Brief Update: Ganado Torches Casting Light, New Coin Chest

Hello!

This is just a small update. I already posted the new coin chest in one of my answers in the previous post, but I also found a way to implement realtime light sources for the Ganado torches and I wanted to share the provisional results with you. 🙂  It seems there are no side effects so far. I believe they didn’t add these lights in the original game because of hardware limitations.

 

 

 

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Island Improvements (Part II) + Assignment Ada (Part II) and more…

Hello everybody!

Let’s continue with the Island / Assignment Ada remastering and refinement process. I’ve just made progress in 3 rooms:

  • Room 307/40b (lab): I’ve polished some textures and 3D models (nothing really major was needed since my first revision). And I also touched up some light positions and intensities here and there.
  • Room 308/40c (freezer): Similarly, just some texture refinement here and there. I gave a lot of extra detail to certain pipes and I relocated most of the main light sources in the room. They made no sense at all. The entire place was lit but there was apparently no flourescents on. So I applied the typical bloom effect on the flourescents and I relocated the light sources to the position of the tubes. (In fact, the original light sources were close to those fluorescents, so I guess the developers were in a rush). I’ve also fixed the darker bands you can see at the right and left of the screen before you deactivate the cooler machine. It seems the cold effect didn’t cover the entire screen and I simply made it slightly bigger.
  • Room 30b/40f (garbage disposal area): Again, just a few texture/model refinements. The “big deal” with this area is that I redid the lower area Leon and Ashley jump into so now it fully matches the stage they arrive at via landing on their butts 😛

By the way, do you remember the infamous reddish filter I’m getting rid of, right? It also affects some explosions like the red metal barrel and the bombs with cables. A reddish filter pops-in and out and it covers the entire screen during the explosion. In the Gamecube version, that filter made the fire more intense and immersive, but it’s broken in the HD ports. I’ve replaced that broken filter with a nice bloom effect that also makes the explosion more intense. You’ll notice the same reddish filter popping in and out when the Ganados throw the dynamite, for example. All of them can be fixed!

BEFORE
Notice the reddish pop-in filter (look at Leon shoulder) and the explosion light lasts just 0,1 sec. (see the door over Leon’s head)

AFTER
Pop-in filter removed. New bloom effect added. The explosion light last longer and it disapears gradually

 

The reason for the slower pace is that I’ve also completed something that theoretically should take weeks or months to do: Replace the entirety of the in-game low-polygonal item models with the high-polygonal examine models for every single room of the game! Now we just need to polish or re-create some item textures and that’s it. 🙂

(New pot model: Courtesy of Son of Persia)

 

Just for the people who are interested in technical details: Every room’s *.udas file contains the same item models repeated again and again… And the same can be said for their textures: Every room’s *.pack file has the same item textures (ammo, herbs, treasures, etc.). These models and textures are used when you pick up an item during the gameplay. (The examine and the inventory/store models and textures are stored in other game folders).

Just imagine the amount of extra disc space needed to remaster a single item texture if it’s repeated in every single area of the game! Well, this is how this game’s file structure was created.

Fortunately, I’ve killed two birds with one stone. Thanks (again) to a new tool by Son of Persia, (our inestimable coder contributor) the item model replacement process was automated. And these new models (even though they are stored in different room *.udas files) will now always call to the same texture.

We decided to store these textures inside the 07000000.pack file. This makes things much easier to mod: if we edit one of these item textures inside the 07000000.pack file, it will affect all stages at once.

Before that, it was necessary to edit or update the same texture as many times as the number of rooms the item appears in. That was crazy!

——————

As usual, I’m posting a few comparison shots of the areas I mentioned here and a video. The video also includes some in-game item comparisons between the original SD textures, the original HD textures, and the RE4 HD project. And now the chest contains actual old Spanish gold coins. 😛

I hope you like it!

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Island Improvements (Part I) + Assignment Ada (Part I)

Hello everybody and Happy New Year!

This is the first post of 2018… time passes quickly… but nothing will stops us! So, let’s continue with the progress updates!

Now I’m focusing on the lighting and effect improvements for Island areas (along with some additional model and texture upgrades). As some of you already know, we learned how to edit the lighting and effects as we reached the final areas of the game. This means that prior rooms didn’t receive these kind of edits. I’m also taking the opportunity to apply these improvements to the Assignment Ada mini-game at the same time.

The first two areas were the worst and the most time-consuming, but the amount of work required for the rest of the areas is much lower! I think the entirety of my efforts in the Island section will be finished very soon and then I’ll start the character / enemy remaster process.

And what have I done in every room? Here’s a summarized list:

Room 300/405:

  • Dozens of additional 3D adjustments (seam correction, poor mapping, transparency conflicts, and clipping issues)
  • New shadows here and there
  • Improved water and fire effects
  • Corrected lighting (no more pop-in issues, consistent shadowing triggers reaching characters and enemies, some relocated and adjusted lights)
  • I added the flashlight-ON feature in Ada’s minigame. As you can see when you force the camera angle, Ada’s flashlight is on. So, now it casts light. That’s why the in the comparison shots the remastered side looks brighter than the original. This is something you only notice in these comparison shots but, it won’t change the gameplay  experience. Capcom simply copy-pasted the lighting files from Leon’s room to Ada’s room, but they forgot to add the flashlight light source…
  • Fixed pop-in effects at a distance. (ISLAND_REV_1_3.jpg)
  • Colour corrected the Iluminados mirrors, applied a specular effect+bumpmap on them, and improved the level of detail of the 3D model

Room 301/406:

  • Same as previous room
  • Now you can see all the missing lights and effects when you look at the previous area in the distance. (ISLAND_REV_1_5.jpg)
  • A new light bulb was added in the ceiling, just after the Iluminados door (in the original there is a super intense light source coming from nowhere). (ISLAND_REV_1_C.jpg)

Room 303:

  • All pipes 3D models have been re-created — there were too many mapping issues and it was easier to remake them from scratch
  • Some additional 3D and texture improvements
  • Improved puddle water effect
  • Adjusted lighting

Room 304:

  • Some additional 3D and texture improvements — for example, the bottles are now modeled in more detail thanks to a more efficient *.SMD and *.bin file structure
  • Thinner dust effect around the windows in the downstairs area
  • Adjusted lighting

Room 305:

  • Some additional 3D and texture improvements
  • Some shadow adjustments
  • Adjusted lighting

Room 306/410:

  • Some additional 3D and texture improvements (I hate pipes!!)
  • Some improved lights and effects

Also:

  • I’ve ported all the improved and recurrent models from other rooms into these areas. So, if one specific model has been improved in a certain area, it has been / will be ported everywhere else in the game where the same model appears
  • All environmental colours have been corrected to match the original Gamecube/Wii version of the game, as usual by removing the infamous broken effect that makes everything look more yellow / red and slightly overexposed
  • I’m adjusting, on a room by room basis, the film grain effect to match the HD resolution of the game (the grain looks ok but it was generated for SD resolutions and in the HD ports it looks too big and blurry in certain areas).
  • Some items are slightly misplaced — we’ll try to fix them all all over the game because it’s quite easy to do and it’s not time consuming at all

And here are the comparison shots and the first Assignment Ada video covering the first 3 areas of the minigame. I hope you enjoy them!

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Separate Ways – Chapter 5 (Part 2 – END)

And here goes the last part of the-most-elegant-spy-in-the-world minigame!

This post contains the last three areas of Separate Ways:

Krauser battle:

This is basically a touched-up version of room 327 in Leon’s campaign. They added some new geometry for the roofs and that’s it. But yet again, the developers used the lower quality PS2 version assets for the entire area.

So I ported all the work I did for Leon’s area, I improved those new roofs and the final path where the Merchant is waiting, and I added baked shadows here and there.

As you can see I also improved all the water effects as usual. I think the result is quite good, as the original one was quite a visual disappointment.

Saddler battle:

This area is quite an interesting case. It has a different structure compared to Leon’s counterpart area (room 329), which was an unexpected (and tedious to deal with) surprise. It seems the developers made the ramp wider and they removed the control panel next to the capsule. It all was done for playability reasons and I kept those changes, but it was a pain to port over all the improvements I previously made in Leon’s area because of these differences…

And again… all terrible looking PS2 version assets. Just take a look at the comparison shots and you’ll notice the missing objects (mostly cables) and that the entire corner with the desk and the monitors was incredibly simplified. In order to bring back those missing elements I needed to edit some of the collision data so that it now matches the new corner geometry. 

Oh! And I restored all the breakable screens all over the area and the windows in the upper cabin. 

I also added baked shadows onto all the floors and corrected lights and effects…

Final area:

This final room was quite a standard area to remaster. This is what I did:

New 3D models: All the scaffolding bars have been recreated. The mini “islands” in the water surrounding the area have been touched up. Hundreds of small details have been edited in a lot of ways. And new baked shadow textures have been placed onto all floor surfaces.

New lighting: The original light reaching Ada and the enemies was… well… ridiculously bright. I made it look more natural and adaptive to their location. In brief: If they are in a shadowed area they will look darker. If they are in the upper levels they will look lighter. And the light now comes from a coherent direction all the time. (In the original it looked like Ada had a flashlight lighting her back no matter her position…)

New effects: The bloom effects in this area looked especially bad. They are broken in the entire game, but this time it was terribly noticeable… I replaced them all and now they don’t appear and disappear when you are in front of them and move the camera to the right and left. It was really distracting… And again, the water has been fully recreated. In the original it looked like a mixture of sand and blue lava! :/ And now it moves in accordance with the wind direction ;P

New textures: Only a few of them were exclusive for this area. The rest were all ported straight from Leon’s main game.

 

And that’s it! Please, take a look at the entire video and at the comparison shots below. We’ll be waiting for your feedback as usual! 🙂
Happy Holidays to everyone!!

 

 

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Separate Ways – Chapter 5 (Part 1)

Hi! Here comes the Ada’s final chapter (part 1 :P)

I’ve spent more time that I thought in the first area… I didn’t remember it looked so bad! It seems they reused PS2 assets because the area was slightly different compared to Leon’s counterpart area. I guess it was too much work for them to use and adjust the better looking GC/Wii assets from Leon’s area,  so they simply used the PS2 version for the Wii port…

This means I needed to update almost every model of the entire place: the lighting, the effects, etc. Also, don’t pay attention to the water effect in the video – it needs to be upgraded. I’ve already done it in the Ada vs Krauser room and I’ll do the same here.

In addition, I’ve once again applied baked shadows throughout the floor and walls.

And I’ve included the “turn-off-the-lights-effect” when Ada is in a covered area (for example, inside a tent). (See the video below, at the 1:30 mark, to see what I’m talking about.) This feature is used all over the game but sometimes it looks like the creators lost the opportunity to use it in certain places that obviously needed it.

And that’s it! Next time: Separate Ways: END

PS: There’s a small Easter Egg in the video hehe.

 

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Separate Ways – Chapter 4 (Part 2)

 

Hello again!

And here comes the second update from Separate Ways – Chapter 4.

All comparison shots are from the first area, as the other 3 rooms are almost the same as what you saw in prior posts from Leon’s campaign (you can still see these areas in the video below).

What’s special in the first area? As you saw in last week’s update, this area now also has baked-in shadows, a lot of lighting adjustments, and 3D improvements. But for the first time I’ve done something really “big:” I created a new portion of a room from scratch!

Why would I do such a thing? Simple: Did you ever notice how the room transition from the destroyed road area to the room where Saddler kidnapped Ashley is somehow… forced? How is it possible that Ada climbs a ladder (apparently inside of a some kind of well-shaped structure), only to immediately break through a window and fall into a new room??

If you combine all the area maps, you’ll notice something is missing between the ladder and the broken window. I just filled in the gap between those two points.

You can see the result in images below and in the video: there is now a fully functional ladder that leads Ada to an upper level. The enemies will also follow you and you can descend and climb up again with no issues. All collision and gun laser limit data is adjusted to the new geometry, new light sources have been added, and all sizes and structures perfectly match the adjacent areas of the game.

I’m quite happy with the results because I’d say there’s no design / quality difference between the “official” part of the area and the new portion. The entire thing is pretty well-integrated.

Let me know what you think about this! 🙂 

Sorry Speedgamers! Your Separate Ways play-through will last 10 additional seconds. 😛

 

This video includes the first attempt of the new Ada’s path:

2nd attempt:

3rd attempt:

And after a lot of revision this is what I’d say is the FINAL version of the new Ada’s path:

 

And finally, a detailed map that combines both Leon’s and Ada’s areas so you can understand easily the reason of the new path I created:

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Separate Ways – Chapter 4 (Part 1)

Here goes another round!

Today I’m showing you the 4th chapter of Separate Ways. Since this chapter has some exclusive areas (or heavily modified areas from Leon’s campaign), I’ve split this chapter’s update into 2 parts. The first part covers rooms 512 and 513 (the destroyed road (first half) and the battleship areas).

I’m leaving the rest of the chapter for next week’s update, but if you pay close attention at the beginning of the video (and if you’ve played this game enough times), you’ll already notice something that will be different in the next area ;). Let’s see if someone figures it out!

2 remarkable upgrades are the “stars” of this post:

  • Baked textures: I’ve learned how to bake shadows into new textures and easily apply them onto the stage models. As a result we now have more realistic shadows!
  • Improved water effect: The water effect in the battleship area was terribly bad. The GC –>Wii porting team reused the PS2 water effect and it seems they didn’t notice it was way worse than the other areas’ water effects. I’ve ported several effect layers into this room and you can see the results in motion in the video. Remember that the bigger the water surface area, the more difficult it is to obtain good results, but I’d say the improvement is good enough.

Other than this, I’ve applied the usual upgrades:

  • Textures: Only a few battleship area textures were exclusive to Ada’s minigame.
  • 3D models: I couldn’t reuse Leon’s road models because they weren’t detailed enough. When you play as Leon you can’t see most of the detail at close range (he’s on the truck), which is why I didn’t upgrade some of the surrounding models. But now I’ve been forced to upgrade everything because Ada’s walking on that same road and she can see every single detail. And the battleship area needed hundreds of small (and huge) adjustments, too.
  • Lighting: The lighting in Ada’s exclusive areas is quite plain and/or a mess. There are a lot of unjustified inconsistencies, missing lights, lights coming from nowhere, the characters don’t cast shadows on the floor, light pop-in issues, etc…

And that’s it!

Please, take a look and comment on these work-in-progress pictures and video!

Have a nice weekend!

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Sub Screens HD Remaster!

Hello!

This week I’ll show you all the progress I’ve made with the sub-screen and inventory screen textures and models. This remaster work will be for all 5 languages. Please take a look at the entire gallery bellow.

  • OPTION SCREEN: I was lucky enough to find the original texture used for the OPTION screen. It was in a texture library (used by Capcom) that a colleague shared with us. The “HD Texture” option in this PC port simply used a random marble texture that was too saturated and not faithful to the original, as you can see in the first images in the gallery at the end of this post.

 INV_00c

  • INVENTORY BACKGROUND IMAGES: These textures were quite decently remastered, but they were not at a high enough resolution. So, I used the original Gamecube textures as reference for our own remastered versions of these textures. Again, I found some of the original textures Capcom used back in the day, and I restored the “My life has been saved” inscription from the original. I asked a friend of mine who knows Japanese about the Kanji you can see in the original Gamecube texture, but he wasn’t able to decipher that blurry mess… EDIT: Someone found the text! So, I updated the gallery picture 🙂 

 INV_01d

  • WEAPONS and other item MODELS: The models used for all post-Gamecube versions have less polygons than the original Gamecube version. It seems they kept (perhaps by accident?) the low-poly versions from the PS2 port of the game. I restored and even improved all of these models. There is a limitation with these models that crashes the game if the file size of certain files are larger than the original, but I found that there is some dispensable data that can be removed from the .bin files (the 3D models), and even entire .bin files that are unused in-game. And thanks to Son of Persia and his programming skills, we were able to generate beautiful and better 3D models at lower file sizes. Otherwise, these sub-screen model improvements would be impossible!

 INV_02c

  • WEAPONS and other items TEXTURES: The UHD team remastered the sub-screen items and weapons using higher resolution versions of the same textures you can find in other contexts of the game. But they didn’t notice that the textures needed to be lightened… because the sub-screen and Merchant shop backgrounds are quite dark…

 INV_19

  • BOTTLE CAPS, FILE ORGANIZER, MAP, MERCHANT STORE… Everything has been remastered but I’m not sure if the bottle cap icons need a remaster. They look quite decent. I only restored one of the Ganado’s wooden shields and the background, of course.

Ok! And that’s all for now!

Next week: Separate ways chapter 4.  Don’t miss it! There will be are a few nice surprises. 🙂 

 

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Separate Ways – Chapter 3 + BONUS

Hello!

Better late than never. ;P Here’s a new update covering the 3rd Chapter of the Separate Ways Mini-game.

There’s nothing new compared to what you’ve already seen in the Leon’s counterpart areas, nor the improvements we can do to Ada’s campaign. But I took the opportunity to further improve some lighting / shadow issues here and there.

SW3-D: There was a light coming from a non existent last window in the floor.

SW3-E: I added a new shadow in the torch corner. If the towers cast shadows, that small corner should have its own shadow too.

SW3-H: The entire room was filled with light coming from unspecified points for no apparent reason. I made all the lights to have sense without altering the overall atmosphere. I also added flickering to some of the lights coming from the candles (see video).

 

BONUS!

During the remastering process I found that a bloom effect was missing from another cutscene. We’ll have to compare all the cutscenes side by side with the Gamecube version to be sure there are no more missing effects…

Also, another sneak peek of what you can expect for menus and background sub-screen image remasters:

BEFORE

AFTER

Have a great week!

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Separate Ways – Chapter 2 + BONUS

Hello everyone!

Here comes the second chapter of our favorite spy mini-game.

Everything mentioned in the last post is also applicable here: Remastered textures, no more PS2 remnants (other than the video cut-scenes), and tons of lighting adjustments (especially during the night-time areas). The big barn area (with the Bella sister and the key) was terribly illuminated compared to the Leon’s counterpart. Everything is so dark for no apparent reason, and we also have that nonsensical yellow light covering the entrance of the area. 

I’ve added some comments in the comparison shots but don’t hesitate asking any of the adjustments I’ve made.

 

BTW, I recorded the video before taking the screenshots, and so some final touches like the super-bright boxes or the barn area being slightly too bright are not fixed. But these are minimal differences.

I hope you like this work in progress!
Greetings from Barcelona!

BONUS –  Improved inventory items sneak peek:

As I mentioned, the inventory item models have strict polygon limitations so, they can’t be as good as the “examine” models.

Fortunately, this is the closest (and static) view we have of them: the Merchant shop. They are the same models used in the sub-screen case, btw.

Absolutely all items and weapons have received the same treatment, but I want to re-create all background sub-screen textures before making an exclusive “Inventory Remaster” post.

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