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Author Topic: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?  (Read 12174 times)

DarioEMeloD

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #40 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

EvilJagaGenius

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #41 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.

IAmCaptPlanet

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #42 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

Granville

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #43 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

Masaru

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #44 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

Bregalad

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #45 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.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 02:50:48 am by Bregalad »

vivify93

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #46 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.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 08:56:54 pm by vivify93 »
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Masaru

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #47 on: January 21, 2020, 04:35:12 pm »
I made some more proof of concept mockups







Also an small mockup in case that an english re-translation could happen?
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 01:26:26 pm by Masaru »

EvilJagaGenius

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #48 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?

Granville

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #49 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)-


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.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 02:32:59 am by Granville »

Bregalad

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #50 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.

vivify93

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #51 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)
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Bregalad

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #52 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.

Granville

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #53 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?

mkwong98

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #54 on: January 22, 2020, 10:52:21 am »
How about porting the PS1 graphics to SNES?

Masaru

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #55 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

justin3009

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #56 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.
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vivify93

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #57 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.

« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 04:46:52 pm by vivify93 »
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EvilJagaGenius

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #58 on: January 22, 2020, 05:41:51 pm »
I poked around very briefly with APE (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?)

Granville

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Re: Is there demand for Tales of Phantasia GBA sound restoration ?
« Reply #59 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-


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-


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...