I've Created a WC4 HD Video Pack

ODVS

Master Chief Petty Officer
It's clear from the example you highlighted that there just isn't much contrast for a computer algorithm to recognise anything as an edge (even though we as humans can discern it - that's because we're actually 'intelligent', not just 'artificially' so).

Absolutely, @Wedge009 - this all the way :)

That R&D on edge detection algorithms sounds fascinating! Yeah, I believe the big quantum leap in deep learning image handling in the last decade or so was the development of GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks) - that's when this stuff really started to take off. For anyone interested, there's some further reading here :)
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
By lost are we thinking truly lost or in the hands of an ex-developer/ collector?

It could be either way. There was a lot of stuff, like the surplus uniforms, that was just thrown away once they were done (some got recycled into secondary productions).
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
That R&D on edge detection algorithms sounds fascinating! Yeah, I believe the big quantum leap in deep learning image handling in the last decade or so was the development of GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks) - that's when this stuff really started to take off. For anyone interested, there's some further reading here :)
I only skimmed the article but even what little I absorbed makes a lot of sense and matches the other bits and pieces I've read.

My job probably wasn't as fascinating as I unintentionally made it sound but it was a good learning experience as my first real job out of uni and my employer was an academic so in a sense it was a bit of an extension of uni. Small company - most of the time it was just the two of us - and the programming was low-level stuff in C++ for performance reasons and direct access to the image matrices, if I recall correctly. I recall I was working on a Pentium 4 CPU - GPGPU hadn't yet taken off. The particular project where we needed edge detection was for reading vehicle registration plates - but the source images were not high-resolution photos from dedicated cameras but just stills of video feeds from security cameras, so there were problems like interlacing to deal with, plus the number plate was only a tiny fraction of the photo (so just finding the plate itself was a challenge, before actually reading it!) Even with the high contrast of the number plates, I think the lines on the letters could be as small as only a few pixels wide.

Contrast that with modern technology where it's commonplace for automated plate reading to occur in places like car parks, although I expect the cameras are pointed directly at the number plate so they have much more data to work with and I suspect infra-red cameras are used to handle the low-light conditions. It's still not perfect, though. I remember one car park thought I hadn't left the previous time I visited and so when I tried to leave one time it claimed I was in the car park for 3 months! That was a pain to sort out - I wasn't going to pay for a stay I didn't actually make!
 
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Sordid

Rear Admiral
Regarding Privateer 2:

Did you try this version, which should give you a real increase in resolution and fps?

 

Sordid

Rear Admiral
Thanks for you replay. I should have read your entire post instead of instantly posting my thoughts :)
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Hi @Sordid - I'm afraid I did. That's the Beta source material I was referring to in this post.
There's a few issues with using that as source on top of trying to counteract the softness of almost all of the P2 videos. It has youtube compression (bad) as well as it wasn't deinterlaced correctly (bad). Botched Deinterlacing artifacts and combing also seem to make edge detection really troublesome.
 

ODVS

Master Chief Petty Officer
There's a few issues with using that as source on top of trying to counteract the softness of almost all of the P2 videos. It has youtube compression (bad) as well as it wasn't deinterlaced correctly (bad). Deinterlacing artifacts and combing also seem to make edge detection really troublesome.

Yep, this all the way. Seriously, YT compression is the bane of my existence!

I'm pretty sure I could do wonders if I had some original source material 😂
 

ODVS

Master Chief Petty Officer
Hello all,

Minor update to share - has it really been two months?

DainApp recently reached V1.0 alpha status and entered open source development, so I started tinkering with the new version to see how much more stable it is - and the answer is "much more stable".

So I started playing around with the WCIV video and produced some stable, glitch-free and totally smooth 60fps videos.

I think this is a massive improvement over the previous 60fps experiment (from waaaaaay back in May) - so much so that I think we're going to make them an option in Wing Commander IV Remastered.

Don't worry for those of you who hate the dreaded "Soap Opera Effect" - I had a word with @Pedro and he said we can make 60fps video optional in the game settings. If you don't like it, you can turn it off and every other frame of video will be skipped, dropping playback back to 30fps.

I probably won't be releasing this as stand-alone HD Video Pack for the GOG/Origin releases as I have for previous versions, mainly because I don't think it they'll handle 60fps footage very well. Also, the download size will be enormous if I try to encode using h.264. For the Remastered project, we can look into using a more efficient video codec to keep those file sizes down.

One of the main goals for the remaster project is to make the transition between FMV and gameplay as seamless as possible - and I think this would go a long way to helping with that goal - going from 60+fps in-engine to 30fps in the FMV is ok, but if we can keep everything buttery smooth, I think that would be a better overall experience.

So, here are some samples :^)


 

marco999

Veteran Spaceman
Hi OVDS, have you used the last version of Topaz in this video ? Do you think will be possible in future add h.265 codec in WC4 / WCP to save space ?
 

ODVS

Master Chief Petty Officer
Hi OVDS, have you used the last version of Topaz in this video ? Do you think will be possible in future add h.265 codec in WC4 / WCP to save space ?

Hi @marco999 ,

I do use the latest version, yes - but I always output from Topaz as a PNG sequence to keep the most quality I can, since I do further cleanup and post-processing after the upscale, then do my own compression/optimisation run for the final export.

Sadly, the original game flat out will not play back video encoded in h.265 - another reason I'll be saving these for the Remaster. We'll probably look into using h.265, VP9 or some other modern HEVC codec for that.
 

TCSTigersClaw

Greek Special Forces B' Company "Naoussa" 2007-200
Thank you very much for this pack . I enjoy just watching the .VOB files .

Now recently I tried to use the latest pack to my GOG version of WC4.

To my surprise they dont work. It always says that some .Vob is missing . I press escape to go to the next video the same thing happens

I tried to transfer just 1 .VOB from the original files (intro) and it worked , then when tried to load the new remastered vob files I had again error message for missing vob.
I renamed it manually , copy pasting the name from the original VOB to remastered VOB and still it says it didnt found it.
Weird :D
 

ODVS

Master Chief Petty Officer
Thank you very much for this pack . I enjoy just watching the .VOB files .

Now recently I tried to use the latest pack to my GOG version of WC4.

To my surprise they dont work. It always says that some .Vob is missing . I press escape to go to the next video the same thing happens

I tried to transfer just 1 .VOB from the original files (intro) and it worked , then when tried to load the new remastered vob files I had again error message for missing vob.
I renamed it manually , copy pasting the name from the original VOB to remastered VOB and still it says it didnt found it.
Weird :D
Hi @TCSTigersClaw - that is weird. I don't think we've hit that error before.

Have you installed the K-Lite codec pack?
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Sounds great, and yes 60fps cinematics are the way to go for the remake project for the reasons you describe.

Yeah, I would agree. While the "soap opera effect" was jarring a decade or more ago, 60 fps makes a lot more sense today with modern games that are also running at that speed or more. Your own phone in your pocket records 4K60 these days too, so most people's eyeballs are gradually becoming more attuned to it as well.
 

ODVS

Master Chief Petty Officer
Do you think to upscale the WCP cutscene again with this new update ?

I found a massive improvement !!
Hi @marco999,

Hmm, good question. The DVD mod for Prophecy uses a DirectShow window to play the videos, so it may not be hampered by the same limitations as the DVD editions of WCIV (hence why the Prophecy HD pack uses MP4s and not VOBs). I'd need to do some experimenting to see how it handles 60fps video and potentially h.265 playback.

I might actually be able to use DAIN to clean up the slightly jerky playback/inconsistent frame rate in the Prophecy FMV as well. (Bit of background there - the CG sequences were rendered at 30fps, while the live action bits were captured at 25fps. The combined videos were then output at 30fps, so there's an occasional jump/glitch in the live action sequences that's always irked me).

It's a very slow process I'm afraid, so it might take a while to get around to it - but I'll definitely look into it :)
 

marco999

Veteran Spaceman
Hi ODVS,

If you have the possibilty to work on cutscene playback for WCP can you please try to fix the Widescreen issue:


This happen becouse to see the game without borders I run it to 1280x960.

Can be a good update if there is the possibility to add "stretch" option to force all (game, cutscene, menu) to 1920x1080 without need to run at 1280x960..

thanks again !
 

ODVS

Master Chief Petty Officer
Hi ODVS,

If you have the possibilty to work on cutscene playback for WCP can you please try to fix the Widescreen issue:


This happen becouse to see the game without borders I run it to 1280x960.

Can be a good update if there is the possibility to add "stretch" option to force all (game, cutscene, menu) to 1920x1080 without need to run at 1280x960..

thanks again !

Hi @marco999 - sorry, I'm afraid game development isn't my forte. I don't do anything to alter the game code, I just spit out videos and see if it'll play them :)
 
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