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Metroid: Other M - Maxximum Edition

Started by ShadowOne333, November 01, 2021, 12:16:48 PM

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ShadowOne333

Good day, RH community.

Lately, I've been delving into some of the improvement hacks for the Metroid series over the years, and while I have already played and downloaded a few of them, there's one in particular that caught my interest.
I checked the changelog of the game, and many of the changes are great, like a properly colored Gravity Suit once activated, Missile usage while in 3rd person, new model for Samus based on Smash WiiU, properly colored enemies based on other Metroid games, etc.

However, there are still some changes that I find odd or somewhat badly implemented, which I'd like to touch upon:

  • The cutscenes have been heavily reworked to deal with some of the idiotic story points that are deeply hated from this game. Still though, some of the cutscene editing is either decent, or bad at times, with some really choppy cutoffs, and some of the new voice overs just sound flat out bad/cringy. While I don't think most of Samus' inner monologues are bad per-se, as some do add to the story, complete removal of most of them feels a little excessive.
  • There's also the OST being completely changed to more familiar tunes from the Metroid franchise (mainly seems to be Prime tracks more than others). While this might be welcomed by some, I feel like just shoehorning tracks from other games into Other M takes away from the experience, at least to me.


For me, these two points are the only ones I have a problem with.
I'd like to either be able to do the following with this hack, but I have no clue how to do so:

  • Rework the cutscenes to a more "presentable" state. Some of the trimming and audio removal/insertion feels tacky, specifically the first cutscenes up to the first breifing with Adam. Here's a list of the cutscenes from Maxximum Edition I think could need some rework:

    • Starting cutscenes need heavy re-editing work up to the first briefing with Adam, the one after the training simulation is a clear example
    • Cutscene in the Sector 1 building after Maurice recovers the data (possibly restore the original for the monologue?)
    • Gigafraug Husk and talk about Metroids in Sector 2 (???)
    • Elevator cutscene after the RB176 Ferrocrusher fight (voice sounds off)
    • Quality of the cutscene when saving Anthony from the Rhedogian after obtaining the Grappling Beam
    • Quality and re-editing of the Ridley cutscenes before the fight so it doesn't look as choppy.
    • Quality of the Ridley cutscenes after the fight
    • Quality of the cutscenes in Sector Zero's event
    • Ending might need some editing tweaks, or maybe use the original as it is pretty inoffensive.
  • Restore the original OST from Other M. I flat out dislike shoving other Metroid games' OST just for nostalgia sake or having some background music. I'd like to keep the original music from Other M, even if it's minimal at best.
If anyone has a clue on how to work on such things, that'd be fantastic.
More so the cutscenes, I feel like those are the most annoying and the ones that could really benefit the most from a proper re-edit.




EDIT:
For anyone interested in hacking or contributing to this project:
Quote from: Shadow's notes
Using SFD2MPG alongside SCMPX gives a fantastic conversion from SFD to MPG for editing, and that one alongside Media Converter makes it possible to convert the edited MPG back to SFD format.
This should make the process somewhat easy for conversion and editing's sake.

For reference, here are the tools:
SFD2MPG with everything needed compiled by me (simply run the SFD2MPG.bat file):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/l48j03r70en9nfd/SFD2MPG.zip?dl=0
Media Converter (SFD, AIX, ADX):
https://www.romhacking.net/utilities/1461/

For dumping the ISO in a clean format, we can use Wii Backup Manager, and for dumping the game files and having them ready for editing and reinsertion back into the ISO, we can use Wii Backup Fusion, as it allows to dump all of the ISO files directly into a folder, where you can freely edit them to your heart's content, and then repack all of the files alongside the modified ones back into an ISO for playing.

That should make things pretty straight forward for those interested in hacking Other M.

Additional help thread in GBATemp:
https://gbatemp.net/threads/metroid-other-m-maxximum-edition.602301/

Vanya

Not knowing anything specifically about the files in the game, I would imagine that it would largely be a matter of replacing the files that were edited with new ones.

The music will probably be the most straight forward. Extract all the music from the original game and insert them back into the hacked game.

As for the cutscenes, I'm willing to bet they are prerecorded videos.
To deal with those you'll have to extract the files, and then maybe have to convert their format into something that will work with video editor software.

I'd try to see if you can contact the author(s) of the hack to see if they can tell you what software they used.

Good luck, tho! I have the same issues with that hack, so I'd love to see them fixed, too.

ShadowOne333

#2
Quote from: Vanya on November 03, 2021, 10:00:28 PM
Not knowing anything specifically about the files in the game, I would imagine that it would largely be a matter of replacing the files that were edited with new ones.

The music will probably be the most straight forward. Extract all the music from the original game and insert them back into the hacked game.

As for the cutscenes, I'm willing to bet they are prerecorded videos.
To deal with those you'll have to extract the files, and then maybe have to convert their format into something that will work with video editor software.

I'd try to see if you can contact the author(s) of the hack to see if they can tell you what software they used.

Good luck, tho! I have the same issues with that hack, so I'd love to see them fixed, too.

Indeed, it seems like the music change might be as easy as simply NOT copying the audio/music files from Maxximum into the Other M ISO.

From what I could gather, it seems like the audio tracks are in AIX format.
For the video files, they all seem to be in SFD format.

I gave a quick test to one AIX and one SFD file, and it seems like VLC can play both of those with little to no issues.
The only one with problems is the SFD file, which seems to not play the audio for it, but the video does play in VLC.

Another way to do this would be to rely on SFD2MPG for converting the SFD files into MPG:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/l48j03r70en9nfd/SFD2MPG.zip?dl=0

Instructions for the command prompt and terminal are in the ReadMe.
I have yet to know how to convert back the MPG files into SFD, but at least this is progress to start working on the editing of the audio and video files from Maxximum Edition.

Some additional sites that might help towards all of this:
https://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=153482
https://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?t=42486




EDIT:
GBATemp user @Brand Newman, known for creating several translation projects for the Wii, gave some suggestions regarding ways to possibly edit the cutscenes, audio and video for the game:
https://gbatemp.net/threads/metroid-other-m-maxximum-edition.602301/#post-9647653

He suggests using a video editor called "Shotcut", which seems to be able to open the SFD files just fine, both with audio and video, and also even posted a link for a tool that could help convert whichever mainstream video format we use back to the Sofdec format (SFD) for importing them back into the game's ISO:
https://www.romhacking.net/utilities/1461/


Vanya

Nice!
Then the bulk of the work would be video editing, I guess.
I haven't played the game in years, but I'm curious to see how the cutscenes were changed for the hack.
Trying to come up with re-edit ideas could be fun.

ShadowOne333

#4
Quote from: Vanya on November 06, 2021, 03:01:25 AM
Nice!
Then the bulk of the work would be video editing, I guess.
I haven't played the game in years, but I'm curious to see how the cutscenes were changed for the hack.
Trying to come up with re-edit ideas could be fun.

Indeed!
It seems like most of the work comes down to the video editing after all.
I managed to dump all of the game files using a tool called Nkit, and I've been comparing video quality alongside each of the modified video files. They seem to be quite a small amount, 11 to be exact, and I decided to drop one of them because they are almost 1:1 with the original (dm06_01.sfd).

It's the Power Suit cutscene of Samus with Adam almost at the start of the game, after meeting them and knowing Adam is with the crew, the later half of the video in Maxximum has AWFUL contrast settings, and the original will be kept as it's exactly the same except for that change for some reason.
Here's the specific cutscene in Maxximum (11:01, the video file ends after Adam and Samus walk away from each other):
https://youtu.be/SqkvjP-WzQE?t=661

Also, the latter section of that video, where Samus walks past Adam, is extremely overused in Maxximum Edition, that one alongside the Samus giving a thumbs down directly facing Adam on a black background.
Seems like the Maxximum guys decided to drop any and all story beats regarding Samus' backstory with those specific scenes. I checked, and the Ivan Malkovich cutscene alongside some of the other Galactic Federation scenes of Samus were completely dropped.

That said, I did a quick rundown of what could possibly be needed for this project, and here's what I came up with:

Quote from: Shadow's Notes on Maxximum's possible changes
Overall editing:
   We need to find a way to properly output both video and audio from the SFD files.
   SFD2MPG could help to extract the WAV, and then we use SFD Media Converter for the video.
   Shotcut can be used for editing, but once converted, any video editor that can retain the original's quality should do.

Text:
   All of the movie subtitles seem to be inside the message/message_all.dat file.

Sound:
   All of the battle, jingle, results, silence, navigation room, stages sounds BGMs will be removed from Maxximum edition.
   The "adam_voice" souds will be Maxximum's, as these are the audio tracks that tell Samus to authorize certain abilities.
   The rest of the dmXX tracks seem to be related to the cutscenes which are handled in-game rather than video files. A good comparison will be required to know which ones from these will be used or kept from the original game.

Cutscenes:
   -Movie 01to02:
      Intro movie. Possible could be left as is, as having the whole intro just be silent up until Samus starts training.
   -Movie 03to04:
      Training sequence movies. Left to be decided if they will be edited or not, possibly the only change needed would be to add the voice-over telling Samus that the suit was damaged due to Hyper Beam, but with a much better voice and audio than the original. A slight re-edit could also help here as it all seems really choppy with the trimming at certain places.
   -Movie 06_01:
      Will be removed, exact same movie except with lower quality (Adam encounter and Power Suit cutscene), except with Samus' quick explanation on who Adam is (which seems quite important to me to be dropped).
   -Movie 08_01:
      Encounter with first boss (Brug Mass, Purple bug). Could possibly leave this one with better quality, as it shortens a rather long and drown out scene.
   -Movie 09_01:
      Scene of young Samus in an Adam briefing, shows the thumbs down as disagreement to Adam. Could be left as in the original since it shows the disparity in relationship between her and Adam.
   -Movie 33to34:
      Important story detail about Ivan Malkovich and why Samus left the Galactic Federation. Will be left as the original.
   -Movie 36to43:
      Ridley cutscenes. These ones need a proper reediting. Shortening or trimming certain section to remove the PTSD crap, but still keeping the girl Samus scene, and then Ridley quickly grabs her could be a possible way to make this scene way better without changing too much of it. Also, possibly reincorporate Adam's scene here in some way, as it's important to know that he is no longer monitoring Samus after that due to unknown circumstances.
   -Movie 46to49:
      Samus encounter with MB and discovery of the Metroid clones. Still left to be decided what will be changed from this one or not.
   -Movie 52to56:
      Sector Zero cutscenes. The way Maxximum handled it is quite fine, although it could probably be better to keep the entire starting section as in the original, since Samus getting shot from the back adds some tension as to who it was, and once revealed, it makes sense since Adam would want to disable Samus from being on all five senses to stop his sacrifice. Then, cutoff the part where Samus immaturely starts saying the same thing from the Ivan Malkovich cutscene, as this only takes away from her character's growth.
   -Movie 61to63A:
      Samus and the true Madeline encounter. Still left to be decided what will be changed from this one or not.
   -Movie 63Bto64:
      Ending cutscene with Madeline, MB and the Galactic Federation. Maxximum did a good job here, possibly will keep the Maxximum editing with better quality, but really nothing changes here other than Madeline shooting MB in the original, and Samus being the one who shoots MB in Maxximum.

Those are the details and points I found so far.
Also, I wanted to ask, where is exactly the line that contradicts Other M with the Prime series?
The one about Samus not working with the Federation before. That and the Ridley cutscenes are the top priority to fix imo (Adam giving permission for weapon usage too, but Maxximum did a good job there).
I completely forget where that line that contradicts the Prime series is located at, and it could help to polish some of the details in my list.




EDIT:
I found an incredibly easy way to convert the SFD files into MPG with sound and all, ready for editing.
Using SFD2MPG alongside SCMPX gives a fantastic conversion from SFD to MPG for editing, and that one alongside Media Converter makes it possible to convert the edited MPG back to SFD format.
This should make the process somewhat easy for conversion and editing's sake.

For reference, here are the tools:
SFD2MPG with everything needed compiled by me (simply run the SFD2MPG.bat file):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/l48j03r70en9nfd/SFD2MPG.zip?dl=0
Media Converter (SFD, AIX, ADX):
https://www.romhacking.net/utilities/1461/

I'll be adding this info into the OP as well for those interested.
For dumping the ISO in a clean format, we can use Wii Backup Manager, and for dumping the game files and having them ready for editing and reinsertion back into the ISO, we can use Wii Backup Fusion, as it allows to dump all of the ISO files directly into a folder, where you can freely edit them to your heart's content, and then repack all of the files alongside the modified ones back into an ISO for playing.

That should make things pretty straight forward for those interested in hacking Other M.




This is a very rough 1st draft of an attempt I made for the Ridley cutscene,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0nTa4g64Dk

Obviously, the audio hasn't been reworked.
I tried to make a coherent progression of the cutscene without over-emphasizing the PTSD crap, and only make it seem like Samus is waiting for Ridley to make a move when she gets surprised. I could also move the Adam cutscenes in that one to some other place, but I feel like those were okay in the meantime.

I'm all open for suggestions, of course.
One thing I'd like help with, is the output of the video, for some reason, Shotcut isn't exporting the video properly.
It's supposed to be filling the entire screen, but I get some weird black spaces around the image.