PSOne / PS2 classics and trophies - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-21-2013, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Sony has a new patent that would theoretically allow publishers to easily add trophy support to any game that doesn't already have them, including PSOne and PS2 classics.

Nothing has been announced, but it seems like a nice PS3 and/or PS4 feature.

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post #2 of 17 Old 03-21-2013, 01:45 PM
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Even with a new technology that makes the patching easier for developers, I still don't see there being much financial incentive for them to go back and add trophies to old games that now flood the used market and people's collections. Unless, of course, this is mainly or exclusively to sell/re-sell the older games on the PS4 cloud system.
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-21-2013, 01:53 PM
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There are still ps3 games that never got trophies. I doubt developers will focus on trophies for psone and ps2 games.

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post #4 of 17 Old 03-21-2013, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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If they focus on one subset, there is no reason not to focus on the other types available.

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post #5 of 17 Old 03-21-2013, 04:32 PM
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It would be cool if they could add trophies to classic PS1 games. I'd definitely be interested in that. PS2 is too recent for me to have any retro interest, so I don't care too much about that.


Honestly, I really wish Nintendo had a technology like this for their Virtual Console on Wii U. If they had achievements in Super Nintendo games, I'd probably be willing to buy quite a few SNES games. As it is now, there really isn't any reason for me to buy them, when I can play those games on tons of other devices, or my actual real life SNES machine that I sometimes hook up to a nice RGB monitor.
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-21-2013, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by americangunner View Post

There are still ps3 games that never got trophies. I doubt developers will focus on trophies for psone and ps2 games.
Street Fighter would be popular...

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post #7 of 17 Old 03-21-2013, 10:26 PM
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Street Fighter would be popular...

As would Metal Gear Solid...
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post #8 of 17 Old 03-22-2013, 02:09 AM
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Playstation and Playstation 2 games are emulated. Adding trophy support would be difficult since they'd have to reverse engineer the game itself to find what they need to tie into in order to detect that a specific trophy has been earned. This patent doesn't make that task any easier from what I can tell.

Look on Game Room on the Xbox 360. It's all late 1970's and 1980's arcade and console games that have extremely little code compared to today (In fact I doubt there's a single game there that takes up more room than this message up to now would if I went and saved it in a word processor). And most of these had scoring systems yet many lack leaderboard functionality since they just weren't able to figure out how to extract that score information for many of these games.

Or for another instance, look at Activision Anthology on the Playstation 2. It's a compilation of most of Activision's library for the Atari 2600. It included digital versions of the badges that you could earn for many Activision titles back in the 1980's by sending in a picture of your tv screen showing you've surpassed the critieria specified in the manual such as beating a certain score. Yet there are several bugs where things will unlock when they weren't supposed to just because the system needed to accomplish it after the fact isn't perfect where you're tieing in what's essentially a trophy/achievement system into emulated software from 25 years earlier. The emulated 2600 games obviously don't tell you that badge critera has been met and sometimes the information the program itself is extracting from the emulator makes the program think you've earned a badge when you really haven't. Yet it's doing exactly what this patent application is for.

I don't envy the task of the programmer that has to figure this out for a complex modern piece of software. And if it's not something tracked by the software itself, I have my doubts it would even be possible short of porting the game over. Say tracking mileage driven in a racing game that isn't compiling that statistic itself. Just what are you supposed to tie into that would tell the PS3's OS that the criteria for a trophy such as for driving 5,000 miles has been earned if the software itself wasn't tracking that statistic?

I don't believe it can. For you to have a trophy, there has to be a trigger. If they go adding in trophy support to emulated titles, they're going to have a heck of a time and a limited slate of options to select from since they need to be able to detect that a specific action has occurred.

But I suppose retrofitting trophy support must be the direction they're heading with their streaming model for older software that originally didn't have such a system.
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-22-2013, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Sure it makes adding trophy support to older games easier. Instead of embedding new, modern code into the old software in order to ring up a trophy reward, it appears that the hardware will check for unique software activity in the game to do it instead.

So if the disc activity of, say, Contra: Shattered Skies from the PS2 accesses a victory message after defeating the third stage's boss, you get a trophy. That way the software code doesn't need to be reopened (which is the can of worms this patent is designed to avoid) if the emulator is doing its job.

It is up to the developer to add the trophies themselves (Sony might mandate it for PS4 compatibility), but it sounds like a cool way to increase the value in old games for people who are into trophies.

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post #10 of 17 Old 03-22-2013, 10:47 AM
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I like trophies.

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post #11 of 17 Old 03-22-2013, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblow View Post

Sure it makes adding trophy support to older games easier. Instead of embedding new, modern code into the old software in order to ring up a trophy reward, it appears that the hardware will check for unique software activity in the game to do it instead.

So if the disc activity of, say, Contra: Shattered Skies from the PS2 accesses a victory message after defeating the third stage's boss, you get a trophy. That way the software code doesn't need to be reopened (which is the can of worms this patent is designed to avoid) if the emulator is doing its job.

The problem is extracting a trigger that can be used to make the emulation program aware that a specific action has been done that fulfills the criteria for a trophy to be unlocked.

This patent doesn't make that task any easier since it's dealing with how the system will work in its finalized state rather than being a development tool that allows them to easier create and dictate the criteria for each trophy with the program itself delving into the original code to locate the necessary trigger. So they're going to still have to manually dig through the code and reverse engineer it to locate that trigger for each trophy that they want to impliment (And without a trigger, like the theoretical example I gave with a possible mileage based trophy for a racing game that originally wasn't programmed to track that statistic, they won't be able to do it). That's the real issue and this patent doesnt make that job any easier. It's a manual job out of necessity for a programmer.

Like I said, what Sony has patented here is something that has already been done in the past with emulation projects several times over the years. It's not an easy task to even just extract such information, such as monitoring the scoring counter if you had a set of trophys that unlock after a specific score has been met, from an Atari 2600 emulator running a 2K Atari 2600 game from the 1970's. Let alone a modern game that is up to perhaps dozens of gigs in size in the case of a few trophyless early PS3 games. So I don't think this patent suddenly makes this task easy like some are thinking.

Of course if source code is available, the task won't be nearly as difficult to determine if a certain trophy is a possibility and extract a trigger that this monitoring system Sony has patented can then look for an occurance happening when the game is played by the consumer to determine that it should be unlocked. But one assumes that this is also being eyed for projects whose final source code is unavailable. Okami and Silent Hill 2 on the PS2 for instance are two examples of note from recent years that fall into that category (Although in both those cases, the games have been recreated as best as possible on the PS3 already from earlier beta builds ported over with trophy support included from the start so they obviously won't be candidates for rerelease in their PS2 incarnations going forward; but they're two examples of popular and well known games from established companies from the last decade whose finalized source code has been lost or misplaced that have been publically acknowledged).

Going back to the 1990's on the original Playstation, I suspect that there's a alarmingly high percentage of games whose original source code is unavailable today to be used as a reference guide. Even with the higher profile releases from larger companies that have survived up to today, I'm sure there's instances with regularity. Sega in particular, while not an original Playstation developer for obvious reasons, is well know for being lousy even in modern times with properly archiving source code.

I doubt that they're unique in that regard.
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post #12 of 17 Old 03-22-2013, 11:18 PM - Thread Starter
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You may be over thinking it a bit. It could be simpler than that. The program might be looking for events, for lack of a better term, that causes an identifiable disc activity.

Reading mileage is a bit beyond that, I agree, but passing a stage is much easier to read. The trophies might simply be triggered from very obvious events like that. Programmers wouldn't have to dig as deep to make it work in this way I'm guessing.

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post #13 of 17 Old 03-23-2013, 01:16 PM
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This is useless. I can barely look at a PS2 game after playing PS3 games. There's no way I'll be able to play one after playing a PS4 game.

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post #14 of 17 Old 03-23-2013, 05:31 PM
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This would a great for the Vita though. FF7 with trophys!! That would be great. I would replay it.

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post #15 of 17 Old 03-23-2013, 07:42 PM
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Some Playstation 2 games are still real lookers to this day. And the 2D portion of the library is aging magnificiently

And as these HD upgrades often show, the underlying game is often not very far removed from the current generation in looks. If their streaming emulation is capable of rendering games in HD, we should be able to get visuals closer to these HD Classics releases we've seen in recent years than what we get just upscaling a PS2 game in a BC console.
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You may be over thinking it a bit. It could be simpler than that. The program might be looking for events, for lack of a better term, that causes an identifiable disc activity.

Reading mileage is a bit beyond that, I agree, but passing a stage is much easier to read. The trophies might simply be triggered from very obvious events like that. Programmers wouldn't have to dig as deep to make it work in this way I'm guessing.

But you assume that they will want to be more clever than that. I agree that it won't be terribly difficult to do something like with the FMV cutscene riddled days of the Playstation to tie a trophy to each cutscene appearing. Particularly with source code to work with.

But like I said, just drawing out the scoring table in an Atari 2600 game isn't always an easy task to do and we're talking about software many times more complicated. And this patent has nothing to do with locating these triggers. It's a monitoring system for the finished product and nothing more. It still has to be manually fed the trigger information so it knows what to watch out for and that requires a programmer delving into the code to locate those triggers.

If they actually want something beyond just basic trophies, it's going to require a lot of ingenuity and taking a deep look into the code of a game to come up with triggers since they're going to often have to play the part of detective. And they're going to find instances where the trophy they desire just isn't going to be possible since there isn't an appropriate trigger that corresponds to the action that they want to create a trophy for.

Say the Playstation Rallycross games. If they want a trophy for making a jump of a certain height (A common achievment/trophy for current generation off-road racers), the game itself will have to have some way to know what that height was. If there isn't something like a statistics screen that tracks information like that or something in the physics algorithm that they could draw that information from as you're going over bumps, they're not going to be able to do it.
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post #16 of 17 Old 03-26-2013, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't think they will even attempt a lot of trophies like that for the reason you said. Just keep it simple.

Of course some tech person will have to implement them - I don't see a way to do it otherwise. But if they are only looking for predictable triggers from easily-repeatable disc activity, then it shouldn't be a huge issue.

Sony probably will have some trophy software shell built into the emulator//streaming programs that these older games will run under. I can see a tech worker (likely from the publisher) lining up the trophy list with these predictable and simple, disc-activity triggers and then they are done. There would be little need to open up the game itself.

This will likely extend to PS mobile games as well - trophies for their entire library is the obvious eventual goal.

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post #17 of 17 Old 03-27-2013, 10:34 AM
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I wonder how well this will be balanced. Lots of old games were not developed with trophies in mind, obviously, so I bet some would be pretty pointless or unbalanced from a gameplay standpoint. I'd love an incentive to snag some old PS & PS2 classics from PSN, though. Hopefully it works out.


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