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MattAttack

making your own briefing movies for TD?

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I've recently been making maps for Tiberian Dawn and wondered if it would somehow be possible to film your own videos, convert them into whatever format c&c uses, make a .mix file and have it play before the mission?  Would I just have to, say, replace an existing movie in the mix? just wondering.

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It's perfectly possible, as there exists a functional AVI to VQA converter, and you don't even need to put the resulting video in a MIX file, the game reads them from its root directory just fine. Also, unlike RA1, you're not restricted by a limited number of possible video file names :)

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↑↑↑↑↑↑

 

Must be nice. Wasn't all that fun remembering what TD video used what RA1 video name when I was makeing Red Dawn.

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The problem in RA is that it doesn't save the filenames of the briefing videos in its savegames. It saves the internal ID of the video. This takes less space in the savegame, but restricts the use to videos that are IN the list. C&C1 simply saves the filename of the video, and the internal list is completely unused. I think the only thing C&C1 ever checks that internal list for is for playing the intro on first startup.

 

Anyway, for the VQA converter...

 

http://www.ppmsite.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8337

 

Best used in combination with RAD video tools, since C&C1-type VQA needs the video material as a series of 256-colour frames which all use the same palette, at (preferably) 15 FPS, with 22050 hz mono audio. RAD can convert any avi to that in one single conversion. (well, one conversion to get the frames, another to get the WAV audio)

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holy crap I got it to work!! :D made a test video and played it ingame!! this is so sweet!! also, I realized since you have to convert everything to individual pcx frames anyways, you could even do stop-motion photogrophy-- i.e. get little model tanks and have them rolling through the dirt-- as a cutscene!! THANKS!!!

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Glad I could help. There's also an advanced usage of the system where, if your video has 2 scenes with totally different colours, you can simply convert them separately, each with their own palette. The "key frame" value (normally 8, and better not touched) determines at which moments it can do palette switches. So if you ever do that, make sure the palette switch happens at a frame number that's an exact multiple of 8.

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so I take it the .vqp file is the palette?  If your scene has more than 2 palettes will you need two .vqp's, or will it all be stored in one?  I noticed there are none in the game's mix files, so where does it get it's palettes?  Would it be impolite to post a huge .mix of homemade movies on this site?  sorry for all the questions, but this really has me intrigued!  I think I'm going to make a campaign with cutscenes and breifings! :laugh:

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No, the actual colour palettes are stored in the video itself. The vqp is actually a full table of the best in-between colour for all possible combinations of two palette colours. The game uses it to stretch the 320x200 videos to 640x400 in C&C95, by spreading it out horizontally, and filling in the in-between pixels with values from the table, depending on the pixels left and right of it.

 

If you have multiple palettes, the vqp file just has multiple tables in it and becomes bigger. Some of the vqps of the original videos are almost half a megabyte in size. Since this is a table of all possibilities of combinations on a 256 colour palette, it's technically 256x256, or 65536 bytes (for one palette). For the animation palettes (for score screens and map animations) this is actually true. The VQPs however are optimized to be about half of that (by removing the inevitable duplicates), making the vqp for a one-palette video 32900 bytes.

 

The original vqps are all inside update.mix. You'll see that with its 10 mb, it's the biggest mix archive in the game (besides the music and movies), and it contains nothing else than these vqp files (and the equivalent stretch tables for the aforementioned other animated scenes).

 

 

As for posting huge uploads, it might be better for everyone involved to use an upload service like Megaupload rather than trying to attach it to the forum.

 

 

By the way, when converting videos, keep in mind that colour #0 on the palette is used as background colour to fill up the surrounding space. For that reason, it's best to make sure it remains black. To do that, you can tweak the starting index and # of colours on the RAD conversion screen. Here's the tutorial pics I made for converting videos a few years ago:

 

vqa_convert_vid.png

Small note: C&C videos are technically full-screen 320x200, meaning the video, while technically 320x200, should be stretched to 320x240 (4:3) ratio by the game. My next patch will incorporate options to accomplish this (using cnc-ddraw), so GDI logos in briefings will actually look round again :)

 

This oddity means that technically, to be correct C&C aspect ratio, all videos you make should be slightly flattened, reducing the ratio of their height to 5/6th. This usually simply means resizing 640x480 / 800x600 / 1024x768 sized content to 320x200, without forcing it to keep aspect ratio.

 

(to prove this statement, see the C&C95 title screen, which has a logo which SHOULD be round. original (640x400) - original stretched to 640x480)

 

vqa_convert_aud.png

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Awesome.... Yeah, I totally read the hell out of that thread, so I had the color thing adjusted already.  I successfully got a stop-motion movie to play in the game and downloaded some free green-screen software, so the work is in progress!  It's amazing that this stuff probably cost thousands of dollars to do originally and now I'm accomplishing it with stuff laying around the house and some free downloaded software.  Hooray for the internet!

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