Dreamcast mods for SADX

Discussion in 'Engineering & Reverse Engineering' started by TheArcadeStriker, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. Another roadblock to mention is the fact that That is loaded using a modified exe and a modified CHRMODELS.dll file, meaning that you can't throw it at Mod Loader no matter what (CHRMODELS is edited and loaded by Mod Loader to use the mods, and the alternate exe could give problems with other mods/normal characters). And in another way, there doesn't seem to be a way to import/export character models in mods to be loaded by Mod Loader.
     
  2. MainMemory

    MainMemory

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    There are two roadblocks to character model replacements: the tool set used to generate the C++ code for mods does not export proper code for character models (for some reason), and the joints in the characters' models use a vertex welding system which has not been reverse engineered (you could do without but then you'd have gaps between the model segments).
     
  3. PkR

    PkR

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    SADX Dreamcast Conversion, The Emeralds' Awakening
    Dreamcast mod updates:

    1. From now on, all DC stage mods include environment mapped objects. If you have the DC Objects mod installed, please remove it as it is no longer necessary and may potentially break things.
    2. Station Square update: fixed lots of bugs, added hotel door lighting fix (thanks Morph for finding the address for me!) and more textures from the Dreamcast version. Also new water textures. More details in the changelog.
    3. Dreamcast Action Stage mods that include all Action Stages except Emerald Coast. If you have Level Packs 1-2 installed, please remove them before using these mods. Since Casino 1 looks a bit too basic without Dreamcast lighting (as it doesn't have vertex channel lighting, unlike the SADX landtable), until palette lighting is restored in SADX you can use the "Lite" version of the Casino mod that only replaces textures in Act 1. Thanks TheArcadeStriker for the Casino 1 PVM edit.
    4. Dreamcast Egg Carrier mod. This took longer than I originally thought because of a random texture bug that was really hard to trace, but anyway here it is.
    5. Some people have requested more screenshots of my DC mods. I've made a Dropbox folder here where I'll be uploading them. Expect more screenshots to appear there over time.
    Also, have a look at this. This isn't just a texture difference, the bridge model in SADX has the texture mapped differently so it looks crappier even though it's using the same exact texture. So much for "graphical enhancement"... The good news is that you no longer have to look at that low-res abomination because the Hot Shelter DC mod includes the Dreamcast model for that bridge with proper texture mapping.

    Plans from now: Emerald Coast (not a full landtable port) and then finally Hot Shelter, although you may see a Hot Shelter PVM edit by TheArcadeStriker before that -Hot Shelter done. After that, boss arenas and eventually the remaining Adventure Fields.

    Other news:
    As for other Adventure Fields, Mystic Ruins landtables can be ported, but they have a lot of issues, and it will take a lot of time to fix them or find workarounds. Landtables for The Past also have a few issues, though not as bad as Mystic Ruins. So I think all Adventure fields can be restored eventually with only a few compromises, mainly in relation to alpha channels/transparency.

    I've also been able to port several boss landtables. Sadly Perfect Chaos will be difficult to port properly because it uses a bunch of building models that are different between versions Actually nevermind, that was a mistake on my part. I've ported the Dreamcast Perfect Chaos landtable and it works fine with a few draw distance/fog tweaks. What I do want to restore is the look of Perfect Chaos, which had a few extra animations that were removed in the PC version. I'm gonna need some help with that if it's possible in the first place.
    Egg Viper landtable can be restored and it looks great with that wall animation in the background. Egg Walker landtable can also be restored.
    Chaos 2 lantable can be ported but it causes flickering all over the place, so I'll do a PVM edit instead.
    Chaos 4 landtable caused the game to crash but I found a workaround and it seems fine now. Chaos 6 landtable (Sonic) has some transparency issues with Chaos' body and the game crashes with the original animlist for that landtable, so I'm thinking PVM edit + a few object replacements for a Dreamcast-like look. Knuckles' version of the landtable works fine.
    If you know other boss battles with noticeable differences between SA1 and SADX, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

    Also, would anyone be interested in GitHub collaboration? I can upload the sources (in fact I already have, just need to clean things up a bit) and anyone will be able to contribute. I'd be happy if people with some C++ knowledge could help me do some more advanced stuff, like restoring that little fade-in tornado animation when Perfect Chaos emerges from the water.
     
  4. PkR

    PkR

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    SADX Dreamcast Conversion, The Emeralds' Awakening
    I hope people don't mind me bumping this...

    Here's Dreamcast Mystic Ruins (Past).

    Dreamcast Action Stages have also been updated - now Emerald Coast Acts 1-2 are included. You may ask: why would you even bother doing Emerald Coast? It is often said, I think even in this thread someone mentioned that Emerald Coast received the best visual upgrade during the SADX conversion. However, after tinkering with both DC and SADX versions of the stage I found out that it has suffered from the transition just as badly as the other stages. Apart from crappy texture quality there were lots of things they screwed up. Like, some textures' UV mapping was totally wrong on some objects, which wasn't the case with the Dreamcast version. But the biggest offense is undeniably the water - it's just so ugly in the PC version, and while the "Ocean Green" mod from SADX:FE does improve its look somewhat, we still have to look at those awful wave and seashore textures that don't even look like sea. Well, not anymore. My friend SteG made some awesome water textures that imitate the look of SADX water waves, but with proper tiling. Then I tweaked the Dreamcast landtable and sea/sand textures to achieve a Dreamcast-like look. I'm really happy with the results because it actually looks like "emerald" coast now: before and after.
    I also applied similar enhancements to Big's Emerald Coast, but unfortunately there is lots of Z fighting. A solution is currently in the works to reduce that to minimum levels.
    EDIT: now that the palette lighting mod is available, just use it together with the Emerald Coast mod. It seems to eliminate Z fighting almost entirely for unknown reasons.

    This concludes my attempt to port Dreamcast Action Stages to SADX PC. There are still things I want to improve - for example, restore a few objects that look better in the Dreamcast version, and fog/draw distance tweaks that I've been adding recently.

    A "Dreamcast boss arenas" mod is well underway. I'd also like to have another go at Mystic Ruins in the near future.A DC Mystic Ruins port is almost ready.

    EDIT: You can now download individual level mods from my Dropbox folder. Also, fixed several bugs and restored some great stuff in Final Egg 2. Check the changelog for more details.

    EDIT2: Restored reflections in the Past (ADV03MODELS), added a test boss arenas mod and a Mystic Ruins port. Also be sure to check out the screenshots folder, which I've been updating regularly to showcase the restored levels/objects.

    For those interested in SA1/SADX Preview's palette lighting, I've prepared another PLEdit update. You can now generate palettes SADX Preview style - I basically reverse engineered the (extremely simple) function that SADX Preview uses to generate those gradients.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. I suppose it's better early than late, thanks to PkR's and MainMemory help in IRC, I got to restore Sand Hill and Twinkle Circuit DC landtables, as well as Sky Chase textures in a new mod:
    DC_SubGames

    EDIT: Since the SADX99 mod will now be split into separate mods (DC Branding will have the menus and HUD from DC, Chao Gardens will use a separate mod, the Sub Games mod, and probably other stuff) and it could end up being called in another way, though currently I don't know yet. The changelog of the last "version" will show and represent here the entirety of the progress done since v1.255 to this point. All new updates and things brought from now then will probably be separate from a changelog or specific "version". Also, the topic will be possibly renamed instead of creating a new topic for this. Many of the huge updates (DC landtables) are thanks to PkR.

    --Stages
    ALL Action stages had their Dreamcast landtable restored (Apart from some few exceptions, though those now use some hooks to use DC objects)
    Now each stage mod uses the DC objects that belong to their stage
    The adventure fields landtables from DC were also restored.
    Boss arenas from DC are also getting converted.
    Chao Garden textures from DC will be using a separate mod, along with the Chao Race DC music
    --Characters
    Dreamcast textures for Characters will be split in a separate mod, along with the DC voices for them (Sonic, Knux, Amy)
    --Other things
    The HUD, Title Screen, menus and ETC will be in a separate mod, "DC Branding".
    Tails, Amy, Big and Gamma DC button prompts in tutorial restored
    The other things in the original mod will also be split in separate mods.
    Probably something more

    I have to give a BIG thanks to PkR, ItsEasyActually, Morph and MainMemory for all the awesome stuff they have done, and thanks to JmStHaW for inspiring me with his landtable mod videos in the beginning to start this project.
     
  6. As I need to get on already in doing a proper trailer for all the new Dreamcast mod stuff (including palette lightning), this will be left here as a placeholder.

    Palette Lightning teaser (posted before 23)

    I may update this post with the video trailer...but more probably I will just put that in the first page when I get it done.
    NOTE: Morph is the one who made this mod, you can check it out in the link in the first post of this topic.
     
  7. Lanzer

    Lanzer

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    So this is all going to be in a complete package once most of these mods are done correct? A .zip of collected mods would do.
     
  8. PkR

    PkR

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    SADX Dreamcast Conversion, The Emeralds' Awakening
    So, it's time for the first major release...

    A near-complete version of the mod is now available on ModDB.
    Release post, downloads and install guide.
    Project FAQ
    List of things currently missing

    The archive also contains release notes.
    A brief description of what you'll get with this conversion:
    • All Action Stages and Adventure Fields with Dreamcast landtables (check out the beautiful window reflections in Station Square, Speed Highway 3 and Chaos 0, or the blue glass tunnels in Final Egg 2)
    • All but two boss battles with Dreamcast landtables (the remaining two are using Dreamcast textures and some level pieces)
    • Most levels have draw distance enhancements and fog tweaks to make them look similar to their Dreamcast counterparts - this makes a whole lot of difference in Final Egg and Casino 2
    • Some Dreamcast level objects (cars, helicopter, icicles, Final Egg lasers etc.)
    • Fixes for some SADX issues that weren't there in the Dreamcast version, such as transparency fixes for the Mystic Ruins' Final Egg base, or fix for the missing skybox in Egg Walker.
    The "files" section on ModDB has the first release uploaded in a zip archive. However, inbetween major releases I am going to update individual level mods regularly. You can get the latest version of each mod from my dropbox folder. There's an option to download all mods at once in a zip archive.

    This compilation includes all mods made by me (including an earlier version of the "DC Title Screen" mod, which you might want to update with TheArcadeStriker's version). Links to other Dreamcast mods made by other people (palette lighting, DC branding etc.) can be found in the first post of this thread.

    I recommend playing this compilation with palette lighting enabled - it makes a huge difference and the game looks really beautiful.

    Feel free to post any questions or bug reports here or in comments on ModDB. Your feedback is much appreciated.
     
  9. E-122-Psi

    E-122-Psi

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    Holy shit indeed, that looks great, you even got his eyes to light up.

    Have you got the Final Egg hub done too? That look ten times more atmospheric in the Dreamcast version.
     
  10. I know it looks great, but you can ask Morph for that, since I just done the video (:p). I forgot to note again that I didn't make the mod after I edited it (the post).
    And in topic of your question, the palette lightning mod works with possibly all the stages (Including Final Egg and the Egg Carrier adventure field).
     
  11. I like this set of mods a lot. I never played the Dreamcast version of the game before, so it's nice to be able to see how the Action Stages and Adventure Fields look compared to the GameCube and PC versions. The palette-based lighting mod in particular improves the appearance of the levels and the character models.

    When i play as E-102 Gamma, if I try to travel on the water in the pool next to the hotel in Station Square, then I'll be damaged. This doesn't seem to happen in any other place with water that he can hover above.
     
  12. PkR

    PkR

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    SADX Dreamcast Conversion, The Emeralds' Awakening
    Hey, thanks for the comment.
    I can't reproduce that for some reason. Are you using the latest version of the mod (get it here), and any other mods?
    I will look into fixing it if you let me know how to trigger it. A video would be perfect.
     
  13. These are all of the mods that I'm currently using.

    [​IMG]

    I'm using the latest version of the Dreamcast Conversion mod and the palette-based lighting mod. Is it possible that one of the other mods is causing the error? I go the hotel as Gamma and then if I try to walk into the pool or jump into it, then I'll get hit. I'll try to record a video in a moment.
     
  14. PkR

    PkR

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    SADX Dreamcast Conversion, The Emeralds' Awakening
    Nevermind, just reproduced it - I forgot to untick the invulnerability code in SADX Mod Manager.
    I'll fix this and update the Station Square mod soon.
    Thanks for the find!

    EDIT: Updated, get the fixed version here (you only need to update the DLL).
     
  15. E-122-Psi

    E-122-Psi

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    By the way, in case anyone wants to see a demonstration, some nice fella has done some comparison videos of the original and Dreamcast modded versions of the game:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xTIfND0RSc
     
  16. Turbohog

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    So now that I can see them side by side, they definitely made both good and bad changes to the game.

    Was everything really that dark in the DC version though?
     
  17. E-122-Psi

    E-122-Psi

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    I believe it was mentioned on the Lightning mod thread that the Dreamcast version was brighter (there's comparison screenshots to look at) due to different rendering and brightness calculations that aren't yet fully understood for the PC version.
     
  18. Turbohog

    Turbohog

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    Ah, you're right. Apparently the guy also had Ambient Occlusion turned on for his graphics card, making things even darker.

    As a side note, this made me realize that Sonic is kind of a white ball in the pinball portions of Casinopolis on the dreamcast, which seems very odd to me.
     
  19. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

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    Wow I didn't realize how much they bothered changing, although it really just makes me think they changed the wrong things. They replaced textures that didn't need replacing but they didn't update the item icons, the awful menus, or any character models outside of the playable cast (and I can't tell but I don't even think Big or E-102 got new models). What a shit port.
     
  20. TheKazeblade

    TheKazeblade

    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    The re-integrated Dreamcast lighting really does go a long way to redeeming SADX awful character models. The fact that all this was done entirely through reverse engineering sans any type of source code speaks volumes as to how rushed and lazy SADX's PC port actually was.

    I'm sure this has been answered before, but was the difference between how the DC and GC handled their lighting THAT disparate? The fact these things were left untouched in the PC version is pathetic, but could these re-introduced elements have been done in the GC port and simply weren't, or was SA's structure too tethered to its DC origins that attempting to replicate them on the GC would have caused way more problems than was worth it? To clarify, I'm not asking if you can give SADX GC this treatment, I'm asking about the actual GC development.