Hi there! First post here in Panzer Dragoon Legacy.
As a big fan of the Panzer Dragoon series, I thought I’d do a quick little project with Saga, to have an idea of how the remastered soundtrack would fit in the game itself, just for fun.
So I went ahead and replaced the original intro theme (Ecce Valde Generous Ale) with the new version from the Resurrection album in the game’s files. And sure enough, it’s working! I recorded on an emulator, but this mini music mod works on a real console too
Here’s a video:
I thought of going further and replace the entire game’s soundtrack with the remastered one, but since pretty much everything (except the intro and credits theme) is using Saturn Sound Format (.ssf) instead of CD Audio, I don’t think that’s possible.
So what do you guys think? Would the game be better with the new soundtrack if it was implemented? Or are we better off sticking to the original?
Welcome to teh forums Sestrenexsis!
Well, it works in the title screen as far as I’m concerned. Ecce Valde was one of the tracks I really liked and I feel it fits just fine.
Has anyone, anywhere (in the gaming communitty) ever worked with that format (.ssf) ? Would it be possible to do a conversion of the tracks with some tinkering?
Welcome @sestrenexsis. I think as a remix, using the Resurrection tracks could be great. It doesn’t need to replace the original to make a worthy fan mod. A large part of the appeal of games like Skyrim is the ability to experiment with different ideas via mods, and I don’t see why PDS is significantly different in that regard.
@GehnTheBerserker Well, I did experiment with some of kingshriek’s tools for extracting data from .ssf’s in the past. A few months back I extracted the entire Panzer Dragoon Zwei, and part of the Saga soundtrack, to MIDI + DLS, so you can essentially have it playing on FL Studio, and even do your own variations. But so far I’ve only had success with those tools using 32-bit Windows XP, for some reason. So I have to switch back and forth from a virtual machine, which makes the process all the more tedious.
While I was doing this I came up with a theory. What if we could sample entire songs of the album into a single channel on a DLS soundbank, then just playing a steady MIDI note, so it plays back the song? Then convert that to SEQ+BIN, to later be combined into an SSF. However I’m no programmer, I have no idea how to do that
@Solo_Wing Yeah I totally agree. I just thought it would be a nice thing to see. However, modding Saga, if attempted, could be harder than, say, Skyrim, because of the Saturn’s hardware being so complex, and difficult to program for. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think no modding tools for PDS have been made available as far as I know.
This was just a very basic mod, replacing one audio track for another in the game’s disc image.
I believe you’re correct there, and I suspect making any kind of changes to PDS wouldn’t be easy. The Saturn was a closed system that was never intended to run modded versions of games as well.
On top of that, no source code is available for the game anymore. What you essentially have is a binary file that for all intents and purposes is 1s and 0s. Finding the location of the music in that file is one thing. Replacing that and not breaking the structure of that binary image is nigh impossible. It isn’t like this game used a universally available engine like Unreal or the Quake engine. The proprietary tools used to make this game probably were lost along with the source code. This is why any rerelease would involve rewriting the entire game in a new engine or having some fancy emulation or wrapper to make it work on a modern system with some basic graphics updates being limited to what you can do in a buffer such as anti- aliasing.
We just need to do a fan remake. Using Unity or UE4. This is ridiculous. Sega’s not moving their asses. It can’t be that hard to remake PDS. We start the models of the characters…something that doesn’t require too much work and that is concrete right off the bat. It can be a good barometer for the rest. It can even be something stylized, made to resemble the character models in the FMVs. No need for excess realism.
Then we start making maps of each of the main locations. The story points. Start with the valley.
Then we recreate ONE battle with them Baldors.
And then the camp.
1 basic wing model
1 Edge model
1 tent (and designated walking area in the map)
1 Baldor x 2
1 Excavation site #4
1 get’er’done! battle system
3 OST-ripped beautiful pieces of music
There. You got the prototype for the battle sequences, the walking sections, and the flying sections. The rest of th game is a permutation of different maps, enemy and character models, loads of text and music.
@frelled Actually, it is possible to spot the music files on the binary image. You can extract the entire contents of the disc with software like UltraISO or CDmage. There you will find a series of SEQ and BIN files. The SEQ files are essentially the Saturn’s midi format, while the BIN contains the sound bank for each individual SEQ. There is a way to extract these to formats readable by a computer, and have them playing in any midi program.
Replacing those with modified versions wouldn’t be that hard, the question is how to create those replaced files in the first place. Only thing is that you would only be able to play these mods with either a modchipped Saturn, or an emulator.
@GehnTheBerserker I wish it was as easy to do as it is to say There’s probably a lot more going on than meets the eye.
No really, I’ve been thinking about it. If you break down each thing it’s not that complicated. The battle system is basically a few animations worth. (I’m talking about recreating the baldor battle only for now). Flying sections are also pretty straightforward. Walking sections even more so.
I’m posting a project on freelancer.com to see if I can get some modellers and people with expertize in Unity/UE4 and game design.
@GehnTheBerserker What about the battle routines tho? Turns, special attacks, gun damage calculation based on gun type, dragon type, stats, figuring out when to change the safe zones, rotations, XP system for levelling up, etc.
I guess a proof of concept would lack most of these things and you’re probably right. But getting it further than a POC is the difficult thing.
Those are details. First big picture. Broad strokes…getting a feel for the game…getting pumped…
You should NEVER plan too much that it stops you from getting pumped about something! Yet most people do, and that’s why most projects never get a start. The minute you start ‘thinking about it’ rather than doing it…the project’s already dead.
Human nature is tricky. One must harness it rather than become its bitch! Our minds, for whatever reason, find it easier to justify to themselves more work, if they see something working first (even though it’s obvious the project is accomplishable!). So yes, this is just a proof of concept. A game is nothing more than a fancy way of saying proof of concept anyway In this case we already have a proof of concept…the game’s been released for 20 years now!
EDIT: I actually thought of an idea. We could create a contest for this project. A way to get people from all over the internetz to work on it. Imagine people submitting character models, maps etc to a place like PDLegacy, and then you could use the best assets to make a fangame!
If previous fan game efforts are any indication, recreating a single battle is as large as you’d want the project to be. The project also needs to be perceived as valuable on it’s own, in case the project never grows further that minimal starting point.
It’s not that hard guys. Hell, the money we spent over the years on PD soundtracks or other games and bs, we could all get together and PAY a pro to develop a PDS battle pof (nothing major, a week’s worth or work). We could then put videos up to generate some hype in the gaming communitty. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.We could crowdfund…it’s all about regulating expectations…the point is to get something going that will make it more believable in people’s eyes. I’d like to see a remake. Maybe it would help Sega get off their arses too.
Paying someone for the demo creates the problem of us not having freely available talent to take the project to the next stage. It would generate interest in something we wouldn’t have the ability to take further. I don’t think we can crowd fund the whole game, especially if this is a fan project using someone else’s intellectual property.
The same people who started the project needn’t be the ones that finish it. So long as we retain the assets. This is really common in game development. The demo doesn’t have to be publicized right off the bat. Think of it as a fan art project that could be built upon by whomever. It would be for us, and depending on how well things went as time went by we may or may not want to take it further…make it look better, even start all over from scratch…but this time, with a frame of reference.
Or it could be something else. I think it would be really interesting. There’s loads of fangames made out there over the years. I don’t see why we couldn’t have a PD one. I think we’d all like to see it, and realistically there might be a better chance for it to happen via fans, than through Sega.
Yeah I’d like to see some kind of fan game too. And it’s certainly possible, if people are motivated and realistic about it. There’s also less technically changing things that could be done, such as creating a 2D shooter. Either that, or a new game inspired by Panzer Dragoon (which would avoid the legal issues).
We could make the exact same game as PDS but instead of set in PanDra it was in yer run-of-the-mill medieval fantasy world, with medieval fantasy dragons…and all characetrs and situations would be analogous but slightly different, but same story. Like Azel being trapped in a tower instead of in a ruin and being the only one who was able to somehow help us release the land from a spell that made all the animals and beasts feast on humans and f up the wheater n stuff
And your magic dragon saves you from some beast in a cave and then you go on to seek revenge for the killing of your master at the hands of the Imperial Black Knights Order or somesuch. But the dialogue would be all the same, kinda. Then you’d had a Mass Effect system wheel and make Edge have all sorts of Renegade choices and open up the possibility to romance your party members Gash and Paet…
I’ve been looking into Unity and discussing things over on a discord server dedicated to game design. I said I wanted to make a PS1 era graphics-like 3d turn based rpg…with one dungeon and one battle…and they said I might be able to use pre-existing template on the asset store to easily make something like that. I’d just be a matter of changing the character models n stuff. WHatever the case, I think Unity offers the right tools to quickly make something. I still think using the expertize of someone with some practice like this…would make things real faster than we might think…
I hate for my first post to be kind of contrarian, but I felt compelled to respond to this.
You’d be surprised - a lot of good programming practices involve a lot of planning/detailing beforehand. “Cowboy coding” your game is a good way to reach a dead end, then you have to throw everything you made away when you realize some critical flaw in your engine that you need to scrap it for something else.
In programming - the details are everything. Computers, contrary to popular belief - are not as smart as they’re made out to be. Computers are stupid morons that will gladly shoot their own foot off. Even if you hold up a glowing neon sign that reads “DON’T PUSH THIS HISTORY ERASER BUTTON, ONLY A MORON WOULD PUSH THIS BUTTON”, a computer left to it’s own devices will probably push that button at some point.
This means for programs to not completely crumble because of a stupid mistake a programmer made, a lot of planning and detailing is necessary. The whole idea of making a full video game without completely planning everything out beforehand is one that would frighten me. Even something simple as planning out the different data structures and how they interact with each other is something I’d want definitively known before really getting into the meat of the coding.
I think a more practical angle would for computers to be powerful enough for Sega to throw some games into a Saturn emulator wrapper. We’re not that far off from that being a potential reality, if you’ve kept up with some of those developments.
I don’t know exactly what you are responding to in any of what I said. Yes, I have some experiencing with programming (that’s all I did back in college) and altough I forgot most of it, I am aware of what goes into coding and how vital knowing where you are headed with something is for any project. Even something small.
But I didn’t suggest making a whole videogame without planning. I suggested focusing ONLY on something very very simple, to create a proof of concept… a dragon flying in a dungeon and bumping into one battle. The stage of the detailed planning happens AFTER you have a good idea of where you are headed with the project. This stage is BEFORE that. This is to show people, with Unity (and with less coding than you’d otherwise have to do without a tool like unity) we can create something that mimics a couple of key elements of what we say with Saga in a fairly quick way.
MORE important than the planning etc of a game…is having the motivation and desire to do it. Without that, there’s nothing TO plan. Cowboy coding and whatever else is fine, initially, as long as it is in service of the idea.Because of the detail involved in coding, it is easy for people to forget…all of it is in service of bringing something, an idea, to fruition. We only code as a tool. If we could speak games into existence we would. Although, I’m sure there are game engine presets out there we could use initially.
I’m asking us to doodle something on a piece of paper, not publish a graphic novel. The first draft of the doodle is unimportant. It doesn’t say anything about what comes afterwards. Whatever the case, even the detailing of this is very easy to do. We already know what we want. I hate coding, which is why I forgot all of it and wouldn’t be able to do it on this project…but even calling it a project is already too much…you are thinking too far ahead. I’m talking about something stupid for starters…PRECISELY BECAUSE I already know people talk too much before anything gets started…and then it NEVER gets started. This is ALSO part of planning and detailling…but on a higher level of programming We area already yapping instead of being interested in the idea first. Heck, it’s even acceptable to start and find midway through we can’t do it, or not in the way we wanted whatever…how the hell can you plan something big, when you can’t even muster the motivation to pull something easy off? While (peopledespondent) keepfanningtheflame.
EDIT: Lol, totally forgot to welcome you to the forums, man. Welcome!
I mean, I’ve had ideas on some game design ideas, but I don’t personally feel comfortable writing up an engine to use them until I know the details of how everything works. Things like Castlevania/Contra clones but with a twist, etc. I wouldn’t ask anyone to make art assets/music for me until I had something competent up and running.
I mean if you’re the one that wants to pour your time into it, that’s cool and all - but I’m a bit more “safe” in regards to things like that. I mean, I wish you good luck on this - I just think we’ll eventually get a point where it’s not unthinkable (in terms of it actually running on people’s computers) for Sega to throw some Saturn games in a wrapper and stuff them on Steam, assuming they want to.