Occasionally i get questions and issues regarding a v2 hud, on how you make it, how to increase the quality, why do you increase the quality and so on.
Most problems seem to be related with the guides wich give a general import&export example that do not fit v2 characteristics, there are problems with each step you take, making you search for answers that you may never find.
In one particular case regarding another PSO v2 hud the user told that he had to swap headers in order to make the PVR, while it can be made it certainly takes time and grasp on how to do that, it’s no wonder the hud is….well…..the default pso v2 hud but with transparency, meaning more complex huds, more files, more saving, more testing, all that takes time.
I know lot’s of ppl have good ideas, but they don’t have a grasp on how to import the creation they did into PSO v2, that may be the cause of why we rarely see v2 skins, or better yet v2 skins that use PVR as the image extension.

The creation is the most important process, in order to make your hud you need a base, something you can see over and over for dimensions and particular locations of hud components.
If you try to export the v2 hud directly from f256_hyouji.prs (located in SEGA\PhantasyStarOnline\Media\PSO) you will get a black and blue image, it requires the pallet, to save that trouble, here’s several hud images wich you can use.
http://www.2shared.com/file/PofRoDft/default_pso_v2_hud.html

Start by opening the images in Photoshop, don’t worry, they are in png format and you can view them.
Personally i always like to make a new project in wich i copy the image into that new project, you can also add a black or maybe a neutral color layer so you can clearly view the content you do later on.

I added a new hud text as a new layer to demonstrate what needs to be done

 

hudtut1

From there it’s up to you to create anything you need, since you have the original hud you will be able to place the several components correctly, you could also use my hud as a base, but i use a lot of gradients so it may not become clear as to where the limits are, v2 default hud with all those sharp edges should be all you need.

In the end you should have something like this

hudtut2

From here all you need is to save, you have 2 options, you have DDS and PVR. Before you do actual image saving, simply save your project (.psd) and close Photoshop.

DDS is pretty straight forward, what you see is what you get, to save as DDS you need the Nvidia plugin wich you can get here: http://developer.nvidia.com/content/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop
Make sure you download the one you need and that you have a compatible Photoshop.

Open your project in Photoshop and save, select the new file type (DDS) and a menu should pop up, in the case of a hud wich has different values of transparency a type of dxt3 should be selected. Do not use mipmaps.
The final selection should look like this:

hudtut3

Once done simply open your favorite importing tool, i use VMT in this case, nonetheless you should test in-game after you import to confirm.
So open up VMT, select “f256_hyouji.prs” and you will see several images, select the one you desire and then go to image > import, select the DDS file you created and if a menu pops up simply select that it’s a dc/pc texture and select “no transparency”

Now you select “file > save as”  and then you select that you want a PC file named f256_hyouji.prs (do not forget the .prs extension at the end), feel free to replace the original if you want and test in-game the results.

If you have a good eye you will probably notice that DDS created problems, your image is not 100% equal to the project you had, the compression happens when in each 4×4 segment (16 pixels) there is more than 4 colors, DDS will compress and mix colors if it finds 5 to 16 colors.
Here’s an example, inside the red hexagon corners a dark square appears, also the health bar repeats this compression.

imagecqm

DDS was made for smooth color transitions, but the hud is so small and detailed that DDS simply fails to deliver the quality we need, so we move to PVR wich as made for detail but not for smooth color transitions, it also compresses the images but the quality is better than DDS.

1st grab the PVR plugin for Photoshop, you can install it by placing it in the plugins file extension folder inside Photoshop install directory.
http://www.2shared.com/file/BAzrrb_t/pvrtex.html

This file type requires more work, while DDS plugin is automatic, this one is not and so you have to build 1 opaque layer for RGB and 1 layer for alpha.
Grab your project and add a neutral color of your choice to fill all the texture, if you skip this part PVR will fill it with white by default, wich will cause several hud components to look brighter and may make them barely visible
Here’s what i did as an example

hudtut4

For the alpha, that one you need 1st to do a DDS, make one using the steps above but without the color fill you did in the last step, once done open your DDS image in Photoshop and go to layers, select and copy the alpha layer into your project.
I show here where the alpha is located in the DDS

hudtut5

On your project if you find that you don’t have an alpha layer then add one, by default it will be black but once you paste the new image you will have completed the requisites to save a PVR.
Save your project as a PVR and a menu should pop up, it basically asks you how many bits are going to be used for the several layers of the hud, more means better but in this case you need bits for the alpha so there is only one option and that is ARGB 4444 (meaning it’s 4 bits for each layer), set type as AUTO, pixel format as the one described and mipmap off.

hudtut6

For other textures, BMP, DDS and even PVR with other pixel formats may work, if you make your hud with 100% opaque and 100% transparent areas then you can use other formats such as ARGB 1555, it’s up to you to decide wich one you actually require and if PVR is even necessary.

That done, simply click OK and then import your texture like you did with the DDS image, save the file as a PC file named f256_hyouji.prs (again, do not forget the file extension), swap the original used by the game and test.
You might notice some darker or lighter hud components, if that is verified, try to use other colors to fill the transparent areas when creating a PVR, you may need combinations of dark and bright colors to make things look exactly the same as the DDS creation, may take one or 2 changes but in most cases a dark color will be sufficient.
Hope this guide helps, if you have a doubt, don’t be afraid to ask.

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I updated the blog in a few ways:

  • Title and description to improve its notability on the web, no big deal but gives users some info on what the blog is about
  • Updated links, there was one dreamcast talk link wich took me some time to find out, i didn’t know where it was located and the link pointed to a download section of the website (wich requires log in) and i couldn’t see it because i no longer have an account there, but eventually i found out the subject and updated the link to ragol.co.uk, now you can check the effects and particles download on ragol.co.uk without registering.
    I also updated other random links wich i try to do from time to time, if you find a broken link then drop a comment or a message so i can fix it.
  • Improved english, i updated the posts with a more accurate and correct english
  • Added images “alt” to make them more noticeable on the web, it’s like a description for the image.
  • New logo (“K”)
  • By default wordpress comments required approval and i could even add a wordpress registration so you could comment, however the spam detection is good and i never felt the need to enforce those things, so the comments can be posted without registration and are automatic.
    However, this has been like this for quite some time and some ppl abuse it, keep in mind that while giving fake info may hide who you are, the comment is deleted afterwards by me, i’m not going to change the system as there are only a few haters, it’s a problem i can deal with and the results are obvious, those ppl do not post here anymore, not because they can’t, but simply because what they post is deleted afterwards.
  • Changed the background

These and more changes are beeing done as we speak, so you have an idea on how i can improve the blog, let me know.

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A new video i uploaded, contains random team gameplay in forest and in a ruins quest, contains many if not all of the visual modifications i use, keep in mind that i do not use mods and so this is the actual PSO v2 game.