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Messages - Bregalad

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1
Well, you got a point. I think it would be nice if it was impossible to fall in the stairs before Dracula. But jumping in front of stairs and being catched on them still sounds wrong to me. I don't know what to say.

You should definitely play Bloodlines and/or Rondo of Blood if you have a chance.

2
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In most games I've played
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But I'd say that since most games have autolanding,
Which "most games" are you talking about ? "Most games" does not have the awful stairs system Castlevania has, including even later Castlevania games. You mention Super Smash Bros but it's completely different from Castlevania so it makes no sense comparing them.

My only point of comparaison is later Castlevania games who DO have stairs, those are Super Castlevania IV, Rondo of Blood and Castlevania Bloodlines. You'd want to behave like those whenever possible.

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The most important thing is to have consistent and predictable behaviour though, otherwise a player who has mastered the controls will get annoyed when they suddenly work differently than expected.

The original CV3 has consistent and predictable behaviour, yet we both agree it's controls suck.

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So I wouldn't make it check your starting jump height.
How does it make the controls inconsistent ? SCV4 probably does exactly that. If the stairs go "down", you autoland on them, as this avoids falling through stairs like shown in this video. If they go "up", you don't autoland and simply pass through. This is absolutely consistent and makes sense. If you jump in front of stairs going up, you just do it as if the stairs weren't here. If you jump over stairs going up and fall in a bottomless pit, and die which is the correct behaviour. If you jump hop onto stairs going down, you land on them, as opposed to the original game, again the correct behaviour.

I suggest checking the vertical position as a simple way to distinguish stairs going "up" from stairs going "down" but if there is another preferred method, go for it.

3
Could you explain why this would be a problem?
Well, because you're more likely to just want to jump normally and ignore the stairs completely.

4

Here's a sneak preview. :3

Still a bit buggy as you can see, but nonetheless it is starting to work. (Detecting when the player is on a stair turns out to be very difficult, since only the locations of the beginnings and ends of the stairs are actually stored. o.0)
Honnestly, if you forward jump in front of stairs, you should definitely NOT land on the staires (as shown in this video). This is a bigger problem than the problem you pointed out in solution 1.

You should either implement solution 1 or make it so that the player lands on stairs only if he is lower than the point where he left the ground when jumping.

5
So, I finally got to write myself the proper script conversion tool and ran my compression algorithms on them. I do no know which table you used, depending on where the letters are placed it could affect the compression ratio a little. I made up some values just to fit them (punctuation symbols, which differs from the japanese anyway).

I assumed all messages are finished by a $00 value, and that empty message are only a $00 values. By making them point to an existing $00, those could be optimized out (but I didn't do that yet).

The script contains once a weird [*C] hyphen I have no idea what it means (bank2, message 74), so I just used [0C] instead as a placebo value.

For the whole script I have 96548 bytes. The best compression is with the Huffman algorithm. Huffman reduces the script to 61532 bytes, however this includes a length table, but since all messages are $00 terminated, the length table can be optimized out. There is a total of 1732 messages, meaning that by suppressing the 16-bit length table, 3464 bytes can be suppressed and the total size of compressed script would be 58068 bytes, a good 40% savings on the uncompressed script.

Huffman is however not the most practical compression to implement, it is simple enough but would be slow for rare symbols as it requires going through the entire table of frequent symbols first, and figure we're not decoding any of them. This slowdown could potentially cause problems if implemented as a romhack in a game that does not expect a slowdown here.

Byte pair/DTE/dictionary based encodings works poorly because some messages in bank2 uses symbols in the $30-$4f range, blocking this range which would normally be used for that. So my temporary estimate as how this would be done is leave bank 2 uncompressed and compress the other banks. Then I add uncompressed bank 2's size to estimate the total. The most interesting is the recursive byte pair encoding (basically it's exactly the compression used in AW Jackson's translation, except a byte pair can point to another byte pair, making the algorithm more powerful). So unlike Huffman this compression alrogithm is almost free, it's about 20 assembly instructions to get it working. Using this we could fit everything in 65783 bytes, a good ~31% of savings on the original size. But by altering the table in order to "pack" all used symbols near the end of the table as much as possible this ratio could be improved, as they'd be room for more byte pairs. Here I have byte pairs between $15 and $60. I'm fairly sure it could be enlarged to include at least $15 to $80, if this can be done, then maybe we can reach compression ratio almost as good as huffman, but it might require some hacking. For example the tiles used to make window borders or other things not present in the script should be moved "up", and all used symbols should be moved "down".

Please tell me if any of those sizes would make the script fit in a 512kb ROM. If not, then I'll have to look at whether it's possible to compress the graphics.

6

Solution 1:[...]
  - if the player in that video had jumped before reaching the stairs, Belmont would have fallen straight through the stairs regardless.
To be honest this sounds like a serious problem. But after playing CV3 for decades and having major problems falling in the stairs all the time at the begining to eventually got used to it, I think players will get used to it either way. But I still think solution 2 is slightly more professional, but it might be harder to code as it goes further from the original game (automatically landing to stairs).

I'll really have to test your hack, as I hated the controls of CV3 since decades (but eventually got used to it, after playing this game hours and hours, game so good even bad controls can't ruin it !). CV1 it's excusable as it's an early NES game but CV3 there's really no excuse they messed up the control that badly. And don't even mention me Dracula X where they purposely reverted to horrible 1986-style controls after getting them majorly improved in SCV4.

7
ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Terranigma MSU-1 - PAL and NTSC
« on: July 28, 2017, 03:17:27 pm »
So I'm just listening the sound pack to... it sounds very synth-ish. I noticed a couple of wrong notes here and there. But some tracks still sounds significantly better than their original counterparts but overall I don't think it makes such a difference. Still nice work !

PS: Wow, track 1 (underworld's theme) and track 21 (Ivan's Tower/hideout) really sound WAY supperior to their originals !!

8
ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Terranigma MSU-1 - PAL and NTSC
« on: July 28, 2017, 03:13:54 am »
Is there support for the French version ?

9
Gaming Discussion / Re: SNES Mini... and Star Fox 2
« on: June 28, 2017, 04:10:12 pm »
FF1 does get sort of non-linear once you break free of the Aldi Sea
Technically you're right, but the progression is limited by weapon/armour prices and enemies level. I dare you to go get the airship before beating the earth cave... Once you have the airship there's some unlinearity, I agree. But it also proves my point that the story is extremely limited, because that's precisely what the story of FF1 is.

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and the WoR in FF6 (post-airship) can be done non-linearly
I don't remember the details, but if I'm remembering well the first part is linear (you have to rescue this guy in a burning house hold by Sabin, which always join your party 1st), and finally once you have the airship back it's unlinear but there's not much story going on. It's also optional,if you don't care about rescuing your party (but strongly recomanded). It works marvelously well, but doens't go against my point.

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I suppose that is somewhat similar to the Chrono Trigger late-game sidequests except they tell you in one place which you still need to do (don't you need to do all of them to unlock NG+? Though I'm not certain since I played it a ton back in the day on rental carts where someone else had already unlocked it.)
Chono Trigger handles partial-nonlinearity with an interesting scenario wonderfully. It's still a fairly linear game "wrapped" under a non-linear setup. You can go to prehistory early, but there's nothing to do here, for example. As such it's still linear if you only count where there's actually missions to do.

10
I still hold that compressing script and leave the game on 512k MMC3 is the best option.
I found the mediafire like you gave me months ago, but I don't know how I should format those 10 files and attempt at compressing them with my program. In particular, I'd like to know how those / and those [xx] works exacly, and if there's an implied end marker at the end of the "messages".

11
Gaming Discussion / Re: SNES Mini... and Star Fox 2
« on: June 27, 2017, 02:03:54 pm »
I think the customizability of the Esper system lends itself a little better to reply than FF4 (which, while a good game, is still possibly the most linear, straight-forward of the franchise until hallway-simulator FFX)
Every game in the Final Fantasy main franchise is linear and straight-forward, the non-linearity is usually limited to "you have to do 4 dungeons for the 4 elements and you can do them in your favourite order" (this happens in FF5). That's the price to pay for an interesting storyline. If a RPG is non-linear, this means that events can happen in any order, which means that they are disconected to eachother, and as such, the storyline is extremely limited.

12
Gaming Discussion / Re: SNES Mini... and Star Fox 2
« on: June 27, 2017, 02:28:25 am »
Can't believe people still use the names "Final Fantasy II" and "Final Fantasy III" for FF4 and FF6 respectively. It's 2017 !

I don't see the point of including a SNES "Final Fantasy" game without including the whole trilogy. Also, including Secret of Mana without either Seiken Densetsu 3 nor Secret of Evermore doesn't make much sense either.

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I'd be much more interested in this if I didn't already have a Powerpak
I used to have a powerpak, but it stopped working, I sent them for repair and never heard back ever from RetroUSB... I guess I'll get those Everdrive carts soon.

13
News Submissions / Re: Site: RHDN 3.0 Site Refresh Launched!
« on: June 25, 2017, 02:44:51 pm »
You can change it in your profile settings. It's a lifesaver.
Definitely. I chanted to the "romh" theme, and.... HURRAY the good RHDN look is back.

14
News Submissions / Re: Site: RHDN 3.0 Site Refresh Launched!
« on: June 24, 2017, 04:01:34 am »
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It's gonna take me awhile to get used to this new design. And I'd be lying if I said I liked this design. Sometimes change is tough.
+1
My thoughts exactly.

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First, we have provided mobile and tablet friendly viewing
F*** those useless devices.

15
Newcomer's Board / Re: FF5 Advance sound patch not working
« on: June 21, 2017, 02:00:46 am »
Did you actually patch the file correctly ? Did you use the correct version (US, EU, JAP) of the patch ?

Also, I don't know if you have experienced this but I'll emphasise that chapter I wrote in the readme:

Quote from: readme.txt
*** Disclaimer ***
This hack was means to be played on real hardware. Some emulators may have compatibility issues with this hack. Mainly, with the default options of the emulator Visual Boy advance, it will play the game with major slowdowns. This does not happen on accurate emulators or real hardware. This is *NOT* a bug in my patch, but in VBA, so no I will not fix it. This problem is caused by the placebo BIOS used by VBA. If you use a real BIOS (dumped from a real GBA) it will work great. By the way if you want to play this game emulated, I'd recommend you to seriously consider playing the SNES version.

16
Gaming Discussion / Re: Battletoads on the nes
« on: June 16, 2017, 02:59:38 am »
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Another interesting thing I found out a while ago is that around the same time Battletoads in Battlemaniacs came out on the SNES (1995 I believe,) the same game was also ported to the Sega Master System!
Are you sure it isn't a chinese "Hong-Kong original" or something like that ?
I can't imagine who would possibly buy a Master System game in '95.

17
Gaming Discussion / Re: Battletoads on the nes
« on: June 15, 2017, 10:31:40 am »
Bregalad apparently has never heard of "Battletoads in Battlemaniacs"?  Which was effectively the SNES version of Battletoads.
Oh I completely forgot about that ! However it's more a (poor) sequel to Battletoads than a SNES port. I never played it much so I can't say if it's harder than the NES original.

18
Gaming Discussion / Re: Battletoads on the nes
« on: June 15, 2017, 05:35:30 am »
I think it's a lot harder in the SNES Battletoads.  The SNES version is the version I actually played as a kid and gave up on the Turbo Tunnel just like many others did on the NES game.
There is no such thing as a SNES version of Battletoads. Battletoads was released for the NES and for the MegaDrive (and a dumbed-down version for the Gameboy). The SNES only had Battletoads & Double Dragon - which is probably the game you're referring to. But it does not have any Turbo Tunnel.

19
Gaming Discussion / Re: Battletoads on the nes
« on: June 14, 2017, 02:16:35 am »
One of the best games on the NES in my opinion...
I agree.

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I just got my copy about 4 months ago and have now beat it various times.  The difficulty is very high of course, but once you beat it the first time, it's like riding a bike. 
You mean... you actually beat the rat race and clinger winger without cheating with single frame advance  :o

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I think I got into it after watching AVGN and Mike play it with Bootsy.  I'm proud to say I've beaten this legendary game and if I can do it, you probably can too!
Personally the first part of the game that causes me major problems is the Volkmire Inferno (still beatable) - Intruder Excluder is hard (especially the boss which is random and unpredictable) but still beatable, however the 3rd Rat Race is really insane. I'm not even sure if I beat it or not but if I did I was running out of lives and got beaten by the boss. I think that happened but I'm not even sure right now. At least what I am sure is that I never reached the clinger winger legimately.

I beat the game a lot using save states and frame advance, of course, which also helps to beat it legitimately, since I can get infinite retries on hard sections and train myself that way.

20
Gaming Discussion / Re: Good Non-violent games
« on: June 12, 2017, 02:36:08 am »
Also, Super Puzzle Fighter has your characters beating each other senseless whenever you bust gems.
Because it's parodying Street Fighter, which by the way, could almost be called non-violent as martial arts are sports, and as long as each fighter respects the rules - which they do - is fighting for sport and not for beating the crap out of your opponent.

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