Using Video Game Footage - Part 2b
I have tested the extraction of videos from four Sony PlayStation games: Escaflowne, Lunar 2, Xenogears,
and Wild Arms. The process has worked flawlessly every time, and the tool that I use is constantly being
upgraded to handle new games that come out. I have not tested any extractions with the newer PlayStation
2, but I am of the understanding that it uses MPEG-2 files, so it should apply to the MPEG section.
The Sony PlayStation is the de-facto gaming console right now (early 2001). It will more than likely be eclipsed with in a year, but there are more games made for the Sony PlayStation than for any other modern console. Sony created a very good development kit, and provided a large library of functions so that creating a game for it was easy and cheap. The PlayStation 2 is backwards compatible with most of the PlayStation’s games, so this added additional life to the product.
Most CD-ROMs are able to read files from PlayStation discs with out any issues, though if it does not, you will want to grab Video Tools 1.2 and use the CD extraction tool it contains. On a majority of games, the video files are stored as STR files. Some games store a large amount of videos inside a single file, each video at different offsets. If you use the program PSmplay, it has the ability to scan the disc (or ISO of a disc), and extract the videos, even if embedded with in other files. Sometimes finding where on the disc the videos are stored can be the challenge, though most of the time PSmplay’s scanning feature is very helpful.
Sony decided to include a hardware based CODEC within the PlayStation. The CODEC is Motion-JPEG (MJPG) based with specs of 15 frames per second, 320 x 240 resolution, 150 kilobits per second. I am not sure what the audio CODEC is, but it is also standardized. Some games will reduce the resolution, where the player hardware will apply black bars to the edges to center the video onto the television. This allows them to use the bit rate to a better effect, since you have the same amount of bits, but a smaller area to encode. They figure that most TVs would not display the back bars anyway. As far as I know, every single full motion video stored on a PlayStation game is based on that CODEC, thought I do believe that some companies tweak it a bit, to achieve better quality (Square does this a lot). One advantage of this is that most video files from a PlayStation game will follow the same specs, so is easier to edit to, while to a game developer it is also balanced (both good and bad points… for a different article).
For my ripping I have used a program called PSmplay. I have found this to be the most flexible and
highest quality PlayStation converter on the Internet. The only issue I had with it was because of my
Windows 2000 machines. I have had to download a copy of wsaspi.dll from the web site to use it, but Segu
provides a link to a copy of it. I have yet to need to copy the source files to my hard drive during the
ripping process. All I have had to do was scan the CD, set the encoder (Huffyuv), and save each of the
video files to AVI onto the hard drive. I do not do any upsampling or any other change to the default
settings, as I simply want to extract the video in its original settings.
Once I have saved the movie files to my hard drive as AVI files, I use these as the “original” files in the next step.