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Final Fantasy Forums => Scripting and Reverse Engineering => Topic started by: DLPB on 2012-06-24 12:04:37

Title: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-24 12:04:37
How about a little music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6527MAys3PU) to go with this? 

Edited 26.June.2012 to reflect new information.

This thread has been created to discuss the resolution used in Final Fantasy VII.  Starting with the Playstation through to the ported PC version, which has the same underlining issues.

When I first played FF7 back in 1997, I was surprised to find blatant black borders during game play.  A decade later, I had decoded some of the FMV to discover that they were were a very odd resolution (320*224).  At first, I took this resolution to be a side effect of the Playstation... that is was one of its standards.

Later, I had done a lot of work with video editing and I still hadn't encountered anything else that used 320*224 or a multiple of it.  In fact, the only games I know to this day that use this resolution are the square games FF7,8 and 9. 

When playing FF7, it becomes clear that the FMV are 320*224 to fit in with the game play.  The fields match up perfectly to the FMV, like the opening FMV into the District 1 (Yeah, I am not using erroneous names like Sector anymore) Station field.  The question still remains- why this resolution?

It has been said elsewhere that the "normal"  resolution of the Playstation is 320*224, but this is a nonsense.  A normal resolution for a Playstation game is the sane 320*240 or 640*480, which is 1.33 AR, or 4:3, the TV standard.  The reason for the more blatant black borders in FF7 is that to fit a 320*240 profile, the Playstation/TV has had to compensate for the choice of resolution.   320*224 (1.42857 AR)  does not conform to any known standard that I am aware of. 

I did a little digging and found out that the SNES uses 256*224 Progressive.  Could it be that in the transition from FF6 (SNES) to FF7, they simply kept the none standard 224 vertical pixels?   I have been told that FF7 had been intended for the N64 originally. Could this have been an early design choice?  The problem with my argument is that FF8 and 9 continued to use 320*224.  Why would they do that?   Because they used the same engine and didn't want to redesign? Gemini offered the view that:

Quote
Most square games do that.
 It's just an optimization matter for vram

This still doesn't explain why other games use the much more logical 320*240.  Others have surmised that the original choice of 224 vertical resolution was to avoid overscan with older TV sets.   

The problem with 320*224 is that is a totally awkward non-standard resolution.  It wasn't good for TV and it isn't good for PC, either. The PC game suffers the same black border issue that the PSX did, because it is using the same field backgrounds and FMV's. The PAL version of FF7 suffers even more because PAL has a greater vertical resolution than NTSC (576 v 525).

This moves me onto my second point.  The FMV.  Back in 1997, CD was the media available to Final Fantasy VII staff, who had ditched N64 for precisely the reason that 64MB cartridges were too limiting.  Even then, it would take 3CD's to fit the necessary number of FMV into the game. Because space was still too limited, the design team had no choice but to use a low end resolution (this goes for the game backgrounds too).  Coupled with the Mdec (using mjpeg codec), the resulting videos are unimpressive by today's standards and look even worse on the high resolution LCD monitors we now have.  Given the odd choice of 320*224 by the design team, it couldn't have gotten any worse.

The team that created the FMV worked with 3D rendering software at much higher resolutions... so it's no surprise that there exist higher resolution FMV's.  Sadly, the only release of higher resolution FMV's came on a DVD released by Toshiba (http://iloapp.worldofbits.com/data/_gallery//public/19/1340462338_resized.jpg), with issues which make them poor for use in modding.  These issues are:



The DVD does answer the question as to whether higher resolution videos were made.  The DVD versions are not upscaled from the PSX versions, they are from a higher resolution render.  I find it very likely that Square rendered at a few resolutions which could be taken at any time and used in the way they saw fit.  Final Fantasy VIII PC also comes with higher resolution 640*448 videos. 

The game backgrounds were designed at larger resolutions as well.  The only releases from the higher quality renders are background items from the International bonus disc (http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Final_Fantasy_VII_Items#Special_Viewable_Items).
 
Higher resolution renders of the backgrounds likely exist in the same way that higher resolution FMV's exist. Either way, due to limited disc space, these high quality renders were never released.

I looked online at the official release high resolution "Sephiroth at Niblheim" still (http://ifalna.altervista.org/sephiroth/sephiroth_flames_back.jpg), hoping it would answer the question as to whether even higher resolution masters are available.  The still is 1024*768 and is obviously generated by the same team that worked on the FMV.  Sadly, the still does not appear in any of the frames of the FMV, so I have to conclude it was created solely for use as a wallpaper.  The still is an indication of how high the quality of the FMV's could be if the videos were rendered at higher resolutions.

In conclusion:

Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: PitBrat on 2012-06-24 14:03:30
Could it be that the 320x224 resolution was to compensate for TV overscan?
Also that resolution reduces image fattening by creating a more square pixel on the TV screen.

It seems the main factors for using that resolution are the legacy of the NES and what looked good on TV's at the time.

There's a lot of debate about the reasoning behind 320x224 HERE (http://www.sega-16.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-19640.html).
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-24 14:05:53
Perhaps, but how does 320*240 make a problem?  Especially when we are talking about 1997 and the playstation?  And then possibly the laziness to keep the system in place for FF8 and FF9?


Perhaps earlier sets had a problem but the overscan even in those cases would be very small (and I don't see how there would be an overscan with NTSC at 525 lines?)... did they really just keep 224 because of the possibility of slight overscan with old sets?  And for FF8 and 9 too?  Other games moved on....
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Cyberman on 2012-06-24 15:42:06
Perhaps, but how does 320*240 make a problem?  Especially when we are talking about 1997 and the playstation?  And then possibly the laziness to keep the system in place for FF8 and FF9?


Perhaps earlier sets had a problem but the overscan even in those cases would be very small (and I don't see how there would be an overscan with NTSC at 525 lines?)... did they really just keep 224 because of the possibility of slight overscan with old sets?  And for FF8 and 9 too?  Other games moved on....
Remember Square was coming off writing software for the SNES. There is also a significant lack of documentation from FF7 because of some of the things Square did with the project. For example they did not archive there information and what they could find of it was not the original Playstation production release data for FF7. The PSX was written in a different language (C++ vs C) different system (PS1 vs SNES). You need to keep in mind the Human aspect of design, and the fact that C++ was a relatively NEW language for Games in 1994/5 (yes you have to GO back 1997 is the RELEASE date NOT the development date). Remember 2 or MORE years went into FF7 before it was released. So 1997 is wrong in terms of 'thinking'. In 1993-1995 Silicon Graphics was still a major player in Video editing etc thus SGI units were being used by Sony for all Ps1 media development. (SGI == Silicon Graphics Indigo really cool system for it's time).

Again 1997 is just plain wrong go earlier in your thinking. Games do not instantly get developed (despite what salesman think).

Cyb
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-24 16:15:50
I did make mention of the transition from SNES in the piece above....  but even so, using that resolution is poor design.  A company as big as that should be researching these things.  It is basic.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Bosola on 2012-06-24 16:38:34
How were the videos created? Are they 3D objects in a high-detailed render, or are they hand-managed 2D frames?
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-24 16:42:11
From what I have read, they are 2d framebyframe for FMV at classic 15fps.  Makes sense.  Imagine rendering entire areas in 3D... 

At least that's what I have been reading.  With VII, you can never tell.  It does look like normal animation to me though...

Does anyone know for sure?
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: syntax error on 2012-06-24 20:58:04
One of the guys at thelifestream.net found out that a different version of the unused Honeybee Inn room where you can see a TV is featured in the "Plate falling" FMV.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Shademp on 2012-06-24 21:08:16
One of the guys at thelifestream.net found out that a different version of the unused Honeybee Inn room where you can see a TV is featured in the "Plate falling" FMV.
I told DLPB about it already. Don't know how many others know of the connection.
http://thelifestream.net/forums/showpost.php?p=452447&postcount=46
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-24 21:56:29
One of the guys at thelifestream.net found out that a different version of the unused Honeybee Inn room where you can see a TV is featured in the "Plate falling" FMV.

best guess they used animation everywhere except actual backgrounds.  Those were prob just shoehorned in and worked around.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: SpooX on 2012-06-25 16:46:59
How were the videos created? Are they 3D objects in a high-detailed render, or are they hand-managed 2D frames?
They are certanly 3d rendered, not 2d animated.

As for the honey bee room being partly the same of the fall-plate movie, well simply put it is reuse of assets.
I've seen it all around the backgrounds, and movies.

Softimage 3d was the tool being used
(http://www.rpgamer.com/games/ff/ff7/graphics/location/midgar/midgar01.gif) (http://youtu.be/vfEgLkhzg_U)
click image for FFVII advert on youtube

 8-)
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-25 17:24:26
Yes but what of the niblheim fire scene?  That doesn't look anything like 3d rendering to me?  And to render all of Junon and elsewhere then throw it away?  There are so many FMV there that wouldn't make sense to be in full 3d rendering (even if the first movie does).  What of them?   I can't honestly believe that they created full 3d environments and models for every single FMV ?

Did they?
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: BlitzNCS on 2012-06-25 17:47:57
So basically, you're saying FMVs such as this one here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrX7aFlSZBQ) were painted in by hand, frame by frame?

Not sure why you'd think that - to me, it's clearly a 3D rendering. Maybe the flames were added in as a video effect, but I think it's pretty obvious that's been done in 3D, no? Compare it to other FMVs sephiroth is in. Same exact model being used. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJU5MuMH6Tw) And iI'm sure if they were painting it all in by hand, they would have made movement a little less rigid somehow.

I was under the impression that the vast majority of the game's backgrounds and movies were all done in 3D, perhaps with the odd one or two (http://www.ff-omeganebula.com/galeries/ff7/meta/7m-backgrounds_6.jpg) being drawn in by hand where it made sense to.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-25 18:20:48
Well perhaps they did do that, but certainly not all 3D.  Other none 3d elements like the fire would have been added.  I am not sure which requires most work, full 3d environments which no one is actually gonna care about once the 2d fmv is finished, or animating frame by frame?
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: SpooX on 2012-06-25 20:00:40
it is considered quite normal to use matte paintings in the process.
(http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/store/img/products/dvds/CST02/stills/coverlg.jpg)

consider this one for example:
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d5/Government_Warehouse.jpg)

that would be extremely expensive to create such a large warehouse...

The flames are layered upon the 3d animation, as making flames would be really expensive (rendering particles) using the technology of that times, but they had sgi stations to work on that. So not only windows 3.11 systems  :-P

 8-)
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-25 20:21:02
I see...

so the original quality of the fmv is limited only by how much detail they placed into the models?  And then they rendered an entire sequence by programming the camera movement?  But are you saying the sapphire weapon and so forth were full 3d models?
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: SpooX on 2012-06-25 20:36:09
yep.

If you look for instance at the frames of the intro movie with the sector 8 square (on which I'm currently working on) and compare the scene with MD8_3, you'll notice that the details within the animation are less than in the background, benches are missing, lanterns are missing, etc. even the flowers are missing... ;D

Which makes it logical as less details are rendered faster, and the field backgrounds are single image renderings (with the exception of the animation layers).

  But are you saying the sapphire weapon and so forth were full 3d models?

That's als a 'yep', the same goes for the Juno cannon and the cliff, etc.
 8)
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-25 21:14:02
Interesting.  So which is easier/more cost effective?  Framebyframe animation or 3d models with camera?  And why didn't they supply Toshiba with anything better than 640*448?  (or do you think they just rendered at 2 resolutions and ended the project?)
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: SpooX on 2012-06-25 21:48:31
let's throw in a 'what if'....

Looking at the movies based upon the playstation version, as it is the most original.
There are some extra streams within the video stream.
One of them is the camera data.

Could it be as simple as limiting the display data, for needing space for other data? That could make sense.

And for going into the Toshiba DVD release, I suspect the original is rendered at a higher resolution than on the playstation. It is scaled down to the Toshiba resolution, as well as scaled down for the playstation resolution.

Desktop screens, are just like the field screens, rendered as single images and thus not limited to a TV screen resolution.

 8-)
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-25 22:14:08
Would you then say that the wallpaper released by square is an indication of how high they worked quality wise?

Could there really exist out there masters that are far ahead of 640*448?
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Borde on 2012-06-25 22:21:55
I guess the cost of the resolution was pretty much linear. So it all boils down to how much time they actually could afford to spend rendering (keeping in mind the possible errors and multiple studied possibilities). I think they simply used the bare minimum resolution they found tolerable. And for the DVD versions, when everything was already final, they simply re-rendered the movies once more with a higher resolution.

As for the actual game resolution, who knows. Maybe they had some sort of technical reason for that. I can tell you , for example, early VGA games where rendered at 320x200 8bits because it was a very convenient resolution due to real mode memory mapping. Back on the day DOS programs could access the memory in 64KB chunks called segments. Since 320x200x1bytes = 64KB, one could fill the whole framebuffer without having to deal with costly bank switchings.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-26 00:09:11
So to conclude this:



Does anyone know for certain if FF9 also keeps to the 320*224 standard (along with game play)?



Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: ajthedj747 on 2012-06-27 04:19:05
So to conclude this:

  • They worked in 3d for the backgrounds and movies and probably rendered at a few resolutions before the end of the project.  The 2 released resolutions for FF7 are 320*224 game, and 640*448 Toshiba DVD. 
  • They worked at 320*224 possibly because of fear of overscan, and/or poor research on game resolution after coming from the SNES. It is also possible it was an early design choice in preparation for the N64. They then kept this design choice because they didn't want to change the engine or because they still had a fear of overscan.


Does anyone know for certain if FF9 also keeps to the 320*224 standard (along with game play)?

Well, DLPB, I do not know anything about the screen resolution of the Full Motion Videos from Final Fantasy IX. But I did find a link that may help you:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/197338-final-fantasy-ix/62264361

Please look at what @MysterPixel said on this web page from GameFaqs.com when you get the chance.

If you do the math, 640 divided by 2 equals 320 and 480 divided by 2 equals 240. Hmm, not sure if this helps.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Bosola on 2012-06-27 12:44:59
Interesting.  So which is easier/more cost effective?  Framebyframe animation or 3d models with camera?

What you have to bear in mind is that it's very hard to guarantee a video won't need re-doing some time in the future. Things change; requirements alter; things get removed from video because their counterparts in game are cut from the final release etc. etc. In this sort of environment, it's far smarter to create some 3d models, use some static 2D backgrounds and keep the ability to re-render at will.

Quote
Could there really exist out there masters that are far ahead of 640*448?

Back then? Likely - in fact, there might even have been objects and models with details held as vector information rather than rasters. Today? Not so likely; as soon as FF7 shipped the team was dissolved and the assets all lost.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-27 12:59:19
That's a real shame too....  You'd have thought they would have kept all that properly archived after such a long hard project.

It says there that the FMV on IX are 640*480... that sounds suspicious to me.  I am sure it was smaller.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Bosola on 2012-06-27 17:55:45
That's a real shame too....  You'd have thought they would have kept all that properly archived after such a long hard project.

You'd be amazed how often it happens.

It's not just in videogames. I work as a web designer, and I've done some work for some quite well known brands. You'd be horrified to know how few could give me masters of their logos and art assets. It's appalling.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Cyberman on 2012-06-28 00:14:35
That's a real shame too....  You'd have thought they would have kept all that properly archived after such a long hard project.

It says there that the FMV on IX are 640*480... that sounds suspicious to me.  I am sure it was smaller.
Reality sometimes is not like you want it too be. For example here are things too consider. 1995 (they were releasing DEMOS of FF7 at that time). The technology being targeted for the video (MJPEG which was a dumbed down version of MPEG). What storage media would they use for a proper archive (likely tape magnetic tape) that tech has changed a bit over the years and keeping equipment that can read and or write various formats for long periods of time gets interesting. The tape drives they used at that time don't likely exist unless they are the main frame style tape units (those are still around surprisingly). 

As for what they would be using, it may have been Alias or soft image. AS others have noted it's likely they rendered it at higher rez than the end results Their are many reasons for that. First MJPEG is a discrete cosine transform technology. (DCT for short). I suggest you look at this wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrete_cosine_transform) to understand the true meaning of what I'm talking about. In as simple terms as I can put it the DCT has more data in it than you think. If you ever noticed some JPEG's don't just render immediately but do so progressively. This is an important aspect of the DCT to keep in mind. They rendered at a higher resolution to begin with because it meant the final DCT data that is thrown out makes more sense. It also means the resulting data looks better at a lower resolution. It's that simple. That would have been the case for the original FF7 renders. Loss of data from the macro blocks is acceptable in both MPEG and MJPEG because of how the DCT works. The basic engine for converting the DCT data was the MDEC hardware of the PS1. This created the video data from the JPEG data. So a bit of analysis is important.

I suspect the scale of the video data was chosen specifically because they would not have had space for the camera control data. IE the lost data in the 240-224 you've been pining about (16 vertical pixels) was likely used for  camera and animation control stream. This was used in a number of the FMVs in FF7 to great affect. The frames are interleaved mode 2 data (CD interactive) if I remember correctly. Keep in mind that they are mixing audio and video frames as well. You only have 288k of data per second from the drive on the PS1 if I remember correctly. All this is QUITE important. Some of that is delta compressed audio data (2048 byte sectors) video (2304 byte sectors with NO ECC). and likely 2048 byte sectors with the animation and camera control. You can only CRAM so much per second. Something had to give somewhere and look no further than the video. You can do 320x240 FMV with audio but add in Camera and animation control and there goes some of your video. I believe FF8 did something similar with the train sequence in one of the SEED missions. FF9 did NOT mix ANY grapic models into FMVs (straight video and audio sequences) so it's likely they were full 320x240 animations. FMV data is just blocks of video data, what controls the data placement on the screen is the application decoding the data (same with the audio). That's why they could mix all that in FF7. The MDEC merely supplied decoded DCT data to paste to the screen however the developers wanted

Cyb
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-28 00:18:45
No I am seriously not accepting that a project like this couldn't have been archived.  It could and it should (and we are assuming it wasn't... any proof?).  As for the resolution, it is all opinion as to why they did it, but other games used 320*240 and ff7 could have too, despite the argument you make.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Cyberman on 2012-06-28 02:33:02
No I am seriously not accepting that a project like this couldn't have been archived.  It could and it should (and we are assuming it wasn't... any proof?).  As for the resolution, it is all opinion as to why they did it, but other games used 320*240 and ff7 could have too, despite the argument you make.
With 3 streams interleaved on the disk each stream of data will be a SECTOR or a cluster of sectors, that is how the CDI spec was written. So you have chunks of video (2304 byte sectors) audio (2K sectors) and animation (2k sectors) interleaved at intervals to update each part of the chain at 15fps.  Any "left over" space in a sector is NOT USED. The sectors can't be packed like you would on a PC as the PS1 combined hardware and software decoding of data.

I'm pretty sure that explains it well enough.  Video with 320x224 resolution has more than just 2 streams of data in it. You have a limited number of sectors per second (or frames as used in ECMA-119 and ECMA-130) shorting a sector of video gives you the space needed for the 3d animation data and camera information. Fairly simple.

If that isn't satisfactory, then I am uncertain what could be. Anyone have the MJPEG format spec handy? I don't think I still have the gears doc floating on my system. Erstwhile this has become an unproductive use of time, as it won't bring back the data nor will insisting that 320x224 "doesn't make sense" make it become 320x240 or have a higher resolution. The original data is not available nor likely will ever be. It is what it is as the saying goes.

Cyb
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Bosola on 2012-06-28 08:39:19
No I am seriously not accepting that a project like this couldn't have been archived.  It could and it should (and we are assuming it wasn't... any proof?).

There's no definitive proof that the assets don't exist, but it's a reasonable assumption, as

a) Square couldn't provide non-PSX assets to Eidos for the PC port;
b) Square probably wouldn't see a business case for keeping the assets long term, and;
c) Sadly, it's a fairly common practice to throw away artwork without considering its long term value

Unfortunately, I just think we're going to have to accept what we've got. Maybe someone someday will have the patience to render their own remastered videos with handmade assets, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-28 10:59:12
We can hope the 20th anniversary pops something up  8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Bosola on 2012-06-28 11:38:16
I guess you never know; maybe in fifty years time someone will discover some tapes in a dusty Japanese warehouse. Unfortunately, all of us will be dead by thanks to our excessive JRPG habits.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-28 12:28:28
You speak for yourself, Bosola.  I plan on harnessing the planet's power by causing a gigantic wound on the planet by summoning this thing called Meteor with something called Black Materia, in order that I become a god to rule on high over every living (or dead?) soul.

Granted, I am aiming high!  And of course, no one has ever tried that before....
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: luksy on 2012-06-28 12:30:27
You need to think bigger, get your arm stuck onto some gunslinger and control his mind, it's the future I tell you.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2012-06-28 12:31:13
LMFAO!
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: BlitzNCS on 2012-06-28 16:01:43
FF9 did NOT mix ANY grapic models into FMVs (straight video and audio sequences)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47BCkNWg5bQ

Near the end, with all the vines etc.

Just Sayin' :P
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Bosola on 2012-06-28 16:53:13
Also, just a thought - how much time (and resource) would it take for *us* to try and re-create the movies with our own 3D models? Is distributing a video based on models and assets derived from the design of the original copyright infringement?

I wouldn't be thinking about using Project Avalanche assets, though, as their project has a slightly different style to the original. I'm thinking about trying to directly recreate the implied models used for the original videos.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Covarr on 2012-06-28 16:57:37
Recreating the original models is probably about as much work as the new stuff that TA is doing. I doubt anyone would wanna put in that effort when the same effort could go toward a much more noticeable improvement in TA's project.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: BlitzNCS on 2012-06-28 17:05:23
I'd always assumed the point of TA was to recreate every graphical aspect of the game as close to the original as possible while obviously giving them a tasty overhaul, recreating backgrounds and FMVs to match too. At least that's the impression I've been working under so far,

The reason None of the FMVs have been remade yet is because the field scenes needed to do them haven't been fully built yet.
Actually, I'm sure Spoox already gave a demo of one of the shorter ones. I'll try and find it.

EDIT: Here we are: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5671503965/
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: SpooX on 2012-06-28 19:08:05
yup I did, don't forget about this one:
(http://img440.imageshack.us/img440/7898/opening.mp4.th.jpg) (http://img440.imageshack.us/my.php?image=opening.mp4)
Click on the image to see a quick preview with only the walkmesh...


The bad part about this one, is that only the last part is available as coded camera flow, due to the fact that they only used it for placing the walkmesh and characters on top of it, but the other part shouldn't be that hard to figure out.
The intro is the reason I'm building Midgar.....
 8-)
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: halkun on 2012-07-01 07:38:55
Sadly, after FF7's release, much of the original work simply vanished. There very little version control and coordination between the creatives. Also, because of the lack of versioning, the code that was given to the FF7PC port team wasn't even the final version. Work started, and then stopped as Square had to pull a newer version from the archives (backup tapes). It wasn't until square started up-porting the series to new engines did they discover the need to have some kind of asset control.

Shame, really.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: duracell on 2013-06-13 20:38:57
It's probably overscan. Analog signals were designed to cut off a number of lines from the image. This is where analog TV signals could dump all their garbage. Thing is with computer generated video signals like on consoles there is no garbage to worry about. But because TV's would cut it off anyway you had to accommodate for it if you wanted your full frame to be displayed. Otherwise you'd just be wasting pixels.

Broadcasters gave out recommendations of 5% overscan. And 95% of the half-resolution of 240 is 228. Round down to the nearest multiple of 8 (common in many video codecs) and you get 224.

For the high-res renders I'm guessing they wanted to keep it at the same aspect ratio. Another hypothesis would be that their rendering engine didn't give satisfactory results for low resolutions and they decided to render high-res and do some smart downscaling.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: sl1982 on 2013-06-13 22:08:53
Please do not reply to old posts. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the rules
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: duracell on 2013-06-14 09:07:35
Well that was just rude and totally uncalled for. I went to the trouble of registering for this site and writing a post just to help you guys. I had a meaningful contribution about something which the original posts seem to have missed. And all I get is a rude response that I shouldn't have posted.

The "rules" I could find say that old posts are okay if it's relevant. It's easy enough to automatically close threads if you don't want anyone posting.

Why don't you just close the forum and move to a private mailing list if you don't want anyone else contributing?
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Template on 2013-06-14 09:37:57
Yeah, I feel you. I cringed a little when I read it. We're all people, too, though, and recently the site has a lot of traffic without the infrastructure to handle it. The mods are a little overwhelmed sometimes, or just having their own stuff out. Mostly it is a problem with the search function of the site being down and so we are trying to be careful about how we reference things and bump threads.

For what it's worth, I found your contribution interesting, but I had to kind of dig around to learn something about the topic you were discussing, which was also interesting.   
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2013-06-14 13:04:08
Well that was just rude and totally uncalled for. I went to the trouble of registering for this site and writing a post just to help you guys. I had a meaningful contribution about something which the original posts seem to have missed. And all I get is a rude response that I shouldn't have posted.

The "rules" I could find say that old posts are okay if it's relevant. It's easy enough to automatically close threads if you don't want anyone posting.

Why don't you just close the forum and move to a private mailing list if you don't want anyone else contributing?

To be honest I was happy with your contribution, and I have never understood why so many forums enforce the "thread is too old" rule.  I think resurrecting a thread (if you have something to contribute and it is relevant) is preferable to opening up a completely new thread.  It makes no sense imho.  But you have to understand people like sl1982 do a thankless job and more often than not are dealing with idiots day in and out, and it gets to them.  I have been just as guilty of being rude to people asking for help for the same reason.  It's a fine balance.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Micky on 2013-06-17 07:23:51
To be honest I was happy with your contribution, and I have never understood why so many forums enforce the "thread is too old" rule.  I think resurrecting a thread (if you have something to contribute and it is relevant) is preferable to opening up a completely new thread.  It makes no sense imho.  But you have to understand people like sl1982 do a thankless job and more often than not are dealing with idiots day in and out, and it gets to them.  I have been just as guilty of being rude to people asking for help for the same reason.  It's a fine balance.
I guess "thread too old" rules make most sense in technical support questions. Either the original poster has long solved his problem, the problem deals with ridiculously out of date hardware or software revisions, or the new post is simply "Oh, I've got the same problem, help me!".
In this sub-forum people should be able to keep contributing to old threads so that information is in one place (until it is moved into the wiki) and can be easier found with a search. Especially nowadays that many fundamental parts of FF7/8/9/XG have been discovered and we are mostly filling in the blank spots.
I'm a member on another forum where some threads are going on for many years, whenever new information arrives. I personally don't mind if anyone adds posts to any of the threads I started, and even though I don't post much any more, I still check now and then if anyone has found something cool, or asks questions about anything I worked on.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Cyberman on 2013-06-17 21:41:22
As for the recentsuggestion, he does have a fair point. I've nary sat down and calculated the typical NTSC overscan range.
Do either of you remember if FF7 on the PS1 had a screen position adjustment option vertically and or horizontally?
I'll have to now get PCSX running on my machine (LOL).
I know most of the time the vertical total and timing for the display system is setup in various fields
IE

Sync was often dumped in as part of the blanking however... hmmm it's been a while I'll have to look at the GPU.
I know some of the games were made so the positioning (coordinates) on the screen worked in NTSC or PAL systems identically.

Anyhow back to musing I guess.

Cyb
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2013-06-17 21:42:44
No, there is no screen adjustment on ff7 :)  Although, as I said in main post, 224 was the SNES resolution also. It's possible they just felt comfortable keeping that res when they moved to sony... and maybe it was all to do with overscan back then too.  Maybe they were just being ridiculously safe...
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: R4Zi3L on 2013-08-08 20:51:07
Original Toy Story from 1995 was rendered only in 2K resolution....
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2013-08-09 20:43:24
I tried to phrase a reply that wouldn't sound like I was being a d*ck (and I mean that sincerely), but I couldn't do it.  Basically, your comment hasn't got a lot of relevance to the problem or this thread.  It was a nice piece of trivia though.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: Template on 2013-08-09 21:51:25
Original Toy Story was rendered only in 2K resolution....

I tried to phrase a reply that wouldn't sound like I was being a d*ck (and I mean that sincerely), but I couldn't do it.

And this is part of why DLPB is quickly reaching Buddhist lama status. I giggled.

Look, Toy Story came out in 1995, that was the Wild West, even before Final Fantasy VII. Disney had to do all kinds of messing about with PIXAR's files to get it to look nice at 1080p for the blue ray. At this point we're just beating a dead horse, though. We do not have a way to fix the black bar right now. I really wish we could stretch it vertical because it would help with the widescreen ratio distortion. I don't think this should be a closed topic necessarily, but I think if you don't have at least a theoretical lead to bring to the table for fixing the black bar this thread should probably lay dormant.
Title: .
Post by: Science Is Bigoted on 2013-08-15 03:02:07
.
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: halkun on 2013-09-01 03:21:00
I FIGURED OUT WHY THE VIDEO IS 320x224

Square decided that the best way to intermix movie data and 3D data was to manually place the video bitmap into VRAM via the the CPU and not by using an MDEC DMA transfer. This allowed the engine to manually lay down video data and then paint the 3D model on top when it was needed.

Sadly, due to data bus bandwidth limitations, You can only transfer so much data to the GPU from the CPU before it overflows. To get around this, Square decided to send the video data using twenty 24x224 "strips", pushing them into the VRAM with a write/flush/write/flush/write/flush loop. There isn't enough bandwidth between the CPU and the GPU to make the strip longer.

If the made the strip more narrow, (and therefore longer so it will go to 240), they would run into pixel data alignment issues.

If the strip was made to the next logical pixel data boundary(8x240), the the video would have required too many cache flushes, therefore slowing down the FPS.

In the end, the resolution tradeoff didn't hurt the video quality, so the resolution stuck.

It also has the added benefit of more Color Look Up Tables to be tucked away at the bottom of the viewport.

I have screenshot of the VRAM in mid-write so show what I mean. You can see it linked here (http://i.imgur.com/MxtHoIL.png)

On the right and side is the GPU's Command chain for that vsync, where it is laying down the 24x224 strips and flushing the cache after every write.

And that should put an end to that argument :)

== EDIT ==

And, when the move flips from 24-bit to 16-bit the strips become 16x224 this allows them to use the same program loop with perfectly aligned pixel boundaries with the same amount of cache flushes. With less data, this frees up some bandwith to draw 3d polys on the screen before vsync.

This post is the proud winner of my prestigious "post of the day" award. ~Covarr
Title: Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
Post by: DLPB on 2013-09-01 09:16:50
 8-)  Case closed.  In style too.