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Author Topic: Alternative Tutorials  (Read 633 times)

Fyr

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Alternative Tutorials
« on: April 21, 2018, 02:18:38 am »
I went through the tutorials provided on RomHacking.net and found them to be a mess. Bad formatting, not detailed or vague, out of date, referencing programs that are defunct by today's standards, dead links, etc.

I have the willingness to learn, is that the only tutorials out there? Youtube? Wikis?

Where can a guy go to really learn this? Those tutorials were a disaster.

KingMike

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2018, 12:17:53 pm »
All I can say is you should learn from them and write something better/newer for everyone else.
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PolishedTurd

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2018, 01:38:01 pm »
First of all, good for you, for looking at tutorials first. Can you be specific about what tutorials or kinds of tutorials you find lacking? I understand the quality and depth runs the gamut, but remember they are provided on someone else's time, for free. People approach the hobby from a diverse range of backgrounds, so it can be hard to gauge the appropriate level of technicality and detail. And some platforms are more popular or thoroughly explored than others, so that affects the availability of knowledge.

I have found the users in the forum to be gracious and helpful with general and specific questions. Trial and error, especially with good tools, is a good teacher as well.

I agree with KingMike about writing better tutorials if and when you have the means to.

Psyklax

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2018, 01:51:48 pm »
I went through the tutorials provided on RomHacking.net and found them to be a mess.

Well I suppose you want a refund, then? ::)

Seriously, dude, the guys writing those tutorials are not professionals with training, providing a service for you. They're guys doing this for a hobby, who thought they'd take time out of their life to help other people out. Why? They had no reason to do it, nobody thanks them for it.

Meanwhile, you registered on the forum, not to ask any specific questions on whatever specific hacking topics you had in mind - a particular game or system, what kind of hacking you want to do - but instead to tell everyone that the tutorials here are a "disaster", and whether we can recommend other websites than this one.

Talk about the perfect Newcomer's Board post. Welcome to the forum!  8)

Fyr

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2018, 05:10:14 pm »
I agree with KingMike about writing better tutorials if and when you have the means to.

Well, I see I'm in the newb area. I don't know much about hex editing or making tables yet for translations, but here I am being asked to improve the tutorials. Are you sure you want me to be doing that? I came here for answers, because I have none myself.

Fyr

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2018, 05:28:33 pm »
Well I suppose you want a refund, then? ::)

I don't see how this makes the tutorials immune to constructive criticism. Sounds like a bit of a logical fallacy on your part. One thing the tutorials did correctly point out, is watch out for people prone to attack you for asking questions. I see I found my first partaker.

you registered on the forum, not to ask any specific questions...

Actually, I specifically asked for better tutorials and if someone could point me in the right direction - something you did not answer. I can't ask specific questions yet if I'm still stuck on "Step 1 - Instruct yourself". I spent the better part of an hour editing the text files, just so I could begin reading them intelligibly. If you want to enter the kindergarten class here and attack the newbs, that's your agenda.

If there is no better substitute, I get it, but just say so. All I'm saying is, the tutorials provided are lacking in a number of ways. They're nearly 20 years old. One tutorial went on to say, and I paraphrase: "use Nesticle that requires MSDOS, so if you're running anything earlier than Windows Vista..." Most of the content I read in the two main tutorials operated on the basis of using very specific and niche programs that are, or are nearly, defunct. On a few occasions, the tutorials even admittedly said they couldn't go into detail.

I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth here (if you want to call them gifts), but as a self-professed newb, I'm merely pointing out the emperor is a wee bit naked and am wondering if there is a better substitute for instruction. Question mark??
« Last Edit: April 27, 2018, 04:58:06 pm by Fyr »

Squall_FF8

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2018, 09:11:46 pm »
O whoah, why so rude and offensive guys?
People react offensively when they know about the problem, but don't want to admit it ...

I remember when I joined the RHND I expected to enter the gate of an ancient Alexandria library. Instead I found a mess, exactly as you Fyr said: "Bad formatting, not detailed or vague, out of date, referencing programs that are defunct by today's standards, dead links, etc.". And that is true not only for tutorials, but pretty much all that is written work by users, that include what is suppose to be the wiki (a word that is synonymous of well organized extended knowledge) - the Data-crystal. Funny when I asked to be pointed for a documentation (politely) people behaved so rude (as now) ...

So my advice to you Fyr is: if you searching for knowledge - find a site that has dedicated community on the topic you are searching. If you state what exactly are looking for (specific game, hardware, programming,...) you could get a better guidance.  :laugh:

PolishedTurd

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2018, 10:42:42 pm »
So my advice to you Fyr is: if you searching for knowledge - find a site that has dedicated community on the topic you are searching. If you state what exactly are looking for (specific game, hardware, programming,...) you could get a better guidance.  :laugh:

I would say you have found a decent site here. Translation is not my forte, but it seems like a reasonably steady volume of it occurs here, including sustained efforts spanning months or years. The second sentence here is spot on.

I specifically asked for better tutorials and if someone could point me in the right direction...
This is not specific at all. Better tutorials about assembly programming? Music formats on a specific platform? Graphics compression? Hex editing? How could we know your focus was on translation? Odds are, you have a specific game in mind that you would like to translate. A better way to seek help would be to say, "I'm trying to translate Game A on platform B. I've tried following tutorials C and D, but I'm confused about the part where it says E. I tried F and G, but it still doesn't seem to be right. Has anyone tried translating this game or a similar game? Where am I going wrong?" Instead, you said, "The tutorials are a mess. Where else can I go?" It's like walking into a restaurant (where the food is free) and saying, "The food here isn't very good. Can you recommend a good restaurant?"

...here I am being asked to improve the tutorials. Are you sure you want me to be doing that? I came here for answers, because I have none myself.
What I meant was, after you have worked through some translation and related problems, through a combination of help from users in the forum, the tutorials you aren't so fond of, and experimentation on your own (most likely taking you at least dozens of hours, altogether), feel free to present the knowledge you have gained in a way you would have liked it presented to you. I think that is what KingMike meant as well. That is what the people who made the "mess" tutorials tried to do. They started with even less than that and then generously, if not always successfully, tried to make it easier for others.


filler

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2018, 11:13:31 pm »
O whoah, why so rude and offensive guys?
People react offensively when they know about the problem, but don't want to admit it ...

Actually, I'm pretty sure hazing newbies has been the norm here since the site started. If they can persevere with a willingness and ability to learn, normally people respond well to that. When they run away crying it's pretty clear that they would never have amounted to much in terms of seeing translation or hacking projects through to completion.

I'm sure it seems a little absurd to hear folks say "Why don't you make something better?", until you realize that this is a maker community and everyone here pulls their own weight. If you don't have the willingness to put the work in yourself, no one is going to do it for you.

Psyklax

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2018, 02:08:51 am »
this is a maker community and everyone here pulls their own weight

Exactly. My first post on the forum was to say "I've translated all the menus and 6% of dialogue for three different games, and I'm going to show you my progress as I do the rest of it". The reason was that I wanted people to know that I was capable of doing things for myself, and wasn't going to ask people to help me.

Everything I learnt about ROM hacking, I learnt from this site. Whether from the documents section, which isn't nearly as bad as you suggest, or from searching the forum, or from occasionally asking very specific questions, like "how can I use 8-bit ANSI characters instead of 16-bit Shift JIS characters on the PC-98?".

If you click on my profile and scroll through my posts, you'll see I've been very helpful, giving long tutorial posts, when I've known exactly what someone wants to do.

Thing is, we have no idea what you want to do, or which actual tutorials you're reading, or whether you've searched on the forum for your query. All we know is you don't like something. Can you please tell us, specifically, what you want to do. That will give us a starting point.

FAST6191

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2018, 05:38:44 am »
Well, I see I'm in the newb area. I don't know much about hex editing or making tables yet for translations, but here I am being asked to improve the tutorials. Are you sure you want me to be doing that? I came here for answers, because I have none myself.

Usual hex editing is not magic, or indeed an area of hacking any more than using a word processor is novel writing.

That said. Yes. Write a tutorial. Often the best person to explain it is the one that has just gone through it.

I could write one, indeed I have http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php/topic,14708.0.html , but at the same time I am the kind of boring bastard that has spent the last... maybe 12 or 13 years in earnest and no small amount of time before that learning all this. As far as the matter of text encodings go I could probably do a rewrite of the whole major general song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSGWoXDFM64 but for text encodings if I wanted. Coming from that position I will almost inevitably skip things that might want to be covered in more depth or wander off on tangents, mainly as I have been accused of just that on many occasions.

"Youtube?"
The video tutorials discussion has been broached many times before, one of the more notable occasions http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=21383.0 , but despite video being my hobby I am at a loss for how to make it in any way both compelling and useful.

As far as
"Bad formatting"
Enough to truly distract? I find 80 character per line text to be as charmingly antiquated as any but I do occasionally click through the pack and they can be handled.

not detailed or vague
Quite possible, the [introduction]*mumble mumble* [end stage interesting part] part of some was one of the reasons I took to writing the thing above.

out of date, referencing programs that are defunct by today's standards,
For whatever reason most doing hacking have had to drag themselves up by their own bootlaces. I can't rule out it being possible to learn in a more conventional manner but it is what it is.
At the same time pick essentially any game you like from any non PC system and it will be the very same as the day it left the factory, which can be closer to 4 decades than not at this point.
To that end while I can easily give you an out of date tutorial on how to use maybe a computer OS or something it is a harder claim to make for ROMs. Said programs might be defunct, or superseded, but their intended functionality was not. If you can grasp the principles then you will do well.
I did just that with http://www.youtube.com/user/PhlearnLLC (a photoshop tutorials channel) but adapting it for GIMP as it was going along, and it did wonders for me. It is a good channel and makes some effort to explain what is going on but it does not directly carry.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 03:24:26 am by FAST6191 »

Jorpho

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2018, 11:08:43 pm »
All I'm saying is, the tutorials provided are lacking in a number of ways. They're nearly 20 years old. One tutorial went on to say, and I paraphrase: "use Nesticle that requires MSDOS, so if you're running anything earlier than Windows Vista..." Most of the content I read in the two main tutorials operated on the basis of using very specific and niche programs that are, or are nearly, defunct.

Well, a lot of things haven't changed in twenty years – or maybe somewhat less than that.  It's definitely true that Nesticle is of very little use anymore, and it's also true that there are a lot of old programs with weird dependencies on OCX controls that won't work right away on modern versions of Windows.  It would probably be great if there were new easy-to-use tools accessible for everyone – but creating such tools, and especially supporting them afterwards, is a frighteningly enormous task that I think people would be very hesitant to do for free.

Besides, there are sharp limits to what can be accomplished with general-purpose tools – much as there are limits to what can be taught with general-purpose tutorials.  In the end, there's going to be a lot of blind fumbling around.
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Bregalad

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Re: Alternative Tutorials
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2018, 02:56:31 am »
As I'm writing this, there is 703 documents ("tutorials") hosted here, 17 of them having the word "tutorial" in their title. Without further expansion on what you're trying to learn and what you're aiming to do, we can't be of much help. There are certainly bad tutorials out of the bunch, and certainly great ones too.

There is nothing wrong or special about having a documentation being "nearly 20 years old" on a system that is 35 years old, because the doc dates from when it was originally fully reverse-engineered and deeply understood for the 1st time. Some of the thing, such as the usage of the very vintage Nesticle emulator, is definitely out of date, but maybe the rest isn't ?

And back when I started doing Nesdev in year ~2002, I not only had to go through this, but I had no real NES and did not speak English at the time... and yet I managed to get through all of this, having learnt english and bought different NES hardware. If you speak english think yourself as already advantaged because practically all documentation is in that language.