[RM2K/2K3] VIDEO REQUEST THREAD: HOW TO BRING VIDEO INTO RM2K/2K3

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Special Thanks to vgperson, Rindre, Darken and in particular BlindMind, who I would not have been able to started this project at all, if I didn't have a project like Beloved Rapture to beta test to test out this idea on.

Similar to the new archive thread, This thread is going to research, explore and test various methods on how to add video to rpgmaker2000/2003.

The (RM2k/2k3) Video Request Thread

Now that, re-hauling the archive thread is mostly out of the way, I thought I'd get started on this thread, as this is an idea I had for awhile - over the years while working with rpgmaker, I've learned an unfortunate truth about the engine: creating actual, in game cutscenes in rpgmaker2000/2003 take months of gruelling work to complete.

There are some really talented developers that have found really creative and cost effective ways to side step around this problem:


bleet's rpgmaker2003 game, FleshChild


Neok's rpgmaker2003 game,Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis


...But for the rest of us, there's only so much one person can do within their means to make an rpgmaker cutscene look good. In some cases, people just want to use video.

But the problem with using videos in rpgmaker2000/2003, is that, it's 20 year old tech, No one in our community, really knows how to use it, you either have to download a codec in order to view the file correctly or files sizes are too big,Video Playback on PCs during 90s-2000 is a very messy, very sordid and a expensive history to get into, etc There's numerous problems that come with implementing video files into rpgmaker2000/2003 games.

So the purpose of this thread is going to be to try and list various programs, converters and techniques, that you guys can use, in order to make video playing/creating in rpgmaker2000/2003 easier for everyone to use in the future. - With the advent of Youtube, everyone is video editing now - ideally, after reading and using this thread, someone like Badluck or Kentona, could throw in a really wicked cool 30 second 17.mb video trailer at the end of their game, for the player to see, to help advertise other projects. That's what I want to achieve here.

If you are someone who doesn't want to bother with creating in-game cutscenes in rpgmaker and just wants to throw-in a quick video they did from youtube: This thread is for you!
--------

How you can help. (This is going to work similar to the the new achieve thread)

-List any compressors or programs you've used for rpgmaker video files in the past, with instructions and output settings on how to use them.
-List, any rpgmaker games that you've played that have used video playback in the past.
-List, any commercial games that you have played that have used video playback in the past. (avi/mpeg1/mpeg2 etc.)

And last but not least...

-Feedback on what these videos look like, in window/fullscreen mode in rpgmaker2000/2003 - we're not looking for HD quality, obviously. But we still want to know what these particular video files look like over a wide variety of systems, while playing through rpgmaker - so we can fix them. So, if you see, hard to read text, or if faces are blurry, from a video that's being played in rpgmaker2003 - please let us know in this thread, because picture quality matters here. Some video projects simply aren't worth doing if certain details can't be made out on certain platforms.

(like for instance, the Beloved Rapture draft credits video below, can only be viewed on Windows XP systems or higher: because text is too small at 320x240, whereas Ib's video is made with 320x240 and the text is much larger and readable and can be seen on any platform. etc - these are creative decisions you want to be aware of and take into consideration while creating video files for rpgmaker2000/2003 games)


Note: all Video Files suggested/posted in this thread need to be, or are already in a format that are playable with rpgmaker2000/2003:
AVI, MPEG1, (MPEG2 with codec)
etc. so users can test them.

Compressors, Programs and Methods

So the first thing I want to get out of the way is a little bit of history on the two video formats that rpgmaker2000/2003 mainly uses, taken from dr.lex.be: (...I like his description because it gives context and history behind the race of finding a proper video format)

Video for Windows (.AVI): of course Microsoft had to make a clone(1a) of QuickTime as soon as possible, and they managed to do it within one year. Maybe this is why the original VfW specification was such a braindead format. It didn't have most of the advanced features QuickTime has. The format was extended by the OpenDML group to tackle some limitations of the original specification. Later on, MS dropped support for AVI in favour of their new WMV format. One reason was that VfW was not a big success. The main reason however was probably because AVI had become the format of choice for pirated movies — maybe due to the link between the simplicity of the format and the simplicity of the average teenage scriptkiddie pirate. Arrrr. Technically however, those movies are not AVI files because Microsoft's VfW specification doesn't allow the use of the typical pirate codecs.

MPEG-1 (.MPG, .MPEG, .MPE): this is a format designed by the ISO, or International Organization for Standardization. It is about as braindead as AVI, but was much more popular due to the fact that it is an ISO standard, and was inherently linked to a compression scheme which was really good at that time. The format was, and is still used in Video CD's (VCD). The nice thing about this format is that it's an open standard. This means that playback is supported pretty much everywhere, although you need to pay a license to make an encoder.

...Having said that. You'll find a lot of rpgmaker2000/2003 games and video maker programs today use MPEG2 or DivX encoder. But the problem with using MPEG2/Divx is that a lot of your audience, will end up having to google search and look for tech support involving your game, because they don't have the codec installed or even know where to find it, in order to play these video files for your game.

Another reason why, you should stick to MPEG1/CinePak for AVI is a brief anecdote vgperson shared with me, while describing how they converted and translated some of these video files into english for rpgmaker games.

author=vgperson
...I don't know how the videos for either were originally created. There are various video editing programs that could do the job, and the readmes don't say anything about it. Farethere's movies are basic enough that I think you could get away with just Windows Movie Maker, but the moving parts of Ib's storybook tell me it probably used something with more features.

The small filesize, though, is thanks to me. The Japanese versions of both games had uncompressed videos that hugely inflated the download.

(Note:These were originally 400mb - 100mb in size as you'll see below. - LBR)

This could've just been due to the creators not knowing any better, but also, most codecs don't work properly with RM2K and RM2K3, with some users getting either incorrect playback or a DirectShow error. I've been told the safest bet is to use the Cinepak codec, which isn't the best quality, but it's widely supported. You can convert a video (ideally an uncompressed one) to a RM2K-compliant Cinepak format like so, using the program FFmpeg:

ffmpeg -i <input_video> -c:v cinepak -c:a adpcm_ms -vf scale=320:240 <output_video> (Will post more on this method, below)



So, while MPEG2 and Divx, are the superior video formats that are supported by rpgmaker2000/2003, it's very difficult to ensure compatibility across all platforms. So for now, stick to using MPEG1/Cinepak AVI

Now, after numerous amounts of testing - it seems like, for now, If you have a video file you want to bring into rpgmaker2000/2003 and you had to choose between the two formats:

If your video is short and has a lot of still images, like a logo etc. you'll want to use Cinepak AVI, for an incredibly small file size:


lux - (author's video logo)
640x480 CinePak AVI
FileSize: (Originally 108MB, downsized to 4.1MB with ffmpeg)
Length 17 seconds
Audio: Microsoft ADPCM Stereo 44.100kHz


Method 1: Rpgmaker2000/2003 CinePak AVI

1)Once your video file is in an avi format, you'll want to use ffmpeg to optimize it to a smaller file size.

Installing ffmpeg: (Installing ffmpeg, was tricky for me but this is a step-by-step process I followed on windows 7.)
Hopefully someone will come up with an easier method.
https://www.wikihow.com/Install-FFmpeg-on-Windows


2)Once ffmpeg has been installed open up a terminal command in windows and type:

ffmpeg -i <input_video> -c:v cinepak -c:a adpcm_ms -vf scale=320:240 <output_video>

ffmpeg -i (drag&drop video file location) -c:v cinepak -c:a adpcm_ms -vf scale=320:240 (drag&drop video file location, but with new name)

i.e.
ffmpeg -i <C:\Documents and Settings\Logo.avi> -c:v cinepak -c:a adpcm_ms -vf scale=320:240 <C:\Documents and Settings\Logosmaller.avi)

(this conversion takes awhile, but once complete, the video looks great and the file size is incredibly small - this is the method vgperson uses for videos on games such as Ib, Farethere City and is playable across all platforms)


But if your video has a lot of movement, like a credits video, etc you'll want to stick to MPEG1 Muxed


YS3: Wanderers of RMN - (credit's video that plays at the end of the demo)
640x480 MPEG 1 Muxed
FileSize: 17.6MB
Length 47 seconds
Audio: N/A ?


Method 2: Rpgmaker2000/2003 MPEG1 Muxed.

This is another method to use, when converting a completed video file.

(this method is a bit easier to use, but was just as complicated to figure out - while beta testing Beloved Rapture, I wanted to see if animated cutscenes were a variable option. This eventually lead to discovering and eventually buying Compressor, a sister application for Final Cut Pro 7, that easily outputs a wide range of video files to mpeg1.

There's three problems with using Compressor though:
1)The version I have, is for Mac os x 10.6 and I don't know how the licensing key works, so I don't know if I can share it.)
2)Compressor has trouble rendering video files with text at lower resolutions.
3)The sound isn't great.

But, this is a great option if you video file has no text, as it provides a decent file size for full motion video.

Another option and the one I mostly use now for all my rpgmaker2000/2003 video rendering is CCE (download here)
Without going into too much detail, it will convert .mov, .avi .dv and df files. to mpeg1 using these settings:



(I've included a file with these settings as well)

...The only drawback is that this program, currently only works for Windows XP. But yes, this is the method I use for converting most of my video files for use in rpgmaker2000/2003 games - this is how i do it.

I eventually plan on throwing together a small rpgmaker2000/2003 demo, with these video files included so you can quickly decide for yourself if using rpgmaker video is for you.

There are probably more methods and I'm probably wrong about some of these. But as always, I'm open to corrections and suggestions ❤ - that's what this thread is essentially for: to explore new methods for rpgmaker2000/20003 video playback. So if you have any, feel free to list them in this thread. I love hearing from you guys.
Commercial Examples:

Lunar SSSC PC version.(1999)


Download MPEG1
640x480 MPEG1 Muxed
File Size: 30mb
Length 1-2 mins:
Audio:?


(largest cutscene in this game is 4:30 at 80mb - i'll upload it here as an example, if enough people ask)

Note: Ideally, what we're trying to aim for is creating, high quality video files with:
- a Run time of 1-2 mins
- a file size of 30mb of lower
- without needing a compressor.

Not every file is going to fit into this format, but this is the standard we want to try and eventually reach, as we post more examples and explore different options, throughout this thread.


Note: all Video Files suggested/posted in this section need to be, or are already in a format that are playable with rpgmaker2000/2003:
AVI, MPEG1, (MPEG2 with codec)
etc. so users can test them.
Rpgmaker 2000/2003 Examples:

(general examples - If I don't know how they were made originally, I'll place them here)


Ib
320x240 AVI (*Text is quite large, video is mostly static)
Download AVI
FileSize: 13.7mb
Length 2 minus
Audio: Microsoft ADPCM Stereo 44.100kHz



Farethere City/(Minoniyoku City)
320x240 CinePak AVI
Download AVI
FileSize: (Originally 131.2MB, downsized to 4.1MB with ffmpeg)
Length 17 seconds
Audio: Microsoft ADPCM Stereo 44.100kHz



Farethere City/(Minoniyoku City)
320x240 CinePak AVI
Download AVI
FileSize: (Originally 477.2MB, downsized to 8.52MB with ffmpeg)
Length 1:07
Audio: Microsoft ADPCM Stereo 44.100kHz



Nigek: A Monster's Tail
240x180 CinePak AVI
FileSize: 592.53KB
Length 0:12
Audio: 8-bit Unsigned Integer, Mono, 11.025kHz



Nigek: A Monster's Tail
230x171 CinePak AVI
FileSize: 858.38KB
Length 0:19
Audio: 8-bit Unsigned Integer, Mono, 11.025kHz
Codec Examples

(these require codecs in order to be playable/viewable in rpgmaker2000/2003)


Aedemphia
320x240 MPG (MPEG2 - you will need this codec installed, in order to view/play these video files fullscreen)
Download MPG
FileSize: 13.7mb
Length 05:27
Audio: AC3Filter




Iron Gaia: Virus
640x480 Avi (DivX)
(DivX50 codec? - still looking for this one, will provide download once found)
FileSize: 148.89kb
Length 0:04
Audio: AC3Filter

Community Examples

(If I know how they were made, I'll list them here)


YS3: Wanderers of RMN - (credit's video that plays at the end of the demo)
640x480 MPEG 1 Muxed
FileSize: 17.6MB
Length 47 seconds
Audio: N/A ?


Conversion: iMovie 11'>QuickTime Animation>Quicktime Movie >Convert CCE MPEG1


lux - (author's video logo)
640x480 CinePak AVI
FileSize: (Originally 108MB, downsized to 4.1MB with ffmpeg)
Length 17 seconds
Audio: Microsoft ADPCM Stereo 44.100kHz


Conversion: Adobe After Effects > ffmpeg


Download MPEG1
640x480 MPEG1 Muxed
File Size: 26mb
Length 1:10
Audio:?


Conversion:
Final Cut Pro 7> QuickTime Animation > QuickTime Movie > Convert CCE MPEG1.(I think)
Request List

I'm leaving this last section open for requests. Just to sort of experiment with these methods, discover new ones and to just to sort of encourage you guys to try rpgmaker2000/2003 video converting for yourself. If you have a particular video that you want to bring into rpgmaker2000/2003 that's about 1-2 mins long, but your having trouble converting it. Let me know and I'll see if I can do it.

If you know of any other rpgmaker2000/2003 games that use video files or commercial games that use MPEG1/AVI I'll list those as well.

I'll list requests and completed converted video files here:
-
-
-
-
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(SideNote: To get an idea of how well this work, The GameOver Video in Final Fantasy Dog)
That was made in Flash 5>Opened in Flash 8> Converted to QuickTime Animation >Converted to QuickTime Movie>Converted with CCE>Playable/Viewable in rpgmaker2000/2003)
and it's only 9mb
Decided to test the Final Fantasy Dog movie files in a new project both in rm2k3 legal edition and the illegal one. For some reason with Play Movie command the video file only plays once then trying to play it a second time I just get black screen audio only after that. Tried two different movie files, tried exiting the map and reentering, battle encounter, anything I could thing of that might reset the video playback, even F12 doesn't work. Only thing that resets it is exiting the game exe. Is this a known problem?

Of course midway typing through the post I found out that the third playback will work. Guess only solution is to play an empty movie file to be able to play another again. Interestingly if you have multiple playmovie commands in a row, every second video will be black for a bit then skip to the next one.
author=Darken
Decided to test the Final Fantasy Dog movie files in a new project both in rm2k3 legal edition and the illegal one. For some reason with Play Movie command the video file only plays once then trying to play it a second time I just get black screen audio only after that. Tried two different movie files, tried exiting the map and reentering, battle encounter, anything I could thing of that might reset the video playback, even F12 doesn't work. Only thing that resets it is exiting the game exe. Is this a known problem?

Of course midway typing through the post I found out that the third playback will work. Guess only solution is to play an empty movie file to be able to play another again. Interestingly if you have multiple playmovie commands in a row, every second video will be black for a bit then skip to the next one.

This is somewhat known/newish to me - I have a demo that tests multiple movie files in a row (EDIT: But I've only tested this on Windows Me, Windows XP and Windows 7 - Mac/WineSkin is able to play these video files as well, but runs into playback/visability issues with more recent updates)

There is a problem where, if play movie command is executed, while in window mode, and you switch to fullscreen mode during play back The screen will be black and rpgmaker2000/2003 won't proceed to play beyond that video file - this seems to be a general issue with how rpgmaker2000/2003 handles video files. (I haven't found a video file that hasn't had this problem)

But ya, if you play rpgmaker2000/2003 video files without switching from window mode to full screen, generally you should be fine. either way, I'll test this out further, to be sure.

Thanks again for bringing this to my attention Darken, I'll look into this. ❤

Let me know any other issues pop up.
Link_2112
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMELLENENENENEM
6798
I've been doing work with Play Movie in VX Ace. If you ever decide to make a topic on that I'll have plenty to say(mostly about how tedious/rewarding it is). But I will keep an eye on this in case I want to try it on 2k3.
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