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Author Topic: EarthBound Zero - Improvement patch collection  (Read 13559 times)

Q

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EarthBound Zero - Improvement patch collection
« on: February 08, 2014, 07:20:04 pm »
I've been working on a small number of hacks to improve the gameplay balance and presentation of EarthBound Zero, the fan community's name for the unreleased NES prototype of the prequel to the popular SNES game EarthBound. I'm releasing an all-in-one patch and individual patches for each of the hacks. The patches are mostly done, but still need bug testing.

To use the hacks, you'll need clean copies of the Earth Bound prototype or the most recent Demiforce version.



Below is a description of each of the hacks.

Demiforce hack – The patch will turn an clean copy of the Earth Bound prototype ROM into the most recent Demiforce version (Demiforce v1.01 Hack-2). This adds the word "Zero" to the title screen, fixes a few spelling/grammar mistakes, and, if my memory is correct, it's also necessary to complete the game without setting off the copy protection if you're using other hacks.

Graphics restoration hack – When Mother was localized into Earth Bound, several sprites were altered in order to censor depictions of blood/gore, smoking, religious iconography, knives, and, of course, robotic nipples. A few other sprites were changed for reasons that are not entirely clear. This hack replaces all the altered sprites with the originals.

Gameplay balance hack – EarthBound Zero is known for being somewhat tedious to play due to the high rate of random encounters and the large amount of level grinding the player must do. This hack attempts to remedy this by quadrupling experience, doubling money, and reducing the random encounter rate by approximately half. Using this hack is like using the "Easy Ring" mod that was created for the Mother 1 GBA fan translation.

Font hack – This replaces the font with the font designed for the Mother 1 GBA fan translation for an improved presentation.

Text tweaks hack – This makes a number of minor alterations to the game's text. The character Giegue is now named Giygas for consistency with EarthBound for SNES. The menu option "State" is now "Stats." I thought this was a more logical abbreviation for "Status." Menu commands (e.g., Use) and stats (e.g., Offense) are no longer written in all capital letters because it looks ugly.

Progress

These patches are complete, but they haven't really been play-tested very thoroughly at present. It's possible I made some mistakes that I haven't caught yet. I'm still in the process of testing them. If you notice any bugs, please let me know about them.

Someday, I think it would be cool to replace the Phil Sandhop script EarthBound Zero uses with Tomato's fan translation of the GBA version. In order to do that, I'd first want to expand the game's text boxes, so I could fit more text on screen. I have been able to create bigger text boxes, but I haven't been able to figure out how to change where the game draws the text, so I haven't been able to take advantage of them. I don't expect to start working on a re-translation patch anytime soon, so don't get your hopes up.

If anyone has any suggestions for other improvements that could be made, let me know.

You can download the current versions of the patches here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/bdn36tupxb23hlh/EB0_Improvement_Patch_Collection.rar
« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 12:58:37 pm by Q »
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Midna

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Re: EarthBound Zero - Improvement patch collection
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2014, 07:31:15 pm »
I think Tomato actually had the same window-to-cross issue you're having when his team was un-censoring the GBA version. IIRC it's because the tilemap and palette data were altered, not just the cross graphics.

Hope you do eventually end up getting Tomato's GBA script in the game. Phil Sandhop's text is passable, but bland - it doesn't really preserve that goofy Mother series flavor. That way we'd have what I'd (at least) consider to be the definitive version of EarthBound Zero/Mother 1 (the GBA version is okay, but the music kind of sucks).

TheZunar123

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Re: EarthBound Zero - Improvement patch collection
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2014, 07:44:39 pm »
I personally prefer the GBA version because the NES version is so slow and clunky. I don't even remember when I last played the NES version but I MIGHT consider playing it again sometime soon, especially if there's a way to make the game run faster. Particularly the text, I heard there's some kind of weird thing the game does that makes the text slow (I think it had something to do with japanese text in the japanese version that they didn't remove but I'm not 100% sure), so if that could be removed and the text scrolling made faster I would definitely consider replaying the game.
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Q

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Re: EarthBound Zero - Improvement patch collection
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2014, 07:52:56 pm »
I personally prefer the GBA version because the NES version is so slow and clunky.

The one thing I really don't like about the NES version is how you have to open the menu to talk to people or examine things. If someone could design an ASM hack to replace the shortcut to the status screen with a shortcut for the talk/check command, that would make the game a lot more enjoyable. That's out of my league though.
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TheZunar123

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Re: EarthBound Zero - Improvement patch collection
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2014, 07:57:16 pm »
I agree, that too. The L Button is a great shortcut. Although the NES controller really doesn't have a convenient button for use, so if that did happen I'd probably change the controls in the options so that the A button is the auto-talk/check button and Start opened the menu. That might just be me though.
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VicVergil

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Re: EarthBound Zero - Improvement patch collection
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2014, 09:05:50 pm »
Well, you could try to undo the censorship, and restore some bits of dialogue exclusive to the JP version (like the time machine stuff)

Drakon

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Re: EarthBound Zero - Improvement patch collection
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2014, 10:13:19 pm »
Awesome, this is definitely a classic game that has so much potential for improvement, like that stupid map.

Q

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Re: EarthBound Zero - Improvement patch collection
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2014, 01:02:51 pm »
Quick update: I fixed the issue with the cross graphics not showing up properly. I also made a hack that gets rid of the ugly-looking all caps text the game frequently uses ("The Hippie USEd Bullhorn!"). I combined this with two of the other text hacks (the "Giygas" and "Stats" hacks) into a single patch called the Text tweak hack.

Unless I decide to work on a re-translation patch, this hacks should be complete. I just want to play-test it more thoroughly. At some point in the near future, I plan to play through it on my NES and I'll try to find any mistakes when I do so.
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Ballz

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Re: EarthBound Zero - Improvement patch collection
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2014, 02:10:18 pm »
I'm playing through right now using the all-in-one patch, but I noticed that the demiforce-added "zero" is not on the title screen.  Did you purposely remove the "zero" yourself, or is it possible the demiforce patch wasn't included in the all-in-one patch?  I don't think I've reached a part yet where the game would freeze without the demiforce patch.

I also noticed a few typos as I'm working my way through, I wasn't sure if they were missed in the demiforce patch or not.  Other things like the uncensored graphics, new font, gameplay balance, etc. are working just fine though.