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Author Topic: The Difficulty Settings Project  (Read 26925 times)

gadesx

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #40 on: August 31, 2012, 04:55:33 pm »
Megaman 1 with a easy iceman stage using danger platforms save like in megaman 10 :woot!:

I can know where are some values in any game via cheating with fceux or another, if someone needs

darkanx

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #41 on: September 01, 2012, 12:43:18 am »
I totally applaud your efforts on this and hope you will keep at it. I love classic gaming, but a lot of the stuff from the nintendo days was just killer-hard and frustrating. A lot of "easy-type" patches are junk because they basically turn on god mode. I want it easier, not to play itself. So please do keep at it! Maybe someone will come along someday and help hack in actual menus into the game for difficulty selection. I think it would not be too hard. Just a standard chunk of code that loads in the game before anything else, kind of like all those trainers people hack into games. If you could find someone who does those, you could get some advice/help on getting a few implemented, then release the documentation for the masses to help on the project.

Regardless of however it progresses, kudos!

KingMike

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #42 on: September 01, 2012, 01:45:45 am »
Would be cool to add menus, but especially on the NES being able to track down enough free ROM or RAM might be an issue, for adding routines to enable/disable the mods (especially if the difficulty changes get into level edits).
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tog

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #43 on: September 04, 2012, 01:12:08 pm »
I totally applaud your efforts on this and hope you will keep at it. I love classic gaming, but a lot of the stuff from the nintendo days was just killer-hard and frustrating. A lot of "easy-type" patches are junk because they basically turn on god mode. I want it easier, not to play itself. So please do keep at it! Maybe someone will come along someday and help hack in actual menus into the game for difficulty selection. I think it would not be too hard. Just a standard chunk of code that loads in the game before anything else, kind of like all those trainers people hack into games. If you could find someone who does those, you could get some advice/help on getting a few implemented, then release the documentation for the masses to help on the project.

Regardless of however it progresses, kudos!

I totally agree with what you have stated above.  That is the reason I am working on this project.  I want to make games that are too difficult and frustrating easier, but not "godlike".  As I stated in my original post, that is a goal of this.

At this point, I am still working on this.  It is nice to hear that there is still some interest in this project.  It will probably be time for me to release what I've done with the Ninja Gaiden series if that is desired.  In other news, I've finished Double Dragon 2 and feel it is pretty much ready.  However, I'll wait until I finish DD3 before releasing that so I can release the entire Double Dragon trilogy together.

As far as the menus goes, from what I've been in communication with earlier in this topic, that probably is not feasible right now.  I am working on the Easy modes right now.  Once I work on the Medium modes later on, I'll release separate ips files for those, so we'll just have two different patches for the two difficulty settings.

One other thing:  it has been mentioned a couple of times earlier on to adjust the levels or enemy behavior, among other things.  I am not really interested in making game adjustments.  I'm only interested in adjusting some of the values since the games are quite playable.  I wasn't intending on changing the games themselves, if that makes any sense.  I may adjust some "# of hit values" for games that don't have life meters (I actually did something similar to this in Metal Storm a few weeks back), but it will be a while before I do any of that.  I have gotten some experience with actually adding code with what I've had to do to some of these games, so I'll leave this possibility open for the future.


tog

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #44 on: September 17, 2012, 12:53:03 pm »
I am still working on this project and am making more progress.  Since my last posting, I've finished testing Double Dragon 3 and both Castlevania 1&3.  So, those two series are ready to go.  I didn't do anything with Castlevania 2 because the difficulty in that game is pretty well balanced already.  The main challenge in that game is figuring out where to go and what to do.  As long as you have maps and a walkthrough, that game is quite good (in fact, it was easily my favorite of the three Castlevanias because it was the most balanced and playable).

I will turn my attention to finishing up and testing the TMNT games next before moving onto something else.  Give it at least a couple of weeks to get through those, though.

Is there still any interest in my updates at all?

darkanx

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #45 on: September 19, 2012, 09:12:25 am »
I am still very interested. Castlevania are prime choices for a little balancing. 2 has the "redacted" mod, which helps make the riddles and clues much clearer...a little too clear actually. 3 has a character balance mod, that I have actually not tried yet, but sounds promising. I will be interested to see how you approached the changes. Mostly curious if you removed the "knockback" or not. I would find such a decision hard to make. It is easily the biggest aggravation in the series, but is such a staple, it is almost sacrilegious to remove it. It would be nice if there was a way to compromise and make give it less knockback, but still have some.

Tell you one game that could use a balance patch: Battletoads.


KingMike

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #46 on: September 19, 2012, 10:50:47 am »
I heard the knockback was removed in the "easy" mode on the Famicom cart version.

I looking into adding an option to instant-continue in Battletoads, but it looks like Rare used almost all of the ROM space.
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Dizzy9

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #47 on: September 19, 2012, 01:12:06 pm »
Yes, Rare used almost every single byte, no empty space for new code. Also, game can't be resized.
This gave me a great pain while making a patch that makes a"friendly fire OFF" when playing with two players-I had to delete pause beat, and some of it's code.
What kind of instant-continue do you mean?
I can imagine 2 for this game.
First one is easy to do.
Change this:
Quote
01:E5EB:B5 2B     LDA $2B,X @ $002B = #$00
01:E5ED:29 10     AND #$10
01:E5EF:F0 31     BEQ $E622
To this:
Quote
01:E5EB:B5 2B     LDA $2B,X @ $002B = #$00
01:E5ED:29 10     AND #$10
01:E5EF:EA        NOP
01:E5F0:EA        NOP
So the code will never branch.
However, it only makes player not to press start in order to continue.

The second is what I think you had in mind.
When player loses his last life, game checks for continues left.If he have continues left, then decrease number of continues and refill player's number of lifes back to 3.
Luckily, in this case, game over screen is real game over screen. Meaning, you cant continue when you see it. That gives us some possibility. We can delete the code that is responsible for checking buttons pressed and sending player back to the level.
But still, even if you success, don't forget about the Clinger Winger level when playing two players.

KingMike

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #48 on: September 19, 2012, 02:08:11 pm »
Yes, I was thinking of the "automatically use a continue to refill lives" (or optionally, have the player hold a button as they love their last life, so they can decide if they want to continue), if there had been enough free space.
"My watch says 30 chickens" Google, 2018

Dizzy9

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #49 on: September 19, 2012, 05:19:30 pm »
Crap.
This game reuses the code from "Press start to continue" screen.It runs on title screen and while in cutscenes.
Fact:Player starts out with four continues, but uses one to start the game.Because of this I can't simply delete this function. And with no free bytes, It's impossible to write my own function.
Sadly, unless doing some heavy hacking, this can't really be done.
Yes, there's this unused music but it's in another bank, and we have no free bytes to switch banks.
I can delete the pause music beat. I'll think about it tomorrow.

darkanx

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #50 on: September 19, 2012, 11:14:43 pm »
Depending on how much of the difficulty you plan to reduce, I would almost say consider making unlimited lives, rather than continues at all. This game is a bit like the Super Meat Boy of the NES days. Keep trying over and over and over till you get it. Infinite lives, with some easing up of the race levels would be perfect. This would also mitigate the problem of "friendly fire" by making it a minor annoyance rather than a friendship killer.

Edit: Oh, wait, nevermind, that is not how lives work in this game at all, is it? I spaced on that.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 11:32:08 pm by darkanx »

tog

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #51 on: September 20, 2012, 01:32:45 pm »
I guess I could again explain more of what I have been doing, since my original explanations have most likely been forgotten in this thread.

I am not changing the game mechanics or how the game actually works or plays.  What I am doing is finding and changing values for attributes and properties, like life/energy values and damage done/received for attacks.  I didn't want to change how the games actually played since they for the most part play quite well.  It is just the difficulty that needed work and rebalancing, which is exactly what I've been doing in each game.

The exact changes I've been making vary from game to game, especially since they all play differently and are coded differently.  There have been many instances in which a simple adjustment has required a lot of code searching and value changing or has caused some side effects that needed to be dealt with.

It is definitely possible that I will modify code in some games to do certain things (like give you more than one hit in games that only allow one hit before dying), but that is something for a bit later on.

One thing I do not know how to go about is something that I've been running into with almost every game I've modified.  I've asked for help on this more than once before, but haven't gotten anything.  How do I adjust the life bars in games that display the amount of life/energy you have in a bar form?  In games like Ninja Gaiden and Double Dragon, if I increase the amount of life you have, the life bars are completely full if you have any greater than the default in the game.  How can I adjust the life bars so they display properly?

As far as Battletoads goes, I've heard so many bad things about the difficulty of that game that I stayed away from playing it.  The same thing with Ghosts & Goblins.  These seem to be good games, but the extreme difficulty of them take all the enjoyment away so it is no fun playing them at all.  That sure is a bummer.  Although, with the experience I am getting doing this, I suppose I could try them at a later point.  But, right now, I am working on the games I am familiar with.

Hope that helps clear things up a bit!

Xenesis

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #52 on: September 20, 2012, 07:34:04 pm »
One thing I do not know how to go about is something that I've been running into with almost every game I've modified.  I've asked for help on this more than once before, but haven't gotten anything.  How do I adjust the life bars in games that display the amount of life/energy you have in a bar form?  In games like Ninja Gaiden and Double Dragon, if I increase the amount of life you have, the life bars are completely full if you have any greater than the default in the game.  How can I adjust the life bars so they display properly?

Depends on the game, but they'll likely have a check that goes 'if you're over this x life value, only draw this many bars.' You'll either have to change that value to your new one (and expect possible glitchiness with that graphic) or adjust how the game calculates the bars in the first place. Breakpoints on read for the life value should probably help, though.

darkanx

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #53 on: October 03, 2012, 06:27:15 pm »
How goes the project? With the release of the super awesome Double Dragon Neon, I have had a wicked itch to play the original games, none of which I ever beat.

tog

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #54 on: October 08, 2012, 01:48:25 pm »
How goes the project? With the release of the super awesome Double Dragon Neon, I have had a wicked itch to play the original games, none of which I ever beat.

I've been working on the project and have asked numerous times if anyone wanted me to release anything, but have not gotten any responses to those questions at all.  I am pretty much finished with the Double Dragon series, so if you want me to attach an ips file, let me know.  I haven't actually created the ips files yet, but it sounds simple enough so I could do that soon if you would like.

darkanx

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #55 on: October 09, 2012, 08:03:22 pm »
Please do release them. I have been eager to give all the games you mentioned a try. I think there are a lot of ace retro gamers on this forum who grew up on nes-hard games, which is why perhaps your not getting as much attention for these balance patches as you should. I never really started gaming until the snes/genesis era, and even then there are plenty of hard games I think could use balance patches like these. Megaman X 1 is a perfect example of a difficult, but not impossibly hard game. I think that is really about how hard they should get. I remember feeling so frustrated as a kid on some rentals when I could not get past the first level. Anyway, so that is why I support your efforts. Please keep it up and do share them patches.

tog

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #56 on: October 10, 2012, 09:33:35 am »
Okay.  I've created the ips files for just the Double Dragon series to start since that is what you seem most interested in at the moment.  But, I cannot seem to attach them to this post.  Am I missing something here?  I was hoping to get some feedback on them, and didn't expect to run into this issue.

I guess I'll have to officially submit them, which means I'll have to create the text file to submit with them.  Give me a bit of time to get that done.  I have the ips files here and was planning on attaching them right now, but this will slow the process down a bit.



Edit:  Wait a minute.  I was looking at the Submit Files page, and it appears I can only insert URLs of files???  I don't have any URLs.  I only have the files directly on my computer.  Now what am I supposed to do?  Is there some other way to submit these?  This is my first time doing this, so I probably don't know what I am doing completely.

mz

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #57 on: October 10, 2012, 01:45:40 pm »
Edit:  Wait a minute.  I was looking at the Submit Files page, and it appears I can only insert URLs of files???  I don't have any URLs.  I only have the files directly on my computer.  Now what am I supposed to do?  Is there some other way to submit these?  This is my first time doing this, so I probably don't know what I am doing completely.
There's a "Contact Staff" link on the left, you have to ask there.

(I actually made a useful answer to a very similar question the last time it was asked, but an admin deleted my post and sent me a PM with this:

Quote from: Admin
Quote from: mz
"I keep getting an error message"... What about telling us what the error message says?

Also, there's lot of help in the same page as the submit form, try reading that first. And you will be linked to this page too: http://www.romhacking.net/?page=help&action=additionalhelp, which may help with your problem.
Please contact staff for matters like this instead of posting. There is a contact staff link on the side bar.

Thanks,
~ThisAdminName
Yeah, I will contact staff before helping others with something I don't need help with. Thank you for deleting me my post, by the way.)

snarfblam

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #58 on: October 10, 2012, 08:10:17 pm »
There are a lots of potential pitfalls that come into play when you let people upload files to a website. I think RHDN avoids it to keep the site safe and simple.

I'm fond of DropBox. It basically creates a mirror of a folder on your hard-drive, so you can copy a file to that folder, right-click it, and get a URL.

If you're not interested in installing DropBox I can host the file for you.

tog

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Re: The Difficulty Settings Project
« Reply #59 on: October 11, 2012, 09:22:44 am »
snarfblam,

If you wouldn't mind, would that be all right?  How do I submit these files to you?  I tried sending a private message, but don't seem to be able to include attachments there either.  What would work best for you?