Alpha Centauri 2

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire => Modding => Topic started by: jopower on August 18, 2011, 08:35:20 AM

Title: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: jopower on August 18, 2011, 08:35:20 AM
I've just done a bit of sleuthing for those wanting to edit and play the AC (and other game) videos stored in WVE file format. I did discover that the little program has a history of inclusion with turn of Y2K era games. Below are my general findings:

Primary association: Component of a DIVX Movie Conversion

WVE's are XML project files created by WaveEditor, an audio-editing program included with some CyberLink multimedia-editing applications; references an audio file and includes audio effects and adjustments. WaveEditor projects are often used for exporting modified audio for use in PowerDirector video projects (.PDS files). WVE files can be exported to .WAV, .WMA, .MP3, and .M4A files. Unfortunately, WaveEditor and PowerDirector are commercial products. CyberLink Media Suite also does the job, but is also commercial. On the other hand, you have a full set of edit tools and can make your own clips to add to many games using the format.  ;)

Winamp will play WVE's, but there's a few too many things that come along for the ride... As some don't like this behavior, we'll advance to better options.  :-\

The file "playuv15.exe" does the job nicely. Guess what? It comes in the game! Navigate to the installed folder for your game. Look in there for a "Movies" folder. It will be the only EXE in the folder. While there, you can simply drag and drop the icon of a file to be played on the Playuv15 icon and off it goes! The screen will blank to black, then a smaller screen, centered, in the video's natural resolution, opens and the show is on. There is no interface and the "Esp" key is your only stop control beyond awaiting the video to end. I'm using WinXP Sp3 and have seen a dozen with no troubles. It is completely reliable so far.  :)

I did find an original ZIP with the info text intact. It is a bit DOS, so you'll have to use a command box to use switches (or a DOS emulator like DOSbox). Here's the full text readout (note no mention of WVE files, but so what!):

Play uV v1.50a - uV/uV2/TGV/ASF Player
by Martin Griffiths, Electronic Arts (UK), 1997.

usage: playuv [<options>] videofile
<options> =
 -xres <n>           video mode resolution (x)
 -yres <n>           video mode resolution (y)
 -gamma <n>          gamma level (default:100))
 -doublex            horizontal x2
 -doubley            line doubled
 -skipy              line skipped
 -xsize <n>          stretch movie to x size <n>
 -ysize <n>          stretch movie to y size <n>
 -loop               play looping
 -window             don't use fullscreen
 -8                   8bit(tgv only)
 -16                 16bit(all formats)
 -32                 32bit(all formats)
 -nodoublebuffer     Don't double buffer
 -software           Disable YUV hardware acceleration
 -noaudio            disable audio
 -ddraw <n>          direct draw device <n>
 -verbose            output more info.

Since there is no copyright indicated (but I'm a fair use guy) I give credit and thanks to Martin Griffiths for his fine tight code work (only 155kb!) and provide the ZIP file I found for everyone else to enjoy.  8)

I also discovered another player: "Play It Again" (6 kb) at: http://homepages.nildram.co.uk/~nicko/playit.htm (http://homepages.nildram.co.uk/~nicko/playit.htm)
But it is designed to play on the Psion 3 series device. I haven't tried it on a PC yet, but you can give it a shot. It is freeware, so I've attached it with Playuv below. Here's the info on it from the author, P.K.Spencer:

"Play It Again is a very small utility designed to repeatedly play a .WVE file (as the Siena won't support these, this version will not run on that machine) given the options the user sets. This tiny program is ideal for practical jokes - record a .WVE file, fire up Play It Again and set it playing while you leave the room - leaving the other ocupants to work out where the voice is coming from. " (Fun lil' devil ain't he?) ::)

Hope that helps a few to have much fun with the video files in the game and the various mods out there.  8)
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: sisko on September 06, 2011, 01:54:01 PM
welcome to the site, jopower! and thx for sharing.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on December 06, 2011, 02:15:26 AM
jopower, would you be interested in chiming in here?  http://www.weplayciv.com/forums/showthread.php?6523-AC-Intro-Movies (http://www.weplayciv.com/forums/showthread.php?6523-AC-Intro-Movies)

Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on February 15, 2012, 01:34:49 AM
Even better, would you be interested in chiming in further here at AC2?

Now that I think about it, this should go in the modding forum, shouldn't it?
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on May 05, 2012, 01:36:18 PM
I looked into jopower's post and made a discovery regarding playuv15.

Afaik(ew) the de facto usage of the prog was to literally drag a (.wve) file onto the playuv15 icon and sit back while the stuff cooks...

Seeing all the command line switch info provided by jopower got me thinking and I tracked down an alternative source of the same zip here: http://keeper.lubie.org/html/dk2_tools_other.php (http://keeper.lubie.org/html/dk2_tools_other.php) and a link to a similar (cut down?) version of the same called " Rap Player ".

Now, rap.exe isn't a lot of cop; but with the 'readme' info some teeny lightbulb started to flicker... viz. To get a wve to play in RAP -- you have to have that file in the same directory and it has to be renamed "rap.tgq". Sounds a bit of a drag right?
Well, it works, although it 'works' with  hardcoded -doublex and -loop switches as mentioned in playuv15...

Which begs the question .. which I will return to after a small digression.

If you drop a copy of playuv15 into your /Windows/system/system32 folder and reboot. Then drill down to your movies folder and associate a wve file with playuv15, then ANY movie file launches 'on click'. Shame on all of you for not telling me about this 15 years ago http://alphacentauri2.info/Smileys/akyhne/grin.gif (http://alphacentauri2.info/Smileys/akyhne/grin.gif)

Don't try this with rap.exe because it will look for "rap.tgq" and hang your system because it can't find it. Also, be wary of using playuv15 in subsequent "open with" situations -- afaik it runs .wve AND .tgq vidfiles just hunky.

From a cmd line playuv15 can indeed be invoked with all switches with the following additional functions (from memory)
[ESC] = quit/exit
[Shift] = pause    --- ahaaa!!
[Spacebar] = restart

OK Then. So the question is --- what MAKES .wve and .tgq wideos??? I'm looking into that too but there seems to be a lot of web[poop] out there ...
Did someone let the Alpha Codex loose?
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on May 05, 2012, 02:04:40 PM
Is it ME or are some hypothetical Netnannyites corrupting my posts?
I NEVER say [POOP] -- at least not while I'm awake...
I always say shot or crip or dreck because I'm SERIOUSLY unPC ..
That said, I'm almost invariably polite. A little help or clarification here pls.
 :o

(Good -- glad that got sorted out)
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on May 05, 2012, 03:55:35 PM
I'm sure we would all like to see new SMACX compatible movies. This has been the Holy Grail for at least 12 years to my knowledge and certainly on my wishlist.

Firaxis and EA were never forthcoming regarding this aspect of AC. Mod the factions - well certainly. Here's a nice shiny FacEdit to do it with.. Textmods? - "Be our guests -- but watchit in case you screw it up"

Movie mods -- Big Nothing
Workshop mods -- Big Silence

Anyone have ideas on editing .cvr files for the workshop (all I want to do is mod one of the wings to visually display SAM capability)?

After this long such a wish might seem trivial..... unless you've never seen a Needljet invasion. Personally I'd like to know visually if the top of a plane stack can defend.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on May 06, 2012, 11:57:00 AM
Just received a report from a Scout Party that was investigating old SMACX stuff on a rarely used hard drive.
Found this archive of the old Caviar Player courtesy of the Network Node hiding amongst a bunch of NN sourced alternative factions.

Should I u/l those too?
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on May 07, 2012, 08:09:24 AM
I did a bit more digging at the weekend concerning the format(s) and codecs used by Firaxis in the hope of digging up info concerning the tools used at the time of the game's development in 1997-98.
I take on board jopower's info in re WVE files and Cyberlink s/w but you have to put all of this in proper context. In 1997 there wasn't much in the way of XML.
There wasn't an NTFS based OS that was much good for anything outside of the office, Win95B was all the rage and not a few SOHO's were still using Win3.11....
Such environments may seem like halcyon days to those who remember them but they'll also remember such pleasantries as BSODs, general protection errors, and other pleasantries - such as - on a windows install, receiving the infamous "System Error - You need to reinstall Windows".
Many applications were ported from 16 bit OSs or DOS for use on 32bit OSs. These ranged from the Good (rare) to the Flaky (common) to the occasionally outright dangerous.
In this environment Brian and his team developed SMAC. An even greater tour de force when placed in proper context.

Here's a link to the video formats used by EA in that era: http://wiki.multimedia.cx/index.php?title=Electronic_Arts_Formats (http://wiki.multimedia.cx/index.php?title=Electronic_Arts_Formats)
And from there this is not so obvious as it might be http://wiki.multimedia.cx/index.php?title=Electronic_Arts_TQI (http://wiki.multimedia.cx/index.php?title=Electronic_Arts_TQI)
And there I can reccomend the "samples" link...... lotsa stuff there. Not getting anyone's hopes up - I hope.

Going back to an earlier post of mine where I mentioned the Caviar player.
Thats what is needed to open .cvr files NOT MSOffice and the Fax Editor - which is what a websearch will throw up nowadays.
Trouble is, CP won't work under XP. Not even in compatibility modes, so I'll likely demothball a suitable legacy PIII comp later in the week and see if it'll play nice.
Please note that I'm aware that .cvr and .wve are only related in being Graphics topics and are quite unrelated to each other - other than being in the same game.

And I've tried to u/l a copy of Caviar in the Utilities section since my previous attempt in this thread looks like a null.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on May 08, 2012, 09:36:37 PM
Had a bit of luck and got Caviar Player working under Mandriva 2008.1

Five little pics of screenshots of two units,

It was news to me that the subject in the first two pics is effectively a looped 17 frame 3D animation. These are just 2 frames.
The second two are just the 3D wing sections used by the design workshop for human needlejets differing slightly in colour only. I would have posted the other njet section (there is only one) which is of the exhaust pipes and wing guns.

But I was only allowed 4 images.


Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on May 08, 2012, 09:46:10 PM
I really appreciate you and all you've been been contributing lately.


...We have GOT to track down that attachment problem...
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on May 09, 2012, 11:52:02 AM
Just a wild shot...... but I noticed that you moved this thread from another location, where it's being shown as "locked".

Any chance that the relocated thread has inherited the lock? :-\

Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on May 09, 2012, 12:00:15 PM
Hah - it's not working anywhere right now.  I tried a test upload to an album as an alternative yesterday, but no dice...
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on May 10, 2012, 04:36:24 PM
Brief u/d.

I now have shots of all of the unit components as .png images and even knocked up a text file of what they are etc. even though most of us would recognize them on sight. Total directory size? A massive 1Mb uncompressed -- so even smaller as a Rar archive which I'll post up as soon as u/ls are possible again.

I tried to see if I could glean codec info of .wve files using Gspot. No soap - - "Unknown format and Unknown codec".

Since I also have SMACXPP for Linux courtesy of Loki, I thought I'd have a look at their workaround knowing that 'their' movies are bog-standard .mpg vids. Just about anything will play these, naturally, and Gspot reports boringly ordinary MPEG-1 Layer 2 encoding. For the most part .wve and .mpg filesizes are comparable.

Sadly, I can't get the Linux version to run stably after arrival on Chiron. Looks like Linux flavours/kernels/glibc versions have moved on a bit. I'll now save the PIII for a very rainy day when I can dig out an ancient Fedora distro perhaps.

The question arises;-- "Where did Loki get the MPEG files?"
Did they do a  deal with Firaxis and get the originals?
Did they just extract the MPEGs from the .wve files? And with WHAT if they did? And if they DID do that -- does it work in both directions?

Too many variables at the moment. Does anyone know any of the history of this?
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Kilkakon on May 13, 2012, 11:26:56 AM
Welcome DavyBoy. :)

Great work across the board, hey. :) Do you think we can get a video into SMAX now? :O That would be interesting.

I seem to remember a list of filenames and what they are, but never any with images attached. Good job. :D
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on May 13, 2012, 12:56:27 PM
Welcome DavyBoy. :)

Great work across the board, hey. :) Do you think we can get a video into SMAX now? :O That would be interesting.

I seem to remember a list of filenames and what they are, but never any with images attached. Good job. :D


Well, thanks - but I haven't done anything yet.

(http://file:///home/dave/Pictures/Matrix1.png)

There are two subjects mixed into this thread and it's ALL MY FAULT. I personally would like to be modding the 3D bits that go into the design workshop. Within all of the civ-like games there's never been a DW except in SMACX - the units in all of those games are fixed at startup, no in-game modding (because that's what the DW boils down to - in-game modding).
Not talking about making Fusion lasers that have 11 grade attack capability, that can be done in a text editor. I just want an interceptor to look more obvious, I can't always see that farty little dish thingy because the weapon may conceal it. Ditto units with nerve pods. I vaguely remember, in the very dim and distant past, that such units had a couple of black circular thingys on either side.
For me such minor things enhance gameplay, you get a visual input about what nasties frequent the neighbourhood and plan accordingly. Otherwise you're [ctrl]-V ing all the damn time...

About movies (which is the subject of this thread).

If we could get hold of the codecs for the .wve files then the problem becomes pretty trivial. To that end my recent investigations suggest that they need the EA TQI codec. No known codec pack recently investigated contains this codec. It's proprietry, it sems, and was obsolescent when the game was released (at a guess).

However, although this sounds very disheartening (-2 MORALE)  ;) -- there is a real possibility for progress since I now know of four (4) places where this codec is embedded.

1)  playuv15.exe
2)  rap.tgq  (but this might be a codec variant)
3)  terran.exe  (duh!)
4)  terranx.exe  (duh*2!)

I mention the last two trivial examples even though they probably use playuv15 within the game engine because until 2 weeks ago I wasn't aware that anyone had been inside the game kernel a couple of years ago..
Didn't they come across the codec then?

It's far easier to ask someone who has 2-yo oil on their fingers than jumping into a Tardis bound for 1997...

I think BUncle would want first dibs on it though. Works for me.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 15, 2012, 10:22:15 AM
STILL can't u/l and post any attachments. Just tried modifying a post from May and it's still nogo.

Looks like an Admin prerogative, so anytime now sisko..

(Please!)
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: sisko on June 15, 2012, 12:19:40 PM
Looks like an Admin prerogative, so anytime now sisko..

(Please!)
working on it.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: sisko on June 15, 2012, 12:39:43 PM
Looks like an Admin prerogative, so anytime now sisko..

(Please!)
working on it.
solved! but only tested on the admin account. please confirm it works for you now.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 15, 2012, 12:42:22 PM
Looks like an Admin prerogative, so anytime now sisko..

(Please!)
working on it.

I know!! -- but I got thinking about it again in light of the auto-censorship of a mild profanity that I used somewhere in a post. Thought (by extension) that it might be related, at a global level.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 15, 2012, 12:54:58 PM
Looks like an Admin prerogative, so anytime now sisko..

(Please!)
working on it.
solved! but only tested on the admin account. please confirm it works for you now.

Success !! That was really fast work sisko. Had to u/l the images again and I might still not have it right but the point I was making was that the PT is animated.

Many thanks for your diligent administrating and pls disregard the comment I made 3 mins after yours.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: sisko on June 15, 2012, 12:56:22 PM
I know!! -- but I got thinking about it again in light of the auto-censorship of a mild profanity that I used somewhere in a post. Thought (by extension) that it might be related, at a global level.
nothing like that. it was a technical issue and it seems to be solved now.

Quote
Many thanks for your diligent administrating and pls disregard the comment I made 3 mins after yours.
no problem. :)
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 15, 2012, 01:39:35 PM
Back to the topic at hand then..

I furtled around and found a copy of Dungeon Keeper II, dusted it off and had a look at how Bullfrog compiled their videos. Turns out they used the .tgq extension that playuv15 also supports. So if you drag and drop a DK2 vid onto playuv15.exe -- it plays.
This doesn't really get us much further forward with 'making new movies' except to say that more than one codec is hard coded into playuv15 and possibly into the game kernels too.

Caviar stuff.
I ran all of the .cvr files through the player just for kicks and grabbed screenshots of them. Made a list too. Haven't found myself any suitable 3D editing s/w yet unfortunately.

RaRed them all into an archive:-
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on June 15, 2012, 06:27:52 PM
Awesome!  This might come in real handy...
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 15, 2012, 07:58:50 PM
With the cavplayer screengrabs as .png files you might be able to photoshop or Gimp them into forms that could be inserted back into .pcx files much as Kilkakon did with the "dogpile" .pcx

Not an ideal workaround, I know, because you lose animation that way by using static images.

There were also a few surprises for me when I finally sussed the whichness of the what for some of the .cvr add-ons. It turns out that there IS a difference between the Needlejet and the Interceptor in that the interceptor has a little dish just in front of the cockpit which is usually obscured by the weapons cluster in front of it. Don't recall seeing that in 12 years of gameplay....
Additionally - cavplayer doesn't always correctly SIZE 3D images; a good example being the comm jammer or the diss wave projector.

Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on June 15, 2012, 08:30:11 PM
Might nothing; I've done it with units cut out of screenshots a number of times.  Same technique as all the custom units in The Zookeepers GotM.

Your file could come in very handy...
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 15, 2012, 08:53:29 PM
Well feel quite free to use them if it helps. I only grabbed the default .cvr image for each static 3D construct but they can be rotated to show a near infinite number of projections.

The animated ones (scout, probe team, rover wheels (!), alien colony pod, etc) are a sequence of about 17 3d frame shots that you can step through in a loop, that's how I discovered the PT 'crouch-down' pose that I capped earlier. If time permits over the w/e I think I'll revisit the animations and grab a shot of each element and bung those in a separate archive.

The whole unit thing was very different for the Civgames where Firaxis made .flc files, in colour, and stuck those onto the board in the case of Cuv 3. Theory suggests that some of those might be useful too, in a limited sort of way.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on June 15, 2012, 09:15:27 PM
I've had a .cvr player for years -- it never occured to me to do that...  Good work.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Kilkakon on June 16, 2012, 02:12:10 PM
I never knew that there was a cvr player! I just made do with the unit workshop haha.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 17, 2012, 09:50:26 AM
I never knew that there was a cvr player! I just made do with the unit workshop haha.

As do we all.

What Firaxis seem to have done is use a cut-down version of it compiled into the game kernel and when STDIN pushes 'u' it gets invoked with this overlay - and others:

The 'player' has a default rotate clockwise which, if you load an element into CavPlayer is just a matter of holding an arrow key down. That takes care of the main window. It's possible they use 6 instances for the rectangular panels but that would be getting resource heavy imho.

Where the code is for sticking the bits together is, is probably in the 10 or so .cvr files that "do not contain geometry", but I haven't been able to do anything useful with them yet.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 17, 2012, 10:11:47 AM
Just for kicks I was messing around trying to find .wve players (without much progress of course) and snagged a couple of images (NOT printscreens)

Although it's a bit rough, I set "HalfwaytoAnywhere" as wallpaper on me XPbox.
It highlight why movies are not rendered in fullscreen.

(Red pill, Blue pill...)
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 18, 2012, 02:22:11 PM
"I've got two words for you, just two words.
Mario Brito!!!"

aka 'HCl'

And his site at  http://hcl.solsector.net (http://hcl.solsector.net) (found through an obscure Google link to an Apolyton thread dating back to 2005 which I can't now find again on the XPbox where I am now, but is bookmarked on the Linbox so that I can link/attribute at a later date)

(ed - found it  http://apolyton.net/showthread.php/137832-SMAX-video-files-converter (http://apolyton.net/showthread.php/137832-SMAX-video-files-converter) )

This lad has been busy! and it turned out that the Apolyton interestees had just discovered that HCl had this movie player by the name of "Wing Commander Movie Player" and that although the GUI played .tre and .tgv vids; - from a command line, the undelying wcmv.exe did an excellent job of playing .wve files too.

Not only that, but from a command line the .wve can be extracted to an .avi file. Which would be "10 times as big".

So I tried this with 'believe.wve' as a test file (same folder as wcmv for convenience) and ran

wcmv believe.wve -avi

from a cmd line (the Apolyton thread described it differently) and gained a 24 meg 'rip.avi' file in raw bitmap. The screener is taken as I ran THAT through vlc, which played it very nicely, took a nice colour screenshot --- but rendered it in midnight blue...

(Maybe it was pole-dancing night in Godwinson's Bordello)

(ed - 20120619 00:19 - added discussion link)

Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 18, 2012, 02:51:02 PM
http://hcl.solsector.net/information/video_wcp.cpp (http://hcl.solsector.net/information/video_wcp.cpp)

This looks promising too.
With:-

http://hcl.solsector.net/information/tables_wcp.h (http://hcl.solsector.net/information/tables_wcp.h)

My best guess is that HCl and crew figured out the .wve codec. Espescially considering that the TQI format (.wve) had a pretty 'zig-zag' coding deely in it:

http://wiki.multimedia.cx/index.php?title=Electronic_Arts_TQI (http://wiki.multimedia.cx/index.php?title=Electronic_Arts_TQI)

Iff so, does anyone have a clue about how to go about turning this into something practical? I'm starting to exit my comfort zone  :-X

Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on June 18, 2012, 03:42:32 PM
The key is whether vids can be converted the other way, isn't it?
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 18, 2012, 04:57:40 PM
Certainly.

But with what I discovered today (.wve --> .avi) the decoder certainly works. Don't be fooled by the 'midnight blue hatdance' that I posted earlier. That's a vlc whoopsie, probably because raw bitmap AVI video hasn't been used for a decade.

In fact, within the wcmv_1_2a file it's odds-on that the actual codec resides in the xanlib.dll courtesy of Origin Systems Inc (that brought back fond memories of Orc hunts). If so, it may be possible to plug it into something like Flask or TMPGenc for a bit of encoding.

Seven years ago they wanted to turn the .avi files into Bink video .bik ones for CivIV.
I'm a bit hazy on how that turned out in the end.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on June 18, 2012, 05:47:13 PM
Well obviously, being able to put our own movies in has a lot of storytelling potential for scenerios and full mods.  This is potentially very important work.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Kilkakon on June 19, 2012, 06:13:24 AM
Great work on this DavyBoy. :)

That C++ is pretty nasty stuff though. :| Almost assembly from the looks of things.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 19, 2012, 07:23:55 AM
That C++ is pretty nasty stuff though. :| Almost assembly from the looks of things.

33 years ago (sigh) I cut my teeth on Hex assembly for an 8060 (8A/600) evaluation kit. Even got it to do some useful control work through a UART and some external electronics I slapped together. But circumstances pushed me in other directions as Life does and I didn't get to transition to later (non-toy) processors/ instruction sets.

I think that the best strategy atm would be to see if Mario Brito still answers his email and ask him if he's interested or whether they actually did something along those lines for Wing Commander.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on June 19, 2012, 09:34:21 AM
Brief u/d

After finding this recent post http://ffmpeg.org/trac/ffmpeg/ticket/794#comment:1 (http://ffmpeg.org/trac/ffmpeg/ticket/794#comment:1) I get the impression that some poor soul was trying to go from a .wve file to raw video using Ffmpeg. It's been a while since I used Ffmpeg and that was on a windows setup, but I have it installed right here on a bash command line.

Hmmmm..

(ed 20120619 13:18)

Looking through the Ffmpeg documentation the developers are now up to (D)ecode for (V)ideo for the EA formats TGV TQI (for wve) and a couple of others. But not going the other way for (E)ncode at the moment. My install of Ffmpeg is from 2009 and doesn't include these codecs so if I try ffmpeg -i weatherParadigm.wve weatherParadigm.avi it just rips the (uncompressed) audio to the output container without any video stream. At least it doesn't crash. Since it was doing this in under a second (!) I ran

ffmpeg -i weatherParadigm.wve weatherParadigm.mp3

and got the following, less confusing output. It's just the soundtrack of course.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on August 30, 2012, 01:13:39 PM
Can't believe more than 2 months have elapsed since I contributed "work" to this thread, but there were some extenuating circumstances.
I was about to u/d my ffmpeg installation on my production Linuxbox when it suffered a h/d whoopsie - lost the bootsector MBR bootloader - and just generally decided that it was taking the summer off.
I wouldn't have cared too much if I hadn't had several hundred Gigabytes of data sitting in other ReiserFS volumes that, although backed up, I wasn't prepared to give up on without a fight. ;) Restoring b/us is a tedious drag.
Anyhoo, I got the MBR patched up and got back into the Mandriva 2008 system (after ReiserFSTools replayed all the journals and told me a tale of woe about the h/d being on the way out) but it wasn't stable. Maybe it would run for a couple of hours, maybe 5 mins, and then freeze up. Couldn't work with that. Couldn't even back anything up with that kind of unreliability...
Just to narrow the focus a bit, I booted the (never used) MS Vesta partition that also lives on this particular box. Very frustrating, couldn't browse files :-\ , couldn't 'find' anything  >:( , web-browsing was, well, a chore..  :o and for all I knew, these  ;roze; darlings had hacked it and could file it with other dehydrated curries  :) But it ran for 24 hours without trouble - so it was "stable" if you don't count hibernation freezes.

The upshot of this is that my h/d - attempting to swap out a dodgy disk sector through its SMART tech has casually shafted my /root directory in the process. The question now arises "Since I have to reinstall /root, what is my ultimate strategy? Do I care? Do I want an u/g? Do I want a complete change?"

While ze lettle grey cells cogitate these many elements - I push off to the other (Winbox) comp for a few AC thrashes.

(Used Knoppix 6.2.1 to retreive /root and /home volumes, and anything else)
Installed Mandriva 2011.1 which comes with a pretty up-to-date version of ffmpeg which in turn took 2 seconds to produce this .avi ...

Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Kilkakon on August 31, 2012, 03:22:42 AM
Sorry to hear about all the hard drive pain! :( Poor guy.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on September 16, 2012, 04:00:37 PM
Quick u/d about ffmpeg.

I snagged a Windows compatible "static" package and decompressed it to a folder-of-choice and played around at the cmd line with the ffmpeg.exe in the 'bin' subfolder.

Because it's necessarily interpreted by Microsoft's superefficient software it works -- but about 5-10 times more slowly than in an equivalent bash environment.

Of further note is the accompanying 'ffplay.exe' which you can actually drag and drop 'movie.wve' files onto just like playuv15.exe.
The difference being that the playback is in a maximizable window, handy if you want to see all the imperfections in almost fullscreen mode.
Also seems to like playing other legacy formats like .tgq and smacker files (untested)
Plays those pesky .bik files that modern gamesmakers seem to be in love with.
Preserves the colour balance in screenshots too. Examples to follow..
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Kilkakon on September 17, 2012, 07:36:06 AM
Yeah lots of modern games use bik for some reason. :O
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on September 17, 2012, 06:37:15 PM
Fascinating stuff, and important.  You da man.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Davyboy on September 17, 2012, 07:54:36 PM
Fascinating stuff, and important.  You da man.

LOL! As it turned out the civ4 stuff played like a charm in ffplay, a damn sight better than the game itself ever rendered them as I recall.

I'm just wondering when the ffmpeg contribs will get around to Encoders for the stuff that we're interested in, and I'm a bit mystified about how to contact them... No doubt when they do, if they do, we'll start hearing about proprietry software lawsuits and copyright violations.
Of course, ffmpeg is copyleft.

(Wonder if I can snag stuff from Total Annihilation? hmmmm...)
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on September 17, 2012, 09:00:31 PM
I think as long as no one uses it in a commercial game, no one is in danger of anything worse than a cease and desist letter.  We're too small a target to be worth going after.  I wouldn't worry.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Matt the Czar on October 23, 2012, 01:32:12 AM
Is there really a way to encode?
(Idea: Email.)
I think in the credits there was a list of the video crew.  Email them
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Buster's Uncle on October 23, 2012, 01:43:36 AM
It ought to be pretty simple if someone could crack the format problem - never heard of it, don't have anything but the game that'll open it.  The video crew may not have had anything to do with that end.


YOU email.  Seriously; that's how things get done.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: gwillybj on July 12, 2013, 02:50:55 AM
...
Trouble is, CP won't work under XP. Not even in compatibility modes,
...
In case anyone happens to read this thread and note that comment:
I run CvrPlay.exe on my XP system as-is, no compatibility mode needed.
I don't do it very often, though, because I tend to move the image too fast: makes me dizzy.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: jopower on March 20, 2017, 11:27:25 AM
Hey, it's been soooome time since I started this thread and if I hadn't been checking the Rolodex for some little visited sites, might've been forever.
THANK YOU FOR KEEPING AGING TOPICS OPEN!  :danc:

All I can say is, WOW, you guys are way over my code level!  ;b;   Thanks for all the usable helps and tips. Weather or not we ever see much of WVE conversions and inventions -- like maybe to BIK, et al -- I'm happy to see this discussion got somewhere.

One other possible way to manipulate these odd files is with Audacity-like programs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audacity_(audio_editor) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audacity_(audio_editor)) Audacity records what you're playing as an internal loop back to whatever format you wish. Yes, Audacity is for audio only. I haven't extensively looked for a video equivalent yet. Perhaps one of you have a thought. But I'd hope it was as easy as Audacity... but for this hiccup:

Windows 8 and 10... what planetoid will we be on with them??  ???   Lesson: keep a nice cozy Win 7 or XP box in action in case you really want to do some real prestidigitation (just as many still keep a Win98SE box).  8)
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Fibonacci on April 24, 2017, 11:06:43 PM
No idea whether this is too little too late, but VLC player has the following info:
Stream 0
    Type: Video
    Codec: Electronic Arts TQI (TQIV)
    Display resolution: 320x240
    Buffer dimensions: 320x256
    Fram rate:15
    Decoded format: Planar 4:2:0 YUV
    Orientation: Top left
Stream 1
    Type: Audio
    Codec: EA ADPCM Audio (ADEA)
    Channels: Stereo
    Sample rate: 22050 Hz
    Bits per sample: 16

Looking up TQI I found https://wiki.multimedia.cx/index.php/Electronic_Arts_TQI and https://wiki.multimedia.cx/index.php/Electronic_Arts_Formats looked interesting.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Daemonjax on April 29, 2017, 03:12:13 AM
Just thought I'd add to the discussion:

mplayer can play wve files.

http://mplayerwin.sourceforge.net/downloads.html (http://mplayerwin.sourceforge.net/downloads.html)

The main benefit of doing this is for fullscreen video play... or if you experience crashes during video play... or just want to be able to pause the videos ingame. 

If using pracx, you can override the uvplayer15 executable and run a batch file running mplayer, like so:

[Alpha Centauri.Ini]
MoviePlayerCommand=c:\playwve.bat

and then the batch file:

[c:\playwve.bat]
@echo off
"c:\mplayer"\mplayer.exe "E:\Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri\movies"\%~n1.wve -fs

The %~n1.wve shouldn't be necessary... just %1 should work, but it doesn't... for me... last time I checked... but I didn't dig too deep.

EDIT: Even if not using pracx, I suppose you could create an executable using autohotkey (easier than c++ anyways) that runs mplayer in much the same way as the batch file, and stick in it your movie folder (rename existing uvplayer15.exe first).  Dunno, didn't try.

I'd rather watch grainy fullscreen videos than grainy small videos.  Maybe it's just me.
Title: Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
Post by: Mart on October 28, 2017, 08:50:41 PM
I remember someone wrote (here on the forum?), that the player is embedded actually into exe. Some time ago I tried to play videos in SMACX with other formats, but a 'silly' problem of getting the player window on top of SMACX was not solved. Maybe this is why SMACX has the player embedded, so Windows is happy.


Converting any video to WVE file would be great though. We could then use original player and have new videos in game.
With this Electronic Arts TQI format known, this would be possible.