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Author Topic: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)  (Read 68613 times)

justin3009

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #40 on: October 30, 2015, 10:21:09 am »
What Gemini said. Does the game employ any kind of system where one byte can be a long word? If not, I'd say incorporate that too. That would DRAMATICALLY compress the script down.
'We have to find some way to incorporate the general civilians in the plot.'

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Synnae

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #41 on: October 30, 2015, 11:45:07 am »
I'm worried about one thing, though.

I assume you're ripping the graphics from the GBA version, right? But on the GBA remake, everything looks too bright to compensate for the handheld's dark screen. It looks fine if you're playing on real hardware, but it looks too bright if you're using an emulator.

So, does that mean the hack will look very bright as well? or will you darken the graphics a bit?

(I'm no hacker so excuse me if this sounds stupid)

chillyfeez

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #42 on: October 30, 2015, 01:35:14 pm »
What Gemini said. Does the game employ any kind of system where one byte can be a long word? If not, I'd say incorporate that too. That would DRAMATICALLY compress the script down.
It's not in the original game.
One thing you can generally assume is true about FFIV for SNES: if there is something that is a great idea, specifically as it relates to being a time or space saver, the original devs did not do it. Granted, in many cases it's because the game predates anybody ever thinking of the idea, but true nonetheless.
The one exception to this is the fact that the game does use DTE. But it only works in the parts of the game that already have the largest amounts of space in ROM devoted to text (that is, dialogue banks).
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Bahamut ZERO

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #43 on: October 30, 2015, 04:02:24 pm »
Am I in the minority that FFIV doesn't really need VWF?  It might be a little too far from the original feel.  I would have to see and use it first hand to be convinced.  Guess I'm a stick in the mud?  LOL


I do think these updated graphics are brilliant.

Guess I might be in the minority as well haha. I mean, yeah, it sounds like a cool idea, but it isn't necessarily  needed.  The thought of extra banks to swap back and forth for more text space sounds epic as well, but would that hinder Graphics Update's current compatability of working with basically every FF4 hack one could throw at it?

To be honest, updating/modernizing the font/text doesn't seem as high priority to me as say, Actors/NPCs or tilesets. That doesn't take into account whether you're sticking with the vanilla font or going with some other type altogether, of course.

Also -

I'm worried about one thing, though.

I assume you're ripping the graphics from the GBA version, right? But on the GBA remake, everything looks too bright to compensate for the handheld's dark screen. It looks fine if you're playing on real hardware, but it looks too bright if you're using an emulator.

So, does that mean the hack will look very bright as well? or will you darken the graphics a bit?

(I'm no hacker so excuse me if this sounds stupid)

Actually, I'm pretty sure he's porting graphics from the Wonderswan Color version.
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Synnae

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #44 on: October 30, 2015, 04:21:10 pm »
To be honest, updating/modernizing the font/text doesn't seem as high priority to me as say, Actors/NPCs or tilesets. That doesn't take into account whether you're sticking with the vanilla font or going with some other type altogether, of course.

I'm part of this minority as well. I'm completely fine with keeping font/text the same.

Gedankenschild

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #45 on: October 30, 2015, 05:20:14 pm »
It's doable on most SNES games (I'd rather not say all and jump the gun there) as long as there's enough room in VRAM to house everything needed.  FFIV would probably benefit greatly from having one.

Being an early and not so graphically intensive game, VRAM should indeed not be much of a problem.

Am I in the minority that FFIV doesn't really need VWF?  It might be a little too far from the original feel.  I would have to see and use it first hand to be convinced.  Guess I'm a stick in the mud?  LOL

I do understand the concerns. When it comes to updating old games, everyone has a different point where it starts not feel like the original anymore.
Let's say I finish this project with everything upgraded. Maybe besides offering a master patch, I could also offer individual patches, so everybody can put together their own thing, as it pleases them.
My personal ideal would be a VWF, text boxes with gradients and a new translation, perhaps based on Tomato's LOL site.

Text storage isn't exactly an issue, you can pretty much allocate twice as many banks as the original did and reference them with 24 bit pointers.

That is good to hear, haven't looked at it too closely myself, yet.

I'm worried about one thing, though.

I assume you're ripping the graphics from the GBA version, right? But on the GBA remake, everything looks too bright to compensate for the handheld's dark screen. It looks fine if you're playing on real hardware, but it looks too bright if you're using an emulator.

So, does that mean the hack will look very bright as well? or will you darken the graphics a bit?

(I'm no hacker so excuse me if this sounds stupid)

Bahamut ZERO is right. My hack is based on the Wonderswan version. I chose that version precisely because it does not try to overcompensate for the lack of a backlight.



And thanks for the kind words, everyone. :)

Synnae

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #46 on: October 30, 2015, 06:02:10 pm »
Bahamut ZERO is right. My hack is based on the Wonderswan version. I chose that version precisely because it does not try to overcompensate for the lack of a backlight.

Ah, that's good. :)

There's another thing. WonderSwan Color's resolution is 224x144, while SNES' resolution is 256x224. If you were doing something like porting graphics from SNES to NES, it'd not be a problem since the two systems share the same resolution. But would not it be a bit troublesome to port graphics from a system with smaller resolution? I'm guessing they'd be too small to fit on SNES.





This is what happened when I tried to replace the SNES battle BG with the WSC one:



Do you have anything in mind to get around this problem?

SunGodPortal

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #47 on: October 30, 2015, 06:18:20 pm »
Quote
Do you have anything in mind to get around this problem?

From the examples I've seen so far it looked like Gedankens' battle backgrounds were "reinterpretations" rather than a direct import attempt.
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Granville

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #48 on: October 30, 2015, 08:43:46 pm »
Hm, it does look like he's trying to create entirely NEW backgrounds for this hack, though using the After Year mobile version as inspiration. The desert background isn't really based on the Wonderswan or GBA versions.

If you did try to use the remake backgrounds, you might try looking at the PSP remake (instead of Wonderswan or GBA) as those backgrounds are in higher resolution. And somewhat darker color schemes already than GBA. Might be easier and less ugly to resize them down to fit than to scale the WSC versions up to fit. Though that's again assuming you don't just make new backgrounds.

I took one of the PSP battle backgrounds and resized it to around the SNES' resolution and reduced the colors and the result still looks quite appealing (i'd say much better than the SNES original backgrounds). Here's the result (256x152 with 17 colors)-


Granted I don't know what to color limit or the specific palette you need to adhere to or any other limitations I may not have thought about. The maximum amount of colors used by the SNES version's battle backgrounds seems to be about 14 from what I can tell, I don't know whether that's an actual limit by the game or if you can go higher than that. Since the Wonderswan version's background uses about 17 colors from the image posted above (without the sprites or menu/text items, JUST the battle background), I adhered to that specific parameter. Not that you can't convert the PSP backgrounds to 14, it still looks fairly good. But the result is still better with 17 colors. Here's what you get when you adhere to 14 colors though (which again is still much better than the SNES original art wise)-


Again I didn't really take into account the specific color palette needed. If this idea sounds stupid and the above image isn't appropriate for what is needed, I apologize. I've no knowledge of the rom hacking process and I don't know how many colors or whatnot you need, but maybe you can at least get some ideas by looking at the PSP remakes.

EDIT- Nevermind about my comments regarding colors above, i'm an idiot. Gedankenschild's edited desert background uses 25 colors (separate from sprites and menu/text). So my concerns about a possible 14-17 color limit was unfounded. My bad. So here's a 25 color version of my PSP resize for lulz-
« Last Edit: October 30, 2015, 09:28:12 pm by Granville »

Synnae

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #49 on: October 30, 2015, 09:39:27 pm »


Wait, are you telling me it's possible to make the backgrounds look THIS good on the SNES version? o.O

This is way more than I expected. Seriously, my mind will be blown if the backgrounds become like this, lol.

KillerBob

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #50 on: October 30, 2015, 09:48:25 pm »
Am I in the minority that FFIV doesn't really need VWF?  It might be a little too far from the original feel.  I would have to see and use it first hand to be convinced.  Guess I'm a stick in the mud?  LOL
It might depend what you mean by original feel, a VWF doesn't necessarily need to be an entirely new font. See your site logo/address for an example or see Mystic Quest.

I think it would look nice but don't see it being as necessary as the other improvements here. This was never one of those games where the text bugged me. The script is another issue though...
Keep in mind that FFIV is a game that contains dialogue during battle screens, dialogue boxes with a total limit of 24 characters. In order to have a somewhat decent translation of these monologues, a VWF is necessary, if you don't want to split the lines in several parts. There's simply no screen space available.

A VWF hack isn't really needed but what hack really is? FFIV isn't exactly unplayable with the original graphics either but Gedankenschild's work on this look fantastic.

Granville

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #51 on: October 30, 2015, 10:07:00 pm »
Synnae-

I don't know if it's possible at all, and I wasn't saying it was so don't quote me on that. I was asking if it would work because I don't have ANY hacking experience. I just converted those PSP images while taking the SNES' resolution and possible color limits (the color palettes I used turned out to be conservative apparently) into account.

Whether importing those exact images into the SNES rom via hacking is possible or not I have NO idea. It does make me wonder what sort of roadblocks you'd meet in the attempt, because Gedankenschild's desert background posted earlier in the topic looks very nice and uses even more colors than the images I posted (it's much higher quality than the SNES original). Though his background also still uses a lot of redundant repeated tiles that may be more ram/vram friendly than what I posted. There are still clear repeated patterns when you look closely.

The image I posted has no repeated tiles, so that may or may not be a problem. Which is one reason I (as one with no experience in the matter) asked whether it could be possible. There are probably other limits besides the resolution and colors I didn't take into account.

Now on the other hand, i've seen SNES games use some rather high quality battle backgrounds without many repeated tiles. FF6 uses even higher color backgrounds than what I posted and relatively few repeated tiles compared to 4. Though that is also a far more advanced (likely very different) engine that pushes the SNES a lot harder than FF4. What is possible on the FF6 engine may not be on the FF4 engine. Other SNES RPG's have had even greater detail than FF6 for their battle backgrounds (Tales of Phantasia). But whether FF4 specifically can pull off the images I posted, I don't know.

Gedankenschild

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #52 on: October 30, 2015, 10:41:57 pm »
Wow, thanks for the input everyone, especially the photoshoppers! :)

I initially thought about porting over the Wonderswan backgrounds with size adjustments. But we can do better than that and here's why:
The WSC version uses one 16 color palette per background. The SNES original uses two 8 color palettes. My hack expands this to two 16 color palettes. Minus transparent colors that's 30 (though transparents can be used as black - Square did).

The tricky part is the tile limit. The most tile intensive background is the field one. That one uses 40 8x8 pixel tiles. That space is always reserved for bg graphics. If I managed to move some things around, I think that could be increased to 63 tiles. That's what the game engine can address without having to be rewritten.

The version I'm particularly interested in for backgrounds is the mobile version (including After Years). The screen size is closest to the original and it seems somewhat simpler than the Wii version. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a tileset of the mobile backgrounds anywhere... :(

Of course none of that could hold a candle to what Granville did. :cookie:
I'd like to see a similar version of the beach... What software did you use?

P.S. I ripped off Rudra No Hihou for the desert ground. ;)

SunGodPortal

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #53 on: October 30, 2015, 10:52:14 pm »
Quote
Keep in mind that FFIV is a game that contains dialogue during battle screens, dialogue boxes with a total limit of 24 characters. In order to have a somewhat decent translation of these monologues, a VWF is necessary, if you don't want to split the lines in several parts. There's simply no screen space available.

A VWF hack isn't really needed but what hack really is? FFIV isn't exactly unplayable with the original graphics either but Gedankenschild's work on this look fantastic.

If there was a retranslation, that would change everything. I would be totally for a VWF in that case. I def understand the issue of space when it comes to translating.
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Synnae

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #54 on: October 30, 2015, 11:05:10 pm »
P.S. I ripped off Rudra No Hihou for the desert ground. ;)

IMHO, I don't think that's a good idea. Not sure if it's just me, but I'd rather have updated graphics using updated versions of the same game than graphics from completely unrelated games. :/

Might be just me. *shrugs*

Granville

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #55 on: October 30, 2015, 11:34:46 pm »
Wow, thanks for the input everyone, especially the photoshoppers! :)

I initially thought about porting over the Wonderswan backgrounds with size adjustments. But we can do better than that and here's why:
The WSC version uses one 16 color palette per background. The SNES original uses two 8 color palettes. My hack expands this to two 16 color palettes. Minus transparent colors that's 30 (though transparents can be used as black - Square did).

The tricky part is the tile limit. The most tile intensive background is the field one. That one uses 40 8x8 pixel tiles. That space is always reserved for bg graphics. If I managed to move some things around, I think that could be increased to 63 tiles. That's what the game engine can address without having to be rewritten.

The version I'm particularly interested in for backgrounds is the mobile version (including After Years). The screen size is closest to the original and it seems somewhat simpler than the Wii version. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a tileset of the mobile backgrounds anywhere... :(

Of course none of that could hold a candle to what Granville did. :cookie:
I'd like to see a similar version of the beach... What software did you use?

P.S. I ripped off Rudra No Hihou for the desert ground. ;)
My apologies for not explaining what I did to get these images. I didn't want to assume it was possible to insert them into the SNES version.

I don't deserve any real credit or praise for what I did. It was a VERY simple and automated process to resize and reduce the colors, no skill or photoshop required whatsoever. You could do it in under a minute yourself for each background. All you need is Irfanview (and there are probably other programs that offer the same/better functions), and this sheet of the PSP battle backgrounds-
http://www.spriters-resource.com/resources/sheets/48/50889.png

Each of the backgrounds when separated seem about 512x304 each in resolution. Separate one of the backgrounds from this sheet and open it in Irfanview. Under the "Image" menu, there's a Resize/Resample tool. Before using it I also checked the options to preserve aspect ratio, as well as the Lanczos resampling filter and "Apply Sharpen after Resample" option. I then resized the image to 256 pixels wide (preserve aspect ration automatically detected the proper vertical resolution as 152). Hit ok and you're already half done.

After resizing, find "decrease the color depth" under the "Image" menu. Here I checked "Use Floyd-Steinberg dithering" and "Use best color quality". You can select a custom amount of colors up to 256, so you can use as many as the SNES can handle. I tried 14 to match the original SNES colors, 17 to match what it appeared the Wonderswan version handled. And then 25 like your edited desert scene. The exact palettes required by the SNES may differ from what Irfanview uses, though it may not be too hard to swap them with whatever SNES requires.

Incidentally, there's also a submenu under "Image" in Irfanview called "Palette", and another menu called "Edit palette. You can use this to view and even manually edit individual colors of an image if it's 256 colors or less. I didn't use this in the process other than to determine the quantity of colors there were in the battle backgrounds for the original SNES, Wonderswan remake and your own edits.

Here's the same process applied to the beach scene using 25 colors (the dithering used for the sky gradient could possibly use some more manual tweaking, might fiddle and see what it looks like)-


EDIT- I don't know if this is any better or not (not very good at image editing this sort of thing), but here's my attempt at trying to clean up the sky dithering a bit for the resized beach scene above-
« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 12:06:23 am by Granville »

SunGodPortal

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #56 on: October 31, 2015, 12:47:47 am »
Quote
My apologies for not explaining what I did to get these images. I didn't want to assume it was possible to insert them into the SNES version.

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kogami

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #57 on: October 31, 2015, 01:36:24 am »
Source code for 8x8 vwf and 16x16 vwf Final Fantasy IV (SFC)

https://github.com/manz/ff4

Granville

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #58 on: October 31, 2015, 02:40:53 am »
SunGodPortal-

I was clear from the very beginning about having no hacking knowledge and not knowing if it was possible. I made it abundantly clear in my first post that my images were edited from the PSP remake, resized to approximately SNES resolution with reduced color palettes. Anyone who read my post (instead of just looking at the pictures) would have realized that... ::)

Anyway, Gedankenschild, I went ahead and converted the others using the same method I described above. Again all of them are 256 pixels wide and use 25 colors each. You can find them here-

http://imgur.com/a/gSUmL

Some of these I also edited the dithering on the sky gradients because the automated conversion caused the dithering to turn out very poor. Though some of my efforts are pretty poor as well, including the airship sky-
http://i.imgur.com/PD6O7TI.png

And this light source is also poorly edited on my part-
http://i.imgur.com/XfKDTDH.png

And i'm not entirely happy that the color conversion process removed the red and blue light effects from this image- http://i.imgur.com/Tt73qZO.png

I suck at non-linear dithering effects, I can't do curves and circles properly. So given my incompetence, here are the images without my horrible attempts to fix them (they look way better and someone else with actual skill can give it a go if they want)-
http://imgur.com/a/XFsKI

If anyone wants to use these images for whatever reason by the way, go ahead and feel free (and feel free to edit them further if you like as well).
« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 03:00:56 am by Granville »

Synnae

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Re: Final Fantasy IV Graphics Update (SNES)
« Reply #59 on: October 31, 2015, 10:19:47 am »
The dithering effects doesn't bother me in the slightest, to be honest. In fact, I think they look kind of cute and nostalgic. Reminds me a bit of PC-8801/PC-9801 graphics.