Author Topic: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos  (Read 9448 times)

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Offline jopower

Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
« on: August 18, 2011, 08:35:20 AM »
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  • 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
    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)
    « Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 01:20:09 PM by sisko »
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    Offline sisko

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    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #1 on: September 06, 2011, 01:54:01 PM »
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  • welcome to the site, jopower! and thx for sharing.
    Anyone else feels like it's time to fix the faction graphics bug?

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    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #2 on: December 06, 2011, 02:15:26 AM »
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  • jopower, would you be interested in chiming in here?  http://www.weplayciv.com/forums/showthread.php?6523-AC-Intro-Movies


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    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 01:34:49 AM »
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  • 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?

    Offline Davyboy

    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #4 on: May 05, 2012, 01:36:18 PM »
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  • 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 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

    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?

    Offline Davyboy

    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #5 on: May 05, 2012, 02:04:40 PM »
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  • 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)

    Offline Davyboy

    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #6 on: May 05, 2012, 03:55:35 PM »
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  • 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.

    Offline Davyboy

    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #7 on: May 06, 2012, 11:57:00 AM »
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  • 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?
    « Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 12:45:24 PM by Davyboy »

    Offline Davyboy

    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #8 on: May 07, 2012, 08:09:24 AM »
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  • 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
    And from there this is not so obvious as it might be 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.

    Offline Davyboy

    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #9 on: May 08, 2012, 09:36:37 PM »
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  • 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.


    « Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 12:49:13 PM by Davyboy »

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    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #10 on: May 08, 2012, 09:46:10 PM »
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  • I really appreciate you and all you've been been contributing lately.


    ...We have GOT to track down that attachment problem...

    Offline Davyboy

    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #11 on: May 09, 2012, 11:52:02 AM »
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  • 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? :-\


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    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #12 on: May 09, 2012, 12:00:15 PM »
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  • Hah - it's not working anywhere right now.  I tried a test upload to an album as an alternative yesterday, but no dice...

    Offline Davyboy

    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #13 on: May 10, 2012, 04:36:24 PM »
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  • 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?

    Offline Kilkakon

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    Re: Playing the Alpha Centauri and expansion WVE videos
    « Reply #14 on: May 13, 2012, 11:26:56 AM »
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  • 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

     

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