posted 11-16-21 18:20 ET (US)   
Hi city builders!

Just dropping by to announce a little mod that replaces all the cinematics in Caesar III with fan-restored versions. That includes both the big videos (like the intro and credits) and the smaller in-game videos shown for example when something burns or a god curses your city.

The game looks amazing these days, you can play it in any resolution you like and the new smooth scrolling and zoom options introduced with Julius/Augustus bring it to another level visually. One of the inadvertent effects of these graphical improvements though is that the in-game cinematics have started to stick out like a sore thumb. Every time one pops up it feels like my computer is suddenly struggling to run the game... but it's only because they are rendered at such poor FPS. This has motivated me to try to level the quality of the cinematics with the rest of the game, and keep the experience as smooth as possible.

In essence, the restoration consisted of unpacking the original cinematics and cleaning every frame to remove compression artifacts caused by the poor 90s video encoder originally used, and to then interpolate new frames to increase the framerate. Both steps were done with AI tools, but the result doesn't look overly artificial - the videos are re-encoded to the same 90s video format (this time with no compression and better use of the limited colour palettes), they are in the same resolution as the originals and the framerate is only 24fps (smooth, but not out of place in Caesar III). It should just feel like you're watching the cinematics as they would have looked like at the time of release if Impressions hadn't had to worry about disc space. I therefore like to think of it as more of a "restoration" than a "remastering" of the videos.

Here is a before and after comparison using the intro cinematic:



The new cinematics play just fine with the original C3 executable, but I would of course recommend to use Julius/Augustus for the best overall effect. More details, download and installation instructions are available over in ModDB, link below.

Caesar 3 - Restored Cinematics v1.0 at ModDB