Author Topic: FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?  (Read 20845 times)

Srethron Askvelhtnod

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« on: 2001-02-02 22:18:00 »
Ok, The Skillster asked me, so I guess I'll start the post. I won't be surprised if this is one of those that doesn't get any replies though. It really seems like a lot of work.

This is about remaking FF7 in case you didn't know. This is a good time for those who aren't interested to quit reading. Also, keep in mind that this goes against the copyright and end-user agreement, so we'd be risking the wrath of Square.

The first order of business is to figure out what we want. What do we want to do? Do you we just want to change some of the dialogue and maybe a location or two? Maybe modify some limits? Enhance the graphics?

If that's all we're doing, it probably wouldn't be near as hard, but is it worth doing? I'm going to treat this discussion as if we've decided to go for a lot more. Does this seem feasible? I'm very skeptical, but it would be fun if we could.

Let's say we're going to:
-Improve or change some or all graphics, dialogue, sounds, and music
-Add completely new parts to the story
-edit the .AVIs
-Edit existing locations and add new ones
-Other (Heck, be my guest here. I really don't want to go overboard, but with some of the stuff I've mentioned, I think I already have. Multiplayer *would* be an interesting feature...)

Ok, we know what we want to do (a lot). How the heck are we going to do it? I see three options right off the bat on how to proceed.

1. Use the existing game engine(s) and modify it where necessary to suit our purposes.
2. Create our own engine(s).
3. Use existing engine(s).

|_If we choose #1, we need to be able to edit and/or create:
-Character/NPC models, .a files, etc.
-All aspects of the level files (images, scripts, locations, text)
-Sounds and music
-.TEX files
-All aspects of the battle files (models, enemies, limits, spells, items, etc.)
-The World Map
-The menu system

Out of this currently we can do:
-Text
-Music (and probably sounds with a little more work)
We're getting there with the 3d models and a few other things, but we can't really do much at the moment.

|_ If we choose #2, we'll have to do a *ton* of programming as we're practically making a game (think about as long as Legacy). We'd need a 3D engine or five for the Field, World Map, Battles, and Minigames. We'd also have to recreate the menu system, among numerous other things. Then, we'd have to copy and/or import 3D models, sounds, create our own scripts, AI and program routines, etc., etc.

|_ If we choose #3, we'd be doing many of the same things if we were doing #2. First we'd have to find an existing engine that suited our purposes, maybe even several of them. Then, we'd have to figure out how to implement FF7's Field, Battle, World Map, and Menu Systems. Next order of business would be copying/importing the character and Battle models. Then, remaking each scene of the game. After that, Minigames and so on.

In conclusion, none of these options sounds very fun -or feasible. At least not at the moment. What do you think? I'm not trying to be discouraging, but this does seem rather unlikely. Thoughts? Opinions?

[This message has been edited by Srethron Askvelhtnod (edited February 02, 2001).]


The Skillster

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #1 on: 2001-02-02 23:12:00 »
hmm, till we can edit/extract/import/export all the info in ff7 i recommend 'testing' a remake by editing the text and dialogs...

dagsverre

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #2 on: 2001-02-03 01:36:00 »
Well, I can tell you remaking the thing is not as much work as Legacy. The graphics rendering will be much easier because of the pre-rendered backgrounds.

Wait...scrap that. The battles still needs to be totally 3D. Not too advanced...howevever the special effects are pretty stunning. You could of course replace the battles with old SNES style battles to make things simple ;-)

Worse is the entire script engine. You would probably need to use the story format made by Squaresoft, which should hopefully take care of most things (just cross your fingers and hope that the game doesn't do too many dirty tricks but keep things nice and tidy seperated between the game scripts and the executable code).

What I would go for in your case is probably creating a DirectX inbetween layer as I've told you before...that way you would be able to heighten the resolution of the battles. Then supply higher resolution textures, and perhaps hack all the backgrounds to 1024x768. This can be done by emulating the filesystem so that when FF7 requests a file, we give a bogus file with textures the right size, but which only really contains a handle at the beginning and the rest is zeroes. Then, we also intercept the outgoing calls, and recognizing the singature we load our texture/background instead. This way, there are no restrictions set by the Squaresoft formats, just create one set of files which translates everything into a directory structure where the backgrounds are nicely stored as BMP or JPG. In essence, create a virtual (though very fast) machine which FF7 runs to, and whenever FF7 does something you understand what it tries to do and do it better.

Just a suggestion. Why do you want to do this anyway? FF7 is a finished product, and while it's fun to hack it a little, I would think that when you are going to put all this effort into a game you're better off finding some artists and story writers and create a new (but perhaps similar) game from scratch. Wait until Legacy is released and you'll have a state-of-the-art extremely customizable engine capable of doing anything in RPG... it's a principle we have, it shouldn't be necesarry to hack *anything*, everything sits in nicely documented data files. In theory, a new game should be able to be created without even recompiling anything.

You're always welcome to join, too.


halkun

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #3 on: 2001-02-03 01:38:00 »
You guys could whip me now for being negitive. But would a mac or linux port be better and easier to do. Or better yet, amke ff1 or ff6 with the engine.

Sir Canealot

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #4 on: 2001-02-03 18:14:00 »
IF some body would edit the midis to make em sound more like psx then I will be happy. And if any one wnat to re render the backgrouds to 1024/768 and all the textures to 1024/768 and the AVIs to 640/480/1024/768 be my guest.

Srethron Askvelhtnod

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #5 on: 2001-02-03 20:48:00 »
The Skillster: Alright. We have to start somewhere. That doesn't sound so bad.

Dag Sverre: Nope. Not planning on replacing anything. Maybe a new materia system to spice things up.   :wink: (j/k)

Thanks for the info on the layer. That sounds feasible once (if) I can learn DirectX.

Heh. Thanks for the suggestion, but you can call me stubborn. As far as I'm concerned, FF7 needs fixing, and even if no one else will do it, I'll give it my best shot.  :D

Home-grown stuff like this is just kinda my thing, I guess. Although, I would be very interested in making a game with the Legacy engine someday...

As for Legacy, I've considered joining the project, but I feel I have nothing useful to add.

Halkun: Hey, if this doesn't work out, I'll think about it.

Sir Canealot: A friend is supposedly sending me his copy of the FF7 Soundtrack CD. If and when I get it, I plan to take all the .WAVs and convert them to .MID. If it works, it'll mean I can replace the current midis with the new and improved. Then I can make a patch with LGP Tools and start distributing.

[This message has been edited by Srethron Askvelhtnod (edited February 03, 2001).]


The Skillster

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #6 on: 2001-02-03 21:49:00 »
interesting points srethron. but how do u plan on converting the waves to midi? the best way is to compose them from scratch to copy the cd audio. but i suggest you make specific midis from thr 'reunion' cd, much like the 'orchestrated' ff8 cd this contains a few live orchestrated ff music, like aeris theme (!), the world mape theme and some others. i only found a few with napster, but the 1s i got where unbelievable!!
ill upload them soon.

dagsverre

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #7 on: 2001-02-04 02:15:00 »
You already have the source for my DirectMusic layer. It's very little editing needed in that one to make any version of FF (any game!) play MP3s instead of MIDI. Just find the right spot, and instead of loading the right MIDI-file, you load an empty MIDI-file and execute: "winamp filename".

Using WinAMP is not elegant or anything, feel free to insert your own MP3 decoder. But using WinAMP is so little work I might even consider doing it myself...I'll look into it.


The Skillster

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #8 on: 2001-02-04 03:08:00 »
ok, heres the music:
aeris theme 'runion': http://members.tripod.co.uk/TheSkillster/ff7/FF7aeris.wma" TARGET=_blank>http://members.tripod.co.uk/TheSkillster/ff7/FF7aeris.wma
World Map theme: http://members.tripod.co.uk/TheSkillster/ff7/FF7main.wma" TARGET=_blank>http://members.tripod.co.uk/TheSkillster/ff7/FF7main.wma
these are up there on 1 condition, u dont leech them and put them on ure site, u dont leech them and put them on napster, or u dont leech link to them or ill move em..
These are quality orchestral music, and leeching them would ruin the work done by composers and musicians alike.
these are for testing/listening purposes only. thank you
now this is how id like the ff7 music to sound like  :)
 

halkun

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #9 on: 2001-02-04 11:22:00 »
wma=windows media file.

(Halkun does a "uname -a" on in his computer)

>uname -a
>SunOS earth 5.5.1 Generic_103640-34 sun4u sparc
>

Sun Sparc, nope can't play wma file here.
(Halkun does a "uname -a" on another computer)

>uname -a
>Linux titmouse 2.2.18 #22 SMP Mon Jan 8 15:05:17 PST 2001 i686 unknown

Nope no windows media player for that either, how about this one..

>uname -a
>Linux dhcp-0-238.wwts.corp.voyager.net 2.2.15-4mdk #1 Wed May 10 15:31:30 CEST 2000 i586 unknown

nope Looks like there will be no wma playback for me...

-Halkun


The Skillster

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #10 on: 2001-02-04 15:30:00 »
oops, didnt think about u  :(
ill have to make a low quality MP3 (after all it is windows media - hi quality lo size) anyone know any nomessing simple mp3 encoders?

ficedula

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #11 on: 2001-02-04 16:27:00 »
RE: Direct Music layer: That's all perfectly correct ... except FF7 doesn't use DirectMusic. Remember, DMusic only came in with DirectX 6.1 and FF7 was released with DirectX v5. So a DMusic layer wouldn't affect it at all, unless I'm missing something big here.

The Skillster

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #12 on: 2001-02-04 16:32:00 »
OK Halkun i hope you got pkunzip or something on your sun workstations   :D
these are worse quality but are STILL LARGER than the WMA, just goes to show mp3's ago tho, cant wait for a REAL WMA V8 Encoder, that promises to be big in the SMALL file depo'.
aeris+main theme aip at:  http://members.tripod.co.uk/TheSkillster/ff7/ff7mp3.zip" TARGET=_blank>http://members.tripod.co.uk/TheSkillster/ff7/ff7mp3.zip   *edit typo  :x*
its a 2.5 mb file so sit back and relax a few minutes   :D

*****************************************
ON a new note;
this is what id like to do to spice up FF7's materia system;
Its too easy: There should be a limit to the nuber of uses on materia (like on summons and all materias) like 10 uses at meteria level 1 20 at level 2 (but the level 2 magic ie fire2, is at 5 uses) etc.
Its so simple: You find materia EVERYWHERE!!! sephiroth even gives u a important materia (destruct), i want to revert to the older FF4-5 style of having to FIGHT the summons to get them on your side. Ie fight ifrit, fight shiva etc. or just fight some boss, u find TOO much materia lying around.
New materia: possibly a new group such as Dark magic as an opposite to holy magic.
Level dependant materia: Some higher materia/summons can only be used once u pass a certain level (ie in Crono cross u have to be at level 7 above to use summons) So ultima stays locked till u reach level39 prehapes, and KOTR is locked till ure at level 70? etc,
BIGGER disadvantages of equipping materia: equipping too much materia has usually not posed too much problems, i want to see BIGGER disadvantages, like have death sentence on the player how equipts KOTR, and HP -25% for the one equiping Ultima, etc.
OK the above adds a new difficulty level to a game thats too easy 2nd time around (unless u make it difficult   :wink: ).
Suggestions on better things or on how to do any of the above are welcome   :D

[This message has been edited by The Skillster (edited February 04, 2001).]


dagsverre

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #13 on: 2001-02-04 22:51:00 »
First of all, I would like to ask "how could this possible end up in the Technical Issues" forum? The top five threads in here should have been posted in the Game Tweaking forum...

Anyway, the important stuff:

Ficedula, you are absolutely right of course. DirectMusic is not the only thing one can replace though, it's rather quickly done to replace winmm.dll instead. That's not the problem.

The problem is that the MIDI files are stored inside LGP files. My original idea would be to create a .ini file like this:

battle.mid=battle.mp3

however that is not possible. I guess, however, that it can be done another way: Use Ficedula's LGP editor to replace some of the midi data with the path of the MP3 file. I don't think it will be much work, it just requires everyone with a soundtrack to hack their own files... (perhaps some common file for everyone owning the soundtracks could be made by Skillster).

I'm not sure how much work I should put into this...Skillster would be the only one having any real use for it I guess?


ficedula

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #14 on: 2001-02-05 00:24:00 »
Dag: Not quite that difficult! If FF7 passes the whole midi file data straight to WinMM (which I think it almost definitely does!) then do the following:

-Calculate checksums for each of the .MID files in the LGP's.
-When you receive MIDI data checksum it. Look the value up in your table, you then have the filename it originated from.
-Now you can match battle.mid=battle.mp3 or whatever

-Alternatively, make a custom LGP where the midis inside contain sod all midi data, but just a comment mentioning which file they are.

-Also, I've just thought: the midi files all contain the filename as a title, don't they? Try playing them in Timidity (I know you have it, Dag!) which will display a load of info on the file. Though this isn't the easiest option...


Srethron Askvelhtnod

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #15 on: 2001-02-05 00:55:00 »
The Skillster: Simple. I've got a program that claims to have the sole ability to convert .WAV to .MID. I appreciate the gesture, but I can't download the .WMA files or even your mp3s. If you could mail the .WMAs to me or something, that would be cool.

Re: Materia System. Keep in mind I was merely joking about enhancing the materia system. Maybe we could do it, but we'll have to wait and see. Well, I believe that most of what you want is technically feasible. I'm not sure if I agree on how to handicap the materia, but adding fights with the summon monsters would be cool (although in some spots it's not applicable because you get certain summons from bosses, which would mean you'd have two boss fights in a row).

Anyway, if *I* decided that I was going to enhance the system, I would add a new group like "Dark Magic". I also would greatly expand on the linkabilty that you have with the support materia. Making each type of materia link-able (except, of course, Independent) would certainly enhance the potential strategy.

And yes, I do have something planned for the second time around.    :wink:

Dag Sverre: Well, as Qhimm himself pointed out that the line between Game Tweaking and Tech-Related is very difficult to discern. I wasn't sure which forum to put it in. On the one hand, I have the remake which could be classified as a "tweak". On the other, all of this has to do with programming, file types, file structures, and the technical aspects of how things work and how we would do such and such.

Ficedula: This sounds more feasible by the minute. Of course, *if* my .WAV -> .MID plan works out, you won't even have to bother.  :D

[This message has been edited by Srethron Askvelhtnod (edited February 04, 2001).]


dagsverre

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #16 on: 2001-02-05 02:21:00 »
Ficedula, please allow me to quote myself:

 

Quote
I guess, however, that it can be done another way: Use Ficedula's LGP editor to replace some of the midi data with the path of the MP3 file.

However, you stated it much better. Checksums can be used to of course, in fact I guess they're a much more elegant solution, however they do add some calculation overhead. Perhaps checksumming the first 100 bytes or so, just enough to make sure it's unidentifiable.

Also remember that there are four different MIDIs, one for each soundcard type. The naming does look like a better alternative...and more work.

The worst work is in learning myself how to use the midi* functions though. Knowing Microsoft it will probably be far from the obvious solutions.

I guess it's just a question of who of me and Ficedula gets bored first ;-)

[This message has been edited by dagsverre (edited February 04, 2001).]


The Skillster

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #17 on: 2001-02-05 02:48:00 »
lets get some stuff straight...
the soundtracks names (almost identical) are in the txt file accompanying ficedulas ff7midi v1.1. Srethron; theres been a major headache with tripod for 2 days now, usually in the evening over here  :(
and the program that converts to wav to midi is naff, i spent last weekend trying out 3 different programs, and none even compare, these programs are best used on a single instrument track, turning them into mids and add them all to gether to get a midi song file.
OK, this direct midi hacking looks good, but its alot of hassle, if youre going to do a winMM layer u might as well through direct3d in too (for hi res, so we can start making new texturs and stuff).
has anyone had more progrss with the feild files? how about the backgrounds?

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #18 on: 2001-02-05 02:51:00 »
Message.

The Skillster

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #19 on: 2001-02-05 16:06:00 »
ok srethron a low quality version is on the way to u via your regular email in your profile
its a zipped/rared to 1.3mb

ficedula

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #20 on: 2001-02-05 16:11:00 »
Skillster: You've missed the problem here. The problem is, because FF7 stores its midis in LGP archives, when it plays them it doesn't send a filename to WinMM - just a block of raw data that it's extracted from the LGP. Hence you don't automatically know which file is playing...

It can be sorted, of course; but that's why it's not 100% straightforward.


The Skillster

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #21 on: 2001-02-05 16:46:00 »
ok, lets get to it then...

Srethron Askvelhtnod

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #22 on: 2001-02-06 01:30:00 »
Dag Sverre: Heh. Thanks for the info.

The Skillster: Thanks for the mail.

Jari Huttunen: Thanks for the info. I'll still try it out just so I don't leave any stones unturned.

Ficedula: In other words, it'd be best to make the changes Dag's talking about to all four of the midi files?

[This message has been edited by Srethron Askvelhtnod (edited February 05, 2001).]


dagsverre

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #23 on: 2001-02-06 02:11:00 »
BTW: Might as well build Direct3D layer when you're at doing a WinMM layer = Might as well build Rome when you're at putting this brick on top of the other one = Might as well spend a month doing Direct3D when you're at spending three hours on WinMM.

Just noticed it in Skillster's post and couldn't resist...


The Skillster

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FF7 - Part 1: Is it even possible?
« Reply #24 on: 2001-02-06 02:23:00 »
sorry, just thought a start is better then nothing at all  :(