Author Topic: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV  (Read 20131 times)

Bosola

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #25 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.

Cyberman

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #26 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 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

DLPB

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #27 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.
« Last Edit: 2012-06-28 00:21:50 by DLPB »

Cyberman

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #28 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
« Last Edit: 2012-06-28 02:50:39 by Cyberman »

Bosola

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #29 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.

DLPB

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #30 on: 2012-06-28 10:59:12 »
We can hope the 20th anniversary pops something up  8) 8) 8)

Bosola

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #31 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.

DLPB

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #32 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....

luksy

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #33 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.

DLPB

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #34 on: 2012-06-28 12:31:13 »
LMFAO!

BlitzNCS

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #35 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

Bosola

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #36 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.

Covarr

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #37 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.

BlitzNCS

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #38 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/
« Last Edit: 2012-06-28 17:10:09 by BlitzNCS »

SpooX

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #39 on: 2012-06-28 19:08:05 »
yup I did, don't forget about this one:

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-)

halkun

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #40 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.

duracell

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #41 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.

sl1982

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #42 on: 2013-06-13 22:08:53 »
Please do not reply to old posts. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the rules

duracell

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #43 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?

Template

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #44 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.   

DLPB

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #45 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.

Micky

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #46 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.
« Last Edit: 2013-06-17 07:49:07 by Micky »

Cyberman

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #47 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

    • vertical front porch
    • vertical total
    • vertical back porch
    • vertical blanking
    • horizontal front porch
    • horizontal total
    • horizontal back porch
    • horizontal blanking
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

DLPB

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #48 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...
« Last Edit: 2013-06-17 21:44:55 by DLPB »

R4Zi3L

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Re: FF7 - Technical Discussion on Game Resolution and FMV
« Reply #49 on: 2013-08-08 20:51:07 »
Original Toy Story from 1995 was rendered only in 2K resolution....