Thwimp utility released / Hover Pack project announcement

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Thwimp utility released / Hover Pack project announcement




   Lately, I have been looking into modding Mario Kart Wii on the Nintendo Wii, with My Stuff files in Riivolution. Specifically, I have been working on designing a pack of custom battle courses, ported from the mazes in Microsoft Hover! (1995), called "Hover Pack", with an additional track being a port of Arena Rumble from Monster Truck Madness 2. Currently, maze 1, maze 2, and maze 3, and the Easter Egg Credits Maze have been ported, and are all done other than adjusting enemy route widths. The pack (when released), will include a new title screen, sound effects from Hover, music from Hover, some custom music, new THP videos for the tracks (created with Thwimp), the new battle courses themselves, and "Flag Grabbers" mode (modified Coin Runners mode with Microsoft Hover flags to capture). You can view the current progress at this YouTube playlist.

    While creating Hover Pack, I created new THP video files. These video files are used in the menus, title video, and ending sequence. Unfortunately, most of these THP files are actually an array of subvideos inside (with a multplicity of subvideo per frame), are all of equal frame length, and are quite complex to create manually. Some actually include padding (THP videos' dimensions must align to the nearest 16px boundary), and sometimes this padding including what I call a "control signal". This signal is usually a white rectangle in the padding, which moves to an integer position at each multiplicity, in order to tell the game which row to highlight in a menu during THP playback.

   With all of these problems with manually creating THP video files, I have create and released Thwimp utility!

    Thwimp is a Windows utility which allows users easily to view, to rip, and to encode Nintendo THP video files for Mario Kart Wii. Written in Visual Basic (from Visual Studio 2010 IDE), the Thwimp application calls some FOSS and other command line tools (not included) "from arms length" via the Command Prompt to perform its tasks. For encoding new THP files, Thwimp can intelligently handle audio, subvideo array, multiplicity, and padding/control information when encoding THP files to replace ones in-game. It does this by accepting appropriately named, input mp4 video files for each subvideo cell in the array, and for each multiplicity. It will also accept a WAV audio file, and BMP image frames for each multiplicity padding/control signal as needed. After reading the input files, Thwimp will intelligently process and splice all of the files together appropriately in order to create a high-quality, properly formatted THP video replacement file!

    Today, I have updated the EagleSoft Ltd webpage with a new Nintendo Wii section, a Thwimp page (where you can learn more about the utility and download it), and Mario Kart Wii Tracks page (to host all of my incoming new tracks) .

  I hope people find Thwimp useful for THP editing!

-Tamkis

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