Author Topic: Interview  (Read 525 times)

ZeaLitY

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Re: Interview
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2007, 11:35:56 pm »
A couple for Vehek, now...

1. Originally, Facing and Final Confrontation were slated to be used for the Dalton confrontation. What prevented this? (just so regular fans know why)

2. What exciting possibility in ROM hacking do you most look forward to?

Vehek

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Re: Interview
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2007, 10:08:28 pm »
1. Originally, Facing and Final Confrontation were slated to be used for the Dalton confrontation. What prevented this? (just so regular fans know why)

By the time I was asked to do some SPC importing, Facing had apparently already removed from the planned song list, so I don't know if there was any technical reason behind it. For Final Confrontation, it was because, as mentioned by JCE, Radical Dreamers has a later SPC core than Chrono Trigger. Those differences caused some off-syncness (most noticeable at the beginning) when copying songs directly. I tried using the same fix I used on the other RD song I imported and the RS3 song I imported, but that caused a bunch of obviously wrong notes to appear. With the "deadline", there wasn't enough time to try to figure out what other differences in the SPC cores were causing problems. Plus, I didn't know what most of the instruments used in the song were.

2. What exciting possibility in ROM hacking do you most look forward to?

Hmmm, I don't really know. I guess I look forward to (or hope to see) stuff like better music importing (including importing your own compositions, though I'm not a musician), and modifying things like Mode7. Well, I'm kind of lost on my opinions on this.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2007, 01:48:36 am by Vehek »

ZeaLitY

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Re: Interview
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2007, 11:14:38 pm »
FaustWolf, I suppose:

1. What's your take on CT hacking during this short break from working on Chrono Cross's models?

2. Can you provide a run-down of what you did to incorporate the art? (yeah, this forum will be made public on release, but some people will still find a summary interesting)

FaustWolf

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Re: Interview
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2008, 03:53:32 pm »
1. What's your take on CT hacking during this short break from working on Chrono Cross's models?

The break from Cross hacking ended up being much longer than I anticipated because there was a fair learning curve involved -- the art insertion project for Prophet's Guile was actually my introduction to SNES hacking. That a relative newbie was able to do this shows just how easy it is (with some time and lots of patience) to alter Chrono Trigger to one's liking. Geiger's Temporal Flux is extremely user-friendly and the Compendium is a treasure trove of guides that can quickly bring inexperienced hackers up to speed. Most important, however, was the support I received from more experienced CT hackers -- drawing on the knowledge Vehek, Chrono'99, and Zeality previously accumulated made this project way less masochistic than it might have been otherwise :) But the successful insertion of CuteLucca's and Julie Dillon's artwork has given me an extraordinary sense of accomplishment, and I hope others will come up with their own awesome CT modification projects -- I could easily see environments from Seiken Densetsu III being imported into Chrono Trigger in the future, for example.


2. Can you provide a run-down of what you did to incorporate the art?

First off, I invite Prophet's Guile players to view CuteLucca's and Julie Dillon's beautiful artwork in their full glory -- the artists would probably cringe to see their work reduced to the standards of SNES graphics:

Dark Matter, by CuteLucca: http://www.cutelucca.com/darkmatter.jpg

Magus, by Julie Dillon: http://jdillon.net/magus.jpg

So when Chrono'99 and Zeality began discussing a revision for Magus' portrait and the insertion of ending artwork a la the Japanese version of Chrono Trigger, I just knew these had to find their way into the hack. The great challenge was presented by the fact that the fanarts are presented in JPEGs, which have a bit depth of 24bpp and a color range of 16 million. Thus Ms. Dillon's art has 29,952 colors. Dark Matter weighs in at 61,097 colors!

Chrono Trigger, by contrast, can handle images that have a bit depth of 4bpp, for a color range of 16 maximally. What's more, some of those colors are alpha channels, i.e., transparencies. So there's really only 15 colors for the portraits, and 14 to 15 colors in the location palettes (some apparently have multiple alpha channels).

Enter palette reduction: the art of making a picture that has tens of thousands of colors in its native state not appear to suck when it uses only 15 or so. And it truly is an art -- you could let the computer do it for you, but look what happens to Magus' face in that case:


A human can pay better tribute to CuteLucca's artwork by reducing the palette gradually, checking the impact on the art at each step. I won't go into too much detail, but basically manual palette reduction involves melding all the shades of black into one black, all the shades of blue into two or so shades of blue, etc. etc., until you've met the technical requirements of SNES graphics without sacrificing too much quality.

For the Dark Matter portrait, I was able to get by with Zeality's portrait alteration guide. Julie Dillon's artwork was a whole different ballgame. Chrono'99 and Vehek informed me that we could get up to 100 or so colors in the in-game ending art by splitting the artwork up into seven sections, each with its own palette (up to seven palettes are used per location in Chrono Trigger). Seven rounds of palette reduction later, I inserted Ms. Dillon's artwork over the graphics packets used in the court room area via Temporal Flux. I must say, Geiger has really given us full control over Chrono Trigger's environments -- especially since his program handles the decompression and recompression, which is normally what prevents hackers from viewing the game's graphics intelligibly in TileMolester and other graphics editors.

I'd also like to thank Justin3009 for reviewing the final in-game arts and suggesting corrections. I have absolutely no art training whatsoever (all I have to my credit are some simple sprite edits), so it was great help getting second opinions from an experienced spriter.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 03:58:20 pm by FaustWolf »