First Dino Crisis is also getting some love

Where to start with this one? If you follow my twitter, you probably already noticed what’s been boiling since the end of november. More after the jump!

So yeah, the first Dino Crisis is also getting the Classic REbirth treatment and it’s pretty close to completion already. But first let’s analyze as usual what the issues are with this port.

For starters, the most glaring issue is that the game only works with one resolution: 640×480 16 bits. The usual resolution switch hotkey, F8, only allows the user to toggle fullscreen. That’s all, not even 320×240. On top of that, the 3D rendering in this port shows typical issue of early PlayStation enhanced emulation, with wobbly polygons all over the place and textures warped to complete distortion. This happens because CAPCOM literally emulated the whole PlayStation GPU and GTE (Geometry Transformation Engine, i.e. the chip that does 3D transformation) by implementing something akin to emulators like Bleem or ePSXe. And as usual the framerate is inconsistent and doesn’t work as intended when no media player is playing in background.

Another huge issue is that the game has the same issue as Dino Crisis 2 with controllers: their DirectInput implementation can’t detect most controllers on modern hardware. Or at least I was never able to make it detect any type of gamepad. Not sure if this is caused by DirectInput 5.00, since what they used for keyboard (DInput 3.00) works just fine.

The final nail in the coffin is the terrible quality of full motion videos used in this game, which are composed of compressed with Indeo5 and uncompressed PCM audio. On a related matter with audio, for some reason they set up DirectSound to work in 22050Hz at 8bit depth.

So where does Classic REbirth come into play with this whole mess? It fixes most of those issues above and goes even beyond. Here’s a list of what has been implemented so far:

  • Replaces DirectDraw 5.00 with DirectX 9, for a whole lot more compatibility with modern GPUs, and removes the ugly software rendering.
  • Replaces DirectInput 3.00/5.00 with new input methods such as XInput, RawInput, DirectInput 8.00, and native keyboard support, effectively allowing most controllers to be detected and supported by the game.
  • Replaces DirectShow video playback with a custom hardware accelerated video player that has no dependency on deprecated Microsoft technology. No codes required, FFMPEG takes care of Indeo5 and adds native MP4 + AAC support.
  • Adds a new 3D rendering mode with more precise transformation methods that fix wobbliness and texture warping.
  • Improves sound capabilities of the game, making the audio driver switch from 22050Hz 8bit audio driver to 44100Hz 16bits.
  • Adds resolutions higher than 640×480 (supports 4K too), adds a hotkey to switch resolution in game, and provides a more stable borderless window mode to replace glitchy fullscreen.
  • Adds an optional adaptative wide screen mode to fill the whole screen area (i.e. 16:9 & 16:10 ratios or even ultra widescreen, you name it).
  • Fixes frame rate issue to provide smooth 30/60 fps support.
  • Removes the need to install the game. Just copy your data from the install disk, add the DLL, and you are ready to go. If your game was already installed, the DLL will convert Registry settings on the fly.

As usual I’m working with the latest build of the game, which turns out to be the Japanese SourceNext rerelease from 2006. This version uses a slightly different executable from the previous release by MediaKite, which isn’t compatible unfortunately. Still, if you have the MediaKite version (the more common) and want to use Classic REbirth, the executable will be available as a patch, so you’re covered. You don’t really need anything else, as MediaKite has identical data compared to SourceNext. As usual don’t worry about it being Japanese, the DLL will patch the text and code to display English, like the other Classic REbirths.

This project is quite close to completion and is currently only available as a pre-release for Patreon users, so please have a little more patience. It will be worth the wait.