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Author Topic: Some Reservations  (Read 3174 times)

gnomed0

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Some Reservations
« on: March 04, 2013, 05:54:53 pm »
I just started looking into rom hacking yesterday because i just now put 2 and 2 together and realized it's good for a lot more than Mario. what i had wanted to do was mess around with one of the early fire emblem games and sort of give it a zombie theme. the problems that i'm running into are that i have no idea how to change anything beyond graphics and that i don't even know which game i want to change. i was originally thinking of doing the first on the NES because i'm not the most artistically inclined person. less bits means less detail, but i found that after playing a translated version that the gameplay hadn't aged well and was missing (or at least had different) features that i took for granted would be in the game. now i don't even know what base rom i want to edit. i thought about using the gba roms but i don't know if i would be able to change even one mission to what i wanted let alone make an entire campaign.

I'm also unsure of what programs, methods, and tutorials to use. i looked in the getting started page and while it did clarify some things it didn't give much instruction into changing the game other than aesthetically. i'm not asking for you to teach me, but i would really appreciate it if you could tell me where you learned and what game i might want to do this with.
P.S. how much time do you think it would take to make a small campaign for fire emblem? i.e. about 10 chapters

Pikachumanson

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Re: Some Reservations
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 07:00:25 pm »
Well the good thing about GBA roms is that there is no bank switching. Other than that you are most definantly going to have to start from the bottom. Don't just start full blast on a complicated game like I did because you will run into a brick wall quick! Start simple, learn your craft, read everything and things will eventually fall into place as you progress. If you are dead set on doing a Fire Emblem game for GBA than I suggest you message people who have hacked the game you wanna do or just message people who hack gba games in general and see what advice they have for you.

Ven0m

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Re: Some Reservations
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 07:30:26 pm »
Ive been at this for only a few months which is infancy when compared to others on this site. However i would
suggest pick your favorite game and start learning how to change things in it. I used this approach and i am happy with
my progression. Everyone learns differently but its always best to start out small and work your way up, otherwise you may
get frustrated and give up. There are many different aspects of rom hacking that make up a big picture and you cant go wrong
with learning each aspect as it will help you tie it all together.  Specifically with fire emblem maybe change some text, and learn
how that works, then maybe move on to change some of the character stats, or work more with the graphics and research that.
By no means would you need to follow that order however those are basic things in comparison to adding, changing campaigns.
Good luck to you and google has been my best friend in learning :thumbsup: 

xXBelmontXx

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Re: Some Reservations
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 07:55:01 pm »
I don't know a whole lot about rom hacking apart from graphics and sprite editing so don't take my word for it . but for what you want to do , it seems to me like you'd have to learn hex editing.

Pikachumanson

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Re: Some Reservations
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 07:58:59 pm »
I don't know a whole lot about rom hacking apart from graphics and sprite editing so don't take my word for it . but for what you want to do , it seems to me like you'd have to learn hex editing.

Oh he's definantly gonna have to learn about hex editing and be introduced to the lovely world of pointers and maybe even a little asm routine or two in the game he's working on has compression on those graphics and text.

gnomed0

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Re: Some Reservations
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 09:25:35 pm »
so from what i'm hearing from you guys i'm going to have to learn how to do a lot of things using hexadecimal. luckily hexadecimal makes perfect sense to me and isn't confusing at all, but i don't really even know what hex editing is or what is involved with it. what programs should i use, what tutorials should i look up to understand how to use the programs, things like that are where is start to not know what i'm talking about.

i'm also scared to be doing a gba game. i previously said that i'm not very atrsy and i don't know if i'd be able to make sprites for something that detailed. looking through the rom in tile layer pro (don't know if there's a better program out there but it works for now) i can't even find character sprites. i don't know if i've just gone over them every time or if the aren't viewable or whatever. also looking at the mish mesh of colors makes it even harder, from what i read i assume this mesh is a constant with every game on a system. it's the tables or something that changes it to a different pallet right?

Pikachumanson

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Re: Some Reservations
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 09:35:21 pm »
Pick a system and stick with it because none is really more easier than the other. Fire emblem has a huge fan mod base as does pokemon so you can get tips from them.

Winhex is a good hex editor that I like to use.

If you cannot find the graphics in tile layer pro than the graphics are most likely compressed.
You'll have to crack the compression code to edit the graphics then recompress the graphics back into the rom.

Zoinkity

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Re: Some Reservations
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 10:42:41 pm »
To be honest, Fire Emblem is such a popular series of games that a lot of people have already worked on, so much so you can google something like "Fire Emblem GBA editor" and actually get text and graphics tools in the first couple hits.  How well they work is yet to be seen, but it really, really helps when you aren't alone on something.

RHDN is a great general site for hacking, but you'll also want to look at dedicated communities.  GBA is a heavily hacked system and you'll find most of the popular games have their own hacking communities.  In all likelyhood you'll be able to find codecs and ROM maps, plus utilities to streamline it all.
It also isn't the nightmare of other systems, with peculiar hardware configurations, etc.  If you have to pick a FE to play with, GBA is probably the easiest choice.

It will still take a lot of your own work, and don't think you'll be able to get away without learning something of the system itself, but with a bit of initiative you should be able to get started rather easily.

gnomed0

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Re: Some Reservations
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 05:03:35 pm »
thank you each for telling me about what this will entail and what i should be looking for. this is probably never going to actually be finished but if by some miracle i can get a single mission done i'll be sure to post it and see what people think. it seems like there's going to be a big hump to get over at the beginning but i'm sure i'll at least have had fun trying this. wish me luck.

M-Tee

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Re: Some Reservations
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2013, 10:32:13 pm »
Quite honestly, I only use romhacking as an exercise from the art and design aspect of it. I enjoy working with the limitations. However, romhacking has a definite learning curve and is very time consuming. Add on top of that the fact that you can only distribute your product in a patch form, greatly reducing your market. You can never make money while working with another company's IP, and due to copyright legality and the negative connotations of the word "hacking," it's in your best interest to work under a pseudonym... which restricts you further down the line if you ever intend to utilize the acquired skills for profit.

I would suggest to anyone interested, but hesitant, to spend the time getting into a game-development engine instead. The time you will inevitably invest would result in the production of work you can legally own and distribute... and to a much wider market. I suggest the TIGsource forums as a starting point for further info.