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Bohrok Animation Sound Quality


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#1 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 13 2012 - 01:27 PM

I'm sure many of you know about the horrible quality of the Bohrok Online Animations. I've been wondering lately, why is the sound that way? Back in 2002 when the animations were online, the music worked just fine and sounded good. Then the animations were taken off bionicle.com. When someone on bzpower managed to recover the files later on, the music had been warped. Does any computer genius out there know why this happened? And if we knew the reason, could we somehow restore them?
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#2 Online Gatanui

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Posted Mar 13 2012 - 01:38 PM

Are you sure the music was really better back then? In 2002, Internet connections were much slower than nowadays so files were heavily compressed to make the loading times (which were already long enough) easier to bear. So logically, what would have been perceived as high speed and quality back then is likely low for today´s standards. It´s possible the music didn´t strike you as having bad quality back in the day because higher quality was unusual for media where the music was only of secondary importance (as in animations where obviously the animation itself is prioritary), but nowadays that filesizes can be set much higher and files aren´t as heavily compressed, it does strike you as having bad quality. ;)~Gata. ;)

Edited by One-Headed Janus, Mar 13 2012 - 01:56 PM.

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#3 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 13 2012 - 02:37 PM

No, I remember clearly the time I watched the animations in 2002. We had quite a fast internet connection too, I remember. And I remember how I was shocked to find the music all warped when the files were finally recovered. The animations probably did run more slowly, but I don't think that had anything to do with the quality. I always enjoyed the music and thought it sounded beautiful. And besides, I really doubt Templar Studios would've made the awful sounding music it is today for the animations. They certainly had the skill to make them properly. I really hope someone who remembers 2002 well would post here, just to confirm what I have just said.If not, then I may be wrong and the music did suck all along. I just find it hard to believe, especially considering I have crystal-clear memories of those days... Bionicle truly was something. :)
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#4 Offline Bambi

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Posted Mar 13 2012 - 02:59 PM

I remember it sounding the same way then as it does now.
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#5 Offline TheSkeletonMan939

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Posted Mar 13 2012 - 04:08 PM

I should know about this - I made an album of the online animations. Check my sig if interested (warning - archive link).I personally don't think they don't sound too bad as standalone music tracks, but there are some times where you just cringe at the bad quality (like the opening music in the first episode).If the guy on BZPower actually recovered the source files that were on the site, then the music should sound exactly as it did in '02, unless there's some other factor that went into the recovery.
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#6 Offline JrMasterModelBuilder

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Posted Mar 13 2012 - 07:23 PM

From my understanding, Crystal Matrix saved the exact same files that were on bionicle.com back when they were online way back when. If your watching the original SWF's (and not some video recording of them) they should be exactly the same as they were back then.
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#7 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 14 2012 - 01:57 AM

Hmm, so the sound hasn't been altered then. How come do I remember the Maku & Huki lovescene having a tranquil, soothing sound in the background while now there's awful scratching and hissing there?Gata said something about the filesize and the way computers play the animations having something to do with how the sound is heard, am I right? Could it be possible to accomplish this somehow, so that the sound would sound better even if the files are the same?
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#8 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Mar 14 2012 - 02:14 AM

You made me curious so I just rewatched them all.The hissing in the first part might be meant as fire crackling sound effects. After that point for a while the sound seems normal, but I agree it seems warped, and at some points seems staticey for no plot reason, like the Boxor fight in Le-Wahi. Hard to recall from ten years ago, though. But yeah, it really could be that you just were so used to poor quality at the time you mentally tuned out to the static, until later when we had better speakers. Or it could be that newer computers don't translate old formats as well, I have no idea lol. But it does seem warped and staticey in places.

Edited by bonesiii, Mar 14 2012 - 02:15 AM.

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#9 Online Gatanui

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Posted Mar 14 2012 - 03:17 AM

I´ve just come to think, perhaps the music is warped in some places because of several tracks overlapping. You know how the animations play way too fast with new Flash Player versions? I´ve observed that in many occasions, the track from the scene before is still playing while the track for the current scene is starting. This obviously didn´t happen when the animations played at the right speed, so the sound would play fine then.~Gata. ;)
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#10 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 14 2012 - 05:21 AM

Interesting. I wonder if there's any way to sort of mimic the way the older computers processed the sound and the animation.
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#11 Online Gatanui

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Posted Mar 14 2012 - 11:31 AM

If you can find a Flash Player version from back then, it should work fine. The problem is finding such an old Flash Player. I´ve found and downloaded Flash Player 4 once and it could play the 2002 animations perfectly, but it crashed with the 2003 animations. It´s really a shame the animations are broken with recent Flash Players. :(~Gata. ;)
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#12 Offline Pereki

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Posted Mar 14 2012 - 12:11 PM

The sound quality in the most recent versions with the text is definitely lesser quality than the originals, although I'm not sure as to why. Most of the episodes can be viewed in their original quality (but minus text) inthis topic from the old forum (the link to episode 1 doesn't seem to be working).

Edited by Tazakk, Mar 14 2012 - 12:13 PM.

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#13 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 14 2012 - 02:17 PM

The sound quality in the most recent versions with the text is definitely lesser quality than the originals, although I'm not sure as to why. Most of the episodes can be viewed in their original quality (but minus text) inthis topic from the old forum (the link to episode 1 doesn't seem to be working).

Hey, that's it! I watched the episodes and they sound exactly like I remember them sounding back in 2002. Thanks a lot for this Tazakk! :) EDIT: I downloaded the episodes with the good music, and they work fine. However, they don't have text even if you rename and arrange the files correctly. Since we (Tazakk, actually) have found the files with the original soundtrack, would it be possible to make them work with text without the sound getting all warped?

Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Mar 14 2012 - 02:23 PM.

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#14 Online Gatanui

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Posted Mar 14 2012 - 02:44 PM

Wow, you are right! Nice find! :o I wonder what caused that? I am sure there is a way to fix it. If I had more time I would actually look into it.~Gata. ;)
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#15 Offline TheSkeletonMan939

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Posted Mar 14 2012 - 03:26 PM

:oWow, that is a difference! I mean, compare the sound to episode 7 here - http://biosector01.c...line_Animationsand here - http://www.bzpower.c...howtopic=221025It's amazing! Now why it's like that I don't know, but wow! That's a major difference!Fortunately, I believe my soundtrack uses the better-sounding version.
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#16 Offline Pereki

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Posted Mar 15 2012 - 08:34 AM

Thanks, everyone. I really can't take credit though - I'm fairly certain that I only discovered that link when someone else linked to it in a topic similar to this.I always assumed the loss in sound quality was somehow a result of adding the text, but really I have no idea. One thing I've noticed before is that, sometimes, the different sound effects and music cut off at different times in the different versions. For example, take the beginning of the Le-Koro Liberated - that first bit of music that plays runs twice in the low quality version. Although I have absolutely no experience to speak from in modifying SWF files, I thought maybe that might mean the sound from the original versions was taken out, and then edited into the text versions. Could that possibly account for the loss in quality? If so, it would also imply that the sound was somehow tied to the text problem - why take it out and then re-insert it if you don't have to?I would love to try to fix the text in the versions with the better sound, but I really have no idea how. :P
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#17 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 15 2012 - 09:38 AM

Fortunately, I believe my soundtrack uses the better-sounding version.

Actually it doesn't. Your soundtrack is good, but it's possible to hear the effects of the music warp. Would you be able to remake the soundtrack with the better sounding music?Also, if someone could fix the texts to the high quality episodes, I'm sure many people, in addition to me, would be very happy. :)

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#18 Offline TheSkeletonMan939

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Posted Mar 15 2012 - 11:51 AM

Fortunately, I believe my soundtrack uses the better-sounding version.

Actually it doesn't. Your soundtrack is good, but it's possible to hear the effects of the music warp. Would you be able to remake the soundtrack with the better sounding music?Also, if someone could fix the texts to the high quality episodes, I'm sure many people, in addition to me, would be very happy. :)

Well, dang darn dadburn it! I see you're right upon comparison.I'll see what I can do.

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#19 Offline JrMasterModelBuilder

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Posted Mar 16 2012 - 03:40 PM

Hold up everyone! I know what's going on here! The original files Crystal Matrix were later edited by Jetslandingboard to get the text to work. When he edited them, he decompiled them, edited them in Flash MX, and republished them. There's a good chance the sound files were re-compressed loosing more quality. The files did change a bit when he did this:Posted Image(Original on the left, edited version on the right.)It's worth pointing out the edited version has more bytes of sound, but that doesn't mean it's better quality.I can edit the original SWF's to get the text without touching the sound or anything else but first could someone with a good ear and some free time download these files ( http://www.mediafire...ta4q64d8bbz2aeb ) and compare the sound to tell if the ones in the Originals folder have better quality then the ones not? If so, I will take the time to edit the originals to load the text ASAP.

If you can find a Flash Player version from back then, it should work fine. The problem is finding such an old Flash Player. I´ve found and downloaded Flash Player 4 once and it could play the 2002 animations perfectly, but it crashed with the 2003 animations. It´s really a shame the animations are broken with recent Flash Players. :(~Gata. ;)

I haven't encountered that problem before. How are they broken and in what version exactly? I know Flash Player 11 has broken a few minor things (MNOGII opening cutscene for example). It would be nice to test as I have standalone Flash Players of every major version 3 and up (Windows versions anyway, the Mac versions were Power PC applications or the even older Prefered Executable format until version 9, both of which are dead today).

Edited by JrMasterModelBuilder, Mar 16 2012 - 03:42 PM.

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#20 Offline TheSkeletonMan939

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Posted Mar 16 2012 - 07:26 PM

AHAH! I bet that's it! Re-encoding anything makes it lose quality (unless you're muxing h.264 files from different containers or something like that).But hold on...upon closer viewing, I see that the edited files take up more space than the unedited. Which might not mean anything, but generally larger file size = better quality.
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#21 Offline JrMasterModelBuilder

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Posted Mar 16 2012 - 09:58 PM

AHAH! I bet that's it! Re-encoding anything makes it lose quality (unless you're muxing h.264 files from different containers or something like that).But hold on...upon closer viewing, I see that the edited files take up more space than the unedited. Which might not mean anything, but generally larger file size = better quality.

Considering how decompiling works (or doesn't, as seems to case more often than not) it's not totally unusual that they would increase in size like that. The SWF 6 format supports more features than the SWF 4 format so each tag may contain more data and decompilers can make a mess of things, redefining symbols more than once and such. If the originals do sound better, I'll get to work editing them losslessly.

Edited by JrMasterModelBuilder, Mar 16 2012 - 09:58 PM.

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#22 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 17 2012 - 03:24 AM

I've already listened and compared the old and edited episodes for many many times (I love nostalgy) and just in case I downloaded the files. And yes, there is a considerable difference. The old episodes have sound that is as good quality as the ones in MNOG. The new versions have all warped music which has this strange hissing in the background and everything is just... terrible. But yeah, the difference is present in each and every episode, both the 2002 and the 2003 ones.The best part about all this is that I was right. :PSorry. I just had to say that.
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#23 Online Gatanui

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Posted Mar 17 2012 - 05:22 AM

If you can find a Flash Player version from back then, it should work fine. The problem is finding such an old Flash Player. I´ve found and downloaded Flash Player 4 once and it could play the 2002 animations perfectly, but it crashed with the 2003 animations. It´s really a shame the animations are broken with recent Flash Players. :(~Gata. ;)

I haven't encountered that problem before. How are they broken and in what version exactly? I know Flash Player 11 has broken a few minor things (MNOGII opening cutscene for example). It would be nice to test as I have standalone Flash Players of every major version 3 and up (Windows versions anyway, the Mac versions were Power PC applications or the even older Prefered Executable format until version 9, both of which are dead today).

Not exactly broken, what I mean is that they play way too fast.You know what, if you are going to edit the files to fix the sound, could you try fixing the animation speed as well? What software are you using anyway? Good find on the issue, too. I was suspecting something in that direction.~Gata. ;)

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#24 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 17 2012 - 05:57 AM

When I watched the original episodes offline, they seemed to be running with a default speed, meaning they weren't too fast or too slow. Oh, except for the last 2003 episode, that one outruns the music quickly unless you play it on an internet browser.
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#25 Offline TheSkeletonMan939

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Posted Mar 17 2012 - 06:02 AM

If the originals do sound better, I'll get to work editing them losslessly.

What do you mean by editing?

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#26 Offline JrMasterModelBuilder

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Posted Mar 17 2012 - 09:42 AM

I've already listened and compared the old and edited episodes for many many times (I love nostalgy) and just in case I downloaded the files. And yes, there is a considerable difference. The old episodes have sound that is as good quality as the ones in MNOG. The new versions have all warped music which has this strange hissing in the background and everything is just... terrible. But yeah, the difference is present in each and every episode, both the 2002 and the 2003 ones.The best part about all this is that I was right. :PSorry. I just had to say that.

Alright, here you guys go.I edited the original SWF to load the text files containing the text similar to what Jetslandingboard did but without any loss of quality. I also created Flash 4 and Flash 5 Windows projectors for them which should give them the best chance of acting the way they originally did (the last 2 from 2003 were created with Flash 5 which is probably why they crashed Flash payer 4 for Gatanui).

If you can find a Flash Player version from back then, it should work fine. The problem is finding such an old Flash Player. I´ve found and downloaded Flash Player 4 once and it could play the 2002 animations perfectly, but it crashed with the 2003 animations. It´s really a shame the animations are broken with recent Flash Players. :(~Gata. ;)

I haven't encountered that problem before. How are they broken and in what version exactly? I know Flash Player 11 has broken a few minor things (MNOGII opening cutscene for example). It would be nice to test as I have standalone Flash Players of every major version 3 and up (Windows versions anyway, the Mac versions were Power PC applications or the even older Prefered Executable format until version 9, both of which are dead today).

Not exactly broken, what I mean is that they play way too fast.You know what, if you are going to edit the files to fix the sound, could you try fixing the animation speed as well? What software are you using anyway? Good find on the issue, too. I was suspecting something in that direction.~Gata. ;)

If the originals do sound better, I'll get to work editing them losslessly.

What do you mean by editing?

I used a ActionScript bytecode disassembler/assembler called Flasm (which sadly hasn't been updated since AS3). It's a little tricky because of the differences in ActionScript bytecode to edit the files properly (especially if you don't have a copy of Flash to create new bytecode with [and even if you do, Flash hasn't been able to create SWF 4 bytecode for many years]), but in this case, it's perfect because it won't touch anything but the code. I guess I could have used a hex editor in this case, but I think Flasm is a better choice.As for the animation timing, I can't fix that with Flasm. What's causing it is how the sound appears to be played on events rather than streaming on the timeline so it won't necessary play at exactly the same timing. Better sound, but less accurate. Maybe having them as older projectors will help with that.

Edited by JrMasterModelBuilder, Mar 17 2012 - 09:45 AM.

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#27 Online Gatanui

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Posted Mar 17 2012 - 11:38 AM

I've already listened and compared the old and edited episodes for many many times (I love nostalgy) and just in case I downloaded the files. And yes, there is a considerable difference. The old episodes have sound that is as good quality as the ones in MNOG. The new versions have all warped music which has this strange hissing in the background and everything is just... terrible. But yeah, the difference is present in each and every episode, both the 2002 and the 2003 ones.The best part about all this is that I was right. :PSorry. I just had to say that.

Alright, here you guys go.I edited the original SWF to load the text files containing the text similar to what Jetslandingboard did but without any loss of quality. I also created Flash 4 and Flash 5 Windows projectors for them which should give them the best chance of acting the way they originally did (the last 2 from 2003 were created with Flash 5 which is probably why they crashed Flash payer 4 for Gatanui).

Magnificent! All 2002 animations and the first one from 2003 play with the right speed. :) The second and third ones from 2003 are still running too fast, though. Thank you very much anyway. :) Is there a way you could fix the speed for the 2003 animations?Also, have you already replaced the files with the new ones on the BMP streaming library?~Gata. ;)

Edited by One-Headed Janus, Mar 17 2012 - 11:38 AM.

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#28 Offline JrMasterModelBuilder

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Posted Mar 17 2012 - 09:21 PM

I've already listened and compared the old and edited episodes for many many times (I love nostalgy) and just in case I downloaded the files. And yes, there is a considerable difference. The old episodes have sound that is as good quality as the ones in MNOG. The new versions have all warped music which has this strange hissing in the background and everything is just... terrible. But yeah, the difference is present in each and every episode, both the 2002 and the 2003 ones.The best part about all this is that I was right. :PSorry. I just had to say that.

Alright, here you guys go.I edited the original SWF to load the text files containing the text similar to what Jetslandingboard did but without any loss of quality. I also created Flash 4 and Flash 5 Windows projectors for them which should give them the best chance of acting the way they originally did (the last 2 from 2003 were created with Flash 5 which is probably why they crashed Flash payer 4 for Gatanui).

Magnificent! All 2002 animations and the first one from 2003 play with the right speed. :) The second and third ones from 2003 are still running too fast, though. Thank you very much anyway. :) Is there a way you could fix the speed for the 2003 animations?Also, have you already replaced the files with the new ones on the BMP streaming library?~Gata. ;)

Hmm, I could maybe try lowering the framerate 1 or 2 FPS with a hex editor. Not sue if that will help. They are projected with the exact same standalone Flash player Templar projected MNOG with, so that must have been the player they were tested with. I'll look into this a bit more later.Yes, I updated the streaming files on BMP.

Edited by JrMasterModelBuilder, Mar 17 2012 - 09:24 PM.

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#29 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 18 2012 - 01:30 PM

Amazing work on the episodes, thanks a lot! I'm sure many are happy to have the good sound back, but I especially owe you a big thanks. Listening to the great music and watching and reading the lines of the episodes bring back good memories. :)
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#30 Online Gatanui

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Posted Mar 18 2012 - 01:52 PM

Yes, I updated the streaming files on BMP.

Good, because I went to the BMP to compare the sound quality of your new files with the old ones and was a bit confused to see that your new files had the same sound as the streaming version from BMP. :P I wasn´t sure if you had re-compressed the sound once again or if you had indeed updated the BMP streaming files as well.Lowering the frame rate as you suggested might be worth a try.~Gata. ;)

Edited by Gatanui, Mar 18 2012 - 01:53 PM.

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