Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Ziming » Fri Apr 28, 2017 1:13 am

Falco Girgis wrote:I just need a little clarification. I'm actually confused now as to how the animations work or where they're coming from. I thought they were just the file browser icons associated with the save file, but it looks like they're actually images that show up on the VMU itself? And they play when the VMU is used standalone? How the hell is that working? Are the animations actually being saved as a VMU "game" and then the animation plays when you use the VMU standalone in game mode?

So can you give me a description of how the file works and exactly what you're doing with it along with a sample file itself that I can test with?


Here is a short demonstration video showing how the animation works directly from the VMU itself.

phpBB [video]


Here's a video I made just now to demonstrate how I load the VMU characters onto the VMU itself. I use the same method for both DEMUL and for the actual console using a program called Dream Explorer by Speud. This is all I have to show you which is one of the tedious steps I have to do to animate it. In the video below I only load a few VMU characters but if I wanted to fill a single entire VMU I can only fit like 40-50 characters.

phpBB [video]
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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby shenhaZ » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:54 am

Speaking of VMU, do we a have a seperate thread somewhere dedicated to it's development?

I have two original VMUs and want to make some kind of "oracle software", which is tells me yes or no and gives random number.
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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Falco Girgis » Mon May 01, 2017 5:06 pm

PERFECT. That's exactly what I needed. Thanks. Also holy shit, how did I not know the passport disc had those extras? I've only played Shenmue 1 and 2 a million times...

Last finals are tomorrow. Wife is taking us on a 3 day vacation, but I'm back to coding ES and EVMU right after that, and I'll make this my first feature.

I know exactly how I want to handle this in a way that makes your life a million times easier and also adds something for everyone to the emulator.

I'm going to add a "record" mode that basically begins recording the screen to an animated GIF with timing derived from the actual clock cycles of the emulator. I see that the animations are not all back-to-back, so what I'll do is have buttons for like pause, play, and advance frame, so that you can slowly advance frame-by-frame and capture basically a precise number of frames for the GIF. You an take your time and go slowly at the frame level, but the emulator will be generating the GIF itself with the correct timing, not based on you slowly manually advancing frames.

One last thing. What file format are you getting that VMU game in from the DC emulator? VMS? Or a whole entire flash image of the VMU? Is it a special file type that's specific to DEmul or whatever?

edit: not sure if there are development resources here on VMU development, but once you're set up with the assembler and all that, I am pretty sure EVMU is the most advanced emulator to develop with. My timings are all 100% accurate, I have a built-in disassembler, and a command-line instruction reference. I plan to add more debugging capabilities like a memory/register viewer, breakpoints, and things you would see in modern IDEs.
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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Ziming » Tue May 02, 2017 10:49 pm

Falco Girgis wrote: PERFECT. That's exactly what I needed. Thanks. Also holy shit, how did I not know the passport disc had those extras? I've only played Shenmue 1 and 2 a million times...


From what I've been told these vmu character animations were only attainable by getting the winning can from the game and then connecting online with the Shenmue passport disc. I've tried see if these VMU icons were somewhere in the passport disc itself but found nothing. Unless we find someone who managed to get every single vmu character downloaded through the passport back then we're stuck with the current incomplete set. Since many were using dial-up internet in those times i think finding someone with a complete set will be very difficult.

Falco Girgis wrote:
One last thing. What file format are you getting that VMU game in from the DC emulator? VMS? Or a whole entire flash image of the VMU? Is it a special file type that's specific to DEmul or whatever?


When I transfer the character vmu files from Dream Explorer CD to DEMUL it goes into "memsaves" folder as "vms00.bin". I don't think it's a special file type as i can use the transfer method for both emulator and console. Like what you see in the short demonstration video above. You can download VMU Explorer as a .cdi from the site below.

https://bswirl.kitsunet.org/vmutool/rel ... en&menu=on
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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Falco Girgis » Tue May 09, 2017 8:33 am

EDIT: Whoops, double post!
Last edited by Falco Girgis on Tue May 09, 2017 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Falco Girgis » Tue May 09, 2017 8:34 am

Heya buddy, I have a surprise for you! I implemented the animated GIF exporting! This actually turned out to be a pretty sweet feature!

So I'm not exactly sure what file type "vms00.bin" is, but judging by the name, I'm assuming it's simply .vms. If that's the case, you are going to have to change the extension before trying to load it into EVMU, and I'm really not sure why the hell they are just using a .bin extension...

Once you have the emulator opened and the file loaded, there are a few features that are going to make your life so much easier.

Here's a link to the Dropbox folder with all of the latest builds:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rai7db85bqq5iz0/AAAbnQfEJpTFaHkQ8K6nP6kVa?dl=0

Recording an Animation
From the file menu, go to Tools->Capture Animation->Record to begin recording, or simply push CTRL/CMD+R.
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You should see the red "recording" icon, and a little message. Once you see that, everything that's happening on the VMU is being captured for the animated GIF.

Once you're done capturing whatever it is that you want, either stop recording from the file menu or the shortcut again. The animated GIF should automatically be generated and should be opened with the default program. If you want to actually view the files, they're located at:

Windows: C:/Users/YourUserName/ElysianVMU
MacOS: /Users/YourUserName/ElysianVMU
Linux: /home/YourUserName/ElysianVMU

The files should be named the same thing as the ROM image, and every new recording should simply append a number to the previous recording output.

Halt and Advance Frame
I decided that I should also implement these two, because you might be capturing a very quick/precise segment of an animation, and you want to only record the relevant frames. By Halting the emulator execution, then slowly advancing the frames until you've run through everything you want to capture, you can more easily record precise segments.

From the file menu, the Emulation->Playback menu should have the actions for both Halting and Advancing the frame, or the shortcuts are F2 and F3 respectively.
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Note that "halting" or slowing down the execution does NOT actually effect the timing of the animated GIF output, so don't worry about screwing up the timing. "Advance Frame" basically advanced the emulator 1/20th of a second, which is usually a single frame for a ROM. This may be only half a frame for certain ROMs, so you may have to advance twice to get a full frame.

Note that the output GIFs are EXTREMELY optimized and efficient, since the VMU is at such a low resolution and only has a 2 color palette. You can record fairly long, complex animations without the file size getting more than a few KB. I figured that the exported resolution should probably say the VMU's native 42x38 to keep the file small and to allow you to stretch/scale as you see fit later on. Didn't want to introduce any inaccuracy at the raw output level.

Note that this whole feature was developed on MacOS, but it should work fine on Windows. Let me know if anything is wrong or you run into any bugs.

Here are a few animations that I captured:
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EDIT: Oh yeah, if you want the BEST POSSIBLE TIMING, with minimal frame glitches, be sure to load the "jap_bios.bin" from File->Load BIOS along with the ROM. Without the exactly timings used by the official Sega BIOS, it's possible some frames may update in the middle of drawing, so you might see a bit of flickering or half the screen updating like this... although looking at the Shenmue animations, they're so slow, I highly doubt this will really matter.

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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Falco Girgis » Tue May 09, 2017 10:56 am

Ziming wrote:From what I've been told these vmu character animations were only attainable by getting the winning can from the game and then connecting online with the Shenmue passport disc. I've tried see if these VMU icons were somewhere in the passport disc itself but found nothing. Unless we find someone who managed to get every single vmu character downloaded through the passport back then we're stuck with the current incomplete set. Since many were using dial-up internet in those times i think finding someone with a complete set will be very difficult.

Yeah, I highly doubt you will find actual "images" with VMU animations on them like that. The VMU doesn't really "load" images. It takes a bunch of coding to even get a single image to show up, because you have to swap XRAM banks just to access all of the pixels, so it's not like a 1-to-1 binary mapping like that. Looking for physical animations is probably not the way to go.

I think you would have better luck with a hex editor and looking at the save file from Shenmue itself. You would want to try to isolate the byte or data segment that determines which VMU animation gets saved to the VMU. It may very well be just as simple as a plain number, where changing the number to a different number will cause Shenmue to save out a different VMU animation.

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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Falco Girgis » Thu May 11, 2017 2:30 pm

You gotten around to trying it yet? It's totally cool if not, no rush. I'm just wanting to make sure you haven't run into an issues with getting that .bin file loaded or with the animation tools...

I develop all of EVMU on a Macbook Pro, but I have an automated build server that shits it out for other platforms like Windows and Linux and runs automated tests to make sure the builds are at least sane, but they are definitely not covering anything. :lol:

EDIT: Oh yeah, make sure that you keep ALL OF THE DLLS AND OTHER FILES in the same directory as the ElysianVMU.exe file. Download the full directory and run the .exe directly from there. In the future, I will distribute ElysianVMU as an installer, rather than all of the files individually, but for right now, when I'm releasing new builds constantly, it's better to do it like this so you don't have to keep uninstalling and reinstalling.

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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Ziming » Thu May 11, 2017 3:36 pm

This is fantastic! You really went the extra mile implementing this to your emulator! Thank you! I'll finally be able to resume this project and get it done much sooner than expected. I won't be able to start on this right away as I'm finishing up some Shenmue music related projects for the Dojo's YouTube channel. I will install the emulator right now to get it working and familiarized myself with it. If I have any questions I'll post them in this topic. Thanks again for your hard work! =D>
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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Ziming » Thu May 11, 2017 6:13 pm

I installed the vmu emulator and I figured out all the features you've added. :nice!:

I'll be sure to give you a huge shout-out once I've finished all the animations.

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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Falco Girgis » Fri May 12, 2017 1:29 am

Ziming wrote: I installed the vmu emulator and I figured out all the features you've added. :nice!:

I'll be sure to give you a huge shout-out once I've finished all the animations.

Image
LMFAO! Awesome, man! This kind of stuff makes us emulator authors really happy to see, hahaha.

Let me know if you run into any bugs/glitches or even have any feature requests! I need to use the same animated GIF stuff I implemented for you to make the "Dump Icons" action under Tools actually rip it to an animated GIF also instead of just the separate PNG frames.

Also if you look in that Dropbox directory one level up, there's a Roms folder. In that folder is jap_bios.bin. You can load that to emulate the whole system with the file manager and clock modes instead of just game modes.
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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Ziming » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:07 am

Akasaka
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Tony
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Smith
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The emulator by Falco Girgis VMU has saved me so much time in creating VMU animations. I do still need to use
a real VMU in order to get 100% accuracy. I use a really old program called Jasc animation shop to make these.

Animated VMU Character Gallery
http://www.shenmuedojo.net/gallery/thum ... p?album=88

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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Bambi » Fri Jun 02, 2017 4:05 pm

Ziming wrote:I use a really old program called Jasc animation shop to make these.

Wow that's a blast from the past, I loved that program back in the day.
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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Bluecast » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:49 am

YS should cancelled whatever they have done on Shenmue III and make the entire game with VMU graphics. :happy:
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Re: Archive of Shenmue Passport content?

Postby Ziming » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:40 pm

Nozomi
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Ono
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Takashi
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