Hacking Possible to Disable the Wii's (De)Flicker Filter?

XFlak

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blackb0x appears to have solved this by patching the WAD in memory -- Cubello is now successfully patched without requiring decompression.
Nice! But it still doesn't launch the wad directly though right? But rather the title off of an emunand (which may or may not have been installed via a wad)

Edit: I'm really excited for the next official release of GX!
 
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NoobletCheese

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Nice! But it still doesn't launch the wad directly though right? But rather the title off of an emunand (which may or may not have been installed via a wad)

The way I'm doing it is to install the wad to sysnand using YAWMM, then it appears in the game list in ULGX. I've got Priiloader and Bootmii installed as a precaution.

Alternatively we could install the wad to ULGX emunand, but the game compatibility isnt as good.

Are there other loaders which can launch wads without having to install them first?
 
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XFlak

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The way I'm doing it is to install the wad to sysnand using YAWMM, then it appears in the game list in ULGX. I've got Priiloader and Bootmii installed as a precaution.

Alternatively we could install the wad to ULGX emunand, but the game compatibility isnt as good.

Are there other loaders which can launch wads without having to install them first?
I haven't played with it personally, but yes, it appears to be do-able, but perhaps with lower compatibility
https://gbatemp.net/threads/bbloade...te-emulation-on-real-wii.589066/#post-9485323
 

NoobletCheese

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Unfortunately blackb0x has decided to take their project in a different direction, removing the GXSetCopyFilter patch and reverting to the standard method of patching video modes (GXRenderModeObjs) which won't work for games like Donkey Kong Returns, Sonic Colours, Battalion Wars 2, Metroid Prime, or any other game that doesn't pass a GXRenderModeObj->vfilter to GXSetCopyFilter.

I still have one of their previous test versions which supports GXSetCopyFilter patching; I'm not sure they want me sharing it though.

In the meantime I plan on learning C so that I can write my own fork of ULGX, as I'd like to add an option to select between 2 methods of patching the vfilter out, as there could be games that work better with one method but not the other.

For example some games might use GXSetCopyFilter to perform fade-in/out screen transition effects, or for adjusting screen brightness in the video menu, and those effects would become broken using the GXSetCopyFilter patch.

Another possibility is that some games are compiled with a different version of the GX library (such as Dolphin.a or gxD.a, instead of gx.a which is the version we're currently patching) and the patch wouldn't work for those games. Although none have been discovered so far, but I'm sure eventually someone will find one that wasn't compiled with gx.a.

In these cases we could select method 2 which would patch all GXRenderModeObjs + lone vfilter strings.

I'd also like to add a third option: custom vfilter, let the user select their own vfilter, such as the weaker 04041010100404 filter which might be useful to reduce dithering noise in some games (eg. RE4) or even just for reducing flicker a bit for those using 480i CRTs without the ungodly blur of the full strength 08080A0C0A0808 filter.

I've also discovered the binaries for GameCube's gx.a and Dolphin.a versions of GXSetCopyFilter, so reliable vfilter patching should be a thing on Nintendont now (although it is already pretty reliable with only a few edge cases, but it appears to be using GXRenderModeObj patching). Also saw a new vfilter string -- 02 02 11 16 11 02 02 -- used by Mario Kart Double Dash for its 480p mode.
 
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XFlak

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That is disappointing to hear about blackb0x deciding against this. I guess your tool to manually edit games is going to be the best we can do at this time.

Out of curiosity, will you have an "undo" option in case any of those fades you mentioned don't behave right? So that the changes the tool made can be reversed if the results aren't ideal
 

NoobletCheese

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That is disappointing to hear about blackb0x deciding against this. I guess your tool to manually edit games is going to be the best we can do at this time.

It's not over yet -- stay tuned :)


Out of curiosity, will you have an "undo" option in case any of those fades you mentioned don't behave right? So that the changes the tool made can be reversed if the results aren't ideal

The patching tool was either going to give you a [ID6].dol to launch separately with ULGX, or make you a patched copy of your original iso/wbfs, so you could always revert to your originals. But I guess it wouldn't hurt to also add an 'unpatch me' option as well.

This article shows the brightness control in Metroid and menu screen fades in Soul Calibur not working when GXSetCopyFilter is disabled
https://ppltoast.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/a-small-look-into-the-gamecubes-copy-filter/

Not a dealbreaker for me personally -- I'd still rather not have the filter -- but enough to preference the vfilter patching method as the default method, and revert to patching GXSetCopyFilter as a last resort.
 
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Maeson

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Now that I see that link, I remembered that Soul Calibur 2 (at least Pal version) is one of those few games that don't get the filter taken away by forcing video modes.

I tried looking at the Start.dol file, editing the VFilters like I did with R: Racing Evolution, but with Soul Calibur 2 it makes no difference. Did we found how to remove the SetCopyFilter from GC dols? I'll look at previous pages...
 

NoobletCheese

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Did we found how to remove the SetCopyFilter from GC dols? I'll look at previous pages...


Disabling GXSetCopyFilter for GameCube games:

Version 1 (for games compiled with gx.a)
Replace
91 23 80 00 98 83 80 00 91 43 80 00 41 82 00 68
with
91 23 80 00 98 83 80 00 91 43 80 00 48 00 00 68
Version 2 (for games compiled with Dolphin.a)
Replace
91 04 80 00 99 44 80 00 91 24 80 00 41 82 00 40
with
91 04 80 00 99 44 80 00 91 24 80 00 48 00 00 40
Version 3 (for games compiled with SN Systems ProDG SDK)
Replace
91 2B 80 00 98 0B 80 00 91 0B 80 00 41 82 00 5C
with
91 2B 80 00 98 0B 80 00 91 0B 80 00 48 00 00 5C
Version 4 (for games compiled with gxD.a)
Replace
7C 08 02 A6 90 01 00 04 94 21 FF C0 BF 61 00 2C 98 61 00 08 7C 9E 23 78 98 A1 00 10 3B 66 00 00
with
4E 80 00 20 90 01 00 04 94 21 FF C0 BF 61 00 2C 98 61 00 08 7C 9E 23 78 98 A1 00 10 3B 66 00 00

Notes:

If the above string is not found, try searching for a shorter substring of it
eg.
7C 08 02 A6 90 01 00 04 94 21 FF C0 BF 61 00 2C 98 61 00 08 7C 9E 23 78
or
7C 08 02 A6 90 01 00 04 94 21 FF C0 BF 61 00 2C 98 61 00 08

If you find multiple instances of them, it will be the one inside a block of length 2268 bytes starting with "7C 08 02 A6..." and ending with "4E 80 00 20".

This patch appears to only be compatible with Wii hardware and not Dolphin emulator (not that it's needed for Dolphin which can disable the filter anyway). Just in case it isn't compatible with certain games, here is an alternate patching method:

1. Find "7C 08 02 A6 90 01 00 04 94 21 FF C0 BF 61 00 2C 98 61 00 08 7C 9E 23 78 98 A1 00 10 3B 66 00 00" which is the first 32 bytes of GXSetCopyFilter.

2. Keep scanning forward from this point until "4E 80 00 20" is found (end of function / return) which should be exactly 2268 bytes after the "7C 08 02 A6..."

3. Select the whole function of length 2268 bytes (including the 4E 80 00 20 at the end)

4. Perform a find and replace all "41 82" with "48 00" within the selection (flips boolean of all if statements)

Most games probably use version 1 (gx.a).

If none of the 4 versions are found, it's possible the game uncompresses GXSetCopyFilter at runtime, eg. Star Wars Rogue Squadron III which could only be patched with a Gecko cheat code which modifies memory contents at runtime.

Cheat code templates:
eg. patching gx.a ver of GXSetCopyFilter (91238000988380009143800041820068) at a certain mem address:
28XXXXXX 00009143 // if half-word at mem address 0x80XXXXXX = 9143
06XXXXXX 00000008 // write to mem address 0x80XXXXXX the following 8 bytes
91438000 48000068 // replacement GXSetCopyFilter 8 bytes
e0000000 80008000 // end of code

eg. patching a vfilter string 08080A0C0A0808 at a certain address
28XXXXXX 00000808 // if half-word at mem address 0x80XXXXXX = 0808
06XXXXXX 00000007 // write to mem address 0x80XXXXXX the following 7 bytes
00001516 15000000 // replacement vfilter 7 bytes (no filter)
e0000000 80008000 // end of code

For some games you might also need to add a second copy of the code with a different mask for the first line:
eg. replace
28XXXXXX 00000808
with
28XXXXXX F7F70808
where F7F7 is the mathematical result of FFFF - 0808 (eg. use Windows calculator in hex mode).

The mem address 0x80XXXXXX can be discovered using Dolphin emulator in debug mode:

- Config > interface tab > show debugging UI
- View > memory
- Launch game (play button)
- Pause game
- Memory window > Hex radio button
- Memory window > paste eg. 9143800041820068 into Value > find next
- Keep clicking find next until finding the one at mem address starting with 80 (physical memory range is 0x80XXXXXX).

Paste your completed code(s) into https://mkwii.com/gct/ to generate .gct file.
Copy .gct file to:
SD:\codes\XXXXXX.gct
USB:\codes\XXXXXX.gct
Where XXXXXX = game ID (https://www.gametdb.com/titles.txt)

In ULGX / Nintendont, enable Ocarina / Cheats.
 
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Maeson

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Thank you as always, NoobletCheese. I found the first string in Soul Calibur 2, only once in the file.

I tried it on my Wii and it worked like a charm. It's true that the Fade to Black is gone, but in all honesty, I did not find it annoying at all. Heck, to me it looks even fine. Many games had no fading at all when going through menus, specially arcade-y games. Maybe if they used the fade to hide weird graphic changes or something...

If you want, this weekend I'll go through my GC games and see what each one has. Fortunately the ones you need to edit are very few (only 2 in all the games I tried) and you can get by easily with forcing the video mode on Nintendont.
 
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NoobletCheese

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Now that I see that link, I remembered that Soul Calibur 2 (at least Pal version) is one of those few games that don't get the filter taken away by forcing video modes.

I tried looking at the Start.dol file, editing the VFilters like I did with R: Racing Evolution, but with Soul Calibur 2 it makes no difference. Did we found how to remove the SetCopyFilter from GC dols? I'll look at previous pages...

I checked the USA version of Soul Calibur 2 just now and observe the same: it still has the vfilter even after forcing it off in Nintendont and patching all known GXRenderModeObjs and vfilters in Start.dol.

Its GXRenderModeObj for 480p is already set to 00001516150000, but the game is not using it.

Disabling GXSetCopyFilter gets rid of it though, and the menus feel a bit weird without the fade to black transition.

It's possible the game is using a lone vfilter we don't know about, albeit unlikely as I'm also doing a <find>:<replace> on this list of all potential vfilters.

Code:
00001516150000:00001516150000
00011416140100:00001516150000
00011514150100:00001516150000
00011612160100:00001516150000
00021316130200:00001516150000
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Last edited by NoobletCheese,

blackb0x

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That is disappointing to hear about blackb0x deciding against this. I guess your tool to manually edit games is going to be the best we can do at this time.
He jumped the gun and assumed that I was done, but I'm not. I'm just trying to find the most efficient way to patch things in memory, since the default settings needs to be fast and work for a lot of games without side effects.
 

XFlak

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@blackb0x you will not make a thread of your own usbloaderGX fork ?
In other threads he expressed a preference for fixing lingering bugs/issues before even attempting something like this. The fact that there was a private build with deflicker functionality came as a surprise to me, but a good one! And to me it implies he is satisfied (for the most part) with the state of GX's current features to even be looking at adding new ones. For these reasons I anticipate that this (when ready) will be merged into blackb0x's main github, and not a separate fork

Edit: my bad, I mis-read what you were asking. I thought you were asking about a new deflicker fork on github separate from blackb0x's existing fork. A new thread on gbatemp may not be a bad idea. On a somewhat related note, I also think blackb0x should (re)consider formally publishing his releases/packages on his github, he mentioned once that doing so would allow gx to get updates from within the app itself.


He jumped the gun and assumed that I was done, but I'm not. I'm just trying to find the most efficient way to patch things in memory, since the default settings needs to be fast and work for a lot of games without side effects.
Props my dude! I'm very happy to hear you're still on the case!
 
Last edited by XFlak,

Maeson

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Hello.

The past week I bought a very cheap but actually rather acceptable capture card for the price, which I wanted to use for a variety of things, one of them being able to take snapshots of games I play.

With all the work and research gone to this, I wanted to take a quick look at a handful of games and take some captures to compare between the usual, filtered picture most Wii software forces out, and how the real, unfiltered picture actually looks.

This is mostly to show how big of a difference between the usual filters (08 08 0A 0C 0A 08 08) and unfiltered can make, although games with more subtle filters (like Mario galaxy 2) is a bit tougher to differentiate through capture cards (but believe me, it does make a difference when playing).

If there's curiosity I could take more, and I'll get more for GC games to show how equally noticeable the difference is, but I think the few I got more than enough show the difference.

I wanted to show how filters affect both 2D and 3D elements, that's why looked for things with Icons, text, and 3D models all together. I tried to take shots of mostly static stuff so it was easier to compare, things I could reliably replicate, as to show the difference I need to reset the console, change settings and go back to the game.

Two warnings though:

This is a purely amateur thing. I have no professional equipment. The quality of the pictures could be higher, but all the apps I got to work only let me save them as JPEGs which are... Less than ideal. I still need to find a good android application for this, as my old laptop is way, way too old.

Second, these are captured with a Wii going through an OSSC, and are played on x2 mode, so what people call "960p".

It is recommended that you open the pictures on another tab, so you can quickly change between both versions and see the differences. I hope this can help people to understand the importance some of us give to disabling this annoying feature.

The last ones, the Sonic & The Black Knight, and the one from Fishing Resort are by far the easiest to see the difference. Beyond visuals, the effect it has on text it's also really important to me, without filters text reads so much better...

Bakugan Filter.jpg Bakugan Unfiltered.jpg Fishing Resort Filter.jpg Fishing Resort Unfiltered.jpg Galaxy 2 1 Filter.jpg Galaxy 2 1 Unfiltered.jpg Galaxy 2 2 Filter.jpg Galaxy 2 2 Unfiltered.jpg Galaxy 2 3 Filter.jpg Galaxy 2 3 Unfiltered.jpg IPC_2021-06-05.16.37.28.4900.jpg IPC_2021-06-05.16.38.59.8129.jpg Mario Mix 1 Filter.jpg Mario Mix 1 Unfiltered.jpg Mario Mix 2 Filter.jpg Mario Mix 2 Unfiltered.jpg Sonic Knight 1 Filter.jpg Sonic Knight 1 Unfiltered.jpg Sonic Knight 2 Filter.jpg Sonic Knight 2 Unfiltered.jpg
 
Last edited by Maeson,

Brand Newman

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With all the work and research gone to this, I wanted to take a quick look at a handful of games and take some captures to compare between the usual, filtered picture most Wii software forces out, and how the real, unfiltered picture actually looks.

This is mostly to show how big of a difference between the usual filters (08 08 0A 0C 0A 08 08) and unfiltered can make, although games with more subtle filters (like Mario galaxy 2) is a bit tougher to differentiate through capture cards (but believe me, it does make a difference when playing).

Wow, I'm totally sold! :bow:

Looks like the Wii U output, but with less dithering, full use of the screen and much better colors!

But how are we suppose to move to the next generation when improvements like that make use want to replay all our previous games again?
 

Maeson

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Yeah, I imagine the Wii U, being HD, has no business using filters like these anymore. Wii shouldn't need them on Progressive Scan, but alas, the chose... poorly.

I stopped going forward generation-wise time ago myself, lol.

By the way, good avatar. You made me remember this gem from the past.
 
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