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Messages - Nightcrawler

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Programming / Re: Find-Replace Patcher
« on: December 15, 2014, 07:30:23 pm »
Does anyone know of a patcher that would pass this simple test?

Yes, NINJA does.

In a typical (?) patching process, offsets are used to identify the location of bytes that will be changed/removed/inserted. An another way to identify the location would be searching for a unique byte sequence that resides in/near it, and then perform the necessary operation.

You could, but that methodology is subject to false positives, and bloated sizes as you need a long identifying byte string to be more reliable. I think most people are more interested in reliable patching.

I think a better approach is a patching format (such as NINJA) that strips away superfluous information such as the header, and reliably applies changes using offsets and operations relative to the common useful area of interest (that results after stripping). This pretty much takes care of all practical cases where you can reliable apply the same patch to different source files. You could make an argument for cases where the bytes are shifted. However data shifting is usually accompanied by an altered loading code to go with the new location. This would render most patches of this nature incompatible unless it were very simple and changed data only. That's probably going to be the minority of cases.

Site Talk / Re: RHDN kind of crazy
« on: December 06, 2014, 07:05:05 pm »
Windows 7 and Firefox and I have seen no such thing in recent memory here. That looks like some sort of incomplete page or CSS load. Have you had a slow or crappy connection to RHDN?

Site Talk / Re: Obsolete hack reviews
« on: November 28, 2014, 12:42:24 pm »
I added the version to the user review table, and in front of the recommendation in the expanded review. This way it's in bold, and the recommendation is more clearly associated as being applied to the version reviewed.

Gaming Discussion / Re: Grandia: What did you like so much about it?
« on: November 24, 2014, 07:25:39 pm »
I love Grandia. It's one of my favorites. Grandia's biggest strength to me was its adventuring atmosphere. I also thought the story naturally progressed to some more emotionally heavy and mature moments with some of the character interactions. The character progression happened without stealing the focus from the adventure or being obviously established right from the start. I enjoyed the battle system. It was quick and effective, and it had enough variation to be fun. I thought it was head and shoulders above most JRPGs.

It's not for everybody though. Some people hated the great wall part for instance, but what is more adventurous than going to the ends of the world, scaling a super gigantic wall, and having no idea what awaits on the other side? I would love to go on such an adventure. :P

General Discussion / Re: RHDN Trivia
« on: November 24, 2014, 06:38:22 pm »
Right. It's a human database error of some kind. The first one looks like somebody stuck in the game release date as the hack release date. If anybody wants to take a look at those three and correct them, that would be great (and very helpful).

It's the first three here:

Site Talk / Re: Obsolete hack reviews
« on: November 23, 2014, 12:53:33 pm »
I've thought about this. It seems the most feasible and simple solution discussed here is to add a version field to Reviews and auto-populate this field with the current version of the item being reviewed upon new reviews. I have implemented this.

We don't have enough information available as to what version was available at the time of old review submissions. So, all we can do with existing reviews is allow them to be edited to add the version.

Lastly, we need to determine where the most aesthetically pleasing place to add the version information for the review displays. Currently, it is not printed anywhere. Should it be in the User Review table, in the review text, review header information, etc.?

General Discussion / Re: RHDN Trivia
« on: November 22, 2014, 07:46:03 pm »
What about utilities? Do they follow a similar trend?

The majority of Utilities don't have release dates on file here, so there is no way to know.

Could translations be going up and down due to both availability of translators to work on stuff as well as older ROM hackers slowing down (ahem :D ) for various reasons, before skilled newcomers coming up?

Sure. Also, the data is also skewed by the fact that it is based on the release date of the current version of any given translation, which can be significantly newer then the originally release counting for later years instead.

General Discussion / Re: RHDN Trivia
« on: November 22, 2014, 10:46:32 am »
Those are some interesting metrics there that I never thought about. I ran a few queries.

Hack Releases (NOT submissions) year over year:

1991    1
1993    2
1996    7
1997    3
1998    11
1999    24
2000    53
2001    51
2002    34
2003    46
2004    63
2005    77
2006    80
2007    142
2008    157
2009    147
2010    137
2011    204
2012    242
2013    259
2014    250

First, those three hacks claiming to be prior to 1996 are highly suspicious. Otherwise though, it looks like clearly hack releases have grown with time. That would mean more people than ever are releasing hacks. This is likely due to the utilities that we have available these days that allow casual hackers to produce something.

Translation Releases (NOT submissions) year over year:

1990    2
1994    1
1997    20
1998    62
1999    90
2000    154
2001    121
2002    88
2003    109
2004    90
2005    55
2006    99
2007    125
2008    107
2009    103
2010    128
2011    74
2012    93
2013    150
2014    124

Again, looks like some people inappropriately put in game release dates as translation release dates for those oldest ones. Otherwise, some interesting trends there. Seems like fan translation peaked around 2000, went through some ups and downs and trending strongly last year and this year.

General Discussion / Re: RHDN Trivia
« on: November 21, 2014, 08:17:08 pm »
Neil, I believe that was true for Documents and Utilities. However, Translations were ported directly over from the Whirlpool keeping their IDs. Boxxle would have been the first translation Spinner8 added there. However, that is of course not the oldest translation in the database, simply the first added. Initially, there weren't going to be Translations here as The Whrilpool was still going during construction of the site. Construction of the site took quite some time though, Whirlpool events transpired, and the translations database got sucked into the mix.

The MSX translations from Oasis are the oldest translations in the database.

Ironically enough, ROMhacking.net didn't actually have the traditional ROM Hacks section upon launch. That was delayed and came a few months later with Dragonsbrethren's help. The Translation and Hacks communities were still very segregated at that time. Ah, the joys of bringing people together. ;D

Personal Projects / Re: Final Fantasy II Renovated
« on: November 21, 2014, 08:04:42 pm »
Indeed. If I pulled that on companies I have worked on software for, I'd have been fired and then probably have been saddled with some legal action.

I can say that I have seen lost source code at a company I worked for (not my code) with no explanation of what happened to it. It does happen apparently, but that code was from back in the day when that kind of thing was not backed up well to networks, repositories, etc (early 90's for this case).

Gaming Discussion / Re: Old games you wish would get updated re-releases
« on: November 21, 2014, 07:47:20 pm »
Am I the only one that tends to cringe when hearing about remakes anymore? 80% of the time when I used to get excited about such things, I was disappointed. They somehow find ways to butcher what was good about the original games. After too many instances like that, it makes me not hope for them anymore (even if a number of them ARE good).

With that said, I think it would be great to see a remake of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake done up the standards of latest Metal Gear Solid games. They could bring David Hayter back again. :)

Programming / Visual Studio Community and .NET Core
« on: November 21, 2014, 06:57:53 pm »
Microsoft recently made some about-face announcements regarding the direction of the Visual Studio products and .NET. It's the best news I've seen from Microsoft for the programming world in a long time. They are finally making a real effort now in the direction that developers have been asking for. I think this can only be beneficial for all. Their IDE is pretty damn slick these days too. I cringe every time I have to use the other guy's IDEs.

Visual Studio Community

First, they released Visual Studio Community 2013. This is essentially Visual Studio Professional licensed for free to hobbyists, open source devs, and startup companies operating under $1M/year. Full functionality is there including extensions. This is NOTHING like that crippled Express Edition they've been tossing to us the past few years. This is a fantastic release and you can do some serious development, optimization, and debugging on this version! There's also support for Android and some other interesting items in the latest update for it.

.NET Core

Next, an even bolder announcement is that the upcoming .NET Core version will be OPEN SOURCE as well as officially coming to Mac and Linux!! Visual Studio 2015 is where this will start and shaping up to look pretty good all-around. They have really been pushing to get the latest C++ standards in there and addressing most long time complaints. Somebody finally woke up over there and got to work!

Blog Post
Visual Studio 2015 Info

Newcomer's Board / Re: Music change in an existing spc player?
« on: November 05, 2014, 05:47:13 pm »
so altought it is possible to create a soundtest, injecting spcs from other games is a problem when it comes to playing them in sequence?

sorry but this is pretty complicated for me :D

So for my dilemma, hacking other spcs in an existing soundtest in a game is really complicated matter, one would have to create a player that creates a rom and adds either the backdoor you mentioned and/or the soft reset. correct?

You have to understand that each SPC file contains a sound engine. That means it contains a full program that executes on the sound processor. That program directly dictates what (if any) control you have over what's playing (You cannot even stop the playing if it doesn't allow you to). This program is unique for each game and may even differ between tracks within the same game. This is why it's impossible to just take an SPC from game A and play it in Game B's music player. This is also why it's nearly impossible for a standalone SPC player written out to a ROM to just swap in and out SPC files. This cannot be done without the backdoor approach I mentioned earlier. I hope this makes more sense to you now.

The CPU of the SNES has absolutely no control over the APU other than what the custom specific program running on the APU allows for. They are two independent processors running two independent programs in parallel.

Newcomer's Board / Re: Music change in an existing spc player?
« on: November 04, 2014, 07:19:35 pm »
It's also impossible for the game to reset the sound processor, this can only be done by pressing the reset button.

That's not true. This can be done via the APU. You can soft reset the DSP via DSP register $6C, remove the mask on the IPL ROM via register $F1, and jump to the IPL ROM for execution.

Of course, the sentiment of your response is still true. You will not be able to do this if you are running an unadulterated SPC file. You'd have to add some backdoor code to each SPC file you load (this is a pain since they are all game specific) to take a reset command from the CPU. While it could be done, it is impractical.

azidahaka, once you load your SPC file data into the APU chip and start execution, there is no way to communicate with it to do anything more than the original code supports. This means in nearly all cases, it is not possible to reset or 'clear' it to load a new SPC file. As I mention above, the only way that can work is by hacking the SPC files to add additional command support code.

Site Talk / Re: Update to utility, queue question.
« on: November 03, 2014, 06:24:28 pm »
I've corrected this.

Site Talk / Re: Question about a patch submission
« on: October 23, 2014, 06:30:52 pm »
The patch sticks data from Dezaemon DD into Dezaemon 3D. Couple this with the fact that Dezaemon DD was never released nor completed, and I would say it should most definitely be classified as a hack for the game Dezaemon 3D. The hack gets its own title, of which I would guess you would want to be Dezaemon XD there (That is the title of the hack, right?)

Site Talk / Re: Question about a patch submission
« on: October 18, 2014, 12:52:08 pm »
Could this be worked around by using a program instead of a simple patch, accepting the two images and doing the necessary work to hack them together?  Would that be acceptable, or would additional steps need to be taken?

That sounds like a good idea to me.

You would want to note upon submission what was done and why. I think this is a similar case to this:

Site Talk / Re: Add game genie codes to Datacrystal WIKI?
« on: October 06, 2014, 05:41:17 pm »
Game genie codes should be decoded and their information added to the relevant RAM/ROM map. There are utilities that can decode them. Many emulators do this as well.


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