Monday, February 1, 2010

Games: Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (N64) Parts 3&4

Continuing with the Nintendo 64's Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, we finish the second level and see all of the third in gameplay I recorded in 2002. And therein lies a boring and technical tale.

When I bought my first digital camcorder*, I didn't know its native sound-recording mode was 48 KHz (although it would record a 44.1 KHz input at the correct rate). So I'd input and export the sound at 44.1 KHz. Adobe Premiere wasn't smart enough to tell me not to. My current Final Cut, on the other hand, is smart enough to tell me when I'm trying to input something with a different data rate from the timeline (the timeline in this case being 48 KHz). It says it's liable to end up out of sync if you do that. And it did seem to be out of sync.

So I created a 44.1 KHz timeline, and imported the video into that... and it was still out of sync. Which is why I mention how it got to be 44.1 KHz in the first place. Apparently it got out of sync back in 2002, when I recorded off the N64 in 48 KHz, and imported to Premiere in 44.1. But a little trial and error in 2010 showed all I had to do was speed it up by .17%.

So it's fine, and I could have just decided not to bother you with why it's fine as opposed to the not-fine it could have been. But I like telling you all this techie crap, because it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

*- It was a Sony D8 model... the kind that recorded DV-format video onto Hi-8 videotapes. In the '80s, all my video recorders were Betamax until VHS was clearly about to wipe Beta out. It's just as well that I decided to wait until the format wars were over before I bought a high definition disc player, isn't it?

Part Three Notes:

0:48 I've never known... are we supposed to be able to understand what the Probe Droids are saying? 'Cause I can't, anyway.

2:51 I'm probably not the first person to point this out, but both sides in this conflict make a specialty of building equipment in gigantic, man-crushing scale. I wonder if they ever worry about running out of resources if it takes all of this, just to keep a Rebel base running.

4:36 Even though I knew when I was dumping this to my computer that I didn't lose any lives on the level, this part damn near stopped my heart. Almost didn't make it onto the spur, and then came thisclose to falling off the other side.

8:31 Yes, the Stormtrooper falls through the floor and screams.

(2011 Update: I probably didn't need to post a new version without music, but I had a copyright block in some countries, and I worried (probably wrongly) that it had something to do with my difficulty uploading longer videos when YouTube changed their system on September 21, 2011.)

Part Four Notes:

5:08 "Imperial City"? I thought they'd invented the name "Coruscant" by this point (1996). Or did the Emperor rule from elsewhere? Ah, bless Wikipedia: "The planet first appeared in the Expanded Universe and was called 'Coruscant' for the first time in Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire [1991].... In various novels, characters aligned with the Empire refer to Coruscant as 'Imperial Center.' Within the stories, this is explained as an administrative renaming undertaken to emphasize the differences between the Old Republic and the Empire." (I know that doesn't mention Imperial City, per se, and the rest of the Coruscant entry doesn't mention it either, but Wikipedia's disambiguation page for "Imperial City" lists Coruscant as one of the places the expression may refer to.)

5:48 That evil grin makes me laugh every time.

By the way, last Thursday, I got through Gall Spaceport without missing any Challenge Points or Extra Lives, and without losing any lives. Counting up, I figure it had to have taken only six tries, but it felt like a lot more than that, especially because most of them had me falling to my death multiple times as I tried to re-learn how to do the tricky bits.

I figure not all of you may want to see twelve or so consecutive weeks of Shadows of the Empire, so I'll use this more or less natural stopping point at the end of a level to take a break. So next week, back to the '80s!

No comments: