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Final Fantasy Forums => Graphical Modding => Topic started by: Meru on 2017-02-11 02:29:14

Title: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-11 02:29:14
Hey guys. I'm new here so I hope I created topic at the right place.

So while awesome HW was being upgraded to support FFIXPC, I've spent some time exploring what can be done about backgrounds.
In the end I concluded that any kind of pixel-scaling algorithms perform bad on FFIX artwork so I went to try available neural network approaches.
I wasn't surprised that waifu gave (subjectively) very good results on this type of content.
However waifu with average/none smoothing does not produce relevant results and with full-on smoothing... While results look kinda nice and have anime-ish feel to it, the amount of details lost is simply too big.

So I opted to replace waifu's processing with something of my own that (hopefully) will do a better job. Personally, I am satisfied with the results. You can see some examples below.
I haven't done many images yet as I was waiting for a feature-complete release of HW and what I did was mainly quick-n-dirty tests anyway, but here is a quick comparison of the full-scale lossless images.

Main Street Waifu (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/110558786/Samples/FFIX/test1_waifu.png)
Main Street Mine/PC version (https://merup.github.io/FFIX-Field-Patch/comp1)

Guardhouse Waifu (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/110558786/Samples/FFIX/test2_waifu.png)
Guardhouse Mine/PC version (https://merup.github.io/FFIX-Field-Patch/comp2)

 For progress updates and (future) downloads visit this page (https://merup.github.io/FFIX-Field-Patch/).
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Aavock on 2017-02-11 03:01:15
Hey Meru,

Sounds promising (specially the guardhouse) it looks like a plastic wrap effect to artificially add more details and accentuate borders, so far I like it but it sometimes feels like it's adding details where they do not belong like some house facades (in main street).
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-11 03:06:49
Hey, 5way.
The thing is, I'm not adding any details. I am retaining more of them. They may feel artificial because of the magnitude of the upscale. PS1 resolution is really small...
Edit:
In original renders, facades, and pretty much everything had a clearly defined texture. Unfortunately it was lost due to PS1 resolution being too small, and what is being upscaled is a blurred-out version of its former glory.
On a bright side, things like that can be prettified manually at the last stage when everything is done (assuming i will still have enough motivation for a 2nd-pass)
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-12 16:11:54
Hi Meru, I'm also working on the backgrounds and could do almost 30% in game now.
maybe we can join forces or we can just make a quick chat so we can learn from each other.

If you want to contact me via Steam, here's my profile: http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198022328654/
Feel free to add me so we can discuss. :)

I've added a comparison from your and my work: http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/200391
Your work really shines and the community deserves the best. The moving parts/tiles like the windmills where a little tricky. :)
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-12 16:29:12
Hehe, moving parts you say? Not sure about all of them but these damn ugly flags... (that don't have the original equivalent on PSX) I may possibly leave all the layer edges work for a 2nd pass. Cause it won't be worse than original PC and I wanna actually finish the game 1st.

Anyway, about joining forces I just PMed you before I saw this massage, don't see the need to repeat it here.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-12 16:55:53
Yeah the moving parts looks ugly as hell if you don't filter them (and this is only the beginning, the game have it's share of moving tiles, somtimes 1 backgroundtile and 19 moving tiles). ^^
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: olearyf2525 on 2017-02-13 10:24:50
good work guys would love some redone backgrounds for 9
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-14 04:05:24
To clear any possible misunderstandings, I am not working together with Fraggoso.

Anyway, I said I'll post some images but ehh, too lazy. Here (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/110558786/FFIX/ffix_field_patch_v0.001-alpha.exe) is a proof-of-concept patch instead.
Attention, this is nowhere near finished and nowhere near playable! All you can do is to look around starting Alexandria but not further than alley!
Most of the moving objects aren't replaced. Some of them partially processed, some no, but all of them look 5 times more ugly on new backgrounds. Most of the layer edges need work too. I did some, like on the main street where you 1st time meet Vivi and some other places, but mostly for testing.
For now it doesn't looks like consistent wysiwyg results with edges can be achieved so I decided not to touch them until (much) later.

If you are brave enough to try it, you absolutely must make a copy of your game files. There is no way to uninstall this!
I have no idea what effect on savedata this may have, if any. Backup it too.
Also only x64 version of the game is supported.

Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-15 03:35:33
Just a small update (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/110558786/FFIX/ffix_field_patch_v0.002-alpha.exe) for previous proof-of-convept patch. Pretty much the same thing, but I actually added all the moving objects. Layer edges are still dirty though. So not counting some occasional visual glitches, this is pretty much what it looks like. Though overall Alexandria streets are not as good looking as some other zones.

Edit: oh yeah you can not upgrade from previous patch. This have to be applied from scratch. Maybe I'll make upgrading later, assuming it will not increase the size by much.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-15 08:57:40
Just a small update (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/110558786/FFIX/ffix_field_patch_v0.002-alpha.exe) for previous proof-of-convept patch. Pretty much the same thing, but I actually added all the moving objects. Layer edges are still dirty though. So not counting some occasional visual glitches, this is pretty much what it looks like. Though overall Alexandria streets are not as good looking as some other zones.

Edit: oh yeah you can not upgrade from previous patch. This have to be applied from scratch. Maybe I'll make upgrading later, assuming it will not increase the size by much.

Hey Meru, why is upgrading not possible?
Only asking as the tex gets overridden in the unity assets container? At least overriding something via HW isn't a problem. ;)

How did you do the moving parts? Layer by Layer with all alpha in it? If yes, maybe it would be good to point you to something like the shield in the alex alley which collide with the ground and gets hammered back in. If this looks good at your end, than everything else will (believe me, this one is/was a sucker on my end). ^^
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-15 19:58:12
Hey Meru, why is upgrading not possible?
Not possible because I have not made it possible... but I don't think it will be needed in the long run anyway as most likely the whole thing will be replaced.

How did you do the moving parts? Layer by Layer with all alpha in it? If yes, maybe it would be good to point you to something like the shield in the alex alley which collide with the ground and gets hammered back in. If this looks good at your end, than everything else will (believe me, this one is/was a sucker on my end). ^^
I don't really understand this one. I did it same as non-moving parts. And then... shield collides with the ground? I can not even imagine why would something like that happen. Oo In any case I have not seen any changes in its behavior.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-18 10:46:44
Looks like I've reached Evil Forest. So far things are going much more slowly than I originally expected, but they are going somewhere.
Now I hate Prima Vista, was so happy when it finally crashed... took it a lot of BG's to crash :DDD My FFIX photoshop folder is now 1.2Gb in size.
Found 3 bugs in the process (not introduced by me ofc, mine I'll never find myself). Fixed 2 of them and one left there for now cause it is barely noticeable anyway.

I have not made a patch though. Maybe later...
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-18 10:59:33
Not possible because I have not made it possible... but I don't think it will be needed in the long run anyway as most likely the whole thing will be replaced.
I don't really understand this one. I did it same as non-moving parts. And then... shield collides with the ground? I can not even imagine why would something like that happen. Oo In any case I have not seen any changes in its behavior.

Start a new game and head into the alley and see what happens with the shield/sign. I'm only stressing this out because he gave me headaches. But that could've been because of an older hw version i had. :)
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-18 11:05:44
Start a new game and head into the alley and see what happens with the shield/sign. I'm only stressing this out because he gave me headaches. But that could've been because of an older hw version i had. :)
Nah, I don't have a time to waste on that. That thing is not different from any other animation. The only reason its position could change from the default one is because of a bug in one of the older HW versions (theoretically, I'm not saying there was a bug) or you accidentally moved it (but in this case it would not move far).
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-19 06:28:59
Nah, I don't have a time to waste on that. That thing is not different from any other animation. The only reason its position could change from the default one is because of a bug in one of the older HW versions (theoretically, I'm not saying there was a bug) or you accidentally moved it (but in this case it would not move far).

I don't think you understood what I meant. ^^
The sign, as soon as you arrive at the alley, gets knocked down. That's why a npc will start fixing it. ;)
And yes it's far from the others animation because the layer/tile is not swapped like other one but moves down and after the npx fixes it, stays where it belongs.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-19 06:42:30
I don't think you understood what I meant. ^^
Yea, I don't have a slightest clue what r u saying.

The sign, as soon as you arrive at the alley, gets knocked down. That's why a npc will start fixing it. ;)
No it is not. It is being fixed from the beginning. It gets knocked after you found out that the ticket is a fake.

And yes it's far from the others animation because the layer/tile is not swapped like other one but moves down and after the npx fixes it, stays where it belongs.
It is in fact swapped like other animations.

Edit: Could be whatever you or old HW messed up layer order.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-19 07:30:42
I give up. *lol*
Let's move on. ;P

Do you also intend to waifu/filter the multi titles, Meru?
I tried to filter them. The Backgrounds looks nicer but the font has black artifacts in them. :/
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-19 07:42:52
I give up. *lol*
Let's move on. ;P

Do you also intend to waifu/filter the multi titles, Meru?
I tried to filter them. The Backgrounds looks nicer but the font has black artifacts in them. :/
I really don't get it. But I tested it from the beginning and saw nothing unusual...
Moving on :D

Ultimately I would like to process every single layer, that includes titles, but right now they aren't a priority for me. After all, they only stay on the screen for a few seconds.
I saw your message about artifacts, it could be due to incorrect handling but I have not touched them myself. Maybe if I'll be bored I'll try em out.
On the other hand, I would probably just re-create them from scratch. At least English and Japanese ones (not really interested in other ones).
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-19 07:58:56
Recreating might be the better solution, yeah. :)
Is there any way we can test the Japanese language btw? I tried setting the language via steam to Japanese but that didn't do anything and there's no Japanese language selector in the game. :/
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-19 08:51:33
Just wanted to try out your patch.
On vanilla FFIX after applying the patch the screen just stays black. :(

Does it work for anyone?

How do you apply the modded backgrounds with your exe if I may ask?
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-19 08:58:39
You need to select a folder where FF9-launcher is located. After it is done you should be able to see the results in log window. if there is anything but two OKs - something went wrong.

Actually now that I reviewed the code, I found what could be a culprit. I think it could be that if patch was unsuccessful it still removes the original file. I just assumed that patch will never fail. I will improve that at some point. So yeah check if there were two OK's. And make sure you patch the unmodified version of FF9.

As for languages - I have no idea. I used only English so far. You can always swap the layers temporarily though...
Edit2: actually maybe you can't since Japanese is much bigger in size and all that... haven't thought of that.

Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-19 09:32:01
Like I said, I tried it on vanilla instead of my modded files.
It starts fine after re downloading but as soon as I apply your patch and chose my ffix install directory I get the black screen.
It shows 1. Using latest patch ok and 2 ok.
Still black screen. :/

Do you know of anyone who tested this? I'm running win 10 which could be the culprit on it.

Quick note: how to you intend to patch a background which is broken? Do you intend to let the players download the whole file again or do you plan on allowing patching later on? Just curious over here. :)
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-19 09:38:51
Does it say exactly "1. Using latest patch ok"? If so then ff9 definitely wasn't vanilla but the message is okay too.

black screen can only happen if:
- some file is missing (check if p0data11 is there)
- some texture or movie is broken (not gonna happen with my patch, i don't touch movies and textures whatever all ok or none)
- if you launch the game through FF.exe and not through launcher.

What do you mean background which is broken? I will not make a new version for the sake of one background. It will have to wait for more significant update. I did not expect players to actually play with that patch. It was to check things out. It is incomplete, what do you expect from version 0.002-alpha
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-19 09:40:27
I'll have a look later on but I didn't mess with the movies and I start from steam directly so it goes trough the launcher. Thanks though. :)

I just mean if you need to fix anything that maybe slipped trough or couldn't be testded ,(like the chocobo part which is an optional quest which is sadly missable) would that mean that everybody needs to download the whole thing again?
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-19 09:46:48
Assuming I'll make a complete patch and THEN some issue will be found, I will of course make a new complete patch but will provide a small update for existing users too. If that's what you are asking. But if you are talking about work in progress patch, I will not be making any small updates for it unless issue will be so bad that it will be not possible to complete the game.

Edit: anyway At this point I dunno what could be the issue for you. If both messages were OK it should work. If you suspect win10, try to replace Assembly-CSharp thingy with original one. If you will see broken backgrounds but not a black screen, the issue is indeed in that... But I don't think that will help."Using latest patch ok" message means one of 2 things. You applied my patch 2 times in a row to the same FF9 folder - that would probably break things, or that means that you applied HW patch before my patch. Which shouldn't actually be an issue.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-19 10:29:18
Fraggoso
Okay I have an idea what could have happened.

You applied my patch to non-vanilla ff9 already patched by HW

it tried to patch one file, but it was already patched by HW so it said "Using latest patch ok", but then removed the file cause my patch is stupid (I am working on a fix)
it then patched 2nd file and said it is OK.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-19 10:35:52
I just tested it as well and I can confirm it.
Without applying any patches to ffix (I thought at least the necessary things from the newest hw has to be copied over) and using your mod it works without any problems.

Thanks. :)
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-19 11:46:12
Here is an updated patch. It should be a little bit more sane...
Now it will not delete what it shouldn't. It also should support ffix-x86. There is probably still a room for improvement, also I barely tested it.

I have not added any new backgrounds. (but I completed Evil Forest :P)

Edit: FFIX was updated on steam since the patch was made so I removed the link because it will probably not work. I'll make an update at some point.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-25 11:52:35
Uh, oh. So I've finished Cargo Ship... It was a hardest scene so far. HW bugs, PC port bugs (unlless they are HW export bugs too), and overall difficulty...
And in the end it still looks kinda ugly cause of these dirty edges, but generally plans haven't changed, most of the edges will have to wait.
Next one is Lindblum... I guess. Ouch, I hope there aren't as many animations as It looks.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-02-25 11:54:09
Cargo shipped really sucked so far the most yes.
It gets better but Lind Blum also have some nasty animations.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-25 17:16:07
Cargo shipped really sucked so far the most yes.
It gets better but Lind Blum also have some nasty animations.
So far so good. Lindblum-the-town is pretty straightforward. I did like half of it today https://i.imgur.com/1ekOKuA.png, hopefully the rest would be the same.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Tetraspore on 2017-02-27 17:14:24
Would anyone be interested in recreating entire scenes in 3D and re-rendering them for background use? I can probably manage to pull off some convincing ones that use mostly simple geometry. Hard-surface stuff, not so much the organic stuff.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-02-27 17:29:24
Would anyone be interested in recreating entire scenes in 3D and re-rendering them for background use? I can probably manage to pull off some convincing ones that use mostly simple geometry. Hard-surface stuff, not so much the organic stuff.
I am skeptical about that.
- too big of a project to complete in reasonable timeframe given very limited resources. I, for example, don't have that big of an attention span.
- too hard to make it look close enough to the original. If I'll render re-created scene at PSX resolution, I would expect it to look virtually identical. Anything less won't cut it.
- this game is not that popular overall. People are struggling with projects of that sort even with much more popular games.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Alexandr on 2017-02-27 19:29:36
Ahh, it looks so good! Me hungry for this backgroundss
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-03-02 09:21:00
So I've finished the first Disc. Also I made a small webpage (https://merup.github.io/FFIX-Field-Patch/). If you are curious about progress, from now on you can check it there.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: zwuw on 2017-03-03 01:45:51
I noticed color loss(washed out colors) in the two screenshots you provided when compared to the originals. The problem is visible in both waifu and yours. Does this happen with all of the backgrounds you're working with?
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-03-03 08:27:05
I noticed color loss(washed out colors) in the two screenshots you provided when compared to the originals. The problem is visible in both waifu and yours. Does this happen with all of the backgrounds you're working with?
Are you talking about that locker-like thing at the back? If so then no, it is specific to that background. The process of making these textures is not fully automated and I may do manual changes to some parts of the backgrounds. I agree that this place may have to be tweaked a bit, but I try avoid doing so for the 1st pass (unless i see something really ugly or for test).
If you are talking about stone wall however, the way it looks like is what I believe it should look like. Most of the color loss in this case is due to it having less color noise.

There are other differences compared to the PC textures that are not visible on provided images. Many of my textures have a bit different levels (a bit brighter) It is a subject for a separate debate which is more correct, PSX or PC levels as there are reasons to think that either or both are incorrect. But for now I am going with psx ones. It shouldn't be very hard to switch to PC-like levels if I'll decide so in the future.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-03-03 08:52:36
Here (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/110558786/FFIX/dfsd.png) is a different version. Do you like this one more? I'm not sure I do. What works for one (part of the) background, not necessarily works for another. At this moment I cant say what the final version of this one would be. Maybe this, maybe that or (most likely) a combination of two.

Edit: woops, wrong link. Fixd.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: zwuw on 2017-03-03 13:32:20
Although the visual impact might seem subtle on Guardhouse's first picture, it can get much worse on other backgrounds with more color intensity and micro details if that problem persists. "Main Street" is a better example where more prominent colors are too washed out or fading out, and important details are lost because of that.

I agree it's important to apply chroma denoising on FF9 (PSX) backgrounds and it's normal for color properties to change with resizing and filtering, especially on sources like this. But I believe that washed/fading out color problem in fine details can be avoided, giving your backgrounds better visual quality and fidelity. Your last picture doesn't have that problem so I think it'll be easier for you to identify what's causing it.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-03-03 14:11:12
Although the visual impact might seem subtle on Guardhouse's first picture, it can get much worse on other backgrounds with more color intensity and micro details if that problem persists. "Main Street" is a better example where more prominent colors are too washed out or fading out, and important details are lost because of that.

I agree it's important to apply chroma denoising on FF9 (PSX) backgrounds and it's normal for color properties to change with resizing and filtering, especially on sources like this. But I believe that washed/fading out color problem in fine details can be avoided, giving your backgrounds better visual quality and fidelity. Your last picture doesn't have that problem so I think it'll be easier for you to identify what's causing it.
It is pretty hard to guess what are you talking about.
Flags on windows (or whatever that is)  or flowers (if they are flowers), that sort of thing?
If so, this is known. From computer's perspective there is no difference between details and noise so just like any kind of image processing, this is a trade-off between removing what I consider bad and keeping what I consider to be good. It is practically impossible to tune processing in such a way that will fit all parts of every image.
Posted images may be a bit outdated, but they are made in a way that produces consistently-pleasant results for me across all images. Anything else requires manual tweaks (like limiting processing for certain parts ff the image) which I'm not doing much. For now this is a very low-priority stuff for me because I quite like the results as is. Huge amount of work on edges and animations concerns me much more.

But I believe that washed/fading out color problem in fine details can be avoided,
To put it simply, no it can not be avoided. An attempt to do so also exposes stuff that I do not want to see. On the main street image, except flowers and flags I do not want to see anything else on other parts of the image (not counting badly made sky that, I believe, was fixed since.)

Edit: you said that last picture of Guardhouse does not have a problem. Well, for me it does. The most obvious things like "lockers" look better indeed, but I don't like most of the other things. And this will affect some of the other images much more strongly. That said, most of the stuff that you call a "problem" is most likely made on purpose and/or known but not sure when or if it will be changed.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: zwuw on 2017-03-03 17:58:58
What I was trying to explain is that the last picture doesn't have that specific problem and you wouldn't need to waste much time finding out what you'd have to change in your workflow.
In the following picture, I applied heavy denoising while trying to keep most of the detail:
http://i.imgur.com/9LvGGYr.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/9LvGGYr.jpg)

It's not a perfect example and it has different states than yours. I just want to point out that, even with this denoising strength, it doesn't get that kind of problem and neither does your last picture, even if I clean it up. These are the places with more noticeable color loss in "Main Street":

http://imgur.com/a/P9bau (http://imgur.com/a/P9bau)

I've had similar problems in the past because of incorrect colorspace conversion, bit depth and compression so I thought I should tell you about this while you're still working on the backgrounds, in case you're not aware of it. In my pov, there's no trade-off regarding this problem, there's only doing it right or wrong. If you think it's fine the way it is and people like it, that's all that matters.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-03-03 18:30:33
What I was trying to explain is that the last picture doesn't have that specific problem and you wouldn't need to waste much time finding out what you'd have to change in your workflow.
In the following picture, I applied heavy denoising while trying to keep most of the detail:
http://i.imgur.com/9LvGGYr.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/9LvGGYr.jpg)

It's not a perfect example and it has different states than yours. I just want to point out that, even with this denoising strength, it doesn't get that kind of problem and neither does your last picture, even if I clean it up. These are the places with more noticeable color loss in "Main Street":

http://imgur.com/a/P9bau (http://imgur.com/a/P9bau)

I've had similar problems in the past because of incorrect colorspace conversion, bit depth and compression so I thought I should tell you about this while you're still working on the backgrounds, in case you're not aware of it. In my pov, there's no trade-off regarding this problem, there's only doing it right or wrong. If you think it's fine the way it is and people like it, that's all that matters.

Sure I got what do you mean even 1st time. This is not a bitdepth or colorspace issue. In fact even if there would be an issue, It would probably affect the image less. And compression is not involved at all.
Too bad we're doing it with this dark image, but oh well...

Denoising strength on your image does not match the one on mine. Look at the wall's edge near the door, just above the lamp thing. How much stronger processing you should apply to make it look like mine color-wise? Quite a bit stronger, regardless of the method, I suppose. What will happen with other things (such as the ones you outlined) if you'll do so? Most likely same as the "problem" that you described. (Achieving similar effect by tweaking color values doesn't count).
That's the trade-off. Sure this particular dark wall is an awful example and it probably doesn't needs this much of stuff.

Now the things you marked on main street image. I agree that some of these places may look better. The question is how to make it so without affecting other parts of the image? The answer is not possible, unless on image-by-image case-by-case basis.

As for people, I don't know nor care what they like.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-03-03 19:12:22
BTW you seem to think that I applied some smoothing on top of the upscaled image. Which is not exactly the case.

For example one of the requirements is to be able to turn this: https://i.imgur.com/oDgx1qk.png into this: https://i.imgur.com/aOG5nWu.png (this is 4x point upscaled for better viewing)
In my case this is done on upscaling step. Probably can be done by smoothing it out, but I can only imagine what it will look like.
Edit: Achieving this without turning everything else into a blurred mess, like original waifu does is not easy. The price are the things you marked on the main street image. Perhaps it can be improved some more. Current version meets my goal, which is to make images that look better than the one in PC version and make the difference between backgrounds and 3d characters less apparent. It is not my goal to re-draw, re-create  or make the best possible images in general. The limit to how good it can be is rather high. However with that, the timeframe at which it can be done extends indefinitely. I have some soft dedlines I've set for myself and I work with the intention to meet them, more or less.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-03-04 10:58:47
zwuw
Here is a hopefully better explanation. Below is a some random patch of grass straight from PSX. 4x Lanczos+4x Point

See these colorful spots? These used to be some kind of flowers or something.
They are too small and subtle to be upscaled reliably. Features they belong to are not present in the upscaled version. So an attempt to keep them creates out-of-place colorful blobs.
So they are being filtered out on purpose.
It does looks similar to reducing chroma subsampling of the PSX image. But this is not the case. There are no reasons to do that stuff anyway.

The tradeoff I am talking about is: making those parts that you pointed out better means keeping more of these colorful blobs. Which is not something I want. I choose to remove blobs completely. There are much less parts that suffer from color loss than the ones that benefit from it. Those that suffer can be fixed manually at some later point. Or not fixed at all, cause personally I'm ok with them as is.

(https://i.imgur.com/8dzAey2.png)
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-03-05 18:46:37
Updated 1st post with latest version of the images. They are of the same scale. Just had to cut them a bit to better fit on the screen. ALso they are like ~5mb so wait up till they fully load.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-03-09 16:53:53
I knew Cleyra will be a pain in the ass... It is killing me (https://merup.github.io/FFIX-Field-Patch/comp3) (Probably not the final version)  :|
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-03-09 17:05:31
It's really weird how Silicon Studio made so ugly masks to begin with.
Even if you straight upres them with bilinear filtering you don't end up with that fucked up mask that Silicon Studio has. :/

It looks good to me. :)
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-03-10 13:22:39
So yeah. While that sand looked okay to me at 1st, it was really an overkill. Static parts are still fine, but animations ended up being ugly. Less extreme version would probably look something like that (https://merup.github.io/FFIX-Field-Patch/comp3a).
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-03-25 08:12:36
In case someone is curious, things are going a bit slower. Most of the backgrounds on disc3 require more manual work than before.
Also I planned to make a release when main backgrounds are done, but due to various reasons this will likely not happen. Will think about releasing something after I'll do 2nd pass of edits for 1st disc Alexandria backgrounds. Plus I need to do some testing. I'm sure there are some backgrounds that will be broken in-game.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-04-09 11:57:58
Don't have much time lately but I pulled my strawberries together and finally made a (hopefully) working patch that contains Disc1 backgrounds.

Most of these backgrounds need more work, but I want to add other discs 1st. Then I'll see what can be done about it.

Theoretically patch will work if the game will be updated on steam (unless the update will be very huge). But it is made in a very hacky way so it will definitely not work on XP and Linux/Wine.

It is barely tested. I have no idea what will happen if you'll reach backgrounds that are not yet added. Maybe black screen.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: KaidenJames on 2017-04-09 19:03:58
I'm still getting the old scenes after installing. On a fresh install of FF9 to FF9_Launcher.exe After I use your launcher steam asks me if I want to continue, then opens the original launcher. Is that normal?
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-04-09 19:44:24
I'm still getting the old scenes after installing. On a fresh install of FF9 to FF9_Launcher.exe After I use your launcher steam asks me if I want to continue, then opens the original launcher. Is that normal?
Uh, no this is not normal. Not sure what is going on.

What do you mean by (marked with bold):
Quote
On a fresh install of FF9 to FF9_Launcher.exe

Also, I just want to clarify, after you press PLAY in my launcher Steam starts original launcher where you can click Play again? This is totally weird Oo

Try one of these and see if it makes any difference:
- temporarily remove original "FF9_Launcher.exe" and try to start the game
- rename my launcher into "FF9_Launcher.exe" and try to start the game

Technically launcher is almost the same. Except different artwork.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: KaidenJames on 2017-04-09 20:22:11
Fresh install meaning I just installed the game. I tried renaming your launcher and steam still asked permission, then re-opened your launcher. When I got in game it looked like this:

(http://i65.tinypic.com/214csie.jpg)
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-04-09 20:25:49
Fresh install meaning I just installed the game. I tried renaming your launcher and steam still asked permission, then re-opened your launcher. When I got in game it looked like this:

Yeah there seem to be a problem. I'll investigate. I guess I forgot something.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-04-09 21:50:27
There may be two issues actually. I uploaded  (https://mega.nz/#!uMRiwTQC!M88cTlvbtg-kktR4sRticuUERPGg35JguSPmMSmp_hg)a new version that should fix the thing on your last screenshot. Can be installed on top of the old one.
As for Steam re-starting the wrong launcher, if i understand the problem correctly - I am not yet sure what to do cause this is not a patch problem per se.

Edit: you can try this launcher (https://www.dropbox.com/s/k5r7zx3x1vbflz9/FFIX_Field_Patch.exe) (without renaming it), which will be included in the next version anyway. But in general I have no idea how Steam figures out that this launcher is for FFIX and not for some other software and why it restarts the launcher at all.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: KaidenJames on 2017-04-10 04:54:31
Okay I got it working:

(http://i68.tinypic.com/14ms0pl.jpg)

I reinstalled your new patch and was getting the same errors, minus the messed up backgrounds. Then I tried the other patch you linked, that didn't work right away. I moved the original launcher out, moved in the new one you provided and renamed it. Steam once again reopened your launcher, but when I got in game it was working.

Thanks for looking into it, and most importantly thanks for the hard work on this great mod. I've been waiting very patiently since this pc version came out for a field replacement mod.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-04-10 08:40:37
I reinstalled your new patch and was getting the same errors, minus the messed up backgrounds. Then I tried the other patch you linked, that didn't work right away. I moved the original launcher out, moved in the new one you provided and renamed it. Steam once again reopened your launcher, but when I got in game it was working.
Yea. For some reason Steam restarts the game. I am not sure what I can do about that.
I mean, I can rename the launcher myself during patch install, but I don't really want to. As for how to prevent Steam from messing with the game so much...

Generally even if you'll keep the launcher renamed, patch should not break during any possible game update. As long as they won't touch the launcher.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-04-10 16:32:27
would be cool if someone on 64bit windows can test this (i have not made it working for x86):

-download ffix_test.exe (https://www.dropbox.com/s/e5qkr5o4iwwzn5x/ffix_test.exe?dl=0)
-Run it once pointing to the right directory
-try to launch FFIX_Field_Patch.exe and see if Steam still kicks-in
-regardless of the outcome, run ffix_test.exe again to undo any changes

Also if someone have any ideas about how to stop Steam from kicking in without messing with registry entries - drop me a note. Generally I am looking for a more lightweight solution compared to, lets say emulating steam completely.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: KaidenJames on 2017-04-10 16:43:22
I just tried your ffix_test.exe. All it did was open the folder where Steam is actually installed.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-04-10 16:54:46
I just tried your ffix_test.exe. All it did was open the folder where Steam is actually installed.
Ouch. You mean you started "FFIX_Field_Patch.exe" and it opened folder? Holy strawberries... I hate Steam.
You can delete that exe and don't run it again cause it can mess up the game.
Anyway, thanks for trying it out. Guess for now I will simply replace the original launcher. And later, if there is no good way to trick it into opening my launcher instead, maybe I'll emulate steam...
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: KaidenJames on 2017-04-10 17:12:15
Yes after I ran the new .exe, I ran your launcher. I hope you figure this Steam thing out. Wish I could help more, but i'm here for testing if/when you need it. Again, keep up the awesome work man!
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-04-11 12:18:52
Here (https://mega.nz/#!HAIlEbpA!CQFvoIKQjU88dMm_kO_CVakBgKQlsozenaEa58PHnP8) is another attempt with the patch. No new backgrounds was added yet. Want to mess with it a bit more before it became too huge.

It must work without the need to rename anything. (But it may not work at all as well  :evil:)
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: KaidenJames on 2017-04-12 00:08:15
Okay, I believe your newest patch is working as expected. I installed and ran the FFIX_Field_Patch.exe. Your launcher opened and launched the game without asking Steam first. Backgrounds loaded and everything is good. No renaming necessary!
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-04-12 14:55:19
Mkay thanks. For now, this will be the way it will work. Also there is a new version (https://mega.nz/#!SZpEAI5b!XQY1ONHoWrtN-2eR_TdxIgPkNeFEjr9aNCOmuFVskak) with Disc2 backgrounds added.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: JLOUTLAW on 2017-04-27 11:40:21
So um....your links are not working.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: shikulja on 2017-05-01 19:46:04

(http://www.fotolink.su/pic_s/3a7ae3364071e3b35c12781527f5f07b.jpg)
918x563(83.15 kB) (http://www.fotolink.su/v.php?id=3a7ae3364071e3b35c12781527f5f07b)
www.fotolink.su (http://www.fotolink.su)
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Tirlititi on 2017-05-01 19:51:05
Your "FFP_Data" is a link to a folder and not a folder itself. Most programs don't like it at all.

Cut/paste the real folder there so it is spotted.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: shikulja on 2017-05-02 15:26:45
(http://savepic.ru/13772672m.jpg) (http://savepic.ru/13772672.htm)
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Covarr on 2017-05-02 22:45:24
What is "fucksteam.dll"?
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: EQ2Alyza on 2017-05-03 04:41:46
Hmm, I have an idea on what it is...
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Fraggoso on 2017-06-19 16:27:18
Hi Meru, are you still working on tweaking things like masks?
Did you find a good solution?

I stuck to my solution, upsizing the psx with the Sinc (Lanczos 3) algorithm and using my scripts to get the mask a little thinner.
If you want to hop on a chat so we can brainstorm on improving, I would definitely love to do so.

Let me know!
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: Meru on 2017-12-05 15:03:43
Late reply but hey.
I think I've mentioned before, or maybe I wasn't very clear. Processing masks wasn't in my plans. The only processing that is worth doing is by hand, but that's not reasonable. With automated processing it is possible to make mask edges smooth, but they will still not line up with artwork properly. Unless it lines up perfectly, for me it doesn't make a difference.
Title: Re: [FF9PC] Field Background replacement (patch?)
Post by: ff7maniac on 2017-12-30 00:12:28
I can not wait for the four CDs to be finished :D!