[Projekt] Extracting Ace Combat

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Re: [Projekt] Extracting Ace Combat

Beitragvon Krishty » 07.02.2017, 00:55

Habe am Wochenende Flugzeugtexturen entschlüsselt. Von Gebäuden bin ich aber leider noch ein Stück entfernt …

Bild
… den ganzen Satz und das Post-Mortem lade ich später hoch, wenn alle Fehler behoben sind.
Zuletzt geändert von Krishty am 07.02.2017, 01:08, insgesamt 1-mal geändert.
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Krishty
 
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Re: [Projekt] Extracting Ace Combat

Beitragvon marcgfx » 07.02.2017, 01:01

bis auf das cockpit schauts gut aus, könnte da noch ein fehler vorliegen?
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Re: [Projekt] Extracting Ace Combat

Beitragvon Krishty » 07.02.2017, 01:04

Nee, die sehen alle so aus – ist ja Sci-Fi; die Cockpits sind komplett geschlossen und alles wird via Kamera gesteuert :)

Nachtrag: Nee warte – habe doch auch konventionell aussehende:
Bild
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Re: [Projekt] Extracting Ace Combat

Beitragvon Krishty » 20.04.2017, 01:56

Let’s extract a plane.

Planes can be found in folders 0066–0102 (Japanese version) and 0047–0068 (EU/US version). These all have the following layout:
  • folder with 12 small binary files (from 0 B to 16 KiB)
  • folder with a small binary file (~100 B)
  • folder with two textures:
    ac3 plane texfolder.png
  • a binary file of several KiB
Pretty obvious this is plane data. But where’s the vertices? We should take a look at the binary files from the first folder. You’d probably start with the first file, but I’ll pick #9 here because it contains some data that’s not present in the first file (and it’s not as complex as the other ones). Let’s repeat the process of finding patterns in binary data, and so we’ll find this structure throughout the files:
plane mesh hex formatted.png

This looks a lot like the vertex data we found earlier. In fact, it’s pretty easy to recognize vertices in the same XY XY XY Z Z Z format. Triangle indices are pretty easy to spot as well (the consecutive integers from 00 to 0B):
plane mesh hex formatted annot.png

Visualize what we just found:
mesh 0 wireframe.png
mesh 0 wireframe.png (3.15 KiB) 250-mal betrachtet

Makes sense! I’ll take a shortcut here: In some other files, the last block is not empty, but contains quads instead of triangles (4th index not always zero). However, many files come with no triangles/quads at all, just a set of vertices. Let’s have a look at all files from the folder:
all meshes wireframe.png

Using this identification chart, we can clearly identify it as a F-18 Hornet :)

Now, what about the other data (X, Y, Z, Q)?

X does not make sense as triangle indices, but it does make sense as indices into block #3. (See how it counts to 0B == 12 decimal, and there’s 13 entries in block #3?)

So what’s in block #3? It’s not too difficult to figure out once you know what you’re looking for. It’s the vertex normals, scaled to 4096 and stored as 16-bit fixed point numbers (because the PSX has no floating-point support). These normals are indeed very pretty (I decided to apply a random color to individual meshes in order to tell them apart):
mesh 0 solid.png

We have seen Z before: It’s the GPU instruction for drawing a triangle.

There is not much room left for Y & Q: It must be texture coordinates, because where else would they go? But there’s eight numbers for three vertices, so we need to pick the right ones. We can easily get this done by using the individual texture coordinates as red and green colors:
2016-12-30 texture coordinates.png
(I chose a different plane here because I was too lazy to take another screenshot for the article, sorry!) Nice smooth shading and the seams are exactly where a designer would place them!

We’ll apply the texture next time. It’s more difficult than one would think, and it requires the last pair of bytes to get it right …
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Re: [Projekt] Extracting Ace Combat

Beitragvon marcgfx » 21.04.2017, 18:57

Sieht wieder mal gut aus Krishty! Bin schön gespannt wie dein Endprodukt dann ausschaut, bin weiterhin gebannt am lesen :)
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Re: [Projekt] Extracting Ace Combat

Beitragvon Krishty » Gestern, 00:29

Just announcing three new "hidden" levels in the Japanese version of the game.


One hidden level has been known for years: Game Show, the level that shipped on demo discs, with minor modifications. It can only be accessed through a GameShark code (i.e. overwriting a memory location) and it's pretty boring. Its internal name is "----", and the developers probably used it as a test bed for AI before deploying the game.


Another hidden level has been known for some time, but nobody ever managed to enter it: Mission Code. There are some snapshots of the briefing on Acepedia, but the game will crash right after that.

I'm pretty sure I got its map decoded, and there's two copies of that map in the Japanese game files. It's Expo City in an early development stage. The differences from the final city are subtle, but it's amazing to see all the improvements that have been done. The map data looks compatible with the final data format, but the only airplane is the carrier for the Sepia spacecraft. This may be the reason why the briefing loads, but the mission doesn't.


Then there's two completely new maps. This time, the binary format of the models is not compatible with the final maps at all. I suspect the game will crash right away, and this might be the reason no one ever investigated the data. It's Expo City in some state after Mission Code and Megafloat in a *very* early stage of development. I have yet to find out how texturing works; even the vertex colors are screwed up.


I'll try to post snapshots of the early Expo City soon. Snapshots of the two other maps follow later. I have so many things to write here, but my PC does not have an internet connection, so it'll take some time to publish it all.
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Re: [Projekt] Extracting Ace Combat

Beitragvon Krishty » Gestern, 12:13

I proudly present the first snapshot of the Mission Code version of Ace Combat 3's Expo City map!
2017-04-28 Mission Code.png
For comparison, this is the same region in the demo/final version of the game:
2017-04-28 Game Show.png
  • Expo City's iconic underground airport (top-left corner) has been introduced rather late. The early version didn't have one.
  • The early version featured more buildings. The remaining buildings have been scaled down to as little as half their original sidelength (bottom-right corner).
  • Texture detail has improved significantly (bottom-right corner).
  • The final color palettes are much less colorful. Some look just like stills from the Matrix movie (e.g. the mission Awakening:)
    2017-04-28 Awakening.png
  • Prebaked lighting has improved significantly.
  • The early version is brighter (about twice as bright). I tried to correct for it in the snapshots, so it's not obvious. It's not an art thing -- I guess at some point they compressed the color range of the prebaked vertex lighting and instead improved the texture color range. The reasons could be obscure color processing problems with the PSX GPU, or optimizations, or anything else.
I'll resume the plane extraction tutorial shortly, then I'll write about extracting maps.
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