Monday, April 4, 2011

Achieving Full-Motion Video on the Nintendo 64.

"Resident Evil 2 for the Nintendo 64 was the first game on a cartridge-based console system to deliver full-motion video. Angel Studios' team brought this two-CD game, comprising 1.2GB of data, to a single 64MB cartridge. A significant portion of this data was more than 15 minutes of cutscene video. Achieving this level of compression, meeting the stringent requirement of 30Hz playback, and delivering the best video quality possible was a considerable challenge.

To look at this challenge another way, let's put it into numerical perspective. The original rendered frames of the video sequences were 320x160 pixels at 24-bit color = 153,600 bytes/frame. On the Nintendo 64 Resident Evil 2's approximately 15 minutes of 30Hz video make a grand total of 15 x 60 x 30 x 153,600 = 4,147,200,000 bytes of uncompressed data. Our budget on the cartridge was 25,165,824 bytes, so I had to achieve a compression ratio of 165:1. Worse still, I had to share this modicum of cartridge real estate with the movie audio."

One of the most impressive ports in gaming history and luckily has saved the article where Todd Meynink talks about how they pulled it off:

Microcode: "September 2000 archive. Contains Todd Meynink's color-space conversion microcode listing that helped him get FMV onto the N64, plus Lander's 3D paint application and source." ->

1 comment:

  1. Resident Evil 2 wasn't the first cartridge-based game to use FMVs. There were many before, both on non-Nintendo and Nintendo systems (for example, Syndicate on Super Nintendo). Still, an impressive feat.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.