Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Map of Langhuishan - Shenmue 2 Unused Asset

Unlike Shenmue I where Ryo is comfortable and familiar with his hometown environment, in Shenmue II Ryo is a stranger in a strange land. Fortunately he has some options available to find his way around.

One of these are the handy map stands dotted around the city areas that Ryo can purchase for $10 a pop (if Ryo hasn't spent all his cash on capsule toys). Buying a map results in it being superimposed in real-time on the screen.

Ryo at the map stand
"Buy a map... or buy capsule toys..."
Ryo purchases a map of Workers Pier
"Guess I've got enough capsule toys for now."

Workers Pier map on the HUD
Real-time map on the HUD
Clearly it is the city areas where a map will be most useful, but I came across a very interesting finding when browsing the image files on disk...


The map images used up in the display are stored on the disk as individual image files. For example, the Workers Pier image for the map above looks like this:

Workers Pier map image
Map of Workers' Pier
as it exists on disk

Langhuishan

Langhuishan loading screen
Ryo arrives in Guilin

Langhuishan is the small riverside village in Guilin to which Ryo travels to by boat near the end of Shenmue II. It consists of a few small stalls and shops, and a road that leads away along a tributary of the main river.



Langhuishan wharf
The village appears to be deserted on arrival...


Unused Asset


Among the map image files on the last disk of Shenmue II, I found a map created just for this village. This map is not displayed during the normal course of the game.

Comparing the map details with the actual game some minor differences. The position of some of the small stalls has changed, the size of the Langhui shop should be larger than shown and a large wooden shelter near the wharf is missing. Other areas like the wharf and shape of the road are accurate.

Langhuishan map image
The unused map of Langhuishan
Langhuishan map - differences with actual location
Minor differences with the in-game layout highlighted

Being such a small village, a map is hardly necessary so it's easy to understand why there is no map for sale there, and hence it remained an unused asset in the game.

Ryo on the Langhuishan wharf
Ryo searches in vain for a map stand.
It would have been quite amusing if Ryo actually came across a map stand selling a tiny map for this village when he disembarked - given the village size, perhaps at a more reasonable price of $5 HKD instead of the usual $10!

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