It’s been a couple of months since the last project update, and while this period has been a little slow, we have reached a new milestone. With the completion of disc 2, initial upscaling (Stage 1) has been finished for all backgrounds in the game, and all discs are now in the splitting and revision stage (Stage 2).
What does Stage 2 involve?
The primary trouble with upscaling backgrounds in The Legend of Dragoon is that, because of memory constraints in the original PlayStation, the backgrounds were divided into multiple tiles. Further, any piece of scenery that you can walk behind or has an effect behind it is separated into a cutout texture. Before upscaling, all of these backgrounds needed to be pieced together by hand (as seen below); with upscaling done, this process needs to be reversed, and all pieces placed back into their original textures.
Fortunately, some hardworking community members did the first part some time ago, which sped up the initial upscaling process. Unfortunately, placing cutouts is not always as simple as fitting each piece into an exactly-sized space, so many backgrounds have minor errors that we are discovering as we work through the splitting process. Because the original Photoshop/GIMP projects are not available in all cases, this has meant that the stitching largely needs to be redone. In cases where there were minor stitching errors, the upscale has to be redone as well (although we recorded our model chains, so repeating this is not difficult).
This also bleeds into the revision process. This project has very much been a learning experience, and as we’ve progressed through the game, new ESRGAN model releases and continued experimentation with model interpolation have often led to better-quality upscales than were possible when working on earlier maps. Because of this, we are also reviewing earlier maps, and attempting to improve them when warranted.
There is still plenty of work ahead of us before the backgrounds can be released for use, but we continue to advance toward the finish line. In the meantime, here are a couple of comparisons showing upscaled textures in-game:
For more info and minor progress updates, check out the dedicated page for the project.