News: 11 March 2016 - Forum Rules, Mobile Version
Current Moderators - DarkSol, KingMike, MathOnNapkins, Azkadellia

Author Topic: Has Anyone Ever Documented a Full ROM Hack?  (Read 623 times)

Bob789

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Has Anyone Ever Documented a Full ROM Hack?
« on: September 25, 2017, 07:41:36 pm »
The title was ambiguous, so let me explain. I am looking for any form of documentation(text, video, even pictures) that documented the
entire process of a ROM Hack. I'm basically looking for "There is byte x at offset x, which I used to change x."
Nothing else matters, doesn't matter the game, console, platform they used, etc.., just that.

Edit: It does not matter the level of hacking done, just that something was changes.

Thanks for reading!
« Last Edit: September 25, 2017, 07:53:20 pm by Bob789 »

NERV Agent

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 339
    • View Profile
Re: Has Anyone Ever Documented a Full ROM Hack?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2017, 07:47:05 pm »
When you mean "Full ROM Hack", do you mean a thorough hack where script, graphics, gameplay, and more are changed?

Because I know of graphics ROM hack where the entire process was documented with OCD level detail, but it was a graphics hack only.
Pen Pen is waifu of the year.

Bob789

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: Has Anyone Ever Documented a Full ROM Hack?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2017, 07:54:20 pm »
A purely graphics ROM Hack would be fine. I'm not picky. :)

Would you mind providing a link?

Gemini

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1935
  • 時を越えよう、そして彼女の元に戻ろう
    • View Profile
    • Apple of Eden
Re: Has Anyone Ever Documented a Full ROM Hack?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2017, 08:31:26 pm »
I believe hacking streams are basically what you're looking for. They aren't literally documentation, but they do show exactly how the process works.
I am the lord, you all know my name, now. I got it all: cash, money, and fame.

FAST6191

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2198
    • View Profile
Re: Has Anyone Ever Documented a Full ROM Hack?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2017, 09:39:24 pm »
I recall a discussion a few years back where people were planning to translate a game and provide full info, I am not sure what became of that though. Similarly a few people have tried open hacks before but they tend not to get that far, or will be spun off into closed projects by people that do know some time before the final product.

Similarly some hackers will provide a writeup at the end, though it tends to be limited to the interesting quirks they might have encountered or potentially novel solutions to problems they might have faced (brute forcing and encoding by simply putting all the potential encodings and running a game a bunch of times is tedious to do and to the watch, and obvious from the start or maybe second batch.

"I'm basically looking for "There is byte x at offset x, which I used to change x." "
Assuming you don't mean complete disassembly then I would view that statement much like the ones we see where people treat hex editors as magical tools wielded by those that have somehow cracked the code to this hacking lark, where in reality it is the lowest common denominator, readily available to all and guaranteed to work if the steps are replicated.
Sure I can try to figure out what a given byte does (usually some combination of disassembly and tracing, though this assumes the byte is used and is not redundant/padding/patched out of the final build and enough of the code that I can't see a path to it). It is however usually far more productive to start with a goal, even if that goal is document a given system within/part of a game, and go from there.
One of my responses to wanting videos of my (or general) pulling apart of games probably also plays here of if you want to watch me fail 30 times and flick between tools rapidly I guess I could capture a screen but I can't imagine much would come from it. Likewise in a pinch I have also done stream of consciousness type documentation of my pulling a format apart with limited time or desire (I tend to do it for archive/wrapper formats in DS games but there have been others) as I go from one thing to the next and float my internal theories about what is going on... for the most part it gets me back up to speed quite quickly if I return in a month or two, and for those already versed in hacking it might prevent a false friend from happening.

darkmoon2321

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 43
    • View Profile
Re: Has Anyone Ever Documented a Full ROM Hack?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2017, 08:51:30 am »
I'm basically looking for "There is byte x at offset x, which I used to change x."

Any game on Data Crystal that has a ROM map should give you some good information on this.  Of course, it seems to be highly variable what you'll get depending on the game and how it was written.  There's a decent one for Final Fantasy on there that you can use to make some interesting changes:
https://datacrystal.romhacking.net/wiki/Final_Fantasy:ROM_map
Of course, there's plenty of information out there on Final Fantasy already.  As far as hacking streams, I tend to write things up that way in a notepad file while I'm working.  Some of those files end up being quite large, and very disorganized.  I've got a huge one for Ninja Gaiden right now, but I'm still working on that hack.  Honestly though I feel like it would mostly just end up being confusing for somebody trying to read my notes.  My code often goes through several revisions, and the same code snipped will appear several times in different forms, and may or may not match the version in the finished hack.  Data Crystal is better for more organized notes on hacking.

nesrocks

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 440
    • View Profile
Re: Has Anyone Ever Documented a Full ROM Hack?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2017, 10:22:50 am »
The answer to the question is "yes". Any game genie code is a fully documented hack. Perhaps you want to know the biggest hack (as in number of changed bytes) that is fully documented?

Psyklax

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 441
    • View Profile
    • Psyklax Translations
Re: Has Anyone Ever Documented a Full ROM Hack?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2017, 11:50:22 am »
The answer to the question is "yes". Any game genie code is a fully documented hack. Perhaps you want to know the biggest hack (as in number of changed bytes) that is fully documented?

I think what he means is something like a diary or livestream where someone documents their process. Like a Let's Play for hacking. :) I'd do that if I could, could be quite informative.

FAST6191

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2198
    • View Profile
Re: Has Anyone Ever Documented a Full ROM Hack?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2017, 03:20:26 pm »
Like a Let's Play for hacking. :) I'd do that if I could, could be quite informative.

Leaving aside my dislike of most let's plays I have ever seen I would have to say I don't see it.

I watch a video on a repair, device disassembly, construction of something or machining process and I might see a hand movement or something the person doing it might have done intuitively which in turn helps me. I imagine the OP is seeking that sort of thing which is fine.

It can be done for certain other types of hacking, say how to run nmap for a port scan of a server you are attacking/pen testing/making sure you have secured, or basic doxxing, or if you are in somewhere with a proper database then that, how to run a brute force/dictionary password scanner and such like. ROM hacking, at least the way I do it and can see it being done, are far more active with far more considerations that get made and I am back to failed attempts, slowdowns and branches. If you do have a more automated way that yields results on random games please do share with the class.
In another thread I said ROM hacking videos would be the inverse of machining videos as far as setup and the final results go, however I recently watched a CAD tutorial (3d design for engineering parts if you are not familiar with the term) for someone designing something from the proverbial napkin drawing of someone else ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrPggPn5BB0 and the video before it if you were curious). The dead ends, the iteration, the refinements, the jumping around (though lessened thanks to the master file and sub assembly process) all felt familiar as a ROM hacker, and were I not otherwise versed in CAD I can see things being skipped/skimmed over and causing confusion for those less versed and looking to improve.

KingMike

  • Forum Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6209
  • *sigh* A changed avatar. Big deal.
    • View Profile
Re: Has Anyone Ever Documented a Full ROM Hack?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2017, 01:33:31 am »
I think I tried doing a fully documented translation hack once. It didn't get far.

Even for Tomato's "Funky Fantasy IV" Google Translation hack, I documented the process of just finding the Change/Parry battle menu text for him, and even just that seemingly small task wasn't a simple explanation. Even that had a bit of trial and error. A lot of "well, it's probably going to be like THIS... But oh wait it isn't. Let's try this instead..."
Now repeat that for the entirety of a hack. It's fine when you have ideas of several different methods to try to finish a task, but to try to explain WHY to a beginner is likely to just confuse them more than help, I think.
Quote
Sir Howard Stringer, chief executive of Sony, on Christmas sales of the PS3:
"It's a little fortuitous that the Wii is running out of hardware."