can view and/or download every single one of these 287 unlockable images. This also includes a few images that are NOT shown in the game, including the entire Thanksgiving Day Parade gallery from the deleted level.

For the first time anywhere, Spook Central is proud to present the lost (but not anymore) Thanksgiving Day Parade art gallery featuring that level's big boss: Blinkers, the Science Pup! You remember Blinkers, right? We saw him oh so briefly in the "Atari Live Trailer" from December 3, 2008 (stills below). Well, now you can see his concept art, as well as storyboards from his pre-fight cutscene (in the Miscellaneous gallery), and the rough cut video of that pre-fight cutscene! Also, it would seem that at one point in the parade level the player would have traversed through Ray's Occult Books, as there is concept art for it in that gallery, and a few concepts of jars that would have been on the shelves in the Miscellaneous section.

Image    Image

But that's not all! In addition to the parade gallery, there are a few hidden images in the other galleries, too. The images are there in the PC game's assets, but they're not shown in the galleries inside the game itself. One of these hidden images is the key to the Gozerian Alphabet in the Miscellaneous gallery. You can use it to decipher all of the hidden symbols seen here and there throughout the game (equip the PKE Meter in the Crypt Alley section of the cemetery to see some writing on the walls) and on some of the concept art. I tried it on some of the hidden Crypt Alley writing, but I couldn't get a clear enough shot to decipher more than a word and a few letters (which may be incorrect).

Image

TECHNICAL GARGON NOW STARTS
Here's where I now go into detail as to how I got these art gallery images out of the PC game assets and put them into the form you see on the website. If you're not interested in this information, you can stop reading now and go check out the art galleries.

All of these images are stored in the file w32art02.pod in the art\ui\tiles\ directory, with the thumbnails stored in the art\ui\thumbs directory. You can safely ignore the thumbnails, though a few thumbnails are also found in the tiles directory (they can be deleted). In each are the subdirectories: cemetery, hotel, hotelreturn, library, lostisland, misc, museum, parade, and timessquare. The images are stored as .tex files, with each image broken up into several parts ("tiles"). The game stores all of its textures and other image assets as .tex files, so the first three steps listed below can be used for any of the .tex files in the game. The programs mentioned in Steps 1-3 can be found on the PC Gaming page here on Spook Central.

   1. Use Dragon Unpacker to get the .tex files out of the .pod file.

   2. Convert from .tex to .dds using the Ghostbusters TEX Converter.

   3. Convert from .dds to lossless .bmp or .png using DDS Converter.

At this point we would have done everything necessary for the majority of the game's .tex files. You could then edit them in any image editor and then convert them to .jpg, .gif, or .png for the final file to be uploaded. With the unlockable art gallery images we have to do one more step because they are not stored as singular images.

You see, the art images are stored as 512x512 pixel pieces ("tiles"), which will need to be reassembled into single images. The file names give you a clue as to which part of the image it is. Anything with an "a" near the end is in the 1st row of the image, a "b" is the 2nd row, and so on. The numbers at the end tell you what column that part is in. A file with "b03" at the end of the filename is in the 2nd row, 3rd column.

For example "char_gravegollem001" contains 16 parts, in 4 rows and 4 columns.
Row 1: char_gravegollem001_a01.tex through char_gravegollem001_a04.tex
Row 2: char_gravegollem001_b01.tex through char_gravegollem001_b04.tex
Row 3: char_gravegollem001_c01.tex through char_gravegollem001_c04.tex
Row 4: char_gravegollem001_d01.tex through char_gravegollem001_d04.tex

Piece them together that way and you'll get the full-size image. Follow this methodology for the rest of the images, though not all of them are prefect squares like this example.

   4. Piece together the parts of each individual image one at a time using GlueIt v1.06 (requires .NET Framework v2.0).

When you run GlueIt, you will see a clean interface with four clearly defined steps. You need to run these steps on each set of image parts ONE AT A TIME! With 287 total complete images, this means you'll be doing this 287 times. Step 1 is simple: just open the image parts you want to glue together. Make sure they're listed in order. The easiest way to do that is to select them from the last one to the first in the file open dialog box; using Shift+Arrow Keys to highlight them all. Under Step 2 you'll need to put in the number of columns, which varies per image set, but is always easily determined by looking at the highest number at the end of the filenames. In the above example of "char_gravegollem001", you'll notice the numbering goes up to "04", so that means that there are 4 columns in that image. After typing in "4" in the Number of Columns field, press the big "GlueIt" button. A preview window will pop up, but since there are no scrollbars in it, you probably won't be able to see the entire glued image, rendering the preview rather useless. Ignore "Step 3 - Preview" as it doesn't really show you the glued image all that well. Move on to Step 4, where you select the output format (.bmp, .png, or .jpg) for the reassembled image, and save it where every you want. Now press the "Clear" button under Step 1 and start all over again on the next set of image pieces.

   5. (OPTIONAL) In your favorite image editor, crop the excess blackness from each image (you'll have to do it one-by-one as the amount of blackness differs per image) and when you're satisfied with the final image, save it to .jpg or .png (or .gif for some of the images with lesser colors, if you want).

That's all there is to it. It may not seem like a lot of work - only five easy steps - but since Steps 4 and 5 have do be done on a per image basis, can't be automated, and there are almost 300 images, it gets to be quite the task. So with that in mind, if you want to use any of my converted and reassembled art gallery images on your site, you are free to use a few of them (no more than 20 across all galleries), but please give me credit and a link. The source material may be a PC video game that a lot of people own and could extract the images from themselves, but it took a helluva lot of work to get them looking as nice and neat as you see on this site, and I doubt that anyone else is going to bother to do all of that work themselves when I've already done it for everyone, so a little credit isn't too much to ask.
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In Loving Memory of Joel Richard Rudoff (July 28, 1944 - January 20, 2014)

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