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Messages - weissvulf

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1
Personal Projects / Re: PS1 tools
« on: December 13, 2017, 06:06:21 pm »
Ha, Windows 95 forever! No, it's just a classic theme. I prefer the clean lines for my work PC.  :thumbsup:

2
ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Any Growlanser translation projects?
« on: December 13, 2017, 05:41:12 pm »
I may be in the minority, but translating a game largely ruins it for me. There's no more mystery left. I know every plot path, every nuance. I certainly wouldn't spend months/years translating a game just for my own amusement. I absolutely do my work mainly for others to enjoy.

As such, I'd rather work on titles that never had an English release. Does changing 'pop' to 'beer' or swapping Alucard's sprite with Mario really add much enjoyment to a game?  I'm totally NOT trying to devalue anyone's work, just something I have a hard time understanding. I'm probably just too stupid to get it. I certainly don't think anyone should translate a game they don't like. I just keep finding titles like Grownlanser or Prisoner that look really good yet no one is touching them.  ;D

3
Personal Projects / PS1 tools
« on: December 13, 2017, 05:06:14 pm »
These are some specialized tools I'm making, geared specifically toward Playstation 1 translating. I'm posting here to get input... on the off chance that they're actually useful to someone else. I add features and try to improve efficiency as needs arise and would welcome input for the next time a rewrite comes up.

Auto ASM Maker

A tool for select PS1 games that dumps text and pointers into an ASM file for easy editing/insertion with ARMIPS. It currently only supports SHIFT-JIS/ASCII games that use a '00' end-byte. It would be quite easy to add support for table files and other end-bytes, I just haven't bothered yet because I haven't needed it. This one also needs an efficiency rewrite of its scanning routine. I coded it in a 'lazy' way that's not conducive to speed or flexibility. 

Convert

A simple address converter designed to help with tracing/hacking between RAM, EXE, Hex-editor etc.

RAW to TIM

Mainly designed to extract/insert pesky proprietary images from PS1 games (aka headerless TIMs etc). It should work with other raw image data as well . I recently added a TIM<>BMP converter for someone, but it is largely untested since I did a major coding re-write. I just realized, rather than '512', I should have used '320' and '240' for width and height quick-set...duuuhhhhh :banghead:

Source code (Autoit) is included- not well optimized, but fairly well 'noted'. Feel free to recommend tweaks. 

DOWNLOAD LINK
     

4
ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Any Growlanser translation projects?
« on: December 13, 2017, 04:30:32 pm »
Quote
Can you name some examples?
Two off the top of my head are Hungry Ghosts and Shadow Tower Abyss. I believe I've only seen about 4 titles that seemed to be in this category- I didn't mean to suggest that is was a large number, just that there are some out there. More so in the PSP/PS2 era since SHIFT-JIS seems to have become much more common.

Quote
since you said it's that easy, i'd like to see a list of games you have already finished, im expecting it to be quite long, since "it's that easy"
I guess this was addressed to me? :)  A lot of games are as you describe, but some have built in auto-sizing for text boxes, or an 'always big' frame. That combined with artful translation can sometimes avoid the need for resizing hacks. The game I'm working on now (Asuncia) supported fixed width ASCII. I chose to install a couple variable width fonts to 'prettify' it, but so far I haven't needed to resize any text boxes.

Even if a game doesn't need any hacking, it still requires text translation so I wouldn't call the process 'easy'. My comment just meant that there are SOME 'easy to hack' games are out there. I think most people pick a game they like and rush head-first into translating it. If instead, they searched through Japanese titles for a nice game that required easy/no hacking, we'd see more finished projects.

5
ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Any Growlanser translation projects?
« on: December 13, 2017, 02:14:25 pm »
Quote
I recall at least one person attempting to hack Growlanser 1 for the PSX, but obviously they didn't get very far.
Other than that, I think my friend Esperknight might have poked around with the game and made some tools.
Maybe there are technical hurdles. Any chance you have a link to an old thread discussion etc?

Quote
there's a fairly high chance that the data inside the containers is encrypted
In such instances, do they usually encrypt everything or just key files/exe etc? Looking at the game in a hex editor, I see a lot of what appears to be non-compressed/non-encrypted image patterns - probably the bmps you mentioned.

I guess it's my personal preference, but I'm amazed that people put so much effort into re-translating and tweaking games that have had multiple English releases, while many gems like Growlanser go completely untranslated. I would rather open a new game-play experience to English speakers than rehash already available content. I've seen great games where you can literally just type English over the Japanese (already support ASCII VWF) that just sit there untranslated.

6
ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Any Growlanser translation projects?
« on: December 12, 2017, 07:37:22 pm »
Yeah  :), it's one of those series where they changed the names for English releases so it gets confusing.

My understanding is this:
Growlanser 1: PS1,PSP ----- Japan only.
Growlanser 2: PS2 --------- USA as 'Generations' part 1
Growlanser 3: PS2 --------- USA as 'Generations' part 2
Growlanser 4: PS2,PSP ----- USA on PSP as 'Wayfarer of Time'
Growlanser 4 Return: PS2 -- Japan Only
Growlanser 5: PS2 --------- USA as 'Heritage of War'
Growlanser 6: PS2 --------- Japan only

Since 'Growlanser 4 Return' is more of an interactive novel, the main titles that never had an English release are 1 and 6. It's the first installment that has a translated script available.

In my experience, the translation is more than half the work. I'm amazed...has no one even looked into this project before?

7
ROM Hacking Discussion / Any Growlanser translation projects?
« on: December 12, 2017, 04:17:17 pm »
I noticed that someone translated the script for Growlanser PS1/PSP a few years back, yet I've never seen anyone even considering a translation project for the game. Did I miss a project somewhere? Or maybe there are technical difficulties on the hacking side, or is Growlanser just not that popular? I've never played Growlanser 1 through, but it looks quite impressive. 

8
Newcomer's Board / Re: superimposed graphics?
« on: December 09, 2017, 11:35:55 pm »
I think bluephoenix was correct in his original post. The 8bpp version is too solid to be a doubled 4bpp. I looked at the image myself and as far as I can tell, it's 256x256 8bpp @ 0x90000.

December 11, 2017, 08:23:25 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
I'm far from a SNES guru, but I've been playing around with this image out of curiosity and it seems to be what I would call 'interlaced' 4 bit. That is, the left 4 bits of each byte (aka nibble) belong to one image and the right 4bits belong to the other.

I made a quick separator tool and used generic palettes to verify my theory (results below). It shouldn't be hard to program a splitter/combiner if this isn't a standard format already supported by TileMolestor. You could handle each 'layer' as 8bit (16 color) or as plain 4 bit.


9
Programming / Re: Editing graphics in DAT format (Falcom Related)
« on: December 09, 2017, 05:05:01 pm »
In case you are still working on this project, I noticed that the version of nana on RHDN was an old one that didn't play nice with modern systems. Neil's site seems to be gone now, but I submitted a newer version of his tool that should work. You might check the nana listing again in a few days to see if the update was approved.

10
In arcade games, you paid for playtime toward the goal of beating the game, and you were rewarded with more play time if you were skillful. The equivalent in modern games is something like a trilogy where you pay $10 per chapter. At the end of both experiences, you got a sense of completion and accomplishment: "I beat [game]!".

Micro transactions and small, shoddy expansions are more like late-night infomercials: "But wait! There's more! Now how much would you pay!?" They're generally low quality and don't improve or significantly expand game play. They seem more like predatory manipulation of the fan base. "If you want a sense of completion, you have to pay us $2 more."

I don't agree with the 'digital copies are just as good' view either. The tactile interaction when you own a physical game has no equivalent in digital. It's like the difference between having a jpg of the Mona Lisa on your hard dive versus the original hanging on your wall.

As far as distribution costs, way back in the PS1 era they had budget titles released at $10 or $5 retail. The cost of producing a CD, printing a decent manual and listing on Amazon or equivalent is minuscule. You can buy a set of 200 Pirate Disney DVDs in a nice custom case on ebay and have them shipped from China for around $50. I can only speculate about their production cost, but considering how many sellers are peddling them, it must be far less than the ~$0.30 disk retail.

Digital distribution isn't free either. Flat-rate unlimited internet bandwidth is a myth. Behind the scenes, providers are charging average users more than they should pay in order to cover the cost of the few high bandwidth consumers. If all gamers start doing 8GB+ per game downloads, you can expect everyone's internet bills to go up.

Also, it doesn't take Steam going out of business for digital games to disappear. Digital services like Kindle have already had episodes of content being removed from their service with no apology. I could totally picture seeing small print in a Steam 'User Agreement' update to the effect of 'Games by developerX will no longer be available due to legal issues'.

I don't mean that digital is all bad, but it is generally inferior in my view.

11
Programming / Re: Need to patch a full directory
« on: December 02, 2017, 04:07:03 pm »
There are a few PC patch makers designed for developers updating their products. I've used the ClickTeam Patch Maker before. If I remember correctly, the free version is fully functional, but includes a 'splash screen' logo. It was quite efficient (size) and user friendly. 

12
I collected games for years and own around 1000 complete physical copies. They are like pieces of art and story books all in one. I enjoy going to my 'bookshelf', pulling down a volume, thumbing through the manual and playing the finely crafted experience which many developers worked very hard to create. I gave up collecting with the PS3 generation because physical games became increasingly 'incomplete' - requiring huge bug-fix downloads to function, and missing massive DLC expansions. The console industry has lost my business.

Most people don't get that digital downloading isn't an option for a percentage of the world's population. Granted, it's a small percentage - which is why it's largely ignored by developers, but I happen to be one of them. I pay $70 a month for a 250mb per day connection. It's not an option for me to download a 1GB patch just to play a buggy game released before it was complete. I miss the days when video games were a self-contained, finely polished piece of art.

The only new games I buy anymore are through GOG.com. As far as I'm concerned, they're the 'last bastion of sanity' in the gaming industry.

13
Programming / Re: Any good editors that save 16bit BMPs?
« on: November 30, 2017, 02:33:13 pm »
Thank you both for this info :)
I haven't used GIMP in a while, but I will check that out. I read a thread which suggested that it doesn't support 16bit BMPs, but it may have been old/inaccurate info.

I'm leaning towards bypassing 16bit BMPs as Gemini mentions. The BMP format documentation shows that 16bit uses bit-masks in the header to define each color channels (ie the R5 G6 B5 and X1 R5 G5 B5 that GIMP mentions), but I've found some 16bit BMPs which don't seem to include the bit-masks at all, yet still function. It would probably be easier to make a color scaler than to implement detection and execution for color masks that may or may not exist.

Thanks again, appreciate the info!

14
Maybe a good use for my tool then. I made it specifically because I had encountered many such 'proprietary' images on my own projects.

You probably already know, but if you have the location of one of these images in a BIN, you can find which file the image is in by dividing its BIN location by 2352 (aka 0x930). That will give you the LBA for file where the image is. A program like CDmage shows the start-LBA for each file on the disk.

15
Programming / Any good editors that save 16bit BMPs?
« on: November 29, 2017, 09:58:56 pm »
Hope this is the right section for this question. I'm wondering if anyone knows a common (preferably free) photo editor that will save BMP images in 16bit format.

I'm trying to write a tool that handles Playstation image files. The problem is that 16bit images are very common in Playstation games, and I can't locate a decent photo editor that saves a 16bit BMP. They all upscale to 24bit which hinders re-insertion into the game when translating text graphics.

There's little point in coding a 16bit TIM to BMP converter if there are no common tools that will let people edit the BMPs. It might make more sense to use an automatic 16<>24 scaling step in the conversion process, eliminating 16bit BMPs altogether.

16
I get it. If they are just standard TIMs, there are several very good (TIMviewer etc) tools for extracting/inserting/converting them.

My tool was specifically designed to extract/insert non-standard PS1 images, that is PS1 image data which doesn't necessarily have a standard TIM header or dimensions. I'm adding a TIM<>BMP converter which is theoretically partly function.

If a regular TIM scanning tool doesn't find your images, it might be worth trying my tool. Can you tell me the location of one such image? I'll check it out if you'd like.

17
DragonSpikeXIII, are you still working on end-game credits in TIM format as stated in the help-wanted ad? If so, can you describe the issue a bit? I have a tool that needs testing and this might be a suitable case.  :)

18
Script Help and Language Discussion / Re: Xenogears - 天帝
« on: November 28, 2017, 05:50:07 pm »
Quote
Emperor God: a god who acts like an emperor, conquering other nations.
God Emperor: an emperor (allegedly) with divine powers, or an emperor who is seen/worshipped as a god by his people.

I hope I didn't give the impression that this was 'big deal'; it's extremely minor. I've only been commenting because I tend to be overly analytical and long winded.

Specifically, I feel that a native English speaker would not be likely to say "God Emperor". If they were reading that phrase, and bothered to think about it, they may likely come to the conclusion you stated.

If you say:
"Cain is an emperor god", the base sentence is: 'Cain is a god'. In this case, 'emperor' becomes a modifier answering 'what type of god is he'. You could substitute any descriptor word instead of 'emperor': 'he is a bicycle god' 'he is a geek god'.

If you say "Cain is a god emperor", the base sentence is 'Cain is an emperor'. 'god' becomes an answer to 'what type of emperor is he'.

Because 'god' is generally a more potent office than emperor, it would likely be considered his primary attribute. If someone read 'he is a god emperor', it's more likely to sound like 'he's really just an emperor, but he calls himself a god too'. If we thought that, we would likely just omit 'god' from his description altogether.

I'm reminded of a line from the movie 'The 13th Warrior' where two 'civilized' men are walking into a run-down barbarian camp. One asks the other "what do you suppose the leader of this camp calls himself?" The reply is "oh, 'emperor' at the very least."

Readers would know what you mean either way, especially in a fantasy game where it's expected that things will be 'exotic'.

19
ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: [PSX] Exchange CDDA tracks in PSOne games
« on: November 27, 2017, 04:49:26 pm »
Yes, I meant what Jorpho said.

The tracks are just a theoretical division on a CD like a table of contents. The CD is actually a long, 1-piece string of binary data. Playstation CD images are dumped in RAW mode, meaning the drive simply forwards the binary data as is, without removing sector headers or recognizing track boundaries etc. The name 'BIN' stands for binary to signify this. The CUE file is like a 'table of contents' for that long string of raw binary data.

If all the CD data is dumped into a single continuous file, the CUE sheet will contain the start locations for the tracks within that single file. If, when the CD was dumped, the data was split based on the track list (ie like splitting a single book into separate chapters), the CUE will reference the the name of the file where each track was saved.

When such a CUE is opened by an emulator etc, that program automatically joins (virtually) the separate files into a single binary chunk.

20
Hello gramkin :)
Quote
I used CDMage for that.
This is definitely the program you want to use for Playstation games. HERE. Some of their game files are written in a mode that Windows doesn't support so you'll get an error if you try to drag the file off in explorer (specifically, files containing sound). The reason for 'extracting' the files from the CD image is that CDs contain 'sector header' data at regular intervals throughout the disk image. It's just for the CD-drive's reference and not part of the actual game data.

When you 'extract' a file from a CD image, you're dealing with the data as the game sees it. CDMage will extract files from the game image (removing the sector data) and more importantly, reinsert the edited file. Just right-click on a file in the right-side window and select 'extract files' or 'import file'.

Compression is something completely different. Extracting a file from a BIN/CUE image won't decompress it. If the game happens to use compression (many do not), it's handled internally by the game's exe.

I have a couple tools I developed for my own use in translating PS1 games, but I was thinking of releasing them since they might help others. I'd be happy to have a tester if you get to that point. One is a simple address converter to help locate data between the EXE, RAM, hex editor etc. The other dumps text and pointers to an ASM file for easy translation, but it only supports games that use non-compressed Shift-JIS text.

As far as Hex editors, MadEdit is the best one I know of for Japanese text, HxD for data.

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