Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD

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Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD is a remastered version of the original 2005 Xbox game Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath. It was developed by Just Add Water and published by Oddworld Inhabitants. It was released on the PlayStation Network for PlayStation 3 in December 2011 and will be released for PC and PlayStation Vita in 2012.

The game can also be referred to as Stranger’s Wrath HD, Stranger HD or SWHD.

Changes

The biggest changes made to Stranger’s Wrath HD are its increased video resolution and improved audio, character and environment quality; the menus were rebuilt based on original designs by Oddworld Inhabitants; a number of easter eggs and unlockable media galleries were added; and refinements were made to the game’s achievements and difficulty, including the introduction of difficulty settings.[1]

Display

Menus, gameplay and FMVs now mostly run at 720p.[2]:13
The original Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath’s FMVs ran at 640 × 370.
The three fortune teller sequences were left untouched.[3]
The story-based FMVs were rendered from 720 × 416 TIFFs.
The main menu background is 720p, with the matte painting extended by Dugan Jackson.
The original CG compositing tool and scripts, Shake v2.51, were found and run on a Windows XP virtual machine to render the revised credits FMV at 720p.
60 FPS[2]:10
Gameplay almost constantly runs at 60 FPS, although slowdown is present in some areas.[4][5]
The triple buffering feature of PSGL meant that when frame rates drop, it’s to 40 FPS rather than 30 FPS.
PPU memory was quickly filled by the larger assets, so textures and meshes were transfered to RSX local memory, with scene sorting added to increase RSX performance.
Decorators are batched according to instance type and rendered together instead of individually.
The particle systems optimized for DirectX had to have custom renderers written using instancing.
MLAA[2]:15–16
Unlike MSAA, MLAA doesn’t impact on RXS performance, and produced a better result than FXAA, while making use of the relatively unused SPUs.
For fogging and post-rendering effects, the MLAA was mostly applied to PSGL textures, which required making changes to the EDGE libraries.
When MLAA was applied to the final rendered frame, artefacts were produced in the GUI, so MLAA was applied to the 3D render only, with the GUI overlain.
Textured stamina and bounty bars[1]
Original unused textures were found in the code and activated.

Assets

Improved character models
84 character models were improved with increased polygon counts and higher texture resolutions.[1]
The existing pipeline required Maya 4.5-specific plugins, so models recreated in Maya 2011 had first to be pulled in Maya 4.5 before being exported to the game.
The Stranger was increased from his 3161-polygon Xbox model[6] to a 20 000-polygon model by downgrading his 500 000-polygon CG model.[7]
The first Live Ammo model to be remade, the Fuzzle was remade from scratch because a high enough original model could not be found to work with.[7]

Menus

Extras

For a list of achievements in Stranger’s Wrath HD, see Achievements in Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath.

History

Just Add Water announced Stranger HD on their website on 3 September 2010, reporting the game would be released digitally for PlayStation 3 at Easter 2011. The press release declared that the remaster would feature ‘720p visuals; much more detail in the characters; normal mapping and self-shadowing; re-mastered dialogue, support for PlayStation®Move; and additional bonus material’.[8]

Platforms

Although the announcement of Stranger’s Wrath HD only explicitly named PlayStation 3 as a release platform,[8] within a month Just Add Water clarified that they were talking to Microsoft about releasing also on Xbox 360, but that the final decision was not theirs to make.[9] As of December 2011, this is still the case.[10]

Stranger HD can't be published on Xbox Live Arcade because XBLA titles have a 2GiB size limit,[citation needed] while the original Stranger's Wrath is 2.1GiB[9] and the HD remaster is 3.2GiB.[citation needed] The game can't be published through Games On Demand because Oddworld Inhabitants have not previously published on Xbox two videogames selling more than ten thousand units.[citation needed]

Users who already own Stranger's Wrath on Steam will automatically have their game patched with the HD updates 2–3 months after the PlayStation 3 release,[citation needed] which is roughly the end of Q1 2012.

References

  1. a b c Just Add Water (17 November 2011). ‘Stranger’s Wrath HD – Development Complete!’. News. Just Add Water website.
  2. a b c Caslin, Steven & Gilray, Stewart (28 January 2012). ‘The Making of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD’ interview by Richard Leadbetter. Digital Foundry. Eurogamer.
  3. H., Vaughn (20 December 2011). ‘Oddworld: Strangers Wrath Review’, paragraph 4. TheGamersHub.
  4. Lee, Dan (20 December 2011). ‘Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD Review’, paragraph 15. TheSixthAxis.
  5. Feltham, Jamie (20 December 2011). ‘Review / Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD (PS3)’, paragraph 11. That VideoGame Blog.
  6. Just Add Water (16 September 2010). ‘Stranger Variations’, image in ‘Stranger’s Wrath HD – Dev Diary 1’. Oddworld Inhabitants and Just Add Water websites.
  7. a b Just Add Water (8 October 2010). ‘Stranger’s Wrath HD – Dev Diary 2’ by Antony Ward. Oddworld Inhabitants and Just Add Water websites.
  8. a b Just Add Water (3 September 2010). ‘Do be a Stranger – Oddworld returns!’. News. Just Add Water official website.
  9. a b Just Add Water (27 September 2010). ‘Xbox360 yes/no?’. News. Just Add Water official website.
  10. Alf (19 December 2011). Reply to comment by EEB on ‘Stranger’s Wrath HD release dates’. Blog. Oddworld Inhabitants official website.