I've Created a WC4 HD Video Pack

Pedro

Admiral
Nice, I tried with the Topaz a while ago.


My main issue with it was that in zoomed out scenes facial details such as the eyes would often distort when a character rotated their head etc; do you see those issues? It's hard to tell from the choice of scenes.
Suprisingly I did find it was really good at upscaling the WC3 footage; I thought the compression would pose a problem but unexpectedly it cleared it all out and increased the color depth.

It's years away but I'm working on a WCIV remake; I'd love a full video pack if you're willing to provide one.

I'd also be really curious to see what your technique can do with the VHS Privateer 2 videos on the CIC holovids.
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Well, here you go, folks - WC4 HD Remaster Video Pack V1.0!

I've split it into two zip archives:

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
Edit - 27th April 2020
Above links have been removed since this pack has now been replaced by V2.0.

There's room for some tinkering in future versions. If I get the time spare, I'd like to leave my workstation crunching through all of them again using more computationally demanding render settings, which would improve the quality further (reduce compression artefacts, colour banding in areas of gradiated colour etc.) but that would be very time consuming. I think I'd rather move on to remastering Prophecy first.

If anyone can track down a higher quality version of the Speradon Shipyard sequence as previously discussed, I'd be happy to remaster that and edit it in to the relevant file.

If you'd like to give them a whirl, just download the zips and extract the content into your WC4 vob directory. Feedback welcome!

Bonus feature

Even as a kid, it always annoyed me that two CG sequences (Seether pulling his mine-manoeuvre after destroying Blue Point Station and again at the end before engaging Blair in Sol) were rendered at a jerky 15FPS (for some reason), rather than 29.97FPS like all the other footage. So I've fixed that - both sequences are now much smoother :^)​

I've just installed Pedro's OpenGL Patch for Prophecy (what a piece of work that is - wow!) and did a quick test by replacing Video 0000 with one of these HD videos - and I'm happy to say it worked just fine!

Since Pedro's patch is allowing me to fun WCP at native 4K, I might experiment with remastering the WCP videos at 4K 2160p - but it could cause playback problems in-game. Using the more advanced h265 codec for 4K might prove too computationally expensive for some systems, and using the h264 codec would leave us with massive files. I'll see what works and let you know. At the very least, Full HD 1080p should work out.
 
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ODVS

Petty Officer
Nice, I tried with the Topaz a while ago.


My main issue with it was that in zoomed out scenes facial details such as the eyes would often distort when a character rotated their head etc; do you see those issues? It's hard to tell from the choice of scenes.
Suprisingly I did find it was really good at upscaling the WC3 footage; I thought the compression would pose a problem but unexpectedly it cleared it all out and increased the color depth.

It's years away but I'm working on a WCIV remake; I'd love a full video pack if you're willing to provide one.

I'd also be really curious to see what your technique can do with the VHS Privateer 2 videos on the CIC holovids.
Wow, speak of the devil - Hi, Pedro - I'm a big fan of your work!

Yes, I'm afraid my process does still have some issues with those fine details in long shots, especially faces. As with the failed attempts at the Speradon upscale above, there are limits to how much new data it can add when it doesn't have much pixel data to work with. I'm mostly happy with the first attempt as posted above, though :^) For the most part, it's generally an improvement over the DVD Vobs in most respects.

I'm actually using a newer piece of Topaz software myself as part of the process - Topaz Video Enhance AI. It has a few benefits over Gigapixel AI in that it analyses frames in sequence before redrawing the frame. This allows for better accuracy on things like characters tilting their heads as you mentioned, as it can actually analyse motion as well as pixel data.

I saw the trailer for your WC4 remake for the first time just the other day and I was blown away! If you'd like to use my video pack, I'd be honoured for it to be part of the project. As stated above, I'm sure I'll keep tinkering away and making incremental improvements so, if you'd like, I'll let you know as and when I make changes.
 

Panther1.0

Ensign
Partially, but I think the main issue is just the very low resolution of the video. With the DVD version of WC4, we have video at a resolution of around 640x480 to work with - but PSX video is way down there at 320x240 - and even smaller when I crop out the black bars. It's just not a lot of pixel data to work with.
Hi, great thread, what is the actual resolution of the DVD video for WC4, I have PAL, isn't is 720 x 576 and little less for NTSC, 720 x 480 or so ?
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Hi, great thread, what is the actual resolution of the DVD video for WC4, I have PAL, isn't is 720 x 576 and little less for NTSC, 720 x 480 or so ?
Hi Panther - they crammed a lot of video for WC4 onto a single DVD, so they actually used one of the lower standards. at 704 x 480. Once that's recalculated to a proper 4:3 aspect ratio, we're left with pixel data of 640x480 and, when the letterbox is removed to get to the actual 16:9
footage, we're down to 640 x 360.
 

wiese.hano

Master Chief Petty Officer
if you can find a way to send me your VOB files, I'll be able to extract the audio stream and remux it with my remastered video streams.
I can't get to the vob files at the moment, unless I create them myself. I don't know how to do that, though. But I don't want you to go through the trouble. I'll let you know when I have the vob files. If you want, you can give me a hint how to get the vob files from the game files.

I have PAL, isn't is 720 x 576
Those are the correct values for PAL DVD. I'd guess the high qualität ingame videos do match them (for the German version).
 

Panther1.0

Ensign
Hi Panther - they crammed a lot of video for WC4 onto a single DVD, so they actually used one of the lower standards. at 704 x 480. Once that's recalculated to a proper 4:3 aspect ratio, we're left with pixel data of 640x480 and, when the letterbox is removed to get to the actual 16:9
footage, we're down to 640 x 360.
Oh I see, yes I played the DVD version years ago and I expected better overall video quality, I have seen better DVD quality movies back then, this makes sense, thank you !
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
I can't get to the vob files at the moment, unless I create them myself. I don't know how to do that, though. But I don't want you to go through the trouble. I'll let you know when I have the vob files. If you want, you can give me a hint how to get the vob files from the game files.
Hi wiese.hano,

If you have the DVD-ROM version or GOG version of the game, you should find a "vob" folder either on your disc or in the game installation directory. All the vob files are in there, no conversion necessary.

I think in order for this to work, you're going to need the GOG version of the game, since it's already been modified to play back the DVD-Video files without any dedicated old-school DVD decoder hardware and without an original disc.

I might actually be able to download the German Audio video files (and other languages) directly from GOG. I'll look into it and let you know. It would be nice to be able to create an HD Video Pack for as many people/languages as possible :^)
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Well, here you go, folks - WC4 HD Remaster Video Pack V1.0!

I've split it into two zip archives:

They're currently taking up a sizeable chunk of my Google Drive, so I may have to remove them if I need the space.

There's room for some tinkering in future versions. If I get the time spare, I'd like to leave my workstation crunching through all of them again using more computationally demanding render settings, which would improve the quality further (reduce compression artefacts, colour banding in areas of gradiated colour etc.) but that would be very time consuming. I think I'd rather move on to remastering Prophecy first.

If anyone can track down a higher quality version of the Speradon Shipyard sequence as previously discussed, I'd be happy to remaster that and edit it in to the relevant file.

If you'd like to give them a whirl, just download the zips and extract the content into your WC4 vob directory. Feedback welcome!

Bonus feature

Even as a kid, it always annoyed me that two CG sequences (Seether pulling his mine-manoeuvre after destroying Blue Point Station and again at the end before engaging Blair in Sol) were rendered at a jerky 15FPS (for some reason), rather than 29.97FPS like all the other footage. So I've fixed that - both sequences are now much smoother :^)​

I've just installed Pedro's OpenGL Patch for Prophecy (what a piece of work that is - wow!) and did a quick test by replacing Video 0000 with one of these HD videos - and I'm happy to say it worked just fine!

Since Pedro's patch is allowing me to fun WCP at native 4K, I might experiment with remastering the WCP videos at 4K 2160p - but it could cause playback problems in-game. Using the more advanced h265 codec for 4K might prove too computationally expensive for some systems, and using the h264 codec would leave us with massive files. I'll see what works and let you know. At the very least, Full HD 1080p should work out.
A quick question to everyone - does anyone know if it's possible to pin the above message to the start of this thread, so that people can get straight to the download links if they need to?
 

wiese.hano

Master Chief Petty Officer
I don't know if this is possible. It might be. But you definitely should be able to edit your start post in order to integrate the links.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
A quick question to everyone - does anyone know if it's possible to pin the above message to the start of this thread, so that people can get straight to the download links if they need to?
I don't think you can pin anything in that way, but editing the OP like you did is the best solution
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Hello all,

Just a quick update on the Prophecy HD Remaster:

This is going to take a little longer. Having downloaded the Prophecy DVD Video pack, I've found a couple of complications compared to the WC4 videos.

It looks like the vob files are encoded as "Progressive Scan," not interlaced - so the interlace effect has actually been carried over from a previous conversion from an interlaced source to a progressive copy. I guess the best way to describe it would be to say that the video files themselves are not interlaced, but the conversion has "preserved" the interlaced effect into non-interlaced videos. That "splits every other line" look has actually been encoded directly into the image data.

I can work that out and create a version of the footage that doesn't have that split look - but it's going to take longer to process. I can't say for sure, but this might have an impact on the eventual image quality of the Prophecy remaster footage. I'll post updates on this thread - but long story short, this is going to take a while.
 

Pedro

Admiral
Hello all,

Just a quick update on the Prophecy HD Remaster:

This is going to take a little longer. Having downloaded the Prophecy DVD Video pack, I've found a couple of complications compared to the WC4 videos.

It looks like the vob files are encoded as "Progressive Scan," not interlaced - so the interlace effect has actually been carried over from a previous conversion from an interlaced source to a progressive copy. I guess the best way to describe it would be to say that the video files themselves are not interlaced, but the conversion has "preserved" the interlaced effect into non-interlaced videos. That "splits every other line" look has actually been encoded directly into the image data.

I can work that out and create a version of the footage that doesn't have that split look - but it's going to take longer to process. I can't say for sure, but this might have an impact on the eventual image quality of the Prophecy remaster footage. I'll post updates on this thread - but long story short, this is going to take a while.
You should talk to AD about this, he's already looked into the quirks of Prophecy video, to quote him:
"The biggest issue with wcp is that it mixes standard interlacing with telecine within the same video file. So there's no easy way to deinterlace since it's essentially two different frame rates. "
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
You should talk to AD about this, he's already looked into the quirks of Prophecy video, to quote him:
"The biggest issue with wcp is that it mixes standard interlacing with telecine within the same video file. So there's no easy way to deinterlace since it's essentially two different frame rates. "
Yeah, it's doable... but the conversion is a mess... It isn't progressive scan at all really. All the CG scenes are done with standard interlacing and the live action stuff is telecined, however Prophecy mixes these two things within the same VOB (VOBs allow for variable frame rates). IF you try to solve for the interlacing, the live action will look wierd, and if you try and solve for telecine then the CG is off. It took me a while to narrow down what the heck was going on.

The best solution I came up with is to run QTGMC and double the frame rate thus preserving motion and detail. You end up with a few repeated frames but you eliminate a lot of weird artifacts and combing left over from running a standard deinterlacer. You also fix the stuttering that happens because of dropped frames. THere's also a lot of gross artifacts in the way the colors are handled on titles. Some of the dot comb removal and other temporal cleaning deals with that a bit.
 
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AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I didn't convert everything but here's the sample (the intro) i did to narrow down settings and workflow. :

 

ODVS

Petty Officer
I didn't convert everything but here's the sample (the intro) i did to narrow down settings and workflow. :

Thanks guys, most informative!

AD, I don't actually have the original VOB files to work with - do you think you could find a way to get them to me? I'm sure I could do a much better job if I had them - even if I have to manually clip and edit the live action and CG scenes manually
 

Pedro

Admiral
I think the VOB files in the DVD enhancement pack (which you say you already have) is all there is.

It was never released commercially.

WCP is probably a better focus right now and the Prophecy Model Upgrade pack is ongoing, but nearing completion. There are some issues with the DVD playback for many people so it would give us a motivation to finish (there was also talk of using a different video format using a dll patch if you have preferences).
 

Triple-B

Rear Admiral
First of all, I am quite impressed with the HD Upscaling Project and the results are marvelous.
I read that the WC 3 CD Rom Material is too bad for upscaling, how about using the 3DO or Playstation Version of the vids?
 
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ODVS

Petty Officer
I think the VOB files in the DVD enhancement pack (which you say you already have) is all there is.

It was never released commercially.

WCP is probably a better focus right now and the Prophecy Model Upgrade pack is ongoing, but nearing completion. There are some issues with the DVD playback for many people so it would give us a motivation to finish (there was also talk of using a different video format using a dll patch if you have preferences).
Hi Pedro,

That's good news - if there's scope to use native h264/x264 in an mp4 or mkv container, that would be fantastic. At the moment I'm encoding the replacement VOB files using h264 anyway. As far as I can tell, the computer will play them back as long as the relevant codecs are installed on the system (this is what I did for the WC4 HD pack) - but of course the DVD VOB container predates h264 and was never intended to contain it - so it could cause issue for some users.

If we could move to a native h264 container, that's bound to minimise issues. Even better would be if we could utilise h265/x265 and leverage hardware acceleration for playback - we'd be able to squeeze more quality into smaller file sizes then. h265 is a far more computationally demanding codec, though, so it may not be feasible in terms of making the Prophecy Facelift project available to as many users as possible.
 
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