Author Topic: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos  (Read 2063 times)

Offline Drakmar

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Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« on: November 30, 2016, 02:11:54 PM »
I've spent the past few days working out an idea I've had for quite some time, and that has finally borne fruit: To remaster the Outpost 2 videos for modern screen resolutions without losing quality.

Now, I already upscaled the videos from 320x240 to 640x480 a couple years ago, using the FFDShow codec pack, but it was more of a stop-gap measure to get away from the Indeo5 codec than an actual long-term solution. There were a number of issues with this going forward, such as the need to locate and install the correct codec pack, how much more we could upscale without a massive loss in quality, aspect ratio, etc.

To combat this, I have remastered all of the videos into 1920x1080 HD videos using a "Savant Interface" concept that displays the video at its present size (640x480) within an "Incoming Transmission" style. While this is largely a concept more than a final product, I thought I'd share what I've done with you all until I find a more refined way to do this.

There was a relatively marginal increase in total video size due to going up to full 1080 HD, but shouldn't be a much of problem for modern storage capacities and download/bandwith concerns. The in-game videos have been tested and proven to work with the in-game player, though I have only tested them on a 1080 HD resolution and do not know what other screen resolutions will affect the playback.

Technical Notes: For those of you interested, I've posted the codecs I used below to simply things going forward. The only requirement I've noticed for Outpost 2 to actually play them so far is that the audio codec must remain as it is and cannot be transcoded to anything else.

Video Codec Used:  H264 (which should be built-in to modern operating systems, or any system with iTunes/Quicktime installed)
Audio Codec Used:  pcm_s16le (this is the original codec that the game's built-in player requires for the audio to be played)

Compressed Video Size (Upscaled):  152.2 mb
Uncompressed Video Size (Upscaled):  166.9 mb
Compressed Video Size (Remastered):  170.9 mb
Uncompressed Video Size (Remastered):  388.9 mb

Below I have links to the NTCS Youtube channel for a preview of what to expect, as well as a couple screenshots. At the bottom of this post is a link to download the game-ready video files.


EDIT: Fixed a few formatting issues and added technical notes
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 02:56:50 PM by Drakmar »

Offline Arklon

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 08:03:58 PM »
Honestly can't say I'm a fan. It's way too busy, and the site logos look out of place.

Offline Drakmar

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 08:17:59 PM »
It's a proof of concept so I'm open to feedback.  :P

Offline Vagabond

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2016, 10:37:43 PM »
Drakmar,

I think it is a great idea to fill the space around the videos with something interesting and not continue to expand the video resolution. I'm glad to see them re-encoded to not require FFDshow as well!

I found the flashing Incoming Transmission text and colony logo distracting while watching the videos. Perhaps if either the text and logos are static or fade in or just flash twice and become static it would be better. This way the focus remains on the video and not the surroundings.

I like the DNA in the top left, it reminds me of anti-blight research or something. It would be fun if this logo changed to match the theme of the video. lava-rock/pumice for volcanic missions, maybe a rocket/satellite schematic for the space launch vehicles, maybe a weapon turret schematic for the combat videos. I think the DNA is a good all around choice though. Perhaps this could be ripped from the images in the mission briefing pages.

Offline Hooman

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2016, 03:10:54 AM »
FYI: The highest resolution available on my computer is 1366x768.

I don't think it needs to fill a whole screen. It just needs to be big enough to comfortably see.

The blinking text does get really annoying. Just have it blink once or twice would be better.

Offline Vagabond

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2016, 11:47:07 AM »
My laptop's monitor has the same max resolution as Hooman's (which is well below 1080P resolution).

When I play the video in game, it will not scale it down to fit my monitor's resolution, but instead just clip the extra content. I think this is actually a good thing though, because I would rather have it clip part of the extra 'stuff' Drakmar is adding than reduce the size of the already smallish in game video. 

I wonder how the old video would appear on a new 4K monitor. Would it just be a little thumbnail in the center of the screen I guess? Adding this extra content and bringing the resolution up to 1080P would still only take up something like half or less of a 4K monitor right? I would be curious to see a screenshot of what the videos look like on a 4K monitor.

Here is how it appears to me in game (1366x768 Windows 7:

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2016, 11:56:59 AM »
The super best option is to remake the videos from scratch using modern compression techniques that don't lose the quality that the indeo codecs did. But eh, I don't think any of us have that kind of skill so moot point.

I'm unsure of how I feel about this either way. The videos are cool and all but they're old as fuck and way past their prime. I don't think there's any way to really make them 'better'.
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Offline Hooman

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2016, 01:16:34 AM »
Yeah, I don't think anything too fancy needs to be done with the videos. A re-encoding to deal with codec issues would be good. Resizing maybe, although I'd prefer scaling at playback time rather than encoding time. That way you're not wasting space on resolution that simply isn't there. Ideally you can potentially scale as appropriate for the end user's monitor rather than guessing ahead of time. Adding extra stuff around the videos, ehh, I don't really know. I haven't fallen in love with the idea. I have a tendency to avoid changing things that already exist.

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2016, 09:40:12 AM »
I have a tendency to avoid changing things that already exist.

You know this is how enterprise programming starts right? ;)
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Offline Vagabond

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2016, 12:15:18 PM »
Why don't we do both? We can upload two copies of the videos, one in 640x480 and one in 1080P. Sort of a compromise. It will be easy for a player to just download which version they want and stuff it in their Outpost 2 directory. This way we don't have to worry about figuring out how to hack Outpost 2 to detect monitor settings and then change video resolution on the fly.

640x480 version:
  • Eliminates dependency on Indeo Codec
  • Doubles resolution so it looks better on computers with lower resolution (like 1366x768, which is a common laptop resolution)
  • Does not have the savant interface added in case you dislike the look of it.
  • Does not waste performance on pixels drawn offscreen for a low resolution laptop

1080P version:
  • Will look great on a 1080P/4K resolution monitor (which will continue to be more of the standard over time)
  • Using the savant interface keeps from continuing to scale the videos beyond what would look good. They are already scaled up x2, but still uses the rest of the monitor.

I've never tried to watch the video scaled up x2.5 or x3 so I'm not sure how bad it would look. Perhaps someone could scale up a sample video some more and post it so we can see how crappy it is stretched more then x2?

Offline Sirbomber

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2016, 04:31:40 PM »
You can do that yourself in any old video player, Vagabond.  You could also try finding the videos on Youtube and clicking the fullscreen button.

And I think I have to agree with Arklon on this.  Adding random stuff around the videos doesn't hide the fact that they look comically small on modern screens; if anything I think it accentuates just how tiny they are.
"As usual, colonist opinion is split between those who think the plague is a good idea, and those who are dying from it." - Outpost Evening Star

Outpost 2 Coding 101 Tutorials

Offline Drakmar

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2016, 10:47:46 AM »
Eh, it was an idea. If nothing else, next chance I get I think I'll at the very least reconvert the videos over to the more-standard H264 codec so we don't have to use the FFDShow one anymore.

Offline Hooman

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2016, 02:53:56 AM »
I have a tendency to avoid changing things that already exist.

You know this is how enterprise programming starts right? ;)

It's called backwards compatibility, and it's important!  ;)

Offline Drakmar

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2016, 01:28:43 PM »
Here's another idea that I just whipped up:

https://youtu.be/N1YNVGLCu0s

It's a fairly simple concept, but it scales much better and doesn't have issues if the resolution isn't exactly 1080, as it is cropped to fit more neatly. Sometimes simple is better. :P Let me know what you guys think.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2016, 08:38:14 PM »
I like it.
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos.

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2016, 08:48:27 AM »
I think I like that better.
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Offline White Claw

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2016, 09:47:55 AM »
I think I like the latest iteration also. Is it possible to do some kind of mix? Such as, the background around the movie changes at logical points? So maybe some sort of savant graphics at certain times, then the exploded blurry view at others? Then it might look more integrated into the video itself.

Offline Drakmar

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Re: Remastered HD Outpost 2 In-Game Videos
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2016, 01:27:46 PM »
I can play around with those ideas and see what I can come up with. Most of that sounds fairly simple for me to mock up, just requires time (which is a rare commodity for me in the holiday season) so I'll see what I can come up with. :)

EDIT: Added a new frame to the primary video as part of the "Savant UI", which you can see in the image below.

« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 02:02:37 PM by Drakmar »