Using Video Game Footage - Part 2 Addenum
Advanced Video Game Ripping
The Sega Saturn, as Quu has said, is a cornucopia of anime-based titles. Due to its powerful 2D
capabilities, it enjoyed a comfortable career against the Sony Playstation in Japan(opposed to the US,
where 3D titles were beginning to come into play, it sank into obscurity rather quickly). The inclusion of
powerful software-based video codecs, instead of the bog-standard MDEC format used on the PSX, meant that
many anime companies could be assured of good video quality and frame rates for their work with minimal effort.
However, the 2D abilities are a double-edged sword for would-be video rippers. Many companies elected to
do their cut scenes via 2D sprites(such as Groove On Fight and the King of Fighters series), instead of using movies,
and these are impossible to rip. Still, there is enough content in Saturn video to excite any user.
Unlike the Playstation, the Saturn uses a standard ISO9660 CD format. Files can be dragged from a Saturn CD
to your hard drive with no problem(outside of the fact that the PC can't understand what's in them). Most programs
will allow you to convert Saturn movies from anywhere you please.
As has been stated earlier, there are three main video codecs in use on the Saturn. These include:
- Radius' Cinepak
Cinepak, as Quu has stated, is an extremely common codec for Saturn games. If a game had movie sequences, chances were
good that it would be in Cinepak form. The encoding quality is quite good, usually topping out around 320x224, at 15 FPS.
More titles than I can count have used it, including Hyper Duel, Nadesico: Blank of 3 Years, Assault Suits Leynos 2, and many
others. Curiously enough, some companies used it only to display their company identifier video, and not for any actual game
content(including Atlus and Psikyo).
- The Duck's TrueMotion
TrueMotion was a more expensive codec to license, being of a higher quality. As such, it wasn't used nearly as much as
Cinepak. If a company needed a good amount of motion-search(or had money to fling around), then TrueMotion got the call. Used
notably on the Macross: Do You Remember Love? shoot-em-up(and possible MS Gundam/Zeta Gundam, since the trio used the same game
engine), and oddly enough, the Saturn version of Virtual On: Operation Moongate.
One of the more endearing qualities to the Saturn in Asia, was its ability to play VCDs. Yes, you heard me. Using an optional
add-in card(Saturn owners: that's what the IC slot in the battery compartment is for), the Saturn could play standard White Book
VCDs(the later-model release of the controller even featured "stop", "play", and "fast-forward/rewind" signs on the buttons).
Naturally, the game companies couldn't ignore a chance to get a high-quality codec, and several games took advantage of the
card. Most notably, the Saturn version of the venerable Lunar series had MPEG versions(including the oft-overlooked and ultra-unimpressive
Lunar Magic School). Gungriffon 2 also had an MPEG version. Since a game couldn't display its videos(and therefore couldn't be
played) without the card, there were usually regular and MPEG versions offered.
Converting Saturn MPEGs is beyond the scope of this document. As they were taking advantage of the VCD card, they might
be in standard MPEG-1 format, which would render them playable in any modern OS.
As I have none(and have no interest in obtaining any), readers with an MPEG game are politely asked to give it a try and drop
me a line with any results.