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Messages - Drakon

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Personal Projects / Re: KALE (Kirby's Adventure Level Editor)
« on: February 05, 2014, 06:22:13 pm »

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Retro Game Hacking
« on: February 05, 2014, 06:21:01 pm »
I found gameboy definitely one of the easier systems to learn.  BGB debugger was fairly beginner friendly.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Asm hacking
« on: February 05, 2014, 06:17:20 pm »
Curious, how do you guys handle your ASM hacking projects?

 Do you use a hex editor to do all your asm hacking, or do you use an assembler? If you use an assembler, do you assembly directly into the rom or do copy the assembled code into the rom?

Just a hex editor and notepad to type out my hex before copying and pasting it in.  The more I manually plunk in the more I memorize the codes and the faster I can work that way.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Castlevania 3j Long Version with SRAM Support
« on: February 05, 2014, 06:14:03 pm »
Yes the password system code could certainly be gutted.  I'm fine with projects that go in different directions that's what makes romhacking so great is having all this diversity.  I try to encourage people to learn how to actually asm hack and not rely on "utilities" to give you true freedom over your hack.  I really hope my hacking notes are are helpful start for your project.

As for those bugs I mentioned above I fixed them both.  Interestingly enough fixing them fixed something else that I didn't even realize was a bug.  Before I fixed those bugs changing side character erased the second character weapon for some reason, it no longer does that.  I simply fixed some jump commands to use proper bankswitching.  I was still learning nes asm and vrc6 bankswitching while coding this.

I further adjusted the saving routine so it also saves whenever you die, this eliminates the possibility of hitting reset to regain your lost life.  It also now auto saves whenever you go through one of those mid-stage doors.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Castlevania 3j Long Version with SRAM Support
« on: February 04, 2014, 11:38:59 pm »
Awesome!! I really love the idea of playing thru all of the stages without missing anything. But... I really don't like the idea of having Alucard unlocked from the beginning. You think you could make an alternate patch to only remove the routes? Also, I'm not a fan of music changes either. Don't get me wrong, it all looks really well done, but I'd like to simply have the original game extended without all the extra stuff. Wouldn't one be able to use multiple patches in the same ROM, anyway? Why include all of your hacks together?

Yeah it's easy to make a version with only some of the changes.

I found some interesting bugs today.  For some reason when you die mid stage it saves with the number of lives you had before you died.  When you die during a boss fight it resets to the main menu instead of returning to the stage, and it seems to give you an extra life heh.

Oh I see.  I was aware of the 256k limit on ROM's but my word, didn't know it was THAT big!

Yeah, would be interesting to add/edit songs as I myself is still trying to figure out how both the U.S and Japan ROM's tick for music since I want to do music hacks for certain projects that I have planned for Castlevania III and/or Akumajou Densetsu (want to aim at Akumajou more since I have found an English hack for it).  People have told me how to do such music hacks but since I don't have much experience on in-depth hacking and most 'tutorials' that I've read on ASM Programming and 6502 Assembly doesn't help me out much since there's not much there unless I've found some poorly explained ones.  So for now I'm just messing around creating custom character designs to place into the character sprite areas while still continuing to find info that will help me in editing Castlevania III's music or someone that is willing to volunteer their spare time when they desire to in order to help me out in editing/adding music for the projects.  I might have to release a project beforehand before anyone takes me seriously about helping me out in my quest for hacking the music lol  :P

The information is out there, you just need to learn it.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Castlevania 3j Long Version with SRAM Support
« on: February 04, 2014, 02:13:35 pm »
*old first post*

I spent a lot of this past weekend learning how the nes / vrc6 handles bankswitching, sram stuff and picking apart the castlevania 3j rom.  Firstly I expanded the length of the game so instead of choosing between 3 different routes you get to play every stage of the game in order:

Too many cool stages so why should you have to choose between the stages you play when you could play them all and get a better overall experience.

Since the length of the game was greatly increased I decided to learn how to program in SRAM saving.  Learning this was difficult but fun at the same time.  I really learned a lot about nes assembly messing around with this.  As complicated as fceux is (it's really not beginner friendly) it truly is a powerful and wonderful rom hacking tool.  Also having lots of great nes mapper programming documentation on nesdev is the reason this sort of things happened.  Here's a video of the SRAM hack working on a real cartridge (converted madara vrc6 famicom cart):

Like my other hack this hack also includes changes from previous hacks like having the music tracks changed on stages and having you start with alucard with the freeze attack as the main character and mr belmont as the second character.  I also fixed a lot of bugs from previous hacks.  The sram hack is identical to the long version hack just with sram saving replacing the password screen which is why I just recorded a quick demo instead of re-recording an entire playthrough.

Both of these recordings are made from a real NES (av famicom with a nesrgb kit installed) using a real vrc6 cartridge with a socketed prg rom.

Like a lot of my hacks this didn't start with any clear sense of direction or ideas of what I wanted to do.  I just approached this with the mentality of "let's poke around the ram whenever I have free time and document what is what".  I did know that I love this game so it was definitely worth sitting down and picking it apart whenever I found free time.

I want to credit spikeman for really helping me understand a lot of fundamentals of assembly language, system memory maps, how old console programming works and romhacking in general.  Even though spikeman had nothing to do with this specific project, working with spikeman in the past really made it easier for me to learn how to pick this game apart.  Having the general foundation really helps me figure things out on my own faster.  Another person to give credit to is Tiido.  Tiido is another great person who helps me with assembly language / hardware related questions when he has time as long as the questions show I've done my homework and the answer is short and not too time consuming.  I contacted snarfblam asking for suggestions on how to go about adding SRAM and he's the one who suggested the easiest (and best) way to do it is hijacking the password option in the main menu and just have a single save slot.

Now that is very nice to see!  Currently almost done watching it all the way through and liking of what was done so far.

Though I deeply enjoy the original I am liking the fact that all stages can be played through without any choices of routes to take!  Looking at this more as I'm at the 58 minute mark I'm already seeing tons of possibilities to add onto this hack like more music tracks instead of the same ones, new bosses along with new boss mechanics to dodge the repeats and new abilities for the heroes to undertake new obstacles.

So many possibilities it's awesome  :D

My hat goes off to you sir and am definitely keeping an eye on this hack's progress to see on what comes up next!

Adding so many more things may be difficult.  The max prg size of the vrc6 is 256k and this game uses almost all of it.  I had to code in bankswitches to get at more free space to insert new code.  I actually had to optimize a lot of my code just to get everything to fit.  Fitting in the bankswitches was the hardest part.  My code could be further optimized but it works as is so smeh.  Adding music is more doable because you could just overwrite songs that are no longer used.

You probably won't see much other progress on this.  I've pretty much done everything that I feel makes the game better.  To me this is as perfect of an experience as I could make.

Pretty damn cool. I'd definitely like to give this a try.
SRAM is always a great addition to any NES game. How complex is it? Are you just saving the password and loading it automatically?
I'd love to see a more fleshed out version of it some day with say multiple save slots, an interface and skipping the intro scene. If it hasn't been done by the time I finish my Megaman project I might just tackle it.
Also, is it compatible with the translation?
And are you going to release the SRAM, Long Version, And Alucard hacks separately?

I'm not saving the password I tracked down where in the ram all information I want to save it kept.  I'm sure I saved some information that the password system doesn't keep track of.  What it saved is who your main guy is, what his weapon is, who the second guy is, what his weapon is, current number of lives, current stage, current substage, and if you've looped the game or not.  I wrote a block of code that transfers those ram locations into the sram area and vice versa depending on if you choose "new" or "continue" in the main menu.  I completely bypassed the password system and added my own code.  Since this is one save slot I made the cursor default to "continue" so you have to hit select to start a new game making it hard to erase your data by accident.  I don't know if it's compatible with the translation but it should be.  I added new code in usused rom areas (fuill of ff ff ff) and then just replaced a 3-4 hex command with a jump command to my code.  If this gets released I'm releasing everything in one big hack.

Something I forgot to mention in the first post you need to start a new game before you continue or it will crash.  I didn't bother writing any code to check if the sram has data or not, I could add that I just can't be bothered right now.

Nice! Very nice! I hope you keep at the ASM hacking. So many doors and possibilities open up when you ASM hack.

Thanks.  I agree.  After doing something like this I'm starting to feel like I can do just about anything to a game if I spend enough time at it.  ASM hacking may be the hardest type of romhacking but it's certainly the most powerful way to do things as you can make changes to the actual game engine.

I'm only releasing the actual rom to certain people.  I don't want to make a public release with this.  If anything I want to use this as a way to "show people what can be accomplished by learning asm".  What I will release are my hacking notes used to make this hack.  I want people to take my notes and use them to learn assembly and make their own hacks.

Yes the notes are messy and confusing but it's a lot better than starting with nothing.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Castlevania 3j Long Version with SRAM Support
« on: February 03, 2014, 10:03:36 pm »

Playthrough video:

What this hack features:

Sram saving, no more passwords, it saves everything I felt is important even what loop you're in.  I did the lazy version and just replaced the "password" jump with a jump to my loading code and renamed it "continue".  I set the cursor to default to continue so you have to press "select" to erase your data making it difficult to erase your game by accident.  It saves when you start a new stage, when you enter a new substage (going through one of those mid-stage doors) and right after you die, all automatically.

All stages are played in sequence giving you the full experience.  No more choosing routes, now you get to play every stage in the game!  Don't have time to do it all in one sitting?  Worry not! Because there's sram saving so you can turn it off and come back to it whenever you feel.

I changed most of the game palette data, I wanted to get rid of that whole cartoon feel and give it a more realistic look.

Alucard is now the main character with the freeze attack and mr belmont is the backup character that you start your new game with.  Both characters always have fully powered up weapons no more need to pickup weapon upgrades (I had to disable it due to a bug with alucard).  Since you play every stage you can pick up any side character you want, yes you can have two alucards if you want.  Whenever you pass through a substage door or start a new stage / die, alucard's weapon reverts back to the freeze attack so don't worry if you pick up the clock weapon.

I changed which song is played at which point of the game, this is merely a preference thing.

I changed the title screen from a bunch of japanese kanji into what I think is a nicer set of tiles (see above screenshot).  Again, preference.

This indeed runs on real hardware, this playthrough was recorded from an av famicom with a converted madara vrc6 famicom cartridge.

The debugger used to locate ram addresses, locate code I want to change, and check my inserted code was fceux debug build.  ReVamp was used for most of the palette changes but still a lot of palette changes I had to do manually.  yy-chr was used for the tile changes of the title screen.  Winhex was used for ending credit and title screen text changes.  All programming changes I just typed myself in hex in notepad and inserted using a hex editor.

Will I release the ips?  No, I don't feel like giving out this much work freely.  But for anyone who's interested in hacking away at castlevania 3j here's my hacking notes so you can make your own awesome hack! (I want to inspire more people to learn how to do this):

Personal Projects / Re: Capcom Games Editor (NES)
« on: February 03, 2014, 09:56:52 pm »
Years ago on an early version of acmlm, someone released a program called Nightmare. It was similar in idea, and was essentially a GUI frontend for a hex editor. You could  create text modules which would explain at range data could be found and what that data was, and then Nightmare would simplify the process for the user by making a makeshift editor with dropboxes and other neat stuff. I ended up sharing this program with the Fire Emblem community around 2005, and now it's the main tool used by English-speaking fans to edit versions of Fire Emblem and Advance Wars. I haven't seen it adopted anywhere else, so I guess it sort of died off except where I shared it :o

A universal map editor also seems really snazzy. I'm seriously impressed with the amount of games this program already supports  :beer:

Yeah that's what this is looking like to me which is great.  Another "universal editor" I'd like to see is one for graphics since a lot of games I've mucked around with have graphics compression.

Personal Projects / Re: Capcom Games Editor (NES)
« on: February 02, 2014, 09:57:02 pm »
How about support for Bonk 1 and 2, for PC-Engine?

Bonk level hacks would rule.

I like the idea of a universal editor that you can create a file for a specific game and it allows you to edit the game with the appropriate information.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Need a sound effect for my title screen
« on: January 30, 2014, 11:22:39 pm »
I just ended up timing some music to it:  Man you really know your stuff when it comes to pce programming.

Personal Projects / Re: KALE (Kirby's Adventure Level Editor)
« on: January 30, 2014, 10:56:16 pm »
This is awesome, thank you very much for making this.

Personal Projects / Re: Megaman 1 and 2 for PC-Engine upgrade/hack
« on: January 26, 2014, 11:07:35 am »
Yeah the problem is : I don't have any PCE, so all I can do is watch the video and say this is an amazing hack ^^

There's PCE emulators on the pc that will play a game off of a burned cd or even better a virtual cd from a harddrive image like an iso.

Personal Projects / Re: Megaman 1 and 2 for PC-Engine upgrade/hack
« on: January 26, 2014, 07:36:17 am »
You can burn whatever audio tracks you want.  I changed a few tracks to ones I prefer it's just a wav file.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: The Legend of Zelda changing text
« on: January 26, 2014, 07:34:15 am »
Is there a reason people don't just edit text straight through FCEUX's hex editor? I like to be able to reload the pages and preview them before saving.

I completely forgot it has one.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Your top 3 favorite games to hack
« on: January 25, 2014, 09:23:19 pm »
  • Metroid [NES]
  • Legend of Zelda [NES]
  • Everything else [NES]

I've made both hacks and editors for items 1 and 2, and I've got a much more extensive Metroid hack in the works, but lately I've been having a hard time keeping myself interested in that :/

Otherwise, I enjoy just about anything NES-related.

Sorry to hear you lost interest in your extensive metroid hack, I'm glad you at least fixed everything that was wrong with the original metroid.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: The Legend of Zelda changing text
« on: January 25, 2014, 09:21:22 pm »
I use windhex for all text editing.  Just take the time to make a table.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Rockman 4 MI menu freeze?
« on: January 25, 2014, 09:18:28 pm »
No! That's not true! The game only auto saves at the end of each level. The secret boss fight does not trigger any auto saving. If you lose, hit the reset button. The game will load back to the start of Wily #4. You'll have to fight the Cutman/Elecman hybrid and the Woodman/Quickman hybrid again, but you won't have to repeat the whole game, and you also won't be stuck without getting another chance.

Well the way the programming of the game works is as soon as the third chimera boss has finished lowering the ram updates to a value that says "he's been attempted" and it won't let you play him once that ram value updates so you definitely need to reset the game at the very least.  Having to get up, hit reset and replay the first two chimera bosses over and over is really annoying.  No other boss in the game does this, and there's no point in having it which is why I disabled it.

I can understand you preferring the boss to be more difficult as that's a preference.  I don't understand how you don't appreciate me disabling having to reset the system and replay two bosses every time you wish to replay the boss.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Castlevania 3j Alucard Romhack
« on: January 25, 2014, 09:07:03 pm »
There's always 3 shots.  There's a bug because of the freeze attack causing it to sometimes not draw all three but the ones it doesn't draw are still there and do damage.  To make it draw all three I do the freeze attack again and that eventually fixes it.  The damage isn't random it's based on how many of the three shots hit the enemy.  The idea with alucard is the closer you are when you attack the more damage it does because of how many of the three shots hit.

You keep talking like the idea of giving him a sword is as easy as clapping your hands together.  I think it makes more sense that a vampire uses some sort of magic attack instead of a sword.  If his attack bothered me (which it doesn't) I would have just made it more powerful.

As for the music changes that's just preference.

I definitely noticed I get many more point based one-ups playing with this hack probably due to collecting all these extra secrets.

I added a play through video to the first post but here it is again:

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Castlevania 3j Alucard Romhack
« on: January 25, 2014, 10:57:19 am »
Haha, fun hack, the only problem is that Alucard's weapon is still horrible, and you're completely defenseless in the stairs.
If only he had a sword like in SOTN  ::)

PS : Also he magically turns into Trevor when you join with Sypha.

Yeah I know.  He doesn't have hand shaking graphics heh.  Take the alucard route and pickup another alucard for an even bigger glitch.  I also had to reprogram the code for the between stage walking cutscenes otherwise I was presented with a walking sypha next to a walking chunk of offset sypha tiles.  His weapon is weak but it has a huge range, but that's also why I made some of the later bosses have weaker attacks so he's actually usable.  You can do two things when on the stairs, you can shoot the freeze attack (couldn't do this before) or turn into a bat, so you're only mostly useless.  The best thing is if you miss a jump or get pushed off a ledge you can turn into a bat midair and fly back to the ledge instead of having to die and replay a chunk of the stage.  Also I could make alucard's weapon stronger but I felt with the range it has that would take away too much of the challenge and kill some of the fun.  This is still a more powerful alucard than default, having the freeze weapon + constant level 3 attack and some weakened bosses.

My favourite thing with alucard is now it's easy to fully explore the game maps and look for secrets.  As well as no more B.S. "oops my jump was a little off" or "I was pushed off a ledge" deaths thanks to turning into a bat and flying to safety.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Need a sound effect for my title screen
« on: January 25, 2014, 10:18:04 am »
That's not that far off, just needs to be more metallic sounding/ringing at the end ;)

You should have Garth appear randomly alla "toasty" mortal kombat style saying "shwing!"

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