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General => Art & Music => Topic started by: 1000101 on March 22, 2004, 08:48:14 AM



Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 22, 2004, 08:48:14 AM
Ok, most people don't know this, but while the NES was an 8-bit machine, it was only 4-bit graphics, and it was a weird 4-bit graphics system.

Instead of having 16 colours, it had 8 colours and two tile maps.

Anyway, I was playing FF on me emulator and said, 'Hey, I wonder what FF would have looked like if they had used 8-bit gfx...'

Well, after a couple hours playing with different tile sets, this is what I came up with:

Original:
(http://uregina.ca/~cowles1e/images/FFNes.png)

8-bitified:
(http://uregina.ca/~cowles1e/images/FF8Bit.png)

Now the question is...after I've completed some of the things on the go, should I make a FF clone that is nothing but the original game that uses 8-bit graphics?


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: adosorken on March 22, 2004, 10:09:58 AM
I too had plans to recreate Final Fantasy with improved graphics but I abandoned the project a long time ago for some reason. I still have the prototype somewhere in my Terminated Projects folder. Basically, it was functionally identical but had vastly better graphics and music.

If you want any help on this, let me know...I still have all the soundtracks I was going to use and they are basically very enhanced versions of the original FF1 tracks in module format. I also have retracked versions that sound identical to the original FF1 tracks that could easily be re-sampled and enhanced.

Btw...how's FU coming along :)


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 22, 2004, 11:44:50 AM
That would be sweet.  Especially if I got the graphics you were going to use too (hell, the entire project would be nice ;P).

Anyway, the tileset I have looks nice, but I don't think it's complete enough to use for this, but I'd have to play FF further into it to check all the graphics (and extract maps) to be sure.

Well, It's sort of coming, heh.  I've been working on about three things at once so everything goes slow/fast depending on my mood and how much I work on it.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: adosorken on March 22, 2004, 12:07:15 PM
I think your tileset looks a bit better than the one I was using. In any event, I was coding it in VB6 using the GDI so it was a tad slow. I didn't feel like rewriting it in DirectX, and I wasn't accomplished enough in Visual C++ at the time to write it "properly".

I think I have all the maps extracted from the original ROM somewhere. I took the maps from the Japanese version though, because the American version had some graphics censors which I totally disagree with. I am not sure whether or not the maps were changed or not, but the tilesets were slightly modified. In any event, I think it's totally cool to make minor adjustments to the maps as long as they retain the same "feel", know what I mean? Oh and of course...I know that I for one kept the same enemy party boundaries...which means that the good old penninsula trick worked as well as it did in the original. :D


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 22, 2004, 12:19:42 PM
That would be so handy to get from you.  Also, knowledge on how you got the maps out of the ROMs would be nice too.

Now, if you'd just get on MSN ;P


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: na_th_an on March 22, 2004, 03:03:30 PM
This is a great idea. Another cool remake. Don't forget to send it to http://www.remakes.org when it is finished. They'll drool over it.

Btw, as far as I know, GFX in the NES are 2 bits. The screen itself can handle 32 colours at the same time, but every tile or sprite has only 4 colours, 3 for the sprites if we use a transparent colour.

Btw, the screenshot posted *is* amazing. Great pixels. It's a pitty that FF battles are SO BORING (well, at least for me, I have no patience), but anyhow it's a game that I've always liked.

Anyhow, if you're gonna enhace the GFX, I'd go to hi/true-colour. Blending, raster effects, they always look great on pixel art. Why stick to 256 when you can have thousands (I've always said: 16 bits is enough for pixel games)? If you're gonna use a "not QB" programming language it is not a big deal. Our game works in a 486 (DJGPP+Allegro version), so... No excuses here ;)


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 22, 2004, 09:15:57 PM
Well, I was figuring on doing two versions if I did.

a)  A VBDOS+UGL version 'for the Qmunity' and;
b) A VB6+DX8 version for 'the rest of the world'.

Since QB(VBDOS) and VB6 are the same basic language, port the code would be simple.  Especially since UGL uses an object based interface.  (Well, you don't use 'object.method args', but you do use 'method object, args'.  That's a QB requirement though.)

Anyway, I was planning 640x480 16-bpp as the target resolution for 'prettyness', also, UGL kicks ass at that res even on an old Pentium.

All I need is that stuff from Nek ;P


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: adosorken on March 23, 2004, 06:07:30 AM
I'm still looking for the old project files, heh. They got burned to CDROM some time ago and I have about a thousand CDROMs like this. In any event, I still have the Japanese ROM so I could always just re-rip the maps out of them, and I have the soundtracks all stored in my modules directory anyways. I'll try to get this stuff to you later on today. :)

As far as other stuff for the game goes...you name it and I can extract it...battle formations, accurate equipment and spells, string tables, etc. :) It would take some time but I can certainly do it.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 23, 2004, 07:16:11 AM
heh, while that would be awesome to have all that ripped for me (and if you want to do it then be my guest ;P) I'd still like to know how.  There are a few ROMs which I would like to get stuff from.

Also, I found better trees to use then in the pic above.

Wanna see a lovely GIF transition from old gfx to new (it's big, 489K)?

http://uregina.ca/~cowles1e/images/FFWorld.gif


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: KiZ on March 23, 2004, 07:18:05 AM
Forbidden
Your client is not allowed to access the requested object.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 23, 2004, 07:22:25 AM
I was uploading it when I posted that message, it's there now.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: adosorken on March 23, 2004, 11:40:08 AM
Virtually every game used different storage/retrieval methods, there is no singular way to do it for all ROM images. For Final Fantasy, I have a specialized tool designed to do this kind of stuff. In the emulation scene, there are people who dedicate their entire "scene life" to reverse engineering old games and creating utilities to manipulate and modify them. You can try searching google for hacking specific games, or try an emulation central such as zophar.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 23, 2004, 01:15:16 PM
Oh granted, granted.  But, I was hoping for generalized information on how information is typically stored in the ROMs.  I've done quite a bit of data/gfx/sound extraction over the years on the PC platform, but then, I'm familiar with PC architecture.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: adosorken on March 23, 2004, 04:45:41 PM
For older consoles such as the NES, since memory was so limited, data was often compressed using simple methods. FF from what I understand uses some form of RLE to store its maps. I understand a lot of old NES games use RLE to store certain types of data. Graphics are always a planar mess though. :)


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: adosorken on March 23, 2004, 08:43:05 PM
Sorry for the double post, but...! I FOUND IT! :) The original project files! :) Only had to go through about 80 discs... ;) It was on an active project CD... I forgot it was still an active project when I made the backup. D'oh! :D

The good news: All the soundtracks I couldn't find in my hard drive's module collection were on the disc, including the elusive marsh cave remix. Also, the entire US version script and each map with blocked and unblocked tilesets are here, plus a little map viewer I had written to view them. I even have most of the monster sprites from the 'official' FF remake (missing a few but got the good ones like Kary and the wizard ogre).

The bad news: The disc has some damage on it, and the project was saved progressively. The later builds are not recoverable, and the only builds that are unscathed are rather primitive. It's not even enough to go on. Looks like several other projects which were abandoned will stay that way as well...

I'll get this stuff archived and put up on my server tomorrow. I hope all this helps. :D

EDIT: I have half of the formations outlaid. I hadn't done this in the past so it's taking some time. As anyone who's messed with this game knows there's more to FF than meets the eye...it's a very technically sound game.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 24, 2004, 07:41:58 AM
Oh yes, I agree.  FF blew me away in it's shear size, complexity, storyline, plot, gameplay, replay ability (ever do a 4 white mage party?  Dad did it once, that was too scarey for me to attempt ;P )

I'd be happy with what you can recover though (maps especially).  I started my own map editor (which I'll need anyway) and been taking screen shots from the game to build a huge bitmap to work from as a reference.  I say, that is a bit of a pain for anyone who has done it that way.

The music, however, would be gold.  I definitely would like music (and graphics) that are available (nothing worse then playing a game with no sound.  It adds a lot to the 'feel' as I'm sure you know).

Anyway, thanks for taking the time, now, why are you never on MSN?  ;P


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: na_th_an on March 24, 2004, 10:39:51 AM
This may be interesting, folks: http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/nes/file/final_fantasy.png


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 24, 2004, 09:43:05 PM
Sweet, thanks dude.

I had to find it manually (got a bad referer) though.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: adosorken on March 24, 2004, 09:55:17 PM
OK...I was FINALLY able to get some of the stuff up now...

http://www.nodtveidt.net/ff/

As I get stuff ready, it'll be uploaded to this directory. Currently up is the full script (American and Revised English versions), the complete enemy formation chart, ALL the enemies from the WSC version of Final Fantasy (far superior to the NES sprites), complete maps from the NES version with blocked and unblocked tilesets and the viewer I wrote, plus the collection of remixed musics. I've found some other resources as well, including all the NPCs from the WSC version as well as the complete soundtrack from the PSX version, which is said to be very very very good. I also downloaded the 22MB intro movie from the PSX version but I haven't checked it out yet...I don't want to put that up until I get a chance to view it. I'll get this stuff sorted out over the next few days and add it when I get the chance.

Hope this helps the effort. :)

PS: Ooops...the Revised English script has one minor error in it that I forgot to correct before I uploaded it. :o


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 25, 2004, 09:13:59 AM
Hey man, all that is awesome.  Where did you get the monster graphics for the WSC version?  Got all the graphics for it?   I still need compatable character graphics.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: adosorken on March 25, 2004, 09:30:30 AM
I have all the character sprites but it's somewhat of a messy collection and needs to be put together properly. I can do it but if you wanna take care of it yourself then go to http://www.planetnintendo.com/ff1/ I think it is. That's where I got the monsters, the character sprites, the movie, and they have the complete collection of MP3s from the PSX version of FF (which I'm slowly obtaining). The character sprites I do believe are scaled...or they could just have been scaled in HTML, I'm not sure as I've not been able to get the files to my dev computer yet to check em out (I saved entire pages to get the stuff, hehe). The only missing link here so to speak is the tileset...I've yet to find a WSC version of the tileset. Not like that matters much anyways because there's a ton of great tilesets on the internet and someone could always make a great one anyways that far surpasses the WSC set (it's not uberimpressive but it's far better than the NES one, of course).

I'll keep going with the string tables and data if you'd like...I don't trust information found online because it tends to be riddled with inconsistencies and errors...I'd rather extract the data from the game itself and know it's going to be accurate.

Oh...I modified a copy of the ROM and made a version which has every magic shop in Coneria, a shop that sells Ribbons, ProRings and Masamunes, and has a door that leads to the final battle with Chaos (who I recolored to red and called "Satan"). I also made it so that the Fighters could learn every magic spell and could use 16 spells of each level...and would gain levels every 1 experience point. They also start at 255 HP and insane stats. :) Ya, I was kinda bored. :D


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 25, 2004, 09:01:35 PM
heh, anything you want to do to help would be great.

I've been working on taking those maps you uploaded and converting them to work with the new graphics.

I've discovered a few things just working on these maps on how they did the game, and it's quite clever that they didn't bother with a trigger list for things, they just used keyed tiles, etc.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: relsoft on March 26, 2004, 03:33:55 AM
Quote from: "adosorken"
Virtually every game used different storage/retrieval methods, there is no singular way to do it for all ROM images. For Final Fantasy, I have a specialized tool designed to do this kind of stuff. In the emulation scene, there are people who dedicate their entire "scene life" to reverse engineering old games and creating utilities to manipulate and modify them. You can try searching google for hacking specific games, or try an emulation central such as zophar.


a better idea is just to Read the Vram which means you can use savestaes. :*)


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 26, 2004, 04:22:08 AM
That doesn't help when you are trying to extract a tileset since you don't know the order of the tiles.

Don't consufe the words 'better' and 'easier' ;P


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: adosorken on March 27, 2004, 10:56:03 PM
While doing some research online for this game, I came across an interesting challenge...beating the game with a single character. So, being the self-abusive glutton-for-punishment I am, I decided to try it out. I started the game with a very strong party: Fighter, Thief, White Mage, Black Mage. But then, I only equipped the Fighter, and put him in the back row...and went out into the world. The other thee were quickly put down by Imps, leaving nothing but my Fighter to battle everything...and I do mean EVERYTHING, by himself. Three days and one million experience points later, I'm happy to announce that beating this game with a single Fighter is indeed possible...but very difficult. However, I even managed to wipe out a WarMECH atop the Floating Castle...if that gives you any indication of how powerful the Fighter gets in high levels... ;)

Anyways, I have some more information compiled and I'll get it to you as soon as possible. I really hope you go through with this...it's more work than it appears at first but it's well worth the effort. :)


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 28, 2004, 03:11:57 PM
I understand a Black Belt is more powerful then a fighter after the class change (also, get the change at as low a level a possable so you get more for more levels, but, you already knew this, right?).

Also, I've been working on adjusting the maps for the new tilesets and the tilesets themselves.  Everything is going well thus far.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: Diroga on March 29, 2004, 12:02:00 AM
if the game was origanaly done in 8 bit gfx would there have been enougn room on the cartridge?


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 29, 2004, 07:57:30 AM
As I said before, they are only 4 bit graphics, however, one of those 4 bits specifies which tileset loaded into the VRAM to use.  So, it's 2 active tilesets and an 8 colour palette for each tileset.  The tiles themselves are only 2-bit (4 colours) which get converrted to 4-bits when loaded to VRAM.

The CPU is an 8-bit CPU with an 8-bit memory BUS (with up to 16-bits of memory), 8-bit VPU (Video Processing Unit) programmed through 8-bit ports.

So, it's an 16-bit memory in an 8-bit machine with 4-bit video using 2-bit sprites.  hehe

Now you know why the graphics are so limited on an '8-bit' machine.  Because it's the CPU they refer to when they talk about how many bits it is.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: KiZ on March 29, 2004, 12:39:43 PM
he realises that the graphics were done in 4bit, but he is asking would the graphics have physically fit *if* they were done in 8bit.


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on March 29, 2004, 03:18:44 PM
Sorry, my bad.

Well, you have 64K of address space so...


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: adosorken on March 29, 2004, 07:29:47 PM
First of all, the NES hardware cannot handle 8 bit color. However, as far as storage goes...it all depends on the memory mapper used. FF is 256KB, so it uses a mapper that can switch between 4 banks (I'm not sure exactly which mapper it uses, Square did things a little non-standard).

My research has turned up some more interesting things. First of all, there is a bug in the original FF which makes running from combat fail much of the time...some error with the calculations. Secondly, the LOCK and LOK2 spells are completely hosed and do not work as planned...in fact, LOK2 works in reverse! For good things, I've found information on some of the algorithms that FF uses...I never knew what Hit % was really for, but now I've found that Hit % is used to gauge the number of hits a character can get. You get 1 hit per 32%, so a character with Hit % of 67 can score up to 3 hits per attack. Whether you hit your opponent or not is actually based on intelligence and strength...I'm still looking for a working formula for this though.

For kicks, I built a version of the ROM image which has all the bugfixes, replaces the changed monster graphics (namely Medusa and Eye), has dialogue that's a cross between the American and Restored versions, and makes the Black Belt not such a wuss. I also changed the GrIMP and GrWOLF's colors. :) I might somday make a complete edit of the game (with the tools I have, the FF ROM is no more than a working game engine, ready to be hacked and rewritten at your convenience) but that's in the future... :)

EDIT: I finally obtained the entire PSX FF1 remake soundtrack...holy sheesh what a killer soundtrack this is.  :o


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: adosorken on April 11, 2004, 08:20:02 PM
Eric, are you still working on this? :D As soon as our new servers are resolving, I got a ton of new data for ya. :D


Title: 4-bit vs 8-bit, Final Fantasy retouched.
Post by: 1000101 on April 13, 2004, 06:08:57 PM
Yeah, I've been working on the tools and converting map formats, etc.

Anything you got, I want!  Gimmie!  Rhainnon!  Get over here!  :D :D :D