Back to the Village for Some Fresh Air (Part IV) – WATER!!

Hello everybody!
This week’s update is all about broken water effects and my attempts to restore things to the original GC/Wii look (as much as possible).

I’m not sure how… but I got some decent results! πŸ˜€ I was even able to adjust some water sections to behave more dynamically than in the GC/Wii version of the game.

I’ve edited both the water animation textures and the data containing the water effect configurations.

Please note that this is not about editing a single file that will have impact on water throughout the entire game. Every stage has its own water effect configuration and textures, and it must be calibrated room by room. This is a good thing because if adjustments had to be made globally, the results might work for some rooms but not others. But since everything is room-specific, we can optimize the results for each area!

Anyway, this is a 2005 water effect, and it has a lot of limitations. So what you’ll see in the video is (for now) the best we can get. For example, the ripple radius / size is tied to the water effect surface. The bigger the water area, the bigger the ripple will look. This is also the reason that the Lake water wave area is delimited inside a defined square (you may not have noticed this before). Beyond the square you can see some weird texture distortions (a simplified version of the water effect). The main water effect is inside the square and if it was bigger, the ripples would look gigantic!

All these limitations were already in the original. The “broken” part of the effect (and it’s been broken since the PS3/X360 HD ports) is the specular texture mapping over the water plane. It’s all messed up, as you can clearly see in the first cave puddles in the video below.

And that’s all! This time I’m only posting a video since the differences can’t be captured with screenshots. I hope you like it! Try not to fall asleep listening to that music for 13 minutes. XD

Have a nice weekend!!



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48 responses to “Back to the Village for Some Fresh Air (Part IV) – WATER!!”

  1. kaludio says:

    the water look great, I still can’t believe that you fixed the lake water. It’s one of the things that I really noticed different when i played the game on the pc. Will the cut-scene be fixed as well? the on where the ganados throw the officer’s corps on the lake.

  2. Rafael says:

    In about 5-10 years, probably need to transfer the game to Unreal Engine 4 or 5 already.

  3. Rafael says:

    Good water, I look forward to the new npcs and models.

  4. Cris Without H says:

    I must say, in many places, water looks oddly bright, from the lack of a better word.

    • albert says:

      Could you specify? Right now I don’t see anything that looks particularly off.
      Keep in mind the level of control we have over the effects look is limited.

      • Cris Without H says:

        I think it’s mostly noticeable in the Merchant’s cavern, where the boat is. The water has many odd, bright reflexes on it. It looks “pale”, I think is the better word, and desaturated. Compare with the original, when the water if fairly dark and murky. On the other hand, in the HD version, it’s as if somebody sprinkled the water surface with some white powder. I think those are supposed to be water movements, but the whole body of water looks so bright now.

      • Cris Without H says:

        I just noticed that the commenter below me, Y.Z, probably described it better than I do.

  5. Y.Z. says:

    * 5:50 – The way you adjusted the specular/ripples (the moving semi-transparent white streaks in the water) felt a bit awkward. I feel they’re moving *way* too fast for such calm/still water. Maybe if you adjusted the speed of the specular/ripples or made them *much* smaller, it wouldn’t look too odd?

    As a matter of fact, since I failed to mention it the first time around ( ), this was actually kinda the same problem I had with the water during the ending cutscene — that sense of “things moving too fast”: (11:05 to 11:17)

    During this specific part of the cutscene, it felt like the water was moving along like it was a strong river — all the while the characters and background were completely still/static. I’m not sure how possible it would be to adjust the speed of the water mesh further in this particular case, but it still felt quite off to me…

    * 8:12 & 11:11 – The edited specular for these water meshes… might be a bit too much? It looks a bit too white/washed-out (no pun intended). Maybe either dial it down a bit, change/tint the white specular texture to something a bit more yellow/green/brown-ish to match the dirty water, or even do a bit of both?

    But other than those specific instances, I think the changes looks pretty good otherwise. Keep up the good work, and sorry for a lot of these specific/detailed critiques!

    • albert says:

      Thanks again for the feedback!!

      I’m still not sure if the water movement speed can be adjusted (I’ll check it later!). But the size of the ripples can’t unfortunatelly bacause it depends on the water surface size.
      There’s a lot of things we can’t control. I’d say it’s almost a miracle we were able to make the water to look like this!

      About the reflections being washed out. I personally don’t see it as a bad thing. Quite the opposite! I like it this way and I did it on purpose. So, yes, the specular effect can be adjusted to any colour. But If I do it it would be almost unnoticeable at certain angles. In fact, I think GC/Wii water looked too transparent in certain areas.

      In the cave, for example, we have the merchant and regular torches illuminating the place and I think the water reflections fit perfecly there because of those lights (what’s more, those reflections are now slightly blueish near the merchant blue fire). I can make the water (not the reflections) to look darker. Could it be a good idea for the cave water? I can try it!

      And in the lake area, the sky is almost white because of the clouds and mist, so the reflections being white (they are slightly yellow actually) are the most natural choice from my point of view (I took into consideration the sky is what gets reflected onto he water, so, the reflections should be the colour of the sky, not the colour of the water).

      But I’m quite certain the final cutscene water effect will look better after applying everything I’ve learned the last weeks πŸ™‚

      Anyway, the main goal was to make the effect doesn’t look broken anymore πŸ˜€
      Any extra thoughts about all this?

      • Y.Z. says:

        “Any extra thoughts about all this?”

        In terms of the topic at hand (the water edits), not too much; I see the reasoning behind your decisions, although I’d add that while editing the brightness of some of the water meshes themselves (and not the reflections/specular textures) might be a good idea, I’d suggest you also adjust the *color* of them (and probably their corresponding water textures as well) to something *just slightly* more saturated as well (if possible), so as not to give off that washed-out look.

      • Cris Without H says:

        I really think you should go for the original Gamecube look, Albert. The new one is atrocious.

        • Boris says:

          No. What’s atrocious is the broken effect that we’ve had to put up with all this time. It might be frustrating to see Albert’s efforts still fall short of the GC effect, but you should be more respectful of all the effort put into making it better.

          • kaludio says:

            The water looks amazing, in my opinion. I would leave it to Albert and Chris to decide if any further changes are necessary. By the way is the water going to be affected by the 60fps mode? Also i noticed that a lot of light sources flicker, could they be changed so that only the “halo” around the flicker but not the light source itself ?

          • albert says:

            Thank you πŸ™‚

            Another 60fps issue… the water effect (modded or original, nevermind) runs doubled speed at 60fps. This is another one of the reasons I ALWAYS play this game at 30fps. 60 is “broken” from my point of view, or really bad optimized at the least.
            Hummm I’m not sure if I understood your question about flicker lights.
            A light source flickering can be activated by just editing a byte in the light data for that light source. But… what do you mean by “halo” and “light source”?

          • Cris Without H says:

            Wow. First of all, you’re oversensitive.
            Second of all, yes, the water looking as if you added white paint to it looks atrocious, and that was the only new effect I mean.
            Calm your vodka.

        • albert says:

          I’m sorry you think it looks atrociuos now.
          Anyway, original Gamecube is full of inconsistences, lighting bugs, weird illumination decisions, signs of a rushed job, missing effects, etc. So, original Gamecube version is THE reference only in terms of texture re-creation but it’s just A reference in terms of improving light and effects.

          • Cris Without H says:

            While the waves and other physical effects look good, this white surface just doesn’t make sense. I mean, those particular water surfaces reflect cave rocks, not a bright sky.

          • albert says:

            I could remove the specular effect but the water would look somewhat lifeless. But the worst part is it would look broken again.
            So, I take refuge in the idea we have all the torches around the place. I agree the reflections look slightly too bright (just slightly) but they have a reason to be.

            The water effect is quite poor (in terms of possible tweaks we can do). Unfortunatelly, I’m forced to “play” with the scarce options we have and this one is the most appealing option I found if we want an “unbroken look” for that effect.

            In other words, I’m not doing what I want, I’m doing what I can.

            Said that, this game isn’t realistic at all, every room is full of “physical impossibilities”.
            Our goal is not to fix the unrealistic aspects of the game but remastering its visuals: HD textures, to get rid of too simplistic 3D models and also to fix light and effect inconsistences (not unrealistic lights end effects, just the inconsistences). But if we can fix some OBVIOUS unrealistic details in the meantime, then great. but it’s not the priority.

            Finally, about the water looking atrocious now (harsh word to use, btw) or the water being full of white paint, I’m sorry but I don’t see it the same way.

          • Cris Without H says:

            If you look at comparisons, you’ll clearly see that the water looks unnaturally pale. And I used a harsh word, because it not only looks unnatural, it looks very distracting. Kinda like changing Leon’s hair to white. It just can’t go unnoticed.

          • [ROLO] says:

            I like the new water effects a lot, I think they look awesome, specially considering is such an old game and that you are fixing what Capcom broke in the HD versions. I completely disagree on the “white paint” look.

            Gracias por todos sus esfuerzos, muero de ganas por jugar el proyecto terminado, saludos.

          • albert says:

            Gracias a ti! A ver si aun puedo mejorarla un poco mas πŸ™‚

  6. Sergey Tokarev says:

    Well, I’ll be damned. You fixed this too. I wonder what would happened if you had access to the source code?
    Congrats! πŸ™‚ Keep it up.

  7. Alvare says:

    Dynamic water physic simulation? Hell yeah!

  8. NEGAARMAX says:

    Cielos realmente el agua original estaba rota, muy buen trabajo esperar’e mas updates

  9. Nacery says:

    Outstanding, seriously guys, you always manage to amaze me!

  10. Frank Nitty says:

    Good work guys. Can’t wait for the finished product

  11. Henry says:

    This is amazing guys! Water in the game looks completely broken and I thought that it only could be fixed by killing the waves

  12. Steven says:

    Some of the areas new gunshot ripple effects remind me of Jello. Not all of them, but that .gif in particular does. It’s fine really and I don’t mind if its realistic or perfect. It’s not gonna upset me personally.

    Here is a reference of what shooting a pool of water really looks like:
    Starting with the 9 mm and then he moves up in caliber. When he shoots the M4 carbine the ripples start to look more like your effects.

    Anyway thanks for going above and beyond just texture work Albert.

    • albert says:

      Thank you too for the video reference!
      Unfortunatelly there’s no much we can do. The water effect is like this and the possibilities are quite limited. It’s an old 2005 effect and we only can tweak what we have in our hands.
      I’m content the effect no longer looks broken at least πŸ™‚

  13. Alvare says:

    Wait..the blue bloom light effect.. its gone In the update. (Not overlapping Leon anymore.) Is this true or not?

    • albert says:

      I replaced it. This is the reason:

      Another broken effect… πŸ™
      It’s crazy and it can be seen through walls

      But… I replaced them ALL in the Castle release and you didn’t notice it until now heheh. So, I guess the replacement is good enough ΒΏ? πŸ˜›
      I already showed this replacement in the last update but I guess it was not that noticeable like in this dark room

      • Alvare says:

        True. I really like the fake overlapping bloom tho. Wish re4hd had an hdr renderer. Anyway, tried reshade but there’s no way I’m able get it to look good on every occasion. (Thats why we need hdr. We blow up intensity of certain materials only and set the bloom sensitivity to a value that makes it subtle.) But I guess I didn’t notice it on my castle playthrough. xD

        • albert says:

          Indeed, that would be great…
          Yes I liked it too. I remember myself playing Remake and RE0 on the Gamecube and going crazy with this magical bloom effect haha

  14. sean says:

    i know you guys are putting in a lot of work and doing a great job! but I have to say that it really is too bad capcom had to screw the water up like they did, it really looks horrible in certain parts. Luckily theres only a few spots where its really bad. Even with your improvements it still seems a bit off, but I feel like its worsened because your specifically pointing it out, whereas when I actually play the game I wont notice as much πŸ™‚

    • albert says:

      This is the goal, no more weird and distorted textures distracting our attention while playing the game.
      I’ve been playing the game via Dolphin and I have to say the Gamecube water wasn’t that great at HD resolutions. It looked glorious playing it in the console but I think it’s a little overrated and the jelly look is still there sometimes –but without broken specular effect of course. So, I’m quite happy with the obtained results!

      • Alvare says:

        I think the water looks absolutely great. Love how the waves are more apparant now. Maybe you can hex edit the wave size seperately from the size someday. Maybe even remove the drinking trough water and use this instead.

  15. alexabdadam says:

    Nice i really liked the water shaking

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