Use your Xbox Live Arcade Marathon: Durandal textures in Aleph One

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treellama
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It's possible!
[attachment=3037:full_roaming_vapor.jpg]
But it's not easy.

What you will need:An Xbox 360 with Marathon: Durandal and a 360 memory card reader (or, in my case, a friend with all three)WindowsXplorer360 (you can find it easily on Google)wxPirs (http://gael360.free.fr/wxPirs.php)Python (http://www.python.org)Aorta (http://sf.net/projects/aorta/)My extractor scripts and MML: [attachment=3038:XBLA_Scripts.zip]How to do it:Using your Xbox, copy Marathon: Durandal to the memory cardPlug the memory card into your Windows computer, and run Xplorer360. You're looking for a big file with a huge filename; the file is about 130 MB, and the filename will be a big hexadecimal (capital A-F and digits) string. Copy that file onto your computerOpen that big file in wxPirs and extract its contentsOpen a command prompt, and change to the directory that contains the files you just extractedRun my extracthd.py script (www.python.org has instructions on the ridiculously complicated way to run python scripts). This will create a folder called XBLA; it contains hi-res PNG and DDS files(Optional) If you want to use the wall textures, you will need to batch convert them in Aorta *from* DDS *to* DDS! Aleph One doesn't like the mipmap count in these files, but Aorta can read them and Aleph One likes the ones it writes. Aorta will let you use the same folder for destination and source. Use these settings: Use DXTC, generate mipmaps, triangle filter, no halo removal.Copy the XBLA folder into your Marathon 2 folder, and add whichever of my MML scripts you want to your Scripts folder. Should be pretty self explanatory what they do.I've also included in my zip file an extractmark.py file, which will let you extract the contents of the other .mark files in the scenario. For example, the net maps are in Durandal.scnX in Static.mark

I find the walls, landscapes, and some of the items, scenery, and projectiles work well. Some of the aliens work OK, too--juggernauts, defenders, compilers. Many of the other aliens, as well as Bobs and the player sprites, are different sizes than in the Marathon 2 shapes file, so they will look off-center or weirdly stretched. It might be possible to fix them by creating an all new shapes file, but that's more work than I am willing to put into it.

Weapons in hand don't work, since they are centered in their files, and are also different sizes than in the shapes file. IMO, WEP looks better anyway.

Please do not ask for a copy of the data files--we will not distribute them.
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Last edited by treellama on Sep 14th '09, 00:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Ares Ex Machina
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That's pretty awesome. I may not be able to try this out for a while, but way to go!
Last edited by Ares Ex Machina on Sep 18th '09, 02:19, edited 1 time in total.
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0.0
i have seen the future... it is wonderful...
ill do this someday... man...
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thedoctor45
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I think Treellama is a pretty cool guy, eh h4x XBox games and doesn't afraid of anything.

EDIT: on a more serious note:
if you convert all the DDS textures into PNG format using a Photoshop plugin or Aorta, the texture sizes (i.e. aspect ratios) can be manipulated so that they might match with those from the originals. I don't know what would be more work - adjusting the shapes file or adjusting the sprites themselves. I might try out both options though I believe that will take a while...

btw: how's the texture alignment on the walls working out Treellama? Any offsets or other anomalies?
Last edited by thedoctor45 on Sep 21st '09, 16:45, edited 1 time in total.
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treellama
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thedoctor45 wrote:EDIT: on a more serious note:
if you convert all the DDS textures into PNG format using a Photoshop plugin or Aorta, the texture sizes (i.e. aspect ratios) can be manipulated so that they might match with those from the originals. I don't know what would be more work - adjusting the shapes file or adjusting the sprites themselves. I might try out both options though I believe that will take a while...

btw: how's the texture alignment on the walls working out Treellama? Any offsets or other anomalies?
I didn't see this edit until now because edits don't show up in VNP. Changing the texture files is not sufficient, adjusting the shapes file is necessary--that is the only way to make the aspect ratios match the new artwork. Additionally, while we can distribute a new shapes file with the correct ratios, we can not distribute altered XBLA texture files.

Walls work perfectly since they are just square; landscapes are the correct aspect ratio as well.
Last edited by treellama on Sep 30th '09, 17:52, edited 1 time in total.
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The Xbox live version of M2 is pretty cool, but some of the monsters just look very wrong to me.
Still I play it.

The Flickta are one of the monsters that really look improved.
What the heck did they do to the Pfhor though? They probably would have been better off just using the old sprites.
It'd look out of place but more correct.

If its just the textures, I'll try this too.
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treellama
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MoppyPuppy wrote:If its just the textures, I'll try this too.
There are separate MML files for everything, so you can install whatever you like. If you just want textures, install only XBLA Textures.mml
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thedoctor45
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ok I'll get my hands onto the XBLA files tomorrow, so I'm definetely going to give it a try and see how it turns out. I just hope I can get everything working...

So what exactly would I need for creating a new XBLA sprites compatible shapes file?

PS: Just to make one thing clear: I'm willing to see this through no matter how long it might take... [MUp]

cheers
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treellama
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thedoctor45 wrote:So what exactly would I need for creating a new XBLA sprites compatible shapes file?
You'll need to do a few things. I'll try to help as best I can, since it would benefit me to have such a shapes file.

You need Anvil or ShapeFusion. Anvil is probably better since you can replace a bitmap with it, which ShapeFusion can't do yet. For each frame:Convert DDS to PNG if necessaryReplace old bitmap with PNG's maskAdjust origin and keypointReplace bitmap with a white box the size of the PNG, just so there's no copyright confusion; also because it will compress betterRemove "real_height" and "real_width" parameters from MML (for each color table!), since the shapes file now reflects the powers-of-two sized spritePretty straightforward, but there are hundreds of sprite frames to do this for. I suggest starting with a small collection, maybe one of the scenery collections, and making sure my approach works. I don't see why it wouldn't, but I haven't tried it yet. Let me know how it works!
Last edited by treellama on Oct 3rd '09, 20:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Well, this is just awesome!



my first impressions:

all the HD sprites and textures show up - i batch converted all of them to PNG format many of the weapon and enemy sprites are stretched but that should be easy to fix if you have enough time - the flickta creatures are kinda blurry in this screnshot - idk what causes that but I guess they are magnified a little bit because they seem so huge.... The fusion gun is clinched a little bit as well.

I will start with fixing the weapon-in-hand models and post screenshots of my progress here in this thread.
I got SheepShaver and Anvil installed and I'm ready to get this thing sorted.

It came to my attention that some of the XBLA sprites and textures are kinda ugly compared to Viscioms HD enhancement pack.
I will try to replace them with those pics that would fit better in my opinion in order to achieve the best level of visual quality.

more screenshots to come so stay tuned...
Last edited by thedoctor45 on Oct 8th '09, 15:14, edited 1 time in total.
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This looks really cool. I'm not a big fan of the aliens in the xbla version but its about time we got some updated enemy graphics. I can't wait to see the outcome.
Its just like the story of the grasshopper and the octopus. All year long the grasshopper kept burying acorns for winter while the octopus mooched off his girlfriend and watched TV. Then the winter came, and the grasshopper died, and the octopus ate all his acorns and also he got a racecar. Is any of this getting through to you?
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are the shots updated too? more screenies plz, i want something to gape at.
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Envy wrote:are the shots updated too? more screenies plz, i want something to gape at.
There have been updated shots for a while. Click Me.
Its just like the story of the grasshopper and the octopus. All year long the grasshopper kept burying acorns for winter while the octopus mooched off his girlfriend and watched TV. Then the winter came, and the grasshopper died, and the octopus ate all his acorns and also he got a racecar. Is any of this getting through to you?
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thedoctor45
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OK first results with the fist graphics:

Pics:

[attachment=3138:1.jpg]

[attachment=3139:2.jpg]

[attachment=3140:3.jpg]

@Treellama - I'm using Anvil for replacing the 16Bit bitmap graphics and ShapeFusion for adjusting the keypoints and origin of the frames.
However I ran into some problems regarding the scale factor. if I use the standard preset (7) for weapon graphics they turn out really huge (they almost cover up the entire screen) - using a factor of 2 is somewhat acceptable regarding the size of the wepons but i think they are still a bit magnified. Scale factor 1 makes them too small - I can't select any other values between 1 and 2 so it's almost impossible to adequately adjust the sprite size when working with the original resolution of the PNG files (512x512 in this case)


Also correcting the origin for every single frame is a real pain if you basically have to guess the correct position of the current frame in it's context/sequence....

I wonder how Visciom managed to make his weapon graphics fit so perfectly without modifying the shapes file at all. I don't really get how AlephOne handles the scaling here - any help or info would be appreciated.
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Last edited by thedoctor45 on Oct 11th '09, 01:37, edited 1 time in total.
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treellama
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You can adjust the size using the size of the bitmaps you paste in. You only have to make sure that the aspect ratio is correct--so if you scale the image to 256x256 before you paste it in, it will be half the size, which should give you more accuracy using the scale factor.

As for origins, for weapons in hand you pretty much have to guess. As I said, they'll be the hardest, and WEP is already better looking. Maybe try one of the smaller monster collections instead--the origins are easier to get right.
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thedoctor45 wrote:[attachment=3139:2.jpg]
Was that blurring a side effect of your messing with the graphics, or was that how the drones were actually displayed? If it wasn't so blurry I'd almost say the sprites would be a nice improvement.
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Lh wrote:Was that blurring a side effect of your messing with the graphics, or was that how the drones were actually displayed? If it wasn't so blurry I'd almost say the sprites would be a nice improvement.
The sprites in XBLA have true alpha transparency, so when they get scaled up they don't have sharp edges. You can turn that off in the MML, but then you don't get cool glow effects like the green light coming from the drone's exhaust port.
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Alright, after almost 2 hours of fiddling I finally got the weapon-in-hand graphics all in the right size/place.
Now there´s another issue that slows down my progress..

I noticed that once I save a shapes file with ShapeFusion, Anvil can't read it anymore - this is a problem because most of the time I have to adjust the sprite size again after adjusting the origin and keypoint and testing it ingame. Anvil's frame-adjustment window is just too small and the origin points can only be moved by keypad input.

This is really uncomforable if you have to work on a lot of sprites. or am I missing something? Im not really used to working with Anvil (yet).
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Does it just not show up? You might have to reset the type and creator codes. Anvil isn't as forgiving as Forge IIRC.
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the file itself has no label and is not associated with any application. It can't be dragged onto the Anvil icon and it doesn't show up in the Avil explorer window..



can you give some instructions on how/where to reset the type and creator codes?

For now I'll just start pasting all the sprites into the shapes file - If I'm lucky I won't need to resize them later once I edited them with ShapeFusion...
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treellama
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Download ResEdit, which is free. Open it and cancel out of the "open file" dialog. Now choose "Get Info" from the File menu, and pick a shapes file Anvil can open. Remember the type code in there, and Get Info on the other file and type it in.
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Thanks - it worked!

I'm going to finish off the weapons plus the Pfhor fighters and post some more screenshots asap.

PS: From what I've seen the fighter sprites are blurry as hell - I wonder if they appear like that in the XBLA version too - would removing the opacity type value in the MML scripts help sharpening the graphics or is there any other way to filter them with the help of MML code?
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treellama
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You can try reverting the opac_type to 0 in the MML, but as I said that will ruin glow effects. For consistency's sake I'm going to guess you want it off for all sprites, rather than some sharp and some blurry.

When you get the fighters done, maybe send me your shapes file and I'll see if I can improve things? You are removing the "actual_width" and "actual_height" attributes from the MML as you go, right?
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thedoctor45
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Treellama wrote:When you get the fighters done, maybe send me your shapes file and I'll see if I can improve things? You are removing the "actual_width" and "actual_height" attributes from the MML as you go, right?
I converted all dds files to PNG format adjusted the file extensions in the mml files and removed the width and height values as well.
I had to add the opacity type setting for the weapon models though - otherwise the muzzle falsh looks really weird...
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treellama
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Is there a reason you're using PNG? DDS won't look less blurry, but it will load faster and take less RAM.
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