I've Created a WC4 HD Video Pack

EmuMusicFan

Chief Petty Officer
On the defection video, I only watched the first half. I liked the detail on the explosion that causes the crewman to fall (that may be in the v2.0 distribution too), but admittedly I suffer from the 'soap opera effect' too, having been accustomed to low frame rates in cinema theatre. I don't even care about 60fps in PC games (let alone the 144fps or even more that some players insist on), I much prefer higher resolution and graphical features than unnecessarily high frame rates.
I guess the high frame rate does give a clearer experience at the same resolution. Afterall, motion blur is greatly reduced.

24fps has its own unique cinematic narrative style, but 50fps or 60fps has a much stronger live feel (especially when watching sports). So I think it's still a matter of style choice?

In terms of this comparison demo, my subjective experience was elevated and felt clearer.
 

Pedro

Admiral
I guess the high frame rate does give a clearer experience at the same resolution. Afterall, motion blur is greatly reduced.

24fps has its own unique cinematic narrative style, but 50fps or 60fps has a much stronger live feel (especially when watching sports). So I think it's still a matter of style choice?

In terms of this comparison demo, my subjective experience was elevated and felt clearer.
Yeah, you feel more like you are there at 60fps, I find more than 3D high frame rates make it feel like this is a real scene with real people (and possibly why it’s more off putting with something heavily CG like the hobbit).

Since for the remake we are trying to match the video to the gameplay (and there is no way I’m dropping the gameplay framerate to 30) trying 60 seemed appealing. It does make it seem cheaper however, and the extreme reaction like wedges is not uncommon.
Ultimately no one will complain about 24, but a number will about 60 so it’s not worth it.
 

EmuMusicFan

Chief Petty Officer
Yeah, you feel more like you are there at 60fps, I find more than 3D high frame rates make it feel like this is a real scene with real people (and possibly why it’s more off putting with something heavily CG like the hobbit).

Since for the remake we are trying to match the video to the gameplay (and there is no way I’m dropping the gameplay framerate to 30) trying 60 seemed appealing. It does make it seem cheaper however, and the extreme reaction like wedges is not uncommon.
Ultimately no one will complain about 24, but a number will about 60 so it’s not worth it.
For flight simulation games, a high frame rate is really important. One of the more interesting examples is the recent Panzer Dragoon Remake. At first it was something 30 fps, similar as its original Sega Saturn version. But now it has the 60 fps mode, which is much more comfortable.

Speaking of low frame rate styles, a successful example that comes to mind is a series of fighting games from Arc System Works: Guilty Gear Xrd, Dragon Ball Fighter Z and upcoming Guilty Gear Strive. As portraying character actions, low framerates are used to present a Japanese animation style, while the game itself rans at 60fps to present a smooth game play. That is great.

So, could something be done in the playback code of the video so that players can choose what frame rate to play the videos at? This way people who like the cinematic style can get what they want and also have the opportunity to try out the live style.
 

Shogun05

Spaceman
New to the forum. Long time lurker.

I seem to need assistance with integrating the high res files into the game(WCIV DVD). I have tried extracting directly to replace the vob files without success. I have tried changing the install directory for both the entire game and just the vob files. I have installed the game both through the GOG Galaxy client and directly without use of the client. Keep getting the file not found error when attempting playback within the game. Computer is Core i7-2600 at 3.4 Ghz, 12 gb ram, Windows 10 home64, Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti. Have both Power DVD 19 (doesn't play the files well at all) and VTX media player (plays files outside of the game but not within).

I apologize if this is a stupid question but any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
New to the forum. Long time lurker.

I seem to need assistance with integrating the high res files into the game(WCIV DVD). I have tried extracting directly to replace the vob files without success. I have tried changing the install directory for both the entire game and just the vob files. I have installed the game both through the GOG Galaxy client and directly without use of the client. Keep getting the file not found error when attempting playback within the game. Computer is Core i7-2600 at 3.4 Ghz, 12 gb ram, Windows 10 home64, Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti. Have both Power DVD 19 (doesn't play the files well at all) and VTX media player (plays files outside of the game but not within).

I apologize if this is a stupid question but any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Hi @Shogun05,

Welcome to the forum :^)

Sounds to me like your system might be having difficulty recognising the codecs used to encode the videos. They're encoded in H264, which isn't a codec native to the VOB file format (which uses MPEG-2 natively) and the game relies on Windows recognising this inconsistency in order to play them back.

The good news is that this should be a relatively easy fix for you - most media player applications (be it Media Player, Power DVD, VLC, MPCHC, whatever) under modern Windows can play back any video as long as the associated codec is installed on Windows.

I personally recommend installing the K-Lite Codec Pack, as I find it's a pretty comprehensive package of codecs and will allow your system to play back pretty much anything you throw at it. If you'd prefer, I believe installing VLC Media Player instead would also install the relevant codecs to allow playback.

Let me know if the above doesn't help. To be honest, I'm surprised you're having issues, since these days Windows has H264 support baked in from the go - so it might be something else. But this would be a good place to start :)
 

Shogun05

Spaceman
Eureka. Thank you ODVS. I installed the K-Lite Codec Pack and now I can appreciate your incredible work for the WC community. Thank you. The codec install has at least got me to the first mission. Your work is very much appreciated and again I say thank you.👍
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Eureka. Thank you ODVS. I installed the K-Lite Codec Pack and now I can appreciate your incredible work for the WC community. Thank you. The codec install has at least got me to the first mission. Your work is very much appreciated and again I say thank you.👍
Wonderful news, @Shogun05! I hope you enjoy 😄
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
I thought I'd apply some of the new techniques I've figured out working on the Wing Commander IV remaster and revisit the Rollins scene from Wing Commander III to see if they improve matters at all.

Unfortunately, it hasn't helped much with the eyes. I don't think there's much hope of improving that. The original footage is only 160p - so the eyes take up a total of maybe 5-10 square pixels each. It's not a lot for the AI to work with. Rollins' teeth do look far less freaky now, though!

This version has a far cleaner 30fps conversion from the original 15fps source, though, so motion is much smoother.

Overall, considering this is an upscale of 675%, I don't think it looks that bad.

 

ODVS

Petty Officer
This, I think, is definitely a noteworthy improvement over what I've managed before. We've now upscaled from 360p to 2160p 4K - an upscale of 600%!

I've introduced a digital 4K 32mm film grain to give the eye more detail to absorb. Sadly, YouTube compression fuzzes out this extra detail. If you'd like to see the full 4K glory, you can download the pre-YouTube file here:

https://1drv.ms/v/s!AigD0zDcLvj86ypvybjDuIdDQBgr?e=eifzUr

Please note - do download it and run it on your computer. If you view the One Drive in-browser preview, it just introduces the same kind of detail-quashing compression as YouTube.

 
Very good. The film grain seemed a bit too much but otherwise good.
This makes me wonder if the X-Wing Alliance videos could be extracted and upgraded? That would be amazing!

Keep up the great work! 👍:D
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
It's clear the WC3 video doesn't have much to work with from the source, but it does look like a nice improvement. 30fps also looks quite nice to me.

I watched the original non-YT WC4 sample on a 2560x1440 monitor, so I may have got some small benefit from down-scaling from 3840x2160 but it looked really nice. Clean lines on the map table mission animation and also the white edges on Eisen's uniform.
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
I watched the original non-YT WC4 sample on a 2560x1440 monitor, so I may have got some small benefit from down-scaling from 3840x2160 but it looked really nice. Clean lines on the map table mission animation and also the white edges on Eisen's uniform.
Thanks, @Wedge009 - yep, it's definitely on edges where the AI routines tend to shine. You can see similar improvements in the WC3 upscales on things like the line of characters' shoulders against the background etc.

I think, at least until the next seed change in this technology comes along, we're starting to reach the limits of what my experimentation can achieve. On the bright side, this does mean I'm close to starting to put together a V3.0 of the Wing Commander IV HD video pack. I might even do separate FullHD and 4K versions (depending whether 4K playback in-game glitches out). I'm afraid that's going to be pretty time consuming either way, though!
 

Shogun05

Spaceman
WoW. Thank you ODVS. Just played through WC IV DVD with your enhanced video. I discovered new details and new videos that I had not previously experienced. This is from a fan who has at least 9 copies of the WC IV DVD. It was like reading a book and discovering details that you missed the first time. Thank you for your contribution to the WC community.
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
WoW. Thank you ODVS. Just played through WC IV DVD with your enhanced video. I discovered new details and new videos that I had not previously experienced. This is from a fan who has at least 9 copies of the WC IV DVD. It was like reading a book and discovering details that you missed the first time. Thank you for your contribution to the WC community.
Aw, thank you very much, @Shogun05 - it really makes my day to get feedback like that! 😃
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS

I've now worked out methods to automate every step of the remastering process - none of it is manual any more. I write code, I execute the code, and the various stages of the workflow handle themselves. No more messing around doing cleanup in After Effects and Premiere Pro!

The practical upshot of this is that WC4 HD Video Pack V3.0 is now definitely coming. I've been experimenting and I've improved the overall image quality, upped the detail and actually lowered the optimised file sizes a bit. As a frame of reference, the overall quality is slightly better than the recent Vagabond experiment. :)

Unfortunately, it still takes a very long time to crunch all the pixel data (as well as a frankly insane amount of storage space for the uncompressed video streams - it'll be a couple of terabytes at least for all the uncompressed WC4 FMV!), so it will still be a little while before it's ready. I thought you all might appreciate the update, though, and to know it's definitely on the way 😄
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Here you go, everyone - WCIV HD Pack V3.0

I've improved the efficiency of compression considerably with this release, so there are only two Zip files at around 3.9GB each (even though video quality has been improved) 😄
Just to celebrate the launch and as a bit of a teaser and a bonus treat, I've recreated the Wing Commander IV Original Theatrical Trailer with the new HD footage! Enjoy :)

 
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