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matt_hargett

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About matt_hargett

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  1. It's a great interview and I definitely see some little improvements that I didn't notice at PSX/Day of the Devs. Spaff, am I correct that some of the animations have had tweening done, but just not the mouth/walk cycles? It looks like some of the one-off character animations are smoother. The lip sync appears to still not be working (21:43, in the tree, just looks ridiculously sloppy). I'm really worried that the lack of lip sync and walk cycle tweening is going to be a bridge too far for capturing a new audience. When I hung out by the demo stations at PSX and talked to non-fans who were playing, they loved Grim Remasterd but thought the DOTT was an alpha build or something due to the chopiness of the animation and lip sync being non-existent. It worries me because I think it will put off this potential new audience who aren't young gamers guided by their parents, to the point where they will just skip Full Throttle Remastered. In both cases, folks have attempted to give technical reasons why these things still aren't fixed. As someone who prototyped frame-doubled animations, per-resource palettes, and other graphical enhancements in FreeSCI and ScummVM, I don't appreciate the attempts to dismiss the question. One idea I had watching this video was having per-scene loops/cels for characters, so that they could be painted to semi-match the lighting. In the video @ 21:24, the characters pop out of the background quite a bit because their palettes are so light compared to the background, but also because the light source detailing in the background doesn't match the characters. With a few per-room specific loops/cels, where the character's left-facing loops/cels show light on their back and dark on the face-front (due to the window casting light from the right) and the character's right-facing loops/cels show the opposite, etc would make both kinds of resources' art match much better. It wouldn't even be needed for most rooms, but this one in particular jumps out at me. This is another thing that wasn't as noticeable with the more limited 256-color palette and significantly lower resolution. Another question: any confirmation that the Maniac Mansion will use the EGA and/or Amiga palette resources? One of the patches I had in FreeSCI (and Sarien) a long time ago used the Amiga palette for characters (and a few items) and the EGA palette for everything else. It made a *huge* difference. I know Tim said they didn't want to "remaster" MM because Ron isn't there to guide things, but re-using the existing assets in the originally released palettes is a light enough touch, and reduces some of the colors that are painful to look at on large non-CRTs, that it would be a great compromise. Looking forward to hearing some more details, Thanks!
  2. I do like the idea of more screen space for the new artwork. Maybe the verb "wheel" from SMI2:SE, but with words in it is a reasonable compromise? It makes it a little less UX-accessible for younger children: words aren't just on the screen, there's another level of depth to the modality, etc. I'm not sure how you'd make having the verbs always on-screen optional, since putting them there will mess up the aspect ratio.. it's a tough one, for sure.
  3. I've been a fan for a long time, but I don't think I've posted before. Here goes I'm a long-time adventure-gamer, though it was mostly Sierra games. (We only had CGA display until well into the 1990s.) I've been an open source contributor to several adventure game projects, like FreeSCI and ScummVM, for over 10 years. I don't code as much any more, but even back then I was into the idea of minor "remasters" of classic adventure games. Here's a screenshot of a feature I implemented in FreeSCI that allowed for redefining palettes (still limited to 16 colors, just a *different* set of 16 colors) on a per-resource basis: Before: http://web.archive.org/web/20070613232638/http://freesci.linuxgames.com/screenshots/sq3-pal-without.png After: http://web.archive.org/web/20070712130411/http://freesci.linuxgames.com/screenshots/sq3-pal-with.png The idea of extending the palette ever so slightly had a HUGE effect, while still feeling original. I have a mobile game in development that has a similar art style, and a kind of EGA++ palette with a slightly darker low-end added onto the classic EGA palette. It works very well, and most people think it's just flat EGA. My friend Brian ended up doing something similar with Retro City Rampage. (Maybe the Maniac Mansion in DOTT:SE could use an extended palette for a few of the characters?) One of the things I liked about MI2:SE (and I did mention this to Oliver on Twitter) was the inbetweens for quite a few of the animation cycles. The higher-resolution art in SMI:SE looked good to me, but paired with the 1-2fps framerate, the animation looked more judder-y (technical term) than normal. I can appreciate that not all animations can have inbetweens, but walk cycles and mouth phoneme shapes are where it can make a lot of different. (I wish Grim RE had added more in-betweens on mouth animations, especially on the demon.) I'd love to see Peter do new animations from scratch, rather than trying to frame match with the originals. I agree with earlier notes in the thread about having real animators do inbetweens, instead of an automated morph between the frames. (I don't think anyone would try to do automatic inbetweens with 1-2fps animations anyway.) MI2:SE also did some cool stuff with color blending/shading to emulate light sources in 2D (sound familiar?). It was subtle, but added a really nice touch -- just like it does in Broken Age. With regard to music, it would be very cool to license the MT-32 sample ROMs and use an MT-32 emulator for the original MIDI tracks (like ScummVM does). That is a storage-sensitive way to give purists the original intended sounds (not the crappy FM synth) side-by-side with any new score/effect recordings. Speaking of storage, as a Vita (and PS4) gamer I do appreciate you keeping feature parity across platforms. That being said, for a storage-constrained platform like Vita and iPhone, my personal opinion is that the purist options can be the first to go. On PS4, please use 24-bit FLAC audio assets wherever possible. As someone who learned a lot of vocabulary from adventure games, please leave the verb bar with the text intact. In fact, it would be *awesome* if the dialogue text would highlight the words as they are being said so that kids can more easily follow while learning to read. Book of Spells and Book of Potions on PS3 did this, and it was really cool. I thought it was cool to see this mentioned on the DOTT wikipedia page: "Grossman stated that the game's writing and use of spoken and subtitled dialog assisted a learning-disabled child in learning how to read". DOTT's dialogue can be really quite stilted at times due to the separate recorded and weirdly long pauses between characters supposedly having a real-time conversation. It would be cool if some of the timing was tightened up to feel more modern/cohesive and less like a first-gen CD-ROM title. re: the documentary, I liked the Grim documentaries, but a little more tech detail on what Brandon had to go through would have been cool. The methods used to clean up the video files would also have been nice to know. Anyway, there's my comments/wishlist. It mostly lines up with what other people have mentioned, but I wanted to throw in my two cents. Thanks for doing such a great job, Matt (and rest of the team)!
  4. Ogg and MP3 have very similar quality/size ratios. If one game sounds bad with MP3 and another good w/ Ogg, it's much more likely because the Ogg file was encoded at a much higher bitrate rather than intrinsic differences in how they represent compressed audio. As for SPU decoding, that's pretty much a requirement for any non PCM/ADPCM sound on PS3, which is why Sony provides stock SPU decode algo's for several formats, including MP3. Most PS3 games are very pressed for main memory (the default place to put sound assets) and not all audio systems support loading audio into GPU local memory on PS3 so the heay compression is more likely a symptom of trying to cram a 360 game into a PS3 and relying heavily on reducing the bitrate to make it all fit. I really disagree that Ogg and MP3 are comparable at the same bitrates, especially for the majority of female voices, woodwings, crash cymbals, etc, etc. I do agree that MP3 can sound reasonable at 320kb/sec (as can Dolby Digital), but it won't hold a candle to the aforementioned games. Does the audio system chosen for DFA (or The Cave) allow for loading audio into the GPU's local memory on PS3? That would be incredibly disappointing, as I don't play PC games on my home theater sound system. If you play The Cave on PS3, you'll find that it's mixed natively in 7.1 (as are all of our PS3 titles post BL). The source assets are 16 bit, but the mixer is 32 bit internally and the output is 24 or 16 depending on what surround mode your system is config'd for. What about the DSP effects? are they also 24/32-bit?
  5. Great post, and I love seeing these technical details. You mention that Ogg is a 'heavy' codec, but there are a bunch of games on PS3 that shipped with 320kbit/sec Ogg assets and use SPU decoders. Please don't use MP3 -- some of the biggest game disappointments I've had on PS3 have been with muddy MP3 audio assets in BioShock and Dead Space. Both games could have had amazing atmosphere with their music and environmental effects, but it sounded incredibly flat compared to Uncharted and even early PSN titles (like Siren: Blood Curse) and most newer PSN titles. (Fret Nice also was a major disappointment -- a music-oriented game with *awful* sounding assets.) Poor codec choice also makes it hard to understand certain characters (especially female ones) in many TellTale games. I could barely understand the primary character in their Jurassic Park game, likely due to deficiencies in codec and bitrate. Other games end up mastering/EQing their assets to try and compensate, but then it just sounds weird and detached from the environment. It would be really cool to have 24-bit/lossless audio for the music and reasonable-quality Ogg (or even AAC) audio for the voice assets. Just please no MP3 PS: You mentioned 7.1, and using a 24-bit surround-sound reverb/echo would be AMAZING. Especially in The Cave
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