KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

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DerailedOmegaMale
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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by DerailedOmegaMale » Thu Apr 07, 2022 10:04 am

Oddball wrote:
Thu Apr 07, 2022 9:12 am
Ah, come on, man. You can't tell us you did a bunch more pictures and then not share the pictures. That's just a tease.
I wish I could share them, but I can't. Do you see that giant ban-hammer hanging over me? I'm lucky that I wasn't crushed by it already.

There are reasons why KS was released under "Creative Commons BY-NC-ND" and not just "Creative Commons BY-NC". And that's just regarding KS. The distribution conditions of all the other stuff I tried are even more restrictive. It's not like 4LS will just allow me to break copyrights that don't even belong to them. So I might be banned for both: KS and other stuff as well.
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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by Silentcook » Sun Apr 10, 2022 12:45 pm

DerailedOmegaMale wrote:
Sat Mar 19, 2022 7:06 pm
KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake
...Or maaaybe not quite.

I performed minimal testing on one such attempt. Here are the immediately obvious problems jumping out, and I'm pretty sure thorough testing would find some more.

-Videos: require pillarboxing.
-Transitions and non-video animations: "Wall of drugs" doesn't display correctly, blackout during heart attack not optimal.
-Textbox/NVL mode/Rin's "wall of text": definitely broken. Everything requires overhauling to keep text size appropriate to new screen resolution.
-Blinking arrow in text box: sometimes appears in the middle of the screen instead.
-Close ups in general: neither upscaling nor HD are very kind to close ups. Small lines and tiny imperfections that were invisible at native resolution become visible, and this actually worsens picture quality. To be fair, this didn't use the tool you're giving rave reviews to.

The developer of the mod decided to remove it from public distribution once confronted with these issues - no idea if that speaks to the magnitude of the problems or the skill of the programmer. "Easily" is, apparently, a cheap word to throw around when it's someone else who has to put in the work to do the job. Nevertheless, something to chew on.
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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by DerailedOmegaMale » Sun Apr 10, 2022 2:26 pm

Silentcook wrote:
Sun Apr 10, 2022 12:45 pm
I performed minimal testing on one such attempt. Here are the immediately obvious problems jumping out, and I'm pretty sure thorough testing would find some more.
In case of KS I don't think that there will be a lack of volunteers who might help with testing. KS was one of the most popular VNs for a looong time.
Silentcook wrote:
Sun Apr 10, 2022 12:45 pm
-Videos: require pillarboxing.
Not if the game is designed to run in a 3200x2400 or 1600x1200 window (the videos are in 800x600, I just doublechecked). BTW the videos can also be up-scaled frame by frame and this can be done automatically. Also if the game runs in full-screen mode the player can add pillar-boxing automatically by changing some stuff in the GPU driver options. (If you have a GPU from nvidia try the options "No scaling" / "Integer scaling" in "Adjust desktop size and position" section. Intel and AMD have some equivalent options as well.)
Silentcook wrote:
Sun Apr 10, 2022 12:45 pm
-Transitions and non-video animations: "Wall of drugs" doesn't display correctly, blackout during heart attack not optimal.
-Textbox/NVL mode/Rin's "wall of text": definitely broken. Everything requires overhauling to keep text size appropriate to new screen resolution.
-Blinking arrow in text box: sometimes appears in the middle of the screen instead.
This might indeed need fixing everywhere where the game makes the assumption that it runs in 800x600. I suspect that finding many of these kind of problems can be made easiER by searching the game's contents (not the engine) for hard-wired pixel-coordinates.

Regarding the text rendering:
At least the newest versions of RenPy handle the rendering of text at bigger resolutions (bigger than the resolution a game was primarily designed for) pretty well. I noticed that while playing some other RenPy-based games. The text and the textbox are up-scaled by the same amount and the text still perfectly fits into the text box and still looks sharp because it is rendered at the correct resolution. Not sure if there are still problems with text that it outside the small textbox on the bottom of the screen. KS seems to make this exception more often than other VNs.
Silentcook wrote:
Sun Apr 10, 2022 12:45 pm
-Close ups in general: neither upscaling nor HD are very kind to close ups. Small lines and tiny imperfections that were invisible at native resolution become visible, and this actually worsens picture quality. To be fair, this didn't use the tool you're giving rave reviews to.
Oh yes, I know exactly what you are talking about. But the original KS also has this problem. If all the pictures are up-scaled by 4 this problem will of course still be there but there is no reason to expect that it will be WORSE than in the original KS. The distortions caused by individual pixels will actually become smaller relative to the picture size at higher resolutions. Also I have a suspicion that those distortions might become less of a problem if the games is rendered with OpenGL instead of software rendering. Software rendering is likely to use some cheap algorithms to go easy in the CPU. If you look at a game that up-scales its sprites in OpenGL (like for instance "Don't Starve") the up-scaled sprites look soft and not as distorted as Rin on the rooftop up-scaled and rotated by 45 degrees. OpenGL acceleration is already included into RenPy, even into that old version of RenPy that was used for the last official release of KS for Macintosh. You just need to switch it on in Windows as well.
Silentcook wrote:
Sun Apr 10, 2022 12:45 pm
"Easily" is, apparently, a cheap word to throw around when it's someone else who has to put in the work to do the job. Nevertheless, something to chew on.
"Easily" is of course not a totally unambiguous word. I totally agree that in this case "easy" doesn't mean as easy as just running a script and calling it a day. If the game hard-wires some numbers while making the assumption that the resolution 800x600 is never going to change then it is obvious that SOME stuff here and there IS going to break.

But let's be honest about one thing: The actual MAIN challenge of remaking a game made for 800x600 into 4K is the need to redraw all those "countless" pictures. While remaking the whole game is by far not as easy as snapping fingers, the help of AI up-scaling DOES make this task significantly easIER. So I do not think that in this context using the word "easily" was completely unjustified.

All those problems that are caused by the hard-wiring to 800x600 are incidentals in comparison to the need to redraw everything (at least IMHO). Unless I am totally misunderstanding the problem all you have to do to fix most of the incidentals is to take a calculator and change "a few" hardwired numbers.

I still remember that 1st April joke from many years ago where 4LS has stated their intention of making an HD remake of KS. The point is that with the current advancements of AI up-scaling this joke starts to sound less and less unrealistic nowadays. And that is what I wanted to point out with this whole topic.

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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by OtakuNinja » Sun Apr 10, 2022 3:30 pm

Considering your very first post said you expected the few people remaining here to be lazy, I'd say this is not gonna end well. Tbh it's most likely not gonna happen for one reason or another so why do you keep pushing for this? I'm not invested in this thread but I see it updated almost daily with very few people besides yourself actually taking part in the "discussion". Not trying to be rude here, I just don't see the point
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DerailedOmegaMale
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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by DerailedOmegaMale » Sun Apr 10, 2022 3:51 pm

OtakuNinja wrote:
Sun Apr 10, 2022 3:30 pm
Considering your very first post said you expected the few people remaining here to be lazy, I'd say this is not gonna end well. Tbh it's most likely not gonna happen for one reason or another so why do you keep pushing for this? I'm not invested in this thread but I see it updated almost daily with very few people besides yourself actually taking part in the "discussion". Not trying to be rude here, I just don't see the point
The point was to communicate an idea. And yes, I do expect uninterested people to be lazy towards something UNTIL they become interested. This applies to myself as well when there is something I am not interested in.
Why I keep pushing this? I'm a free human being and one great thing about being a free human being is that you are not obliged to justify your decisions (to others OR EVEN to yourself). You are free as well. (Clearly you don't live in North Korea or otherwise you would not be here.) Therefore you can also make the choice to be interested or to simply pass by.
Also not trying to be rude here.

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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by Oddball » Tue Apr 12, 2022 1:51 pm

The developer of the mod decided to remove it from public distribution once confronted with these issues - no idea if that speaks to the magnitude of the problems or the skill of the programmer. "Easily" is, apparently, a cheap word to throw around when it's someone else who has to put in the work to do the job. Nevertheless, something to chew on.
It might also have something to do with the heavily modified nature of the original KS program.

I remember reading comment son modifying code that basically said "I'm not sure why it's doing this, but it is and it works."
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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by DerailedOmegaMale » Tue Apr 12, 2022 5:24 pm

Oddball wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 1:51 pm
"I'm not sure why it's doing this, but it is and it works."
This kind of **** happens all the time when you did not design some complex system like a piece of software yourself and try to modify it by means of reverse engineering.

When you have designed something yourself it is a completely different story. Everything looks like 2+2=4 to you. (Or at least close to that.)

Also there is a giant difference whether you try to modify a game engine like RenPy or ONLY the game's contents that are usually stored in the file archive.rpa. (If we are talking about the same mod the mod we were talking about worked by modifying RenPy and trying to "inject" Waifu2x up-scaling running on the fly into it. It didn't touch the game's contents or otherwise it would not just lie around with ONLY the engine's modified source-code available for download.) I don't think that it will be super difficult to fix the contents of KS if something breaks when someone just changes the game's contents in order to make the game's resolution bigger. In case of the solution I proposed touching the engine is completely unnecessary. (Because unlike the other Waifu2x-mod it doesn't do AI up scaling on the fly while the game is running.) You just need to change the window resolution, replace the image files and fix some broken sizes/coordinates. Some very basic programming skills and understanding of how 2D coordinates work (which is just some school math) should be sufficient to do that.

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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by DerailedOmegaMale » Sun Apr 17, 2022 9:12 pm

Just did some move testing since the RealESRGAN AI anime up-scaling is so fun to play with.

I initially thought that the video version is just a lower quality version that processes the images faster to make the conversion of videos (that are made out of LOST of pictures) less painful, but no: It doesn't just works faster, but it actually produces cleaner results when you feed it with anime videos instead of motionless pictures from visual novels, even though it still works picture by picture and doesn't take the adjacent frames into account.
Apparently this is because anime videos are actually drawn a bit differently. There are way less subtle details, thin black outlines, blurry areas and soft gradients in anime videos in comparison to motionless anime pictures from the visual novels. I guess that the animators just put less work into the individual pictures in order to save time and that makes them look a bit differently. Someone who needs to draw only a few pictures for a visual novel instead of thousands of pictures required for a video tends to put more effort into the individual pictures.
Also strong video compression creates additional inaccuracies in the original videos that might end up looking like unintentionally blurry areas later on when the version not intended for videos is used. The version for videos seems to better deal with those inaccuracies (aka. compression artifacts).
For visual novel CGs the normal anime version (not intended for videos) still works better. So you can't just assume that one of them is always better than the other like I did.
Here is the comparison again just so you don't have to go back to page 1.
comparison2.png
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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by DerailedOmegaMale » Wed Apr 27, 2022 7:41 am

I realized that I forgot to show off a certain important side by side comparison even though I should have done that right in the beginning:
How the game CURRENTLY looks like when the OS outputs the signal in 800x600 mode (which is how the current KS versions is SUPPOSED to be running) on a modern high resolution monitor and how it COULD look like on the same monitor if it was remastered with the proposed method.

None of my pictures so far have shown how the game looks on modern monitors RIGHT NOW, so there was nothing to compare with. This message provides this kind of comparison.

Currently both the monitors and the GPUs use the "bilinear" upscaling method by default when the signal doesn't fit the monitor's resolution. In the GPU driver options you can choose between making the GPU doing the upscaling before it sends the signal to the monitor or letting the monitor doing the upscaling by itself. But they both use "bilinar" by default, so both can be shown by a same example. The Macintosh version that uses OpenGL for upscaling should give the same result, since "bilinear" is also the upscaling method used by OpenGL.

The 1st picture shows all the pixels turned into 4x4 squares. This is what can be expected from an old 800x600 monitor if each of it's pixels was a perfect square.

The 2nd picture shows how the game would CURRENTLY look like on a 3200x2400 monitor when it is fed with a 800x600 signal or when the GPU is told to turn a 800x600 signal from the OS into a signal for an arbitrary widescreen monitor with a height of 2400 pixels while keeping the same aspect ratio.
(Yes, I just double-checked that this is indeed what happens to the current version of KS by default when you set it to the full screen mode. My monitor isn't 2400 pixels high, but it's high enough to clearly show the distortions caused by the bilinear upscaling. My GPU is by nvidia and the OS is Win10.
So, yeah, be prepared to enjoy this kind of distorted look if you suddenly decide to replay KS for a 2nd time 10 years after its release :mrgreen: unless you can tolerate a tiny 800x600 window in the middle of your screen. Or you can have the heavily pixelated look of the 1st picture if you tinker with your settings, but it's also not a kind of quality that you normally expect from a VN in 2022 anymore.)

The 3rd picture shows how a remastered version would look like.



comparison8.png
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This is how the tiny 800x600 window would look like on your current monitor RIGHT NOW if you choose to run the game in the windowed mode (in which case I envy your tolerance towards tiny pictures):
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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by YakuzaThugV2 » Thu Apr 28, 2022 1:19 pm

As someone who's working with AI upscaling, I'd like to say that we do not claim this person or condone their behavior... or whatever they're smoking. There's also a lot to be said in regards to the comparison pics posted, which look extremely rushed and done by a total amateur, but I'll leave it to someone more knowledgeable to break down the specifics...
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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by DerailedOmegaMale » Thu Apr 28, 2022 1:54 pm

YakuzaThugV2 wrote:
Thu Apr 28, 2022 1:19 pm
As someone who's working with AI upscaling, I'd like to say that we do not claim this person or condone their behavior... or whatever they're smoking. There's also a lot to be said in regards to the comparison pics posted, which look extremely rushed and done by a total amateur, but I'll leave it to someone more knowledgeable to break down the specifics...
lol.

Should I feel offended or should I feel honored because you actually took the effort to make a new account just in order to offend me?
It is difficult to put into words just how much I don't care what random people think about the quality of my pictures, especially if there is 0 useful information that can be extracted from what they say. (And yes, the pictures were actually partly made in Microsoft Paint in a few minutes. (The actual "bilinear" and "nearest neighbor" upscaling were made with GIMP.) I'm not even denying that they are of poor quality. Your avatar picture also looks like it was drawn in MS Paint BTW.)

And yes, if you know someone more knowledgeable who can constructively comment on the pictures, then bring them here. Let's hear what they have to say.
Last edited by DerailedOmegaMale on Thu Apr 28, 2022 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by YakuzaThugV2 » Thu Apr 28, 2022 2:04 pm

DerailedOmegaMale wrote:
Thu Apr 28, 2022 1:54 pm
lol. Should I feel offended or should I feel honored because you actually took the effort to make a new account just in order to offend me?

>>It is difficult to put into words just how much I don't care what random people think about the quality of my pictures. (And yes, they were actually partly made in Microsoft Paint in a few minutes.)
Sadly for you, I still remember the golden rule of not feeding the trolls.
I did at least find it funny seeing you edit your post after the initial writing to point out how unfazed you are. If your goal was to make someone laugh, you at least got a giggle out of me.
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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by DerailedOmegaMale » Thu Apr 28, 2022 2:08 pm

YakuzaThugV2 wrote:
Thu Apr 28, 2022 2:04 pm
Sadly for you, I still remember the golden rule of not feeding the trolls.
I did at least find it funny seeing you edit your post after the initial writing to point out how unfazed you are. If your goal was to make someone laugh, you at least got a giggle out of me.
lol. I don't care if you feel fed or not. That doesn't make any difference for me.

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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by Silentcook » Thu Apr 28, 2022 3:33 pm

Uhhh... what the fuck.

Play nice, people. I won't tell you a second time.
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Re: KS could be EASILY turned into a 4K remake [CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Post by DerailedOmegaMale » Mon May 02, 2022 5:29 pm

I'm having some plans of writing a program for Windows 10 that would automatically feed a part of the screen into RealESRGAN-anime and show the results in real-time (or close to real-time or with pixelated picture temporarily shown while the AI is still working in the background), thus allowing to use it to read old unmodified visual novels (running in window mode) on the fly. Even if the idea succeeds (which might or might not happen) do not expect the first version to be very user friendly. Maybe I'll decide against publishing it and only publish a video to show it off. As usual the goal will be to show off an idea and not making a finished user friendly product. Also do not expect to be able to use it to watch videos, since even on the newest hardware RealESRGAN-anime needs a few seconds to upscale a whole picture. The only reason why this might end up being useful for visual novels is because most of the time the player looks at a stationary pictures (and thus there is enough time to convert them even if the AI algorithm needs a few seconds to do so).

The success WILL depend on my laziness, but at this point in time I see no technical reason for this not to work. Similar up-scaling solutions already exist, but none of them use RealESRGAN (or any other AI up-scaling optimized for anime). Stay tuned.

Note that even if the idea works it will not be able to give results as good as if KS was properly remade. So think if it as a separate idea and not a perfect replacement for the remaking idea that I described here so far.

Note that the whole idea has absolutely nothing to do with piracy and it doesn't violate any copyrights related to any visual novels including but not limited to KS. It will be MORE reasonable to blame screen recording software for the easing of piracy than THIS. (Because screen recording software at least outputs video files which can potentially be shared. Even making screenshots and saving them as files (which is something everyone can already do without installing any additional software) is more useful to pirate game contents than THIS.)
I am saying this is to avoid becoming a victim of "shoot first, ask questions later". The forum mods can be the first witnesses of the first result before it's published if they want to see with their own eyes that no copyright violations are taking place. Or I might decide to use something else instead of KS to make it 100% unrelated. KS just happens to be a very suitable example since it runs in 800x600 and is released under a variant of the Creative Commons license. The idea itself should work with any kind of visual novel in windowed mode, no matter whether it is based on RenPy or not. It only takes what the game itself shows to the player on the screen and doesn't try to extract any contents out of the game and doesn't try to modify the game/engine. It will be a completely separate program unable to take anything out of the game that can not already be taken out of the game by means of making screenshots. (Basically that's the whole idea: Automatically making screenshots while a visual novel is running (WITHOUT saving them to the hard-drive as files), feeding the screenshots to the AI and instantaneously showing the results that the AI spits out to the player.)

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