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brigam25

Dragon Quest 8 - The "Movie"

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Hello everybody. I'm nearing the end of a project that I've been working on and wanted to share some info about it with you all. The TLDR version - I've extracted the cut-scenes from Dragon Quest 8, and stitched them into a 'movie', so to speak.
 
Information About The Project (Original Post)

Project Background
I've been wanting to do this since 2005, when the game was released here in the states. I was so enthralled with the storyline that I wanted a way to relive the story itself after having played the game. Years later, technology and game emulation advanced to a point where this goal became feasible.
 
As it turned out, I have King Zenith to thank for some support in this project...and at first, he didn't even know it. Before finding the Den, I perused YouTube to see if anyone was working on this. I stumbled upon KZ's cut-scene rips on YouTube, which served as an index for me while I was going through and extracting video. After joining the Den in May, I put 2+2 together and realized that it was KZ who had extracted and posted those videos to YouTube.
 
This is actually the second time I've done this. From Dec-Feb 2014, I extracted video using PCSX2, rendered files in VirtualDub and used Sony Movie Studio to stitch it all together. But it was not the best quality. After finishing my first run, I started playing around with PCSX2 settings and found a way of extracting a much higher quality picture (internal res settings and such), which prompted a re-do. Also realized that Sony Movie Studio didn't need a pre-rendered file from VirtualDub, which helped tremendously with quality control. That takes us from Mar 2014 to the present. As a teacher, between lesson plans and grading papers, every other waking moment was spent on this project. Needless to say, I'm feeling tired and a bit burnt out...but accomplished.
 
Project Details
The final project reaches nearly 9 hours in length. This includes the cut-scenes and some filler material used to bridge some scenes together. For those of you (including me) whose gameplay was 50-150 hours for a typical DQ8 run, 9 hours is definitely an abridged experience. I've split this project into 17 individual segments, or episodes. I'm tentatively calling it a "cinematic walkthrough". I've given them titles that I borrowed from a show I used to watch (will let you all try to figure out which one) and that do serve as descriptors for the segments. What I intend to do is upload an episode or two a week, and post links for all to see. I'll also update this initial post with an index of the uploads as I process them. I made a few 'directorial changes' to the storyline in order to maintain continuity. They may or may not be noticed, but I'll share information about these for each segment as they're uploaded.
 
Project Goals
I've really enjoyed working on this project for a number of reasons. 1) As mentioned in the background, I wanted a way to relive the DQ8 experience. It is a fantastic storyline, full of pathos and great character development that at the time was hard to find in a lot of games. I know the fan-camp is divided regarding the voice acting. It did inhibit the flow of gameplay, and so some may have breezed through the cut-scenes in favor of the game. Hopefully this will be a way of presenting the game in a new light to fans. 2) This was actually one of the last video games I played - after the second or third playthrough, I started noticing that I would get awful motion sickness with 3D video game graphics. It yielded an underlying health issue (which has thankfully been controlled) and essentially meant an end to my gaming days...save for DQ9 and hopefully 10 & 11 if/when we get a NA release. I've been a fan of the series since its inception, so I intend to stick it out for the long haul. 3) I was able to learn Sony Movie Studio. I had wanted to upgrade from Windows Movie Maker for years, but never had an opportunity. Then I bought a Sony laptop that came with Movie Studio, for free. It's fantastic software and I've really enjoyed working with it.


 
Episode 1 - Sight Unseen (added 7-22-14)
Episode 2 - Between Two Fires (added 7-23-14)
Episode 3 - Children of the Gods (added 7-26-14)
Episode 4 - Past and Present (added 7-30-14)
Episode 5 - Fair Game (added 7-31-14)
Episode 6 - Window of Opportunity (added 8-1-14)
Episode 7 - Threshold (added 8-3-14)
Episode 8 - The Ties That Bind (added 8-4-14)
Episode 9 - The Enemy Within (added 8-6-14)
Episode 10 - Bloodlines (added 8-6-14)
Episode 11 - Maternal Instinct (added 8-7-14)
Episode 12 - Rite of Passage (added 8-9-14)
Episode 13 - Enigma (added 8-14-14)
Episode 14 - Absolute Power (added 8-17-14)
Episode 15 - Revelations (added 8-19-14)
Episode 16 - Last Stand (added 8-23-14)
Episode 17 - Birthright (added 8-28-14)

Edited by brigam25
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Great story, and nice job keeping with it!

Edited by Plattym3

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Sounds interesting.

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Can't wait to see the final project. Errr... Film!  :thumbsup:

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Yeah, sounds very cool. Can't wait to see it.

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This is awesome!  Exactly what this game needed, and the format is perfect.  I think segmenting it into those nice bite size chunks (episodes) is a great idea, and I'm looking forward to seeing the high quality rips.  

 

Looking forward to the first segment (and I'll be interested to see where you have decided to split them). 

 

Thanks!

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Looking forward to seeing this in a theatre near me.  :thumbsup:

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cool idea!

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I'm on vacation next week so maybe I'll hook up the laptop to my TV, pop some corn, and make a day of it if it's finished by then.

 

Out of curiosity's sake what did you name the hero? Just Hero or Eight or something? 

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Out of curiosity's sake what did you name the hero? Just Hero or Eight or something? 

 

Good question. I stuck with Hero. During the first run, I used my actual name and blurred it out during editing (for anonymity's sake). Doing the HQ run, I opted for a more generic name. Thought about Eight, but since his Japanese name (主人公) translates to Hero, it seemed only natural.

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Fellow Denners, I present to you:

 

Episode 1 - Sight Unseen

In search of the heinous jester Dhoulmagus, the party arrives in a local town where a fortuneteller's daughter is seeking help in restoring her father's "vision".

 

Director's Notes

Made some music changes here and there (still the DQ8 score) to help with the flow of the story. There is a loss in video quality at certain points due to emulation limitations and pre-recorded FMV's that could not be enhanced. Worked to compensate for this during editing as best I could. You'll see an example halfway through the Waterfall Cave and Geyzer sequence. Also, make sure your YouTube resolution is set to 480p, for the clearest image possible.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w82Ixgjq3o

 

Watch, discuss and enjoy. Cheers :)

Edited by brigam25

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Very nice, Mr. Spielberg. I like the way you edited the battles and the audio so it all kind of flowed instead of chopped together.

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Thanks - the first run was not as clean. The in-game music was constantly playing so there were gaps when segments were cut out. During the second run, I decided to turn off the music and then overlay it wherever needed during editing. Worked out so much better.

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This project is a great idea. I was actually just talking to my friend and she was mentioning how she can't play this game. I said I would send her the cut-scenes so that she could watch them and experience the game that way. But now with these episodes, I can send those to her instead. Perhaps in the future they can be downloaded onto a disc (probably several) for a movie marathon.

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Wow, I had no idea you were going to such lengths to ensure nice continuity of the scenes. I like how the key battles are shown, but you don't waste time showing the menu selections.  I also like the way you have some footage of proceeding to the waterfall and heading down into the cave (but not the whole footage, that would be boring!). 

 

You have obviously done a ton of work preparing and editing this.  I loved this and I sincerely appreciate your attention to detail and your willingness to go to all that trouble.

 

Thanks so much for sharing this.  Looking forward to seeing the next one.

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Perhaps in the future they can be downloaded onto a disc (probably several) for a movie marathon.

 

Great minds, Dem. During the first run, I actually did copy them to (4) DVD's for archiving's sake. Had menus and everything. The only thing is that it involved reprocessing and further compressing video, which impacted image quality significantly. Instead, what I do is store them on a flash drive, since a lot of smart TV's and bluray/dvd players will play vids from a flash drive.

 

But I'll be glad that your friend will be able to experience the story. When I talk to people and tell them that my story-reading came from video games, they look at me quite befuddled. Now at least, I can give them a solid example of what I was talking about.  

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Wow, I had no idea you were going to such lengths to ensure nice continuity of the scenes. I like how the key battles are shown, but you don't waste time showing the menu selections.  I also like the way you have some footage of proceeding to the waterfall and heading down into the cave (but not the whole footage, that would be boring!). 

 

You have obviously done a ton of work preparing and editing this.  I loved this and I sincerely appreciate your attention to detail and your willingness to go to all that trouble.

 

Thanks so much for sharing this.  Looking forward to seeing the next one.

 

Thanks KZ. I wish I had kept the pages from my steno book when I was working through each segment. After recording the cut-scenes, I'd sketch out what 'filler' material I needed to record. Even so far as to identify when weapon changes would take place and when, day-night changes, etc. I'd do draft views, jotting down notes of things I had to go back and fix. The fight sequences were definitely the most detailed bits to piece together. In some instances, it was a frame-by-frame analysis to keep it running smooth. A lot of work, but a lot of fun.

 

Final rendering is what seems to take the longest - around 2 hours for 30 minutes of video. I do a 2-pass VBR, so it takes some time. Opted also to render on my desktop, as my laptop's GPU/CPU have put in their fair share with simply extracting the video. Episode 2 was rendered today, but there was one spot I forgot to edit so I had to re-do it - I'll explain about that once I get that segment posted.

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Was able to get the second episode loaded :) Might be a few days before the next one...life stuff. Will still be around, though.

 

Episode 2 - Between Two Fires

Travelling south, the party arrives at a small village where they have a chance encounter with a fledgling mage, torn between family duty and a personal drive to avenge her brother's death.

 

Director's Notes

Throughout the project, there were a few dark sequences which got darker after rendering. I've gone through and brightened these areas so that it appears normal after rendering - almost forgot about one spot...well, actually I did forget about it. But it's been fixed. Also, beginning in this episode, you'll notice with non-boxed text that there are some 'artifacts' that appear along with the text. These are due to emulation settings and couldn't be compensated for without video quality loss. Hopefully they won't be too much of an eyesore. And a note about the fight sequences - you may begin noticing that I've shortened some of them to fit a certain timeslot. It may or may not become more evident in later episodes.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liHG4wuPHqM

Edited by brigam25

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Ahhh, just watched episode 2 on my tv and it looked glorious!  These are so bloody awesome to watch.  It was so good I had to go back and watch the first episode again on my tv this time. 

 

The text artifacts were barely noticeable (I probably wouldn't have noticed them if you hadn't mentioned them), and thusly didn't bother me at all.  I really like the flow of the traveling scenes.  It's like there is a 5 second timer and you will smoothly cut to somewhere further along once the time for this portion is up.  It keeps it at a nice pace but still gives you enough time to soak in the surroundings and the general atmosphere.  I like how you meandered down to the beach instead of just staying on the beaten path.

 

I can't say enough good things about this. 

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Oooh! How dastardly! I hope they get that Dhoulmagus character!

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I have the first two downloaded, will start watching them on my nightly treadmill run, really looking forward to it.  Thanks for putting this together, from the quick scan I did on the first episode, it looks great.

 

Out of curiosity, how big (file size wise) are then before you push them to YouTube?

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I really like the flow of the traveling scenes.  It's like there is a 5 second timer and you will smoothly cut to somewhere further along once the time for this portion is up.  It keeps it at a nice pace but still gives you enough time to soak in the surroundings and the general atmosphere.  I like how you meandered down to the beach instead of just staying on the beaten path.

 

What I tried to do with the filler sequences is transition the individual segments following the song's tempo, with each segment spanning a measure or two. Identifying where to transition was pretty random itself...just whatever looked like a good transitory spot. I try to showcase as much of the world as possible - my motivation for sidetracking onto the beach was that dog. I like that he interacts somewhat with Hero.

 

Out of curiosity, how big (file size wise) are then before you push them to YouTube?

 

Episodes 1 and 2 were 245mb and 282mb, respectively. I tried tooling my rendering settings to best match YouTube's recommendations so that quality loss was minimal. Are the downloaded files close to these figures?

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Happy weekend, everybody. I've just finished uploading the third episode :) It may take YouTube about 30 mins or so to get the 480p version up and available for view.

 

Episode 3 - Children of the Gods 

Having ferried to the southern continent, the party continues their journey and cross paths with a rogue knight who seeks their help after sensing a sinister presence surrounding a beloved religious figure.

 

Director's Notes

 

My choice to cut back on some of the music becomes more apparent in this episode. Like a movie, I wanted it to enhance certain scenes, rather than be constantly playing as it did with the game. I also forgot to mention this in the second episode - in working through story continuity, I've moved around some spoken parts to better fit the story. This will be noted whenever there is speaking, but no text box overlay to accompany it. This only needed to be done a few times throughout the project. I opted to skip the Tormented Soul battle, only because there was no VA sequence. And last but not least, I wanted to mention shadows. In the emulator, shadows are not shown in hardware mode. Didn't realize this on the first run, so playing around with the settings I was able to re-introduce a lighter-than-normal shadow than what was actually seen in the game. You might be thinking that they're just shadows and insignificant to the story, but they do play a part more often than you would think (i.e. the Abbot's murder).

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCHNmPE7SlU

 

Rendering's slow but steady, and tomorrow I'll start work on my final episode. Should get my next episode uploaded in the next few days. Cheers! :thumbsup:

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Here's wishing you all a fine Wednesday. Nice and sunny here in Florida today with an expected high in the mid-90's...wouldn't have it any other way :) I've uploaded the fourth episode for your viewing pleasure. Just a little note that it may take YouTube a half hour or so to get the 480p version up and ready to watch.

 

Episode 4 - Past and Present
Making their way east, the party arrives at a once great kingdom, now entangled in the sullen throes of their mourning king. Here a young castle maid with a small glimmer of hope seeks help from an unlikely source.

 

Director's Notes

 

Back when I first played the game, I had never stopped and triggered the memory sequence for Angelo. Here you'll see another scene that has been colorized through emulation settings - what a nifty little feature that has been. A bummer I have is that meeting with Emma's grandmother doesn't trigger a VA sequence. It's one of a handful of quests that, without VA, are seemingly launched without any rhyme or reason. C'est la vie, I suppose ;) Also, in Ishmahri's...observatory(?) some may notice that the background looks like mist or rain, as opposed to being as detailed as it was in the game - another emulation snag.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cpipWfgq5Y

 

See you all soon with the next episode. Cheers! :thumbsup:

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