Wing Commander III FMVs in better quality?

CyberCat

Spaceman
Ok first of all I'd like to apologize in advance if this has already been asked/covered because I have very high certainty it has already (multiple times...) I've probably spent the last 2 hours searching and not come up with the info I'm looking for so no need to inform me of this fact! :D

Basically what I'd like to do is take the FMV sequences from WC3 and put them all up end to end into about 2 hour "movie" that I can put on DVD and watch whenever I like instead of having to play the game (yeah I'm lazy, lol ;)).

Now I already managed to come across an excellent program which can read the ".TRE" files in which the videos are kept on the game CDs, so that's not the question.

From what I can tell, the source video is actually only a mere 320x160 pixels @ only 15fps (w/ mono audio no less). Now the low res isn't the end of the world, but what I've noticed is that it seems like the actual color itself of the video has been compressed. They look like the got downsampled into fewer colors, kinda like how a true color image's color looks "layery" when you save it as only 256-colors (anybody know the proper term for what I'm talking about?). Anyway THIS EFFECT BOTHERS ME VERY GREATLY!

I know that WC4 has a double-sided DVD version which actually has higher quality video on it, and I was wanting to know if there was something analogous to this with WC3? In other words, is there a way to get higher quality video from WC3?

Appreciate your help!
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
the only higher quality WC3 sources are the PSX and 3DO versions. I don't think they have significantly higher resolution but they used better compression and have better color and grading and none of the "Sticky Pixels" issue that plagues the PC version.
 

CyberCat

Spaceman
Ok thanks for your reply, I had read that it was apparently better quality but I wasn't sure if it was very noticeable, if it fixed the color issue that's definitely very nice I think. It seems odd that they would release the PC version at lower quality than the 3DO version even though they're both on CDs... WTF?

So anyway, if I buy either the 3DO or PSX version is there a way that I (having no 3DO or PSX) can extract the video resource files on my PC (they are just regular CDs right)? What format are they in? As long as I can convert whatever it is to something usable it shouldn't be a problem I guess.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Ok thanks for your reply, I had read that it was apparently better quality but I wasn't sure if it was very noticeable, if it fixed the color issue that's definitely very nice I think. It seems odd that they would release the PC version at lower quality than the 3DO version even though they're both on CDs... WTF?

So anyway, if I buy either the 3DO or PSX version is there a way that I (having no 3DO or PSX) can extract the video resource files on my PC (they are just regular CDs right)? What format are they in? As long as I can convert whatever it is to something usable it shouldn't be a problem I guess.

There really isn't a way to extract them yet without actually plugging your video cables into an input on your computer and recording the output. We're actually pretty close to having a converter for the PSX version though. The videos are an odd WVE format but they heavily rely on the PSX hardware for decoding.

Part of the reason for the difference in quality is that the 3DO and PSX version came out a year or more after the PC version. Originally the PC version was at the forefront of CD-ROM technology and they ended up using smaller capacity CDs and compression technology just hadn't evolved much yet. So when it came time to do the ports they made use of the larger CD sizes as well as improved compression routines.
 

CyberCat

Spaceman
So when it came time to do the ports they made use of the larger CD sizes as well as improved compression routines.

I don't know about larger CD sizes (as far as I know CD-ROMS have always had the same standard size) but better compression makes sense to me. I wonder what the "source" material is? I'm guessing it was shot digitally, and since HD wasn't really around then probably at NTSC quality (720x480 @ 29.97fps, w/ 1.2121 pixel aspect to make up for the widescreen), so that would probably be best case quality.

I'm assuming that even best case, the 3DO and PSX only have S-video outputs. Even with a very good quality capture card and cables there'd probably still be noticeable quality loss in the analog transfer, unfortunately. I'd say since the quality is already so poor that option is really out of the question. :(

It sounds like the best hope will be the converter you mentioned for the PSX version, is that something you think could be working soon?

Another thing I thought of is, are there any PSX emulators for PC? If there are then I can play it on my computer in an emulator and just losslessly screen record the FMVs, that would definitely be fine for me if that's possible.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I don't know about larger CD sizes (as far as I know CD-ROMS have always had the same standard size) but better compression makes sense to me.

He's correct - you can still see different CD-ROM sizes today (74 and 80 minute discs are common.) Way back when the format was new the first 1X CD-ROM drives were 63-minute discs. Although Wing Commander 3 officially required a more standardized 2X CD-ROM, the team made a conscious decision not to block the early adopters.
 

Darkmage

Vice Admiral
3do extraction should be pretty simple, linux has a kernel driver for reading 3do discs. someoen just needs to create a player for the movie files.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
3do extraction should be pretty simple, linux has a kernel driver for reading 3do discs. someoen just needs to create a player for the movie files.

We have systems in place to open the archive files of both the PSX and 3DO versions. It's playing them that's an issue. THe good news is that the 3DO format is very similar to the PC format. THat said we're probably closer with the PSX version. It's just a matter of HCl finding the the time to finish the converter. He's close but has been dealing with some stressful family issues.
 

Gunslinger2

Rear Admiral
I have a question. Between the PSX and 3DO versions, which one has the better quality video? Or are they both, essentially, the same? What about WCIII in Kilrathi Saga? Any better than the original DOS PC WCIII?
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I have a question. Between the PSX and 3DO versions, which one has the better quality video? Or are they both, essentially, the same? What about WCIII in Kilrathi Saga? Any better than the original DOS PC WCIII?

I can't say quite yet how the 3DO and PSX versions compare but the KS version is identical to the dos version. The only difference is that they turned on interlacing (which can be turned off with a command line switch).
 
Top