refugee avatar b/w photo of me as a child, wearing what my mom thinks looks good, but which in fact makes me look like a refugee--overcoat, hat, glum expression. There is no other significance to the name Refugee Welcome Megatokyo Forumites! (Not that anybody else bothers....)
Hi, ACDragonMaster!
Here's the Original Post in the Story Discussions forum on the Megatokyo website.

The MegaGamers Floor Plans for
Fred Gallagher's Megatokyo

"Our House is a Very Very Fine House"

megagamers 1st floor The following zip files contain GIF images of the three floors at different sizes.
Plans (large) (900 x 575), 28 KB
Plans (medium) (710 x 450), 21 KB
Plans (small) (575 x 380), 17 KB

It looks like the Stair Closet(360 x 265, 5 KB) can't really fit under the stair. This drawing outlines the problem.

This zip file (28 KB) contains the editable and resizable AutoCAD-compatible *.DWG files each GIF was generated from.

Introduction

"Where the hell is Ping?"

That's really all I wanted to know. I was going through the Ping v. Display Case scene, trying again to understand a pivotal plot point. I started working out the blocking, that is, where the characters are standing and how they move.

Turned out, I needed a rough floor plan. I fired up IntelliCAD and started drawing walls.

Turned out, Ping was going places I hadn't seen before. I fired up TextPad and started taking notes.

Turned out, I'm an scarily obsessive, whacko fanboy with logorrhea, and simply could not stop even after I'd answered my original question.

This is the result: The Not-In-Any-Way-Whatsoever-Official Megagamers Floorplans, With Commentary, Sundry Story Notes, and Occasional Drool.

Here's the Original Post in the Story Discussions forum on the Megatokyo website. I got many interesting replies, which are well worth reading, and which I will eventually incorporate in here. However, this thread has been zombified at least once, so please do NOT post additional comments into it. You can PM at the site, if you are a registered user there, or email me at:

refugee at tcsam dot uh dot edu

My main purpose here is to provide reference floor plans to others trying to follow scene blocking.

In general, I welcome suggestions, corrections, and hoots of derisive laughter. In particular, if you find links that don't go where or don't show what the text claims they do, let me know.

However, suggestions that I resume my medication will be ignored, as The Voices have made it clear they will punish me severely else.

Caveats

Source

This work is mostly based on the comics up through [500] or so. Changes will be made as Fred's art, and his comments, if any, provide additional information.

Document Formatting

I composed this document with the simplified HTML used in the forums. Rather than rework it to true HTML, I just cut and pasted this HTML from the View Source window on my browser. Consequently, the formatting is very rough. I'm working on it; please bear with me.

Fred Bashing

Necessarily, I've noted many anomalies, variations, and what I believe to be outright mistakes, in Fred's original art. This should not be taken as a criticism of Fred's architecting or cartooning skills.

Fred-the-architect knows a lot more about building design than I do; he may have excellent reasons for doing things a certain way that override my ignorant concerns. Also, he may be able to finesse things that caused me problems. He may also be reproducing bugs/features he's seen in real buildings. (Megagamers appears to be a retrofit of an older building, possibly a residence; all sorts of weirdness appears in those circumstances.)

Fred-the-artist is not concerned with the exact dimensions of things; he wants attractively-composed frames. For instance, he seems to have a habit of randomly adding display cases as background filler in specific frames.

Fred's designing the world as he goes. The front doors went through at least two different push bars before Fred settled on an automatic sliding door that didn't need them.

Also, Fred's good, but he's not perfect. His world is very complex; there's a huge variety of details for him to track. Every once in a while, he drops one. Ferex, I believe that, as drawn, the stairway blocks the door to the closet. (I'd love to be proven wrong, though, and will correct my drawing if I am.)

Far from being meant to criticize Fred, this project showed me that he is in very good control of a bewilderingly complex story set in a richly detailed world. None of the errors or variations I've found affect the story in any way. Fred may not know how big his display cases are, but he always knows where his characters are and what they're doing.

The truly amazing thing is how much information I could extract from the art on design details and character movement Fred doesn't show directly.

Legal

Megatokyo itself, and the characters therein are all copyright Fred Gallagher.

These comments Copyright 2004 by Dave Moore, a.k.a. Refugee. You may copy or excerpt the floorplan drawings and these comments for non-commercial use as long as you credit me.

I speak for me; the views expressed herein are not necessarily those of my employer or anyone else.

Conventions

I use the American floor-naming convention, which puts the first floor, a.k.a. the ground floor, at street level.

Even though they probably do things differently in Japan, I've used what I know: English units, and American frame construction (and I'm by no means an expert in framing, although I've been on the handle end of the hammer for a few dozen houses. Neither am I a draftsman, much less an architect, as will be obvious to anyone who's spent time with real blueprints.)

Left-right orientation is assigned facing the store front from the sidewalk. A.k.a. "Building right" and "Building left". This is the default orientation.

Drawing Commentary

General

First Appearance of MegaGamers: [87]

It's an interior view, evidentally the left side of the central aisle. The book case seems to be almost right up against the wall; later episodes make it clear that there is at least one more case before the wall.

The wall itself is covered in a large (2-3 ft. squares) waffle pattern. The squares don't look deep enought to be shelves.

This is Yuki and Piro's second meeting; the first was in a bookstore, not MG. [043]. The sign out front is different, there are section signs hanging from the ceiling, and the bookcases are much lower.

This is probably the same bookstore we see in [0384], although here the section signs are on top of the shelves, not on the ceiling.

In [384.3], Largo and Sonoda are visible through the window.

Compass Orientation

In [387.6] the horizon is lit behind the MG building, while the sky is dark and the front is in shadow. This being an evening scene, these details suggest the sunset, and thus the West, is to the rear of the building. The lower part of the building is presumably lit by building or street lights.

And again in [505.1], there's a gradient shade in the sky over Megagamers, presumably indicating sunset. This again would mean that MG faces East, with the sun setting to the rear.

Then, in the next strip, we see similar gradients in panels [506.1, .4]; these are views to what would be, based on [505], South and North. If West is to the rear of MG, you might expect some gradient in both the North and South, so this is not terribly inconsistent.

I'm willing to tentatively accept that MG faces East. This makes the left side South, the right side North, and the rear West.

Scale

What we see in the comic are sketches, not scaled drawings. There's no way for us to know exactly how big things really are. (Although I do wish Fred had been a bit more consistent about drawing ceiling tiles; it would've been like having a two by four foot scaling grid over everything. As it is, they are a stern warning that Megatokyo is drawn on rubber.) Accordingly, I've made estimates, even flat out guesses, about most dimensions. Sometimes the drawings suggest a dimension which I simply could not make work; I've used what I thought would.

I've used a couple of frames to establish the overall scale of the building.

[308.1] is a good general front elevation, with little or no perspective. It divides nicely in thirds, and if you assume that the floors are each 10 ft high, including framing and the space above the false ceilings, then the store is about 20 ft. wide. Unfortunately, that's not quite enough, as I make it, for all the display cases to fit. After waving my hands in the air about the low precision of scaling a sketch, I decided to go with a width of 22 ft.

[308] seems to show that the doorway is not centered; the left window is wider than the right. However, [264.1] is much ore balanced; further, we see that the sidewalk slabs are roughly lined up with the storefront, and it's reasonable to assume that they were poured to equal widths.

First Floor

Front Door

There are three different versions of the front door:

[460.8] pretty clearly shows that the right hand panel, the one with the logo on it, is the inside panel, which is what you'd expect so it can make the mechanical connection to the opener. However, [482.1] shows it being on the outside.

Blurry close-up from video cell phone [492.1] (and you young whippersnappers have no idea how much it pleases me to be able to write that phrase and not be writing SF; why, in my day, even when we made movies showing video phones, they were great clunky things the size of ATMs; not even Arthur C. Clarke imagined carrying one around in your pocket. I do so dearly love living in the future.) shows the latch on the outer panel. (The drawing follows the lead of [482] and [492].)

As late as [207.4] and [211.4] there is what appears to be a pull handle on the front door exterior.

Also note in the Fool Fanboy peeking around the partially opened door.[492.5] I'm surprised he can do this; he seems to have kept the door from opening all the way. Also, many small shops like this have a bell at the door. He should not have been able to enter the store unnoticed. (Of course, the much-maligned Largo did notice....)

[353.1] is an excellent overall view of the central aisle, showing the bookcases, the table, and the by-now standard sliding doors (the opening mechanism casing is visible over the door).

[384.6] shows a variant front door only a single panel wide.

Logo

The Megagamers logo stenciled on the door has also gone through several changes:

The logo is correctly reversed in [353.3], but [460.2, .8] shows the "g" backwards while still on the correctly reversed left leg of the "m". This is a fairly common error, occurring as late as [492.5].

Main Display Cases

Numerous variants are portrayed, but I think they mostly appear as 3' sections with dividers on 12" centers. Sections can be daisy chained, as seen in the main aisle cases.

The cases are double sided and taper bottom to top, with 12" bottom shelves and 6" top shelves (total width 24" bottom, 12" top.)

The aisles between them are about 16"; very narrow at the base, but about 28" at the top.

I have no idea how tall the cases are; Fred's all over the map on this one. The size of the room constrained the footprint, but the only constraint on height is the trade off between shelf space, gravity and loss control. My guess is that the cases are no more than five feet tall so employees can see where the customers are. Also, since the cases don't appear to be anchored, you'd expect taller cases to be even more prone to tipping.

There are shelves or one-sided cases against the left-most wall. Probably the best overall view of the left central aisle is the start of The Fool's Progress.[492.7]. Note the three daisy-chained sections.

In [87],Yuki is at the left main case, which here is shorter than she is. Sometimes, though, the cases are taller than Erika.

Fred's drawn several different versions of the main aisle cases.
Left-hand main aisle case. [88.2] We see 3 sections, and corner of a fourth. This is a long case. Comparing with [87] and [492], an excellent example of how Fred has modified the MG design over time.

Interesting optical illusion here: Scroll the frame up until the top of the case just grazes the top of the browser window. Now drag the slider up and down, so that the case scrolls off the screen and back again. The case appears to rotate, due to the different shelf angles from parallax.

In [91.2] there are two fairly long cases on the left, with a wide gap between the endcaps. There's another very long case behind these two, then some wall shelves.

Normally, these display cases end well in front of the desk, but there are exceptions. [173.6] Here, the left case extends well behind the desk.

The Best View to the Left, no lie. [334.3]

"Wow," indeed.

This is one of the top-3 rear[300.6] views[498] in the series at this writing. [Pauses to wipe drool.]

We are drooling...staring... um, gazing in more or less respectful worship to the left from the desk.

Cubby-case to rear...ahem, our right. Good tail...DE-tail, that is, view of, um, lower, um, cubby construction.

Note double-row of cases, and very tight...uh...very close spacing between rows. There's barely enough room to walk sideways between them. Imagine if you had to pass, say, a store employee bending down to restock the shelves...well, it'd certainly be close quarters. Hmm, broken arms don't take that long to heal in MT; it might be worth it....

Case cross section is clear as well; twice as wide at the bottom...er...floor as at the top.

Erika is again going left and to the back of the store to get "maybe something San Rio" for Piro. This is odd, because I'd expect her to go to the Cosplay dept. upstairs, and the stair case opens on the right, not the left. Perhaps there's something in the corridor behind the staircase.

(Story note: All of Erica's costume choices for Piro seem to be wussified, feminized characters based on fierce predators. Of course, he donned his first cosplay role almost by accident, but Erika wanted him to complete it: a cutesy tiger costume that included a skirt. I suspect that she'd been watching him, and had seen how he behaved with Yuki. And again, contrast with Pirogoeth: a guy presenting as a cute girl presenting as a fierce predator. Erika's made essentially the same observation about Piro that Miho has.

(I've also wondered about the possibility that Piro is Erika's pet fanboy. If so, she must really enjoy tormenting him with the very trappings of fandom.)

Also note display shelving against the left wall, and the variant crosswise ceiling panels.

Yes, this image deserves a great deal of careful study, yes indeedy do. Just look at all that critical detail....

During his brief appearance, annoying though he is to the other characters, the Fool Fanboy does several small services for us, from confirming that the front door is automatic, to showing us an excellent, if somewhat blurry view of the left main case.[492.7] It has six rows of shelves, of varying heights. Oddly, although the case is aligned with the ceiling tiles, it goes diagonally across the floor boards.

Short Display Cases (on right)

As I see it, the short, crosswise cases on the right side only come up even with the desk. Fred occasionally [273.2] draws in extras for esthetic filler, but there's not really room for them; they'd block the staircase.

The Big Scene for the short cases, of course, is Ping's crash, starting at [460].

[461.2] Piro and Kimiko enter the crash zone around the end of the right-hand main case, in front of the desk.

[461.5] seems to show a case taller than Piro.

[461.6] has the case maybe five sections long.

[463.1] suggests a very short case, only a single section. If it were longer, the high end to our left would tip over using Piro as a fulcrum.

[463.2] suggests the case isn't very tall, either: Piro is substantially taller.

[463.4] is taken from in front of the desk.The fallen case is quite short, what I believe to be about correct. But note that it is taller than it was 463.2].

[465.5] Ping stands at the end of the left main case, looking from the left, across the aisle in front of the desk. Note that the right main case comes short of the crosswise fallen case.

The cases all seem much taller than Piro and Kimiko here.

[465.6] Oh, Ping. Break my heart. Ping turns to her left to return the med-kit to the stairwell closet, but can't look away from Piro and Kimiko.

[471.1] Case is slightly taller than Piro.

[473.4] This shot is down the aisle between the main left-side case and the shorties. Going by the ceiling tiles, these cases may be no longer than about 2 feet long. I can't make them any longer than about 3 ft. long and make them fit the available space.

Nevertheless, [473.6] shows the individual sections of the case being roughly 2 ft. long, not much shy of being as wide as the whole case can reasonably be themselves. These extra-long cases appear again in [475.7].

Yes folks, it's the amazing extensible bookcase!

I saw a Candid Camera episode about this once; no matter how carefully the carpenter measured and cut the new shelf, it never seemed to fit the case. He finally caught it changing in size, at which point Alan Funt appeared.

Alan Funt: Hacker Mage, Holy Goof, God of Funny.

[475.7] is also interesting because we can see Ping and Piro in the same shot. Fred has made the main aisle case invisible to obtain this view.

Finally, we can see three, possibly four cases lined up on this side of the aisle. In fact, I think four can fit easily, and only putting three there confers no advantage over just having another lengthwise case in the same spot. Also, note how wide those case-sections are. I've put four in, and seriously considered six. Ping stands behind the rear-most case.

[484]Behind Kimiko, we see the right hand case across the main aisle. Ping stands at the left endcap of the restored case, but there's not really any room there; the case should be snuggled against the wall. By the same token, our viewpoint is impossible. (If you watch for it, you'll notice this is something Fred does routinely.)

Front Desk

Fred's played around a lot with the front desk, mainly in the clutter surrounding the cash register.

An excellent example is [155.1],. Note the blotter in front of Piro, and the toy on top of the cash register. The pamphlet rack in front of the register often appears; the one at the left end, not so much.

Then there's the carousel to the left, which only appears this once[173.6] .

Usually,[217.3] the desk is wide enough for two. Sometimes, [449.4]it's really wide. Occasionally,[387.2] though, it shrinks, and can only accommodate one.

(By the way, [387.2] is an exceptionally sharp and clear rendering of the desk and environs.)

[420.1] gives us a rare view of the rear of the desk, with the usual employee memos taped to a drawer.

Both Piro and Erika pass the time by reading [341.3].

I had originally thought Erika's weapon is from Clannad. It turns out her costume is, but the weapon is from [i]Mahoromatic.[/i][/a][via JeroenB] As JB points out, it works from both clips and belts.

Desk Lighting

Fred's also tried some different lighting; in [160.4] he installed crosswise ceiling fixtures over the desk, but mostly we just see the standard lengthwise fixtures. [273.1]. These appear as late as [503.1], so Fred's probably settled on them.

Toy Case [89.1]

I had a hard time figuring out where this is, and how the blocking for the scene works. Doesn't help that the toy case only appears twice. From our viewpoint, the case is against the left end of a wall. In the distance, behind Piro peeking around the end of the case, is another case.

Once I had a relatively complete plan, I found there's only one place in the store where this configuration exists: the left end of the wall behind the desk. The case seen behind Piro is a wall unit on the left.

The toy case appeared once more [107.1], but was then dropped from the cast after an embarrassing incident in an unfinished-furniture shop.

Having completed court-supervised treatment for tung-oil addiction, the toy case is currently employed by an orphanage as part of a community-service settlement.

Cubby Hole Display [263.5]

After a 156-episode-long talent search, the coveted role was finally filled. Cubby has proven reliable if somewhat stodgy, and is now a show regular, as well as mentor to the numerous furniture extras that crowd the showroom floor from time to time. Cubby is given to regaling everyone with more-or-less exciting tales arising from a long stint in a military museum gift shop.

Normally, the Cubby goes almost to the edge of wall behind the desk, but in [385.2], it's set in by a foot or so. The wall is not long enough for this to make sense. (And the wall length is pretty well set by the stairway in it.)

Nice detail on the shelving, though.

Staircase and Back Storage Corridor.

If there's a Cosplay sales area upstairs, there must necessarily be stairs to get to it. (In fact, two stairs: I've assumed a fire exit to the external stair going up to the apartment.)

The wall behind the desk is the front wall of the staircase going up to the second floor. Behind the staircase is a corridor which stretches across the back of the building, with doorways on either side.

Unfortunately, there are, as yet, no specific views of either the second floor or even the stairs themselves.

However, it's possible to make some reasonable assumptions about the size of the stair, and we do have some details of the corridor behind it. As noted earlier, there's about 10 ft. between floors. If you use American stair-building standards, which suggest risers about 8" tall and treads 10" wide, the stair footprint turns out to be about 11' 8" long.

Because of the way I chose to frame the stairwell, the front wall is 145" (12' 1") wide. The back wall is a little longer, 156" (13'). There might be room for some additional fudging here, but not more than a few inches either way, I think,

The first hint we have of how all this works is when Erika goes to change [272.1].. She goes past the left side of the staircase, and we can see a doorway, but no door. The staircase, judging by the ceiling tiles (nominally 2 ft by 4 ft, but these look almost square) is 8 ft, wide, but of course that would be a grand staircase indeed; I've set the width at 32", plus 5" walls on either side.

The question is, where is she going? She's not going upstairs to Cosplay, where there might be a changing room; we can't see a stair opening here. (Accordingly, the stair landing is at the right side of the desk.) I doubt she'd just step into a doorless corridor and take her clothes off, either, hr hr hr.

Stair Closet

And so we come to [465.2]. This is the drawing that set me off on this whole quest. Ping, having knocked a bookcase over onto Piro, frantically goes in search of the first aid kit.

But where the hell is she?

In examining this frame, I began cursing Fred for not drawing a simple wall properly. That wall left of the door just doesn't look right. It's a simple flat wall, but seems crooked. Then there's those shelves. I don't get it.

I went forward a few frames to [470.1].. Poor Ping, having discovered that her medical services are not needed, goes off and hides behind a book case somewhere.

Only it's not a bookcase. It pooches out about the right depth, but has no shelves. Plus, it goes all the way to the ceiling. And this space -- it doesn't look like anything else in the shop we've seen so far.

Where the hell is Ping now?

I flipped back and forth between 465 and 470 a few times.

Oh.

Fred, as it turns out, is not an idiot, and does in fact know how to draw walls. The details that troubled me are actually critical clues to the closet's location.

In [465], Ping is in a tiny closet under the stair case. In [470], she's leaning against the closed closet door, half-hidden by the wall sticking out to accommodate the closet shelves. The wall actually is crooked.

So how big, exactly, is that closet?

I'm sorry to report that as I make it out, the closet doesn't fit under the staircase. As drawn, the stairs themselves encroach so badly on the closet that they block the top third of the door frame. If the back wall of closet (that is, the building-right wall) is built to be no less than six feet tall, then the door must be at the extreme left end of the staircase. But then there is no space for the closet shelf niche.

The stairs could be made steeper, but to clear the given door, they'd have to almost be a ladder.

I'd've put the door at the end of the case. That would yield a plenty big closet. The door would be exposed to customers, rather than hidden in the back corridor, but I don't think that's as onerous as bonking your head every time you go for the broom.

If anyone can suggest a way to finesse this, let me know.

In the closet, there's some kind of canister on the floor to Ping's right, possibly a vacuum cleaner (although Piro's always using the broom visible behind Ping) or a can of kerosene for a heater we haven't seen yet.

In the hallway, there's a couple of displaced ceiling tiles. When I first saw these, I thought they might be story-relevant, but the fact is, such tiles always end up being displaced, and since these are in an employee-only area, no one's bothered to put them back. An entirely authentic random detail.

There's also a pile of boxes at the far left end. They probably block the left hand door going to the showroom, so they probably don't stay there long. Why are they there at all?

I'm guessing that there's a delivery door there, and what we're seeing is the day's shipping and receiving. The shelves to our left block our view of the door.

I can only find a single view of the left hand display wall [470.4]. We can also see the display shelf under the left hand window. There's what looks to be a light switch over Ping's head. She's peeking around a very short wall, not the staircase itself but the frame for the corridor doorway.

In [477.1], we see what should be the stairwell opening between Erika and Kimiko. Instead, there's what appears to be another display case.

In [503.2, .4], there's a sliver of the right hand corridor doorway visible. To its right is yet another phantom display case; there's less than two feet between the corridor doorway and the right wall, so the case can't fit. (Also note that the case from 477.1 is gone now.)

What appears to be another phantom display case[501.2]is visible between Piro and Largo. It's not Cubby, which is visible between Largo and Erika. This case would be in the space at the end of the staircase, in front of the left corridor entrance.

Second Floor

We know the Cosplay section is on the second floor because of this conversation [341.3]. All the exterior shots show a wide window, possibly a sliding glass door, with a very narrow balcony in front of it.

It's a pretty safe assumption that there's a railing around the open sides of the staircase.

Since there's an external stair coming down from the 3rd floor apartment, it's very reasonable to think there's a fire escape door for the 2nd floor.

Frankly, that's all we actually know. Everything else below is pretty much pure conjecture.

Usually, the second floor front window looks like a sliding glass door with either 2 or three [308.1] sections.

In [264.1], however, there's either two sections with interior details vaguely visible, or as many 8 tall, thin sections, shutters on either side, and a pair of long horizontal lights over the main window. There is, however, no balcony. There's also something sitting on the right corner of the main Megagamers sign; can't quite make it out.

We don't often see the boss; he hides out somewhere. I'm betting he's got a 2nd floor office, which I've put in the space behind the stairwell, over the storage corridor. He's got a long window so that he can keep watch over the cosplay merchandise, but I'm suspicious he actually keeps the blinds down. I note he did not make an appearance for Ping's Crash; perhaps he's accustomed to a certain amount of mayhem around Hayasaka, and has learned to keep his head down.

I've put a second floor restroom for customers and employee at the rear left end, at the head of the stairs, and under where I believe the apartment toilet is.

I've added a bench there so it can be used as a changing room as well.

I went back and forth on whether or not there should be a stall around the toilet. Is this a common Japanese practice in public toilets?

Third floor apartment.

Door

[182.1] shows the apartment door being only a foot or two away from the right wall. Also note the wall to our left parallel to the right wall, and the flat ceiling over the door. This implies that the rear of the building may have a storage loft running along it, like the one running along much of the left wall. The short wall to the left would be the end of the loft. Since there are several views showing this little entrance way, I've included the loft on my drawing.

The views at [387.7] and [390.4] show the wall to the left of the door very clearly. Also note the stack of boxes to the right of the door, placing it several feet away from the right wall.

However, [396.6] shows no rear loft.

Sometimes [207.1] the apartment door opens outward. Usually, though, the door opens inward[390.1, .2].

Apartment Interior

The apartment first appears in [182] It seems much smaller than the main showroom floor. The left wall is lined with various storage and utility modules, including a kitchenette and refrigerator. The toilet might possibly be here as well (sliding door at the front end), although I hope not. Another possibility is that this is a closet or closed shelving, as in Tsubasa's apartment [127.6].

The square feature on the ceiling is a light fixture [396.2]. (Look how short the pull chain is; how are you supposed to turn this thing on?)
At first I thought it was a vent for the air conditioner unit on the roof [140.5].
There seems to be a tatami [298.1] mat covering at least some of the floor.

Note the rabbit eared TV; odd because there's an aerial on the roof.

The Sera's eye view [396.3] shows us a good chunk of the rear of the apt. Again, though, the apt seems much smaller than the first floor salesroom, particularly considering that there's no back corridor.

We see Piro fall asleep in 396 amidst a clutter of old boxes, but when he wakes, he's surrounded by Largo's system.[402.4] Pretty impressive night's work for Largo, I think. We also get a good look at the left-hand storage modules under the loft shelf.

For some reason, Largo's brought up a couple of very geek-chic gas cylinders.[403.5] I'd love to have one or two in my living room; it's a mystery to me that they have not been featured in a Seraphim Check. Regrettably, he is not following safe handling practice: the bottles are not properly secured against tipping.

Getting the cylinders up the stairs must have been a strenuous exercise, but Largo actually seems to be fairly well knit. He's not Mr. Universe, but he's not a blob either. Still, you have to wonder: how the heck did Largo get all that kit up the stairs, into the apartment, and assembled, without Piro waking?

If Largo follows Sangamon's Principle, the cylinders may contain nitrous oxide.

Infamous Japanese Toilet [408.2]

Ah. This has caused me a certain amount of anguish. The closest we have to a definitive position is the sliding door noted above in [182.1], but other evidence is contradictory. The front-left location is inauspicious, because it's right next to the window, which I would take to be the preferred socializing area--in effect, the living room. Ick. I'd much rather have it at the rear wall.

Background

My understanding is that, as well as being a flushable update of a traditional design, it also allows you to inspect your feces, German toilets, while providing a seat, also have an inspection shelf. Both designs are alleged by some to be difficult to flush properly, and many photos of Japanese toilets show a waterspray gun hanging on the wall to facilitate cleaning.

Apparently the Japanese are converting to western-style thrones, although the Germans remain tradition bound.

On the other hand, I've heard that the squatting position is healthier: it arranges the relevant muscles better, or something. Prevents hemorrhoids. Keeps the knees supple. Deters urinary incontinence in older women. Discourages dawdling. Probably helps you quit smoking, who knows.

Folks from cultures that use squat-toilets apparently are sometimes horrified at the thought of sitting down. "You...you actually let your body TOUCH the filthy thing? You unclean savage!" Given some of the photos I've seen and stories I've heard, this is not an unreasonable attitude.

Japanese restrooms are apparently traditionally equipped with special thick-soled sandals that are only used with the toilet, because the floors are in fact often...awash.

Squat toilets work best for cultures where robes predominate. Pants are very cumbersome.

It seems every western traveler who has visited a squat-toilet-using culture has taken pictures and posted them on their websites. A Google search will yield many additional photos with amused/appalled commentary.

Location

[408.2] is not in context; it only shows the toilet cubicle, and not the surroundings, although it appears to have a wooden floor in front of it. [492.7] blurrily suggests that there's a wooden floor in the main showroom, and that the planks lay lengthwise there, so this could be taken as evidence that the toilet is at the back, not the side.

The cubicle seems to have a sliding door. We can't see the knob or door pull for it.

In [412.1], the ceiling is seen sloping to the side, and the plumbing connections are against a gable. The toilet's orientation says this would be the front left gable. As it happens, this would complicates the plumbing, since the drain pipe almost certainly is in the left wall (otherwise it would run down behind the display window), and you'd like to avoid extra bends to prevent clogging. Also, we've seen the roof at the left front corner, and there's no vent pipe, essential for proper operation. Most importantly, perhaps, is that there is likely an employee/customer restroom on the second floor; it's pretty common practice to stack restrooms on different floors; and it seems preferable to put a restroom at the back of the building, rather than up at, again, the window.

Oddly, there are views ([390.7], for one) that clearly show the roof sloping towards the back wall, in what's called a hip roof. This is inconsistent with the exterior views and the [396.6] interior. So, the fact that [408] and [412] show sloping ceilings is not conclusive.

Unfortunately, [396.6] also clearly shows that there is no loft against the back wall, and no toilet cubicle.

[182.2], [408.2], and [412.1] are inconsistent with each other in what they show to our right of the cubicle.

In short, there's massively contradictory evidence here as to not only the location of the toilet, but the overall geometry of the apartment.

I'm going to exploit the confusion by simply declaring that the second and third floor toilets are in the rear left corner of the building. Each has a small vent window as shown in [408.2] and [412.1]; the rear location gives them clear access to air and light, rather than forcing them to open against the within-touching-distance wall of the adjacent building on the left.

Update (24 Apr 2004): Fred has since commented, briefly and enigmatically, and confirmed that the apartment toilet at least is on the back wall. New art in chap. 5 seems to suggest it is located immediately next to the door, but this has yet to be confirmed either by Fred or by an unequivocal interior view.

Apartment Window

Like many Megagamers features, the apt. window changes size several times. There's always 2 rows of panes, but while 2 column[264.1]and 4 column[182.2] versions exist, 3 columns[455.4]are most common. This particular view is interesting because I think you can make out Largo's 133t setup through the window. This position gives him a lookout over the main approach to the building.

There's a Kitchenette[206.1] in the apt. Although barely visible in [402.1], way in the back; this view establishes the kitchenette pretty far back on the left side. I see no evidence of a stove or even a hotplate, although I wouldn't be surprised by either.

Roof

Front

Frame [140.5] shows the right roof, with the air conditioning unit and the aerial. If this is part of a normal A/C, it's the condenser. Where are the evaporator (cooling coils) and the compressor?

We also have a pretty good left view[455.5]. This shows the other side of the AC condenser and its insulated coolant line.

There's also a TV aerial. It's hard not to wonder if the building has cable these days.

Roof Top Battlefield[302]

Sera and Asmo face off on what could well be the Megagamers rooftop; roof tiles are the same as in [455.4]. If so, judging by the ridge tile overlaps, Asmo is to the front, facing back, but not so far front that we can see the AC unit, which would be on his right in [300.2]. This might help keep his weapons stash hidden from the street.

However, other [308.1] roof views indicate a much steeper slope on one side than the other. Both sides seem fairly equal here.

There also seems to a another plane of existence where conscience (and anti-conscience) folk are full sized, rather than being shoulder-sitters. This fight might take place there.

Rear roof

Although exterior shots of the rear show a gabled roof, some indoor views, like those at [387.7] and particularly [390.4] show a hipped roof--note how the ceiling slants, rather than the wall going straight up to the roof to form a triangle. Exterior views [199.1] tend to show a gable roof. There's also at least one [396.6]interior view showing a gable roof.

Exterior Stair and Balcony

There's an exterior stair[184] going up the left side of the building that leads to the apartment balcony.

I've assumed that there's an emergency exit landing on the second floor.

Note the corrugated sheet roof. Corrugations are usually shown crosswise[184.8], but in views of the street-level landing[308.1] the corrugations are lengthwise. Crosswise would be better, because lengthwise corrugations would dump rain water at the stair entrance. Brrr.

Based on [184], I think the stair landing is set too far back to visible in any of the street views. Also, the building would have to be at least five feet shorter than I've made it out to be, which would really cramp the showroom.

Note the trash bin at the foot of the stairs. This appears consistently in street level and balcony views.

A surprising amount of conversation and *ahem* less savory activities take place on the back balcony. [199]

Other views[201.1] of the balcony make it seem long enough to span the rear of the building.

Conclusion

Look carefully at most other web comics; heck, at any weekly-or-better comic. Check for background detail and character blocking. See if you think you could put together floor plans this detailed from any of them.

Despite the numerous discrepancies I've encountered, this project leaves me completely in awe of Fred's efforts to build a well-textured, coherent, believable setting for his story.