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Final Fantasy IV Advance: Visual Improvement Hack

Started by Piggy Chan!, August 07, 2022, 06:39:02 PM

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Piggy Chan!

I actually started this upcoming project before the Final Fantasy V Advance Color Restoration and Improvement project, but that was so much easier to do I just went ahead and finished it up, and have since returned to this one. Obviously, a "color restoration" project, akin to many other such patches for Game Boy Advance games, is not applicable for Final Fantasy IV Advance, since it actually has (for the most part) completely different graphics from the Super Famicom/NES title it is based on. In some ways these graphics are in fact far superior, but the actual colors used - and much of the sprite work - are far from ideal, to put it mildly. So, using the SFC/SNES game as an example rather than a blueprint, I went about trying to make the game more visually appealing, using SNES Palette editor, paint.net, and a little bit of yy-chr for sprite changes and clean up.  It is being made with the European version of the game in mind, and though I don't foresee any compatibility issues with the various sound and font hacks currently available for the game (I am not moving any data at all), I am not checking for those issues either. Here is a little before-and-after comparison.




...and here is the link to the patch itself.

EDIT: An update, tweeking some of the sprites and fixing the discolorization of child Rydia's sprite, was made on 9/04/2022.
https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/7114/

EvilJagaGenius

Please don't lose your mind, this is looking good.
My blog: The Jaga's Nest

Cris1997XX

If you lose your mind we will all be sad! At least it's nice to see you work on the European version...since it's the least crappy one lol. But I wish the Italian translation was much better than this (As it was handled by the same dude behind the abysmal 2019 Netflix release of Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Felipefpl

Nice work, too bad we cant expand the size of the pics.
Core i7 Celeron Sandy Bridge G460 1.8 Ghz - 4 GB RAM - Win7 x64 - Intel HD Graphics 2000


FlamePurge

full size

https://i.imgur.com/PI3TaJi.png

i opened imgur in a new tab. i love the new colors used but i'm noticing some of the sprites are losing shading detail
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Felipefpl

FlamePurge - thanks for the link/image.  :thumbsup:

PingChan - nice work, i only didnt like the changes where the colors were brightned, all the others look nice.  :thumbsup:
Core i7 Celeron Sandy Bridge G460 1.8 Ghz - 4 GB RAM - Win7 x64 - Intel HD Graphics 2000


Dragoonglue

Why not use the colors from the WonderSwan Color version? That's where most of the new sprites come from.

Piggy Chan!

To respond to a few concerns!

The overworld spritework is still very much a work-in-progress, and I intend to restore shading as much as possible before final release.

I based this project on the color palettes in the original SNES game, as I find its palette overall more pleasing than the Wonderswan Color version. Most of the time this results in darker colors than those used by the Advance version, especially when it comes to the battle backgrounds and character portraits, but sometimes the colors are brighter and/or more vibrant. If someone wanted to do a full color restoration that adheres to the Wonderswan Color version, I would be more than happy to share my notes on the location of palette data in Final Fantasy IV Advance, once this version is released.

T92

Nice.
I hope to port my RK sprites port hack to the GBA version sometime.  :thumbsup:

Piggy Chan!

Quote from: T92 on August 12, 2022, 04:14:04 PMNice.
I hope to port my RK sprites port hack to the GBA version sometime.  :thumbsup:
I don't know anything about the constructioo of the battle sprites (I suspect they are compressed data), but if you need to know where their individual color palettes are, I would be glad to point you in the right direction, though they aren't difficult to find!

T92

Quote from: Piggy Chan! on August 13, 2022, 02:17:39 PMI don't know anything about the constructioo of the battle sprites (I suspect they are compressed data), but if you need to know where their individual color palettes are, I would be glad to point you in the right direction, though they aren't difficult to find!
:thumbsup:  :angel:

Piggy Chan!

One thing I can't account for is that, during the game's intro (which plays before you press a button and go to the title screen), the sprites and color palettes used by the characters are technically different - though identical in appearance - from the ones used in the normal gameplay. I've located the color palettes themselves, but the sprites don't seem to show up in the data in a way that would allow YY-CHR to edit them. I suspect they are compressed data. I'm not sure if I should leave them alone, since few people are likely to watch the intro, or just do my best with what I have to work with. The tiles and their color palettes in the intro are the same as the ones used in the game.

Also, during battles, when a character's turn is up, the black' segment of their sprite flashes gray, with a RGB value of 20-20-20, and then returns to the original RGB value of 4-4-4...in fact, even though I have changed the original value to 0-0-0, it still "returns" to 4-4-4 after a turn has ended. I'm not sure where either of these color changes are located in the data. In the SNES/SFC original, the black color was always 0-0-0 and flashed 15-15-15.

Homer177

This is looking good. I'm playing FFV Advance on my New 3DS XL using your improvement hack and it looks quite good. Please keep it up.

ThegreatBen

Any plans to do the portraits? Rosa's is hideous.

Piggy Chan!

I think the portraits are compressed data, so I can't edit their actual makeup (and if I did, well, I probably couldn't draw to save my life), but I can, and did, change their color palettes a fair bit. I don't think there's much I can do to salvage poor Rosa, there's really only so much you can do by just changing the colors, though I will keep trying. The ideal situation would be to re-draw the portraits using those in the vanilla game as a base, because while they certainly aren't perfect (they only use 8 color palettes), they look, well, nicer than those in the Advance version.

Piggy Chan!

I think I've done all I can with this project, so, it's done! The link is at the top of the post, and here.

https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/7114/

Cris1997XX

Quote from: Piggy Chan! on September 04, 2022, 09:38:29 AMI think I've done all I can with this project, so, it's done! The link is at the top of the post, and here.

https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/7114/
Is it compatible with the sound restoration hack?

Piggy Chan!

I haven't tested it (I am fond of the new sound mix), but unless the sound restoration hack moved the visual data around, they should be able to co-exist. If they are not compatible, then I have more work to do.

Hopefully, someone will get around to making a patch which fixes the game's infamous menu and battle lag.

FlamePurge

#18
I love what you've done with the backgrounds. The world map sprites are still a little messy... Tellah's just kind of a jumble of colors. I think your updated palettes work OK, they just need some shading adjustments. Here's Tellah. You can't really make his glasses extend to the back of his head or else it blends into the shading of the rest of his face and sort of becomes a blur.



Cecil's front-facing sprite fared much better, but still suffered from a few issues. His face is too long now without the shading on his chin, and of course the GBA eyes make characters look kind of ridiculous with this more saturated and simplistic shading, so SNES eyes look better here.



I'd offer to help you out, but I'm moving in a few days and will lose access to my PC for several months.

Alternatively, you could keep the original shading and palette, but just decrease the overall palette brightness.

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Piggy Chan!

Thank you for your criticisms! I tried not to futz around too much with the actual structure of the sprites, beyond doing what needed to be done for the sake of the colors (I made an attempt, but came out unsatisfied), but your Cecil and Tellah both look better than mine and the originals. I will probably have to release an updated version with these in mind. Unlike the FFV Advance project, this is not a one-to-one color restoration so there's definitely room for improvement.

The backgrounds were difficult to do, but not entirely by choice. I don't think I can actually edit the tiles in YY-CHR, so I am the mercy of the way they are structured in-game, and had to make occasional compromises just so the colors are consistent and make sense (for example, in towns, pots and walls share different parts of the color palette than they did in the original SNES title). It's a great mess, as are the sprites (Dark Knight Cecil and Paladin Cecil now share the same palettes - it is madness), but I did my best with what I had to work with.