Final Fantasy 7’s CG backgrounds solely exist at a low decision befitting the PS1 period – however followers utilizing AI are hoping to alter that.
A couple of months in the past we had an article right here on VG247 speaking about why the problem with porting Final Fantasy 8 to other platforms is with preservation. To reduce a protracted story brief, the problem is essentially that within the nineties few video game builders have been meticulous about holding on to ‘master’ copies of their work. In many circumstances improvement instruments have been deleted and overwritten as soon as a game was accomplished, the instruments then reused for the studio’s subsequent challenge. That implies that when the time involves up-res or in any other case enhance traditional games, in some circumstances it’s a frightening, tough activity.
Such was the case for Final Fantasy 7. There was a full yr between the announcement of a model of the unique FF7 for PS4 and that model’s launch regardless of it being a straight port job – however that was probably for good cause. It in all probability took Square Enix that lengthy to get a PS4 model of FF7 off the bottom. Emulating the PS1 model is an choice, however you then’d be left with a low-resolution game stretched in an unsightly method. In the tip the model launched was hacked and cobbled collectively from the then-crippled, now-improved PC model of the game. The PC code wanted a whole lot of work, but it surely was simpler than working from the PS1 model.
Using the PC construct as a base allowed the trendy model of FF7 on PS4 and cellular (and soon Xbox One & Switch) to run at increased resolutions. This meant crisp, clear battle scenes (that are rendered completely in actual time 3D) and equally sharp character fashions out on the sector. One facet of FF7 couldn’t be saved, nevertheless – the pre-rendered CG backgrounds.
These backgrounds have been rendered at a low, PS1 and CD storage-friendly decision – in some circumstances as little as 320×240 – and it seems Square didn’t maintain on to the unique recordsdata, so doing a local re-render in increased high quality is not possible. For the latest model, Square utilized blurring and smearing filters to cover the pixelation when these backgrounds have been blown as much as trendy resolutions. It seemed positive, however not nice. That was at all times a disgrace, because the CG backgrounds are in some ways the lifeblood of FF7, depicting its eclectic, broad world in shocking element.
Up steps the Final Fantasy PC modding scene. In a brand new put up on FF modding forum Qhimm.com, one modder revealed the ‘Remako HD Field Mod’, which makes use of AI upscaling expertise to attempt to increase the dimensions of FF7’s CG backgrounds by as a lot as 400%. The finish outcomes are fairly sensible, as proven on this preview picture:
Look intently at this picture and the distinction between the unique (high) and remastered (backside) backgrounds. In specific take a look at particulars just like the crimson sign mild on the finish of the prepare platform, or the small print of the railings behind Barret or on the prepare itself. These are small enhancements that find yourself including as much as a big visible overhaul for the game – and all utilizing the unique property.
Using machine studying for upscaling photographs and movies isn’t a brand new idea, after all. I’ve seen some spectacular demos on how the expertise is coming alongside together with a fantastic demo of how properly the brand new Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards can deal with such duties – however that is the primary time I’ve seen it utilized like this to preserving and enhancing traditional older games. It’s often used for issues like rescuing previous household images. In games such upgrades are often hardware-powered upscales as with the excellent Xbox One X version of Final Fantasy 13 or painstaking hand-made rebuilds of renders or textures, like within the glorious Resident Evil 4 HD Project. In comparability this looks as if an extremely good different methodology of tackling an upscale HD remaster for a game with lots of of pre-rendered backgrounds – and in idea it is also utilized frame-by-frame to FF7’s CG video cutscenes, which additionally don’t exist in increased resolutions.
“Traditional upscaling leaves a lot to be desired and manual remodelling takes a lot of time,” mod creator CaptRobau says within the discussion board thread – and this can be a sturdy, handsome different. The different nice facet of this concept is it permits for a deal of fan interpretation – one other modder from the identical neighborhood can also be engaged on machine studying FF7 upscales with a different algorithm, the tip outcomes barely totally different. In the close to future, followers will hopefully have the ability to select between totally different background mods with totally different execs and cons relying on what kind of visible constancy you worth.
I’m truthfully actually enthusiastic about this. Given that the complete Final Fantasy 7 remake is bound to be a really, very totally different game, preservation of the unique traditional has by no means been extra very important – and if I have been Square Enix, I’d be attempting to trace these guys down and decide them up to make use of their strategies to upscale and patch the present console variations of FF7, eight and 9. That sadly is nearly absolutely a non-starter – however homeowners of FF7 on PC shouldn’t have lengthy to attend till they’ll get this crisper, cleaner expertise themselves. CaptRobau reckons an preliminary mod launch will likely be doable “within a week or two” – and significantly, I’m already hovering over that ‘install’ button for FF7 on Steam in anticipation. FF8 subsequent please, fellas?