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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 have gone ahead and submitted an upgrade. Due to an oversight, it seems I made Child Rydia's skin color far too dark. I've corrected the matter, and also implemented some sprite changes suggested and inspired by FlamePurge.

FlamePurge

That's awesome, thanks. :) You've moved mountains with this. I definitely think you're on the right track. But honestly, if you're up for "throwing in the towel" so to speak and just darken the GBA character palettes by about 25% and get rid of that godawful purple they, for whatever reason, used inside the sprites in lieu of black, I think that might be for the best. Less of a struggle that way, IMO.
Check out and discuss my projects

Cris1997XX

Quote from: Piggy Chan! on September 04, 2022, 10:16:31 AMI 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.
Just tested the game with both hacks, outside of errors with the online file patcher I used it works just fine. But...eh, honestly I prefer the GBA rearrangements too. They sound much cleaner (Aside from compression, of course) and punchier

Piggy Chan!

Quote from: FlamePurge on September 04, 2022, 03:52:30 PMThat's awesome, thanks. :) You've moved mountains with this. I definitely think you're on the right track. But honestly, if you're up for "throwing in the towel" so to speak and just darken the GBA character palettes by about 25% and get rid of that godawful purple they, for whatever reason, used inside the sprites in lieu of black, I think that might be for the best. Less of a struggle that way, IMO.
I actually used yy-chr to replace the purple color (which I refer to as the "bleeding color") with the black border, and re-appropriated the bleeding color so I could give the palettes an additional color! This was necessary because of the downright weird decisions they made during the making of FF4 Advance. In the original game, for example, DK Cecil and Kain shared a palette, and Paladin Cecil had its own palette. In this version, DK and Paladin Cecil now share a palette, while Kain now shares his palette with blue clothes NPCs, blue bomb NPCs, and Caignazzo. It was necessary to appropriate that color in order to assure that Paladin Cecil and Dark Knight Cecil could share the same palette while keeping all of the colors (and also for Kain and all the blue people to have the colors they deserved).

The darkening of Rydia's skin was due to an oversight on my part. One of the last things I did was to edit the skin and hair colors on the palette shared by Palom, Porom and both Rydias, because I wanted more shading in Palom and Porom's hair. I simply forgot to edit child Rydia's sprite sheet to reflect this, so she came out looking significantly darker than she should.

EvilJagaGenius

Bug report: In the intro between the language select and the title screen, Cecil seems to be wearing his old purple armor.  There may be other palettes that need changed in that intro sequence, but Cecil stood out to me.

I'm still early game, but it looks really good, even on my AGS-001.  Thank you!
My blog: The Jaga's Nest

Piggy Chan!

Quote from: EvilJagaGenius on September 05, 2022, 08:38:14 PMBug report: In the intro between the language select and the title screen, Cecil seems to be wearing his old purple armor.  There may be other palettes that need changed in that intro sequence, but Cecil stood out to me.

I'm still early game, but it looks really good, even on my AGS-001.  Thank you!
Yes, I mentioned that before. Unfortunately, it seems that the sprites used in the opening are different from the ones used in-game, with their own palettes, and it doesn't seem possible to edit the sprites themselves, at least not using yy-chr. I weighed my options, because I believe the palettes themselves can be changed, and decided it just wasn't really worth the hassle if I couldn't edit the sprites themselves. FF5 Advance had a similar issue with its own intro (only it had unique area tiles and palettes; character sprites and palettes were the same), and I came to the same conclusion after some effort.

I'm glad you're otherwise enjoying it!

Pethronos

#26
Hey Piggy Chan! Before anything, thanks for this hack. Although I like the way SquareEnix treated FF4A and FF5A palettes, they definitely needed this kind of color restorations to make them resemble their SNES counterparts. Congratulations for your works mate!

Just FYI guys, I've been testing and I can bear out that this hack is fully compatible with all the other hacks made for the Eur version of the game.

It's also compatible with the "European Stripper Restoration Hack" by Dragonsbrethren, but you have to patch it AFTER the color improvement for this to work as intended. Otherwise, some of the stripper's sprites won't show as they should.

Thanks again Piggy Chan!  :beer:  :beer:  :beer:

T92


Homer177

Quote from: Cris1997XX on September 04, 2022, 09:57:25 AMIs it compatible with the sound restoration hack?
It should. You just have to make sure you patch a clean rom with the color restoration first. I've tested this myself.

Pethronos

You can apply any patch you want, no matter the order, save for the "Stripper Restoration", that must be applied after the color improvement.

Cris1997XX

Quote from: Homer177 on September 07, 2022, 04:55:39 PMIt should. You just have to make sure you patch a clean rom with the color restoration first. I've tested this myself.
I think you missed the message where I said I tested both patches together...

EvilJagaGenius

By the way, I tried adapting PowerPanda's 3D Magic patch (with permission) to the European ROM.  I haven't played all the way through with it yet but I know Rydia's new spells show up fine.  It should be showing up on RHDN in an update to 3D Magic soon, but in the meantime here's the patch:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UJf9VeeFa5naTOo-9kZA30jEZ5xWk2Ge/view?usp=sharing
My blog: The Jaga's Nest

PRG

Very nice, both this and the FFV color restoration are top notch, and along with the sound restoration, effectively replaces the SNES versions for me.

Any plans to do a similar one for Final Fantasy 1&2 Dawn of Souls, perhaps a blend of the PSX and GBA versions?


Another thing I'd like to see across the GBA FF games is an improvement to the gradient on the menu and battle UI. In my opinion, it looks bad, especially on darker color schemes. Even removing the gradient would be better, if possible.

Piggy Chan!

Quote from: PRG on September 17, 2022, 08:25:16 AMVery nice, both this and the FFV color restoration are top notch, and along with the sound restoration, effectively replaces the SNES versions for me.

Any plans to do a similar one for Final Fantasy 1&2 Dawn of Souls, perhaps a blend of the PSX and GBA versions?


Another thing I'd like to see across the GBA FF games is an improvement to the gradient on the menu and battle UI. In my opinion, it looks bad, especially on darker color schemes. Even removing the gradient would be better, if possible.
I MIGHT do Dawn of Souls some day, but it's not in the cards immediately. I've already looked into the possibility of doing so, and it could definitely use a tweaking. but it wouldn't be nearly as radical a change as the other color restorations.

Cris1997XX

Quote from: Piggy Chan! on September 17, 2022, 09:19:33 AMI MIGHT do Dawn of Souls some day, but it's not in the cards immediately. I've already looked into the possibility of doing so, and it could definitely use a tweaking. but it wouldn't be nearly as radical a change as the other color restorations.
Yeah, especially since the graphics were essentially made for the Wonderswan Color ports and then adapted for PS1's higher resolution (Not to mention they didn't have to rely on dark screens anymore)

Piggy Chan!

Quote from: Cris1997XX on September 17, 2022, 01:34:24 PMYeah, especially since the graphics were essentially made for the Wonderswan Color ports and then adapted for PS1's higher resolution (Not to mention they didn't have to rely on dark screens anymore)
Good point, it seems there's a good reason to hesitate on a mere color restoration of Dawn of Souls!

Alternately, I could be more ambitious and creative than a mere color restoration, and try to give it a completely original color scheme. But that might not be a good idea - for one, I might get tired of it very quickly. The FF4 Advance project (and to a lesser extent, FFV Advance, lesser only because it was easier) was, on some level, a labor of love, and required levels of dedication and determination that I'm just not feeling for Dawn of Souls at the moment. I've already abandoned two non-restoration GBA color palette projects - one (a Minish Cap re-coloring which is basically 90% done) because I just didn't love the game enough to proceed with the rather herculean task of finishing, and another (a Mother 3 project) because I just didn't feel the end result was that interesting or successful at adding to or enhancing the experience, and it was also WAY more difficult than I dreamed it would be. Anyway, I'm definitely thinking more about it now than I was earlier this morning.

The big project I've been working on, for over a decade, is a ROM hack of Final Fantasy VI (the SNES version) which, among many other radical changes (including the requisite extensive game play overhaul, and a brand new script, which hopefully will be at least half as fun to read as it was to make), also involves palette editing in a bid to give the game a somewhat more colorful palette in line with FF4 and FF5, without betraying the original. If Dawn of Souls had as extensive an editor, and as extensive documentation, as Final Fantasy 6, I would absolutely jump at the opportunity to "make my own" version of Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls, with a new color palette as part of the larger project. I've already thought a lot about changes I'd like to make for the original!

Any more input on Final Fantasy IV Advance, or suggestions, is of course still welcome!

Cris1997XX

Quote from: Piggy Chan! on September 17, 2022, 02:30:37 PMThe big project I've been working on, for over a decade, is a ROM hack of Final Fantasy VI (the SNES version) which, among many other radical changes (including the requisite extensive game play overhaul, and a brand new script, which hopefully will be at least half as fun to read as it was to make), also involves palette editing in a bid to give the game a somewhat more colorful palette in line with FF4 and FF5, without betraying the original. If Dawn of Souls had as extensive an editor, and as extensive documentation, as Final Fantasy 6, I would absolutely jump at the opportunity to "make my own" version of Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls, with a new color palette as part of the larger project. I've already thought a lot about changes I'd like to make for the original!

Any more input on Final Fantasy IV Advance, or suggestions, is of course still welcome!
Not gonna lie, I'd love to see complete overhauls of SNES FF6 which turn it into one of the three 8-bit games. Higher quality music and much better graphics, and hopefully the extra content from the modern releases  :laugh:

Piggy Chan!

I've done some preliminary work on a Dawn of Souls color palette hack, and I think I'm going to go ahead and try it! I'm not going to do Final Fantasy 1 in the style of the Origins version on the PlayStation / WonderSwan, however. The visuals are far too dry and dark, in my opinion. So I am not going to be calling it a restoration. And besides, I don't know how to pull the palettes from the PlayStation ROM. It would be a nightmare to try and do the palettes by screencaps - especially the battle backgrounds, which are going to be aggravating on their own. I'll throw in a few screencap examples in a future post, and make a thread for it once I'm confident I can complete it.

I've never actually played Final Fantasy 2 all the way through, but I may do so and see what I can do with its colors. I understand it's a very different game, tonally speaking, so I may take a different approach (I assume it doesn't draw from the same color palette pool as FF1). FF1 is leaning towards the vibrancy of the early games so far, but with FF2 I may lean towards FF6's color palette. We'll see.

Homer177

I have to admit, I do prefer Cecil's original colors to the SNES blue. Also, is there a reason the Advance intro remains untouched?

Piggy Chan!

Quote from: Homer177 on September 25, 2022, 10:56:36 AMI have to admit, I do prefer Cecil's original colors to the SNES blue. Also, is there a reason the Advance intro remains untouched?
Indeed there is! As I mentioned it earlier, the colors in the intro are completely different palettes, and the sprites are different sprites entirely. I could edit the palettes, but I also did sprite work for this project and the sprites in the intro seem to be compressed data, so I can't edit them with my current tools and skillset. I decided it wasn't really worth touching on this basis; they won't match up to the main game's sprite work no matter what I do. If I ever find out how to edit the sprites in the intro, I will of course go back and fix this issue. Oddly enough, the tiles used in the intro seem to be the same palettes and may even be the same maps as in-game - its all an issue with the sprites.