The Week at the Game Research Forum #14

April 22nd, 2014 by Devilot

Disasters permitting, here is another week of research.

Hope everyone’s had a great Easter and a relaxing\stuffy Holy Monday!

Tremendous headache…

3D/2D Models

  • HOTD fan is back in the habit!
  • KH1: GovaniF has released a beta tool, everyone say “thanks” :)
  • FFXHD: Jecht (oh, the irony) is working on the models.
  • Natural Doctrine: Zaramot has released a maxscript.
  • And also one for Lost Planet 2.
  • Luxox18 needs help to understand if meshes have Havok baked in.
  • Released an experimantal tool to convert the Old Republic models to obj.
  • Reaper of souls continues to make interest spark for Diablo 3.

Audio File Formats

  • Yours Truly wants help for both ME2 and RE4 Wii. Wii!
  • Alpha23 still needs some help for an iOS adpcm.
  • .PCK files have to be worked on more
  • Dead Rising 2: the XMA2 format is worked on :D

Graphic Formats

  • LOS HD: only new thread is about Mirror of Fate HD Textures.

Game Archive Research

  • Warthunder: official tools discovered!
  • Titanfall is still a hot topic. Why, it’s beyond me.
  • RE4: UHD file solved.
  • Sleeping Dogs:  bigfiles see still a lot of work on them, especially for textures.
  • Black Desert: .PAZ files are still being worked on.
  • Naruto Ninja Storm: tools effectively under development.
  • World Tour Fishing: tool released by Ekey.

Compressed files and methods

  • Havok: SergeantJoe and Graty did their magic!
  • Wargame Red Dragon: edat files need to be cracked
  • Ishtaria: Ekey has saved the day once again. Wish he helped me too..
  • RaiderZ: still being worked on.

Game Localization

  • ACIV Black Flag: translation tools “badly needed”.
  • GTAV: Haider has made a very nice post with info about the game font.

Noesis

Other Tools

  • Beyond two Souls tool: Major update last Wednesday.
  • DisUnity: more work required, apparently. And more investigations.

The Week at the Game Research Forum #13

April 14th, 2014 by Devilot

Disasters permitting, here is another week. Exam on the 12th, so apologies for any lateness but there is nothing I can do about it.

Happy Easter to everyone :)

3D/2D Models

  • Diablo 3 app: Victory at Last!
  • Star Trek: script released for the movie game :) thanks!
  • Persona 4: rmd files need to be analyzed.
  • Dark Souls: flv templates released!
  • Lords of Shadow 2 demo: some useful insight by Zardalu.

Audio File Formats

  • Soul Calibur 5: first thread about this game’s music.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken: .awb file investigation.
  • .AWB: and speaking of the Devil, another thread about those!
  • Super Robot Taisen: completed, I think?
  • Grim Dawn: from yours truly.

Graphic Formats

  • LOS Mirror of Fate HD: textures are still being investigated, and a repacker is asked for.

Game Archive Research

  • Resident Evil 4: help wanted for unknown archives.
  • Titanfall: work continues on the vpk archives.
  • Tenchu: .vol files need to be investigated, for this old goodie.
  • Tomb Raider: GhostBlade has released a tool. Congrats :)
  • Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate Deluxe: a format made by MrAdults should be investigated.
  • Hack: UV maps issues after extracting. Odd.
  • Lords of Shadow: continued interest for this game, way better than its sequel.

Compressed files and methods

  • Havok: SergeantJoe would like to know if some progress has been made.
  • Rugby 2004: help wanted, also knowledge wanted.
  • Sonic Secret Rings: an extensionless header needs to be decrypted.
  • Diablo III: yours truly needs a reminder how to get stuff from the game.

Game Localization

Alas, nothing new under the sun. Everything worthy of translation is being worked on.

Noesis

  • Another format in the works?

Other Tools

  • Comparison between Noesis and 3d Object Converter.
  • Released tool for Beyond two souls. Second tool already!

The Week at the Game Research Forum #12

April 7th, 2014 by Devilot

Another Week at the Xentax Forum. Aren’t you happy about it?

EDIT: Major system failure, lost 600+GB of data. Life sucks. Extremely angry. Spent saturday and sunday putting everything in place, that’s why I am late.

3D/2D Models

  • Marlow Briggs: DarkMan wants to understand its obscure format.
  • Webgl: success on both Chrome and Opera!
  • Samurai Showdown: testing is done on these models yay! I still remember Amakusa at the Arcade, the girl with the magic ball weapon.
  • Magic World II: CE needs help for those amazing NIF files.
  • Webgl: figuresculptor has released a massive script! thanks a lot!
  • Diablo III: amazing progress by TaylorMouse!
  • Saint Seiya Online: someone help CE! OMG a game about the Saints! a game with the damn CAPES!
  • Dead or Alive: work continues apparently. Porn galore.
  • LOS2: fix found for UV maps of Lords of Shadows 2.
  • 35$ Offer: Zaramot has given in to the dark side, and made some scripts :)
  • .RES: First post of Darkman
  • SB: bug report and update.
  • Ps3 EMB: lots of work being done here.

Audio File Formats

  • ADPCM: a new version in the new Batman game?

Graphic Formats

  • Mirror of Fate HD: progress is being done on the textures!
  • SW TFU: textures need to be investigated.
  • NTP3 to DDS: apparently there is this possibility.
  • Dark Souls 2: a very small bit of insight about the textures of this game, TPF.

Game Archive Research

  • ZuOnline: CE needs help in understanding this game’s archives.
  • Legend of Wukong: and this.
  • World Zero: and this!
  • Dungeon Striker: and this! Gee, prolific is an understatement.
  • Naruto Ninja storm: archive info posted and help wanted.
  • XPAC Unpacker: released by Ekey. Congrats!
  • DAT Unpacker (Anomaly): another release by Ekey!
  • DAT Unpacker (Hydrophobia): again, prolific is an understatement!
  • Lightning Returns: TRB Extractor worked on for two years. Kudos for persistence.
  • Arkham Origins: ARA files should be investigated.
  • Syphon Filter: resolutive necroposting for this PSP game.
  • NASCAR 2011: more work on the script.
  • CN Punch time: quickbms script made and working.
  • Tomb Raider: interest continues after the 2013 release of the script.

Compressed files and methods

  • Magic World II: compressed NIFs are the issue.
  • .ARA: info on this? Completely unknown the format is.
  • TDKR: cra0 should release a tool soon-ish. I didn’t even know the game existed, and I am a Batman fan!

Game Localization

  • The Wolf Among Us: problem solved. Props!
  • GTAV: test tools by Ekey. Getting better and better Ekey is.
  • Goat Simulator: apparently it’s getting localized!
  • Ground Zeroes: being worked on… lots of work ahead!

Noesis

  • As popular as ever, the interest for this majestic tool never ends.

Other Tools

  • Dissidia 012: I am persistent.
  • Defiance tools uploaded to the tools section.
  • Evolution Engine Cache extractor is still a work in progress.
  • StarFox tools uploaded to the tools section.

The Week at the Game Research Forum #11

March 29th, 2014 by Devilot

Those who do not die, every now and then, return. Sometimes, even those who are dead return.

UPDATE: Lost two sections while writing this, have to restart. No idea why, so entries will be rushed, as I had almost finished… very pissed. Only Game of Thrones main title in flac can soothe me.

3D/2D Models

  • $ offer: lumix continues his quest for the importer-exporter.
  • Another $ offer: for King of Fighters, none the less.
  • Unity: more work continues for this simple and flexible engine.
  • FFXHD: last month’s issues have not been resolved.
  • Dawngate: chrrox has released one of his scripts!
  • Cabal 2: CriticalError is working on this game, and has solved most of his hiccups apparently.
  • XT: he also solved them for this game, thanks to Ekey!
  • Nine Days Myth: not so lucky for this peculiar game here.
  • Diablo III app: what?
  • Scarlet Legacy: cra0 has made some progress.
  • HOTD: HOTDfan tries it again!
  • J Stars: help wanted in getting the models out.
  • Dead or Alive: yay, more development!
  • God Eater 2: help wanted for this PSVita game. The original was quite nice..
  • SW TOR: zaramot updated the scripts. Kudos!
  • Sengoku Basara 4: he also released scripts for this game here.
  • .BIN files: models do exist in those.
  • Sonicomi: I admit I haven’t quite understood this.

Audio File Formats

  • XMA Transform: Alpha23 has only ever worked with towav. Rejoice.
  • ArcheAge: apparently this game has some good audio?
  • FIFA: looking for a NFS Sound Extractor.
  • Project Spark: Linkin Park galore!
  • Dead Rising 2: currently under inspection. will be back for more.

Graphic Formats

  • Castlevania Mirror of Fate: bad textures! Headers should not be missed!
  • SEGA TPL: first investigation of this difficult format.
  • Dark Sould 2: first thread about TPF textures of a maddening game.
  • Hay Day: interest for a relatively unknown game.
  • Eutechnyx: NASCAR textures need to be investigated a bit more, apparently.

Game Archive Research

  • Archive X: development continues!
  • Sine Mora: super update due soon!
  • Dreamy Theater: development stopped.
  • Fox Online: Ekey has released a decrypter.
  • Titanfall: work continues, cra0 confirms it.
  • UE4: some interest on this engine!
  • MGS DAT: little development every now and then..
  • Ninja Gaiden Z: coalesced.bin being investigated.
  • LEGO Game: first post, no new info.
  • LEGO LOTR: again, some small development every now and then.
  • South Park: compression method investigated.
  • Dawngate: extractor being worked on.
  • Audition 2: Ekey is making his magic.
  • Mitsurugi: the unpacker for this game works, apparently.

Compressed files and methods

  • J-Stars: leyme wants help for the archives.
  • LOL: progress is being made by thread creator, but some more support is still needed.
  • TalesWeaver: a rather obscure MMORPG needs to be cracked.
  • .DTA: Ekey needs support in understanding this format of Illusion games.
  • Fist of Fu: another pretty obscure game, which needs to be investigated.
  • .PT: format of those rhytm games needs to be understood. Let’s MaMbO!

Game Localization

  • Blackguards: .lang files being investigated. Never heard of the game tho.
  • Ground Zeroes: once michaelss has the time, he will look in the game files. He still needs help for Thief.
  • Digimon Rumble Arena 2: help wanted for translating a Pokèm- wait..
  • Bioshock Infinite: little progress, perhaps?
  • LEGO Movie: author needs help for every boy’s favourite construction tools video game.

Noesis

  • A quiet past week for Noesis, this was. And yet, more people have donated. Some more would be appreciated (myself included in this invite).

Other Tools

  • 3D Object Converter: backlash of interest.
  • Ninja Ripper: someone needs to better understand the heir of 3d ripper dx.
  • F-Zero GX Viewer: from 2011, a new tool is arising, in c++. Thanks StarkNebula!
  • Defiance Tools: those are being updated somewhat regularly. Nice job!

The Week at the Game Research Forum #6

February 18th, 2014 by Devilot

Final Blog entry by yours truly. My “engagement” ends. It’s been a nice ride :) whether it will continue or not depends on you, users.

Listening to “The King of Pride Rock” and “I Just can’t wait to be King” while writing. yeah, I’m still a child at heart.

Closing considerations:

  1. the 3D/2D section of the forum is the most prolific by FAR.
  2. Second one is Game Archive.
  3. What really few people care about is music. Pity :(

3D/2D Models

  • Dekaron 2: lol2k has released a script for this game.
  • Real Racing 3: barti has updated his script.
  • Lumis’ Max script offer is still valid.
  • Jack and Daxter HD: chrrox is making some nice progress!
  • AION: Pesmontis has made a couple nice discoveries.
  • Ryusui has released a couple updates for AMD.
  • S4 Model League: barti has released his progress.
  • CVM files are being investigated.

Audio File Formats

  • Deep Black Reloaded: reznov needs a hand for this game.
  • XMA Transform: updated. Thanks Alpha23!
  • Cars Race-o-Rama: help for ARC files wanted.

Graphic Formats

  • Unswizzle: someone has already grabbed the 100$ reward, apparently. Or at least the promise of it.
  • Dead Rising 2: michalss wants help for the textures.

Game Archive Research

  • Agarest: Ekey has released a script for this game!
  • Touhou: and also for this game.
  • Reznov is investigating .cache files!
  • Star Wars the Old Republic: work continues.
  • Gundam Extreme: tool released.
  • MGS saga: let’s hope the tool continues to be developed.
  • Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2: script updated for the demo.
  • One Piece Romance of Dawn: chrrox, MrAdults and Zerox all together. Awesomeness ensues.
  • Dead Island: .pak file investigation continues.
  • Super Marsia Land: script requested and obtained. thanks Ekey.
Compressed files and methods
  • Cosmic Break: Sadiosys wants help in understanding .kar format.
  • Touhou Card Monsters: finale00 wants to crack this engine.
  • Naughty Dog: Silentpavel provides a solution.
Game Localization
  • Nothing relevant here. This section has always been one of the less visited.
Noesis
  • A new Noesis update. Yay. Come all ye who have faith in MrAdults.

The Week at the Game Research Forum #5

February 10th, 2014 by Devilot

Phew, what a weekend. Thank god I took the day off.

 

 

3D/2D Models

  • Odd oddity continues. Hilarity ensues thanks to people who don’t know when the joke is on them. Or when it’s not.
  • Janglesworthy shares some useful websites. thanks!
  • Dekaron: lol2k12 wants help for this game.
  • Gran Turismo 3 & 4: MateSMC’s thread is still going strong.
  • Killzone 3: luxox is making progress.
  • Disney INFINITY; a surprising interest for Ralph & co.
  • Cadabra 3d: a “catfight” game which is now abandonware. Fascinating.
  • Ryusui’s thread got an answer from MrAdults himself.
  • And he himself is working on his other project,

Audio File Formats

  • Mass Effect 2: yours truly continues his crusade for fruitless SFX search. Lack of cooperation does not help, but oh well.
  • Tonic Trouble: Doolie wants to really get the resources of this old, but fun, game.

Graphic Formats

  • Rocky Balboa: apparently this game has interesting textures.

Game Archive Research

  • Metal Gear Series: DAT Files information wanted.
  • War Thunder: Rafael09ED needs to get the audio off the fsb files.
  • Outlast: that crap” needs a bit of investigating.
  • Awakening 5: cacarama needs some help in getting stuff out of the archive.
  • Sine Mora: Ekey is currently working on updating the unpacker.
  • Stalja needs help in understanding DAT archives.
  • MGS Collection: some more info on this would be required.
  • Orneon Limited: Ekey is looking for an extractor. I wonder if someone can help him.
Compressed files and methods
  • Kingdom Hearts 1.5: SDATA extractor help wanted!
  • Boukyaku Princess: question on SWF files here.
  • Neverwinter: a few curious guys and an appearane of MrAdults concerning the archives of this game.
Game Localization
  • Dark Souls: a new wave of interest for localizing this terrible game (in a good way).
Noesis
  • Since MrAdults asked so nicely <3 here is your latest Noesis upgrade: new fixed version up.

Why we need to ditch Metacritic as a source

February 9th, 2014 by Mr.Mouse

On January the 19th we released the comprehensive analysis of the Metacritic website regarding their Games data. As a way to shed some light on the findings reported in that paper, I write this annotated blog. It will save you from having to read the 30 pages.

Introduction

The Metacritic website has a number of important flaws according to the Wikipedia page:

Metacritic:
• Converts each review into a percentage the site decides for itself
• Manually assesses the tone of reviews that have no explicit score and then assigns a quantitative score
• Refuses to reveal what weights are applied to which publications

Now, assuming the above is correct, this would make the data shown at Metacritic highly biased and far from the truth. Statistics dictate that you cannot apply scores at your own leisure based on subjective perception or using unvalidated methods and then call that a sophisticated meta-analysis. Therefore, it is time someone took a closer look at the data at Metacritic, in a descriptive way, to explore the data and see what comes up.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Week at the Game Research Forum #4

February 3rd, 2014 by Devilot

Another week is past and another summary is here. The summary of next week, however, will come either on Friday or Monday, as I will be full on both Saturday and Sunday.

 

 

3D/2D Models

  • Metroid Prime: Antidote has discovered how bad can Metroid Prime modelling be.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Demonboy wants to understand this format.
  • Farsata has an animation problem.
  • Dead or Alive: work continues.
  • Silver 3d: work continues also here, albeit differently.
  • Castlevania: Karpati (oh, the irony) has released an updated version of his portable 3d Object Converter including Lords of Shadow 2 support.
  • Sniper Elite: lots of updates, from the same author.
  • AMD: Ryusui has an update for those interested.
  • Discussion on Maxscripts continues.
  • Sleeping Dogs: SergeantJoe’s crusade continues.

Audio File Formats

  • House of the Dead 4: HOTDfan (duh) wants to open the audio files.
  • Bioshock 2: Xstalker needs help with the repacking FSB files.
  • Alpha23 needs help in understanding a peculiar form of ADPCM. Everyone, move.
  • Mass Effect 2: yours truly in the flesh would like some help in getting those damn Mass Effect 2 SFX. Stupid machines.

Graphic Formats

  • Miasmata: Haoose provides solution.
  • Emrekumas61 wants to understand a font type.
  • God of War Ascension; HAIDER wants to crack the font.

Game Archive Research

  • The Old Republic: a positive update.
  • The Force Unleashed: a return of interest here!
  • GTA V: luxox18 has graciously shed some dds insight.
  • Archive X: apparently, development continues and has not stopped at all.
Compressed files and methods
  • Boukyaku Princess: finale00 wants to understand this flash game.
Game Localization
  • The Banner Saga: hyndai needs help in order to localize this game.
  • Blood Knights: and he also provided the answer for Blood Knights.

The Week at the Game Research Forum #3

January 29th, 2014 by Devilot

Quick Summary of the Week’s events. New Layout too, I believe. Hope it’s correct. Sorry for the lateness but I wanted to wait for more substantial entries, then I started working as a legal intern and studying for my second Master’s Degree and I forgot.

 

 

2D/3D Formats

  • Dark Souls: interest in the FLV files continues.
  • Sleeping Dogs: SergeantJoe asks for help again!
  • Warframe Online: script updated and development news.
  • Cursed Crusade: Zaramot is doing most of the work.
  • Diablo III animations: work continues well, apparently.
  • Silver: development has started.
  • Final Fantasy X HD: development continues, despite being slow.
  • Onimusha Dawn of Dreams: chrrox released a nice script.
  • AION: Pesmontis has made a request for a Collada exporter.
  • Cabal Online: FauxBestaan has released a nice script. I wonder if development will continue.
  • Dragon’s Dogma: Zaramod is tackling it.
  • Kingdom Under Fire 2: chrrox has made a very brief informative post.
  • Toukiden: orohu has made a request.
  • Real Racing 3: a lot of interest for this little Android game.
  • Aarklash Legacy: work continues on this project.
  • Heroes and Generals: medwed wants help for this game.
  • Kingdom Hearts 1: it deserves more recognition!
  • Rusty Hearts: mm497905573 makes a request.
  • Ghostbusters: format has been successfully cracked it appears.
  • Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2: zardalu has made a request to crack the demo.
  • Astebreed: lots of data to read.
  • Ninja Ripper: hotgoblin has made a request.
  • Binary Domain: a Noesis script has been released, thanks a lot! Working for Yakuza too.

Audio File Formats

  • Gamecube ADPCM: AlphaTwentyThree needs help. Everyone, focus, now.
  • Mp3 Stereo to Mono: Alpha needs more help in knowing how to split stereo tracks without re-enconding.
  • Tonic Trouble: the work on those MPX files continues.
  • Electronic Arts .mus: continues the work on this.
  • Wild Arms 2: SmashFan127 wants help for this.
  • .HCA Header: FinalBlast has some good news.
  • Star Trek/Darkness 2 audio: this is a bit more complicated than expected.

Graphic Formats

  • Army Men: SRDDonkey wants to understand this peculiar graphic format.
  • Necromancy: an old thread about textures.
  • SpongeBob Truth or Square: barti has released an updated script.
  • Diablo III TEX: development continues, albeit slowly.
  • NFL Blitz 2000: barti has made a couple interesting findings.

Game Archive Research

  • DPK4: GMMan wants help for this format.
  • LittleBig Planet Karting: Alpha23 needs some more help.
  • X: development continues.
  • War Thunder: thanks brendan19 for the batch command. Hope it works with many files.
  • Panzar: freakshow wants to tackle this “game”.
  • More criticism concerning money offers for tools.
  • KickBeat: reznov needs help.
  • The Matrix Path of Neo: renewed interest for this great game!
  • Metal Gear Rising: development continues.
  • FFXIII Lightning Returs: development continues also here.
  • Wild Arms 3: SmashFan’s effort continues, alone. Kudos for being so determined.
Compressed files and methods
  • Wild Arms 3 BIN: SmashFan127 continues his crusade for understanding the Wild Arms format.
  • Havok Animations: the work continues.
Game Localization
  • Blood Knights: hunpatrick wants help in understanding the BIN file.
  • Orcs Must Die 2: hunpatrick needs to understand .rear language files.
  • Bioshock Infinite: 3ps3 wants help in translating this game.

Metacritic: Quantify Me paper released (30 pages!)

January 19th, 2014 by Mr.Mouse

Today we release the next chapter in the Quantify Me series: Metacritic. Having done an analysis of the CSDb first (CSDb: Quantify Me) in July 2010 and then Mobygames (Mobygames: Quantify Me) at the end of December 2012, the attention has turned to the games listed at Metacritic. This one turned out to big a big analysis, collecting data almost non-stop from the Metacritic website between the 25th of August 2013 and the 10th of September 2013. Then cleaning of the database and actual analyses took another lengthy period of time, as this needed to be done late in the evenings, as much as possible. Finally the first chapter of this endeavor is here. The conclusion of this 30 page paper (which you can get here as PDF) is as follows:

The data at Metacritic leaves much to be desired and seems to be heavily biased. When critic scores do not comply with user scores in the majority of cases, which has been shown in this paper, and the selection of critics is seemingly under no formal control, the validity and accuracy of the data is low. Caution is necessary when using Metacritic information to guide your own decision to buy or not buy a game. Until there is more transparency on how this process takes place at Metacritic, more transparency on the flow of funding from which sources and the observed biases are removed, the database is of limited use for the end-users.