Video Quality Discussion

Lords of the Realm 2 (Sierra)
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Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 7:03 pm

Video Quality Discussion

Post by C_Guy »

Hi Jafa;

First of all, thank you very much for this installer file. Before, I could install Lords 2 successfully on Windows 7 (RC 1) the game would load but not recognize the CD ROM no matter what I tried.

Now with your installer I can play the game just fine but there is a definite difference in video quality. On my XP system I force the resolution to 640x480 (256 color) and the videos play full screen, interlaced. Despite the interlacing they seem crisper than the videos I play on my Windows machine with your installer. Is this because your installer requires a higher resolution thuis stretching the videos?
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Re: Video Quality Discussion

Post by jafa »


The STC version of the game detects when video is playing with black lines and does the following:
1) skip every second line to eliminate the black lines.
2) skip every second horizontal pixel to eliminate the pixel duplication the original games did.
3) convert to 32-bit colour.
4) transfer to the video card via Direct3D for hardware upscaling to full-screen resolution.

Quality - possibilities that spring to mind...

1) If the original video has full horizontal resolution and half vertical resolution (rather than both at half resolution) then the modified game engine will be halving the resolution.
To test, try installing VLC and try playing the video from the CD. If it plays or mostly plays then check the stream info and messages windows... it should report the native resolution of the video.

2) The actual upscaling is handled by the video card and the quality will vary between cards. It would be interesting to try the game on a different video card.

3) The black lines do actually create an illusion of higher quality in some cases.

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Location: Germany

Re: Video Quality Discussion

Post by alterhund »

Hallo jafa,

You’ve done an extraordinary and a fantastic piece of work, congratulations!
I didn’t suppose that this kind of modification is possible (without an access to source code).
Thanks collector and his (?) great sierra help pages I’ve learned your site.
I own the Royal Edition of Lords of the Realm 2 (German version). I built my own “installation” of that game a few years ago and I gained some experience with it. Apart from the 256 colours message it worked fine for me under Win XP.
May be some information could be useful, so here’s what I’ve found out. Sorry, if it’s too hackneyed.
Lords2 has two sets (folders) of movies in different quality: SMK_HIGH and SMK_LOW.
Some of the low quality (LQ) movies, for example intro and credits, are Y-interlaced.
When the game is starting, the main executable (lords2.exe) looks up in sierra.ini file in order to check the appropriate section. Sierra.ini (in windows directory) should be normally written and changed during the installation (especially the system test results) by sierra’s setup.
In case when sierra.ini or the adequate section/line doesn’t exist (!), or the line “CPU “ has a low “value” like “486DX” the LQ movies are played by default. When a powerful processor (for that time) has been recognized, for example CPU=Pentium Pro-333 CPU (the fastest possible machine), the HQ movies are played.
I’ve tested the STC installation yesterday. C_Guy was right, I’m afraid. In fact, the up-scaled LQ movies look significantly worse as the LQ originals, especially the originally Y-interlaced ones (the German intro, where subtitles are used, was quite messy).
Later on, I “forced” the STC executable to use the HQ movies and… the results were very fine, the movies looked even a bit better as the HQ originals! By the way, I don’t think you can play or analyze Smacker video files with VLC (RAD Video Tools do).
One small thing I’ve noticed - the game crashes if you try to switch to windowed mode (menu bar/options/display). In the original game a message about the need of desktop in 8-bit is displayed. I don’t play in windowed mode, but disabling the function could be better.
I’m sorry for writing this, but in my opinion the game graphics are slightly too soft and blurred. I know that is due to the conversion to 32-bit and the up-scaling process so. Certainly it depends on the graphic card as you wrote. I don’t know, but may be there is a way or another method to preserve a little, little bit more of the original crispness?

Anyway, you’ve done an outstanding job and I hope (like many fans of older sierra games) you’ll continue your undertaking.

With kind regards (from Germany)
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Re: Video Quality Discussion

Post by Pesmontis »

To say it again jafa,
a really beautiful piece of work!

I also think that this remark by Alterhund is invaluable:

".. for example CPU=Pentium Pro-333 CPU (the fastest possible machine), the HQ movies are played.."

I used this setting in both SIERRA.INI files to make sure (ie. in the one in the Windows directory, and in the one in the game directory).

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Location: Armenia

Video Quality Discussion

Post by JoshuaKa »

Im getting poor video quality out of Prism. Wavy is the best I can describe it.

It was working OK until I did a large number of videos at once.

Im on a Dell dimension with XP.

Any thoughts?
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Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:40 am

Re: Video Quality Discussion

Post by Collector »

Prism is not supported here. I have repeatedly told you that the only thing supported here are games installed with the StC installers from here. If you continue this I will assume that you are a bot and will ban you.
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