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Author Topic: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?  (Read 1704 times)

Grimlock

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So I have for years been wondering why there is not forum section for graphics editing or audio editing.  I think the staff at RHDN should seriously consider adding these sections.  There is a great deal of difficulty in editing graphics and in editing audio.  I understand the roots of ROM hacking, initially it was programmers doing all the work but that has changed over the many years ROM hacking/editing has evolved.  ROM hacking is often done by teams, of which contain individuals dedicated to graphics or audio and sound.  I think RHDN should expand to include sections that reflect the various roles of the ROM hacking community. 

Fellow members please respond with your opinion on this topic.

My apologies as to the post being here, I don't know where else to place it.

Jorpho

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2021, 01:32:16 am »
Wouldn't you agree that these forums already get very little traffic? There doesn't seem to be much point to adding more subforums that people will not post in.

Besides, there are many, many other places on the Internet where graphics and audio editing in general – beyond the strict confines of ROM hacking – can be discussed.  Sound hacks are already pretty uncommon due to the inherent difficulty involved.  I am reminded of the tale from the development of Daikatana in which an inexperienced artist drew a 1300x960 skin for an arrow that could never take up more than a few pixels on the screen.
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Spooniest

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2021, 09:00:41 am »
I am reminded of the tale from the development of Daikatana in which an inexperienced artist drew a 1300x960 skin for an arrow that could never take up more than a few pixels on the screen.

Jorpho, there was a zillion other things in that read besides that tidbit. Fascinating, btw!

But I don't get why this suggestion of subforums for specific types of programming/romhacking reminds you of specifically that. Just because it's making something more complicated than it needs to be, in your opinion? Expound.

Seriously that was a great read.
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FAST6191

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2021, 12:15:46 pm »
While many often use the graphics and audio (and text and levels/stats and maybe assembly/game flow if levels and stats did not cover that) means of categorising things they are still fairly weak categorisations, or at least so broad as to be weak.

For instance in recent days we have seen what might well turn out to be a full bore assembly driven custom compression reverse engineering effort and others are more "oh it is a custom tile size" (common in fonts, even better if it is a list of custom tile sizes per character/glyph/rune/...) and others are straight point your tile editor at it in these settings, seems they used a slice out and insert for animations so have fun with that. The difference in requirements there are radical. Also a fun one wherein they did not need graphics editing but a level editor approach.

Audio also ranges from "here is how you need to slap audacity and openmpt such that it exports and works with 99% of ROMs on the system" (the DS being this one -- SDAT audio is not that bad when all is said and done) to "let's learn the basics of nyquist-shannon sampling, then basics of data representation as it applies to music (see something like the underlying thought process behind midi as it is not like all that much else people meet if they are not musicians) and get out the chip datasheets for this console, also probably getting elbow deep in assembly for a long time".


More generally forum sections tend to get made if other sections are starting to be overrun with questions of a given nature (and such that a sticky could not suffice), because it is completely obvious (this being general purpose hacking, as opposed to franchise specific like most other dedicated hacking sites, and not broken out into specific consoles then that is a harder sell there)

Jorpho

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2021, 12:54:59 pm »
But I don't get why this suggestion of subforums for specific types of programming/romhacking reminds you of specifically that. Just because it's making something more complicated than it needs to be, in your opinion? Expound.
Yes, I was  a little vague there.  It just seems to me that "graphics editing" specifically implies an extremely vast field of artistry using Photoshop and Wacom tablets and whatnot, and only a very, very tiny fraction of that is applicable to the meager technical capabilities of the consoles people are interested in hacking – wherein the technical challenge seems to lie more in finding out how something can be changed at all, and not in finding the right aesthetic appeal.

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Seriously that was a great read.
I'm glad people have managed to preserve it over the years.  Even with archive.org, there is a lot of fine old Gamespot content that has become quite inaccessible.

Anyway, if you like that, this more recent piece from PCGamer is an interesting followup.
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Spooniest

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2021, 05:42:39 pm »
Anyway, if you like that, this more recent piece from PCGamer is an interesting followup.

Yey more lernin'

I already read "Masters of Doom," some 8 years back, so this is more of that story for me.
Yamero~~!

Vanya

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2021, 07:43:44 pm »
I feel like Grimlock is self-evidently talking about graphics and audio editing in the context of ROM hacking. Saying that it is too broad kinda ignores the context of this being a ROM hacking forum.

I for one think that having a, shall we say, Graphics Hacking and Audio Hacking section added is a good idea just for the sake of organization and to make things a bit easier for less experienced users.

I often see new posts that start out with this, "I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but..."

I think this happens frequently enough to merit expanding ROM Hacking Discussion into 3 sub-forums; General, Graphics, and Audio. I think that alone would greatly help to make things easier for people trying to learn and get help and won't be a big deal for those who are already experienced.

And to make my position clear, I think this site should be doing more to make it easier for new users to get into ROM-hacking. The more people get into this hobby, the more innovation will happen.

That's my two cents.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 06:13:43 pm by Vanya »

Jorpho

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2021, 08:42:15 pm »
Like I said: practically no one hacks audio.  Or at least, those who have done extensive audio hacks don't really seem to come around here to discuss their secrets, and I don't think the addition of a separate subforum is going to change that.  (Swapping out SNES BRR samples is easy enough, or changing tracks for redbook audio or existing MSU-1 hacks, of course.)

And with that, lumping "graphics" and "general" together doesn't seem at all unreasonable.

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I often see new posts that start out with this, "I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but..."
It doesn't seem to me like that happens very often – and when it does, it's not like it's easy to say that it should have been posted somewhere else.
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FAST6191

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2021, 08:17:03 am »
If I ever see "don't know if" then it is usually confusion between newcomers and ROM hacking section, maybe help wanted or personal projects.

Graphics is such a broad topic though with surprise entries all over the shop (fonts, text as graphics) and trails leading to other areas (hitboxes being a fun one) or just simple going to need to do hard mode thanks to compression, some weird animation quirk, graphics memory issues and the like that I would bet on the only people being able to reasonably categorise things are those that already know enough to ask but are doing the "has anybody seen this?" before putting the time in themselves.


As far as audio editing. On CD based systems, those with filesystems and the GBA then audio editing is mostly a matter of find right tool or plugin/settings combo in audacity/openmpt and go from there, with the ripping aspect being even easier still, with about as fun as it ever gets being when people want to make games that lost voice over in translation or grab things from better sources/anime and inject that. On older stuff then barrier to entry kind of is "best to know some assembly at least enough to control program flow, watch introduction to midi format, know enough of audio editing to know what samplerate, bit depth and signed vs unsigned is" and owing to it being nothing major for the same engine same base franchise released a year apart to have a radical audio tweak between entries (in addition to generally needing a whole new set of entry points even if not) then I don't imagine things are being held back on older systems where it was custom from the ground up and seriously limited (though sometimes expanded into incredibly complexity) but hardware of the era.

Sanedan56

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2021, 03:58:23 pm »
To be honest, while I lean more towards having more sections, I can see the point for both sides.

On one hand, the forums only have a few visitors and more sections would likely be a waste.

On the other, having more sections will give those who need assistance a place to talk.

I believe Grimlock was talking about within the context of romhacking, although various tools like Photoshop are applicable.

I won't say hardly anybody makes audio hacks, many communities I've seen have hacks, tutorials, and even tools to help.
While these are for more popular games and series, some games do share sound engines.

Audio for the most part, unlike graphics, is mostly uncompressed and can be easily accessed.

Anything that could make audio hacking easier would help.

I feel if new sections are out of the question, then a general audio or graphics guideline, or tutorial, would help newcomers.

Jorpho

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2021, 07:31:06 pm »
Audio for the most part, unlike graphics, is mostly uncompressed and can be easily accessed.
I can't imagine what you're talking about..?  Uncompressed audio takes up an enormous amount of space and aside from the aforementioned redbook audio I don't think it ever comes up? I guess custom music formats might be technically uncompressed, but those hardly qualify as easy to access.
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Sanedan56

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2021, 03:17:24 pm »
I was referring to sound drivers and musical notes from the 8 and 16 bit eras. They do not have to be sent to a buffer and decompressed.

SunGodPortal

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2021, 01:09:18 am »
I like the thought of extra organization since I have a bit of a "sorting fetish", but as soon as I started reading Jorpho's initial reply I was reminded of how much of the time, I browse hacking sites for entertainment/inspiration. When I find a site and start browsing and see sections where only the top 5 or so threads have been updated in the past six months I find myself turning away as all I can think is "This place is a ghost town. How sad". Maybe that's just me...

This seems like one of those debates where in the end, I just can't seem to arouse much passion for either side as they both seem sensible depending on the circumstances. I like organization that is specific, but I don't believe this site has enough traffic to keep extra sub-forums (or whatever they are called) looking active.

Ahhh... Thinking of extra sub-forums reminds me of my old favorite, the late perennially toxic and endlessly entertaining "General Discussion"... That election thread... Good times, man...
R.I.P. :'(
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Chronosplit

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2021, 09:44:10 am »
I like the thought of extra organization since I have a bit of a "sorting fetish", but as soon as I started reading Jorpho's initial reply I was reminded of how much of the time, I browse hacking sites for entertainment/inspiration. When I find a site and start browsing and see sections where only the top 5 or so threads have been updated in the past six months I find myself turning away as all I can think is "This place is a ghost town. How sad". Maybe that's just me...

This seems like one of those debates where in the end, I just can't seem to arouse much passion for either side as they both seem sensible depending on the circumstances. I like organization that is specific, but I don't believe this site has enough traffic to keep extra sub-forums (or whatever they are called) looking active.

Ahhh... Thinking of extra sub-forums reminds me of my old favorite, the late perennially toxic and endlessly entertaining "General Discussion"... That election thread... Good times, man...
R.I.P. :'(
I completely agree.  Funnily enough my inner salt miner was just thinking back to how General Discussion would've exploded over certain recent events.  I think that ultimately, the patreon lockup of the general section killed the forum traffic in general.  What's a forum without a general place for the community to talk?  At least it didn't hurt the personal projects or hacking discussion traffic... not very much, anyway.

I guess everyone's migrated to the discord these days.  I'll make a visit one day.

SunGodPortal

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2021, 06:25:47 pm »
I completely agree.  Funnily enough my inner salt miner was just thinking back to how General Discussion would've exploded over certain recent events.

Oh man. I can't imagine how much worse it would be four years later. U.S. politics just keeps getting more and more infected/toxic. At times it's amusing. Other times I'm thinking "This is how my country is being viewed around the world"? or "This is supposed to be leadership"? Then I feel a mixture of sadness and anger.

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At least it didn't hurt the personal projects or hacking discussion traffic... not very much, anyway.

My view on things like this is, if you don't want to read it, don't read it. :)

------on topic------

Sorry guys. I'm the worst about tangents. My post history will attest to that.

But anyway, in theory, a good marker for extra organization of threads (in my opinion) would probably be the manner in which hacks themselves are organized on the site. Graphics, Sounds, Text, Complete, etc. There's a lot of grey areas and crossover though in what constitutes this type of hack or that and I'm still not 100% convinced it would be entirely beneficial.
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MysticLord

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2021, 08:20:12 pm »
While the technical difficulties of graphics and audio editing vary wildly - and the existing categories/boards are good enough - I think what OP is looking for is a place for artist/musician types to hang out and chat among themselves while being open for recruitment in various romhacking schemes. Similar to the programming or translation boards, I guess, though I don't want to put words into someone's mouth.

You could consider it an attempt to coalesce a dedicated artist/musician clique/crew in the romhacking community, which is natural especially for artists/musicians who are more likely to be sociable than the average coder curmudgeon.

Whether or not one should do this depends on how strongly you feel about threads being "correctly" categorized (whether or not you believe subjectivity is possible and/or desirable) and whether or not you think overlap in thread categorization is acceptable. If this is the case, the discussion might best proceed by determining the scope of specialized audio and graphics boards, and that of the existing and more generalized boards.

There's also the issue of moving existing threads, which I assume no one wants to do (me included). Granted you could just do it as threads are bumped and people notice it, but I feel like a lot of people wouldn't be happy slacking off*.

That said, it would be nice to have a place you can go to gauge the interest and feasibility of doing audio/graphics work for games of a certain platform, company, or what have you.

While we're on the subject of forum feedback, tags would be nice - especially mandatory tags in the programming board for the language you're using. Tags for platform(s) would be nice too, wouldn't hurt to make them mandatory unless someone's asking an exploratory question like, "Which version of Ogre Battle is easiest to hack?" or whatever.

*Disclaimer: I am a slacker.

Spooniest

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Re: Why still no forum section for Graphics editing or Audio editing?
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2021, 03:47:22 am »
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I think that ultimately, the patreon lockup of the general section killed the forum traffic in general.

In the words of Whoopi Goldberg (Speaking on the death of her ex-husband): "They say you're supposed to say something good about the dead. He dead. Good." I much prefer the way things are now, where the forum is focused on its purpose; discussing games and the modification thereof.

I wouldn't have thought so at the time. I have come around.
Yamero~~!