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Messages - snarfblam

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Personal Projects / Re: New Tools for Red Falcon
« on: August 24, 2015, 06:21:22 pm »
As for the Windows version, I won't do it myself, but I am working on a comprehensive document where I explain the main parts of the game, where to get the data and maybe some explanation on how I did it, so that someone else can use it as a reference.

I'll be happy to make an editor for anything that's documented.

Programming / Re: ROM Decompiler - how to decode NES ROM files?
« on: August 14, 2015, 05:54:36 pm »
I don't know.  I think writing a disassembler is a good way to learn those kind of things.

That's a good point. Maybe there's a better way to word what I'm trying to get at. You have to be willing to learn all those things. If you've successfully written a disassembler, then you've advanced to the point where you have a very solid foundation for understanding assembly. You've got to do the work to get there.

Programming / Re: ROM Decompiler - how to decode NES ROM files?
« on: August 13, 2015, 06:29:29 pm »
I feel the need to point out that if you don't understand the following (among other things)...
  • How to write meaningful 6502 ASM
  • How an assembler converts this to machine code
  • How to manually convert machine code back into ASM

...you will never be able to write any kind of software that reverse engineers code. It's like trying to drive without knowing how to shift. You'll never get anywhere.

Personal Projects / Re: The Legend of Zelda: Ganon's Deception Bugfixed
« on: August 10, 2015, 06:48:50 pm »
Scratchpad is strictly for the purpose of submitting files to the database. I approved the submission so the file can be downloaded from the hack page.


My list isn't very different from that right there.

Thundercats was always God-Tier for me

What's a Thundercat?

Newcomer's Board / Re: question about file names here
« on: August 09, 2015, 09:31:32 am »
Filenames are just that and nothing more. If someone renames it before uploading it here or uploads it elsewhere with a different name, then they won't match. There's no special significance to it or reason behind it.

Site Talk / Re: Policy on ROM hosting and IPS patches
« on: August 08, 2015, 06:31:33 pm »
Even if an IPS contains every byte of data from the original ROM, you have to look at it from a practical perspective. You're talking about distributing a game or derivative thereof. That is the most straightforward, blatant form of piracy. Distributing an IPS means you're sharing a patch that is virtually useless unless someone already has a complete copy of the original game. Yes, the patch can contain code and assets from the game, but not in a particularly usable format and for the intent of piracy. This does matter.

However you break it down, the bottom line is we can be a ROM hosting site, or we can be a patch hosting site. We're much better off being a patch hosting site.

General Discussion / Re: Republican Debate: Web link?
« on: August 07, 2015, 06:03:23 pm »
I honestly feel that Trump may be some kind of Democratic plant since a split Republican Party, should it come to that, would hand the Presidency over to any Democrat who would earn the nomination
Trump has already stated that he may run as an independent if he doesn't get the nomination. In other words, if we don't make him captain, he'll take the whole ship down. I'm not worried. At this point, most people realize he's a joke. (Fox's entry/exit polls showed that prior to the debate, Trump's support from viewers was upwards of 50%, and after it was somewhere around the 5% mark). All the same, people like him are good for the political process. It's good to have somebody that is willing to say things that other people are afraid to. Since he's not truly a legitimate contender, we can all comfortably ridicule the absurd things he says while simultaneously appreciating it when he calls somebody out on a legitimate issue.

Also, thanks for the link, Disch!

Site Talk / Re: Forum Rule #1
« on: July 22, 2015, 05:57:56 pm »
I don't know if PMing somebody who is being antagonistic is really going to be all that constructive. If someone says something worth responding to, respond. If they're being obtuse, insulting, or if you just find them irritating, ignore them. Don't give them the satisfaction. Don't encourage the behavior. Some things shouldn't be enforced by rules and warnings. In matters of respect and manners, a lot is open to interpretation. Just be mature, give people the benefit of the doubt, and when there is no doubt be the bigger man.

Well, if Trax has any kind of document detailing the relevant data, I'd be glad to whip up a Windows equivalent. I just don't really have the time or patience right now to go through the process of distilling the necessary info from a disassembly or through Red Falcon's source code (objective-C gives me headaches).

They actually remind me of Link's Awakening. Good stuff.

Newcomer's Board / Re: Hacking my own homebrew NES games
« on: July 10, 2015, 05:29:24 pm »
Seeing as you're working with Shiru, I'm a bit surprised you're not looking for help on NesDev, instead. Like henke said, ideally, the customizations would be part of the build process rather than hacking them in afterwords. The degree to which things are automated (slicing graphics into tiles, laying them out in the CHR, palette data, etc) depends on what Shiru has set up. Hacking changes in afterwords would still be doable. From the sound of it, you should be able to whip up a rather straightforward utility that will arrange the CHR, provide basic tile editing capability, and basic palette editing capability. But if you have a repeatable build process in place, creating a new utility is just a redundant effort.

General Discussion / Re: Romhacking tools and a new computer
« on: July 09, 2015, 09:35:37 pm »
Windows 8 is just Windows. It's much like Windows 7, except uglier, slightly more optimized and secure, and there's some silly "metro" thing that I haven't even seen in over a year that some people are still upset over. Also, Windows 10 is supposed to fix all the things that everyone got so mad about in Windows 8. I've been happily hacking with Windows 8 for some time now. Haven't run into any compatibility issues with emulators or anything else that might hinder my hackinations.

Personal Projects / Re: Revenge of the Red Falcon - Final Level
« on: July 01, 2015, 05:46:56 pm »
The difficulty level for this hack is perfect for the handful of us who have been playing Contra for 20+ years. For a lot of people this hack is going to be well over the top. Hell, plenty of people find the original game to be very challenging.

Personal Projects / Re: Revenge of the Red Falcon - Final Level
« on: June 28, 2015, 10:42:22 am »
It looks like bwass.org is serving the IPS as a text document (it shows up in text in-browser for me instead of prompting me to save it). So either right-click the link and select "Save link as..."/"Save target as..." or once you've opened the IPS file as a text document in the browser, just save it from the file menu.

Once you have the IPS file saved, Trax's directions above give you everything you need to know.

Site Talk / Re: Annoying search issue
« on: June 24, 2015, 05:28:12 pm »
Where are you entering "Super Metroid"? Not all Super Metroid hacks have "Super Metroid" in the title, but when I select "Super Metroid" from the game dropdown, I get 83 search results.

Newcomer's Board / Re: Legend of Zelda NES Tile Combos Q
« on: June 19, 2015, 06:58:07 pm »
I wrote a separate program to edit the vertical columns screens are made from (and was actually able to hand-compress them to significantly smaller than they originally were to make space for new columns) but somehow the program seemed to corrupt the ROM I was working with, so I shelved it.

I can share the executable and the source, but I made this over a decade ago, and my programming style was a little more... terrible back then. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12027218/Temp/Combificator%20Incomplete.zip

Honestly, though, it would probably be easier and more flexible to re-point the data and edit it with a hex editor. There is a document floating around somewhere that documents the format of this data.

Site Talk / Re: Mapper hacks
« on: June 14, 2015, 09:21:35 am »
Mapper hacks can be useful in theory. If you provide documentation (ideally including source code for the modifications and some template ASM that can take advantage of the mapper change), someone can take it and immediately do something interesting. Much moreso if the author does more than the bare minimum. Although it won't be distributed as a patch, the upcoming version of Editroid converts a Metroid ROM to MMC3. In the process it fully expands it, converts it to CHR ROM, adds CHR animation (via cycling) for backgrounds, modifies some code to allow level data to be stored in any bank, and has routines that can be used to safely perform bank swaps (they aren't atomic/thread-safe, on MMC3) so new code and data can be easily accessed.

Now, hypothetically, if I distributed this conversion for Metroid as patch, should it be allowed on RHDN? If you simply apply the patch, you won't notice any difference in gameplay, but if you intend to hack it, it instantly opens many doors.

In general, we try not to judge the quality or usefulness of a hack. There are certain exceptions to this (e.g. no half-baked naked mario hacks), but for the most part, people's perspectives and opinions can vary widely so we try to be inclusive. Although you or I might find a particular submission to be useless, somebody else is bound to disagree.

I think a mapper conversion should at the very least state in the description that it makes no changes to gameplay or content, and should document its "API" (i.e. where and how do you call the routines to take advantage of mapper features). I don't see a need to ban them though.

Site Talk / Re: Mapper hacks
« on: June 09, 2015, 04:54:14 pm »
Quote from: Submission Guidelines
Improvement hacks are often ones intended to be used as a base for other hacks.

Mapper hacks are permitted as "improvement" based on the rationale that they can be used as a base for a hack that utilizes the new mapper. Although mapper hacks don't add any content to the game per se, they make it possible to add more content or new mechanics when it wouldn't be possible on the original mapper. And incorporating mapper changes into hacks seems to be pretty popular lately.

It's true that repro makers can take advantage of mapper hacks, and it's true that RHDN has no interest in helping repro makers. That doesn't mean that we should restrict submissions on the basis that something might inadvertently help a repro maker.

Another problem I know (by experience!) is that mapper hacks are likely to get rare random crashes. For example in a MMC3 target mapper, $8000 is written to by main code, then is interrupted, $8000 and $8001 are written to by interrupt code, it returns, and $8001 is written to by main code, switching in a bank in the wrong slot, resulting in a crash. It's easy for the hacker to release the hack without noticing this kind of bugs if he does not spend hours playing the hacked game, since in the original games, it wouldn't happen as writes were done by only one instruction.

This is definitely a problem. It's pretty easy to overlook the fact that even on an NES, certain things need to be thread-safe. I'd recommend that anyone planning on doing NES mapper hacks spend some time on the NesDEV wiki and forums. Without those resources, I don't think I'd have been able to do the mapper conversions I've done.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Make a program all in one
« on: June 05, 2015, 05:53:04 pm »
I've released the source code to my ROM Hasher utility, which locates the SNES header to verify the internal checksum. It's written in C#, so maybe it will help. Relevant code would be found in \ConsoleTools\SNES.cs. It doesn't decode the entire header, but if you know how to find the header and you have header documentation, the rest is pretty straightforward.

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