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Author Topic: Are patches made from other game versions acceptable?  (Read 1747 times)

theflyingzamboni

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Are patches made from other game versions acceptable?
« on: May 05, 2018, 12:56:19 pm »
I'm thinking specifically of NoOneee's Legend of Dragoon patches. The way they made their Undub patch for instance requires both a US and a Japanese copy of the game. It extracts the appropriate files from the Japanese game image, and inserts them into the US one.

What I'm curious about is whether it's okay to use the Japanese version of the file to create a patch for the US version, like you would for a file you modified yourself. Then people could just apply the patch to their US version without needing the Japanese version. Is that acceptable, or not because the user would effectively obtain access to code from a second game version they don't necessarily own?
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KingMike

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Re: Are patches made from other game versions acceptable?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2018, 01:55:13 pm »
I don't think so, because that would mean part of the content is someone else's work? (if it is transferring content from one version to another, it would actually be most of the content of the patch I think which would be the game copyright owner's)
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Psyklax

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Re: Are patches made from other game versions acceptable?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2018, 02:38:44 pm »
Yeah, the way that Undub patch works sounds like the best way: no copyrighted material included in the patch. Same problem happens when you use IPS patches to do complicated things like add bytes to disk images: the dumb patcher just includes most of the original disk. The whole point of patches is to AVOID distributing copyrighted works.

Granted, I did a patch for Iron Tank which restored the graphics from the Japanese version into the US version, but I didn't know there was such a way of combining two patches. In fact... now that's got me thinking. Is there a patcher that takes two input files rather than one? So the patch file, instead of saying "put these bytes at these locations", it says "take the bytes from location A in file A and put them in location B in file B". There may not be much call for it, I admit, but still. :)

FAST6191

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Re: Are patches made from other game versions acceptable?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2018, 03:36:39 pm »
Programming wise that would be a fairly hard problem.

I guess you could try telling a thing that the base (probably Japanese) iso is a dictionary of sorts* and go from there; there are a few compression methods that include say http://www.gutenberg.org/ + other choice libraries knowing that over the course of things enough quotes and similar turns of phrase will help it. Alternatively some kind of file system aware patching program could see what was changed and try to match it to the other iso where possible (assuming same name files/directory structure or some kind of "smart" matching routines (all the same things we teach people about directory names, file sizes, extensions, magic stamps, file counts... could probably be coded fairly easily).
In any case I would struggle to rule out large sections of usefully copyrighted code being copied over.

Outside of my bit of theory coding above then most wanting to do such a thing would probably just use a tool that slices files up (there are a bunch of command line options). Slice out sections of any given iso, have a bit of play with copy /b and then some kind of conventional patch to finish if it is necessary (presumably to fix pointers or overlay some text as well as whatever conventional hacks you have done).

*as a very crude alternative I guess you could concatenate the isos, set the search buffer to however many megabytes/gigabytes the resulting file is and wait two weeks for the patch to be made, more if it had moved to a DVD based system.

theflyingzamboni

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Re: Are patches made from other game versions acceptable?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2018, 08:05:30 pm »
That's about what I thought, but I thought I'd check just in case. I'm trying to make a universal modding tool for The Legend of Dragoon that will help avoid mod collisions, so I want to find most efficient ways to make it able to apply other people's patches. Guess I'll make it so it can run user bat files.
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FAST6191

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Re: Are patches made from other game versions acceptable?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2018, 08:18:30 pm »
If it is game specific then you can do something a bit more file system/file type aware. If you are really good you might even be able to still account for shifted files/rebuilt isos -- I don't know that I have seen it for an ISO yet but some of the GBA tools for Golden Sun and Pokemon will handle it. In the case of Golden Sun it even did some fingerprinting of formats.

Obviously you still have all the problems with pointers obviating your hack and the other edge cases we covered in all the other check if patches stack/collide tools but something to consider.

theflyingzamboni

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Re: Are patches made from other game versions acceptable?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2018, 10:20:27 pm »
I'm hoping it won't be too much trouble, mostly a matter of convincing anyone else who does hacks for the game to patch the smallest possible unit of the game. I don't intend to reinvent the wheel, just design something that will work with other existing patching or TIM insertion or XA audio tools, and using tools I've already mostly written to fill in the gaps in the process. I already wrote tools to extract individual asset files and such using the game's file system, and allow decompression of subsections of compressed files that could then be patched separately from the rest of the file. Pointers are relative in most of the game, and I haven't had any issues changing file or ISO size. So as long as two mods don't touch the same block of code, they should work together.

Other than some tools to handle files and stuff, I'm thinking of making a simple framework that uses a config file to impose some kind of patch priority. The program would then simply use the config file to select and run batch scripts in order, since that's how the all of like 4 hacks for this game operate. Keep track of when a 0 changes to a 1 or vice versa so mods can be swapped in and out, rather than starting from a clean ISO each time something changes. The only reason I'm even bothering is I know I need to edit text in a compressed file that another modder made changes too, and I want to work out a way to make the mods compatible. Thus, more Frankensteining some tools together than a single unified tool. If the modding community for this game picks up a little and starts requiring more, then I'll try to make something more elegant and broad in scope. Or when I finally finish my own hack and get bored. *Goes back to editing script for Disc 1 of 4*
« Last Edit: May 06, 2018, 10:34:43 pm by theflyingzamboni »
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Aroenai

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Re: Are patches made from other game versions acceptable?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2018, 06:25:01 pm »
I don't think so, because that would mean part of the content is someone else's work? (if it is transferring content from one version to another, it would actually be most of the content of the patch I think which would be the game copyright owner's)

Well crud, where's the line on this? My Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask patch (http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/2962/) combines content from multiple versions of the game, does this mean I wouldn't be able to post my similar patches for Ocarina of Time because it'll primarily include content from earlier versions of the roms?

SCO

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Re: Are patches made from other game versions acceptable?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 06:04:17 am »
Even if you can't distribute the rom on romhacking, there is (very useful) precedent of romhacking pages for patches that the site doesn't distribute, because of either size or other problems (like C&D for crimsom echoes or final fantasy type 0 for example).

So even if you can't drop a link to your patch, having the metadata updated in a central place is still useful. Mostly the version, but checksums, authors, hack names and such are also useful (they could be more useful if romhacking had a form that given the original and the patch calculated the checksums and phoned them home without any user intervention or error though).

I made a tool for keeping my downloaded patches (and retroarch hack metadata) up-to-date using romhacking.net metadata. So please don't give up on making pages for your hack and keeping them updated even if you can't archive the patch there.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 06:36:56 am by SCO »