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Romhacking => Personal Projects => Topic started by: Bregalad on February 08, 2019, 08:01:29 am

Title: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Bregalad on February 08, 2019, 08:01:29 am
Hello folks,
I was just wondering. Is there some demand for a sound restoration patch for the GBA version of Tales of Phantasia ? What I'm sure of is that it uses the same "sappy" or M4A sound engine, and that the music was horribly butchered.

However other parts of the game were also quite affected and I feel like the GBA version is disliked, not only because of the music, but because i.e. the battle controls also suck compared to the SNES version. But maybe it's just it takes some time to get used to it.

Also I could easily rip the music track from the PSX version using VGMTrans but not from the SNES version, which is IMO the version with the best music (the music from the PSX is ok, but sounds cheaper and cruder than from the SNES). If I wanted to sound-restore the GBA version I'd have to either use the PSX track, or modify them to make the sound like the SNES (but they would be some errors in them) or I would need to contact the author of VGMTrans and ask them to have Tales of Phantasia SNES supported.

Thanks for letting me know if there's any demand. Oh, and I absolutely LOVE Tales of Phantasia's soundtrack.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Special on February 08, 2019, 10:43:32 am
Love all your work and I really doubt anyone would say no to this... That being said, I'm not to familiar with the GBA version of Tales of Phantasia, does anything about it make it worth being played over the SNES version? I seem to remember hearing there being slowdown issues, making it an inferior port.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Isao Kronos on February 08, 2019, 01:14:15 pm
ToP GBA is a trashfire and you're better off spending your time on something else.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: vivify93 on February 08, 2019, 02:34:46 pm
It's funny that you should bring up ToP GBA. I worked on a wide-scale text update that was based off of Kajitani-Eizan's TOPEUKE patch, which massively improves the game text. I combined it with Dragonsbrethren's font update, and it makes the game a lot better. (I lost the file, but I'm trying to track it down because I distributed it)

Would you be able to "undub" the voices as well, or is that outside your area of expertise? It'd be nice to have an updated Phantasia on my 3DS. :)
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Sanedan56 on February 08, 2019, 03:40:15 pm
I did see a post about restoring the music in the past. Unfortunately, the game doesn't use Sappy (I've tried.)

That said, I prefer the GBA's music.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: J^P on February 08, 2019, 05:05:29 pm
GBA version has various problems..
1. the dub is just plan out terrible
2. overly bright palettes
3. gameplay is slow and lacks ps1 versions 8-way movement in field
7. Cress's mystic arte is impossible to pull out
4. the translation is bad
5. music is butchered
6. no skits at all, not even in the japanese version

The best version is the one included in Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X (remake of the gbc sequel), best version thats in english is the ps1 version.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Bregalad on February 08, 2019, 05:59:34 pm
Quote
Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X
Never knew such a thing existed. I guess we learn new things everyday. But it looks like an entierely new game to me.

Quote
ToP GBA is a trashfire and you're better off spending your time on something else.
That was my feeling too... unfortunately not only the sound is butchered in this remake, but I can only do something about the sound personally. And nobody'd play a butchered remake even with great audio. (that is IF I make great audio fit in it, which is the best case scenario)
Quote
I did see a post about restoring the music in the past. Unfortunately, the game doesn't use Sappy (I've tried.)
Of course it does. You probably failed somehow.

Quote
That said, I prefer the GBA's music.
To be perfectly honest, you're crazy. TOP is without a doubt the SNES->GBA port which butchered the soundtrack the most I know of. Half of the instruments/tracks are missing. The ones who aren't are Gameboy Color's beep and blips. GBC's sound used correctly can sound great but here it's used wrongly. This sounds downright awful and is an isult to TOP's magnificent soundtrack. PSX's version also have very cheap sound, likely the just used the cheap instruments that came by default with their devkit or something - but it's still better.

Quote
Would you be able to "undub" the voices as well, or is that outside your area of expertise? It'd be nice to have an updated Phantasia on my 3DS.
Not sure, but restoring japanese voices from the SNES original or the PSX port could be feasible.

GBA version has various problems..
Unfortunately I can only do a thing about problems 1 and 5 - and possibly 3 if I can make the music driver faster (this is an optimist case). The game was designed without 8-way so I think this is ok. But the other problems still remains.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Masaru on February 08, 2019, 06:59:38 pm
A problem i have with ToP GBA is how in the american version removed literally various thing like the vocal intro and the sound mode from the japanese version
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: KingMike on February 08, 2019, 07:25:36 pm
I would suspect the removed intro was because of the vocals and that Nintendo probably felt that Japanese lyrics in a localization of a game that is not thematically Japanese was not appropriate.
I can understand that decision. It was that or dub the song, and I think removing it is a preferable option to that. :P

I know they also removed the naming option, though I wonder if it was the same as the "Chester" problem DeJap had. (no problem naming him correctly with the default names. But renaming him was an issue. ... but if 7 characters can fit in the default name, how much of an issue is to extended re-entered names to 7?)
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: ShadowOne333 on February 08, 2019, 08:35:42 pm
I'd say it's a wasted effort given how poor of a port it is altogether.

If at all, I'd recommend an audio restoration of Mother 1+2, since that one is getting a lot of love lately with the VWF hack, and I'm planning a colour restoration of it.

The Super Mario Advance series are also good contenders for an audio restoration, and maybe as an stretch the DKC trilogy on GBA, well only 1 & 2 since DKC3 had a whole new OST for GBA.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on February 08, 2019, 09:05:21 pm
Hey again Bregalad!

I've said this before, I doubt anyone could hack Tales of Phantasia GBA back into a competent state. The colors and the music (as you and others have demonstrated with other games) are not the biggest problems. There are tons of missing visual effects both in and out of battle. An out of battle example being reflections of sprites in mirrors and water surfaces. There are also tons of magic and summon effects that are horribly butchered as well.

Slow battles as well. I don't know how much of this is the fault of intentional programming versus the system struggling to run the game due to poor optimization. But it is a real mess and makes the game very unenjoyable to play.

However, with all that said I'll admit i'd be curious. But only if you really wanted to do it for your own curiosity, and if you didn't have another GBA game restoration in mind. I don't think ToP GBA will ever be in a state where i'd want to actually *play* it. There's just too much wrong with it that I doubt would or could ever be fixed. But it would be cool to know how close the music could have gotten to the SNES version with more competent developers. Tales of Phantasia on SNES has one of the most technically impressive soundtrack on the system IMO (and one of the best in general). And also happens to be one of the most offensively botched jobs on the GBA, a complete disgrace. So it would be fascinating to see how good it could have been had the proper effort gone into it. But again, there are still a lot of other GBA ports out there that are much more salvageable than Phantasia.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Masaru on February 08, 2019, 09:06:54 pm
I'd say it's a wasted effort given how poor of a port it is altogether.

If at all, I'd recommend an audio restoration of Mother 1+2, since that one is getting a lot of love lately with the VWF hack, and I'm planning a colour restoration of it.

The Super Mario Advance series are also good contenders for an audio restoration, and maybe as an stretch the DKC trilogy on GBA, well only 1 & 2 since DKC3 had a whole new OST for GBA.
And what about the first 2 Goemon SNES games ported to GBA?
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on February 08, 2019, 09:22:41 pm
I'd say it's a wasted effort given how poor of a port it is altogether.

If at all, I'd recommend an audio restoration of Mother 1+2, since that one is getting a lot of love lately with the VWF hack, and I'm planning a colour restoration of it.

The Super Mario Advance series are also good contenders for an audio restoration, and maybe as an stretch the DKC trilogy on GBA, well only 1 & 2 since DKC3 had a whole new OST for GBA.
The DKC trilogy are similarly botched beyond fixing in comparison to ToP IMO. There's tons of missing visual effects (for instance the first couple of jungle levels no longer have day-night shifts or lightning effects for the storm), and most of the tilesets and sprites are resized to 25% smaller than the originals.

I also think I recall someone mentioning the DKC trilogy doesn't use Sappy. I'm actually not sure if the Mario Advance games use Sappy either, would be cool restoration contenders if they do of course. There are some other Capcom Disney ports that are otherwise decent as well (Magical Quest trilogy and Aladdin).

Mother 2 also sounds like a good idea and does use Sappy. I haven't played much of it, but on the surface it seems like a pretty decent port other than the palette and sound issues. The translation seems to be making a lot of progress recently too (I think Jeffman just got the troublesome Mr Saturn font working).

Incidentally, I wonder if the GBA port of Doom could be hacked to sound like the SNES music. It's a shockingly solid port other than the sound, it runs immensely better than the SNES version and has proper floor and ceiling textures. I think the SNES version has some extra levels cut from GBA though...
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: ShadowOne333 on February 08, 2019, 11:27:48 pm
The DKC trilogy are similarly botched beyond fixing in comparison to ToP IMO. There's tons of missing visual effects (for instance the first couple of jungle levels no longer have day-night shifts or lightning effects for the storm), and most of the tilesets and sprites are resized to 25% smaller than the originals.

I also think I recall someone mentioning the DKC trilogy doesn't use Sappy. I'm actually not sure if the Mario Advance games use Sappy either, would be cool restoration contenders if they do of course. There are some other Capcom Disney ports that are otherwise decent as well (Magical Quest trilogy and Aladdin).

Mother 2 also sounds like a good idea and does use Sappy. I haven't played much of it, but on the surface it seems like a pretty decent port other than the palette and sound issues. The translation seems to be making a lot of progress recently too (I think Jeffman just got the troublesome Mr Saturn font working).

Incidentally, I wonder if the GBA port of Doom could be hacked to sound like the SNES music. It's a shockingly solid port other than the sound, it runs immensely better than the SNES version and has proper floor and ceiling textures. I think the SNES version has some extra levels cut from GBA though...
Yeah that's why I mentin the DKC games as a stretch.
Mother 1+2 for sure I'd love to see its music restored, it's a very good port with almost no gameplay flaw other than the music.
The Super Mario Advance games are really good options too, if they get a sound restoration, combined with the colour ones, they might even surpass the originals by far.

And now that you brought up Doom, it made me think...
Would a hack of Wolfenstein 3D for the GBA possible where the actual unused tracks are coded back into the game?
As it is, that game has NO music playing at all, only SFX, but all of the song/music data is still in the ROM. I'd love to see that one happen, as that port is the most faithful to the original DOS game out of all the console ports of Wolfenstein 3D.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: mushguy on February 09, 2019, 12:40:15 am
Yeah that's why I mentin the DKC games as a stretch.
Mother 1+2 for sure I'd love to see its music restored, it's a very good port with almost no gameplay flaw other than the music.
The Super Mario Advance games are really good options too, if they get a sound restoration, combined with the colour ones, they might even surpass the originals by far.

And now that you brought up Doom, it made me think...
Would a hack of Wolfenstein 3D for the GBA possible where the actual unused tracks are coded back into the game?
As it is, that game has NO music playing at all, only SFX, but all of the song/music data is still in the ROM. I'd love to see that one happen, as that port is the most faithful to the original DOS game out of all the console ports of Wolfenstein 3D.
Yeah, about Donkey Kong Country, while restoring the visual effects is not possible, color restoration was however achieved as seen in this patch (http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=26568.20). And I really hope for sound restoration for the Super Mario Advance games to happen someday, especially for Super Mario World, which suffered the worst.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: mikeprado30 on February 09, 2019, 12:47:57 am
I would love a music restore patch for this game SO MUCH!  This one REALLY needs it  :)
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Bregalad on February 09, 2019, 06:12:42 am
Quote
Tales of Phantasia on SNES has one of the most technically impressive soundtrack on the system IMO (and one of the best in general). And also happens to be one of the most offensively botched jobs on the GBA, a complete disgrace.
Exactly my feelings ! Even the PSX port is already a letdown from the SNES version sound-wise. Maybe that version would need to be sound-restored instead ?

If at all, I'd recommend an audio restoration of Mother 1+2, since that one is getting a lot of love lately with the VWF hack, and I'm planning a colour restoration of it.
Actually this is planned, by the group which is doing the translation. They will handle the work, not me though, since I know squat about the game :)

Quote
But only if you really wanted to do it for your own curiosity, and if you didn't have another GBA game restoration in mind.
Actually there's not much other sound restorations I could do. Maybe Mega Man & Bass, but to be honest I like the GBA music and I can't say they butchered it. On the other hand, they used the GB sound cleverly, and it fits the soundtrack well. Should have been an example for other SNES->GBA conversions... I was also thinking about porting the music from Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team (DS) to the regular Mega Man Battle Network 5 GBA, but I don't think this would be any useful other than a feasibility tech-demo (and I am already convincted this is feasible).

DKC does't use sappy so in order to do a restoration major work would be involved in craking the sound engine it uses, and make tools that convert the SNES songs for it. Not impossible, but that's another scale of work than just applying current findings to games using the sappy engine.

Quote
Slow battles as well. I don't know how much of this is the fault of intentional programming versus the system struggling to run the game due to poor optimization.
It's hard to tell but if the sound mixing is in cause, it's easy to shut sound mixing off entierely and see if the game stops slowing down or not. We can also observe in NO$GBA emulator the CPU usage gauge, and when the game's lagging we see the gauge flickering between 100% usage and a small usage (because each "frame" takes 2 frames to actally complete). If CPU usage is below 100% we know it's intentional prgramming.

EDIT: Just checked it, the CPU usage is always 100% during battle... very strange.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: vivify93 on February 09, 2019, 11:57:18 am
I feel like part of what might be wrong with ToP GBA is that the frames of animation in battle are "held" for too long. Like, the delay between switching frames needs to be lessened.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on February 09, 2019, 02:27:32 pm
I didn't know the Mother 2 translation team had a sound restoration of their own planned, that's really awesome and good to know!

I also never figured the PS1 ToP had worse music than the SNES version. I'll have to listen to some of the tracks later on and compare them.

I took another look at the GBA port. A good amount of the slowdown is definitely performance related lag, not intentional. If it was programmed in intentionally, there would be more consistency to the slow speed, but the speed fluctuates wildly and constantly. It already runs slowly even when there are only a couple of characters onscreen. But the slowdown gets worse when more crap is onscreen. For example, even just hitting the enemy with Cless/Cress using his sword lags the game. Slashing an enemy with his sword causes an animated slash sprite, just that one extra sprite animation causes a lot of slowdown. Late game sword arts that hit multiple times and mixed with transparency effects are even worse. Not to mention the damage counter text probably even contributes...

The entire game is a mess, feels like it was poorly cobbled together with pieces from the SNES and PS1 versions and is being held together with chewing gum. Holding on by a hope and a prayer. I can't imagine myself playing it when the far superior PS1 or even SNES versions are available. And we have a nice variety of very portable devices to run the good versions nowadays. Heck, even back in 2006 when the GBA port first released in the US, the PS1 version got a much better fan translation the following year. And even back then you could load it on a PSP if you wanted a good portable version.

So I won't lie, the sound being fixed isn't going to make me want to play the GBA version. Can't speak for others of course. Though as always, it would obviously be fun to see you make a fool out of the "professionals" again. Just the novelty of hearing the SNES soundtrack coming out of a GBA (even if I didn't play the game itself) is cool.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: FCandChill on February 09, 2019, 04:10:18 pm
I would love a music restore patch for this game SO MUCH!  This one REALLY needs it  :)

Same here. I don't think the GBA is a bad game... It's just the weakest currently playable version of the game. It's inferior the PSX and SNES version in every aspect. I beat the GBA version in fact. The battle system is very loose and slippery compared to the SNES version. It was the version I played because I could play it on the go.

4. the translation is bad

The translation never struck me as awful, except for the Kangroo issue. The localization is plain awful: the porno mag current events magazine with a swimsuit model and the prostitute a guy  with a shady deal in women's clothes in Midgar are prime examples. Also the voice acting is pretty bad.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: vivify93 on February 09, 2019, 05:55:32 pm
I know Kajitani-Eizan fixed the porn mag and Ragnarok in his TOPEUKE patch. The patch I made changed the shady guy to a "lady of the evening". Just gotta track it down! In the meantime, I guess Kajitani wouldn't mind me sharing TOPEUKE...

http://www.bwass.org/bucket/ToPEUKE001.zip

Major menu text update for EU version of ToP. Combine with Dragonsbrethren's font patch for maximum effect. https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/130/

Edit - Looks like I won't be able to track down that mod after all, sorry guys. TOPEUKE is just as good IMO, though lacking in a few parts like most of the dialogue
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: John Enigma on February 11, 2019, 07:33:14 pm

February 11, 2019, 08:02:09 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
GBA version has various problems..
1. the dub is just plan out terrible
2. overly bright palettes
3. gameplay is slow and lacks ps1 versions 8-way movement in field
7. Cress's mystic arte is impossible to pull out
4. the translation is bad
5. music is butchered
6. no skits at all, not even in the japanese version

The best version is the one included in Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X (remake of the gbc sequel), best version thats in english is the ps1 version.

Considering that Bregalad wants to try restoring the OST of the GBA version, I think is safe to say that it's much better to just overhaul the game with QoL changes and whatnot, just to "de-suck" the game in favor of the player's experience. God knows if there are other Tales Of games that were remade for the GBA that suffer the same fate.

Games that I think deserve their OST restored would be Super Mario Advance 2, 3, & 4 (Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, Super Mario Bros. 3, respectively), Donkey Kong Country 1 & 2 (someone in here mentioned that DKC 3 had an original, but cool soundtrack), and whatever cool RPG (that happened to be a GBA remake) in existence everybody liked.

Games that I wish had their OST restored, but haven't been translated yet, would be Kessakusen! Ganbare Goemon 1•2: Yukihime to Magginesu (https://goemon.fandom.com/wiki/Kessakusen!_Ganbare_Goemon_1%E2%80%A22:_Yukihime_to_Magginesu) (however, everybody should know that Avicandriya is still working on the Ganbare Goemon 2 translation (http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=20026.0)), the remakes of both Shin Megami Tensei 1 & 2 (1: https://r.mprd.se/GBA/boxart/0933.jpg, and 2: https://cdromance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/1189.jpg), and last, but not least, Mother 2 GBA, of Mother 1+2 (although, tbh, I kinda wish Mother 1 GBA's OST also got fixed, but nobody knows how). Also, only one member of the team so far has worked on the OST of M2GBA, but has since halted, because 1. is a crapload of songs, and 2. there are still so many inconsistencies on how to insert the songs inside.

So there you have it.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: YourAverageGamer on February 12, 2019, 04:49:38 am
The game isn't as awful as people say tbh. Quality wise, it's easily the worst version. I prefer it to the SNES version in a gameplay sense.
I don't really see anyone jumping to play a sound restoration of it but it would be interesting.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Bregalad on February 13, 2019, 03:33:48 am
God knows if there are other Tales Of games that were remade for the GBA that suffer the same fate.
What are you talking about ? Isn't Tales of Phantasia the only game of the series ported to GBA (and awfully so) ?

Quote
Games that I think deserve their OST restored would be Super Mario Advance 2, 3, & 4 (Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, Super Mario Bros. 3, respectively), Donkey Kong Country 1 & 2 (someone in here mentioned that DKC 3 had an original, but cool soundtrack), and whatever cool RPG (that happened to be a GBA remake) in existence everybody liked.

[...]
So there you have it.
I'll take note of this and see whether any of those is possible.

Also, I'm quite interested at the idea of sound-restoring Tales of Phantasia PS1 with SNES soundtrack, but I'd need other people to help as I'm extremely un-knownledgeable about how to make and distribute hacks for a CD-based platform (I'm only used to ROM-based platforms).
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: tc on February 13, 2019, 06:48:30 am
Compare the music for Disney's Magical Quest.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on February 13, 2019, 10:03:57 am
Compare the music for Disney's Magical Quest.
The first game was a near launch title for the GBA and the sound quality reminds me of Capcom's other early ports on the system with the Breath of Fire games. A lot of the SNES instrument samples were just swapped out with Gameboy Color channels instead, so it lost its orchestral style for a very 8bit chiptune vibe. I far prefer the SNES original.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtVpkfYrlsk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpNFCxr1MFg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW6Aag8lqAo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBNRC6FRFJ4

The game also got two sequels which also got GBA ports, and the sound (while perhaps a bit better) is still pretty botched. There was also an Aladdin SNES port. At least these all had a SNES color palette option though, so kudos to Capcom for that at least!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UbBothFYeM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsXPnhNwnW8

Bregalad mentioned in his documentation for his Breath of Fire restorations that the only SNES instrument samples were still inside the GBA roms, but that Capcom just decided not to use them in favor of Gameboy Color instruments instead. I wonder if Capcom did this with the Magical Quest ports as well. Then again I think he said he looked in Megaman and Bass and found that the SNES samples were missing, so perhaps it was just a thing they did with the BoF ports.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Bregalad on February 13, 2019, 03:33:47 pm
Quote
Bregalad mentioned in his documentation for his Breath of Fire restorations that the only SNES instrument samples were still inside the GBA roms, but that Capcom just decided not to use them in favor of Gameboy Color instruments instead. I wonder if Capcom did this with the Magical Quest ports as well. Then again I think he said he looked in Megaman and Bass and found that the SNES samples were missing, so perhaps it was just a thing they did with the BoF ports.
Indeed, the approach done by Breath of Fire ports and Megaman&Bass port are completely opposite. Breath of Fire had everything from the SNES version ready to use, but the musical track uses gameboy instruments on purpose. Sound effects are replicated exactly what they are on the SNES.

Mega Man & Bass has entierely new instruments sets, and the music also use gameboy channels, but in a more consistent way and it works much better. Sound effects are just lazily recorded off the SNES and played back, they are not replicated. The result is that they sound closer to the originals but takes more ROM.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: KingMike on February 13, 2019, 03:36:18 pm
Magical Quest a near-launch title? It was released well over a year after the console.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on February 13, 2019, 06:09:47 pm
Magical Quest a near-launch title? It was released well over a year after the console.
You're right, I was mixing up the GBA port of Breath of Fire. My bad. GBA was released in June 2001 in the US, and Magical Quest was released in August 2002. "Near launch" for me is a game released within a year of the system's release. But Magical Quest was later.

February 13, 2019, 06:55:49 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Indeed, the approach done by Breath of Fire ports and Megaman&Bass port are completely opposite. Breath of Fire had everything from the SNES version ready to use, but the musical track uses gameboy instruments on purpose. Sound effects are replicated exactly what they are on the SNES.

Mega Man & Bass has entierely new instruments sets, and the music also use gameboy channels, but in a more consistent way and it works much better. Sound effects are just lazily recorded off the SNES and played back, they are not replicated. The result is that they sound closer to the originals but takes more ROM.
Speaking of MM&Bass, I think we somewhat agree that the at least some of the songs in the GBA port have better instrument choices. But would there be any audible improvements to implementing ipatix's "faster and higher quality" sound mixer you mentioned in the readme for some of your other hacks?
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Kallisto on February 14, 2019, 02:07:24 am
Personally I'm kind of surprised there isn't much concentration on the PSP version considering it is the current canon to fit alongside with Narikiri Dungeon X.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Bregalad on February 14, 2019, 02:33:39 am
Quote
But would there be any audible improvements to implementing ipatix's "faster and higher quality" sound mixer you mentioned in the readme for some of your other hacks?
It could reduce noise for DirectSound channels but this alone doesn't justify a romhack.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Dragoonglue on February 14, 2019, 10:48:23 am
Personally I'm kind of surprised there isn't much concentration on the PSP version considering it is the current canon to fit alongside with Narikiri Dungeon X.
Well, it was being translated by Absolute Zero until one day they just decided to stop making translations altogether. Since then nobody has shown any interest in translating it, though.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: J^P on February 14, 2019, 01:58:37 pm
Well, it was being translated by Absolute Zero until one day they just decided to stop making translations altogether. Since then nobody has shown any interest in translating it, though.
yeah, nobody want to translate tales games, not Namco, not fans.
Absolute zero is also bizarre one, they somehow finished joke translation from the scratch of an known bad tales game nobody asked for over better one that they had good chunk progress into :-\ .
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: mariosmentor on February 14, 2019, 03:45:14 pm
yeah, nobody want to translate tales games, not Namco, not fans.
Yep, seems like the only way to truly enjoy these games is to know Japanese.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on February 14, 2019, 04:12:00 pm
The PSP port looks really good. I think the enhanced battle sprites are a big improvement over previous versions. And the enhancements to the combat system also look really fun too. Like that there's a more robust basic melee combo system. And spells and summons not freezing time looks fun too. Sad indeed there's not a translation...
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Chronosplit on January 18, 2020, 09:26:06 pm
I know Kajitani-Eizan fixed the porn mag and Ragnarok in his TOPEUKE patch. The patch I made changed the shady guy to a "lady of the evening". Just gotta track it down! In the meantime, I guess Kajitani wouldn't mind me sharing TOPEUKE...

http://www.bwass.org/bucket/ToPEUKE001.zip

Major menu text update for EU version of ToP. Combine with Dragonsbrethren's font patch for maximum effect. https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/130/

Edit - Looks like I won't be able to track down that mod after all, sorry guys. TOPEUKE is just as good IMO, though lacking in a few parts like most of the dialogue
I'm late, but there was a ToPEUKE002.  You can find some scant info of what was updated in the Zophar thread, I have no clue about anything else: https://www.zophar.net/forums/showthread.php?t=7037

And here's a site with both, including a patch for the english translation of GBA Tales of Phantasia, which started day after it's release (pre-release GBA patches are kinda hard to find nowadays, so whoopee!): https://sites.google.com/site/blade2187/
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: vivify93 on January 19, 2020, 12:15:14 am
That's good to know in case I feel like picking my GBA text cleanup project back up again.

Edit - That's "TOPUSKE", which I assume is a patch for the US version. Looks like Dragonsbrethren of 2006 got a little confused. Applying it to the European version results in a crash at the title screen. Thanks for finding it anyhow, Chronosplit!
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Kallisto on January 20, 2020, 07:54:22 am
The PS1 and PSP versions of Tales of Phantasia are still considered the best.

The GBA version doesn't have much interest going for it due to poor translation, and some content got cut if I recall.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Masaru on January 20, 2020, 10:08:13 am
A problem i have with ToP GBA is how in the american version removed literally various thing like the vocal intro and the sound mode from the japanese version
And again i recall, the only thing ToPGBA needs, is an undub, an Intro+Voice Actors Restoration and a Sound Mode restoration, and i doubt that would be possible because they obliterated everything from the american/european rom
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: justin3009 on January 20, 2020, 05:57:33 pm
And again i recall, the only thing ToPGBA needs, is an undub, an Intro+Voice Actors Restoration and a Sound Mode restoration, and i doubt that would be possible because they obliterated everything from the american/european rom

The undubbing is at least very, very possible. But adding in the intro with the proper vocals and the Sound Test would be an absolute mess. The intro song itself might actually still exist and they just disabled it from playing though I have no clue for sure on that. The Sound Test... yeah that would be something much harder to fix.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: DarioEMeloD on January 20, 2020, 06:12:13 pm
The Japanese version has the original opening, though it's butchered like the rest of the game

Another thing, not a specific problem of this game, but still... Color restoration
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: EvilJagaGenius on January 20, 2020, 09:14:17 pm
I don't mean to pile more work onto hackers, but restoration hacks for GBA ports are always appreciated, and I would certainly love to play a restored version of the game on my own GBA.  I do wonder how hard it would be to do a color restoration... it certainly seems like it'd take time, but I wonder how much extra work it would take like looking at and tweaking the ASM.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: IAmCaptPlanet on January 20, 2020, 10:13:42 pm
later GBA games have a GameBoy Player mode that only activates on a GBP (on a GameCube) and the palette is totally different

so the color corrected SMB3 GBA patch just forces GBP mode to be on. maybe not too much work involved there, but i'm not sure ToP has a GBP mode
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on January 21, 2020, 01:51:24 am
Regarding Phantasia's original opening song, when Bregalad created his Final Fantasy restoration hacks he inserted high quality orchestral tracks for some of the scenes. FF6's opera and ending for example. Perhaps it would be possible to also do this for Phantasia GBA, even though the US/EU releases removed it. The PS1 version has a high quality remix of the song. Though many people might actually prefer the original more upbeat SNES version and how it syncs up to the scenes. Dunno how difficult it is to swap out songs from different regions.

Interestingly, while the instruments in the intro song obviously sound way worse than the SNES original, the vocals aren't THAT bad by comparison.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3SA9LuqQgA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFbePv--1Zw

Side by Side (SNES vs GBA)-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ171fYbQmo

Potential challenges I could see with restoring the palettes are that the graphics are a mishmash of SNES and PS1 assets. The towns and dungeons (and world map) tilesets seem to all be ported directly from the SNES. But the sprites were adapted from the PS1 version. Battle backgrounds are also taken from the PS1 port, though many are heavily edited. You'd have to look at both versions of the game to get the right palettes for ALL of the graphics in the game. Not to mention the fact that the PS1 assets use far more colors than either SNES or GBA.

I actually wouldn't be surprised if the GBA port has reduced color palettes even compared to the SNES version given how much worse it looks in other respects.

Another thing I noticed the US/EU release altered for some reason was the time travel "mode7" effect. The SNES and JP GBA release looked pretty much identical besides the palette. The mode7 had a ceiling and floor (with an HDMA gradient for fake 3D depth) stretching on endlessly, and Dhaos' sparkle of light animated. The international release however changed the view so you can only see the ceiling of the mode7 plane, not the floor. The sparkle no longer animates either beyond a twinkling palette swap. They removed the flashing too. Perhaps the flashing was removed due to worries about seizures, but I don't know if I buy that given that the game contains copious amounts of flashing effects elsewhere that weren't removed. And it also doesn't explain the other alterations to the warp scene. The original effect had a much bigger visual punch to it.

SNES Time Warp (go to 3:03)-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xlVpixMcTc
GBA Time Warp (go to 3:06)-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrMmg5LmwB8
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Masaru on January 21, 2020, 11:29:10 am
I made a small proof of concept mockup on how the color restoration should look
https://imgur.com/a/l1d005r (https://imgur.com/a/l1d005r)
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Bregalad on January 21, 2020, 02:37:50 pm
FF6's opera and ending for example.
Wrong game, FF4 has the ending with orchestral sound not FF6.

Quote
Perhaps it would be possible to also do this for Phantasia GBA, even though the US/EU releases removed it
It's possible to do basically anything with TOP GBA when it comes to sound, but apparently this port is bad for other reasons than just the sound.

Quote
Another thing I noticed the US/EU release altered for some reason was the time travel "mode7" effect. The SNES and JP GBA release looked pretty much identical besides the palette. The mode7 had a ceiling and floor (with an HDMA gradient for fake 3D depth) stretching on endlessly, and Dhaos' sparkle of light animated. The international release however changed the view so you can only see the ceiling of the mode7 plane, not the floor. The sparkle no longer animates either beyond a twinkling palette swap. They removed the flashing too. Perhaps the flashing was removed due to worries about seizures, but I don't know if I buy that given that the game contains copious amounts of flashing effects elsewhere that weren't removed. And it also doesn't explain the other alterations to the warp scene. The original effect had a much bigger visual punch to it.

SNES Time Warp (go to 3:03)-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xlVpixMcTc
GBA Time Warp (go to 3:06)-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrMmg5LmwB8
This shows how incompetent the people behind the GBA port were. This scene is completely ruined and looks like garbage. Not only the "floor" is missing as you mentioned, but also the gradient effect. Even the soul representing Dahos' soul seems to look wrong. They definitely rushed this port for quick cash and did random job and didn't care about the details.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: vivify93 on January 21, 2020, 02:51:53 pm
Despite the glaring issues it has, it's still the only portable version of Tales of Phantasia in English. Trying to play either Absolute Zero or Phantasian Productions' patches on a PSP will lead to frequent crashing with Arche's higher tier spells, possibly other artes as well. If a patch was made, it should only be for the European release with no US release option at all, given how the EU release improves upon the shoddy overseas changes in every way.

For what it's worth, more people working on this would give me more incentive to continue my remade script improvement project.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Masaru on January 21, 2020, 04:35:12 pm
I made some more proof of concept mockups
(https://i.imgur.com/tqbZWce.png)
(https://i.imgur.com/w50gDzQ.png)
(https://i.imgur.com/t5eZiOm.png)
(https://i.imgur.com/KAQ04sJ.png)
(https://i.imgur.com/6ac9YGF.png)
(https://i.imgur.com/dL3kjOv.png)

Also an small mockup in case that an english re-translation could happen?
(https://i.imgur.com/MsYyLpo.png)
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: EvilJagaGenius on January 21, 2020, 08:18:37 pm
Another thing I noticed the US/EU release altered for some reason was the time travel "mode7" effect. The SNES and JP GBA release looked pretty much identical besides the palette. The mode7 had a ceiling and floor (with an HDMA gradient for fake 3D depth) stretching on endlessly, and Dhaos' sparkle of light animated. The international release however changed the view so you can only see the ceiling of the mode7 plane, not the floor. The sparkle no longer animates either beyond a twinkling palette swap. They removed the flashing too. Perhaps the flashing was removed due to worries about seizures, but I don't know if I buy that given that the game contains copious amounts of flashing effects elsewhere that weren't removed. And it also doesn't explain the other alterations to the warp scene. The original effect had a much bigger visual punch to it.

I had some ideas about that.  When I first looked at ToP (it was the GBA port) I saw that scene with only the mode 7 ceiling.  I wasn't quite sure what was going on, I didn't realize it was supposed to be time/dimensional travel shenanigans.  I saw it as a bright star moving across a cloudy, stormy sky.  And I think most people would see it like that, looking up at the sky... I think it could work like that.  The palette would need adjusted to look more sky-like, and the lightning flashes from the Japanese version would need to be added, but I think it could look quite good like that.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on January 22, 2020, 01:59:31 am
I actually suspect at least some of the removed time warp sequence effects are still hidden in the US/EU rom somewhere, just disabled or perhaps simply hidden out of player view. The gradient effect at least can still be spotted if you've got a good eye. At the end of the sequence, there's a moment where the mode7 plane flattens out before the scene changes. There's actually a short but clearly visible moment (just after the 3:40 mark in the GBA video from my previous post) where the entire screen abruptly flickers to a brighter shade before becoming darker again. This brightening effect is the HDMA gradient effect being switched back on briefly, so this effect is still in the rom, but normally disabled (they missed a spot in this brief moment). I also wonder if the other half of the mode7 plane (the floor) is also still present inside the rom, either disabled or simply out of view due to the different steeper camera angle. You can only see the ceiling in this sequence, so it's plausible the floor is actually still "there", just hidden from view.

This shows how incompetent the people behind the GBA port were. This scene is completely ruined and looks like garbage. Not only the "floor" is missing as you mentioned, but also the gradient effect. Even the soul representing Dahos' soul seems to look wrong. They definitely rushed this port for quick cash and did random job and didn't care about the details.
Just to clarify something. In this particular case, the blame lies on the US/EU localization team, not the people who originally developed the port. The time warp effects were properly ported over in the initial Japanese release of the GBA version. Here's what the JP GBA release looks like (it's not supposed to be this slow, imgur slowed it down when I uploaded it for some reason)-
(https://i.imgur.com/5dPvUrQ.gif)

As you can see, the only real change from the SNES original is the brighter color palette (which I'd guess could be fixed via hacking). The mode7 effect still has both the ceiling and floor planes, the transparent gradient is present (again just brighter), the flashing effect is still there, as is the original animation on Dhaos' soul.

It was the US/EU localization group that decided to ruin this sequence for some reason. I do not know why they did this. The only potential explanation I can think of is fear it might cause seizures or nausea.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Bregalad on January 22, 2020, 02:48:53 am
Oh thanks for the explaination I stand corrected.

Quote
The only potential explanation I can think of is fear it might cause seizures or nausea.
Don't attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence. They probably introduced some glitch which prevent this screen to show correctly as it was supposed to, and they either didn't notice or didn't care to fix the glitch.

Very likely the HDMA effect is going on 2x slower it's supposed to, which explain why there's only a ceiling. They're supposed to change the matrix to scale the BG smaller and smaller each scanline until about half of the screen, then do it the other way arround. If the effect is slowed down by a 2x factor, it scales the matrix only each 2nd scanline, and then the frame is finished before the effect is. VBlank then re-initiate the effect for the next frame, etc...

The SNES has 8 DMA channel, but the GBA only 4, and 2 of them are typically reserved for sound which means it has only 2 DMA channels that can be used for HDMA channels. As such many GBA port of SNES games have to rely on IRQs to simulate more DMA channels, but this turns out to be very heavy on CPU usage. If the IRQ routine becomes too long, then the effect can easily be missed every 2nd scanline. I have no idea whether this is what TOPGBA does, it's just a suspicion.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: vivify93 on January 22, 2020, 04:04:08 am
So, what are we looking at for a ToP GBA enhancement then, gang?

- Restore palettes
- Restore music
- Script enhancement
- Undub (Would be cool to make this optional for players attached to the English voices)
- Subtitles to prologue battle (Already done for other languages, just English needs it)

And just throwing out some ideas.

- Restore original time travel sequence (In alternate patch, perhaps change the voice actor credits to the English crew?)
- Add a fade-out to the end of the OP so it doesn't cut off awkwardly (Alternative to straight-out re-adding Yume wa Owaranai, which may be impossible)
- Fix Cress barking like a dog when you use Dark Blade (Bug from the Japanese original)
- Speed up battle system? (Probably the hardest to do, but there's no excuse for this being so poor when the Narikiri Dungeon games play perfectly on GBA)
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Bregalad on January 22, 2020, 04:18:48 am
Despite the glaring issues it has, it's still the only portable version of Tales of Phantasia in English.
Isn't it easy to emulate the SNES version on various portable devices ? You won't have the temporary save features, but savestates should compensate for this.

Quote
So, what are we looking at for a ToP GBA enhancement then, gang?
I was under the impression that ToP GBA isn't very popular and that other versions of the game should be targetted if some hacking should be done.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on January 22, 2020, 04:36:49 am
Heh, I was considering suggesting the localization team just accidentally broke the Time Warp effect by messing with code they shouldn't be. But i'm glad you said it instead. I'm not a programmer or hacker of any sort and didn't want to jump to conclusions on matters i'm ignorant on. It's very sad that in spite of GBA's relatively power compared to the 16bit consoles, it instead often became a dumping ground for incompetent ports from this gen...

I wasn't aware of crashing issues running the translated PS1 port on PSP, but there are plenty of other handheld devices that can do it via emulation.

Incidentally regarding the GBA port, i'm curious as to what extent all of its shortcomings are "fixable" via hacking. I assume a sound restoration is possible given Bregalad's comments, and i'm sure a color restoration can be done. But what is possible beyond these? There are tons of cut graphical effects, even outside of battles. Heck even the nice smooth color gradient on SNES text boxes was removed. I'd have to make a somewhat lengthy list.

But an example of a cut that has always bothered me a lot- sprites no longer cast shadows and reflections in mirrors/water. Does anyone here think those would actually be possible to restore via hacking?
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: mkwong98 on January 22, 2020, 10:52:21 am
How about porting the PS1 graphics to SNES?
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Masaru on January 22, 2020, 11:09:27 am
How about porting the PS1 graphics to SNES?
I was thinking about porting the SNES graphics to GBA
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: justin3009 on January 22, 2020, 01:50:50 pm
I was thinking about porting the SNES graphics to GBA

This is not possible. I mean it is, and it isn't. What the SNES uses is VERY specific to it especially in battles. If the sprites get any larger, it will eat other sprites on screen and cause some HORRENDOUS lag. There really isn't any pretty way to port them over. Overworld sprites technically doable but almost every sprite in the game shares the same like 3 palettes so it will break a lot of things. The palettes are also set to only use.. I think 4? of them due to reflections in the water and what not. This can be remedied if the reflections were removed but it still requires a MASSIVE amount of work.

I honestly do not recommend trying this. I've been working on the SNES TOP enhancement thing for awhile now and just doing battle sprites was a bitch since I had to move ALL of their data out to even remotely expand a single thing. It's not pretty and if you want to fully do it with everyone in battle, good luck. There's not enough ROM room unless it's expanded to 8MB but then that requires moving all of the enemies sprite assembly and all the special FX and all of that.

Overworld wise the PS1 sprites are technically very doable, but it will still require some work load. There's no easy way for it overall.

Also, I don't recommend the subtitles in battle. I think the EU version I read it caused ridiculous lag when they appeared. Just another one of the port issues.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: vivify93 on January 22, 2020, 04:40:37 pm
Isn't it easy to emulate the SNES version on various portable devices ? You won't have the temporary save features, but savestates should compensate for this.
Well, there are a couple problems with that. Firstly, I'm going to come out and say that DeJap's translation of ToP is even worse than the GBA version's. While Bowne-Global Solutions butchered the script with utter dryness and the odd mistranslation or two, DeJap ruined it by inserting blatantly made-up text and punching it up as in a Working Designs translation. On top of that the SNES version is very hard to go back and play these days, with its antiquated battle system.

I was under the impression that ToP GBA isn't very popular and that other versions of the game should be targetted if some hacking should be done.
That's a fair assessment, honestly.

Also, I don't recommend the subtitles in battle. I think the EU version I read it caused ridiculous lag when they appeared. Just another one of the port issues.
Not that I can tell. Not the skill indicator text nor the prologue battle subs lag. The prologue is all that needs it, honestly, and like I said it's already with the non-English translations.

(https://i.imgur.com/Jn9BLSY.png)
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: EvilJagaGenius on January 22, 2020, 05:41:51 pm
I poked around very briefly with APE (https://www.romhacking.net/utilities/541/) (using the European ROM).  I think I found some of the palettes used in the intro at 0x49fe16.  So there's some good news: it doesn't look that hard to find and edit the palettes, so a color restoration should very much be possible.  The bad news is that it would require a lot of hunting and editing palettes, but it seems possible.

I'd rather not commit to this right now - hacking an RPG sounds like a very big endeavor and I'm not sure I'd have the time - but if people want me to take a closer look, I could do that.

(also, sorry about derailing the sound restoration thread with color restoration stuff.  Should we make another thread for this?)
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on January 22, 2020, 10:30:38 pm
While running ToP in the mGBA emulator, I was looking through some of the various graphics viewing menus while the time warp sequence was running. The more I look, the more it seems like the original pieces of the sequence that were removed for the US/EU localizations are indeed still hidden in the game, just disabled or hidden from view.

As I suspected, the HDMA gradient is definitely still in the rom somewhere, just not visible for some reason. But mGBA's map viewer reveals it's still present as background layer #1-
(https://i.imgur.com/HDvL0oT.png)

But I also now suspect that the removed animation frames for Dhaos' soul are also still in the rom somewhere. I opened mGBA's tile viewer during this same time warp sequence and noticed a set of sprite frames for what clearly appears to be the original animation used for Dhaos' soul. I ripped the tileset, check the rows near the bottom-
(https://i.imgur.com/qEdzIcD.png)

I don't know if any of the time warp effects are possible to fix via hacking, but I suppose it's interesting to know some of the assets are still contained in the rom somewhere...
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Heaven Piercing Man on January 23, 2020, 02:35:32 am
Isn't it easy to emulate the SNES version on various portable devices ? You won't have the temporary save features, but savestates should compensate for this.
I was under the impression that ToP GBA isn't very popular and that other versions of the game should be targetted if some hacking should be done.

I agree, I think the demand should be for a de-dejapified SNES version
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Bregalad on January 23, 2020, 04:27:44 am
This is not possible. I mean it is, and it isn't. What the SNES uses is VERY specific to it especially in battles. If the sprites get any larger, it will eat other sprites on screen and cause some HORRENDOUS lag.[...]
He was originally talking about porting SNES graphics to GBA, not the other way around. Anyway, GBA version has too many issues, and basically hacking it to fix the game would be close to an entiere rewrite of the game.

Quote
I don't know if any of the time warp effects are possible to fix via hacking, but I suppose it's interesting to know some of the assets are still contained in the rom somewhere...
Of course this is possible, but why bother if the GBA version is bad anyway ?
Also I quickly looked at the scene, apparently the background scaling is not done with IRQ as I suspected, but with the DMA0 channel. So in order to fix the issue, one should compare how the channel is used on both versions of the game (working (J) version and broken (E) version), and see what differs. A random guess could be that the size of DMA transfer is wrong, for example half of the original size, so that could explain that the scaling effect "advances" twice as slow as it's supposed to. However, if that was the case, odd-numbered scanlines should show glitches, which they don't, so I don't have a full explaination. Another possibility would be that the DMA itself is correctly set-up, but that the routine preparing the scroll/scaling data is messed up and updates wrong values to RAM.

Quote
On top of that the SNES version is very hard to go back and play these days, with its antiquated battle system.
On my side I grew up with the SNES version and only played the other versions dozen of minutes for a try, and I see the battle system as "normal". I haven't played any other Tales of games either, so SNES Tales of Phantasia is the only game in the series I've played a lot. I don't find it "hard to play". However, as much as I love the game the only real issue I have with the game is how labyrinthesque the dungeons are. I doubt the other versions of the game are any different, but maybe you can inform me on this point ?

Maybe a port of SNES music to PS1 version would be the most adequate, as this would allow other popular ehancements to be played alongside the original music. The PS1 music really sound cheap-ass to me - despite the system allowing technically supperior sound to SNES. However this wouldn't solve the portability issue.

So maybe a hack improving the SNES version and a proper translation would be the definite answer, as Heaven Piercing Man said.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on January 23, 2020, 04:45:28 am
It has been over a decade since I played through the SNES original, I generally play the PS1 version these days. But I think I might want to play the SNES one again soon.

Lately i'm not even sure whether I prefer the SNES or PS1 battle sprites. The ones I like most overall are actually PSP, but their redesigns only apply to the main player characters. Enemies on PSP still have more chibi proportions which stick out poorly by comparison.

Incidentally, I hope the PSP version gets a translation someday. The PPSSPP emulator is highly compatible and very fast (I assume it runs ToP well enough), it runs well even on very low end hardware. It also has a feature to dump and replace graphics like in Dolphin and N64 emulators, without the need for hacking or anything (pretty much anyone can do it). If this feature works properly in ToP, it might be worth doing to edit the graphics however you like.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: vivify93 on January 23, 2020, 07:29:26 pm
I agree, I think the demand should be for a de-dejapified SNES version
Maybe someone could try porting over Phantasian Productions' script (or the relevant parts, anyway) to the SNES version. The bigger issues are fitting in the longer item names. I also think this might be controversial but I really love the fonts used in Dragonsbrethren's patch for the GBA version. Those could be used instead of Chicago and its 8x8 variant, just to spice it up a little.

Incidentally, I hope the PSP version gets a translation someday. The PPSSPP emulator is highly compatible and very fast (I assume it runs ToP well enough), it runs well even on very low end hardware. It also has a feature to dump and replace graphics like in Dolphin and N64 emulators, without the need for hacking or anything (pretty much anyone can do it). If this feature works properly in ToP, it might be worth doing to edit the graphics however you like.
If that was done, I'd want it to be of Full Voice Edition and not the Narikiri Dungeon X version. Rondoline interrupts the flow of the story and adds relatively little to the overall gameplay, especially since she gets flung back and forth through time and isn't even in your final party at the end. Plus, the issue where sprites are inconsistently styled in the Full Voice Edition could be fixed by just porting in the PS1 sprites.
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Masaru on January 24, 2020, 05:27:21 pm
Proof of concept
I'm bad at sprite shading
(https://i.imgur.com/vKaNnrA.png)
Title: Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
Post by: Granville on January 25, 2020, 03:30:25 am
I forgot how horrible the GBA port really is, revisiting it reminded me. It gets worse as you progress through the game too. Battles are already running at below 60fps (which doesn't make it worse than SNES, which also didn't run at 60), but there's significant slowdown even when you only have Cress and one other enemy onscreen and no action has even started. Every further sprite lags the game like hell, even interface related things such as the damage counter. As your party grows and you learn more advanced skills, things slow down to a crawl (and these skills look much uglier and are generally missing effects compared to the SNES version). The visual downgrades to the towns and dungeons at least might have been possible to improve, perhaps even fix entirely (again don't know about the sprite shadows and reflections). The Tales of Phantasia GBA battle system can be summed up with the following- "if it exists, it looks ugly and causes slowdown". What a failure...

I know of a handful of other GBA games that had Tales-like battle systems, one of which IS another Tales game (Nakiri Dungeon). The other of which are the three Summon Night Swordcraft Story games. They all did a far better job at it than ToP GBA.

Nakiri Dungeon seems to do a pretty good job. SNES ToP has better parallax layers and line scrolling effects on backgrounds (Nakiri Dungeon's are static single layers). But pretty much everything else about Nakiri Dungeon's battle system is as good if not better than the SNES game. Sprites have lots of detail and animation. A lot of the spells and summons are on par with or better than SNES ToP. And the framerate is a smooth 60fps with little to no slowdown even in stressful situations. Significantly smoother than even SNES ToP.

The Summon Night Swordcraft Story games are even more impressive, and both sequels make major visual improvements. Sprites are detailed and well animated, and I ran into little to no slowdown (again smooth base 60fps). The games push a lot of effects in battles too. Pretty much every move has a lot of nice transparency effects (very similar to Golden Sun), even the most basic things such as damage effects and text. The two sequels have a lot of parallax layers and line scrolling on the backgrounds, occasionally with other effects and animation applied on top. There are also a lot of detailed scaling and rotation on backgrounds, sprites and special moves.