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Author Topic: No Readable Transcription in HxD, What to do Next?  (Read 805 times)

AzureSkyes22

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No Readable Transcription in HxD, What to do Next?
« on: June 14, 2019, 09:06:01 am »
Hello there! I'm fairly new to ROM hacking (started only yesterday,) and I decided to practice on english nes ROM's to see if I could make a script dump with the HxD. I have this dream of making a translation of the Hiryu no Ken series, just to be able to understand the story while playing it, alongside others who want the same. Probably a tall order at first, but I still want to get there some day!

So, about the problem... Instead of working directly with the first game, Hiryu no Ken - Ougi no Sho (J), I tried to mess with the translated version, Flying Dragon - the Secret Scroll (U). I opened some other ROM's before and I could find the game text in readable format (even made some small changes in a Crash and the Boys opening story.) It wasn't the case with the american version, though. I tried to mess up some parts of the data, to see what would be affected by the changes, but, so far, I could only screw up some tileset graphics starting on offset 7660 and HUD graphics as well.

Does the fact that the text is not in readable format mean that it's locked in Assembly compression? From what I read, I should probably steer away from this complex task at first, but I wouldn't mind to tackle the problem if it was something different from that.

I appreciate any kind of help! ^^

KingMike

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Re: No Readable Transcription in HxD, What to do Next?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2019, 11:19:03 am »
NES games (maybe a few ever) stored their text is ASCII format.

You should start by looking up tutorials on Relative Searching.
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Cyneprepou4uk

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Re: No Readable Transcription in HxD, What to do Next?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2019, 02:21:41 pm »
I like it when a newbie thinks that if he can't find something, then it is probably compressed)

You should start by looking up tutorials on Relative Searching.

I doubt he needs those tutorials. Use PPU Viewer in fceux, find out which letter is which tile number and create a table file

It is a text file with .tbl extention, inside it should be something like this

41=A
42=B
43=C

Then feed it to emulator's hex editor and look for the text in view -> rom file

If it doesn't work, then you can say that text might be compressed (or you are doing something wrong)
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Psyklax

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Re: No Readable Transcription in HxD, What to do Next?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2019, 03:44:34 pm »
Welcome to the forum!

I decided to practice on english nes ROM's to see if I could make a script dump with the HxD

Alas, HxD, as much as I love it, is not an ideal tool for text editing and dumping. It can only display text in ASCII standard (check Wikipedia for the list of values for ASCII), and NES games, as KingMike (kind of) said, virtually never uses that standard. I can tell you that the text isn't compressed, because I've just found it, and now I'll tell you how. :)

First of all, Супергеройчик is right about that method: if you load the ROM into FCEUX and open the PPU viewer when the game starts, you'll see the current contents of the VRAM pattern tables. Hovering over the letter "A", you'll see that it's tile $4A, meaning that when the name table in VRAM has $4A, it will display this tile.

Now, download Tabular, the simplest and best table making program. Click on the 4A box and Insert->Capital English Alphabet, then save it as a TBL file. You can now load this file into the hex editor in FCEUX - but HxD doesn't accept TBL files. WH32EX does, however, so I'd recommend you download that.

Once you've loaded the TBL file into FCEUX's hex editor, you can see that it's working by clicking View->PPU Memory and scrolling down to $2000 (though you may have to scroll down a bit further than that). As if by magic, as you reset the game, the words on the right will appear before you as they appear on the NES screen. Where is it in the ROM? Well, change the view to the ROM file and search for something using the table - maybe "HIRYU" is a good start. :)

Hopefully you've found it now, and you can see what the value for a space is (since we didn't know what that was before). Try changing it, reset the NES and see if it worked! ;)

This is just the beginning of course: play around with it and see how the game moves to the next line, how it decides when to end the text, and more. I'll leave you to it. Good luck! ;)

AzureSkyes22

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Re: No Readable Transcription in HxD, What to do Next?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2019, 04:25:00 pm »
Thanks for the help, everyone! KingMike, I searched and studied about relative search like you said. I downloaded some softwares to do that but Monkey-Moore ended up solving the problem!

Funny enough, Monkey-Moore showed up the text quite clearly in its preview. Psyklax was right about HxD, it didn't show a single, coherent thing in the transcription. With it, i made some changes at offset C794, which is the start of the opening text and it worked!

I will use the recomended software and test it out more, thanks so much!


edit: also...i tried using Tabular, but it doesn't open because it needs some archive (i downloaded the dll it needed, it's another archive). I saw the readme saying about some archive needed to download or something, but the link is dead. Do you know what is it?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 05:26:55 pm by AzureSkyes22 »

Cyneprepou4uk

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Re: No Readable Transcription in HxD, What to do Next?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2019, 05:37:32 pm »
Now, download Tabular, the simplest and best table making program.

Cool, didn't know such program exists, it is really convenient. However I've checked through the list, and I'm sticking to Oriton, thank you. Despite Tabular has a symbols auto-insertion option, it can't do this with russian alphabet because americans never think of us :) Unfortunately Oriton can't do it either, but it can insert any string with alphabet I want it to, I just need to prepare a text file where I will keep these needed strings and copy-paste from it. And also Oriton doesn't ask me for some system files he can't run without
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Psyklax

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Re: No Readable Transcription in HxD, What to do Next?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2019, 06:34:23 pm »
it can't do this with russian alphabet because americans never think of us :)

I know what you mean, though I don't think it uses Shift-JIS for Japanese either, so I do the same thing you do for Russian: have a text file with the alphabet in order, then copy-paste to a table file. It's not that big of a deal, really. There's no real need for Tabular, it just saves a few clicks. :)

I didn't know about Oriton, I just stuck with Tabular because it's the first one I found, and it did the job fine. Table-making is not a big part of the ROM hacking process, really. :D