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Author Topic: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects  (Read 65932 times)

FinS

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2012, 06:38:55 am »
Quote from: IIMarckus
How many Wikipedias are there? Only one (that people care about). The data on Wikipedia is under an open license, so anyone could create their own Wikipedia mirror with their own subtle changes, but nobody does that—they contribute to the original.

There may not be another "Wikipedia" but other wikis are plentiful.

Elves of Middle Earth wikipedia
Elves of Middle Earth wiki
Elves of Middle Earth wiki
Elves of Middle Earth wiki
Elves of Middle Earth wiki
Elves of Middle Earth wiki
Elves of Middle Earth wiki
Elves of Middle Earth wiki
Elves of Middle Earth wiki
Elves of Middle Earth wiki
Elves of Middle Earth wiki
Elves of Middle Earth wiki

sidenote:
The Orignal Wiki

Vague Rant

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2012, 07:01:04 am »
The fact that other wikis exist which cover similar information doesn't really dilute the metaphor. If Wikipedia ≈ open source hacking project, the healthy variety of wikis are just examples of more open source hacking projects. If some of them are more similar than others, well ... call that Super Mario Bros.
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LostTemplar

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2012, 07:24:43 am »
I think the analogy with Wikipedia is a bit flawed. For one, there is little to no incentive to take its contents and make your own, because you can just change it there yourself. When would you want to change an article in Wikipedia? When you have better knowledge of the subject, or maybe can explain it better. Something that benefits everybody. But this doesn't warrant forking it at all because you would have to take everything else and copy it.

The rom hacking scene, on the other hand, is a bit peculiar. Why would you want to take another person's translation work and change it? For example somebody wants to do a translation into another language. That's fair enough, but can you guarantee that it won't suck, especially if you don't speak their language? Furthermore, often there are people who don't like the translation itself (too literal, or the opposite; transliteration of the names; etc.) and other nit-picking where you can't find a general consensus anyway. Especially with fan boys/girls this is a problem, I guess.

So I think it's a very valid notion to keep your work to yourself. I don't necessarily agree, but it's everybody's own decision.

FinS

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2012, 10:24:37 am »
Say for an example hacker A starts up translation project X and shares his progress on website AD.com. Then shortly thereafter hacker B starts up another translation project X and shares his progress on website BC.com without citing anything from hacker G or AD.com. How do you know whether hacker B used the information provided by hacker A? You don't. Hacker A is most likely working on X translation because he feels it will be useful to people. If hacker B uses hacker A's work without citing it then it will obscure it making it less useful and diminishing his work.

In this respect the wiki analogies are applicable. You don't see one wiki citing another. You don't even see a wiki referencing the original inventors of the wiki concept in it's administrative pages.

I'm in agreement with LostTemplar. I am in favor of open sourcing but I respect anyone who wishes to keep full control over their own project.

Vague Rant

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2012, 11:16:22 am »
You don't see one wiki citing another.

Not strictly true, and generally not legal either, but obviously it does happen. It's not my analogy though, anyway, and either way it's pretty far off-topic at this point.

I agree that hackers have the right not to publish their methods, tools or source, but I also feel like the exclusive ownership some hackers claim on their work is a little hypocritical. At its core, hacking is reappropriating someone else's work, whether by translating it or altering its graphics, gameplay, etc. There doesn't seem to be much objection to modifying other people's work in that sense, and there's never been a guarantee that all hacks will result in something of equal or greater quality than the original: witness all the crude NES hacks that add genitalia to characters. I imagine there are plenty of original authors who'd object to having their works interfered with, but we do it anyway, while continuing to feel entitled to a higher standard of treatment from others.

I don't believe either this thread or I am advocating that there's no place for closed source hacks--that would be silly--but I certainly admire anyone who chooses to share their knowledge with the community, whether through open-sourcing or otherwise.
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Geiger

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2012, 12:17:24 am »
My data information has always been freely available.  My compression library has had available source since nearly the beginning.  An example plugin project actually has some portion of Temporal Flux's source in it.  TF v4.00 will have its source released along-side it.

But none of my projects will ever be "open".  Open implies multiple programmers.  After dealing with the horrible atrocity that is the Snes9x code base, I will never have that on my projects.  Awful programming aside, I also enjoy being a unilateral dictator on the direction of the source code.  If I had to deal with a committee, I probably would never have gotten the chance to do this massive code rewrite (which I suppose might be a good thing from certain points of view).

I don't necessarily oppose openness, its just not for me. There's also the fact that I program for a living.  Most programmers don't just give their stuff away.  It doesn't promote keeping a job for very long.
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Karatorian

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2012, 09:40:12 am »
I did a source release of the SMBS code. However, as the build system wasn't sufficiently cross platform, there was little interest in it. As I've now got a couple of ways to compile Python code to native Win32 executable, I ought to do a final release.
Current ProjectsFinal Fantasy EngineSMB Special for NESStudio Karatorian
@loop: lda (src),y — sta (dst),y — iny — bne @loop — inc src+1 — inc dst+1 — dex — bne @loop

FallenAngel2387

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2012, 12:40:15 pm »
For myself, I wouldn't mind doing some open projects but I always end up going back to that fear of people literally 'stealing' the work I've done.  I haven't so much have had that happen with romhacking per se, but other game modifications I've done and worked with in a group HAVE been stolen and used by other people along with sprites and what not.  It's more of a trust issue for me now than anything.

There also seems to be the lack of actual coders to want to get together.  It tends to be a 'You're a coder, do it yourself' attitude.  Though people do love to pitch in ideas either it be story, characters, dialogue, etc..  That's the good part of an open project.

So, you worked with a group, outside of public view, when you work had been stolen before, right? If you put it up there yourself, in public, wouldn't said public know it was your work, whereas within the private group you had no way to really prove it?

When it comes down to it, the main reason I don't do open-source for any of my projects is generally because I'm a control freak when it comes to my stuff. However valid the belief might be, the way I see it is that if I release some of my things as open source, 1) changes will happen to it that I don't approve of, 2) project structure and directory layout (which I'm HIGHLY particular and crotchety about) will change at a whim, and 3) incremental releases will happen, flooding the web with dozens of versions of a translation, none of which fit within my ideals. I don't mind sharing out bits and pieces of code, telling stories about the batshit crazy things I find in games, or even collaborating with others to ensure that a translation becomes everything it can - where appropriate. But at the end my own personal paranoias need to be satisfied, and the fact of the matter is that if I'm heavily invested as project leader in a thing, opening it up to the masses is just not something I can deal with very well on a psychological level.

I'm sorry if that disappoints some people, but that's just the way things are for me.

In your case, might it be possible to release what you had done to a now finished project, afterward? At this point, it should be known the project was done by you, your way, but the source could help other translation or general hack projects.

Do whatever you guys will, your work is always great either way. I'm just trying to say there's other ways of looking at this whole thing.

LostTemplar

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2012, 05:59:43 pm »
If you put it up there yourself, in public, wouldn't said public know it was your work, [...]

I always thought of it in this way, too. But this is only valid if you just care about proper credit. If you, on the other hand, just don't want that somebody cripples your work without your permission...

In your case, might it be possible to release what you had done to a now finished project, afterward? At this point, it should be known the project was done by you, your way, but the source could help other translation or general hack projects.

It's probably a problem if such derivative works terribly suck and you get associated with them. I wouldn't like that either but I guess you could just distance yourself publicly.
There's also the fact that while the rom hacking community recognizes who did what, the main audience ('normal' gamers) probably have no clue.

As I said I'm pro open source, so why am I justifying the opposite side? I have no idea ;) But I'd like to advocate the middle way: Even if you don't like to go open source with your work per se, why not at least release any documentation that was created in the process? Like offsets, reverse-engineered decompression schemes, etc.

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2012, 11:57:20 pm »
Since the files are Windows-style on Norm's PC, it may be that it's GitHub converting the files on upload. Regardless of the cause, it might be worthwhile for Klarth to update his tool to support Unix-style linebreaks, if he's willing.

As far as I know, Normmatt uses SmartGit (as do I), which has a setting to either convert to Unix-style linebreaks on upload/download or leave them the same as the host. I've had it set on converting them to Unix-style, but maybe I should disable that setting and just upload everything with Windows linebreaks?

Did you get everything else to build properly?
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Zoinkity

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2012, 12:53:53 am »
http://www.mediafire.com/?u95alguglxgst
That's most of the N64 stuff.  I'm terrible about actually getting around to posting/updating it though.  There's stacks of games not listed.

Hacking is derivative work, which has a lot to do with how court rulings affect it.  It isn't appropriation or privateering; both are piracy.

Gideon has a point.  Nobody gives a whoop about the N64 and half the people who do don't understand assembly code so it doesn't apply in that scene, but 'open' implies multiple developers.  Let me confess to you, when you did the al Bhet release for Tactics Ogre I transliterated the text just because I was that impatient.  There's problem one: WIP files.  Do you provide what you're actively working on at that moment, code still requiring debug or code still being analyzed?  Then there's annotated disassemblies, which might be incomplete as you work out the registers and linked dependancies, disassembling them.  Also, there's the issue of maintenence.  How much non-hacking time is spent managing this stuff?
We're also assuming the audience doesn't consist of a bunch of annoying fanboys demanding constant updates and questioning why the feature they insist is the most important and pivotal of all isn't being pursued full-force at this very second.
I don't know about you, but I find myself writing a lot of highly-specialized user-unfriendly scripts to automate grabbing/compiling/etc data structures or filelists.  Oftentimes providing a tool like that is counter-productive. 
Then there's data formatting.  It's interesting that a discussion about just that--in fact, one of the most common minor issues to arise--is going on simultaneously in this thread.  I've had complaints that certain things aren't formatted to some insane standard.  Why don't I use excel?  I don't own excel.  Why don't I use some silly table system?  It doesn't make sense with the data.  Why not a ''user-readable' format like xml?  How the heck is that user-readable anyway?  Besides, then you need a blasted parser and a special editor just to work on the data sanely. 
Then, incompatibility.  Script dumpers are great.  However, when it comes to placing scripts back into a modified ROM and now there's different formatting and specialized code not everything goes to plan.  So, do you deal with the inevitable "HELP!!!!! I NEEDZ TO PLASE TEH SCRIPTS INTOTHIS ROM CAN U HELP M333??????".

Theft only applies to personally-copyrightable work, such as newly translated scripts, fonts, images, or codework specific to your project.  Trying to push the point with disassemblies is idiotic to say the least, as you can only interpret a particular piece of code so many ways.  It's functional.  It only can do so much. 
Anyone who wants a lesson in how annoying it can be dealing with simultaneous borrowing should take a peek at Homeworld mods.  People releasing models of each other's ships prior to the actual release of the ship.  Bit like the 'new side' in StarCraft that beat its own expansion by a month.  It only leads to drama.

At the very least, I can understand if nothing at all is released until the project is complete.  At that point, you can also understand withholding segments of your own work just because you'd rather not see it reused.  For instance, providing the tools for a translation but not the translation itself.  After all, the whole point is to help others implement derivative hacks, not proliferate knockoffs of your own.
I've always opted to release on the off-chance it might prove useful to somebody, if only because the system I work with is obscure enough most people find it difficult to hack.  Can you say that's also true of SNES Enix translations? 

KingMike

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2012, 02:17:25 am »
Nobody gives a whoop about the N64 and half the people who do don't understand assembly code so it doesn't apply in that scene, but 'open' implies multiple developers.
I'm guessing that has to do because Japan was the least successful region for the N64, resulting in few Japanese exclusives (and thus, little interesting in the English translations scene :P . Pretty sure if any non-English PAL games were released, it was limited to a couple sports game variations.).
From what I remember, Sin & Punishment (probably the most well-known of the exclusives, which still seems to be pretty unknown outside hardcore gaming) was done by texture packs (I've heard some have ripped Nintendo's VC half-translation and said even they used texture-replacement).

The rest only gets more obscure/"hardcore" from there. The Custom Robos, the Goemon board game, Super Robot Wars 64.
Now who's going to translate "Fire Electric Pen" (or whatever a good translation of the title would be), the N64 version of Irritating Stick? :D
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Zoinkity

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2012, 07:44:27 pm »
Electric Current Irairi Rod doesn't do it either...
I'll get you its decompression and font display routine as soon as I buy a copy and dump it.

+_+

You're missing the first proper N64 translation, Wonder Project J2.  Then there's the partial translation of Animal Forest, and nobody can say the Animal Crossing series is obscure.  That game was ported here, then the english ported back to japanese (!?), then rereleased yet again later and now you can download it.

Other titles actively being translated...  There's the Eva game, Shiren the Wanderer 3, and some project for one of those multi-minigame collections.  I've toyed with the idea of doing the sumo games and a couple of the shogi titles were pretty fun.  There's a hefty stack of japanese games that didn't cross over, but when you concider that it took until, what, last year for somebody to bother hardcoding a translation for the debug menu in OoT?  What the heck is that?  It wasn't even hard to do.

My comment though had less to do with translations and more to do with the entire console.  Finding anybody hacking N64 is tricky.  I know more people compiling code to it than reverse-engineering.  Heck, I spend more time doing consoltations than on my own projects.
Even emulation is goofy.  Once most of the popular games mostly worked it hit a brick wall.  Do you know how few emulators bother doing all of COP0's registers?  Most skip a stack of little-used opcodes.  It's a recent trend for graphics plugins to do primitive geometry so now some games have skies, or fog, or walls.  Seriously...

+_+

Enough rant though. 
The N64 should be as open-source as possible, and if there was ever evidence for this it would be the debaucle that is Zelda 64.  If there was ever enough idiotic focus on drama-ridden angst to headshot any scene it would be there.
Let me explain.
Hacker 1 writes a decompression routine for the LZSS-derivative Yaz0 format used in the game.  Hacker 2 also does the same thing.  Both do something with decompressed files.
Flame war.  Server hacking.  Destruction of personal property.
I'm reminded of how Newton insisted that calculus was stolen because, obviously, nobody is as brilliant as he is.  Same situation.  Now you have different projects take sides.  They're both doing the exact same thing, but rival each other.  Then other projects come up that both sides attack needlessly.  Eventually the different projects splinter violently, and by the time you're done there's 5-6 partial editors, none of which do everything or even most of anything and some of which require a second dump of the resources because, you know, they don't use the same filenames.

Now, there's two solutions.  Either everybody should have kept to themselves and played quietly in their own corners, or everyone should have contributed to the same project thread.  There's no use tearing each other apart because you make progress.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 08:56:34 pm by Zoinkity »

KingMike

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #33 on: March 07, 2012, 01:31:07 am »
I guess since I've gotten a request, here's the notes and compression tools for Flying Hero.
Should be pretty easy for anyone else to make a translation with these.
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sa♥tsu

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2012, 03:06:37 pm »
I was really keen to make as much of the Filena stuff as I could publicly available. Not necessarily source code, but the tools used and the script data and stuff. However, the problem was that there were numerous different tools by different people, and some aspects of the translation were a real kludge (e.g. some parts that were translated in a hex editor with a page about hex values for English letters in front of me), so it ended up becoming a huge effort to throw together. If I have a really long holiday or get laid off one day, I might have a bash at that again, particularly since I bolloxed up the last release, but I'm not sure if there's really much interest anyway.

Tomato

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2012, 10:27:17 pm »
When I released my Mother 1+2 patch last year I included the source files, text files, and custom tools for anyone to use: http://mother12.earthboundcentral.com

I even added some extra functionality and such to make things a lot easier to edit. Originally I did it so anyone could translate the game into their language of choice, but I guess it applies to this thread too now that I think about it!

Zoinkity

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #36 on: March 09, 2012, 05:36:42 pm »
Come to think of it, how many cases can anyone think of where somebody took released source and used it to make their own patch?  Has that mostly been limitted to handing-off translation projects?

IIMarckus

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #37 on: March 09, 2012, 11:41:37 pm »
Come to think of it, how many cases can anyone think of where somebody took released source and used it to make their own patch?  Has that mostly been limitted to handing-off translation projects?

The Pokémon Red disassembly is the base for Sawakita’s Pokémon Wood, a hack that adds new features (RTC, uncompressed graphics, new scripts). Someone else is also using it to add a VWF to Pokémon Red. Both of these are unfinished (but so is the disassembly, so…).

Zoinkity

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #38 on: March 10, 2012, 11:32:52 am »
Well that certainly counts.  Pokémon communities seem to be really good about sharing stuff and info.  Slightly off topic, but do you know how far along the Crystal restoration has come along?  I know they were trying to get all the mobile phone stuff into the game.

Jandazekon

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Re: Open Source ROM Hacking Projects
« Reply #39 on: March 10, 2012, 12:45:37 pm »
Zelda oracles ZOLE by Lin is Abandoned closed source and he says:
the source code to the tools will not be released. ZOLE is my program, and people can put forth the same amount of effort into their own programs as I did mine. If they wanna use ZOLE's code for data reasons, they can decompile it. I don't believe in obfuscating code.