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Author Topic: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?  (Read 6757 times)

jimstrom

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What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« on: June 17, 2016, 11:36:11 am »
Just curious what people on this forum are looking for in a hack, and what they are not looking for.

I prefer hacks that mainly is an improvement to a flawed game, or makes a good game even better.


I'm not too found of hacks that is frustratingly hard since i don't use savestates. Or graphical hacks that are more a mockery of the game.

nesrocks

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2016, 12:05:29 pm »
My thoughts are with you, with the addition that I prefer hacks to games that I already like and that I have played extensively so I can "extend" the game's worth by playing it in a different way.

vortex

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2016, 12:10:22 pm »
Just curious what people on this forum are looking for in a hack, and what they are not looking for.

I prefer hacks that mainly is an improvement to a flawed game, or makes a good game even better.


I'm not too found of hacks that is frustratingly hard since i don't use savestates. Or graphical hacks that are more a mockery of the game.
Pretty much everyone will tell you the same. We are looking for so called "complete" hacks, which change the game so much, that you have a feeling, that you are playing a "new" game, or better said sequel of the original game.

Like these great hacks:
http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/1614/

http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/120/

http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/659/


An optimal hack is not a spoof, not a gfx-only edit mess, nor is it an "improvement" hack, nor the "sprite" only hack, nor a text change only hack, nor a "super hard" master quest hack etc etc.

An optimal hack should change as much levels as possible, presumably everything. And if it also adds the story changes and slightly adds some custom gfx, you basically get a fine product.

An optimal hack should be comparable to the original, being its unofficial "sequel".

For instance this hack:
http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/1614/

falls under this criteria of being on par with the original game, while being a complete overhaul of the game with the same "engine". A rolemodel on how a hack should look like.

But it also heavily depends on what games or consoles you like by default.


cccmar

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2016, 12:19:59 pm »
I'm with you here - improvement hacks are generally the most interesting out of the bunch. Also, translation hacks of various sorts, especially for some older consoles. It's great to be able to play a game in a language you can understand well enough to hold your own. :D

chillyfeez

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2016, 12:25:00 pm »
I feel like there actually are a lot of people who look for challenge hacks - hacks that don't necessarily change the story of the game, but present more difficulty for those who feel they've mastered the original. This would be along the same lines as people who take on wicked challenges in unhacked games, like trying to finish Zelda without picking up any unnecessary heart containers, or an all white mage party in FFI, or even speed runs.

For the record, I am not one of those people. I'm a game wuss. I like stuff to be beatable, and fall more in to the category of hack players already mentioned. Just saying that there are a good deal of thrill-seekers out there, too.
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FAST6191

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2016, 01:18:43 pm »
I am not so bothered by typos and retranslations if the original was playable. I love the discussions but have never felt compelled to play the end result. Equally I am not about to call the originals sacred so if you favour some Samurai Pizza Cats action or just want to tart things up a bit then it is all good from where I sit.
I don't mind the odd challenge hack but I prefer to think rather than memorise patterns or have even crazier reaction speeds than I already do.
If you want to make things easier to cruise through -- adding run modes, text speed increase/skip, animation skips... then you will do well in my book. I have no great desire for them myself but if you wanted to make a hack to turn a game into more or an animated video then I am OK with that.
I can be a fan of extra mechanics and balancing hacks but so many of them either go overpowered or think they are balancing but are not (see all the awful reasoning behind the rules for smash brothers contests as the logic is similar). If your new mechanic then gets rebalanced elsewhere that is good -- spindash in Sonic 1 breaks some of the levels a tiny bit, however the move is a staple in later games and very much welcome.
If you want to add replay value then that is great -- so many RPGs, pokemon clones and whatever could do with random enemies and end/post game content.

However my favourite hack is probably still Link gets laid, a hack for the original (and I think it was redone for the GBC DX version) Zelda on the GB. It takes the game and changes all the items and text to be sex jokes/puns/terms. It just amuses me, though I do skew puerile at points.

Things I actively don't care for
99% of pokemon hacks. The end of pokemon blue had a line like "you love and care for your pokemon so you won" and a rather more young version of me reflexively let out a derisive snort, most hacks seem made for people that would not have snorted there.
Most Mario Kart track hacks. The Mario Kart formula could produce an amazing game, however where many people making "Doom clones" actually tried to expand on things and improve here companies and hackers seem to want to make clones which are weaker than the base game. I will grant that Mario Kart games are some of the few racing games I memorise tracks in and that might play into it.
Most Smash Brothers hacks, mostly for a mix of reasons that I dislike the other two and the whole lack of any proper consideration for balance/playability.
Personally I am not a fan of the sports game roster update (see my comments on pokemon earlier, most sports players I would view the same way), however I can at least respect most of those.

I once saw a documentary on crosswords (just a half hour fluff piece) and part of it covered a newspaper crossword, I forgot what the term they used was by cryptic crossword. In it the players of the crossword said over the years they had learned about the person that sets the crosswords and how they think, and the newspaper encouraged that. I never want to be one of those people. Some hacks though seem to head down that path.


The same applies to a lot of Elder Scrolls mods I see as well. I like the little world touches and some of the weapon hacks. Minecraft had this worse -- even if I could manage to get them installed* the most of them seemed pretty ill considered and pointless. My only regret there was I taught the kid I was doing it for why some of them were no good and possibly robbed him of some enjoyment (I assume others here mentally pull apart systems as they are playing, I taught the light version of that).

*I hang about on sites like this and can do much of what is covered, I have been modding games since things were called poke codes and am no stranger to getting down and dirty looking through the windows registry and folders hunting down malware and whatever else. Installing certain Minecraft mods though seemed to be beyond my ken.

resq

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2016, 11:45:08 pm »
Just curious what people on this forum are looking for in a hack, and what they are not looking for.

I prefer hacks that mainly is an improvement to a flawed game, or makes a good game even better.


I'm not too found of hacks that is frustratingly hard since i don't use savestates. Or graphical hacks that are more a mockery of the game.
OK to answer your question I'm looking for total converstions. Or the next best thing to total converstions.

Since there aren't many actual total conversions I'm looking for hack games that took a lot of time and effort, are balanced, and that give the player a whole new gaming experience.

Think uhh . . Metroid Origin. Now that's a good game hack. It's like the original but totally different map. Since these types of total converstions are relatively rare, I'm willing to settle for hack games like Metroid X which is very similar to the original but relatively altered.

With the hacking utilities available nowadays there should be much more interest in the rom hacking community in my estimation. People now have the freedom to make their own unique gaming product but the ones taking the initiative to do this are too few and far between IMHO.
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goldenband

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2016, 01:24:24 am »
The "hacks" I'm most interested in, by far, are translations of unlocalized games. That's 99% of why I come to RH.

Beyond that, I like hacks that fix bugs or technical shortcomings in the original game, or that in some way enhance the experience of playing it. Fix a game-breaking glitch, make a translation work on real hardware, take an RPG with stupidly slow walking speed and make it playable. There are some great Genesis hacks that do things like improve the color palette, add 6-button controller support, or upgrade the audio quality with better PCM drivers or support for Redbook audio.

Hacks that add new levels or otherwise "extend" the content of the original game can be fun; I played through a Metroid hack years ago that gave me some enjoyment. But most (not all) of them are kind of like the gaming equivalent of fanfiction: if you love the original, it's tempting to want to find a way to hang out in that universe for a little longer, but...

Spoof and joke hacks were vaguely funny in 1999 -- heck, I did a couple of them myself -- but not now. As for super-hard hacks, I had fun with Super Mario Forever when it came out, but that's about it.

Sliver X

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2016, 08:15:17 am »
I like complete redesigns that use as little existing IP from the original game as possible. Unfortunately those are extremely rare.

STARWIN

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2016, 09:06:31 am »
For an otherwise great game the following can be good:

Slightly more difficulty / Translation / Bug fixes / Improved mechanics

I dislike music/graphics stolen from other games as they already have associations. Unless it is a minor joke easily recognized perhaps. But otherwise these can burn.

Total conversions I don't think are a good idea. It is basically a new game so I don't know what to expect from it so it goes to the same category as most unknown games. I'd absolutely code the whole thing new as requiring a base then makes it just less known. Also, I suspect an average modder would lack design skills enough for me to avoid it. They only need to make one horrible design choice. Especially the kind of folk who think "more is better" will most likely end up creating some horrible mess.

Rotwang

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2016, 01:41:39 pm »
I look for humour and creativity. The best ROM hacks from way back in the day were clearly made to try to make people laugh, and without their influence this scene would be nothing.  What I dislike are the multitudes of Super Mario World hacks that are some variation of "The New Adventures of Mario in the Magic Fungal Forest" and it starts off with something like "Oh no! Bowser has kidnapped Yoshi! Help Mario rescue him!" and all the music is imported from other games. I'm not a fan of Kaizo style stuff, but I can appreciate that some people enjoy the brutal challenge they offer. Also a good hack should have as much changed from the original games as possible without borrowing from other franchises.

Above all, a hack should be an original effort, even if it's not a solo effort. It's kind of lame to see people releasing compilations of other people's minor fixes with only a small amount of their own changes beyond putting their name in the credits. Final Fantasy 6 seems to have a lot of this going around and it's kinda like white noise.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2016, 01:47:40 pm by Rotwang »

SunGodPortal

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2016, 03:59:34 pm »
It's hard for me to say since I play everything from translations to total conversions and that's a lot of different criteria in between.

Really, the thing I probably like most are hacks like that one for Megaman 3 where there are a ton of bugfixes and polish that were missing from the original. Or something like the map addition to Metroid. Games that fix or upgrade the classics are probably what I get most excited about. There are many old games that are really awesome but have flaws that probably would have been addressed had the dev teams not been on such a tight schedules. I also really like graphics overhauls for some of the early NES games with crude graphics (like those for the first Zelda and SMB). Gender swaps (like the Roll-chan hacks for MM) I also like because most of the retro games I've played were a total sausage fest. Oh and I LOVE undubs of PS1/2 games because the voices from that era are sometimes a mixed bag or sometimes just a bag of shit.

That being said, some of the current hacks that I'm most looking forward to (and I'm sure I've forgotten some) are:

-Death Fuck '89
-Zelda II for GB
-Conker's High Rule Tail
-nesrocks Super Pitfall NES improvements
-Friday the 13th upgrade from Dr Floppy (is this still happening?)

Well, that's all for now.
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dougeff

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2016, 04:36:21 pm »
Quote
map addition to Metroid.

I was just about to say that.

Adding features to a game is top notch in my book. Anything that changes the experience... new music, new graphics, new levels...especially if they are IMPROVEMENTS.

If the new version is worse than the original, than it's not worth doing.

Quote
Conker's High Rule Tail

Is this still happening? The progress thread is missing.

« Last Edit: June 18, 2016, 06:07:36 pm by dougeff »
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resq

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2016, 04:46:42 pm »
What's a undub?

Does it make a game stop talking to you?
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Rotwang

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2016, 05:31:26 pm »

Is this still happening? The progress thread is missing.

He stopped by our forums a few weeks ago and showed us his latest progress. It's supposed to be out before the end of the year.

resq

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2016, 05:47:50 pm »
He stopped by our forums a few weeks ago and showed us his latest progress. It's supposed to be out before the end of the year.
Dude, who are you? That website is amazing! http://www.baddesthacks.net/ I know your name your like legendary in the community or something. It's like I know you but I don't know you.
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Rotwang

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2016, 06:05:19 pm »
Dude, who are you? That website is amazing! http://www.baddesthacks.net/ I know your name your like legendary in the community or something. It's like I know you but I don't know you.

I'm Rotwang, haven't gone by any other name than that. I'd hardly call myself legendary and that's not just modesty talking. Glad you like the site!

SunGodPortal

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2016, 06:44:38 pm »
Quote
Is this still happening? The progress thread is missing.

Seph's removed some of the stuff he has posted and I guess is trying to keep a lower profile until the December release. From what I understand, in the meantime he's trying to put a little distance between himself and the community to keep himself focused and to lessen the constant barrage of "I think you should do this with your hack".

Quote
What's a undub?

Does it make a game stop talking to you?

It's where someone takes a Japanese game that was localized for the US and replaces the horrendously cheap voice-acting that destroys the atmosphere of the game and restores the original (in these cases), superior voice files from the original Japanese release. To me, they are really important for PS1 games since the voice acting in localized games from that era is almost psychically painful for me to experience.
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FreightMan71

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2016, 08:14:42 pm »
Things I look for in a hack?  It depends on the game of course, but in essence...

1-- As many have already stated: Game Improvements.  Game developers usually do a good job with the work they put in, have the game play tested, etc...but sometimes, things slip through the cracks. Whether because of time constraints, budgets, or just plain oversights, sometimes things don't get done properly, and some portion of a game is either weak, not well implemented, or even broken.  Some awesome rom hacker would go in, fix those things, maybe add some things the original designers never intended, but still work well with in a given game. 

2-- Challenge for some games. Not talking Kaizou stuff (spelling?)....not ball bustingly, frustratingly, gotta-glitch-to-get-through it nonsense. Talking about a legit challenge added to a game. Something that makes the player really work for the win or to beat the game, but isn't impossible, and also still carries the basic fun of the game. It's a fine line, I know, and not many hackers truly understand that line, but hats off to those that do.

3-- All new adventures/levels/goals in games we know oh-so-well. Imagine my surprise when I first discovered rom hacks, and having played the original Legend of Zelda to death, saw that some people actually created ALL NEW adventures using the sounds and graphics of a game I was very familiar with!  Can't say enough about how awesome old games turned into new ones are! I mean, even if the hacker doesn't go in and change the basic mechanics, but simply creates a brand new set of levels, worlds, etc, to explore that makes the same ol, same ol game feel new again, well, that is just priceless!

4-- Crossovers. Now, I don't get uber-excited about this one, but done right, it can work nicely and be fun too.  Things like Mario themed Mega Man levels, or certain characters from one game put into another (again, if it's logical), or even 'skinned' type games where the original game and its gameplay is kept pretty much intact, but some other theme was skinned onto it...example, the Mario version of Balloon Fight.

5-- Finally, translations. Now, I know this site separates 'hacks' and 'translations', but technically, if you go into a rom and alter the font to another language, you kinda ARE hacking it as well. So, IMO, translations can fall under things I look for in rom hacks. Nothing like wanting to play a game for a long time but couldn't due to the language barrier, only to come across some fine hacker who went through the trouble of making it so I can understand and enjoy the game in my language.  Tons of Japanese games I have enjoyed due to this!

popehentai

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Re: What are you looking for in a ROM hack?
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2016, 11:42:50 pm »
Humor- If it can make me laugh, i'm good.

Originality- is it something ive seen before? is it something new? or is it just the 1000th "i used a program and changed a mario level"    hack.

persistence of changes -  did they change something for the whole game, or just the first few levels?

amount of work- Did they really do anything, or just change a couple pixels on a menu pointer, or  the energy bar from circles to squares?

Translations - I love it when a previously unplayable game is now playable, especially if the translator and script writer know how to handle japanese honorifics. i have no love for "title screen" translations though, where a game with no real text in game gets a translation of the title image and thats it.