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Messages - KingMike

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Gaming Discussion / Re: Famiclones - a bang for your buck?
« on: February 17, 2013, 04:07:43 pm »
I have to wonder about that cart-connector issue.

Even on my official AV Famicom, I've noticed my Bandai and blue Namco carts, in particular, to have a firmer "death grip" on the console, requiring them to be pulled out more forcefully than some of my others.

Gaming Discussion / Re: Famiclones - a bang for your buck?
« on: February 17, 2013, 01:59:30 pm »
The only Famiclone I've had is this "Family Boy" that reminds of an Xbox. Typical NES-on-a-chip clone, essentially all that it is, with a built-in multicart cart slot and a regular cart slot.
Of course Castlevania III doesn't work (although some have told me that it can work with clones, depending on the FC/NES converter used. Doesn't work with the adapter supplied with this console, though). The only Famicom expansion sound game I tried was Digital Devil Story II. It played the Namcot-106 music, but at a noticeably lower volume than the standard sound chip.
However, I've since fried mine. Lesson, even if a Genesis controller fits, don't use it with this clone. :P

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Sailor Moon Another Story vwf bugfix
« on: February 17, 2013, 01:23:44 pm »
Well, for one thing you don't want to try to insert a MS Word document. Use a plain-text format.

Second, depending on the text format, you'd likely want to write a custom tool.
I can't imagine it being any easier to break FuSoYa's encryption. Or ask him about permission to make an alternate patch. How's he feel about that?

Gaming Discussion / Re: MDef bug in FFVII
« on: February 16, 2013, 10:08:19 pm »
Critical hit rate in FF1 I heard was based on the item's ID number. So generally weapons will have better critical hits the later they're found in the game.

Site Talk / Re: Publisher Policy Help
« on: February 16, 2013, 12:16:20 pm »
In the US, FCI (Fujisankei Communications, Inc.) published games under both names: "FCI-Pony Canyon" (though it seems towards the end they dropped Pony Canyon from the name). According to Wikipedia, Pony Canyon was a subsidiary of FCI.
Another I can think of is Kemco-Seika. For a while they were publishing games in the US as a joint entity, but later on broke up (with Seika closing a short time after that). As a quick example on GameFAQs, Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle for Game Boy only credits Kemco in-game (though the box contains the joint logo), while Sword of Hope credits both on the title screen.
For both of those, GameFAQs follows that, only crediting Seika for Sword of Hope.

Also, according to Wikipedia, "Asmik Ace Entertainment" is the result of a merger between Asmik and a movie company called Ace Entertainment in 1997.

I'd say with aspects like mergers, go with what the title screen says, but with formal suffixes like Co/Corp/Ltd, forget them.

GameFAQs also has some consistency issues, listing Enix and Enix America separately. Also, Bullet-Proof Software (full name) and BPS (abbreviated name used in their logos).

Site Talk / Re: Why is that tons of NES hacks are missing?
« on: February 16, 2013, 02:33:29 am »
Last I knew RHDN only accepted ROM hacks that can be considered "complete".
It's harder to describe, but it had to be what could be considered a thoroughly executed hack idea. Not like numerous Super Mario Bros. hacks that felt like they were made in a couple minutes with Nesticle.

(genuine bug fixes to official games are given an exception)

Is zophar.net still the place to go to get those many hacks of a lower quality standard?

Maybe some where ruled as incomplete? I know there were also a number of impressive (if often stupidly hard and glitch-dependent) Japanese SMB hacks, but if they were ever listed, they would have been removed as it seemed Japanese hackers would more often not want their hacks redistributed without permission.

Gaming Discussion / Re: MDef bug in FFVII
« on: February 15, 2013, 07:43:10 pm »
Well, disk space was probably expensive and companies probably didn't want to archive everything. In much the same way many old TV shows (even the first Super Bowl, despite being on two networks!) were lost to wiping.
It wouldn't surprise if many companies would also limit employees from making their own archives to avoid leaking their "trade secrets".

So i should do the disk version and not the famicom cart one, yes? The disk version's text format on screen looks kinda wonky. I can't believe no one has bothered with this yet!

I'd be surprised if the cart version was little more than a text hack of the NES version.
(seeing as they just used the NES version font, and it was probably easier than re-porting the whole game.
And I mean "little more": I heard that all non-FDS Japanese versions changed the Pol Voice weakness to pressing Select a bunch of times (four?) to kill them in place of the microphone effect (whereas the NES version game them a weakness to arrows).
As supposedly the cart version was, in spite of the 1992 title screen copyright, released in 1994 as a launch game for the AV Famicom, which used NES controller ports and thus lacked the microphone.)

I never got to finish the NES version of this classic and been sort of waiting for the FDS version to pop up translated just to experience it for the first time as how it was released in Japan.

Of the top of my head here's a couple of good reasons why this would be a worthy project:

  • Save feature
  • No slowdown when multiple enemies on screen! (same with Metroid)
  • Enhanced sound (more sound channels)
  • Relatively small amount of text to be translated compared to other FDS rpgs

I don't recall the FDS version having less slowdown (hard to believe Nintendo would add that "feature" to the NES version), but I'll have to see if I still have an end-game save and test second quest Level 7 (which I recall was the biggest slowdown offender).
But on the FDS, you also get loading time when Link moves between the overworld and dungeon.

The only sound enhancement I recall is the title theme and Link's sword throws (they sound more metallic). I can't remember if the "you found a secret" chime was played when bombing a wall in the NES version, but it was on the FDS.

Site Talk / Re: The Great Genre Debate
« on: February 14, 2013, 11:51:41 am »
Zombie Hunter is definitely not a Metroid/vania (which I think the FC Galivan is). The only backtracking is over a single level (which are all strictly horizontal), trying to get that random-drop key. You do not collect special ability upgrades to unlock old areas. The items consist of weapons (which are mostly limited-use to destroy certain enemies), armor (which upgrades your defence, but because of a bug is nullified at level-up), food (which recovers health), and a couple special items like the key and candle (which allows you to identify shadow enemies, but also runs out. Except for maybe the highest-level candle if you find it).

Okay, I found the palette select data, but I can’t get my head around the last bit.

Let’s use this one as an example (makes most of the “2” in the title use an alternative palette).

23 E3 02 88 22

23E2 = PPU Offset to store the values

02 = Number of bytes to copy

8822 = Palette select for the tiles.

From what I understand (I could be wrong), each 2 bits covers a certain area (either 16 x 16 pixels or 32 x 32 pixels, depending on the game).  So converting 8822 into binary gets this:

10 00 10 00 00 10 00 10

From memory, the key would be:
00 = Palette 1
01 = Palette 2
10 = Palette 3
11 = Palette 4

So I can see the game is told to use “Palette 2”, but I don’t get how those bits tell the PPU which tiles to select.

Hopefully someone can explain it. :)
2 bits always control a 16x16 area (1 BYTE controls a 32x32 area), that's how the PPU works.

PPU $2000-23BF is the tilemap for the upper-left screen in VRAM (which is typically used for single-screen images like title screens). That is the area to change if you want a different tile on the screen. (each of the 4 potential screens are $400 bytes. Note that most games only support 2 screens, using either the top half or the left half, called mirroring. 4 screens requires extra PPU RAM in the cart, and I've heard prohibits the use of on-cart CPU RAM.)

To change which palette is assigned to each 16x16 pixel region, you change the attribute table. That is 23C0-23FF.
Each byte controls 4 of the 16x16 regions (2 16x16 blocks wide by 2 16x16 blocks tall). Bits 0 and 1 (the last 2-bit pair) control the upper left region, bits 2 and 3 control the upper right, bits 4 and 5 control the lower-left region, and bits 6 and 7 (the first 2-bit pair you listed) would control the lower-right.

Newcomer's Board / Re: What happens if you don't recompress data?
« on: February 14, 2013, 01:52:59 am »
NES has only 2KB internal RAM and most mappers only support up to 8KB of on-cart RAM. While you could probably use LZSS, it would eat up a lot of that space.

No, I don't think dictionary is easier to write a compressor for. I think I wrote one (and then might have just, like my LZ compressor, reused as much code as possible for other projects).
But of those I used it for, many of the scripts tended to be small enough that I could bother manually inserting the text in a hex editor (Hexposure, particularly. Was a pretty decent DOS hex editor. Just too bad it won't work natively on XP.)

Gaming Discussion / Re: MDef bug in FFVII
« on: February 14, 2013, 01:43:23 am »
Honestly, if they lost the source code of their most successful and best selling game ever, then they're a bunch of idiots incompetents.

Now being able to re-compile them today with tools that were made for Windows95 or 16-bit DOS is another story.

It's pretty common for developers to not save old source code.

Capcom claimed they lost the source code for the Game Boy Mega Man games. They said it was the reason the GBA version of Mega Man Anniversary (which was going to contain the five GB games updated to color, unlike the console versions) was delayed several times until it was eventually canceled.

Personal Projects / Re: KingMike's Translation projects.
« on: February 13, 2013, 03:41:11 pm »
Does the compressed data still work?
I'd say as long as it works and is less than the size of the original Japanese data, it should be fine even if the data is a little different.

Now, I'm working on Deep Dungeon 3 player names. I think I might have asked long ago, but I'm not certain.

I think about heavily localizing these names. Though it's not terribly important, there's just predefined PCs you find in the dungeons and can hire onto your team if you didn't create a full party of player characters at the start of the game.
Keeping consistency with the manual illustrations, I'd consider priests a "male" class and the others female. (also, 5 letter max)

ホセ アレフ ランゼル クージュ ビルマン
Jose, Alex, Ronzel (probably Ron or Randy?), Kuju, Bill

ハレス ティアラ
Haley (I suspect the text was actually Haleth), Tiara

クリス スホーン シン
Kris (only one illustrated in the manual, female, so I'd guess choose the more-common-for-female spelling), I'm thinking maybe Steph or Shaun/Shana for the second, Shin (Jean?)

Site Talk / Re: Publisher Policy Help
« on: February 13, 2013, 03:15:50 pm »
I'd say whatever your rule is on the "official" title, make it the publisher of that version.
And I'd say the publisher name of the original release for simplicity. While Square-Enix is easy to understand, you want to try to keep track of who owns which Data East IPs? That's a job for the lawyer-mans. :)

However, as you mention Atlus... I recall that on Puzzle Boys for PCE (one game I did a patch for), they did misspell their name as "Atlas" on the original title screen. Pretty sure the database shouldn't preserve typos like that?

Site Talk / Re: The Great Genre Debate
« on: February 13, 2013, 03:04:55 pm »
I guess I'd call Zombie Hunter an action-RPG. I guess it's technically a platformer, but the only real penalty for missing a jump is that you get dumped into a pit with shadow monsters (only identified if you have a candle in your inventory. If they are identified, I think they will also be weaker than the "shadow" forms.). You can only advance to the right if all enemies on screen are defeated or run away, but you can move back left as much as you want. The goal is to get a key as a random drop from enemies to open the door at the right end of the level.
(this is the frustrating part of the game, as that drop is entirely random, so you may have to pace the entire level multiple times. And then maybe when you get one, it will give you a superfluous second key just to troll you. :D )
The RPG elements are strictly that you can level-up and there are shops to buy items. No real in-game plot and it is a linear game (though you get a choice of two routes to play for most levels in the game).
I guess I'll let you pick a genre from that description.

From what I've seen, I guess I'd call Dark Lord an action-RPG. The town sequences are entirely menu-based, but it seems to be action once you enter a dungeon.

Site Talk / Re: SD Splatterhouse?
« on: February 13, 2013, 02:50:26 pm »
Well, the translation does say "Super Deformed" in the subtitled in barely-legible text. :P

My guess is that someone just came up with that name back in the day before knowing the proper title.
I think the translation was mostly a one-day effort (aside from the title logo, which sounds like it was relatively difficult to re-insert, at least for where ROM hacking ability was in the day).

Newcomer's Board / Re: What happens if you don't recompress data?
« on: February 13, 2013, 09:09:20 am »
If you know how to program your own utility, RLE is probably one of the simpler methods to program a recompressor for.
LZ is kind of a pain to write a recompressor for. Fortunately, I've for the most part been able to just reuse one I've written and modify the source a bit as needed for each game.
For text on the NES, dictionary or DTE are probably most common. Before writing a custom tool, I used Hexposure (inside DOSBox) to insert DTE text (WindHex supports DTE entry, but I recall it being pretty buggy last I used it), and manually enter dictionary entries by having the table file and entering the hex codes.

I'm not sure of the format of the code (especially the ? mark), but if that involves changing address $00A1 to 1, then you can't make a Game Genie code.
$00A1 is a RAM address, Game Genie only works on ROM (address range $8000 to $FFFF)

You would need to trace the ASM code to the point where $00A1 is set to 0 (I'm guessing), and change that instruction to 1.
Start with using a debugger and set a Breakpoint for Writes to CPU address $00A1.

Sounds like it's the "attribute table" data your after.
In the NES PPU RAM, the last 64 bytes of each tilemap controls the palettes (23C0-23FF/27C0-27FF/2BC0-2BFF/2FC0-2FFF). Every 2 bits selects the palette (0-3) of a 16x16 pixel (2 tile x 2 tile) region of the screen. So yes, that means every 2 tile x 2 tile square must use the same palette. So 8 bytes will represen a complete 4-tile tall strip of the screen.
Usually the data is uncompressed, so you could try looking at the attribute data in VRAM in the hex editor in FCEUX (for a title screen, it is likely 23C0-23FF) and look for a match in ROM.

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