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Why the limit? Can it be changed? "Not feasible" doesn't matter, I just want to know where the restriction is and how it might be hypothetically removed.

I was playing around in Meteor working on my rewrite project, and after play testing over and over to make sure scenes work as intended, I simply couldn't help but notice how ugly the backgrounds keep getting with age. Especially compared to NPC-RP models with the high res patch going. It's very unsightly.
But as most of us know, the engine simply can't handle anything superior.

However, the high resolution project DOES make 3D objects look nice and crisp.

And I've seen how 3D objects are placed in the game using Meteor, so the thought hit me: Why not place gigantic 3D objects on the field using Meteor to completely sit on top of the backgrounds and replace them?
So I just now ran a search on Qhimm and came across this thread:

Similar idea of using 3D backgrounds, however the implementation like I'm thinking wasn't suggested. Synergy Blades, when he was still around, created some AWESOME 3D backgrounds which would have been perfect to test this with. I'll link to the thread when I find it.
If (I'll elaborate on the "if" soon) the idea works, this would completely smoothen out the backgrounds. Obviously it would require some SERIOUS manpower to remake all the backgrounds in full 3D, but for now we'll keep it theoretical.

Right now, I only see two reasons why this wouldn't work:

- Severe lagging. But honestly, I think would handle it without crashing, and handle it fairly efficiently.
- 3D model database limitations. I don't know anything about how the 3D models for the field files are stored and indexed. They've got indexes to call them, but surely if nothing else this can be expanded. Might be tedious, but the result would be worth it.

So what I'm going to try to do is find a large render, could be anything, and see what happens when I attempt to flood a field file with it and use it as the "background". At the very least I can replace an existing file (to my knowledge) and test.

Would anybody with some knowledge of FF7 models be willing to make just a big red block or something and upload it in a usable format? Make it mostly flat. I've found I can add new 3D objects, but I don't know any that are large enough to use as is, and I don't know anything about modeling.

I don't think I came across too clear with the idea. This idea completely ignores the 2d backgrounds already present in the game.  The idea is to cover them up entirely with a textured 3D background instead. The order of layers will go like this:

<--------- 3D Layer 2 - Always hides NPCs, party members, items, anything on lower layers ----------------->

<----- NPC/Item/Materia/Walking/Etc. Layer - This is "ground level" upon which all visible objects rest--->

<------ 3D Layer 1 - The bottom 3D layer upon which all other 3D objects rest. Hides background ------>

<---- 2D Background Layer - NEVER SEEN IN GAME, hidden by all other layers ---------------->

Hopefully this clears things up. The point is to completely eliminate the enigma that is the 2D background tiling and instead just hide the ugly things with a better looking, higher resolution 3D object. Obviously this makes the SainT's High-Res patch a requisite (to get the best results), but it'd be well worth the much, much improved visuals. Forget all about the 2D background, that's the whole point of this new idea.
These 3D layers can then be placed as objects in the game with no collision, meaning the walls and everything else are still defined by the walk mesh. The two 3D layers are needed because Cloud stands on one, and the other needs to hide HIM when he passed under it.
Basically all you would be doing is making a bunch of different models, like houses, signs, junk - then giving it all a floor and making it one single, large object to be placed in game.

More clear?

Q-Gears / The purpose of Q-Gears
« on: 2009-03-02 21:57:47 »
There's no way to ask these questions without sounding like an asshole, so I apologize before hand. I just want to know if your FAQ still stands. If Q-Gears is intended to ONLY be an engine alike FF7 which just happens to also be able to import FF7 data but not insert anything else to modify the FF7 playing experience. To me, this leaves the program with a dual purpose - to play FF7 in it's original form on a PC or to play programs based on Q-Gear's proprietary script.
If I'm missing something, please let me know. I would assume the majority of downloads when this is finished will be people clamoring to play FF7 on their PC. But if there are no improvements, how long is it going to be before the following two arguments are made?:

1. Emulators do it better. The backgrounds can be smoothened out, game play made higher resolution, and while it may seem a bit more arcane than a ready-to-go program, I honestly can envision most people discovering emulation afterwards and ignoring the program while trying to get their emulator to work.

2. PC version has the mods. The people who don't care about the mods will use the emulated PSX version while pretty much everyone who DOES care will be using the PC version.

The FAQ seems to convey the idea that Q-Gears players will get to enjoy vanilla Final Fantasy VII on their computers, as it was originally made for the PSX. I'm an active member of and when this idea was posted there, the topic TANKED. It's not exactly an interesting concept. Anything Q-Gear is going to run on, so will ePSXe. Sure, I can't make my own games on ePSXe, but I'm on a computer. I can make one using any assortment of programs. What's so special about Q-Gears?
I do not ask that question rhetorically or with intent to insult your efforts. I honestly would like to know the benefits of Q-Gears. The FAQ doesn't exactly generate interest. A lot of people get excited until they see the part about no mod support and no extra features. Even if you were to mod the PSX iso, you're still limited to the same music, backgrounds, and some other limitations - the exact same thing as you get with Final Fantasy VII on PC with FF7Music.
"It will be a superior and more accurate transition" is cool, in a niche sort of way knowing you've got a perfect version of Final Fantasy VII. The problem is, you've got a perfect version of a decade and a half old game. In some cases this is cool - like with Ultima Exult as that game just failed hard on Windows NT. But I can already play FF7 on Windows NT with nothing taken or added if I want to. The means are different, but the end is the same.

If you guys really don't care about any of this and this is simply a "let's see if we can do this" effort, I applaud you. If this is intended as something huge and all it does is recreate the FF7 Engine, I can't see it picking up much steam. If you guys have changed directions and are going to add support for enhancing the game, then you need to let people hear about it because right now there's absolutely no buzz and for sure that would create some.
I'm not trying to change any minds, but I'll explain my rationale for saying that: If you were to take Final Fantasy VII on the PC and give it high res background like Synergy Blades rendered awhile back, that would mean incredibly high-res characters would fit into the game nicely. Also, I noticed mention of DirectX 9 in here. That would make your program compatible with the ENB Series, which would mean if YOU guys didn't enhance the lighting or anything, then that would. That in turn would mean an almost brand new looking game. How many people on here have wanted to contribute to FF7 only to be shot down by it's severe limitations your program could potentially eliminate? It would be a swarm.
Again, only explaining my rationale for saying mod capability would generate buzz, and if you don't care, I again applaud your insistence on nothing but accuracy.

I've tried to ask these questions with as much respect as possible, and I'm not asking you guys to change a thing. I just want clarification on your purpose, your goals, and what you are expecting to happen when this project is completed. Forgive any oversights I may have made in this, I've read as much as there is available on your project without being actively involved.


P.S. - I've read about others asking this some time ago, and just to make it clear, I fully understand that functionality comes first. I get that. This topic and the questions herein concern the project AFTER functionality has been achieved. And I also understand the desire to say "We don't think that far ahead" but it should be apparent already - you either want to enhance or you don't.

Scripting and Reverse Engineering / FF7 Movie ID List?
« on: 2009-02-08 10:04:26 »

Does anybody know where this table is located? Are the two empty IDs needed for anything in particular?

The goal of this project will be to attempt to restore Final Fantasy VII's dummied content and recreate intended scenes from scratch. This will be presented using a modular system so you can pick and choose only what you want in your game. I may also include some content that was never in the game at any stage but is widely considered a good inclusion. Again these will be optional so you purists don't have to touch them.

Update 2/1/09:
While I had planned on working with both this and helping FF7Voice, apparently they've got no need for script revisions from me now. As a result, most of the revision work I had planned to do will be instead crossing over into this and I'll be able to work full steam for you guys. Best of luck to them.

This means this FF7Voice will largely be incompatible with this project as several lines have been revised for accuracy, many lines have been added, and the result would be half the lines spoken, half the lines unspoken, and several spoken dialogs mismatching the written text. Fair warning.

Here is a small collection of screenshots with descriptions showing some of the changes. I didn't want to give away TOO much before the demo, but just letting you know I'm not blowing smoke at all of you. The screenshots are also taken with YAMP's transparent boxes, damage limit breaking, high-res patch, and NPC-RP/PRP applied - they will not be included with my mod and must be downloaded separately! 

Just a simple dummied line restored, was added by myself originally for FF7Voice:

I find it a better introduction to Materia than simply telling you that you found some. The message box informing you that you've found it, of course, is still present and shown after you actually pick it up.

Barret needs a vacation:

Unused dialog from the international FF7 by Face of the Moon, translated by Glitterberri, and "Barretized" by myself. Gives some meaning later to the Cosmo Canyon scene where Barret is supposed to allude to this scene.

Jessie 2.0 - now with 200% more personality!

Face of the Moon/Glitterberri/Revisions where needed. As you can see, I goofed that choice box a bit, that'll be fixed before the demo.

Cloud getting his pimp on at the Honey Bee Inn... well, sort of...:

The dialog comes from the Face of the Moon blog, found in the international version of FF7, translated by GlitterBerri, and shortened or revised in some cases where necessary by myself. 

Cloud's "first time":

Same source and story as the last pictures.

Cloud giving the Honey Bee Inn girls even more of a hard time:

Originally there was a third choice as shown in the first picture, which then could lead into the choice shown in the second. These were already in the game, they just needed to be inserted back into the code.

A couple uncensored dialogs:

(What's really funny is after I took the screenshot, I noticed that apparently Johnny just couldn't hold it anymore and decided to go beside the Inn to take care of business...)
Because @(&%! just doesn't cut it. Nothing over the top in the game, I promise.

Weapons with lore?!

Depending on the sneaky tricks I can accomplish to not make the game crash, I'm going to try to add lore descriptions to as many items as possible. These descriptions largely come from official sources such as the Ultimania, the game itself, the manual, etc. In this case, the Buster Sword's description comes from Cloud's bio.

Properly translated/renamed items/spells/techs/etc. for accuracy and continuity.

Before anyone gives me crap about Ogre Nix, let's face it - the sword looks like an axe, and in previous FF games there was always an Ogre axe (not to mention the fact Ogre Nix was in VI). Organics was supposed to be a "prettier" revision, but it made no sense at all. If you don't like it, it takes all of 10 seconds to revert in Teioh. It stays Ogre Nix.
This whole portion will be an alternative to the currently available Kernel2.bin replacers. Nothing will be speculated, so don't worry about made up items or descriptions. The picture before this one also showcases the Kernel2.bin changes. I know there's currently a limit, but, don't worry about that.


Below is a selection of changes and inclusions I intend to make. So, *spoiler* alert I guess:

- Improved reactor mission. More than double the present content will be here, consisting of restored lines, options, recreated scenes, new encounters, and a new introduction sequence. AVALANCHE will become memorable.

- Improved scene at Seventh Heaven. Your options will now actually MEAN something here, as I'll be restoring some content.

- Improved train escape sequence, when the alarm sounds. Again, nearly twice the content. New cutscene, new dialog.

- Improved Honey Bee Inn. Hilarity awaits with the original intended scenes restored.

I could go on, but you get the point. Thing is, I haven't even gotten further than, say, the Golden Saucer in the game files, and I've already got a platter full of new content. It's amazing how much was left out of this game. Not EVERYTHING will be restored, some dummied content was left out for very good reason.

FF7Voice / This Just In - News As I Get It:
« on: 2008-11-02 21:49:38 »
Posting this because there's been so little communication within the team lately I felt it necessary. This is my response to Mesden's latest email:

To be honest, I've felt from day one there wasn't nearly enough prep time. I'd just barely settled in and began working on the script and all of a sudden "OK folks we're recording next week". That clusterf***ed everything for me, and I can't afford to crunch extra time on a hobby project when I'm personally struggling to pay bills at the moment. Some time to get far ahead on the script at my own pace, which was considerably faster before the recording started and put me behind schedule, would have probably solved the issue of me not getting scripts in.
This put all the voice actors on an annoying stop and go schedule, and the pressure put on made the project not fun anymore. This isn't anybody's job. It was fun at first, and if you hadn't noticed, things roll more quickly when it's done for fun.
Everything was started way too quickly and put on a corporate-like schedule. We started with an iffy sound editor, I was still trying to get a process going for dumping script and adding dummied sections, many voice-actors weren't sure of themselves and we just sort of "settled" for certain roles I felt, and we were told to make it work. This is a hobby project. You have to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. You can't just wear at your voice actors. For example, if we had the first 5 scenes COMPLETELY polished to a shine before hand and fed them to the voice actors, it would have played off their excitement and they would have finished almost all of them in far shorter time than we've progressed currently. Then they would have their unwind time while we got the next series of scenes ready. You can't just tell everyone to record their lines because there's nothing you have to make them listen except the fun of the project. Once that fun is gone, as had happened long ago now, they have absolutely no reason to listen to you.
Not enough ground work was laid before the project started. Not enough communication between you personally and your top people. That you didn't talk much with dziugo is a catastrophe. You, Marcis, Dziugo, and myself when I was more actively involved should have had regular communication. Marcis was telling me just the other day how discouraging the lack of communication was on him. We had no regular program to work off of either.
I guess the too long/didn't read version of this is, we started before we were ready. Trying to save time at the beginning resulted in us wasting enormous time in the end.

> Date: Sun, 2 Nov 2008 13:58:03 -0800
> I've tried you guys,
> This Project has come to the point where people just don't want to do it
> anymore. Revisions are being Requested not because you can do better,
> but because of technicalities which arose during the Recording, and
> people send these to me regardless, thinking that they will be accepted
> anyways when they know I'll just send the Recordings back.
> We've worked so hard and I want to continue, but everyone else is just
> ignoring my E-mails, and delaying everything to the point where nothing
> is getting done in such a large amount of time.
> I'm not sure what to do... I want to continue, but so many others
> don't... People have spent countless, exhausting hours working on this
> Project, I don't want to stop, but with so many people just ignoring it
> like this, what choice do we have? What does everyone else think? How do
> we get around this?
> [Mesden]

End of email. Bottom line is this guys: I think if we want to salvage what we've got, right now we need to completely grind to a halt for a minute and sort out how everything is going to work. Right now we're a ship ran by a blind and deaf crew and nobody knows where we're going. We need to refine what we've got right now, get a system going to process future scenes faster that everyone involved in the technical aspect is in on, and just stop with the revisions for a second because right now we're not ready for them and the current system has jaded the voice actors.
I know a lot of us are annoyed at Mesden's constant harping but he's extremely into this project and we should appreciate that dedication. In turn Mesden, if you're going to direct, you need to accept the responsibility of that mantle and keep in constant communication with your key teammates, respect your voice actors' schedules, and try your best to make everything as easy on them as possible to make it enjoyable. Some of us have very active lives, but even so, I think I can speak for most of the people on the team when I say we won't slack off and infact will work with enthusiasm IF the process is good and everyone is shown you yourself are also dedicated and not just shouting orders. And that dedication starts with communication and knowing what everyone is doing, first and foremost.


FF7Voice / To subtitle, or not to subtitle.
« on: 2008-10-10 06:29:41 »
When this project started, Mesden brought up the idea of changing the dialog windows to look more like subtitles ala Final Fantasy X. While it's possible to achieve the same effect, the look will be different mostly because of the larger font used in FF7. My question is which do you think would fit better?

These are technically mock-ups, as I just used the YAMP no-box patch and edited the dialog in Loveless to look more FFX-like, but the same thing is possible to do in Meteor so that item pick-ups and other areas can keep their boxes.

Well after talking to Synergy Blades via email about Meteor, it appears he's simply too busy with too many things to work with Meteor for the foreseeable future. Right now the only problem this causes is I can't restore the option Cloud would have in CARGOIN (where he jumps into the train after escaping the guards at the beginning) after Jessie thanked him. This would have led into a couple more dummied lines. Nothing huge but, I'm pretty bummed about it.
Worst case scenario, a vital field file somewhere in the future won't open. In all of Midgar, CARGOIN was my only problem, so that's good at least. On that note, almost all of the first four scenes in the game itself has been revised to match the script I sent out. I still need to finalize the Honey Bee Inn and I'll send out that script, and then it's just a matter of trying to reconstruct the cutscenes missing entirely. After working awhile, I've been able to get the NPCs on the field to run around, so after I figure out how the scripts work together I should be able to post some nice YouTube videos  :-)

Completely Unrelated / Where'd Synergy Blades go?
« on: 2008-08-12 23:47:07 »
I noticed his account has been deleted. What's the deal with that?

Long story short: I extract and decompress an LZS file using Highwind. I then open said file in Meteor. I edit some opcodes and press save. Only Meteor does not save. Why?

I know it can't be a size problem, because I can change single values and still accomplish this. I can delete entire scripts just fine, but it won't let me edit. I can add dialogs in the dialog window to my heart's content, but when it comes to opcodes Meteor says no. This is frustrating beyond belief, as it sometimes saves seemingly at random. It doesn't matter what opcodes I try to use, and even when I know I'm using correct ones I still can't save. Again, the file is decompressed and it's not read-only. The program apparently saves, but when you reopen the file, no saving occurred at all. And this is dealing with opcode modification. I don't know if Meteor is trying to prevent me from causing problems with the engine, but if it is can I disable that? I know for a fact that what I'm doing isn't going to crash anything, because on the occasions I can actually save - and I'm not doing a thing differently - the change fits cleanly in the game.

So nutshell: Meteor refuses to save, and for no legitimate reason.

I know some people who have an answer have read this. The reason I need to fix this is to add dummied dialogs for the FF7Voice project. If I can't, well, they won't be added. So I need to know why Meteor isn't saving my opcode changes.
Also, this might have been better suited for Programming Feedback in hindsight.

FF7Voice / Personal Status Update
« on: 2008-07-21 09:35:15 »
As most of you are aware of, I did most of the initial script dumping and refining for the project. However a month ago, I went on "vacation". My vacation was actually jail time for actions I'm neither proud of nor willing to discuss. In the meantime, I've decided to step-up my martial arts training and attempt to make a career out of it in MMA competition. Therefore, I'm going to have virtually no time left over for any alternate longterm project including FF7Voice.
I've agreed to help Mesden produce a demo of Scene 1 to hopefully refine everything and leave as little possible for everyone else to figure out. I don't know if this will be an open demo or just something to pass around the team, that's not my call to make. I know the sound processor is on hiatus but I can do process the files myself so no need to remind me about that. I'll do what I can to help - I really want this project to see completion - but I've only got so much time in a day.
Good luck to you guys, do FF7 proud.

Completely Unrelated / Affliction: Banned, Anybody?
« on: 2008-06-06 20:15:58 »
July 19th is going to be a kickass MMA event; Affliction: Banned. I'm stoked for this card. It's got unparalleled heavyweight talent on there right now, going to be sick. Does anybody else here keep up with MMA and have an interest in this show? I'm not a brand name fan, so I watch any promotion with a good show, whether it be UFC, EliteXC, IFL, whatever. If I know anything, it's that this is going to be a DAMN good show.

By the way, here's the official site for the show:

Scripting and Reverse Engineering / Field Script - AGAIN
« on: 2008-05-15 22:21:04 »
I'm trying to edit an archive in flevel.lgp. I extract the archive with Highwind, decompress it so I can edit with Meteor, make my changed, then reinsert with Highwind. One problem - Highwind all of a sudden isn't compressing the file, so naturally FF7 crashes on that level anytime I go near it. This is really pissing me off since I've doubled my efforts to learn opcodes only to get screwed over by this. Why won't the file compress? Highwind isn't even giving me the option.

Couldn't think of a clear topic title to convey my thoughts here so I apologize. Basically I'm intrigued with how FF7Music apparently works outside the engine to deliver PSF and MP3 music. I'm no coder, so I'm talking as a casual observer here, but can the engine tolerate other things being manipulated by "3rd party" programs as well?
For example, here's something I'm envisioning, possible or not:

All movies are set to where they're so short you never see them really. If you've ever played FF7 with the movies ripped out, you know what I'm talking about here. When FF7 calls for a movie to play, such a hypothetical program - we'll call it FF7Movie - brings up it's own version that's not limited to low resolutions and 16bit color. Obviously "FF7Movie" would come with instructions for encoding your own movies, as distributing them would be unfeasible. Also, I'm seeing problems here with movie overlays where the characters are still visible and move around even.

From a technical standpoint, is this possible? Or is FF7.exe going to just freak out and crash?

Also, I apologize if this is better suited to another section, I wasn't quite sure if this would fit here or tweaking.

Archive / What's Your Current Personal Project?
« on: 2008-04-21 08:07:37 »
Just wondering what everyone else has been doing to their Final Fantasy game. By "personal" I mean a project you don't intend to release for one reason or another - be it legal reasons or you just don't like the quality.

As for me, I've been slaughtering any and every FF7 remix/remastering I can find and using it in my PC version of the game through FF7Music. I'm using various programs to bring out instruments where I see appropriate, edit certain tunes, generally just trying to keep a traditional FF7 feel to all of the songs.
I've been using tunes from the following:
- Advent Children
- Crisis Core
- Dirge of Cerberus
- Tour de Japan
- FF7 Piano Collections
- FF7 Reunion Tracks
- More Friends of Final Fantasy
- Black Mages covers
- OCRemix covers
- Voices of the Lifestream
- Reuben Kee's covers

And I'm sure I'm forgetting some important sources. I think the soundtrack is AWESOME, there's just no way I could release it publicly, for hopefully obvious reasons  :oops:

Also, I'm trying to improve the cutscenes and rework the entire intro. But not much happening just yet. If any breakthroughs happen, I'll let you know.

So how about you guys? I know a lot of you are tinkering with the models from different games for personal use.

Scripting and Reverse Engineering / FF7 Movie Limitations
« on: 2008-04-14 03:20:07 »
The goal of this topic is to create the absolute best quality video that FF7 for PC can use with minimal recoding, if any, needed.

With that out of the way, all I've been able to glean from this forum is that the engine somehow calculates the FPS of the videos, and that the videos are called in the fieldscript.
My questions are as follows:

- Are the videos limited to a certain resolution?
- Can the Hi-Res patch change this limitation?
- What is the optimal encoder for the videos?

I seem to recall that someone was able to take the FF7 PSX version videos and format them so that they looked even better in game. I also know that using FFDShow and the K-Lite codec pack, I can achieve somewhat better video. But what is possible beyond this? Again, this is intended to be applied to the PC version of the game.

Completely Unrelated / Foreign Counterpart?
« on: 2008-01-03 10:15:32 »
I realize that technically there's more to this forum than Final Fantasy VII and VIII, but ultimately those two games are it's main draw. With Final Fantasy VII being such a big deal, I find it kinda off to think that at least the Japanese don't have a website with people doing the exact same thing as is happening here. Obviously there are a few Japanese forum users here, and is not associated with any country, but surely there is a Japanese equivalent? As I cannot speak a word of their language, it wouldn't do me any good, but I'm curious to know if there are any similar websites to this one in a foreign language - be it Japanese or otherwise.

Archive / Opening Sequence Redux Project
« on: 2007-10-30 19:42:27 »
Hello, I've been lurking here for a little over a year now, and have been fascinated by the work you guys do, so I just want to say thanks before anything.
Now then, I'm looking to do some tweaking myself finally, and the project I had in mind requires that I change the beginning of the game. Basically, I need the gameplay after the first cutscene to begin with Cloud already on the ground and the two guards knocked out. Is there an editor that will allow me to do this?
I tried to check out Meteor to see what it could do, but the downloads for it seem to be out at the moment.

So this makes more sense, here's the (hopeful) plan:
Blend the PS3 tech demo intro and the Crisis Core ending to achieve a new intro cutscene. I want the high quality train to pull into the station just as in the tech demo, but then I'm going to fade to a fraps clip of the guards being taken out and Barret running off the train. When he waves to Cloud, the cutscene will fade to the PS3 demo of Cloud jumping off the train, ending with his face shot. After this cutscene finishes, my idea is to have cloud on the ground and Barret telling the newcomer to follow him. Make sense?

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated, thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks again for all your work!  :-D

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