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Like the title says. With some help, I figured out a way to extract the files from the compressed WAD.bin in Gauntlet dark legacy using quickBMS. So I am planning on making as many of the changes for the hack I am doing for the game in the files themselves (text, asm, etc). Recombining the files together into the WAD.bin again via QuickBMS once I am done works perfect but the problem is no matter what application I try, I can't seem to recombine the WAD.bin with all the files from the Gauntlet Dark Legacy bin back into a full Gauntlet Dark Legacy bin file in a way that it will boot up in PCSX2.

Using Imageburn, the file is smaller by about 300k (using iso, standard text and mode2 settings) and I have no idea why. I also tried just replacing the WAD.bin in the iso directly with Apache, but that doesn't work either. I also did what I call a "control copy." Meaning I extracted the wad.bin, then without modifying it tried to reimport it/recombine the files into the original Gauntlet DL BIN. It still didn't work.

Can someone please advise me on the correct way to recombine all the files of a PS2 game into a PS2 bin/iso? I'm sure I am missing some very small step and it is driving me nuts.  :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

September 01, 2016, 09:09:55 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
LOL after spending HOURS scouring the net BEFORE putting this post up, right after I make it, THIS solved my problem: http://forums.afterdawn.com/threads/guide-properly-rebuild-ps2-games-to-work-with-swap-magic-dummys-guide.402466/

Damn I feel dumb right now.  :-X

P.S. I also found cdGenPS2 after I wrote that last message. Which works even better since I just drag and drop the files and it directly adds them and burns them back to being a bin. Much faster than the previous steps I found.

Personal Projects / Gauntlet: Dark legacy HACKED (PS2 VERSION)
« on: September 01, 2016, 12:19:30 am »
Hey, everyone. Long time no see, speak, etc. For those who don't know I've been busy remaking Castlevania: SOTN in unity for some time now. It went from being a dirty hack in a psx cheat code app, to a memhack hack, to being remade in game maker, then got switched over to unity3d 2 years ago. Since the switch to Unity progress has been smooth and amazing and I can finally seen an eventual end to it. A blog can be found here with all progress: sotnhacked.wordpress.com

Now onto the point of this thread: Gauntlet Dark Legacy!

Gauntlet Dark Legacy is one of my all time favorite games. I would spend hours in the arcades playing it and actually beat the entire arcade version 6 times. Spending probably about $50 each time beating it. The problem is, as much as I liked the difficulty, it was too unbalanced. The game was designed to be a quarter eater: making the owners cash. And that was it. It was unfairly balanced. Then came the home versions. In particular, the PS2 version was like the PREMIUM version of the game. And with Emulators nowadays, playing it on PCSX2 makes it look HD. Crisp, gorgeous graphics everywhere!

Sadly, the home versions of the game are just too damn easy. Even on the hardest setting, the only challenges were the underworld, the 2nd Skorne fight and maybe Garm. Heck, I even went so far as to load up 4 characters for each stage, kill off 3, and then keep going thru each stage without picking the quit game option for the other characters (meaning the difficulty still acts like 4 people are playing it and ramps it up a LOT). Still too damn easy. For the longest, I hoped that someone would pick up this game and just do some kind of remake or hack for it. Anything to give me a fun challenge with it. But no one has dared try.

.............until NOW!

Memhack, PCsx2 and an Iso/Bin of gauntlet dark legacy. This is also all you will need to play the hack. Memhack is a totally free program that can be found on www.memoryhacking.com for those who don't know, and is an EXTREMELY powerful app that will let your run c++ style codes attached to the game. Sadly it was abandoned years ago.

  • To make the single player game more difficult and make it feel more like it's arcade counterpart (in truth, after I'm done someone else could VERY EASILY take my results and use them to do the same for 2-4 player games too; but seeing as this game is almost 20 years old, and not very popular, that is not part of my goal)
  • To make the players each feel much more unique (INCLUDING THE HIDDEN ONES), balance them much better and make using each a much more enjoyable experience. Warriors should feel safe wading into enemies and up to even bosses and using melee attacks, instead of their weaker ranged attacks, while archers should be able to run around pelting enemies with arrows and not want to get in close to use melee. Gauntlet: slayer edition was an influence here too, as I feel that is the FIRST Gauntlet game to get balancing the classes all out pretty close to perfect. Which brings us to:
  • Improving on the more useless game mechanics: I'm talking about things like strong projectiles, melee combos and the block button (which BTW has to be THE MOST useless thing I've ever seen). The same goes for some of the more useless turbo attacks
NOTE: this is designed to be a very short term project (with the exception of balancing each character). It is intended to take 1-2 months at most.

*Added in a "ticking timer:" health decreases now a little each second based on your max hp (it WAS a flat value of 1 hp per 2 seconds for a few days, but once your max hp went up it became too insignificant like that). Basically, you lose 1/1000th of your max health a second. This, however, canNOT kill you, but will instead bring you down to 1 HP.

*Altered walking speeds: EVERYONE now walks at the same speed. I really don't know what in the hell the programmer's were thinking putting in such a huge different in movement originally. The fast moving characters just had WAY to much of an edge over the slower ones for a plethora of reasons. All characters now walk even faster than a starting elf did originally. Which means the battles can now be much faster paced and involve more dodging and finesse, and much less slooooooooooooow plodding back and forth like before.

*Speed stat now instead effects projectile range/speed: yup! Since walking speed is now a flat value, it is used for this instead. Characters like archers will have much better range on them than say a melee character like a warrior

*Changes to leveling up: you now only get +2 per stat and +25 max hp. You also do NOT recover health when leveling up (why they put that in at all originally is beyond me).

*Health is restored some after each stage: yup. This is to offset the huge increase in difficulty. At the moment the formula I put in is initialHp + (level - 1)* 10; but this is subject to change as I balance things more.

*Turbo gain will now vary per character. I may even set it so some gain more from attacking enemies: I actually NOPPED out the original code that writes it. I now control it via my script.

*Discovered the structure for stages/enemy stats: there is one main one for EACH stage in each realm that controls things like spawn speed, max spawn amounts, generator hp, enemy dmg/armor/hp, proj speed, etc. It gives me a LOT of control over a LOT of things in the game

*Bosses can no longer be abused for farming huge amounts of gold: yup. Once a boss is killed you only get 1500 gold per kill after. I may even go further to alter this.

*Each legendary weapon for each boss is found in their own realm: I have NO IDEA why this was changed from the arcade version (except for dream land). It just doesn't make sense. I altered it though now. At the moment the model used is still the original one in each realm where a legendary weapon is. I am working on seeing if I can change it graphically too.

*Using a legendary weapon only awards 2/3 of the gold you would get without it: yup. So the tradeoff is an easier boss fight with less payoff, or a harder one with more payoff. More risk = more reward.

*Boss dmg/health scale after a certain level is reached by the player: the cutoff right now is level 20 for the dragon and lich. After that, they start getting stronger hp & dmg wise the more levels you gain. So grinding levels won't help you nearly as much.

*You can't go into the next realm until you kill the boss from the previous realm: again, NO IDEA why this wasn't set like this. The exception is the mountain kingdom and forsaken province. I left it so you CAN still reach the mountain while in the province. But until both of these stages and their bosses are cleared you can't move onto the castle realm. And likewise, you can't go to the sky realm until the castle is beaten, forest until sky is done, etc. You still need to get enough crystals too, but I keep you locked out if you have enough until this is done.

*Altered some stats for the lich and dragon: lich now has 3000 HP base instead of 4500. This is because he must be faced much earlier now and would otherwise be too unbalanced. The dragon now has 3000 hp instead of 2000 so he is no longer a total push over. Damage amounts were altered too of course.

*Tweaked the Archer a LOT: her dmg per projectile was bought down, her range on projectiles was bought up. Her physical attacks are also now weaker than projectiles and her magic was bought up more to match the arcade version's range a little more (it was decreased on the ps2 version overall by Midway). Her turbo attack was also altered in a way that it will no longer one shot bosses if she has a weapon power up, a 3 way and a supershot. It does far less damage now because of the tweaks to her, but is still very strong and useful. It now also takes her 30 seconds instead of 20 to reach a level 2 turbo. To reach a level 3 now takes about 110 seconds instead of 50 seconds as well. She is designed to be a fast and long range gunning character with her turbos being her big guns to use against gargoyles, generals and golems. With the changes to her, you will really have to put her L3 turbo to good use. Her L2 will also be used much more now in crunch situations and is still very useful against bosses too. Her defense was also majorly dropped and she only starts with 300 HP. Overall, she feels a LOT more like her Arcade counterpart now but without her speed being crippled like in it. She is excellent at dodging attacks and playing keep away like a sniper/gunner character should be.

*Familiar damage has been altered: the original calculation was [(level - 25) * 0.1] + 2.5. In the ps2 version, reaching level 80 just gave your familiar a cosmetic change, not a dmg boost (surprisingly). I changed the damage calculation to now be 0.5 * proj dmg of your character. Meaning unlike before, its damage is now directly based around yours instead of just your level.


*Stat calculation changes (WIP): I already talked about speed above for everyone and what it does now. Armor needs to be tweaked to be more effective too. Overall now though an archer with maxed stats will still do less dmg per hit with her projectiles, than a warrior with maxed stats. Just like an archer would have better magic and a warrior would have worse. A lot more thought has gone into it than I am putting her though. Far too much to type so everyone will just have to wait and see the results. And although the Archer has been tweaked a lot, I haven't touched ANY of the other characters yet. SO I have a long way to go here.

*Figured out how to tweak the speed/timing of the plauyr's animations: a huge find as this determines how quickly they attack, shoot, do magic, etc. I just discovered these today and have to map/research them quite a bit more in the next few days.

*Shop items: I want to decrease the cost for the gas mask, x ray glasses and even slightly tweak invisiblity's cost. Right now stat ups cost 1000 gold and give 6 instead of 10 too. I want to also tweak how long the lightning/fire shield last and their cost along with the text corrections for the stat ups. I found the text and data for this, but oddly enough it seems to always be in the same place UNLESS the emulator is rebooted. More experimentation is needed to confirm this. Shouldn't take long to do.

*Stage tweaks: just starting on these. It's basically a lot of replaying the stages with different characters. Easy but time consuming. Long story short: expect the battlefields of garm to now make the underworld look like a picnic in candyland vs being the easy romp they were before. Also expect the underworld to be tweaked to be less of a skorne item/thunder hammer/magic spamming area and to be more fair. Basic idea though is to make the stages much harder.

*Initiate some kind of lives system: the indicator for these will use the ones digit of gold which is currently unused. I already figured out how to make you go to the gameover screen in a stage (which was NOT present originally in the PS2 version). Much more research needed on my part to balance this but it's not a big task honestly. Just time consuming and repetitive.  :banghead:

*Change the model loaded for the legendary weapons in a stage: "see progress thus far" above for why. I'm going to TRY and see if this can be done. But no promises. Luckily this is a VERY minor thing.

*Change coin rooms to give money and to unlock hidden characters by beating the game with their normal counterpart instead: self-explanatory. If I can get a good lives system working, I'll probably make it so you have to beat the game without dying/continuing/???? to get Sumner (since he will be the strongest character and probably the only overpowered one).

*WISH ITEM: I would like to set it up so that each character can use 2-3 potions to do some kind of power up. Maybe give the archer the ability to fire faster similar to rapid fire by sacrificing these potions, or maybe give the valkyrie a dash that negates damage for a short time, or give the warrior growth and a dmg boost, etc. This would be the LAST thing I would do and is not guaranteed to get done. Much experimentation needed on my part, though this seems very physically doable. I could simply map it to use l3/r3 or even by holding block down long enough.

Also FYI: all code will NOT be encrypted and when I'm done I'll be releasing my notes. So if anyone wants to customize it after I'm done and make their own version, whatever. I'm fine with that and actually will encourage it.

Anyway, check this thread again for updates.

September 01, 2016, 12:53:41 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
BTW a video will be up in the next day or two with proof of my progress. As I know that, as they say: seeing is believing.  :thumbsup:

Also sorry for the double post.

September 01, 2016, 09:14:58 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
A pic of some MAJOR progress:

For those who don't understand the significance of this very minor appearing text edit: the files in this game are compressed. Which means I had to not only extract the wad.bin but find a way to decompress it (it apparently uses zlib) and remove all the files to edit it. This is usually very hard/impossible to do.

...... luckily thanks to 3dformat on wikispace helping me out and quickBMS I figured out a way to do it. Which means I can make most of the edits directly to the game files now and make an IPS patch to distribute.

This has been a good day.

September 06, 2016, 11:32:29 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Sorry for the delay, but the video hasn't been done because I wanted to make a bunch more tweaks to the game and have more to show. And I have gotten a lot more done including implementing a continue/lives system. An update with more details will probably go up on Thursday.  :thumbsup:

1st off: seeing as how successor has shut down his forums for the time being, I had to relocate my thread for the project (again.... fuck) to here: http://castlevaniadungeon.net/forums/index.php?topic=2931.0

HUGE UPDATE: My biggest issue with hacking the stages has now officially vanished. See the pic below:

This is a screenshot of the lower left quadrant of vram in a room in the chapel... as you can see every enemy in the stage has been loaded into vram, and even object type sprites. Those of you who know a little bit about programming, probably already know what I am about to say, but for those of you who don't it means that I have after over TWO YEARS found a way to control what is loaded into vram and where! This eliminates the biggest problem I had: not being able to put enemies wherever I wanted to put them (in the past they would come out scrambled or invisible due to this). The only limitation is that the enemy MUST APPEAR in the current stage (only the enemies that appear in the stage have their AI and gxf stored in the stage file, thus making them loadable)!

Many thanks go to Nyxojaele for this! He spent about 4 hours on IM with me showing me how it could be done, and then this info combined with my findings allowed me to figure the rest out. Thanks also go out to Gemini, who provided me with some VERY useful info years ago that helped me to figure out how to change some necessary values as well!

Also.... here is a quick animation of the new gates that will be used in my rooms to close them off when you have to kill all the enemies to proceed forward (it has been slowed down so it is easier to see; the actual one is MUCH faster):

It is a 9 tile animation (I couldn't use sprites due to limitations), but even though it is using tiles as you can see it is not choppy looking at all. These are the exact gates from curse of darkness, rendered into beautiful 2d. :P

EDIT: smoothed out the above gate to make it blend better. Here is a screenshot:

EDIT 2: FIXED THE BROKEN LINK to the forums... sorry peoples.

Personal Projects / The Strider 2 Hacked Project.
« on: March 28, 2011, 05:51:37 pm »
I have been playing the arcade version of this game recently on mame, and it is just a really fun game. However, due to some programming foresight, it is literally impossible to get a star rank in 3-4 of the stages (it requires 4 million points, and no deaths or hits, in under 10 minutes. And there just isn't enough time to get it).

So sure enough when I heard that the PSX version had an extra stage, and an extra character I wanted to try it out. Sadly I was very disappointed by the fact that the bosses all seemed to have way less health, the fact that the extra stage bosses died too quick, and strider hien just made the game even easier. I also didn't like the fact that the special bonus was increased WAY too much. It went from 300k to 1.8 million (!), which totally f-es up the pace of the game. I thought a small increase would help, but they way overdid it. It just totally encourages you to just run through the stage and ignore as many enemies as you can, and you will get a star rank (the highest one) each time with little to no effort.

So seeing as how I wasn't satisfied still with the PSX one... I decided to do something about it. Thus far, here are the changes I have made:

  • The bosses heath is all the same as the arcade game now: or more specifically, I tweaked strider hiryu's damage to be the same as the arcade version. In the arcade one, EVERY attack of hiryu's does 1 point of damage. In the PSX version, boost, savage slash, and the beam from the sword power up all did two points of damage per hit. I have corrected this
  • Strider Hien now does 1 point of damage per hit, instead of 2 per hit. Just like Strider Hiryu: this actually makes the game VERY challenging just like Hiryu's, but balance, and totally changes the way he has to be played. It also makes it 10 times more fun IMHO.
  • The Special  Bonus has been decreased to only 800k. Upon getting hit once it drops to 500k. The 2nd hit drops it to 200k. A 3rd hit drops it to zero. This sets it up so that even after getting hit once, while you lose a substantial amount of points, it still encourages you to NOT get hit again.

So far these are the changes I have made. I don't intend to do many more since the game is REALLY good as is. What I am working on now is balancing out Hien and Hiryu point wise. My thoughts is that they should both be able to score almost the EXACT same amount of points in a stage run through, but since Hien doesn't have boost (100k added to item bonus for each one) I want him to potentially be able to get slightly more points than Hiryu if he is played to his limit.

And by this I mean if both Hien and Hiryu go through a stage in ideal circumstances: In the same order (start at stage 00, then stage 1,2,3,4, lastly 5), without getting hit, on the same difficulty with the same health, maximizing points per second (every second is worth 1000 points, at 10 minutes you get no point bonus. But each SMALL blue coin adds 1000 to point bonus. The weakest enemy takes 1 hit which gets you 100-300 points depending on what attack is used and is worth 100 points, and drops 1-2 of these coins). So that would mean also taking about 9 minutes and 59 seconds in a stage, killing as many enemies as possible in the spots where you would get the most points overall.

Long story made short, Hiryu should be able to get more points than Hien if he rushes thru the stage, but if they both stand around fighting as long as possible, Hien should get  more points (since he has to play much more defensively than Hiryu).

Now since Hiryu can have 2-3 boosts in a stage, and Hien has none, he needs a way to make up for it. What I am thinking of is replacing boosts in his game with yashichis (instead of life+1 items), and setting him to get more points per hit. This should only take a few more days ( i have school, work, etc.). But I want to make sure not to overdo it so that they are both VERY closely balanced.

So if anyone else here is a strider 2 fan, keep an eye on these forums for the patch for the iso file, and the memhack file (you will need memhack to run this hack). They will both be small files. I may also put up the guide I made with all of the secrets found so far, and how the scoring system works (including all end of stage bonuses).

March 29, 2011, 12:16:47 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
UPDATE: found the code that changed boosts to life +1 items; changed it so that they now become yaschichis instead (50k points). Now I just have to do some test runs to make sure hien and hiryu are balanced enough point wise.

March 30, 2011, 03:36:30 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Also I now tweaked Hien to be scoring wise exactly like I wanted; if he is played to his absolutely limit he can score slightly more points than Hiryu can. However, if they both rush through a stage, or even both are just played pretty good, Hiryu will almost ALWAYS out score him. Hien shines only when they too are played to their extreme best, and then  he wins out by about 50k.

I did this because it is easier for Hien to get thru a stage without getting hit if he is patient and plays keep away. Hiryu cannot obviously play keep away in most cases. So I wanted him to have to work harder for his points, and take more of a chance to get an exemplary score (since by nature he is a keepaway character). However, I didn't want it to be too much more of a gain for him, because then people would have no reason to play Hiryu.

I will be play testing it a bit more over then next 3-4 days. A release should be up soon after that.

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