VR custom color files

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Porcupine
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VR custom color files

Post by Porcupine » 09 Nov 2015, 14:43

The color customization files for VOOT have the standard 16 byte header for all VO games. This is followed by a second 16 byte header, in which the fourth byte is your VR model, and the rest are empty zeros. After this comes the coloring information which is a compact list of colors for the DNA side, followed by colors for the RNA side.

Each color is stored as 16-bits in the following format:

1RRRRRGGGGGBBBBB

"RRRRR" is the red value, "GGGGG" is the green value, and "BBBBB" is the blue value. Each value therefore runs from 0 to 31 in brightness. This is different from the format the in-game customizer uses, which selects left/right from 0~255 hue, and up/down from 0~64 saturation, and lb/rb from 0~31 brightness. Nevertheless, RGB is the true underlying format the game uses, as you can notice that the in-game customizer rounds some colors.

The first bit could be a transparency bit, but changing it never does anything. It is set to "1" for all colors except the very first one in each VR's list, which is usually an empty color. Only Angelan, Raiden, and Specineff have a transparent color.

The remaining list of colors is long, because they don't only contain the colors specified with the in-game customizer. They essentially specify the color palette of every pixel on your VR. So you can color your VR in more detail by editing the coloring file. You cannot color each pixel individually though, because you are only editing the palette. Any pixels which are assigned to the same palette color must always be the same color as each other.

Even though most VR surfaces in VOOT appear to only be a single solid color, almost all of them are subtly texture mapped with very similar colors. Typical surfaces have a texture mapped shading gradient defined and may also feature subtle detailing lines. Sharp convex edges tend to be slightly highlighted, and sharp concave edges may be slightly darkened. Meanwhile, surfaces that ideally would be smooth and rounded, may have alternate shading patterns designed to hide the low polygon count. These are similar to the techniques used in painting anime figures.

When regions of color are edited with the in-game customizer, the game automatically adjusts the palette for all pixels within that region according to preset formulas. This formula varies with each region and is often different for the DNA and RNA side. That is why it is impossible to make the DNA and RNA side of a VR exactly the same color. They can be made to look similar at a glance, but in addition to decal differences, the color shading gradients will be different for some parts. Only Ajim, Grys-Vok, Temjin, and 10/80 SP have identical preset shading formulas. Fei-Yen has the greatest discrepancy in her preset shading formulas, it is to the point where you should select a different color if you want the DNA and RNA color to look as similar as possible.

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Re: VR custom color files

Post by Porcupine » 09 Nov 2015, 14:56

Here is a simplified map of Fei-Yen's full color list, in order from the beginning.

07 rapier color A (pink)
04 rapier color B (white)
07 rapier color C (orange)
09 body color A (pink)
06 body color B (white)
07 body color C (orange)
01 chest eye color (orange)
09 head color A (pink)
07 head color B (white)
06 head color C (orange)
09 arms color A (pink)
01 arms color E (pink)
06 arms color B (white)
05 arms color C (orange)
11 legs color A (pink)
07 legs color B (white)
04 legs color D (dark pink)
04 unused colors (blue)
08 tail color A (pink)
05 tail color B (white)
40 hyper parts colors (gold)
19 main body colors (black)
08 unused colors (blue)
05 unused colors (yellow-green)
08 visor/booster lights (emerald)
08 visor/booster lights (emerald)
11 compact disc colors (tan)
01 crevice/detail colors (black)
12 v-armor damage lights (yellow)
10 shoe lights (orange)
10 shoe lights (orange)

The numbers specify how many color shades are within each region. In the file, they are usually ordered from lighter to darker shades within each region, but I can't really explain how each sub-region is shaped in words. A few colors in some regions are not actually used on either the DNA side, RNA side, or both. Fei-Yen's main body has shades of black. Only the crevice/detail colors are pure black. This comprises things like the black detail lines you draw on models with a Gundam marker, as well as gaping holes that you could put things in. Despite being only one byte, this value controls the color of a lot of Fei-Yen's body as she apparently has a lot more holes than I realized. You can poke your fingers into her skirt, shoulder pads, armpits, and various parts of her legs, arms, and body.

Fei-Yen has a lot of hyper colors but it's one group for all the gold parts. It is not separated into different regions, such as head or leg. Though there are many shades, since the hyper gradient is steep, you can see the banding of the color steps if you look carefully. This is also because the transitions of the gold parts are not dithered, as they are for her normal parts.

Changing the colors of glowing parts, such as visors, does not work. They are for reference only. The palette for the Dreamcast on Fei-Yen's back is not in the file so she cannot change its color. Most other VRs can color their Dreamcasts with the in-game customizer.

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Re: VR custom color files

Post by Porcupine » 11 Nov 2015, 00:22

In practice, here are some creative things you can do by manually editing coloring files:

1) Make DNA and RNA side exactly the same color, bypassing the preset shading formulas the in-game customizer uses.
2) For some VRs, get the exact color you want, such as a white Fei-Yen, which is normally not possible with her preset shading formulas.
3) Color many uncolorable parts, such as Fei-Yen's black body, or v-armor damage areas on male VRs.
4) Color or erase most decals. Some decals like Fei-Yen's chest eye will still leave an outline even if you erase them, though.
5) Make surfaces appear more or less metallic by increasing or decreasing the strength of the natural shading gradient.
6) Make striped or rainbow colored VRs by specifying outlandish multicolor gradients.
7) Make wireframe or tron-style VRs by coloring only the edges of surfaces, when textures allow.

On the other hand, here are the key things you can't do by manually editing coloring files:

1) Change the textures. You can't change the shape of the shading gradients or create details out of nothing.
2) Make areas that are the same color into different colors. Fei-Yen's legs and shoes are still forced to be the same color.
3) Change the color of any glowing parts, such as visors, boosters, or female v-armor damage.
4) Color some decals, such as the Dreamcast on Fei-Yen's back.
5) Make true metallic surfaces, as texture map shading is a static and gimmicky way of mimicking light-based shading.

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Re: VR custom color files

Post by Porcupine » 11 Nov 2015, 17:40

Unfortunately, edited color files don't work over Xbox Live. The colors are loaded but any special modifications will be removed. I suspect the game only sends over the minimum amount of color information prior to battle, then regenerates the rest with the preset formulas of the in-game customizer. Edited color files work fine in all single player modes. They can also be viewed with the in-game customizer, and re-saving the file will preserve the information. However, if you make changes to a color region with the customizer, any special changes to that region will be erased and replaced with the preset shading formula. Edited colors can also be inserted into replay files.

Here are the edited colors I have made so far. To use these, first go to your xbox 360 and copy any VOOT file (coloring, replay, etc) to a USB memory stick. Then, using software which is widely available on the internet, insert any of the following files into the Virtual-On folder on your USB stick.

Pink Hyper Fei-Yen
CUSTOM000018 (60 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!iMomxJib!d7oRCVDJA3oe ... aTsqET02J0

It took me a week to make this, because I studied the shading palette and pixel mapping of Fei-Yen's entire body, including the complex shading of her hyper mode. I primarily tried to make hyper Fei-Yen look the same as normal pink Fei-Yen. As a secondary choice, I kept the hyper mode shading gradient, but reduced its strength and smoothed out the banding to look soft instead of metallic. Hyper mode looks even more similar to normal mode when the shading is completely wiped out, but if you do that then detail lines will be erased as a side-effect. I also made RNA Fei-Yen look as close to DNA Fei-Yen as possible. The pink color is for the first time identical. The stripes on her leg have been erased more thoroughly than normally possible, and I recolored the chest eye to white.

Blue Hyper Fei-Yen
CUSTOM000019 (60 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!DUw0QIAT!Y2uuWRZNw-S3 ... QINy4mY8rQ

Using the in-game customizer, I changed the pink Fei-Yen to a light blue color (hue 138) then edited hyper mode to match, using my pink hyper Fei-Yen as somewhat of a template. I did allow the blue hyper Fei-Yen to have a slightly stronger gradient, because I was trying to make this look like Super Saiyan Blue God haha. It doesn't really look like it with the normal graphics, but if you turn enhanced graphics on, this hyper Fei-Yen glows a brilliant cyan blue and decently resembles it. I could have made this look more like Super Saiyan Blue God with the normal graphics, but then it would have looked less like it with the enhanced graphics, which shifts the hyper mode colors slightly and also changes the way the shading looks.

Angry Fei-Yen
CUSTOM000020 (60 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!2QR3nZjI!uLXbHpsTjmFY ... LFrS1HKBos

This is essentially the pink Fei-Yen with the blue color components lowered to match the green color components, turning the hyper mode red. Looks alright with normal graphics but is unsatisfying with enhanced graphics on, as most of the shading gets washed out. There isn't really any way to fix that due to the way the enhanced graphics calculates the glow of hyper Fei-Yen. It doesn't work well with primary colors (red, green, blue) but works better with transition colors (magenta, yellow, cyan).

Super Saiyan God Fei-Yen
CUSTOM000021 (60 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!fNhDyJ6D!lzMgbrAi4_zd ... qyPm8JzxNA

Simple remix of the previous files. Pink DNA/RNA Fei-Yen turns into Super Saiyan Blue God on the DNA side, and Super Saiyan Red God on the RNA side. Doesn't really resemble the red god at all, but whatever.

Emerald/Pink Fei-Yen
CUSTOM000022(60 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!7RI2lTyI!2jfVhfqGMVuv ... Pc79rTfbcY

I copied the exact visor colors specified in the coloring file to the hyper mode colors, making an emerald hyper DNA Fei-Yen and a reddish pink hyper RNA Fei-Yen. I didn't bother smoothing out the gradients this time because I noticed that the discrete, banded look gave these hyper Fei-Yens a faceted, gem-like appearance which matched perfectly with these chosen colors. These colors look great with any graphics setting, because the enhanced graphics give both hyper mode and visors the same glowing enhancement. I also changed the colors of normal Fei-Yen to have light black hair, legs, and arms. I copied the black shades to match those of her black body, which is normally not possible with her preset shading formulas.

Sapphire/Ruby Fei-Yen
CUSTOM000023 (60 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!bRghmKxR!q4bg06Yjrwcp ... cfrRhvCMkk

Same as the previous file, but I swapped the blue and green color components for the DNA side, and lowered the blue color components on the RNA side.

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Re: VR custom color files

Post by Porcupine » 11 Nov 2015, 21:00

Completely White Fei-Yen
CUSTOM000017 (60 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!vJYSTb4L!z7TfoJr-AWhz ... 77aNzj05BE

Fei-Yen with the entire coloring file filled with pure white. This is the quickest way to check what areas of a VR can or cannot be manually colored. It looks a lot nicer than expected. There is still visible shading because the game itself performs simple, realtime light-based shading. But there are no more details or fake shading to interfere with your appreciation of the VR's body. It basically looks like an unpainted, white resin garage kit.

Completely White Angelan
CUSTOM000016(60 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!TIoihQgB!Gk0hVG8mJSqJ ... 4NMbJGdKIQ

Angelan with the entire coloring file filled with pure white. I was trying to figure out if her transparent color did anything, or see if I could color her wings. Unfortunately, no to both.

Completely White Bal-Keros
CUSTOM000015 (60 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!2QZgBbJY!HvbkfwysgeTo ... W2eBu6dLLg

Here is white Bal-Keros (space Bal) if anyone wants to mess around and try their luck. Perhaps there are some in-game glitches or exploits with this that I haven't discovered. Freezes in multiplayer lobby. Works in all other modes but seems to turn into normal Bal for land combat. Crouching mines are white; regular mines are normal color. Displays as Bal-Keros in the customizer.

Bradtos
CUSTOM000014 (60 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!SdAhDAhD!MRZRypM-vA-O ... -TiyB0-T78

In case you didn't read my old threads, here is Bradtos again. At one point this guy was Angelan but he evolved into Bradtos. He doesn't seem to use the colors specified in the file anyway, as nearly all of his body glows. Only works in Training mode or Watch CPU vs CPU. Be careful firing his LW as it sometimes causes a freeze.

Bal-Keros vs Angelan in Tangram stage
REPLAY000156 (76 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!eUJjAI5K!MAnzE7iqVzq2 ... 8-R5bjRmiI

Space fight that was uploaded to the leaderboard! Japanese Bal player vs Japanese Angelan player, both recognizable by their color schemes. With the inputs moved to space stage the resulting fight is essentially blind mashing, but still fun to watch. Don't forget to watch Angelan's unique space winning pose!

Pink Hyper Fei-Yen vs Pink Hyper Fei-Yen
REPLAY000157 (76 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!Cd4F0SAB!8D_aZMRJYZ61 ... 33b_W-bdXE

This match is a year old but I fought a great fight against a powerful opponent. I recommend watching this with normal graphics, since part of the idea was to look the same no matter what, and be funny. With enhanced graphics on, the hyper pink Fei-Yen becomes a magenta color. It retains the shading that I worked so hard on though, and still looks nice.

Super Saiyan Blue God vs Super Saiyan Red God
REPLAY000158 (76 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!uY5C0R5I!ddir14wEnsck ... A2c_exqquY

The same replay as above, but with more flash. Recommended to watch with enhanced graphics on, as it even creates faintly blooming power auras around brightly colored hyper Fei-Yens. Maybe this will settle the debate about which kind of Super Saiyan God is stronger! About my choice of red for the RNA side: the normal RNA Fei-Yen borrows several colors from the hyper mode palette to color small areas of her orange bits, arms, and leg. This isn't noticeable with normal graphics, but with enhanced graphics an unnatural glow can be seen coming from these parts. Anyway, for this reason it is better to color these parts similarly on the RNA side, and red is fairly close to orange. DNA Fei-Yen and hyper mode DNA/RNA Fei-Yen don't have this issue.

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Re: VR custom color files

Post by MentholMoose » 12 Nov 2015, 16:45

This looks similar to the VR customization in DC VOOT and arcade 5.66. Someone wrote a customizer utility [1] for Windows to allow editing all colors in the palette file (i.e. each individual color in the gradient).

[1] http://www.geocities.co.jp/Playtown-Toys/2489/
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Re: VR custom color files

Post by Porcupine » 12 Nov 2015, 21:48

Amazing link, thanks for that. It is indeed the same thing. I downloaded all the programs and compared file formats for Dreamcast and Xbox 360 containers. You can definitely use that program to edit the Xbox 360 color files, as the imbedded file is essentially identical. The color file will require preparation, as there are multiple big endian vs little endian problems which cause global byte reversals. The included DCI to VMS utility only partially fixes the endian mismatch. Still, using that program is convenient, plus they mapped out the ordered color list for all VRs, while I only did Fei-Yen. If you want to color a VR to perfection though, you have to map out its list yourself anyway because you'd want to see what all the gradient regions look like.

Some of the sub-links on that page are dead, that's too bad. One of the major ones was described as specializing in coloring Angelan and Fei-Yen. I don't see any mention about the colors not working in multiplayer, so I presume it works in all modes on Dreamcast and arcade. Does this mean all the Japanese players have been playing with blue hyper Fei-Yens for a decade? Perhaps this gives hope that the special coloring will work on Xbox 360 with direct link. Can anyone with such a setup try it out?

Zaarock showed me another Japanese page recently which said that VRs could grow weird horns by setting an empty byte somewhere. I had tried to find that location on the Xbox 360 with no luck. Thanks to this new link, I was able to find the supposed location in the Dreamcast file. Unfortunately, that location has been removed from the Xbox 360 version, as it was actually just before the Xbox 360 coloring file header. The removal may not have been done on purpose, as the name you give to your colored VR on Dreamcast was also in that location. On Xbox 360, the name you give is instead stored in the 360 container, so they took it out. I would not be surprised if the horns are still in the game data, but now inaccessible. Perhaps they could be enabled by editing replay data, but I don't have a good guess where to look.

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Re: VR custom color files

Post by MentholMoose » 12 Nov 2015, 22:54

Porcupine wrote:If you want to color a VR to perfection though, you have to map out its list yourself anyway because you'd want to see what all the gradient regions look like.
Indeed, it is a lot of work. I did Grys-Vok and I remember it being a painstaking process. There are colors for the VR with and without V Armor, and there are a lot of very small, hard to find pieces, such as stuff only seen during certain animations. Here is what I came up with back then:
gry02.jpg
Grys-Vok
Porcupine wrote:Does this mean all the Japanese players have been playing with blue hyper Fei-Yens for a decade?
Pretty much yes. I remember seeing some funky color palettes when I went to Japan in 2000.
Porcupine wrote:Zaarock showed me another Japanese page recently which said that VRs could grow weird horns by setting an empty byte somewhere.
Ah yes, the "horns". Actually there were unique attachments for each VR. I think Specineff had the horns. Grys-Vok had an animated rotating radar dish!

Those were meant as a prize for the official "Oratan Online Battle" tournaments. There are at least Gold and silver versions (I'm not sure about bronze). Anyway someone figured out how to enable it in the game save, which is good since they pretty much would have never been seen (only 2-3 OOB tournaments, so not a lot of winners to show them off).
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Re: VR custom color files

Post by Zaarock » 13 Nov 2015, 04:01

Awesome to hear the purpose of the unused attachments. Too bad they seem removed from the xbox 360 release, some of them like angelan's staff being replaced with a key look pretty cool.
That old customizer tool looks neat. It's a shame these fully customized color schemes do not work online on 360, but maybe they do on system link?

It's amusing that some players are accusing porcupine of cheating by using unused colors in VO4 if people already did all this stuff in arcades for oratan back in 2000.

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Re: VR custom color files

Post by MentholMoose » 13 Nov 2015, 15:39

Zaarock wrote:It's amusing that some players are accusing porcupine of cheating by using unused colors in VO4 if people already did all this stuff in arcades for oratan back in 2000.
Well not every cares about it, and those that do probably have different reasons. Did anyone say exactly why it is a problem? I guess some people might think you could gain some (however minor) advantage using a hacked color scheme. I don't agree with this since the possible advantage would be highly dependent on the map, which is typically random (so a color scheme might end up being a disadvantage). Also, some people might be concerned that the "hacked" game saves would cause problems for the servers. I don't agree with this, either, since I think the servers should not be so fragile as to crash due to a bad save (after all it is conceivable that a game save could inadvertently get corrupted).
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Re: VR custom color files

Post by The World - 2.0 » 15 Nov 2015, 14:22

@Porcupine,

Sorry if this is a noob-ish question(which it probably is), but how exactly did you go about making/editing these custom color files? What programs did you use? And where can I find them? Please be specific.
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Favorite VRs: VOOT Angelan, Fei-Yen Kn, and Temjin.

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Re: VR custom color files

Post by Porcupine » 05 Dec 2015, 16:46

TheWorld, hopefully the PM helped you.

MentholMoose, I was thinking your pic was a nifty two toned Grys-Vok, but when I got around to checking him out again with the in-game customizer, he already has more options than most VRs, so I'm not sure what parts of your picture are different from what can be done normally. What special modifications did you make?

Bal-Keros vs Angelan in Tangram stage
REPLAY000159 (76 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!nIoXTLIJ!CIX286yg5fWy ... 214RHKjPVI

This is the same replay from before, but after gaining more mastery over replay files, I was able to restore the missing final round. Originally, Angelan won round 1, then Bal won rounds 2 and 3. After moving to space stage, Bal won round 1 instead, yet the replay still credited Angelan with the win. Then Angelan won round 2 and the match ended. In this fixed version, both VRs get proper credit for their rounds, so we get to round 3, which ended up won by Angelan.

Score Attack Medley in Tangram stage
REPLAY000163 (76 KB)
https://mega.nz/#!yMgT3LBQ!08nMXl1ga31w ... 5lM4BUlUx4

To showcase all the VR space poses, I made a complete Score Attack replay consisting of all mirror matches in space. It isn't normally possible to change your VR in Score Attack, but Arcade mode allows it, so I was able to paste matches together. Unfortunately I wasn't able to add extra matches beyond the normal fourteen. Custom colors are not allowed in replays where the player VR changes so I had to use default colors. In actuality I was fighting blind and imagining what would happen in space.

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Re: VR custom color files

Post by Zaarock » 04 Jan 2016, 10:07

Recorded a couple of the replays. They're still on the leaderboard for now though.

Red VS Blue hyper fei-yen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS9B4ejfmRA

Score Attack Medley in Tangram stage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILkLRdirfg4

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