Modding Rundown: MOVIES

Started by Noelemahc, February 21, 2007, 04:42AM

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February 21, 2007, 04:42AM Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 04:12PM by Teancum
The movies for the engine are stored in the SFD format.

SFD is a package format developed by SofDec. It consists of two elements: the video, encoded with the SofDec's video codec which is based on MPEG2 (Open the SFD in any video player to get my meaning) and the audio, which is encoded with SofDec's proprietary CRI ADX format which, currently, NO standalone program is capable of playing back.

The two key elements of the format are size and FPS rate. It has an unusually high FPS speed however large the video resolution, which is why many companies favour the SFD format over the tried-and-true Bink Video these days. The fact that Bink is a completely open format, with the official encoder/decoder available for free, might also play a role here.

The fact stands: the format is standartized. This means, for instance, you can play back videos from MUA in XML2, or videos from XML1 in MUA (trust me, I checked). There is currently no way to get the format to play back clearly outside of a game built using SofDec's drivers, though.

That about covers it, just thought I'd drop these few factoids on you lot.

Crimson Dynamo says:
In Soviet Russia, the games mod YOU!

If anyone needs any art for icons or portraits, feel  free to ask, I'll see what I can do.

Just curious... but why don't developers use something open-source like Xvid + OGG?

Mpeg-2 served its purpose over a decade ago, but there are better options now... right?

well the company would get support from SofDec if they use the format and they can feel safe that their videos can't be pirated easily in good quality.

as for opensource, who are you going to go to when you need some help.. post in random forums?

Anyone have any ideas as to how we might write our OWN movies?

For instance, recording the XML1/2 briefings and making them into movies, ala MUA briefings?

breifings running from the pc or from console?

if from pc:
we would maybe have to get a screen capture program to record into an mpeg or avi formt then convert it to sfd.
i put some links for converting here, but i havent looked too hard to see if any of them actually work

if from console, you would just need a video card with video in, then try to convert that to sfd

Alright, I will see what I can do. In the mean time, if someone who has MUAPS2 wouldn't mind uploading 0399 and 0499, I'd appreciate it.

What's wrong with the current briefing files?  Does MUA use motion capture, and XML2 use something different?  Being that I'm tackling XML1 for the XML2 engine, I suppose video compatibility would be a nice thing to know (since I haven't gotten there yet).
Some day, someone will best me.  But it won't be today, and it won't be you.

The artist formerly known as Burning Rage.

XML1/2 briefings support mocap, whereas MUA briefings appear as videos.

The really sad part is that MUA contains all the files necessary to play back those mocap scripted scenes (ala XML1/2) EXCEPT for the scripts themselves. There are rigging skeletons, there are hi-def models (including Leather Jacket Wolverine) and so on. They're only present in the PC version though, so there is no way to get one of these that could be reinserted into XML2 to see if it'd work there. Sad, very sad.

Crimson Dynamo says:
In Soviet Russia, the games mod YOU!

If anyone needs any art for icons or portraits, feel  free to ask, I'll see what I can do.

Looks like custom SFDs are possible.

Apparently SEGA Dreamcast Movie Creator will do just what we need. 

Another link (with a download link)

November 12, 2013, 10:09AM #11 Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 09:07AM by Emily Frost
(I realize this thread is super old... but its the correct thread nonetheless)

So, I dusted off MUA, tested this and got the following results:
Yes, you can make videos from scratch and they will work. However, the resolutions need to be exact for them to display correctly. The game engine will not scale them otherwise and there will be black 'letterboxing' borders.

I play in 1920x1080 resolution, but you can't make a 1920x1080 sfd because the game freezes trying to load it. The largest res I believe it will accept is the rather weird 768x432 which I have never heard of prior to this. 768x432 is also what size the MUA default cinimatics are. When run through the game engine it scales them up to Fullscreen and they look better than you would expect. I always assumed the videos were 1280x720 but I digress...

Here is an 18 second example I made. Works perfect.

This is using 768x432 and running at 60fps (not that it matters because the source was 29fps, but I wanted to see if the game would accept 60fps. It does.)
aspect ratio 1:1
Bitrate 3300 (min 2900, max 3500)

There appears to be NO limit at the ammount the game can hold, but it will only play the first 64. Video # 65+ will be locked regardless of 'unlocked = true ;' Not sure why. It is likely the same thing limiting the loadscreens to 64.

The example is named 'test1.sfd' so if you choose not to rename it you can place it as follows 'Marvel - Ultimate Alliance/movies/ntsc/eng/t/e/test1.sfd' and add it to the review menu by adding this code to 'data/review_paths.engb' :

   item {
   name = test movie 1 ;
   type = cin ;
   unlocked = true ;
   value = test1 ;

Asside from the aforementioned 768x432 the only other full resolution which I can get to work is  352x240.
Others like the standard SD 640x480 will work, but all 4:3 resolutions will result in letterboxing, and so far HD resolutions do not appear to be supported very well either.

I tried all the programs listed in this thread. Some are good, some not so much.
What I finally got to work correctly is this combination for making to new SFDs. I haven't figured a great way to poke around in existing SFDs yet, but I'll look into it... because the XML1 vids are not fullscreen and I would very much like them to be. I can open them, but the video is distorted.


A program called 'TMPGEnc 4.0 Xpress' will let you take an AVI you want to use in MUA and rip the sound and video into seperate files.
Run if once to rip JUST the audio into a .wav using the 'Linear PCM' stream format.
Then run the program again to rip JUST the video a .m1v using '768x432' as your size and 1:1 as your aspect ratio. I have tried various things for the fps and bitrates and they all seem to work (23fps, 29fps, 60fps) (2000 bitrate, 3000 bitrate) However I am pretty sure there is a point you can reach where the video is too much of a burden to load if you go crazy with the settings.

I find that this TMPEnc program is picky toward the codec used to compress the avi. It works with most, but some give it problems. If you have the space I would suggest making your avis uncompressed. This is becuse the conversion process to sfd automatically compresses them as much as could possibly be done anyway. That 18 second clip was almost 800mbs uncompressed, after I made it in Sony Vegas, but using the Dreamcast Movie Creator I input the m1v into the video slot and the wav into the audio slot, select Sofdec sfd and merge them and I get a cute little 7mb file mua will read as a fullscreen vid. I totally understand why they use this compression method now. I bet I could smash all 5 seasons of breaking bad into under 1gig if I felt like watching it in sfd. Best compression I have ever seen, hands down.

I had to do quite alot of math, because the Dreamcast Movie Maker appears to be the very best tool to convert sfds, but it was made waaaay back when... well, the dreamcast was out. So it only even accepts resolutions of up to 1024 with. On top of that, the width of the input video must be divisible by 16 and the height by 32 or the program freaks out. The resolutions I gave are not merely the best I could find but the limit of what the programs (both MUA and also Dreamcast Movie Creator) can handle. But it works out just as well as the default vids for the most part. I only tell you all this in case you wish to look for other resolutions it gives you a place to start.
"I'd give my Ex-Gene for my Ex, Jean... but I'll date Emma- since it's the next best thing."

I've just put together a secondary set of tools that's entirely based around the command line, with instructions and details on how SFD files work. If you want to work with movies in batches (which is way easier) you'll want to use these. Basically with these you can work with all your movies, then use FFMPEG to convert them to the video file type you'll need, and the programs included will convert the audio and put the video and audio together into an SFD file.