EMI on ResidualVM has been steadily improving and though it still has a way to go before all the issues are ironed out, I thought it might be time to revisit an old plan: Putting the improvements from the PS2 version of EMI into the PC version. You can read about my previous (unsuccessful) endeavours here
Since we now have the option of running the PS2 version directly in ResidualVM, I’ll start by listing some of its disadvantages that make the PC version preferable (all glitches and stability issues aside):
- Lower quality backgrounds (they show signs of dithering, implying a reduction to 16-bit colour).
- Some backgrounds have been lightened and have a washed-out look to them.
- Lower quality music (24kHz vs 44kHz in the PC version).
- Pre-rendered giant monkey head is replaced with a 3D model.
- No “main menu”, no menu hotkeys, and a very limited save/load system.
With that out of the way, here are the 5 improvements I have identified in the PS2 version...
Smoother Models (status: not yet)
The PS2 renders models more smoothly than the PC version by using “smoothing groups”. I don’t know much else about this. ResidualVM doesn’t currently do this and I don’t know if it would be feasible to implement, or if it could be applied to the PC version too.
Higher Quality Video (status: not worth it)
The PS2 video suffers from less compression artifacts than the PC video. Sadly, this comes at a cost: the video is only 640x448 rather than 640x480, dropping every 15th line. It’s questionable as to which version is actually better. Various techniques could be tried to reconstruct the missing lines, but the end result still may not be any better than the current video. (I've seen the PAL version too, it's the same resolution - only difference is lower frame rate).
Higher Quality Audio (status: success)
The PS2 videos have 48kHz uncompressed audio tracks, while the PC version has 22kHz bink audio.
This is relatively straight-forward to add to the PC version, though it requires some Windows-exclusive tools:
- Demux all the PS2 videos using PSS Demux.
- Cut the SMUSH headers out of the PC .m4b videos.
- Use RAD Video Tools to mix in the wav files to the corresponding m4b files. I recommend quality = 3.
- Add the SMUSH headers back in.
Note: Skip the “sory” video as the PS2 version of this is a few seconds shorter.
This only works in ResidualVM. If you want to do this for the original game you'll need to find a version of the RAD Video Tools that uses the old audio format (I used v1.0 with quality = 2).
Extra Dialog (status: success)
The PS2 version shows a few extra lines of dialog in various places, such as a line between Guybrush and the catapult operator about why he’s having such a hard time hitting the house. These lines don’t appear in the PC version because it doesn’t show the scroll arrows for some reason.
This can be fixed by changing Dialog.scroll_mode (local.m4b/_dialog.lua, line 20) from FALSE to TRUE. I’m hoping this fix can be included with ResidualVM at some point but in the meantime you can install the patch file below.
Monkey Kombat Chart (status: success)
The PS2 version keeps track of moves you learn for Monkey Kombat so you can easily review them.
In another small change, the PS2 version will kick you out of a duel if you cause 3 draws, leaving Guybrush slightly puzzled. I guess this is supposed to be a hint for how to win the game.
I've succeeded in porting this to the PC version by copying some lua code and assets, you can install the patch file below and hold shift during your turn to display the chart. (Note it doesn't get removed properly when you release shift, I think this is a glitch in ResidualVM).
Monkey Invaders (status: not yet)
The PS2 version includes a new easter egg mini-game called Monkey Invaders, accessible from the Bonus menu once you learn all the moves in Monkey Kombat. Could be fun to try porting this to the PC version, though I'm not sure how you would activate it (the PC version doesn't have a Bonus menu).
Download and extract the RVM or PC Dialog+Kombat patch from here
RVM: Place the datausr.m4b file in your EMI install folder and check the “Load user patch” option in the ResidualVM game settings.
PC: Place the patch.m4b file in your EMI install folder, replacing the existing one. (This patch also includes a bugfix for Guybrush on the raft
Any comments, corrections or further info are most welcome.