"Ai" HD textures

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by power, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. power

    power Member

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    Ok, so this is definitely going to be the next big thing for older 3D games (possibly 2D but that remains to be seen).

    We all know that they often don't hold up due to low low res textures and no access to any source assets. In the past people have painstakingly remade texture packs which is super time consuming and most companies aren't willing to do this for their back catalogue unless they are doing a big remaster.

    Anywho, the big ticket one that started this trend was FFVII (well made it popular) and now it's moving on to more games. I hope it's only a matter of time before someone builds something that can automagically HD up any old retro game.

    This thread I kind of want as a central point where we can link to and discuss any projects along with screens or videos of people doing this stuff.

    Nvidia also have a cool Gameworks thing called Materials and Textures which the Doom mod guys used.

    https://developer.nvidia.com/gwmt

    I'll kick off with the FFVII and the just announced Jedi Knight one.

    https://captrobau.blogspot.com/2019/01/ff7-remako-hd-graphics-mod-beta-released.html





    this is the jedi knight one, has lots of nice technical discussion on the technique as well.

    https://github.com/xinntao/ESRGAN

    and as a bonus here's Doom

    https://www.doomworld.com/forum/topic/99021-v-0-95-doom-neural-upscale-2x/

     
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  2. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    While I'm certainly excited by all of this, it illustrates just how poorly the games industry archives their work. Had the old assets been preserved for something like Final Fantasy VII, re-rendering would have been trivial (even possible to be real-time rendered instead).

    Frank Cifaldi's 2019 GDC talk basically begged developers to properly archive their assets, use source control, and for anyone bailing from a financially dying company to literally steal data and send it to archive.org. Pretty sad that it got to that point.

    Working in media, I know how little prior value "master" material (by how little the spend on archiving and preserving it). But the truth of the matter is that it costs money to do that, and money is in short supply at the technical end (while a hand full of actors get paid the GDP of entire countries).

    I guess, what we don't spend in dollars on archiving today, we spend in CPU cycles for AI remastering tomorrow. :)
     
  3. proffesso

    proffesso Member

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    its not that easy though.

    back then, they were using power animator and softimage 3.X on SGI machines. the formats they were using are long dead. ressurecting those is possible by writing importers for modern software, but then going back through and making sure all the textures are assigned, material systems work, render layers etc...its a lot of work. then throw it through the compositing software...which im sure was something again that only ran on sgi at the time, maybe Rayz of Chalice or something along those lines...again, interpreters will have to be written...maybe some things were written on old powermac's as well, or a paintbox or something. PC development was in its infancy back then.

    I have work from 20 years ago that I recently tried to open (well, a couple of years back) and it was pain. that was just across the same software, just different versions.

    archiving is all well and good, but its not as easy as people think
     
  4. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Archiving and reading/interpreting archives are two different problems. In order for us to even try reading/interpreting archives at all, we need this stuff archived properly in the first place. Despite source control being standard practice in business software development since forever, that is still a challenge in game dev (especially smaller game dev) today. And even if the stuff is in source control, proper long term archiving is an issue. And even when proper long term archiving is done, companies go broke and lawyers fuck everyone over.

    Cifaldi's comments are that the games industry in general does a poor job of archiving stuff *at all*. Most code is lost not to obscure formats, but lost all together.

    The topic of obscure data formats really comes down to the same problems we have in every industry - it's where open source shines. There's good reason that formats like OpenEXR, Alembic, OpenTimelineIO, OpenColorIO, and quite a few other open standards are now becoming the default in parts of the 3D computer graphics industry (film, certainly). People are waking up to the problem that is proprietary solutions being siloed, isolated blobs of information that restrict large workflows with complex teams scattered across the globe.

    Nobody pays a license fee to write a sentence in English. Nobody pays a license fee to write out a maths equation. The idea that data formats are closed, and that not even half a human lifetime later are "lost to time" is ludicrous. It's not like a dead language where we're generationally abstracted from the original authors. It's data that was created by people still alive today.

    There are open source tools that can help. In the 2D codec world, we have ffmpeg that does formats like (cherry picking some interesting ones relevant to this discussion):

    Code:
    $ ffmpeg -codecs
    ffmpeg version 4.1.1-0york1~18.04 Copyright (c) 2000-2019 the FFmpeg developers
     DEVI.S alias_pix            Alias/Wavefront PIX image
     D.V.L. binkvideo            Bink video
     DEV.L. cinepak              Cinepak
     D.VIL. cdxl                 Commodore CDXL video
     DEVIL. cljr                 Cirrus Logic AccuPak
     DEA.L. adpcm_adx            SEGA CRI ADX ADPCM
     D.VIL. mdec                 Sony PlayStation MDEC (Motion DECoder)
     D.V..S bmv_video            Discworld II BMV video
     D.V.L. cmv                  Electronic Arts CMV video (decoders: eacmv )
     D.V.L. dsicinvideo          Delphine Software International CIN video
     D.V..S flic                 Autodesk Animator Flic video
     D.V.L. kgv1                 Kega Game Video
     D.V.L. mad                  Electronic Arts Madcow Video (decoders: eamad )
     D.VIL. mvc1                 Silicon Graphics Motion Video Compressor 1
     D.VIL. mvc2                 Silicon Graphics Motion Video Compressor 2
     DEVI.S sgi                  SGI image
     D.VI.S sgirle               SGI RLE 8-bit
     D.V.L. tgq                  Electronic Arts TGQ video (decoders: eatgq )
     D.V.L. tgv                  Electronic Arts TGV video (decoders: eatgv )
     D.V.L. tqi                  Electronic Arts TQI video (decoders: eatqi )
     D.V.L. yop                  Psygnosis YOP Video
     D.A.L. adpcm_dtk            ADPCM Nintendo Gamecube DTK
     D.A.L. adpcm_ea             ADPCM Electronic Arts
     D.A.L. adpcm_ea_maxis_xa    ADPCM Electronic Arts Maxis CDROM XA
     D.A.L. adpcm_ea_r1          ADPCM Electronic Arts R1
     D.A.L. adpcm_ea_r2          ADPCM Electronic Arts R2
     D.A.L. adpcm_ea_r3          ADPCM Electronic Arts R3
     D.A.L. adpcm_ea_xas         ADPCM Electronic Arts XAS
     DEA.L. adpcm_swf            ADPCM Shockwave Flash
     D.A.L. adpcm_thp            ADPCM Nintendo THP
     D.A.L. adpcm_thp_le         ADPCM Nintendo THP (Little-Endian)
     D.A.L. adpcm_vima           LucasArts VIMA audio
     D.A.L. binkaudio_dct        Bink Audio (DCT)
     D.A.L. binkaudio_rdft       Bink Audio (RDFT)
     D.A.L. dsicinaudio          Delphine Software International CIN audio
     D.A.L. gremlin_dpcm         DPCM Gremlin
    
    Again, that's me eyeballing through and picking out a few names that look video game related from the 445 codecs that this build of ffmpeg supports. Some of those formats are texture formats too (static images).

    Combine that with even more emulation (emulating an old SGI workstation in MAME is doable), and there's possibilities of reverse engineering all of this. Trivial? Hell no. But not impossible. We can rip textures and geometry right out of RAM for modern games, and we can very likely do the same for old emulated workstations.

    But to do any of that, we need to archive work. We can't extract textures and geometry if the hard disk it was saved on is in landfill somewhere. We need to save this stuff.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  5. proffesso

    proffesso Member

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    i'll watch the video today (sorry, bit a knee jerk reaction when someone says "we can just HD remake things")

    archival wise, ive worked in numeruous companies over the years, all have had source control. that said, I couldnt possibly even imagine where the source for something like loonytoons space race is, as Atari MH was shuttered. maybe its in a vault somewhere, but that'll never be seen again.
     
  6. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Understood. I think the people who are calling for this who work in the industry understand the magnitude of the task. They're also willing to help/advise, and in certain cases keep people anonymous when they "leak" old code and resources in the name of preservation, to keep the lawyers at bay (archive.org and gamehistory.org are two that do this frequently).

    You'll see a section in that video where Cifaldi almost begs people to steal material and leak it, while uttering the line "I'm not a cop". But up to that point, he also tells several anecdotes of how very interesting information is available today only because people did some very dodgy things to save the material from being lost forever (and not just game material, but other ephemera like artwork, marketing resources, instruction manuals, etc).

    And that's the biggest issue of all - getting it out of vaults and back into circulation, either commercially or otherwise. See the "lawyers fucking everyone over" comments (with full respect to copyright and IP which makes commercial video games possible in the first place, but also screws over preservation efforts years/decades after the dollars have dried up).
     

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