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Romhacking => Personal Projects => Topic started by: marc_max on June 23, 2018, 05:02:53 am

Title: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: marc_max on June 23, 2018, 05:02:53 am
I've submitted the preview patch for DKC GBA restoration :-)

It's still a little behind from the SNES version due to the resolution reducement and soundtrack (which sounds worse, but still sounds good!). But it's an undeniable improvement.

This wasn't the typical SNES to GBA palette restoration. This was hell.
After Rare reduced all sprites and tilesets, none of the palettes matched so I had to repalette it manually using Photoshop and a custom tool made exclusively for this.

What's missing:
* probably a few bonus rooms
* all new palettes not coming from the SNES version (basically, minigames and map)


(https://i.imgur.com/L2gyfq9.png) (https://i.imgur.com/qg0EDx7.png) (https://i.imgur.com/hznI1LK.png)
(https://i.imgur.com/sqLqSBW.png) (https://i.imgur.com/8tsO4EP.png)
More screenshots here: https://imgur.com/a/0eWkgaQ
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: NiO on June 23, 2018, 07:13:44 am
Impressive... I suppose original GBA is up and restoration is down, right?

Havent played DKC GBA, but the pics down look a lot like DKC on SNES or at least how I remember the game.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: tc on June 23, 2018, 09:11:46 am
Thanks. You can spot the port's iffy choices right away. Washed out ground detail in the boss battle, bright red where there never was before...

Sometimes I don't get what goes on with game companies. (did I mention just how *wrong* the GBA Disney's Magical Quest soundtrack is?)
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: marc_max on June 23, 2018, 01:01:31 pm
Impressive... I suppose original GBA is up and restoration is down, right?

Havent played DKC GBA, but the pics down look a lot like DKC on SNES or at least how I remember the game.
Yes. Top is original, bottom is restored :-)

I've submitted v1.0 which includes a few fixes here and there, and also bonus gates restored (I might have missed one).

I'll keep this topic just in case someone finds any error or unrestored palette.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: ShadowOne333 on June 23, 2018, 02:54:06 pm
This is quite impressive!
I attempted doing a restoration of this one like a year ago, but gave up after seeing just how much of a mess it was to pinpoint the colours for each object properly compared to the SNES version.

I for sure will give this one a go!
Thanks for this! :)
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: John Enigma on June 24, 2018, 09:40:25 pm
Can you also restore the palettes of DKC 2 & 3?
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: mushguy on June 24, 2018, 11:47:18 pm
Wow, I'm surprised! I never thought that someone would actually get to work on a color restoration! Sure, not all visual effects were reproduced, but I can live with that. Hopefully this should open the way for more restoration projects, such as animation fixes and even music fixes. Until then, I'm going to enjoy the hay out of this cool patch. Thank you very much!
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: Granville on June 25, 2018, 12:29:46 am
An impressive feat to say the least. I sped through the first four worlds to test it. Besides the unfinished parts mentioned, seemed as accurate to the SNES version as one can hope for. Though Stop and Go Station looked pretty odd for some reason, can't really describe it.

I hate to say though, even with the palette restored I still can't stand the GBA version. There are still too many serious compromises that can't all be fixed. Removed graphical effects, low quality sound (especially the sound effects) and the game just feels too janky and stiff compared to the fluid momentum and animation of the original.

But the effort must be commended, i'm well aware of how difficult this project must have been and it was still a ton of fun testing it out and seeing how much better it looks.

I hope there continues to be more restoration projects for other GBA ports. There are others out there that I DO think are great ports underneath and just need some minor palette tweaking to look nice again. They're probably much easier to fix as well.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: marc_max on June 25, 2018, 12:14:14 pm
v1.0 is already up! :-) Should fix all bonus gates. I might missed one or two there, please let me know if you find them.

Can you also restore the palettes of DKC 2 & 3?
Unfortunately, DKC2 and 3 palettes are not stored like DKC. I couldn't find the complete 16 color palettes in ROM but just smaller gradients placed randomly on it. So... No, do not expect a palette restoration coming from me for those :-( DKC2 is my favourite, but sadly I don't have enough time to spend on learning how the palettes work, since I want to start another project (Kirby's Dreamland 2 colorization!)
Stop and Go Station looked pretty odd for some reason, can't really describe it.
Yes, that level was probably the worse one. Not only the tileset has less colors than the rest for some reason, but it had two different palettes (red and green). SNES game just had one palette and it colorized in real time, it also colorized sprites so they were darker.

Curiously, the only level that really does a real palette transition in-game is the snow ones. But... it only does it with the first palette, it's weird. But there's even more: if you die and continue from checkpoint, then it loads all palettes correctly. I did a good job on those ones though, the result is decent.
still a ton of fun testing it out and seeing how much better it looks.
It was fun at first, when I saw the impressive results of the first levels.
But then, when I reached levels that reused tilesets from previous levels but with different color placement (so I had to restore them again), it started to become frustrating.

Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: TempestBlade on June 26, 2018, 06:30:05 pm
Is music restored?
Music quality is awful in DKC2.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: assassin on June 26, 2018, 06:37:39 pm
why would a "Palette restoration" patch restore music?  think before you talk.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: TempestBlade on June 26, 2018, 06:40:32 pm
why would a "Palette restoration" patch restore music?  think before you talk.

I thought both Palette and Music were restored.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: ShadowOne333 on June 26, 2018, 08:24:55 pm
v1.0 is already up! :-) Should fix all bonus gates. I might missed one or two there, please let me know if you find them
(Kirby's Dreamland 2 colorization!)
To be fair, Donkey Kong Country 3 requires very little colour restoration, as that one came out when the SP was already a thing (similar to ALttP and SMA4), so I'd dare say that DKC2 is the only one which suffers from the oversaturation quite badly. DKC3 looks really well without any colour modifications.

Also, damn are you going for a Dreamland 2 colorization?!
I'd love to see that!
Both Dreamlands on the GB could really benefit from a proper DX treatment, given how colorful and pretty the Kirby games are.
Also, Kirby Super Star Ultra could be used as a base asset for color placements on Dreamland 1 :p

One last thing, are you planning on reworking the remaining palette assets from DKC GBA? Like extra rooms, maps and screens?
I could try helping out with those later in July, but wanted to ask what are your plans about it.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: Midna on June 28, 2018, 02:30:11 am
Nope, having played Donkey Kong Country 3 on the GBA, it got the same treatment as its predecessors. Most of the new renders made for the game, like the redone overworlds and Brothers Bear houses, look fine, but the graphics ripped from the original game look really washed-out and hideous. Ropey Rumpus is particularly eye-gouging. Even the stages that don't look that bad suffer from awkward palette choices (pink snow in Lemguin Lunge).

Take Floodlit Fish for an example. In the original game, you basically couldn't get through the stage without hitting every one of the yellow fish to light up the stage. In the GBA remake, the colors are so much brighter that you can see where you're going on any properly backlit system, making those fish a pointless distraction.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: Granville on June 28, 2018, 06:16:25 am
Yeah, I don't know where the notion of DKC3 GBA lacking the previous two games' palette issues is coming from. It's still awful and I find it pretty much just as bad as DKC 1 and 2 GBA-

(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSSYXSzxfNNp2P25yOHUTEkECqQCFfjlExFPQtHAhI-m_uM5CGP)  (http://www.vizzed.com/vizzedboard/retro/user_screenshots/saves27/277988/SNES--Donkey%20Kong%20Country%203%20%20Dixie%20Kongs%20Double%20Trouble_Mar25%209_15_14.png)
(https://www.lamemoiredupad.net/wp-content/img/portages/gba-donkey-kong-country-3-06-big.png) (https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/donkeykong/images/6/61/SkiddasRow.png/revision/latest?cb=20120923165430)
(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ4Tprl0oOMxhEyHmbmZDRiCFK3qDKdmQIg28W7CM8tdnvVBB7U4w) (https://www.mariowiki.com/images/3/31/Rocket_Barrel_Ride.png)
(http://www.dkwiki.com/images/c/c9/CrissKrossCliffs-GBA-1.png) (https://www.mariowiki.com/images/6/61/Criss_Kross_Cliffs.png)
(http://www.dkwiki.com/images/c/cd/FloodlitFish-GBA-3.png) (http://www.dkwiki.com/images/0/08/FloodlitFish-SNES-4.png)

Incidentally, the GBA SP was released several months before even the first DKC port. The advertisements even showed the game using the SP. I also remember the day DKC GBA released too (purchased it that day), it was being demoed on an SP at my local game stores.

Capcom had the good sense to start releasing their GBA ports with a brightness option around the SP's release. Heck, even before the SP released in at least once case. Their port of Link to the Past had a brightness option on the file select, and the darkest option is pretty much identical to the SNES palette in most instances. It also released several months before the SP launched.

In an interview with Digital Foundry (it's on their youtube channel, one of their recent DF Retro episodes), former Rareware employees bring up the GBA ports of the DKC trilogy. They address that they were aware of the SP but chose not to include a brightness option because they felt such an option would be "obtrusive". Which I think is an absolutely absurd reason.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: John Enigma on June 28, 2018, 10:04:44 pm
^Yeesh!

That is bad.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: CM30 on June 30, 2018, 07:27:41 am
Wow, this is very impressive. Nice to see someone finally make the colours in the first GBA DKC title actually look like they're supposed to again.

That said, are you going to do the same for the sequels at any point? Because for all the first DKC's palettes are messed up, the ones in the DKC 2 port are ten times worse:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97vn6P0hDM0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cohLziTkvSo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ARyJJK09MY
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: assassin on June 30, 2018, 07:49:37 am
Quote from: all hail literacy
"Can you also restore the palettes of DKC 2 & 3?"

Unfortunately, DKC2 and 3 palettes are not stored like DKC. I couldn't find the complete 16 color palettes in ROM but just smaller gradients placed randomly on it. So... No, do not expect a palette restoration coming from me for those :-( DKC2 is my favourite, but sadly I don't have enough time to spend on learning how the palettes work, since I want to start another project (Kirby's Dreamland 2 colorization!)
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: TempestBlade on June 30, 2018, 11:43:17 am
Some backgrounds have an issue.
New Game (Select 1P/2P) is untouched.
Album page 16/19 is glitched.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: Asaki on June 30, 2018, 05:11:54 pm
After Rare reduced all sprites and tilesets, none of the palettes matched so I had to repalette it manually using Photoshop and a custom tool made exclusively for this.

Could you tell me more about this custom tool?
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: John Enigma on July 02, 2018, 10:56:28 am
^I would love to know too.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: marc_max on July 03, 2018, 01:13:43 am
One last thing, are you planning on reworking the remaining palette assets from DKC GBA? Like extra rooms, maps and screens?
I could try helping out with those later in July, but wanted to ask what are your plans about it.
No, I won't do it. Feel free to continue it :-) I submitted a small update to fix a palette though.
That said, are you going to do the same for the sequels at any point?
I know how they look :-( But things are going to be even harder for DKC2 and DKC3 unless I code something to help myself. I'll give them another chance this summer, but I can't promise.
Album page 16/19 is glitched.
Will be fixed in 1.1, thank you.
Could you tell me more about this custom tool?
It's basically an APE replacement which can inject full 16x16 palettes directly from clipboard. I paste VisualBoy Advance palette and screenshots on Photoshop, then I start filling (without Contiguous option) all colors. After all colors are restored, I just copy the palette to the tool and it does the magic.
It can also search palettes just by pasting them from VisualBoy Advance.
But it's not user friendly, so it's not ready to be released.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: Asaki on July 03, 2018, 06:05:29 am
That sounds pretty handy, if you could get it polished up.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: ShadowOne333 on July 03, 2018, 11:05:30 am
Ah great.
Then I'll try to continue the project later this month :)
Thnaks for letting me know!

Also, that tool sounds really handy. It could certainly help for other restoration projects without a doubt. Hope you can get it polished up.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: TempestBlade on July 07, 2018, 11:17:57 pm
What's a new update from 1.1?
Need to update various background from Warp.

Hut from first level is too bright.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: marc_max on July 09, 2018, 03:50:20 am
That sounds pretty handy, if you could get it polished up.
Can't promise, sorry :-( It would take some time.
Ah great.
Then I'll try to continue the project later this month :)
Thnaks for letting me know!

Also, that tool sounds really handy. It could certainly help for other restoration projects without a doubt. Hope you can get it polished up.

Thanks again!
1.1 is up!
What's a new update from 1.1?
Need to update various background from Warp.

Hut from first level is too bright.
As I said, only palettes coming from SNES version were restored. The rest were not even touched. Hut from GBA is completely different from SNES's.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: John Enigma on July 14, 2018, 10:21:37 am
I forgot to ask, does this hack also restores the palettes of new stuff, like the minigames?
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: Midna on July 14, 2018, 07:11:43 pm
The post directly above yours says that they're not.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: marc_max on August 18, 2018, 08:54:46 am
Is anyone interested on helping to hack palettes in DKC2 and DKC3?
I've decided I could work on restoring both but I'm going to need some help since I'm not used to GBA hardware and its debugging.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: ShadowOne333 on August 18, 2018, 06:07:18 pm
I'd be interested in helping out, but I am not used to ARM assembly at all, nor have any experience using debuggers of any kind :/

I do know my way around getting palettes and changing them, but nor if it involves debugging.
I did restore the colour in one screen left untouched in DKC1 so far, but haven't really gone back to it yet to restore others atm.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: BlazeHeatnix on August 18, 2018, 08:10:57 pm
IMO DKC3 deserves a palette restoration before the others do, considering it's actually superior to the original, unlike the others. (thanks to the new soundtrack)
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: Midna on August 19, 2018, 02:09:29 am
I'd beg to differ, but to each their own.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: TempestBlade on March 06, 2019, 05:59:50 pm
Is still no DKC2 hack yet?
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: Metalwario64 on March 06, 2019, 08:21:27 pm
Is still no DKC2 hack yet?
No, and the author stated multiple times that they aren't doing it.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: ShadowOne333 on March 11, 2019, 04:19:37 pm
Contradiction much? :P

Is anyone interested on helping to hack palettes in DKC2 and DKC3?
I've decided I could work on restoring both but I'm going to need some help since I'm not used to GBA hardware and its debugging.
No, and the author stated multiple times that they aren't doing it.

He was willing to continue, but if someone stepped in to help.
I am for sure curious about the tool that he used for this restoration, and I'd like to attempt using it for the other DKC games, and perhaps Mother 1+2 (Mother 2 side), I am willing to help.
I made a restoration of one of the menus that was left untouched, I might continue with other stuff, but without something as reference, it will be like new palettes from scratch altogether.
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: marc_max on April 22, 2019, 03:02:13 am
Working on other projects, wish I could work on both DKC2 and DKC3 :-(
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: TempestBlade on May 07, 2019, 07:49:59 pm
Glitch report
Album 12/19 is glitched.

Unchanged screen on 0:27
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRxTNLpbCl0&t=0m27s
Glitched or unchanged (?) on 1:26:29
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRxTNLpbCl0&t=1h26m29s
Title: Re: Donkey Kong Country (GBA) Palette restoration
Post by: mushguy on May 07, 2019, 09:48:15 pm
There's something that has been bothering me: I noticed that the sky in most jungle levels is very dark, just like in Ropey Rampage. Is it because they share the same sky background as that level? Also, is there an explanation on how Orang-utan Gang (http://www.dkc-atlas.com/maps/dkc/3-5) doesn't have the same colors as the SNES original?