Maniac recieving a well-deserved slap
Smooth as glass

Regular readers will often hear me talk about DAIN (Depth-Aware video frame INterpolation) – an AI video processing method – which I used in my Wing Commander III HD Video Pack to increase the Playstation’s 15fps video to 30fps and smooth out its motion.

I use a GUI front-end for DAIN called DAINAPP, which recently reached V1.0 alpha status and entered open source development. This newer version is a lot more stable, and that got me thinking…

High Frame Rate – not Hobbit Failed Returns

High Frame Rate video (HFR) is becoming increasingly popular. While it may have crashed and burned at the cinema (such as the poor reception to Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy a few years ago), HFR is becoming commonplace on YouTube, streaming services and, crucially, in gaming.

Most modern games that still use video cutscenes (be they live-action, CG or augmented captures from the game engine) render those videos out at 60fps. As always, it comes down to expectations – while people expect that gritty, 24fps look in cinema, we tend to appreciate buttery smooth motion in our gaming experiences.

Wing Commander IV intro FMV – Full HD 60fps

So, I thought – why not bring that modern magic to Wing Commander IV: Remastered? Our primary goal with the remaster is to make the transition from FMV to game engine as seamless as possible – and very few people these days will be running the game at 30fps. Better to keep that frame rate as smooth as possible throughout.

I set about experimenting with new version of DAINAPP to increase the frame rate of the WCIV FMV videos and the results were quite impressive. The new version is by far the most stable I’ve experienced.

Oh No! Not the Soap Opera Effect!

Fear not if HFR isn’t your cup of tea – we’re aware that a lot of people aren’t fond of what’s become known as the Soap Opera Effect. We had a conversation within the team and Pedro, our superstar lead developer, confirmed that we can make the 60fps footage optional. We’ll be adding an option in the game’s settings to disable it. When the option is disabled, the video renderer will skip every other frame, bringing the frame rate back to the 30fps of the original game.