EmuMusicFan

Chief Petty Officer
Well, thanks to @AD and @EmuMusicFan's help above, here's the first batch of remaster/comparison clips lifted directly from the PSX discs :)

Annoyingly, AVISynth threw a fit trying to read the uncompressed AVIs from HCl's conversion application. I managed to re-encode them as h.264 MP4 files with (I'm confident) no loss of detail though, and then I was off and running.
Great!

What about the ending part (sc_178a)? The biggest problem with the PSX version is actually the distortion caused by over-compression, which I guess is basically a result of the high JPEG compression ratio kind. The detail of the picture seems overly cluttered and dirty. Other than that, the PSX version is technically the best.
 
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ODVS

Petty Officer
What about the ending part (sc_178a)? The biggest problem with the PSX version is actually the distortion caused by over-compression, which I guess is basically a result of the high JPEG compression ratio kind. The detail of the picture seems overly cluttered and dirty.
I see what you mean - that is pretty rough around the edges. I'll have a run at it soon and let you know.
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
What about the ending part (sc_178a)? The biggest problem with the PSX version is actually the distortion caused by over-compression, which I guess is basically a result of the high JPEG compression ratio kind. The detail of the picture seems overly cluttered and dirty.
Here you go, @EmuMusicFan - you're right, it's pretty artifacty. I'd say still an improvement, though.

(No upscale comparison on this one as I rushed it through a bit).

 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Is there any way to get rid of the over-compression distortion?
Not really, no - once it's part of the stream, it's part of the stream.

I will most likely do some cleanup at some point - but that involves a lot of programming, trial-and-error and general tinkering. I usually stumble across or create methods to clean things up - the progression of the WC4 and WCP HD packs are a case in point. I wouldn't hold your breath for anything too stunning for WC3, though. The video files have tiny dimensions to start with - and while turd-polishing is possible, there are always limits 😝
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Hi all,

Just something I thought you might find interesting here...

Although the remastered WC3 videos admittedly look like arse compared to modern native HD standards, I am often quite astonished by the amount of detail the AI routines manage to recreate. This screenshot from the routine running really encapsulated that for me, so I thought people might like to see it :)

It's also worth noting that YouTube strips a lot of detail out of the eventual render with its incredibly over-zealous compression methods. This screenshot shows the output before I even do my post-upscale cleanup workflow.

comparison.jpg


Granted, the right-side still looks pretty bad by modern standards - but just look at the source quality!
 
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I LOVE the work you have been able to do. My only comment is that it does seem a bit bright. Maybe I'm just use to the darker lower quality but that is my only cirque.
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Well, I know I said I wasn't going to do this since there's currently no way to play the videos in-game, but:

Here's WCIII HD Pack V1.0
Since @AD and @EmuMusicFan helped me get hold of and extract the PSX videos, I figured I might as well process the lot of them and make them available. If anyone feels inspired to mod the Kilrathi Saga EXE to play these back in-game, that would be wonderful 🙂

I'm afraid this pack is a whopper - there's around twice as much FMV in WCIII as in WCIV - and although the quality is lower because of the source material, once it's upscaled it's still a shed-load of 1080p videos - so this lot clocks in at around 14GB!

If you'd like to download and have a watch, feel free. It's only V1.0, so I'm sure I'll figure out improvements down the line. Once again, though, it's a low priority until we have a method to play the files in-game.
 
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ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
I'm afraid this pack is a whopper - there's around twice as much FMV in WCIII as in WCIV - and although the quality is lower because of the source material, once it's upscaled it's still a shed-load of 1080p videos - so this lot clocks in at around 14GB!
That's surprising... what's causing that? Is it the way you handled branching or something? There should be more video in WC4 (six discs versus four), not twice as much in WC3...
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
That's surprising... what's causing that? Is it the way you handled branching or something? There should be more video in WC4 (six discs versus four), not twice as much in WC3...
278 distinct video files in WC4 (including all room transitions, conversation branches, jump sequences, ejection sequences etc.) vs. 471(!) distinct video files in WC3. It's less footage in overall duration, but the sheer number video files with their individual headers, meta data etc. take up a lot of disc space.

I also couldn't be as liberal with the h264 compression, since the WC3 footage doesn't take image compression as well. Too noisy.
 

ShadowArm

2nd Lieutenant
Someone needs to post this thread and the wc3 videos on the Command and Conquer reddit page
Jimmy would be REALLY interested in this.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
That's surprising... what's causing that? Is it the way you handled branching or something? There should be more video in WC4 (six discs versus four), not twice as much in WC3...
278 distinct video files in WC4 (including all room transitions, conversation branches, jump sequences, ejection sequences etc.) vs. 471(!) distinct video files in WC3. It's less footage in overall duration, but the sheer number video files with their individual headers, meta data etc. take up a lot of disc space.

I also couldn't be as liberal with the h264 compression, since the WC3 footage doesn't take image compression as well. Too noisy.
I don't know if they should be twice the size or why headers and metadata would make that much difference, but the number of files has to do with the way WC3 PSX handles the branching. The PC version has all the alternate takes in the same file but with flags for where each "shot" starts. It's kind of a clever way to handle it and makes loading the next path quicker. The PSX version has each shot as a separate file. When I converted them for the Holovids section a while ago, I ended up splicing them back into a version that matched the PC files.

One thing that can easily throw off file sizes though is the audio data. If ODVS converted the files using HCls PSX movie tool the audio was probably straight uncompressed PCM audio which will run you somewhere around 10MB a minute, which is about 10x the size of good AAC that usually gets put in an MP4. It's easy to spend time dealing with video and then forget about converting the audio ... That said, though, as part of the overall size of the package we're probably only talking 1 extra GB of data at most over the whole package, and not double the data rate.

EDIT: I should clarify that WC4 DVD videos also have all the options as separate files, however there just isn't quite the same kind of variety and flexibility in WC4. WC4 only has scripted funerals, where WC3 has funeral options for pretty much every pilot. WC4 has no wingman selection videos. WC3 has takeoff, landing, and scramble videos for all fighters. WC4 has none unless part of a scripted scene. While there's more videos as part of the main story in WC4 there small detail stuff is significantly reduced.
 
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ODVS

Petty Officer
One thing that can easily throw off file sizes though is the audio data. If ODVS converted the files using HCls PSX movie tool the audio was probably straight uncompressed PCM audio which will run you somewhere around 10MB a minute, which is about 10x the size of good AAC that usually gets put in an MP4.
Good call, @AD - I didn't even look at the audio data, just did a straight rip and remuxed alongside the remastered footage. I'll look into scaling all the audio tracks down when I have a moment and re-do the pack.

Not sure if I want to spend the time re-splicing all the videos to match the PC layout, given that we still can't use them in-game - for now, this was only meant to be a way for Wingnuts to browse through the upscaled footage. Happy to look into that once we have a viable solution, though 🙂
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Good call, @AD - I didn't even look at the audio data, just did a straight rip and remuxed alongside the remastered footage. I'll look into scaling all the audio tracks down when I have a moment and re-do the pack.
No, it's not the audio - the AC3 for the intro is 10MB total. The following clip (re-acquainting with Hobbes), just 422KB. It's most likely because I didn't do a great deal of experimenting with finding a compression/quality balance on this run. WC3 remains a low priority for me while I have other things going on - and the files remain a curio for now, until we have a use for them.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
Thanks for the update, even if only 'for fun' (ie can't integrate them into the game - yet). Just noting that the news post confused me with references to WC4.
 

Darkmage

Vice Admiral
Um... we have a way to get the videos working in Wing Commander 3. Simply Hack the Kilrathi Saga/Windows 95 Executable for Wing Commander 3 using HCL's .EXE hacking method, and call an external video player rather than the WC3 internal one. We can also release a Windows 95 upgrade pack for WC3 DOS. We just need permission from EA to distribute the patch files. It'll be ~200MB once you include the wc3music.tre files from each of the 4 CDs. I've already made a Windows 95 upgrade from Kilrathi Saga/WC3 Dos.You can even install/run it all from a hard drive and don't need to burn 4 cds.
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Um... we have a way to get the videos working in Wing Commander 3. Simply Hack the Kilrathi Saga/Windows 95 Executable for Wing Commander 3 using HCL's .EXE hacking method, and call an external video player rather than the WC3 internal one.
If anyone feels inspired to mod the Kilrathi Saga EXE to play these back in-game, that would be wonderful 🙂
👆 😉

If you'd be willing to take up the clarion call, @Darkmage, I'd be more than happy to go to town on the WCIII videos and see how far I can push it 🙂