This week I decided to share with you my progress regarding the technical issues I’m trying to improve throughout the game. Here goes another round of minor (or not that minor) fixes:
- Original GC/Wii colours:
As some of you have already noticed, all post-Wii ports suffer from weird and random colour variations compared to the original Gamecube version. This problem only occurs in some areas of the game.
What causes this? It seems there is an additional effect in those areas that wasn’t present in the original version. This effect acts like the noise effect: it engulfs the entire screen and it’s as if you are seeing the game through a slightly red-tinted glass. This causes reddish colours and sometimes even overexposed tones.
I was able to achieve the EXACT same colours and lighting as the original GC/Wii version (running in the Dolphin Emulator) by simply deactivating that effect. And it turned out to be the same incorrect “warm colour” effect I deactivated in the previous “Technical Improvements” post!
As an extra, I have included in the comparison shots the result of using a custom gradient file I made myself when trying to emulate the TV brightness and contrast of playing the game on a real Gamecube/Wii. It’s really simple to generate new gradient files with really accurate results! Just let me know what do you think about it. The 4th gradient originally included in the game will not be needed once all colour corrections are complete, so it can be replaced with whatever we want. 🙂
- Broken water effect:
There is one water effect that is obviously broken (there are several kinds of water effects throughout the game). You can find this one in the first cave area and in the water of the Robo-Salazar room.
I found no way of fixing that effect. It seems that whatever caused the distortion is hardcoded somewhere in the .exe and is not related to any specific file of the game. This is just a guess, of course… I can, however, edit several values of the effect inside the room’s EFF file with varying results. What you see in the comparison shots at the bottom of the post is the most decent look I could obtain. Now it no longer looks like Picasso dropped one of his paintings into the water. 😛
- Light bloom effect visible through walls:
Another annoying issue that caught my attention from the very first day of release: Some lights are visible through some walls when you turn the camera in certain directions.
This problem can’t be fixed either. So I “simply” looked for an alternative: I was able to replace the effect with another bloom effect that is very similar, without that terrible side effect. I was lucky that such a similar effect exists!
- Leon’s static flashlight:
I noticed that Leon aiming up and down in certain areas of the game would make the light from his flashlight to move up and down as well… but not in every room! So after some research I found the bytes that control the flashlight’s behavior and I applied the same values to all of the areas that utilize the flashlight. 🙂
- Enemy shadows appearing too dark:
Enemy and character shadows don’t react to fog in the post-Wii ports. This makes their shadows to look extremely dark when you see them at a distance in areas with fog. Everything turns light-grey except for the shadows…
I was able to find the bytes inside the LIT files that control the opacity and the distance at which the player will start seeing these shadows. Every room and every camera angle of every cutscene has its own LIT file. Fortunatelly, it’s quite easy to find and edit those bytes…
And here’s the complete comparison gallery and a video. They will do a better job of explaining the corrections to some of these issues: