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Author Topic: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)  (Read 50280 times)

Gedankenschild

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Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« on: October 20, 2015, 07:34:05 pm »
Hello everyone! Yes I know, another Final Fantasy IV hack... 8)

I posted this on Slick before, but I thought I'd open a thread here as well for maximum exposure - and free beta testing... ;D

Final Fantasy IV is one of my favorite games. At the same time the various ports and remakes of the game are an endless source of frustration for me. Bad sound, small screen, sluggish combat, RPG Maker visuals - there's always something wrong.

One thing that I really do love, however, are the updated graphics of the Wonderswan/GBA versions. Those I cannot "unsee", they need to be ported back to the original. And to my annoyance, it seems that no one is gonna do it for me.

So here goes my first hacking project. My goal is to basically replace everything using 8 colors (which is almost the entire game) with the enhanced 16 color graphics from the aforementioned remakes.

At this point the enemy & summon battle graphics part is pretty much finished. A few small things could use polishing, but everything seems stable so far.







Below you find a beta patch replacing all enemies and summons.
Apply it to a headerless ROM of the US version.
Questions/feedback welcome!

Patch!

Gemini

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2015, 07:42:17 pm »
One suggestion to make it look graphically even better, like the other updated versions: gradients for text boxes. You could easily achieve a nice effect by recoloring the windows during h-blank.
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SunGodPortal

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2015, 07:51:05 pm »
Awesome! I was just wondering about the status of this hack the other day. I'm so happy to see that you're still working on it. Great idea.

Have you done anything/planning to do anything to the character portraits? From what I remember they could use a little color as well.

So what all's left?
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Zynk

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2015, 09:55:47 pm »
Are you doing it for the JP version also? (b/c last images have Japanese texts)

SunGodPortal

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2015, 10:12:36 pm »
Quote
Are you doing it for the JP version also? (b/c last images have Japanese texts)

Considering that there are screenshots of both I think it's safe to assume that the hack is compatible with the US and JP version(s).
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Chpexo

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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2015, 10:32:26 pm »
.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 12:01:17 pm by Chpexo »

Gedankenschild

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2015, 09:04:38 am »
One suggestion to make it look graphically even better, like the other updated versions: gradients for text boxes. You could easily achieve a nice effect by recoloring the windows during h-blank.

That is something I'd really like to do. I browsed some tutorials, but have not yet seriously looked into HDMA. My only worry is that the letters are not on a transparent background. They're the same layer as the text boxes. I'm assuming this would have to be changed.

Awesome! I was just wondering about the status of this hack the other day. I'm so happy to see that you're still working on it. Great idea.

Have you done anything/planning to do anything to the character portraits? From what I remember they could use a little color as well.

So what all's left?

So you've written your 1000th comment already - Congrats! :woot!: I'm glad you're still interested.



I got the portraits working, but for some reason they're not moving around correctly yet. Got tired of it and put it in a zip file.

I've been working on battle backgrounds, locations, overworld characters, townspeople as well. Most of the code is working. It's the process of putting it all together that's gonna take some time. Bit by bit...

Are you doing it for the JP version also? (b/c last images have Japanese texts)

My intention is to release patches for all versions of the game. The patch above only works with US versions, though. The JP version screens are from earlier versions. I switched to the US version after deciding to optimize/redo the ASM.

These look great and in the FF6 quality. Keep it up.

Thanks! :)

Rodimus Primal

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2015, 10:06:22 am »
Wow. Looking good so far. I too would like to see the character portraits updated to be a bit smoother, but keep their look from the SNES original. The GBA portraits just never looked right to me.

Gemini

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2015, 10:54:40 am »
That is something I'd really like to do. I browsed some tutorials, but have not yet seriously looked into HDMA. My only worry is that the letters are not on a transparent background. They're the same layer as the text boxes. I'm assuming this would have to be changed.
You don't need to change layering. You can replace the box blue color during h-blank and swap it from a table; that should generate a proper gradient and affect the boxes alone. Status menu should be easy, since you're applying it for all the scanlines, while for battles you can make it based on ranges.

Careful tho with gradients, they need some extra work with the font. From personal experience, if you apply a gradient you should also add a dropdown border or an outline, otherwise the font may blend with the gradient.
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Bahamut ZERO

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2015, 01:12:11 pm »
I was wondering when I'd see a thread for this here.  :D


I may have said this over on SLick, but man, you are doing some kickass work on this!


Quote
Hello everyone! Yes I know, another Final Fantasy IV hack...

The more the merrier, I say! But I'm an FF4 junkie, so I might just be biased.  ;)


You're work on this is what inspired me to start playing around with graphics, so keep up the excellent work!
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Maeson

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2015, 02:42:39 pm »
Something that kind of annoys me of the original FF4 are the battle backgrounds. Mostly because after seeing what other versions have, they look a little harsh to the eyes.

Everything looks pretty damn good for now!
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Gedankenschild

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2015, 06:03:03 pm »
Wow. Looking good so far. I too would like to see the character portraits updated to be a bit smoother, but keep their look from the SNES original. The GBA portraits just never looked right to me.

The GBA portraits really aren't well received in the FFIV hacking sphere. The ones from later versions are too big and/or use too many colors. Personally I'm still very interested in the slightly updated ones from the mobile version.

Careful tho with gradients, they need some extra work with the font. From personal experience, if you apply a gradient you should also add a dropdown border or an outline, otherwise the font may blend with the gradient.

I bookmarked the link to this tutorial ages ago.
http://www.smwcentral.net/?p=viewthread&t=27054
I wonder if a simple brightness gradient would do for text boxes? We're only going from dark to light blue and the font is already at maximum brightness (white).

You're work on this is what inspired me to start playing around with graphics, so keep up the excellent work!

You're too kind. :) I like your stuff on Slick, too. You weren't happy with the original overworld characters, were you? Did you ever think about working with more colors or do you want to stay within the original game's limits?

Something that kind of annoys me of the original FF4 are the battle backgrounds. Mostly because after seeing what other versions have, they look a little harsh to the eyes.

I did experiment with the backgrounds. They should be improved, since you see them so often throughout the game. This is where I am now:



It's just a test, to see what's possible. I'd like to try and move the status effects graphics a little, then I'd have quite a few more tiles...

KillerBob

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2015, 07:14:14 am »
Incredible work!

Unrelated but also an aesthetic one. Is there a reason a variable width font never been implemented into FFIV other than its sheer difficulty doing so. I guess with the huge popularity of the game and fans still to this day who struggle with squishy tiles etc, it might be an near impossible task if you're not an rom hacking guru. I always felt that FFIV and even VI were games that desperately needed it, the latter at least contained one for the main text. Even the poor Mystic Quest had an VWF if I recall correctly. Just curious if there is actually a technical reason it never has been attempted.

SunGodPortal

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2015, 07:22:51 am »
Quote
Is there a reason a variable width font never been implemented into FFIV other than its sheer difficulty doing so.

Seems like one of the English trans hacks of the JP version has a VWF, but if I recall correctly, the font itself looked kind of ugly and out of place.

EDIT: Weird. I can't seem to find it. I KNOW I've seen the patch I'm talking about on this site.

Quote
Even the poor Mystic Quest had an VWF if I recall correctly.

What are you talking about? Everyone loves FFMQ. I think I even recall Disch saying that it was his favorite game. ;D
« Last Edit: October 22, 2015, 07:42:39 am by SunGodPortal »
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chillyfeez

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2015, 09:46:04 am »
I love what you did with the desert BG test there. To me, updating the backgrounds has a bigger impact than the monsters (not to diminish the great work you've done with the monsters).

Glad to see this project continues to progress!
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KillerBob

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2015, 03:47:10 pm »
Seems like one of the English trans hacks of the JP version has a VWF, but if I recall correctly, the font itself looked kind of ugly and out of place.

EDIT: Weird. I can't seem to find it. I KNOW I've seen the patch I'm talking about on this site.
The only fan translation patch I'm aware of is the J2E one and it used an incredibly ugly 16x8 font. No VWF hack has ever been made as far as I know. It just occured to me that the PlayStation port did have one, (might be what you were thinking about) so I guess it's not an impossibility. Still, it's always the menus in JRPGs that benefit the most from one.

SunGodPortal

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2015, 04:13:47 pm »
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The only fan translation patch I'm aware of is the J2E one and it used an incredibly ugly 16x8 font. No VWF hack has ever been made as far as I know. It just occured to me that the PlayStation port did have one, (might be what you were thinking about) so I guess it's not an impossibility. Still, it's always the menus in JRPGs that benefit the most from one.

Okay, I finally figured out what I was thinking of. It was this hack: http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/440/

I had trouble finding it because it wasn't a translation. My bad.
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Maeson

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2015, 05:26:56 pm »
Quote from: Gedankenschild
I did experiment with the backgrounds. They should be improved, since you see them so often throughout the game. This is where I am now:



It's just a test, to see what's possible. I'd like to try and move the status effects graphics a little, then I'd have quite a few more tiles...

Holy Fuck. That's a big jump ahead. The example is far, far better!
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Gedankenschild

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2015, 10:11:36 pm »
Incredible work!

Unrelated but also an aesthetic one. Is there a reason a variable width font never been implemented into FFIV other than its sheer difficulty doing so. I guess with the huge popularity of the game and fans still to this day who struggle with squishy tiles etc, it might be an near impossible task if you're not an rom hacking guru. I always felt that FFIV and even VI were games that desperately needed it, the latter at least contained one for the main text. Even the poor Mystic Quest had an VWF if I recall correctly. Just curious if there is actually a technical reason it never has been attempted.

I think part of the problem is that FFIV already has a finished (and lauded?) fan translation (J2e's). And well... I can only say that I fully agree with Tomato's take on that one. The game is seen as taken care of.
Technically there shouldn't be a problem. The game doesn't use enormous amounts of graphics, so there should be enough VRAM. I looked into it a bit, but VWFs aren't exactly a beginner's thing. I'm saving that for last, when my skills have (hopefully) built.

I love what you did with the desert BG test there. To me, updating the backgrounds has a bigger impact than the monsters (not to diminish the great work you've done with the monsters).

Glad to see this project continues to progress!

I agree! The battle backgrounds were the one thing in the GBA remake that really went beyond what could be done on the SNES. Let's see how far we can take this...
(Good to see you, btw.)

Okay, I finally figured out what I was thinking of. It was this hack: http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/440/

I had trouble finding it because it wasn't a translation. My bad.

I remember looking at that one. It seems they did what J2e did and allowed for a vertically enlarged font. Personally, I'm perfectly fine with smaller fonts:



(bonus points if you know where I lifted that text from)

Midna

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2015, 10:24:42 pm »
I think part of the problem is that FFIV already has a finished (and lauded?) fan translation (J2e's). And well... I can only say that I fully agree with Tomato's take on that one. The game is seen as taken care of.
'

I wouldn't call J2E's fan translation "lauded" exactly, especially now with Tomato going through FF4 on Legends of Localization. (And even then there's still some things he doesn't mention or hasn't gotten to yet, like Cure somehow being warped from something like "Care" into "Keal.") I think most people just used it because it was the only retranslation available at the time and had better grammar than the official version.