Better textures for MM7 in D3D mode

The role-playing games (I-X) that started it all and the various spin-offs (including Dark Messiah).

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mmtool
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Better textures for MM7 in D3D mode

Postby mmtool » Feb 20 2009, 23:49

If somebody interesting, I'm made console tool to convert textures and sprites from software mode files ("bitmaps.lod" and "sprites.lod") to hardware accelerated mode files ("d3dbitmap.hwl" and "d3dsprite.hwl"). This can be useful to provide better image quality when playing MM7 in D3D mode, because images for software mode had better resolution. Also it can be used to convert textures ("bitmaps") for MM8, but sprite conversion is not provide good results for it yet (because of default palettes usage).

Don't know how to attach something here (is this even possible?), so last version 0.2 (and other in future) can be found on then next page of other forum:

http://www.old-games.ru/forum/showthread.php?p=493213

Search for "MMResTool02.zip" and click on it to download (271Kb in size, look "readmeEN.txt" in archive to learn what to do next).[/url]

Deyja

Postby Deyja » Feb 21 2009, 10:31

Hmm looks VERY interesting but since i use a other engine sorry
but i think the others would want too use it maby. ;)

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vladimir-maestro
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Postby vladimir-maestro » Feb 21 2009, 11:23

any screenshots to judge? ;)
You can contact me here:
maestro_mod@yahoo.com
---
Site about MODs: http://www.mmgames.ru
---
if you wish to upload some materials for this site - let me know.

mmtool
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Postby mmtool » Feb 21 2009, 15:19

I'm seems can not attach anything here, even pictures. Can send some samples by e-mail, if it is really needed. Because better to try and see. All differences must be quite visible (if it work with your version of game, I mean). Mail me to mmtool@mail.ru if something not work (or simply to report if it really work some or other version, because i'm tested it only on my official russian localization by Buka). MMResTool will be in development for some time in future, because I want to make console tool to deal with various MM6,7,8 resource files to make mod-making easy. Conversion of files between various formats versions and formats will be only side effect, no more. So if any questions or something other, better send them by mail.

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Postby seancdaug » Feb 21 2009, 15:23

MMTool, this is very cool. Particularly since I just started playing MM7 again, so it's very timely for me. :D

As far as I can tell, it works like a charm. For whatever reason, certain monsters are colored differently, but this was always true of the software-vs-hardware textures, so that's not a problem with this tool.

Maestro, I made some quick-and-dirty screencaps from my own saves. They're a bit on the large size (PNG), but I didn't want to compress them into JPEGs and lose quality.

Example one: Just arrived in Deyja. The first image is using the default D3D textures, the second is after using MMTool's tool.
Image
Image

Example two: Entering Emerald Isle. The first image is using the default D3D textures, the second is after using MMTool's tool.
Image
Image

Example three: Fighting an Imperial Griffin in the mountains overlooking Erathia. The first image is using the default D3D textures, the second is after using MMTool's tool.
Image
Image

EDIT 1: I've hosted these images up on my WordPress blog. MMTool, if you want some place to host images and/or files, let me know, since I've got about 2.5 GB of space that I'll probably never use on my own.

EDIT 2: Oh, I forgot to mention that the above images were made using the highest-quality conversion available, since there are five different possibilities.

mmtool
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Postby mmtool » Feb 21 2009, 15:58

Thanks! About different colors of creatures.. Software engine used for each creature 8-bit picture from 4 (for monsters) to 10 (for citizens) palletes. This allow it to show creatures with various color of clothes, skin etc. Hardware engine uses 15-bit pictures without support of palletes. So to minimize size of resulting files (around 60 Mb currently even with average textures quality, not 300-500Mb for pictures with all set of palletes) developers seems decided to select one palette for each creature. But for some creatures (where it is provide not very bad look - some monsters without clothes and such) they apply dynamicall recoloring in D3D engine (if this setting is ON for game). So I'm done it too - selected one of palletes for each monster on my own. In some cases they not the same, that developer selected for D3D. But this is almost indifferent in comparison with software mode, I think. I can even implement random selection of palette for each creature (for fun)
About pirture brightness - I'm directly convert images without any additional filtering (only necessary resizing). So can be some difference in brightness. In next version I can make brightness selection (if it needed) - so anybody can choose better for him. MMResTool, as I said, in ongoing development, so if somebody has sugesstions, bugreports, etc, mail me, please.

P.S. And because I think Griffin (and Ork) better looking with Red color, Im selected it for them. But D3D engine slightly recolored it (make darker) for creature, shown at above screenshot.

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Postby mmtool » Feb 21 2009, 18:01

Small note (if somebody did not know :) Do not forget forget to _force_ maximal levels of antialiasing and anisotropic filtering for Direct3D mode (in 3D Graphic Accelerator settings in Windows or such). Because MM7 engine don't know about them (at it's time). So playing MM7 in D3D mode with its "Application Preference" settings is not very different to playing in software mode. Pixelization, non-smoothed textures and similar not very good stuff. Good level of antialiasing and anisotropic filtering almost completly fix it, and picture much cleaner.

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Postby GrayFace » Feb 22 2009, 16:26

Very nice. But I prefer software mode anyway due to monsters' colors.
I'm interested in HWL format. Looks like you know more about it. Can you share it please?

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Postby mmtool » Feb 22 2009, 17:30

But D3D mode has better potential, imho. As example (.gif in .zip):

PreScreen1024x768.zip[/url]

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Postby mmtool » Feb 23 2009, 21:13

I'm interested in HWL format. Looks like you know more about it. Can you share it please?


Sorry, forgot to answer this. I will publish complete .hwl format description as part of documentation of MMResTool v.0.3 (which will have support of packing/unpacking of .hwl files from/to .bmps and support of conversion LOD->HWL images for MM8 too). It should out at this week, I hope...

And about rendering resolution of MM6-8 engine... I'm made some rough testings of it capabilities and it seem can be adapted (internally, not some 640x480 picture upscaling, but native rendering) to resolutions up to 1024x768 both in software and hardware modes (as at above screenshot). It need quite a lot of low-level work to fix all issues (mostly related to 2D user interface). But it is pretty possible, so may be will be done at some point in future..

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Postby mmtool » Feb 27 2009, 22:33

Several 3D-only (without interface) screenshots of MM7, natively rendered in 1024x768 resolution in D3D Mode, i.e. with hardware acceleration (.gif in .zip)

Harmondail.zip
TForest.zip
Deija.zip
Tatalia.zip
Barkada.zip
Erathia.zip
Erathia2.zip[/url]


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