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Disgaea 2 - Removed primary in-game blur effect, but can't remove secondary one
#1
Information 
Essentially I'm posting here to announce the progress I made in removing the coded in blurring effect from the game Disgaea 2 and see if anyone can either help or take over in trying to remove the remaining blur effect because despite my best efforts I cannot track it down.

The in game blurring I'm talking about is literally a part of the game. It is not a problem with the PCSX2 emulator. Also before anyone mentions it I'm NOT talking about the screen shake the game has as I know that's an interlacing issue and can be, for most people, resolved by change the de-interlacing modes.

Description of Primary Blurring Effect
As a part of the game there is a blurring effect. I'm assuming that the purpose of this blur was to make the game look less pixelated on old CRT Tvs, however when using an HD LCD TV and especially when using PCSX2 with a resolution higher than native the effect is very noticable and makes text very hard to read. This effect caused me and, from what I've read online, several others to get bad headaches after only playing for a couple of minutes. The blur occurs when you are standing still, in game menus, or any other time when the game has mostly static imagery on screen. The blur is disabled when you are actively moving your character around in town, during some static image dialogue scenes, and for brief moments when switching to another sceen (such as if you were to go from standing still in town to calling up the menu the screen will for a brief second be unblurred).

Another user on this forum posted a good example of this blur effect occuring in game so here's a link to their post...
http://forums.pcsx2.net/Thread-Disgaea-2...ssing-blur

I was able to disable this primary blurring effect from the game by taking a shot at some CRC hacking and making a .pnach file for PCSX2.

My version of Disgaea 2 is NTSC-U and I was using Cheat Engine 6.1 (the no ad version).
I used Cheat Engine 6.1 to search the PCSX2 process with a memory address range of 20000000 to 24FFFFFF.
I found that the primary blurring effect described above was controlled by...
Memory Address - 20453F5B, Type - Byte, Value (255 = no blur / 0 = blur) [255 is a hex value of 000000FF]

Results of Hacking Out the Primary Blurring Effect
After making a PCSX2 .pnach file to force the memory address 20453F5B to a value of 255 the blurring effect in the game is turned off. Unfortunately I found out that this is only a primary blurring effect and while disabling it did make the game vastly more playable there is still a secondary blurring effect that occurs. Despite my best efforts I have been unable to track down and disable this secondary blurring.

Description of Secondary Blurring Effect
The secondary blur occurs primarly in sub-menus during battle, town store menus, and during most dialogue cutscenes that occur on the battle map and have characters moving.

When I say that it occurs on sub-menus during battle I mean that simply calling up the menu will not have a blur occur but if you then select "Bonus" or "Characters" from the menu those screens will be blurred. Also when using the base panel to summon characters into battle or view characters status screens the screen will be blurred.

I tried my damnedest to track down the memory address that turns on and off this secondary blur, assuming it even can be turned off, and I have had absolutely no luck.

I have no actual experience with CRC hacking beyond removing the primary blur from this game. So I'm hoping that by posting what I've managed to do so far that someone else more capable than me will either be able to provide assistance or better yet just take over and find out how to remove that secondary blur.

Regardless I hope that the information provided on removing the primary blurring effect is able to allow others who got headaches from it to finally be able to enjoy this game.

Thanks in advance to any who reply... and with that I'll end my rant.
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#2
That's already a pretty advanced hack. Nice work with that.
Do you know of any other titles that use this kind of blurring?

Sorry I can't really help you further though :/
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#3
Thank you for the compliment and from a PCSX2 coder even. I'm honored.

It actually wasn't too hard to remove the primary blur since it was an effect that I had a fairly easy way to change its value in game by either standing still (blur enabled) or moving around (blur disabled). Since I had a way to control the effect in the game normally I was able to track it down pretty quickly with Cheat Engine. It only took me the better part of a weekend to study up on the concepts involved and learn the program, but I really don't have a full grasp of what I was doing.

I'm under the impression that the secondary blur effect, unlike the primary one, doesn't actually turn on or off. I'm guessing that it might be permanently set to on, but only shows up if another condition is true such as being in a store menu or having a sub menu called up. Since I can't find a way to make it go away during a screen that it's occuring on I can't get an accurate reading of a time when the effect is off.

I had actually used two forum threads here to learn the majority of what I had to use to pull off the hack. Here they are incase anyone else wants to know...
Cheating, the easy way
Cheat Engine Advice

As for other games that use a built in blur I'm really not too sure. I wouldn't be surprised if other games from the same company that made Disgaea 2 also have blur effects similar to it. I know that Disgaea 1 doesn't have any or at least not a noticeable one. If I stumble across my copy of Makai Kingdom I can check that one too. I know I have other games from this company as well but can't remember them off the top of my head.

I had read in a post, here somewhere I believe, that most of the Final Fantasy games use some kind of built in blurring. Though I'm assuming since they use mainly 3D models instead of sprites the effect doesn't stand out or cause issues as much.

The Yakuza games, both 1 and 2, apparently had some type of blur effect in them, but I'm not sure if it is anything similar to this Disgaea 2 one. It was actually an automated PCSX2 build posting (This one to be specific http://code.google.com/p/pcsx2/source/detail?r=4912) with the purpose of removing the in game blur in Yakuza 1 and 2 that originally made me even think that the Disgaea 2 blur was an in game effect and not a emulator issue. I had originally posted on that build release to ask if it was feasible that a CRC hack could remove the Disgaea 2 blur as well, but I was completely ignored there having not even gotten a common "Wrong place to post this" response.

No worries about not being able to help further. I appreciate the response none the less.

Mostly I just wanted to get the information out to other people so that hopefully it could help them and maybe someone out there can finish the job I'm unable to.
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#4
Despite the blur removal not being a complete removal would there be any interest in having it be added as a CRC hackfix in PCSX2 instead of being used as a .pnach cheat file that people have to make themselves? And if so... who would I go about contacting to have this done?
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#5
When it's not broken ie. works as it should = doesn't need an fix. What's better for you, could just be a bug for others, no reason to force it.

You can always just post it here as a ready to use pnach file soo people interested, but lacking of knowledge to understand above will be able to use it.
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#6
Gotta agree here.
The hack is a good one and people would most likely want it enabled, but since it actually
disables a 'good' and working game feature, we can't just auto-enable it like that.
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#7
iirc, it was like that on PS2 too, so yeah, make no sense to fix what's not broken. would be nice to have the patch though.
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#8
True, the feature isn't broken or a bug at all and is in fact working exactly as it was intended so I completely understand not making it a hackfix. Though it does look bloody awful on anything other than a CRT display.Biggrin

Thanks for the replies and thanks to miseru99 for pointing out that forum thread for posting .pnach files! I was completely unaware of it. I made a posting in that thread to show the .pnach file code and also added the file there as attachment for those who just want to download it.

If anyone has any problems with it working feel free to let me know and I'll try to help... though I can't make any promises that I can help since getting it made in the first place was mostly just a shot in the dark with a pinch of dumb luck.

And if anyone manages to figure out how to remove all of the blur and not just the main blur... be sure to tell me. I'd love to know how it was done.
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#9
Freeze these 3 adresses to 255:
20453F59
20453F5A
20453F5B


No noticeable blur anywhere.
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#10
(01-21-2012, 04:30 PM)lmjai Wrote: Freeze these 3 adresses to 255:
20453F59
20453F5A
20453F5B


No noticeable blur anywhere.

Tested this out as soon as I saw the posting. I was pretty sure I had already tried goofing around with nearby addresses though.

I'm not noticing any differences after forcing those other two (20453F59 & 20453F5A) to 255. The majority of the blurring that 20453F5B removed is still gone but the secondary blurs still remain.

The easiest way to see would be to go to any battle map, the very first Town Fields map works fine, and look at the jagged edge of the map tiles. When you are just on the battle map without any sub menus loaded the edges will look sharp, but when you call up a sub menu such as using the Base Panel to summon in characters you can see the edges of the map tiles, and everything else, blur.

Another easy way to check would be while on a battle map call up the menu. The screen should look nice and clear while the menu is up but if you call up any of the sub menus on it, Characters, Bonus, etc... the blur will be applied again.

If you get a chance to check can you verify if yours blurs in these situations or not?

Are there any places that were showing a blur with just 20453F5B that adding those other two addresses removed that you can specifically point out?
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