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Restoration Project : D2 M2

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:07 pm
by awbacon
So for a while now, I've been accumulating as much as I possibly can on the M2 version of D2, Images / scans / press / videos / etc.

The project is as follows.

I am professionally restoring all motion media of D2 for the M2. That includes the D2 Shock Demo video unlock for the Japanese version of D2, the hidden movie on the Directors Cut of D for the 3DO, as well as multiple videos from the 3DO Live! demo discs.

Each video will be brought up to 720P (or 1080p, if the quality holds out. The source material is of course very old) through hardware solutions, then cleaned up via Davinci Resolve. I am a filmmaker for a living, and have professionally restored much of my early content. (mini-dv tapes, 16mm film stock, etc)

From that, a master film will be created with each individual sources unique clips, all color corrected to match, as closely as possible, the original intent of the content.

The Japanese text in the videos has been translated, allowing me to subtitle the video into English for the first time ever as well. Big thanks to ArcaneAria on that as well! He did the translation work for me.

In addition, I have an original source file for the musical track that plays over the original M2 version videos, so I will be able to add fully uncompressed audio into the video.

Additionally, I was graciously given the original gameplay recordings of the D2 alpha on M2 (ones that show up on youtube) to restore as well, which I will be doing. No huge color correction on this, but cleaning them up / increasing the resolution.

The end goal : I am going to craft a four disc set, much in the same manner as the Director's Cut of D for the 3DO, with a professionally made slip case and accompanying materials.

Disc 1 : the films (all motion content of the CGI previews)

Disc 2 : the gameplay (all motion content of the alpha recordings

Disc 3 : the miscellaneous (screenshots, magazine scans, audio, etc

Disc 4 : the alpha (a blank disc, with a printed top, to be burnt once and if a playable alpha ever surfaces)

Each disc (minus the blank disc of course) will be formatted to read on all PC/MAC computers. The best way to avoid compression (i.e. DVD) is to leave the files in a folder, viewable via Quicktime. (target output is ProRes 422, in a wrapper readable by all Quicktime Installations)

This is going to be a long project, and there are still pieces I am missing. I have a ton of images of the game, and magazine scans (plus images from the "Official World Guide of D") but I know there is still more.

If you have content (images, audio, advertisements, interviews, etc) please let me know. I'd like this to be as complete as possible.

I will be releasing a zipped file of all the content to the community at large. This isn't a "make money" project, but more of a curatorial effort to restore and preserve a very interesting example of a lost game on a lost console.

I will most likely make 10 copies of the physical items. I am not sure how I will disseminate them through the community, but I will figure that out. Maybe a contest or something...(like I said. Not trying to make money here haha)

This isn't going to be a quick process. Restoring each piece of content takes time, and much of that is deciding on the work that actually needs to be done. Restoration, vs creation, requires you to leave your preconceived notions and preferences on the table and to try to envision what the original creator had in mind, and to be as true as possible to that intention.

I also need to wait to perform scans on print media, and whatnot.

Additionally, due to some rather crappy life news (mother in law was just diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer) a ton of my energy is going into helping my wife / her family, and some travel back home. Hoping this project is a good outlet to put the real world out of my mind for a bit and have some fun!

I will update this thread, as the work progresses.

But like I said...I still need screenshots of gameplay / magazine scans / etc. If you have something, please do share it. All contributors will be credited in the final product.

OH....ANY DOES ANYONE HAVE AN ACTUAL PLAYABLE ALPHA? HAHA. Still haven't given up hope about it's existence

Re: Restoration Project : D2 M2

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:52 pm
by blabla
Interesting, unreleased games like this one are to me always fascinating.
Great restoration project btw, can't wait see it !
I pretty much doubt someone will find a proto of D2 any time soon though...
That and the fact that Kenji Eno died some years ago so that doesn't help.

There's not much left of the game other than videos, screenshots and the back story.
(but you probably have all of that)

I guess that if you are looking for more information,
you could always try to open the D2's executable files with a hex viewer and see if there's anything interesting.
Believe me, you can sometimes discover some interesting details behind the development of the game.

For example, i looked at my Vtech VFlash Scoobydoo game and i discovered that the disc contained a real-time operating system
(a japanese one weridly enough) and the fact that the game was programmed in C++.
I even had the path directories as the developers forgot to strip out the debugging symbols !

So you're curious, i would suggest you picking up the japanese version of D2, extract the contents from the disc,
open the binary files with a hex editor and see if you find anything interesting.
I wish i could do it but i don't own the game...

That being said, good luck with your project !

Also, i forgot to ask you this but would you (or someone else) be narrating it ?
To me, plain videos with text only aren't just compelling enough for me.
Unless you can prove me wrong...

Re: Restoration Project : D2 M2

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:53 pm
by awbacon
I would not be narrating it, nor adding voiceover work. It's not in keeping with a restoration.

Maybe as some crazy stretch I'd hire someone to do VO work in Japanese, for an alt version, but doubtful honestly

Re: Restoration Project : D2 M2

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:05 am
by blabla
awbacon wrote:I would not be narrating it, nor adding voiceover work. It's not in keeping with a restoration.

Maybe as some crazy stretch I'd hire someone to do VO work in Japanese, for an alt version, but doubtful honestly
Ah ok, as you wish then. (i kind of expect that but i was just curious)

Re: Restoration Project : D2 M2

Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:48 pm
by Martin III
Very cool project! I have nothing to offer at present, but I'm up to 1996 in my gaming magazine researches so I should have a few screenshots to share before too long.

Re: Restoration Project : D2 M2

Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:47 pm
by awbacon
Martin III wrote:Very cool project! I have nothing to offer at present, but I'm up to 1996 in my gaming magazine researches so I should have a few screenshots to share before too long.
thanks man. Let me know if you find anything!

Re: Restoration Project : D2 M2

Posted: Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:43 pm
by awbacon
Progress report : round tripped the ten minute video from the 3DO via the Framemeister XRGB Mini, through an Elgato HD60 capture device, into my computer.

This way the image is upscaled to 1080p via the framemeister (hardware solution) and not via software means. Original video was taken from its native SD format to 1080p with some excellent quality.

Re: Restoration Project : D2 M2

Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:18 pm
by awbacon
Large update #1

Translation is complete and in the project timeline. Everything has been upres'd to 1080p30p. This is for the 10+ minute video from Live! 3DO Magazine CD#10.

Captured from a stock 3DO via S-Video (would have loved to use an RGB mod 3DO, but I don't have the budget to purchase / pay to modify my system for the project, and honestly it wouldn't be a huge improvement) via the Framemeister XRGB Mini, then into computer via the Elgato Capture HD60.

Black masks are utilized to strip out all the black portion of the capture (as it appears compressed and grey colored from the source video) so as to just leave the video.

Translation was done by ArcaneAria on the boards. He provided the raw translation and some notes, and I rewrote it a bit for better context. Very minor changes, just sentence restructuring and a few changed words/choices.

I will provide detailed restoration notes once I am finished with the project. I still have the 4 minute movie from Live! 3do # 7 demo disc / D2 Shock Demo Movie to upres, along with the raw footage from the alpha footage. Also still accumulating images / interviews / texts about the M2 Version of D2.

But it's some solid progress I wanted to share. Hope you all enjoy the screenshot. (I will be releasing everything as a large, single package download, as well as a limited edition physical copy. So I still have TONS of work to do)


Re: Restoration Project : D2 M2

Posted: Wed May 04, 2016 1:18 am
by Martin III
Most excellent. Keep it up.