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MrFlibble

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Everything posted by MrFlibble

  1. MrFlibble

    C&C Dawn of Tomorrow released!

    Thanks! However this mode does not seem to do any aspect ratio correction, it just draws the same 1:1 square pixels over an area of 640x480 instead of 640x400. I was kinda hoping for something like this:
  2. MrFlibble

    C&C Dawn of Tomorrow released!

    Apologies for the noobish question, I'm trying to configure the game to run in 4:3 aspect ratio as shown in the screenshots on the site, but so far without success. I haven't played C&C in a long while admittedly, and never used CnC-DDraw before. Any advice on how to to it? I'm using the portable version and picked the ddraw.ini which said "full screen aspect ratio with shaders", and set the correct resolution, but it does not render the image at 640x480 but at 640x400. Or is it not possible at all?
  3. Have we finally got a spiritual successor to Emperor of the Fading Suns? (I just watched the video a bit and this is my first impression)
  4. MrFlibble

    C&C Remasters - FMVs

    @PurpleGaga27Thanks! I'd love to (once I settle on what is the optimal upscale model that is), but alas my current computing power is not suitable for processing even a single FMV in a reasonable time frame. Theoretically, it would be optimal to first make 4x upscales with a model that gets the image right, then do a second iteration of the upscaled images with either the same or maybe a different model and then scale them down a bit whilst correcting the aspect ratio (the DOS version videos are "squashed" vertically to account for the 320x200 image stretching to 640x480 on a typical 4:3 display).
  5. MrFlibble

    C&C Remasters - FMVs

    @MilkeyWilkey I always appreciate constructive criticism, so I ran tests with a different model interpolation that does not accentuate the edges so much (I believe the one responsible for that effect is LyonHrt's Fighter Alt 2). Here are the results, what do you think of them? I also believe the pure CGI elements like the MCV truck now look less plastic-ey as @Plokite_Wolf said. Nod officer in a guard tower GDI Orca mission briefing Nod desert sweep GDI engineer at the construction yard entrance Construction yard unpacking The model for these is a 0.5 interpolation of Spongebob v6 De-Quantize and DeviantPixelHD, which was then interpolated at 0.9 with 4xMisc. All these models are available from the Model Database.
  6. MrFlibble

    C&C Remasters - FMVs

    I'll just show you what put me off in the Reastered videos: These jittery lines appear because the model chosen for the upscale was not optimal. For comparison, here's more or less the same image upscaled by the model that I used: The straight lines here look more or less what they're supposed to be. I'm assuming that the effect you're talking about stems from the CGI nature of most images. Let's take one for which we have a high-res render released by Westwood: I used a variation of the same model as above but which makes images even sharper, then scaled to 640x480 with Paint.NET (best quality method). And here's the original render: I'm not noticing any edges, e.g. of the crates, being sharper compared to the high-res original.
  7. MrFlibble

    C&C Remasters - FMVs

    Well, after a bit of playing I can definitely say I don't like the upscaled videos at all. Having less sharp edges is actually a non-issue with neural upscales, whereas MPEG compression leaves a ton of JPEG artifacts in frames like mosquito noise and ringing, which are all too noticeable in the upscaled videos. I ran a few tests of my own in ESRGAN with frames from the PC/DOS FMVs, and I think the results are pretty decent: Gen. Sheppard Col. Morelli GDI engineer at the construction yard gate Construction yard unpacking Gen. von Esling A GDI soldier ambushes Nod trooper in a forest I added some HSV noise in GIMP at default settings to the upscaled images but otherwise no editing or pre-processing was involved. Also here's the interpolated model I used, this is for the "old architecture" ESRGAN.
  8. I don't think there was ever consistent lore developed by Westwood for Kane's origins and nature. His final pose in the ending FMV seems more like a nod (no pun intended) to the original C&C's GDI ion cannon ending, while the missile itself is a kind of downer ending for the player ("You just blew up the Earth. Have a nice day!"), and at the same time an unexpected surprise because the Nod campaign narrative in TS went away from portraying the Brotherhood straight out evil to something more of "they have their own cause to fight for", only to find out that they were ultimately manipulated by Kane to wipe out humanity (apparently). The Nod ending in TS was probably not intended to be canonical for the planned sequel so they just went with what seemed cool I guess. Also in C&C Renegade (IIRC), Kane almost straight out states he's the biblical Cain, when the player discovers the tomb of Abel under the temple in the final mission. BTW, it's your best explanation of why Kane is immortal, and you could give it a sci-fi twist in the style of Stargate if you wish.
  9. MrFlibble

    C&C Remasters - FMVs

    I wonder what models were used for the upscale (if it was ESRGAN). As I mentioned elsewhere, there are some models which are better suited for upscaling certain types of images than others.
  10. MrFlibble

    The Ultimate Free-to-Play PC Games List

    Some days ago I stumbled upon this little game called The Fertile Crescent. It's clearly inspired by the Age of Empires but gives some clever twists to the mechanics. While still being in development it's very playable already, singleplayer on a random map and multiplayer as well. The pixel art is also quite admirable I should say.
  11. MrFlibble

    C&C Remasters - FMVs

    I have mixed feelings about this. The neural upscale certainly did a great job, but the Allied cutscene shown in the reveal made a slightly odd impression on me. As if the upscale somehow made the live action part look less professional and more of a homemade VHS tape. The actors seem to stand out more against the digitized background compared to the low-res originals (maybe some sharpening was involved during upscale), and generally I got the feeling almost as if you're looking at raw footage that has not been processed yet, and not the final product. Also some parts of the frames appear blurry in the upscale, e.g. in certain frames Von Esling's eyes look very blurry. If this is not my imagination overall, perhaps the upscaled videos may yet be improved with some post-processing while staying true to the originals.
  12. Just as the title suggests, this is an attempt to list free games that very closely follow a well-known product or franchise and can thus serve as an alternative to that particular game. What I have not included on the list are multiplayer-only games, browser-based games, and all kinds of free-to-play and "freemium" online products. I have also tried not to include projects that make use of original assets like graphics and sounds (unless authorized by original copyright holders, as is the case of T2002), so games like Gods Deluxe or Return of the Triad are not on the list. Any further suggestions as to what games qualify as free alternatives are more than welcome 1. Free content replacement for original engine/engine recreation Battle Isle 2200 o Advanced Strategic Command Doom o Freedoom (Doom engine) Duke Nukem o Dave Gnukem [download] The Great Giana Sisters o OpenGGS Half-Life o Black Mesa (Source) Heretic o Blasphemer (Doom engine) Hexen: Beyond Heretic o Zauberer (Doom engine) M.A.X.: Mechanized Assault & Exploration o Mechanized Assault & eXploration Reloaded Panzer General II o OpenGeneral Quake o Open Quartz (QuakeForge, DarkPlaces) o OpenQuartz 2 (DarkPlaces) o OQPlus (QuakeForge, DarkPlaces) [SVN] Quake III: Arena o OpenArena (Quake III engine) o World of Padman (Quake III engine) RPGMaker o EasyRPG Total Annihilation o Zero-K (Spring RTS Engine) Transport Tycoon Deluxe o OpenTTD Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness o Aleona's Tales (Stratagus) X-COM: Enemy Unknown o UFO2000 2. Freeware clones A-Train o FreeTrain Carrier Command o Thunder&Lightning Chip's Challenge o Tile World Crayon Physics o Numpty Physics Crimsonland o Violetland Dungeon Keeper o Dungeon Digger o OpenDungeons Elasto Mania o X-Moto Elite o Galaxias o Oolite Escape Velocity o NAEV Guitar Hero o Frets on Fire Herzog Zwei o Herzog 3D Lemmings o Lix o Pingus Lode Runner o SDL Scavenger Master of Magic o Continents [download] Microsoft Flight Simulator o FlightGear Minecraft o Manic Digger o Minetest OutRun o RunOut Paratrooper o Dragon Fire Planet Defender o Planetary Defense Railroad Tycoon o FreeRails o FreeRails II o Railz2 Rescue! o Rescue! Max RPGMaker o Advanced RPG Maker o Mokoi Gaming o Open Legends o Open RPG Maker o Sphere RPG Engine Robot Odyssey o DroidQuest o Gate Scorched Earth o Atomic Tanks Secret Agent o Special Agent Sentinel o Sentry The Settlers II: Veni, Vidi, Vici o Widelands Sid Meier's Civilization II o Freeciv Sid Meier's Colonization o FreeCol SimCity o Lincity o Lincity NG o Micropolis Stars! o Stars! Nova Stunts o Ultimate Stunts Super Mario Bros. o Giana Worlds [download] o Giant Sisters o Secret Maryo Chronicles o SuperTux Super Mario Kart o SuperTuxKart Total Annihilation o Robotic War Transport Tycoon Deluxe o Simutrans Turrican o T2002 Warlords o Hostile Takeover Warlords II o FreeLords o LordsAWar! Wing Commander o Flight Commander Wing Commander: Privateer o Vega Strike Worms o Hedgewars o WarMUX 3. Free games inspired by classic titles (not exact remakes) Age of Empires o 0 A.D. Anno series o Unknown Horizons Battle Isle 2200 o Crimson Fields Battlefield series, Call of Duty series o Blacklight: Retribution Bos Wars, Command & Conquer: Red Alert o Commander Stalin BoulderDash, Emerald Mine, Supaplex, Sokoban o Rocks'n'Diamonds Castle of the Winds, Ancient Domains of Mystery o Fame Castlevania series o Return of Egypt Celtic Legends, Heroes of Might and Magic, Civilization o Legendary Legions Command & Conquer series o Annex: Conquer the World o Dark Konflict Dark Colony o Dark Hive Descent o Sublevel Zero (prototype) [download] Diablo o Fire & Dragons o Flare o FreedroidRPG o Gates of Destiny o Summoning Wars Doom o Harmony Doom, Quake etc. o Cube o Cube 2: Sauerbraten Dune II o Arrakis Earthworm Jim o Kapitan Binarny Empire Deluxe o GEMpire Fleet Command, Harpoon o Global Conflict Blue Frontier: Elite II o Pioneer Gradius, Castlevania, R-Type o Hydorah Grand Prix Legends o Dolphinity Racer Grand Theft Auto series o Crimelife o Crimelife 2 o Crimelife III Gun o Guns and Spurs Half-Life: Counterstrike o AssaultCube o Assault Cube Reloaded o Urban Terror Heroes of Might and Magic series o Knights of War KKnD, StarCraft o Bos Wars Lost Vikings o Lost Snowmen Master of Magic o Leylines Master of Orion o FreeOrion Natural Selection o Tremulous o Unvanquished Oxyd, Rock'n'Roll o Enigma Populous o Reprisal Puzzle Bobble o Frozen Bubble o Hex Bubbles o Zorx Quake III: Arena, Unreal Tournament o Alien Arena o Arena of Honour o Nexuiz Classic o Red Eclipse o Warsow o Xonotic R-Type o GazerStar Scorched Earth o Scorched3D Sid Meier's Civilization II o C-evo o Conquests SimCity o City of Rauma o Kylavanem o OpenCity Star Wars: TIE Fighter, Descent: Freespace o Space Combat StarCraft o Priority: Survive Solar Fox o Solar Wolf Super Monkey Ball o Neverball Turrican series o Hurrican Ultima series o The Kingdom of Syree o Nazghul o Untima IX: Descension o Zorak: The Mountain of Terror Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness o Dark Oberon o Wyrmsun Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos o Glest o MegaGlest Warsong, Master of Monsters o The Battle for Wesnoth Warlords II o The Wargame Project Wizardry VII o Escape From The Maze o LostHero - Story of Gilgamesh X-COM: Enemy Unknown o Project Xenocide o UFO: Alien Invasion o X-Force: Fight for Destiny 4. Board game implementations Diplomacy o Ludus Regius Risk o JavaRisk o NetRisk o OpenFracas o yura.net Domination Space Hulk o Alien Assault Titan o Colossus
  13. So I've been scouring old magazine coverdisks for promo screenshots and found these: You've certainly seen them all but these are in lossless, presumably original quality. I'm not sure if they are available like this before so posting here. The coverdisk they were found (originally in BMP format dated 13 April 1998) is for the Slovak magazine Riki issue No. 31 (CD 9), available here.
  14. The game data still has an almost complete set of voxel versions of Tiberian Dawn vehicles. I believe they might have been made either for testing purposes or during a very early stage of development as valid TS units. Either way, only the Mammoth and the Flame Tank make any appearance in the final game missions (both used by the mutant faction IIRC), and the Mammoth can also randomly spawn as an Easter egg unit from crates in skirmish/multiplayer. I have no idea if Nod was supposed to get Mammoths as some kind of tech tree reversal compared to TD (i.e. GDI gets futuristic stuff like mech walkers and hovercraft while Nod has to stick with previous generation hardware) or this was just a promo shot thrown together with no real tech tree philosophy behind.
  15. MrFlibble

    Original Stomp

    A version of Stomp was available from Westwood's FTP site, and you can still get it from the Bachsau mirror.
  16. I've been increasingly interested in the possibilities of scaling up video game graphics using neural networks recently, and after a relatively brief but overall productive stint with waifu2x I realised its limitations and tried out ESRGAN. While this network, like many others of this kind, is intended to process photographic images and not video gamer graphics, a model was trained by one of the users that is quite suitable for art. Without going into much detail, I scaled up three official screenshots from Command & Conquer, The Covert Operations and Red Alert, then downsized them to 640x480 and converted to the respective original palettes: Note that this was done purely for fun/out of curiosity, but the results are pretty interesting!
  17. I tried some new models from the list I found here, with some interesting results (same images): This is from an interpolation of Fatality and Rebout models (alpha = 0.5) which is then interpolated (again at 0.5) with DeToon.
  18. Thanks! Here's a few more made with the same method:
  19. In the meantime, someone made a whole bunch of new models that are significant improvement upon the original Manga109Attempt. I tested them a bit and that guy's own Manga109 version can produce vastly superior results (haven't bothered converting them to original palettes this time): This is possibly the best results I got so far with C&C images. I used only a little pre-processing on each image: use Scaler Test to resize the original image to 4x with xBRZ scaler (don't forget to uncheck the display scaler name option) load the scaled image in GIMP, apply Gaussian blur at 1 pixel radius, scale down to original size using Sinc interpolation (or, apply Gaussian at 1.5 pixels and use Bicubic) For the model, I used an interpolation of mymanga109_250000 from the site I linked to above with RRDB_ESRGAN_x4 from the default ESRGAN package. In net_interp.py, find and change code to: net_PSNR_path = './models/RRDB_ESRGAN_x4.pth' net_ESRGAN_path = './models/mymanga109_250000.pth'
  20. MrFlibble

    First C&C Remastered Renders Published

    Actually I just remembered that there is a wealth of official renders that may be used for reference, and this scan from the strategy guide gives a good idea of what the ConYard originally looked like: The "remastered" version shown is quite different from this one! I was kind of expecting the same approach to in-game sprites as in StarCraft Remastered, in fact aren't the graphics made by the same team?
  21. MrFlibble

    First C&C Remastered Renders Published

    I have to point out that they took a lot of liberties with the shape of the Construction Yard. I cannot tell for certain that the original sprite was used for reference without adjustment for correct aspect ratio, but at any rate the shape of the outer walls is noticeably different: in the original game they are not parallel to the roof but fan out to the front. Here's the correct sprite (sans the Nod logo, this is from a pre-release screenshot but otherwise faithful to the final game): The outer walls are also not flat, they actually slope a bit, which is noticeable both on the sprite itself and in the MCV deployment cinematic.
  22. Actually I like how the sand and rock textures came out grainy, they're too smoothed in the original Manga image (which I also had to apply surface blur to to get rid of the faux JPEG compression artifacts it created because the model was trained on JPEG images). Also if you look closely at the Hummvees, at least you can see their mounted guns in the second image, which are almost indiscernible blobs in the Manga one.
  23. Actually I just tried a different network from the same developers as ESRGAN, SFTGAN. Unlike ESRGAN, this one does not scale up the image itself, rather, it processes input scaled by other methods to recover texture detail. So I fed it some waifu2x images, and the results seem quite more suited to C&C screenshots: The images got sharper but also feel more jaggy though. I think this could produce possibly better results with renders as well.
  24. Market-wise, competition with Steam is theoretically a good thing, but absolutely no idea how this plays out in practice. As for giving out free games, giveaways still happen pretty regularly as far as I can tell, but the more this happens the more I am just like "what's this game, never heard of it, I don't need it anyway". But that's just me, I'm not keen on many modern titles.
  25. Oh cool, I didn't know about this category That's what buggers me a bit. The original game is internally consistent yet frozen in its time so to speak. Whereas of the remaster, I cannot tell how it will turn out in after all of course but somehow I cannot bring myself to not think of it as a "new" game. Whatever the developers do there will probably be a huge overhaul of the graphics at any rate because the DOS 320x200 stuff cannot look good by simply redrawing it at a larger scale, because the models have very scant detail (luckily there are high-res renders for almost anything for the artists' reference), unlike StarCraft's art which is still pretty detailed even though it may be considered "low-res" by today's standards. I'm somewhat concerned that if the developers take a conservative route with only bringing the visuals and sound to higher quality and resolution, that would inadvertently serve to highlight how dated the game itself is (don't get me wrong here, Command & Conquer the first game is my favourite). Possibly it's just me but makes me think in the direction I tried to describe above. There's also the context. C&C came out in 1995 when it was one of the pioneers of a budding new genre, built on the foundation that was laid out by Dune 2. There was a logic to its coming into existence, and the authors also managed to nail the Zetigeist of that era so to speak. But today the remasters seem to have been announced mostly because it's a trend, everyone else is doing this, so why not these games too? And unlike StarCraft which has few rivals in terms of popularity to this day, it seems that C&C and RA have become somewhat of a niche. I mean, even among those who play and love both (or either) game(s), how many would really like to see the recreations follow the closed-up view of the DOS versions? I'm almost certain many are used to the Windows 640x400 look of these titles, not the original DOS look of C&C. And even that aside, there's a balance to be kept between appealing to the "old-timers" who remember the original game, and everyone else, if they would care at all (your replies above appear pretty sceptical of this).
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