Final Fantasy VII fits on a regular 2Gbit cartridge

#1 Edited by Meowayne (6084 posts) -

It's me again. Sorry.

Whenever there's talk of a DS-port of Final Fantasy VII, sooner or later people will start talking about whether or not they could fit the game on one of them DS cards, agree that they couldn't, and start talking about making larger cards or employing a system of card swapping.
Also, whenever this happens, nobody actually does the research and the calculations. So I did. And these are the facts:

The largest available regular DS cartridge is the 2 gigabit card, which as we all should know by now is 256 Megabytes. Flashcards hold 2GB and more, but for some reason Nintendo decides not to use cards that hold that much space. A PlayStation CD holds about 600MB, and Final Fantasy VII had three of them. So no way the game could fit onto a 256 card, right?

Wrong. First, let's take a look at the DS specs in comparison to the PSX:

  1.  The PSX has a 33mhz CPU, the DS has 67mhz. This isn't all that important and the DS is not "twice as fast" as the PSX, because what matters is the GPU and the 3D rendering capabilities.
  2. The PSX has a relatively powerful, easy to program GPU with a maximum of 180.000 texture-mapped and light-sourced polygones, and it has 2MB RAM
  3. The DS can put out a maximum of 120.000 such polygons, but has a more powerful 2D GPU and 4MB of RAM.
  4.  The PS1 has video memory of 1MB, the DS has 656KB.

What does this mean? It means that the PSX can do better 3D, and the DS can do better and faster 2D. Final Fantasy VII was never known for it's high polycount or it's good textures. Quite the opposite, many characters and enemies only had gourad shading (a single color with lightning information), which the DS is perfectly capable of.
The DS should have no problem with the 3D content, and should be even faster and more accessible when it comes to the prerendered backgrounds. Worst case scenario is they have to lower the polycount in battles a bit, which might not even be noticable due to the small screen size.

I always thought the 256x192 is too low and that they had to find ways to somehow put the dialogue on the bottom screen or something, but I recently put a gameplay-video on my DS via moonshell, and was surprised: Everything can be read perfectly, even the menus. It actually isn't necessary to change the game in any way to be playable on the DS.

Now let's look at what is actually found on these three discs.

1. BACKGROUNDS



Final Fantasy VII has 723 different prerendered backgrounds in a resolution of 320x224 pixels. Many of these had to be put on each of the three discs. Not only that, but these images are uncompressed - The original Final Fantasy VII backgrounds have an average file size of over 150kb! All image data from the three discs combined accumulate almost 300MB of uncompressed images!
Click for original DS resolution

The DS screen's resolution is 256x192. Put every 723 different backgrounds on a single card so that you don't need doubles, downscale them to 256x192 pixels with modern image compression and minimal quality loss, and those 300MB of image data shrink down to 40MB. We just reduced the size of the image data for the entire game by 86%.




2. MUSIC



Final Fantasy VII had 24 channel midi music. In case you don't know, MIDI is very, very small. It's tiny. I don't have exact data, but I imagine the entire soundtrack in midi format doesn't take up more than 5-10mb per disc, probably less.

The DS has a maximum of 16 channels, so just like with FInal Fantasy VI Advance they will have to remix smaller versions of the tracks. And again we don 't need doubles. Music will not take up more than 5MB of space. (If they decide to replace "One-Winged Angel" by a MIDI. If not, add 5MB)



3. FULL-MOTION-VIDEO


This is where it gets interesting. DS developers hate voicework and FMVs, because even compressed they fill up those 128/256 MB pretty fast.
Final Fantasy VII has about 50 Minutes of FMVs, 320x224 pixel resolution @ 300kps, again there's stuff repeated on the discs.
There's some stuff that could be done better with polygons nowadays (elevators and stuff) and I don't think the DS can handle the sequences were you're controlling a polygonal character through a FMV scene, so I think a FFVII DS should cut some of the sequences, but let's just assume we're talking about 45 Minutes of FMV sequences here.

45 Minutes of compressed fullscreen DS-movies, 256x192 pixels, with 288kps, 15fps and 33hz 2Channel sound at 128kbs = approx. 75MB.

And that's it! 75MB of video, and that's full screen with sound. Many videos don't have extra sound, only the MIDI. Most DS games also don't use the full screen for videos, making them even smaller. And there's tons of stuff that doesn't need to be on there, and things that can be told in-game.

4. GAME DATA



All the other stuff, background depth information, dialogue and code. Not counting the stuff that is repeated on the discs. Including a lot of garbage data, we're talking about another whopping 133MB here, by compression standards of 1996.
This can be compressed significantly, I'd say to 80MB at the worst.  


So, we have:

Gama data: 80MB
Background data: 40MB
Music: 5MB
FMV: 75MB
-----------------
200 MB of a complete Final Fantasy VII when put on a single medium with modern compression techniques.

It's close, and I might be off on certain points. And even if it didn't fit on 2Gbit, 3 or 4 Gbit should be more than enough!

Say what you will about a DS port, but by my reckoning, space shouldn't be an issue.
#2 Edited by Endogene (4741 posts) -
#3 Posted by atejas (3057 posts) -

Sounds brilliant. How long did it take you to work all this out?

#4 Posted by Endogene (4741 posts) -
atejas said:
"Sounds brilliant. How long did it take you to work all this out?"
till square wont have anymore monony to make other games
#5 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -
Endogene said:
"atejas said:
"Sounds brilliant. How long did it take you to work all this out?"
till square wont have anymore monony to make other games"
Lol, that sounds about right. I think atejas was referring to the original poster though, how long it took him to figure all these calculations out. :P

Good work Meowayne. I think we can expect to see Final Fantasy VII re-released somehow. Whether it be the PSP, PSN, or DS.
#6 Posted by WilliamRLBaker (4777 posts) -

hmmm actually final fantasy 7 could all ways fit on a cartridge the space of ff7 was all ways taken up by CGI it was never taken up by actual game content.

#7 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -
Endogene said:
Also Nintendo has being cranking out bigger games for the DS
Neon Genesis Evangelion Ayanami Ikusei Keikaku DS with Asuka, this one to be precise, the first 2048Mbit rom.
Yes, 2048Mbit. This is one of the regular "2Gbit" cards I was talking about. And the first one wasn't this, it was ASH.

Sounds brilliant. How long did it take you to work all this out?

I admit much of the information about what is on the CDs I got from an old thread where some of the nerdier guys were talking about a possible GameCube-Port, and general googling. Then I made some images and videos in 256x192 to estimate the size of these things. I have some experience in programming, image- and videoediting, so that came in handy.
I am also desperate for this port. I really want it.
#8 Posted by suneku (2997 posts) -

Wow nice calculations, I'd love to see a DS port, BUT an actual remake with the current consoles would be even more awesome.

#9 Posted by Endogene (4741 posts) -
Meowayne said:
"Endogene said:
Also Nintendo has being cranking out bigger games for the DS
Neon Genesis Evangelion Ayanami Ikusei Keikaku DS with Asuka, this one to be precise, the first 2048Mbit rom.
Yes, 2048Mbit. This is one of the regular "2Gbit" cards I was talking about. And the first one wasn't this, it was ASH.

yeah i noticed that afterwards, however it was the first to have 2mb save files. anyway, added the game's page
#10 Posted by ZenaxPure (2569 posts) -
suneku said:
"Wow nice calculations, I'd love to see a DS port, BUT an actual remake with the current consoles would be even more awesome."
Agreed, even at the time I always found FFVII's graphics to be an eyesore and in need of changing more than any game in the series. VIII+ all look much better (some of them looking much better than other games released around the time really) while anything lower than VII has that classic 2D feel to them. VII is just the odd man out imo from a visual standpoint.
All that aside though, I would just be content with a port featuring an updated translation. I can not stand a lot of the things in VII, especially the excessive use of the period. Some lines that should end like this... End more like this............................................ and it is so darn annoying to me. And then you have a few of those items that somehow manage to change how they are spelled half way through the game. *sigh*
#11 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -
WilliamRLBaker said:
"hmmm actually final fantasy 7 could all ways fit on a cartridge the space of ff7 was all ways taken up by CGI it was never taken up by actual game content."
Well read the post carefully. The opposite is the case: CGI and image data becomes relatively small when put into DS resolution and compressed with modern techniques - It is the game data that remains the largest of the packages. If the game data and coding cannot be compressed, it poses as much of a problem as the CGI stuff does.

I'd love to see a DS port, BUT an actual remake with the current consoles would be even more awesome.
Yeah, the old argument.. I disagree. The game is too heavy of semi-interactive dialogue-sequences and draws much of its appeal from a certain weirdness and it's nippon-style. Voiceovers would require the game to be dumbed down and littered with cutscenes, and a graphic overhaul would require many changes in gameplay as well. Just like Ocarina of Time, people who have not played it in it's time rarely enjoy it. I say an attempt at recreating the game to appeal to modern audiences is a futile attempt, especially in the hands of the fanservice whores at SquareEnix. Final Fantasy VII is a 90s game and I don't think it would work any other way.
Now they already did milk the franchise with many mediocre games, and I wouldn't care anymore if there were a PS3 remake or not. As long as there will also be an unchanged DS-port. :D

Chances of that happening? I'd estimate 20%. There will undoubtedly be a rerelease or remake of the game in some form or another, but I can't see Squeenix releasing the post-SNES games on the DS. : (
#12 Posted by SmugDarkLoser (4619 posts) -
#13 Posted by Endogene (4741 posts) -
SmugDarkLoser said:
"

Why not just play it on the Ps1/Ps2/PS3 (if your a lucky one)?
Or the psp....

"
because that would make a buster sword DS stylus swag impossible
#14 Posted by ZenaxPure (2569 posts) -

Just my personal prediction: I see the FFVII remake/port happening in a few years for sure. I imagine they are going on some line of remaking the games with III and now IV on the DS. I think V will be next, then VI to go along with it and eventually it will be time for VII. That is just me wishfully thinking though.

I do disagree though, I think a VII remake would be fine, anything that was done then could be done now. I am not sure how the game would be dumbed down with voice overs, how does that work exactly? And honestly, I am fine with cutscenes, maybe I am a minority here but I actually enjoying sitting there and watching cutscenes in games and given the fact 90% of the story was told through cutscenes that had you just clicking O to see the next text box you would just be doing your thumb a favor.

Honestly, the audience of a remake would not be those young folks that never played the game when it was possible. The general look from fans (on a broad level, because as a fan myself I do not fall into this category) is that VII was the best and the game would just sell millions and millions without a problem thanks to those nostalgic controlled people that have not touched a FF game since the "heavenly perfect" VII because they see change as a bad thing... 
#15 Edited by brukaoru (5079 posts) -
Zenaxzd said:
"I do disagree though, I think a VII remake would be fine, anything that was done then could be done now. I am not sure how the game would be dumbed down with voice overs, how does that work exactly? "
My guess is that some of the voice actors would not be as good as they could be. Kinda like you never expected a character's voice to be a certain way. I think they could do a good job though, Crisis Core's voice actors were good in my opinion.

I also think that Square will eventually re-make VII someday. I would be very excited if they did. People seem to be focusing on the graphical update it would have, but graphics are just one aspect to look forward to. I would be excited for the new battle system, the physics, the storyline being fixed to make more sense (especially the translation errors), basically everything. I can't really see a remake being announced anytime soon, perhaps four years from now at the earliest.
#16 Posted by Otacon (2208 posts) -

I think Zenaxzd is right in it coming eventually, Square are making enough of a profit from the III and IV remakes to continue the trend. Nicely worked out Meowayne!

#17 Posted by suneku (2997 posts) -

Yeah, Tetsuya still has to roll out FFXIII.

#18 Posted by ZenaxPure (2569 posts) -
brukaoru said:
"Zenaxzd said:
"I do disagree though, I think a VII remake would be fine, anything that was done then could be done now. I am not sure how the game would be dumbed down with voice overs, how does that work exactly? "
My guess is that some of the voice actors would not be as good as they could be. Kinda like you never expected a character's voice to be a certain way. I think they could do a good job though, Crisis Core's voice actors were good in my opinion. "
Yeah, but he said dumbed down, correct me if I am wrong here by all means but I thought dumbed down meant simplifying something. I don't get how voiceovers would do that.  I do agree quite a bit though! I found Crisis Core's voice acting to be top notch, I was especially happy with how well they pulled off Cloud, he did sound more like a kid as he was supposed to be in CC. 
#19 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -

Just to complete things, a gameplay-vid running on the DS. I recorded it myself via ePSXe to ensure it had the highest image quality possible, but of course you can't really see it because of the bad camera (can't seem to get proper focus on small LCD screens) and the loss of quality by uploading on youtube. It's also much darker than it looked like on the camera. Anyway, here you go.

  


#20 Posted by Endogene (4741 posts) -

if that video did not convince the nay-sayers i dont know what would

#21 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -

Wow, that is very cool Meowayne. Sending that video to Square-Enix? :P

#22 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -

Note that this still isn't full-screen. So the actual resolution would be even higher.

#23 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -

Whew, alright listen, for those interested in this kind of stuff: Unsatisfied with googling and repeating what other people claim, I mounted the PSX Final Fantasy VII CD images with Daemon Tools and did my own research, digging into the innards of the games files. This produced some interesting things.

Above I stated that some of the background, movie, music etc. files are repeated on the three game discs, taking up unnecessary files.

This proved to be not entirely true.

Everything is repeated on the three discs. Absolutely everything: With the exception of the movie files, the three Final Fantasy VII discs are identical.

That's right. The entire game of Final Fantasy VII is 243mb in size, and Squaresoft didn't bother to use only the stuff needed on each seperate disc, they just put the entire game on each disc and filled up the remaining 400mb with full motion video. Every background image, every enemy model, every piece of dialogue can be found on each of the three discs. They could have released this easily on the N64 if it weren't for the movie files. Brilliant!

So I took a look at what else is there. I guessed that the music files could not use more than 5-10mb. I was a little off. Final Fantasy VII's entire soundtrack is only 824kb.

Then there's the 3D data. The enemies (11mb), magic spells, effects and character models (45mb), battle stages (14mb) and the world map (30mb), all in all a mere 100mb. A DS version would use slightly smaller textures, maybe a bit less polygons and simplified effects, and better compression. This stuff would be at least 30% smaller. 70mb.

Field-Data is the most interesting. It's a big folder and basically contains all the story related stuff: Backgrounds, background depth information, events, and all of the dialogue.

For every scene, there's the background image (.mim), the respective depth information so the game knows whats in front and what's behind of the 3D character (.bsx) and all the dialoge that happens there (.dat)

The 787 different .mim files = 110mb
the .bsx files = 20mb
the .dat files = 10mb

As explained above, the background image data can be more than halved in size. The .bsx and .dat files probably can't, making a DS-Version of this stuff approx. 75MB in size.

What I said about the movies remains the same. 75MB.

And finally there are about 6mb of game code.

Now we have some definitive numbers to work with! What space is needed in order to put this entire game onto a DS card?

movies (75mb)
+ field-data (75mb)
+ 3D-data (70mb)
+ game code and music (7mb)
---------------------------
= 227 MB


Maximum size for a DS game nowadays: 256 MB. Now I don't know what additional data is required to put this on the DS, but I dare say Square should be able to handle this.

#24 Posted by WilliamRLBaker (4777 posts) -
Meowayne said:
"WilliamRLBaker said:
"hmmm actually final fantasy 7 could all ways fit on a cartridge the space of ff7 was all ways taken up by CGI it was never taken up by actual game content."
Well read the post carefully. The opposite is the case: CGI and image data becomes relatively small when put into DS resolution and compressed with modern techniques - It is the game data that remains the largest of the packages. If the game data and coding cannot be compressed, it poses as much of a problem as the CGI stuff does.

I'd love to see a DS port, BUT an actual remake with the current consoles would be even more awesome.
Yeah, the old argument.. I disagree. The game is too heavy of semi-interactive dialogue-sequences and draws much of its appeal from a certain weirdness and it's nippon-style. Voiceovers would require the game to be dumbed down and littered with cutscenes, and a graphic overhaul would require many changes in gameplay as well. Just like Ocarina of Time, people who have not played it in it's time rarely enjoy it. I say an attempt at recreating the game to appeal to modern audiences is a futile attempt, especially in the hands of the fanservice whores at SquareEnix. Final Fantasy VII is a 90s game and I don't think it would work any other way.
Now they already did milk the franchise with many mediocre games, and I wouldn't care anymore if there were a PS3 remake or not. As long as there will also be an unchanged DS-port. :D

Chances of that happening? I'd estimate 20%. There will undoubtedly be a rerelease or remake of the game in some form or another, but I can't see Squeenix releasing the post-SNES games on the DS. : (
"
I had actually ment it in the n64 cartridge i should have specified that sorry ff7 would have fit on a large n64 cartridge if the CGI was removed.
#25 Posted by RandomHero666 (3181 posts) -

It wont be re released, at least not on a Nintendo console, i forget the details but theres a reason why none of the main series is on a Nintendo, just the crystal chronicles shite.
Also, i have the OST for VII, the tracks are the same size as any song, ranging from 1-6MB or thereabouts.

#26 Posted by WilliamRLBaker (4777 posts) -
RandomHero666 said:
"It wont be re released, at least not on a Nintendo console, i forget the details but theres a reason why none of the main series is on a Nintendo, just the crystal chronicles shite.
Also, i have the OST for VII, the tracks are the same size as any song, ranging from 1-6MB or thereabouts.
"
beyond publishing rights or the fact sony owns a stake in square there is nothing stopping any thing from releasing on a ds, n64, game cube or wii. Many games have released on 360 present and future...so it could happen.
#27 Posted by Red (5994 posts) -
suneku said:
"Wow nice calculations, I'd love to see a DS port, BUT an actual remake with the current consoles would be even more awesome."
Yeah. Don't get me wrong, I love me some FF7, but I'd much rather spend my 40 hours looking at a beautiful game, over spending my 40 hours looking at a small screen...anywhere.
It'd take a while, but I can't see it taking more than a year if they use the White Engine.

Nice math though.
#28 Posted by KamasamaK (2408 posts) -
Zenaxzd said:
"brukaoru said:
"Zenaxzd said:
"I do disagree though, I think a VII remake would be fine, anything that was done then could be done now. I am not sure how the game would be dumbed down with voice overs, how does that work exactly? "
My guess is that some of the voice actors would not be as good as they could be. Kinda like you never expected a character's voice to be a certain way. I think they could do a good job though, Crisis Core's voice actors were good in my opinion. "
Yeah, but he said dumbed down, correct me if I am wrong here by all means but I thought dumbed down meant simplifying something. I don't get how voiceovers would do that.  I do agree quite a bit though! I found Crisis Core's voice acting to be top notch, I was especially happy with how well they pulled off Cloud, he did sound more like a kid as he was supposed to be in CC. "
Also, who's to say the DS game wouldn't have voice-overs? The Final Fantasy IV remake had them. I don't think voice-overs would necessarily be a bad thing, especially if they brought back the talent they used for Advent Children. Gah, now you've got me hoping for a remake again.


WilliamRLBaker
said:
"I had actually ment it in the n64 cartridge i should have specified that sorry ff7 would have fit on a large n64 cartridge if the CGI was removed."
The largest N64 cartridge I know of was 32 MB, which is smaller than his calculated 152 MB needed for non-FMV data. Some of it can and probably would need to be changed, but that seems like quite a bit to compress. I'm not sure the game would be as impressive without the FMV anyway.
#29 Edited by Al3xand3r (7574 posts) -
RandomHero666 said:
"It wont be re released, at least not on a Nintendo console, i forget the details but theres a reason why none of the main series is on a Nintendo, just the crystal chronicles shite.
Also, i have the OST for VII, the tracks are the same size as any song, ranging from 1-6MB or thereabouts.
"
What? FF used to be Nintendo only up until VI, and those games are getting remade for Nintendo-only once again (while also adding FF Tactics to the collection), and Crystal Chronicles (and especially the upcoming Crystal Bearers on Wii) isn't shite at all, and Square already is giving the Wii their other major franchise, Dragon Quest X, so I'd say it's all quite possible, marketing reasons aside. Imagine all the hatemail if they brought a FF to the Wii, there already was major backlash with the 360 announcement, so they're doing an equal effort and simply disguise it under the CC and DQ names instead. I'm fine with that, heh, and it isn't my loss if you won't be willing to play DQIX because it's on DS and DQX because it's on the Wii :)

Anyway, I don't see why everyone's obsessed with FFVII, I think Xenogears was a much better game of that era's Square. From other companies of the era I prefer Game Arts' Grandia and of course SEGA's Panzer Dragoon Saga. Bring those before FFVII :)

Awesome research Meo :)
#30 Posted by TooWalrus (13137 posts) -

Yeah there's more issues than just space, like the issue that this game sucks if you don't have nostalgia for it. I really wanted to play it, and when I finally got my hands on a copy, I realized that the game has not aged well, at all. I'm sure the story's awesome, but it needs to be upgraded to modern consoles, not ported.

#31 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -

Please take any fanboyism someplace else. Before you all get worked up again on the quality of the game or the necessity of a port, I'd rather have this thread disappear again.


#32 Posted by BoG (5181 posts) -

Honestly, if they did remake it, I'd expect they could improve the character models. Look at FF III and IV, they look better than FFVIII.

Anyways, excellent post, kudos to you for doing your research.
#33 Posted by AgentJ (8778 posts) -
Meowayne said:
"Just to complete things, a gameplay-vid running on the DS. I recorded it myself via ePSXe to ensure it had the highest image quality possible, but of course you can't really see it because of the bad camera (can't seem to get proper focus on small LCD screens) and the loss of quality by uploading on youtube. It's also much darker than it looked like on the camera. Anyway, here you go.

  
"
This is effing brilliant sir. Way to go. It really looks great on the DS. the only thing i would change are the character models of the overworld characters, in order to look more like the models in FF III and IV.
#34 Posted by AndrewGaspar (2418 posts) -

Sony published Final Fantasy VII, unlike the other Final Fantasy games. It probably won't happen.

#35 Posted by WilliamRLBaker (4777 posts) -
AndrewGaspar said:
"Sony published Final Fantasy VII, unlike the other Final Fantasy games. It probably won't happen."
Remakes do not fall under original publishing rights, As well the original publishing rights were all ready breached when Eidos published the PC version of the game.
#36 Posted by PercyChuggs (1087 posts) -

If they are going to remake the game, they would do it full blown, on the PS3. They wouldn't just do some quick and dirty DS job.

#37 Posted by Bucketdeth (8004 posts) -

Thats a deep look into both systems and the game, nice my friend, if this came out for the DS I would buy one right away, but this is highly doubtful : (

#38 Posted by LiquidPrince (15845 posts) -
Meowayne said:
"Everything is repeated on the three discs. Absolutely everything: With the exception of the movie files, the three Final Fantasy VII discs are identical.

That was probably done so that they wouldn't need to use dummy files. Why use dummy files when you can use the same assets to help the game load faster?
#39 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -
BoG said:
"Honestly, if they did remake it, I'd expect they could improve the character models. Look at FF III and IV, they look better than FFVIII.
But they have a lower polycount. The battle character models of FFVII, as they stand  now with awful  1997 technology, have a higher polycount than the DS can handle. They are pretty poorly  designed, and would have to be remade.
#40 Posted by AgentJ (8778 posts) -
Meowayne said:
"BoG said:
"Honestly, if they did remake it, I'd expect they could improve the character models. Look at FF III and IV, they look better than FFVIII.
But they have a lower polycount. The battle character models of FFVII, as they stand  now with awful  1997 technology, have a higher polycount than the DS can handle. They are pretty poorly  designed, and would have to be remade."
Yeah, but they can do what they want with the battle characters. they could make them chibi-ish like the FFIV characters if they had to. I wouldn't mind. I was talking about the god awful open world character models.

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