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    Xenosaga's real resolution is not what you may think!



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    Xenosaga's real resolution is not what you may think!

    Post by answerawake on Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:48 pm

    Note: I have no clue if any of you knew this stuff already so if you did just let me know or please feel free to correct anything and everything that might be wrong here this is just the result of my research.

    So as a continuation of the thread discussing my efforts to rip the Xenosaga 1 DVD, I have discovered some interesting things so far on the disc so far.

    One of the very first things I stumbled upon is:

    this: https://i.imgur.com/bnzJy19.jpg

    and this: https://i.imgur.com/bKgBpWz.jpg

    Look familiar? They should, because they are the logo and start screens you see when you start the game. They seem kinda small dont they???? Well what you are seeing is the internal native resolution that the game runs at. Yep....the game supposedly runs at that tiny resolution.

    So to further prove this point, I found the videos from layer 1 of the DVD, let me show you the native size of them as well.

    Take a look:  https://i.imgur.com/tT1sJhS.png

    As the picture shows...the resolution is 512x448

    This is not even following the DVD Video standard!

    From Wikipedia:

    The following formats are allowed for H.262/MPEG-2 Part 2 video[9][better source needed]:
    At 25 frames per second, interlaced (commonly used in regions with 50 Hz image scanning frequency):
    720 × 576 pixels (same resolution as D-1)
    704 × 576 pixels
    352 × 576 pixels (same as the China Video Disc standard)
    352 x 288 pixels

    At 29.97 frames per second, interlaced (commonly used in regions with 60 Hz image scanning frequency):
    720 × 480 pixels (same resolution as D-1)
    704 × 480 pixels
    352 × 480 pixels (same as the China Video Disc standard)
    352 x 240 pixels

    Notice 512x448 is not listed on there. Its not even close...  Razz

    So the next question is Why? Why is the game running at this resolution. This was really baffling to me and I had to find out!

    Some more digging into PSX-SCENE helped to shed some light:

    From User "No.47" on the forums:

    No.47 wrote:I'm afraid that's not the case. PS2 games unfortunately are notorious for struggling with their framerates. I mean, that was the reason why all these devs used stupid internal resolutions like 512x448 (sacrificing resolution for performance). And all these games that switch to lower internal resolutions and even lower color depth when using progressive scan to keep up the framerate. Why should the devs have bothered with these workarounds if they weren't necessary?
    However, I would gladly be proven wrong Wink

    Hmm, I was intrigued by this statement.....

    A bit further down in the thread:

    From user "VIRGIN KLM"

    VIRGIN KLM wrote:Yeah it looks like this was a cheap excuse to cover up a Sony secret.
    While indeed PS2's hardware isn't anything cool, the reason that you see over and over those stupid as you correctly said resolutions is because of some oddities in the provided SDK tools of PS2. If they didn't use one of those resolutions it wouldn't pass Sony's standarization program and the game wouldn't get mastered. The reason that they did that was because they didn't want other developing companies/teams to do the effort to compete or show-off with a resolution fight to prove that they are good developers and fool people for the visual results, something that they continue to do to date with PS3. In other words they didn't want any of them to know how to utilize the hardware at it's fullest resolution wise because they kept that for their OWN internal use/studios/games. So even if the studio was able to render a game at a higher resolution, Sony wouldn't allow it.
    Proof? Check at SMS Media Player. It uses 1262x612 as resolution on 720p, which is a "non standarized" by them resolution on the SDK and SMS uses PS2's hardware at it's fullest with High Bitrate stuff, nothing that could get compared even with the most resource demanding games such as GOW2.
    My point that what I describe is always worth experimenting, it's not anything that it promises to give game universal results in any aspect including quality and speed.

    I find that kind of hard to believe. Sony was successful because they treated developers far better than Sega\Nintendo ever did, which is one of many reasons the developers flocked and continue to flock to them. Still it is possible.

    For those of you who have not heard of Mark Cerney, he was involved in the production of games such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the dragon. He also ended up being the lead system architect of the Playstation 4.

    He gave a speech earlier this year titled "The road to PS4" in that speech he talked about how in the early days of PS2 all throughout the early days on PS3, it was every man for himself. As the PS2 (and subsequently PS3) got harder and harder to develop for, the internal Sony game teams had a head start because they had early access to the hardware. They did not share their knowledge with other devs because they were just thinking about their individual game titles and not about the "platform" as a whole. This came back to haunt them with the PS3 because it resulted in a weak launch lineup and developers started shifting resources to the Xbox 360.

    Around the most painful years of PS3(2006-2008) there was a change in attitude in Sony, after experiencing the frustrations and pain of developers struggling on the PS3, they realized that they should share all their knowledge as fast as they can with as many developers as possible because it is for the good of the platform. The thinking was became more along the lines of "the franker the better we are all in this together"

    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHXrBnipHyA

    and the super quick Christmas version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CIpg81zZwQ

    Anyway there was a comment further below the thread indicating that other shenanigans were going on...

    From No. 47

    No.47 wrote:The majority of PS2 first-party game titles seems to use the internal resolution 512x448 (and similar) for 'frame rendering' games or 640x448 (and similar) for 'field rendering' games, which effectively is far less than true 640x448. I'm convinced they really thought using a smaller-than-full framebuffer is a clever 'trick', according to the motto 'It looks nearly identical to using full frame buffer and saves so much processing power! Awesome!!'.
    Example: The first-party God of War 2 uses an internal resolution of 512x448, but the developer (SCE Santa Monica) also implemented the famous 'hidden HD mode' which is simply using a full frame buffer (640x448). They didn't make that the default for performance reasons (lower framerate / too many framerate drops).
    And there are other examples, like the Tomb Raider games developed by Crystal Dynamics. As most games they are 512x448 by default, but they also included a progressive scan mode. To avoid the 'black border problem', they increased the internal resolution when using progressive scan, but not to 640x448 which would have been the obvious choice, instead they chose 576x416. Why would they use this resolution? It's certainly not a 'Sony-standard' resolution... the only reason I can think of is that they made that compromise to avoid a big performance difference between using 480i (512x448 internally) and 480p (576x416 instead of 640x448 internally).
    Gran Turismo 4 is one of the 'field rendering' 640x448 games and it still offers a progressive scan mode. How is that possible? If there was so much processing power left they would've never used field rendering in the first place. I read somewhere they switched to 16bit color frames for the 480p mode and who knows what else they sacrificed to keep the framerate...

    Now after reading all that there is one thing to keep in mind....this is all stuff someone said on a message board lol  but it is still interesting:

    So what are your guys thoughts? I would love to have a conversation with everyone regarding this. Its CRAZY to think about isn't it? All this time.....512x448  wow  Smile

    Oh and finally before I forget, the PSX-SCENE thread where all of this came from:  http://psx-scene.com/forums/f293/ps2-widescreen-hack-codebreaker-ps2rd-codes-only-103096-print/index16.html

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    Re: Xenosaga's real resolution is not what you may think!

    Post by katimus_prime on Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:56 pm

    Yanno, all this time, I thought the game was just running a little under par because I've never, ever owned a TV that could do more than 480p. I imagine that this might be one of the hurdles an HD Remaster might have to go through. I know that the game can be emulated on a PC to run much higher, but that's far beyond my knowledge and current at-home equipment.

    It's actually quite disappointing to hear that non-Sony Devs were forced to use those weird resolutions. O_o;


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    Re: Xenosaga's real resolution is not what you may think!

    Post by answerawake on Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:14 pm

    Katimus, I think if they decide to do the port they would have to rewrite a bunch of the code that makes up the game so it would merit them revisiting the resolution issue because new systems are much more capable these days and the performance drop due to higher resolution wouldn't be that big of an issue as it was back then.

    A port would probably depend on how much they expect to sell vs the opportunity cost of doing it. The opportunity cost is too high probably which is why we haven't seen it.  Plus there is the whole ownership issue. Sad

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    Re: Xenosaga's real resolution is not what you may think!

    Post by kare_reiko on Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:45 am

    Well I don't know why they make other then standard resolution in ps2 games. Maybe to save some more space? I'm still amazed how they push so many hours of pre-rendered cutscenes in some games on DVD. See Xenosaga, or KH, but Xenosaga is most amazing. Lat's say that only half of cutscenes are pre-rendered, it's like 4 hours of move files alone and there is still game files on disc. Pretty amazing...
    I didn't know but japan has many different size, when we use more of A4, A5 size of piece of paper, they prefer B4, B5....
    It's the same for frames, Japan prefer more 15, Europe 25, USA 30. It's not like it's always like that but I saw it many times.
    Japan always like to minimize things, if they look alright in smaller resolution then why use bigger one when you can save resources, time and space.

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