Touching up all rooms before the Castle release (II)

Happy New Year to everyone! (with one week  delay :P)

Here goes a second batch! As I mentioned in the previous post, Iā€™m doing the final refinements to the Castle section of the game. These final edits consist of some aditional 3D work and lighting adjustments.

I’m really happy with the results and I can’t wait all of you to play the Castle pack so you’ll understand some of these changes šŸ™‚

Let’s back to work!

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Touching up all rooms before the Castle release (I)

Hi! And Merry Christmas to everyone!

I’m going to put the final touches to the Castle section of the game during the next weeks. In the meantime, I’m going to post a few of the latest edits I’m doing. 

At this point, I’d say this is the most we can do with this game! Textures, 3D edits,  lighting and effect edits…  Who would have imagined? … I definitely didn’t!!

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Beware the truck!

Hi! Just a quick update today. The infamous missing flare lens effect is back after a looong vacations:

The third image shows a slightly edited colours version of the lights. The original light was too white/cold to come from an old truck.

I’m working hard to make the castle rooms as final as possible (touching up lighting and effects here and there) before the release date arrives šŸ˜‰

Have a nice weekend!

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Ashley in a Capsule (Room 329) and Technical Improvements – Part 3

Hi! Today’s post is filled with quite interesting stuff!

Regular room update (room 329):

This room has been the toughest in terms of the remastering process. The original had everything I fear the most:

  • Laboratory, technological, and control panel textures. Most of these textures were ultra blurred and unrecognizable. In short: I sometimes had no idea what the hell I was re-creating! But this also makes me think that Capcom staff also didn’t always know exactly they were creating. My guess is that being 100% realistic wasn’t their goal.
  • Badly mapped and overly simplified 3D models. This forced me to remodel and touch up every single model (with the exception of some walls and the floor XD).
  • A complex area that is easily skippable. This room included a section with a huge variety of textures and a lot of small details for an area that’s easily skippable during a normal playthrough. It’s somewhat frustrating, but I hope you appreciate the efforts šŸ˜€

I’m quite happy with the results after overcoming all of these obstacles. I consistently had the feeling that I was finishing a beta version of a game while remastering this area. An “unfinished work” vibe was present in every part of this room…

As I mentioned elsewhere, the huge amount of work for this area gave me some room for creativity. So, feel free to comment about the work-in-progress comparison shots and video!

Technical improvements – part 3:

I wanted to save this for a separate post, but the screenshots speak for themselves! I’m talking about Lighting Improvements. I found out a way to edit the real time-light sources. This is what I’m able modify so far:

  • Position: For example, I found that some light sources are located about 1 m away from the fire / candle. Now I can manually adjust their X Y and Z coordinates.
  • Intensity: Some giant torches generate a really faint light, while some small candles generate blinding lights. It’s quite unbalanced sometimes.
  • Colour
  • Range: Some lights sources are noticeable only if Leon is at a really short distance. It’s possible to increase their range so that the character is lit at larger distances.
  • Which models will the lights sources affect: Characters, enemies, the stage, and all kinds of combinations. Have you noticed how some lights reach the wall but don’t affect Leon? This light source feature is the reason.
  • Blinking: There are several kinds of blinking depending of the light source (fire, old electrical light, fluorescent, etc.). Now it’s possible to choose which effect will be used.
  • Adding new light sources at will! For example, the last candle in the first cave (room 102/112) doesn’t send out any real time light (only the fire and flare effect is there).

All these edits are possible by editing certain bytes inside the stages’ LIT files. The intent is to edit just the most obvious inaccuracies. Right now the possibilities are unlimited, so we’ll try to exercise sound judgement šŸ˜‰

And that’s all for now! I’m keeping a few extra things for a future “Part 4” hehe šŸ˜›

I’ll also post a few more examples of lighting improvements next time!

Have a nice weekend!!

 

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Technical Improvements – Part 2: Colour, Water, Light Bloom, Positional Flashlight, and Enemy Shadows

Hi!

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:

colours-mini

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. šŸ™‚ 

  • Broken water effect:

water-mini

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. šŸ˜›

  • Light bloom effect visible through walls:

light-wall-mini

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:

lit-mini

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. šŸ™‚ 

  • Enemy shadows appearing too dark:

sh1-mini

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:

UPDATE: New water fix attempt:

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Project Update: Good News and Not-So-Good News (For Now)

Hi everyone.
 
This isn’t a standard update in the sense that I’m not sharing new screenshots. We have two items of news to share: one good, one temporarily not-so-good. 
 
Here is the really fast version:
 
1. The good: We have determined that we will release the Castle section once the remaining revisions are complete. We expect that this can happen within the next 3-5 months.
 
2. The not-so-good: Due to personal circumstances, I (Cris) will need to pause my work on the project for the next few months. Regardless, the project will continue via Albert’s efforts until I can return.
 
Here are a few more details re: #2:
  • I have been made aware by my employer that my position in the company is most likely going to be eliminated in January next year
  • As a result, I need to focus on finding a new job either with my current employer or with another company
  • Additionally, I need to complete some certifications within my field that will hopefully make me more marketable if I do end up needing to find a job with another company
  • At the same time, I’m seeing this time period as an opportunity to pursue a few business ideas that I’ve been thinking about for some time
  • Regardless of how this pans out (whether it’s a new job at my current company, a new company, or something else entirely) I strongly look forward to returning to the project once my job and income situation has been sorted out
  • Albert will continue working on the project as he has been, without interruption (his next update is coming in the next 1-2 days, and I think you’ll like it :))
  • You will still see me commenting from time to time, responding to emails, updating certain pages on the site, and other minor activities.
I’m sorry for having to step back temporarily. If you have any questions, please let me know. And thank you, everyone, for your encouragement these past 2 years.
 
Thank you!
– Cris
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Room 329 almost done!

Hello everyone!

I’d like to share another preview comparison shot before posting the complete room 329 update. I see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Enjoy these exceptionally huge renders! šŸ™‚ Almost everything in this area was re-created button by button… ughh…

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Look familiar? (XLVIII)

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Brief Room 329 update!

This room will drive me crazy…
Here go 2 huge comparison renders!
After seeing them, I’ll ask you to take a look at every single detail of the entire place. Then, you’ll understand why this and the next room are the most challenging areas in the entire game!
I’m at the 40% of remastering process of this room, by the way, but I wanted to let you know this specific area is taking my sanity to the edge XD

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Final Big Battle Against the Ganados (room 327)

Hello everyone!

Today’s update covers the last big confrontation against Militia Ganados. This area contains quite generic textures and plain geometry. This makes inaccuracies quite easy to detect and to solve (for a change…).

There was a specific issue in this room that bothered me a lot. I was able to fix it… sort of…
Again, here’s a challenge for you: to find out what’s the issue I fixed šŸ˜‰ (you’ll need to watch the video)

I also removed the incorrect red tone you can see in the original Ultimate HD version. Certain rooms have it, and it’s really simple to remove it to obtain the original GC colours. This issue was also partially responsible of the overexposed whites in certain areas, by the way.

Other than that, all I’ve done is the usual: lots and lots of texture re-creations, a few texture restorations, and 3D edits everywhere! Fiesta, fiesta!!

Enjoy the work in progress pictures and video! We look forward to your feedback!

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