Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

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Granville
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Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Granville » Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:59 am

I've been working on an N64 texture pack project for a while. N64 emulation allows users to dump textures from games and then load back in higher resolution ones. For this project, I used the Dreamcast/PC textures as a basis for enhancement. These are generally 2x the resolution (or more) compared to the N64 textures, and also have better color depth (N64 ones are muddled and dithered by comparison). I then put the DC textures through an AI upscaler called ESRGAN using an algorithm called Fatality that was created for classic pixel art. So the textures are 4x the resolution of the already higher res Dreamcast assets, and often 8x the resolution of the N64 textures.

I'm not going to go into a long tutorial on how to set up the emulator and plugin, you can find this information easily online. But just know that to use this pack, it was created for the NTSC-U version of the game and you need either Project64 or Mupen alongside a supported graphics plugin. I use GlideN64, it's the best plugin if you have the hardware required to run it. The pack may also work with the old classic Glide64 plugin too, but I haven't tested other plugins. If you use Gliden, make sure it's an up to date WIP build. Older versions of the plugin had issues with the dumping and loading. This build is the latest one i'm aware of at the time of this post-
https://drive.google.com/file/d/15IFiEi ... GXe6E/view

I'll provide two links to the texture pack. The first is a precompiled HTC file. The second is a ZIP file containing a folder with all the loose bare PNG's (which I poorly organized into folders, not everything is sorted properly though). You may use either one of these. People may alter or enhance this pack however they please.

HTC File-
https://drive.google.com/open?id=12duAK ... Dqi_7S2cJI_

PNGs-
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eFSlZ ... okRJoxy-X-

Notes: This pack is probably not perfect. I did my best to play test it and fix the issues I was able to find just by eyeballing things. But I may well have missed some things, and some of the textures may not be perfect. This is especially true of transparent textures, Dreamcast handles transparency effects very differently from N64 and I had to do a lot of editing to get things working and looking as good as possible. There are three things I either won't or can't fix right now. Firstly, I only covered the English language fonts. There are probably quite a few accented letters from other languages I didn't do (acute, grave, circumflex, tilde, umlaut/dieresis cedilla etc). I don't plan on playing through the game additional times to get these letters dumped. However, if anyone wants to dump and post these missing font textures (with their proper filenames), then I will enhance them for you. Secondly, I can't figure out how to fix the seam and alignment issues with the Rayman 2 title logo in the intro cinematic. I included the relevant textures in the PNG pack if anyone else wants to have a go at them. The logo is split into 36 pieces, 18 for the basic parts plus 18 extra whited out transparent parts used as a masking effect. The alignment issues might be fixable, but the seams are actually present even on original N64 hardware (and all emulators) and so they're probably not fixable. Thirdly, I cannot enhance the "Rayman 2 The Great Escape: Press Start" Title Screen, the memory card management screen or the level transition swirl effect. The emulator plugin can't dump or load textures on these screens.

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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Steo » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:09 pm

Nice work, this must have taken ages. I'll definitely have to check it out, as I always play the Dreamcast version, so it will be interesting to see these textures upscaled. I never did play through the N64 version right to the end, as the framerate was terrible when I tried to play it on the actual console (along with being PAL), so this will definitely make the playthrough much more interesting. :D
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Granville
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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Granville » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:12 pm

The N64 version will run at 60fps if you play in an emulator. Newer development builds of Project64 also have an Overclock Modifier in the game settings that can iron out any lingering drops, it runs very smoothly for me. Obviously the geometry, lighting effects and sound quality will still be better on Dreamcast however.

I'd love to be able to retexture Dreamcast port as well, but there's a pretty nasty glitch right now. Reicast (or Retroarch's variant of it, Flycast) does support texture dumping and loading. However, there is currently a very obnoxious bug that causes games to dump duplicate versions of the same textures (with different file names) after every loading screen. Playing through just the first two levels (Woods of Light and Fairy Glade), I got over 8 copies of the same basic grass texture. If you went through the entire game dumping everything, you'd end up with possibly 50-100 duplicates of every single texture. You COULD technically retexture the game like this, but you'd have to account for every single duplicate texture the game dumps. That would not only take an obscene amount of unnecessary time and effort, but it would eat up an absurd amount of data. My N64 texture pack is roughly 300MB in size. Just guessing, but I could safely assume this would increase that to at least 350-400MB for a hypothetical Dreamcast texture pack (given that the DC port contains quite a number of extra textures not found in the N64 port). But if you factor in the duplication bug, that size could easily inflate 50-100 times larger. It's highly plausible that it could be 20-40 gigabytes in size. And I say screw that nonsense. If the bug is ever fixed, then i'd VERY seriously consider doing the DC version.

PCSX2 sadly currently doesn't support texture dumping or loading at all, and the developers have said adding support would be difficult. It's a shame because Revolution plays really beautifully in PCSX2 with the widescreen and 60fps patches. I'd definitely have to consider doing an upscale for it if they ever do add retexture support.

The 3DS emulator Citra now supports texture dumping and loading, and I did do some preliminary testing with Rayman 3D a few weeks ago. It works quite well, but the problem is that Rayman 3D is a really bad port overall. It's based on the Dreamcast version, but has a lot of ugly graphical bugs and other glitches (not the fault of the emulator, happened on real hardware). There are numerous transparency glitches, some things appearing too opaque and not properly masking out parts of the texture. Multiple layers of overlapping background textures will interfere with one another and cause some really unsightly cropping issues. Skybox tiling will often glitch out, either appearing far too large or far too small (like an old tiled Windows 95 wallpaper). I also found some surfaces where the textures are stretched improperly to really obscene lengths. And most glaring IMO is that the lighting engine was basically gutted, especially on characters but for a lot of environments as well. Even the N64 version's lighting engine looks better. The base textures in the 3DS port are also considerably lower quality than the DC/PC ones, though Citra's custom texture loading can fix this. And the previously abysmal framerate on original hardware is at least no longer a problem when emulated (Citra seems to virtually overclock the emulated CPU) and it now runs at 60fps, but there are just so many other issues I don't think I want to bother messing with it.

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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Steo » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:23 pm

I noticed that myself too when I tried to dump the Dreamcast textures, I ended up with about 5 duplicates of most textures by the time I even finished the Fairy Glade.

I remember there being a thread for dumping textures with PCSX2 here, which DandyGuy shared, and it actually rips the entire models too. You wouldn't be able to load them with PCSX2 since it can't load custom textures, but maybe it could be used for ripping the Revolution textures and using them on another version of the game though.

As for the 3DS version, I like how you can even make it run at 60fps with an overclock using a modded newer 3DS, but it's still got many glitches as you say. It does look amazing on Citra upscaled too, but it still doesn't fix the many bugs present in the game, it merely sugarcoats them.
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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by ICUP321 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:59 pm

I would recommend using the PC version and 3DS version's textures as a base, the DC version's textures are somewhat lower quality and pixelated than the PC and 3DS versions and a lot of the PS2 version's textures were down-scaled to use less resources because of the PS2 version's higher poly models. There are also a few higher quality R2 textures in Rayman Arena PC version and in Rayman 3 HD.

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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Granville » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:12 pm

ICUP321 wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:59 pm
I would recommend using the PC version and 3DS version's textures as a base, the DC version's textures are somewhat lower quality and pixelated than the PC and 3DS versions and a lot of the PS2 version's textures were down-scaled to use less resources because of the PS2 version's higher poly models. There are also a few higher quality R2 textures in Rayman Arena PC version and in Rayman 3 HD.
The PC textures are the ones I used as a basis, there was already a complete dump of them available online. I also dumped a considerable handful of the DC textures to compare them beforehand however, ensuring which versions were the best quality. I didn't notice a difference in quality between DC and PC textures. So I just ended up going with the PC textures due to the convenience of already being dumped and organized. The DC version has a ton of textures that aren't a part of either the N64 or PC ports anyways, plus I didn't have to tolerate Reicast's texture duplication glitch.

For 99% of the textures, the 3DS port is definitely not higher quality than the DC/PC versions. Quite the opposite in fact, 3D's textures are almost universally lower quality, and by a very noticeable degree. The only exception to this were a couple of the character textures used for Rayman and Globox (which also appear to use different and higher poly models than the original game). I did actually use Rayman's eye textures from the 3DS port. I also found one waterfall texture that I felt looked better and more colorful than the original game's. But all of the other basic environmental textures are noticeably worse quality when you compared them side by side to the DC and PC textures. Especially any textures that have transparency. I noticed this when I was mulling over retexturing the 3DS version and started testing out and analyzing the first couple of levels (I decided against this due to the large amount of downgrades to lighting and other visual effects and the plentiful amount of glitches). I assume the texture quality was reduced to conserve cartridge space. The 3DS port is 256MB in size, while the DC version even when compressed into a CHD file is over 650MB (it's over 1GB uncompressed).

I hadn't considered checking Rayman 3 HD. I have a dump of it made for use with Dolphin's texture loading and i'm looking through it right now. There doesn't appear to be too many shared textures from Rayman 2 besides some of the characters. The few similar character assets i've found so far don't generally look very good either. It looks like Ubisoft just took the original DC textures and just resized and filtered them instead of giving them proper higher quality sources like they did with the rest of the Rayman 3 exclusive textures.

I also didn't think to check Arena and I don't have any of its textures to compare. If anyone has a dump of them, i'll take a look and see if there's anything worth using. I don't know how to dump PS2 textures and don't have any of Revolution's either (just eyeballing them ingame, they seem comparable to the DC and PC textures, they don't look massively worse but they're certainly not higher quality).

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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Steo » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:10 pm

I feel like Revolution probably just seems like it looks better to the eye due to the vibrant colours. Citra does upscale the 3DS version nicely, but then so does the Redream emulator for Dreamcast. I could try dump a couple of textures from Revolution just to see if there's much difference, but since it takes a while, I'd have to just choose certain ones to rip so they can be compared.
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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Granville » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:43 pm

I actually don't know if Revolution's textures are downgraded or not from the others. I'd have to see them for myself outside of the confines of the game and compare them side by side with the other ports. Ingame they don't appear to be very different from the DC textures. But I will note a few things about it the PS2 version in comparison to the DC port that makes some people think it looks better-

1- The game has substantially greater polygon counts, many previously flat surfaces with a single texture overlaid are now more intricately shaped underneath the textures. And there's a lot of increased environment details scattered about such as more rocks, trees, plants etc. A lot of the levels feel considerably less flat.

2- The lighting in the PS2 is mostly a lot better. Looks like they applied some instances of bloom effects on environments and characters. Colors are sometimes more vibrant too. But they also added static shadow maps to a lot of the environments. While these shadows don't move or react dynamically to the light sources, they still add a lot of extra depth and detail to the levels and contribute to its visual impact. Rayman's shadow is also no longer a circular shadow anymore, it is a realistically shaped one.

3- This isn't relevant when you're playing the games on emulators, but the Dreamcast version runs in a progressive scan mode while I believe PS2 is interlaced. So the overall image quality on DC is somewhat superior to PS2. Again this is largely irrelevant when playing on emulators. But this might contribute to why people think DC's textures look better. Then again, i'm not going to make assumptions on underlying texture quality until I see some of them outside of the game loaded side by side on my screen.

There are a handful of subtle and not so subtle visual flourishes present in the DC port but absent from Revolution. On some terrain, Rayman leaves footprints and he kicks up small dust particles when running. Water droplets also trail behind the jumping piranhas. Small specs of light particles fly around the slide in the Water and Ice Sanctuary. And a few levels (specifically the Forests) had several extra 2-dimensional layers in the distant background besides just the basic skybox (a layer of mist with with some trees and mountains). These all made it into the 3DS port.

There are a few effects however that have never been in any other version besides the DC version. Swimming underwater, DC has a "displacement" effect on the surrounding geometry, it distorts the walls, floor and ceiling surfaces in a wave-like manner (which enhances the presence of being underwater). Textures both underwater and volcanic interiors also have a colorful palette shifting effect applied to the surfaces. It's a neat but simple lighting trick, making it look like light is being reflected off of the environment. It's also actually a pretty easy trick to pull off, it's was seen in a fair number of games on much older and less powerful systems like N64, PS1 and even the Saturn (Sonic R's Radiant Emerald track or Tomb Raider when you dive underwater for examples). Lastly, on a very small handful of textures (including the basic grass texture in the forests and the sand in the beach levels), the Dreamcast port actually uses an additional texture layer of what appears to be a bump mapping like effect overlaid on top of it. This effect is exclusive to the DC port (not even PC, PS2 or 3DS has it). This makes these select textures appear to have a higher degree detail. I've actually "simulated" this effect in my N64 pack by baking it into these textures. they're suitably high res enough that I felt it looks quite good and close to the effect on DC.

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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by deton24 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:36 am

Great job.
It would be cool if someone would post some comparison screens - tex mod vs vanilla N64 vs PC.

Since PSX version is the most different version among all available, I'd gladly see a tex mod for this version, because textures looks terrible there, and it would make hell a lot of change into the game.

However, ePSXe doesn't seem to support dumping/injecting textures, but some other PSX emulators may be capable of doing it. I'm not sure, but I think I read somewhere that mednafen supports it.

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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Droolie » Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:36 am

Hi, I can't comment on the texture pack itself, but I wanted to say ICUP is very much correct. The Dreamcast textures are lower quality than the PC textures. The 3DS version actually has pretty high texture quality. Try to compare the Dreamcast release with the PC release on Raymap: https://raym.app/maps/

Since there is a lot of talk about texture dumping from various versions, here are the texture packs I've ripped from OpenSpace (the engine for R2 & R3) games over the past year (none of these were captured on an emulator, all of them were converted properly, including filenames where possible):
Rayman 2 PC
Rayman 2 DC
Rayman 2 DC (JPN ver. extra textures)
Rayman 2 PS2
Rayman 2 PS2 (JPN ver. extra textures)
Rayman 2 3DS
Rayman 2 DS
Rayman 2 N64
Rayman M PC
Rayman Arena PC
Rayman 3 PC
Rayman Raving Rabbids DS

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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Steo » Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:57 am

Interestingly I recall hearing that the Dreamcast textures where higher quality than the PC version at one stage, but I never thought that made sense, since the Dreamcast is 480p while PC would have targeted 1024x768 at that stage.

Oh, and nice to see you here Droolie. :)
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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Granville » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:33 am

I can see a few instances where the PC textures are a bit less dithered than Dreamcast, but how noticeable it is varies quite a lot. Still, glad to have some archives to properly compare, especially for Revolution. I can't really see a difference between the PS2 and Dreamcast textures.

But regardless, like I said this pack used the PC textures specifically as a basis. So don't worry about that.

Texture resolution and quality is more dependent on RAM and VRAM. It's a separate thing from the internal resolution the game itself is rendering at. Dreamcast had 8MB of VRAM. And the PC port requires 4-16MB of VRAM (minimum and recommended). 4-16 was the standard memory range for 3DFX cards of that era. The game's texture resolution was fairly standard for that era.

I had already dumped a bunch of textures from the 3DS port and compared them with the DC and PC ones. Almost all of them are noticeably lower quality. The only exceptions appear to be Rayman and Globox, their models were upgraded with more polygons and some higher res textures. The rest range however from moderately worse to substantially worse. A lot of them are far more dithered and missing a considerable amount of detail. Here are some examples, zoom in if you need to-

PC-
Image

3DS-
Image

PC-
Image

3DS-
Image

PC-
Image

3DS-
Image

PC-
Image

3DS-
Image

Dreamcast-
Image

3DS-
Image

I suspect the reason for these lower quality textures was due to the 3DS port using a 256MB cartridge. The PC port required 500MB to install, and the Dreamcast even when compressed into a CHD file is 650MB. They had to find a way to reduce data by half or more to fit.

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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Steo » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:53 pm

The Dreamcast console itself seems to have a lot more dithering than the emulator does also, it looks similar to 16-bit colour on a computer. My capture card seems to have some colour shift, but if I have time, I'll try get an example image from it to compare to an emulator. It looks like the console has a lot more dithering at least.
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Re: Rayman 2 N64 AI upscaled texture pack (sourced from DC and PC textures)

Post by Kyrio » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:51 pm

Droolie wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:36 am
Hi, I can't comment on the texture pack itself, but I wanted to say ICUP is very much correct. The Dreamcast textures are lower quality than the PC textures. The 3DS version actually has pretty high texture quality. Try to compare the Dreamcast release with the PC release on Raymap: https://raym.app/maps/
Sorry for profiting of the thread, but since you mentioned Raymap: is there a way to contact you about it, Droolie? I have a couple of questions that don't warrant a thread here (I think), so PM me if you're available :)

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