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Romhacking => ROM Hacking Discussion => Topic started by: zhade on February 07, 2015, 08:15:13 AM

Title: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: zhade on February 07, 2015, 08:15:13 AM
Hi guys, I was messing with the savefile (zsnes .srm file) for secret of mana and I found a way to make it so you start (by loading the game) at the first village but with some events already done so that you never encounter one or both of the other characters. In order to not get the sprite in your party, the boss in the dwarf village is skipped (I can make you start with the boomerang, the bow and the orb that you usually obtain after the battle tho). For the girl, she just won't be attacked by the wolfs once you enter the forest and you start with the gloves. For now I didn't find the value for the event where you get attacked by goblins so in theory it is still possible to get the girl that way but it should not be a problem to find the event data.

I tried playing with only the boy (to make it challenging) but it is nearly impossible, I made it until the boss in the cave in the dwarf village. The boss magics can hit 180 damage while I have only 157 max hp.. and with only 1 character there is no way to revive...

I tried changing the stats of the boy (directly in the rom this time) but I had to make the magic defense stat almost to the max to survive one "exploder lvl4" or double the max hp which I guess would make it top to 999 pretty fast. I then thought I should change the boss stats instead but that would mean change all boss stats and alot of work... I also found it was pretty anoying to be the only target of magics during the wall-with-eyes boss, I kept being stopped every 2seconds and I guess some bosses later would make that even worse.

btw it is funny how normally the sprite needs to stay alive or else you can't fight this boss.. but if he isn't in your party he is considered "not dead" so the event goes like normal but with the sprite being invisible and being named "gogogogogogogogogogogogo" which is way more characters then normally possible so it screws up the text...
I can rename characters directly in the file tho and the same happens with all the other events at least for what I tested, I thought the game would crash or something but it doesn't seem to bother at all.

I am now testing a game with the boy and the girl only, alot easier, but at least I can't abuse the bosses with attack magic.

anyway, I would like to know if anyone would be interested in playing this, I know there is already a difficulty hack for the game, but this is a different kind of challenge.

I still need to work on it before it is fully playable because of all the crystals in the game blocking the path unless you use a certain magic on them, which you might not be able to have if the character is missing from your party. I need to find the event value and make the path open by default for every one of them.
Title: Re: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: Bregalad on February 07, 2015, 09:39:20 AM
Doesn't the last boss requires both the girl and the sprite casting their magic on the boy ? I don't remember exactly but there was something like that.
Title: Re: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: zhade on February 07, 2015, 12:29:16 PM
Bregalad,
you are right, its possible to hit it tho, it just doesnt take much damage without the magic, I guess I could lower its stats to make it possible to beat it
Title: Re: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: Grimoire LD on February 07, 2015, 09:52:04 PM
Quote from: zhade on February 07, 2015, 12:29:16 PM
Bregalad,
you are right, its possible to hit it tho, it just doesnt take much damage without the magic, I guess I could lower its stats to make it possible to beat it

This is really neat idea! The only issue is... yes, Magic. Unless you're giving all the spells to Boy, some parts will seem rather strange. And when enemies cast magic (as you've pointed out) forget it! You're stuck until the animation is done.
Title: Re: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: zhade on February 08, 2015, 12:54:33 AM
Maybe there is a "cast speed" stat for bosses which could be lowered but I still need to find bosses/enemies stats for that
Playing with 2 players is ok tho, I am really enjoying playing without the sprite so far
I now found a way to play without the boy too and tried with only the sprite but I can't beat the first boss  :huh: He just keeps missing lol, so I guess ill make him start with some magic

I found why the dwarf village cave boss hits so hard, he has 2 magics which normally attack all the party splitting the damage between every characters, those magic are higher level so that they that still hit good damage on each target, but with only 1 character, all the damage goes to 1 target and it breaks the balance completely (in order to survive 1 hit of it you need to have so much magic def that every other spell hit you 20 or less). If I find the bosses magic data I could lower the level of every magic attacking all the party instead of changing all boss stats.

Ill try to find a way to make it so the game doesnt stop you when you are the target of a spell but I don't have high hopes on that, I guess finding a cast speed stat would be more probable. Playing with only 1 character would be anoying otherwise.
Title: Re: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: VicVergil on February 08, 2015, 03:29:36 AM
About removing the girl and the sprite, you could have a look at the text - I bet there's a control code that triggers "character joins the party" which you can remove and have the cutscene skip that part completely.
You'll need to do some assembly (nothing hard in this case) so that the names for the girl and sprite are something else than FF FF FF FF FF FF, since the US version tends to crash when displaying it (the JP version has FF as a null character). This way you could keep all events with all three of them as in the regular game (you'll want to change the bits of text referring to stuff no longer in your new gameplay though, so no "i'm powering up your sword with mana magic to slay the mana beast" ;) ) but they're unplayable which is what matter i guess.
And the boy has a complete set of animations for using magic that goes unused for plot reasons (him being unable to use it) so that might be useful too.
Title: Re: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: zhade on February 09, 2015, 09:30:13 AM
Ghanmi, That would be better than a savefile hack I guess  ::) I would still need to make all crystals events cleared by default tho and I can't seem to find where those events are stored in ram, I can easily find it in the .srm file tho, I guess there would be a way to find in the rom some asm code reading the particular adress from the srm file and look at what it does with it but I am no asm wizard  :-\

I didnt know about the boy's casting animations, I found a game genie code on a site to make the sprite look like the boy so I guess I could make the sprite look like the boy, change the sprite's stats to the stats of the boy (but with sprite's MP) and make you start the game with the now boy-looking sprite. With the boy being able to cast attack magic the crystals would not be a problem (or is there some that needs the girl's magic ? I don't remember)
Title: Re: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: KingMike on February 09, 2015, 10:38:51 AM
I'm pretty sure there was one orb that needed the light elemental's magic (the Dark magic is sprite-only and the Light is girl-only).
Title: Re: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: bailli on February 09, 2015, 12:04:17 PM
I don't know how much asm code would be need for this - but you could try to create consumable items that do elemental damage?
Title: Re: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: RetroHelix on February 09, 2015, 12:08:31 PM
It's some time since I had a look at SOMedit (looks like its discontinued) but I'm pretty sure it has an event editor that is capable of altering the events to your liking. In an older version I once changed the game to not play the intro sequence and start right away.
Title: Re: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: VicVergil on February 09, 2015, 12:20:48 PM
SOMedit tends to corrupt events when editing text. I wouldn't recommend it for edition, frankly speaking. (that's what hex editors are for) It's still very useful as a viewer.
I assume the project lead will have the common sense not to base his work on FuSoYa's VWF version, since he repointed and encrypted all the text of his rewrite as an "ip protection"measure.
Title: Re: Secret Of Mana "hack" removing playable character(s) for a greater challenge
Post by: zhade on February 10, 2015, 01:22:13 AM
I tried SOMedit but I can't seem to save anything without corrupting the rom. I used it to find the events data and the enemies stats tho, it is in fact very useful as a viewer. There is an event which makes a character join the party, by removing them I could keep the girl and/or sprite from joining without skipping events. There is also an event for each crystal ball which I could trigger when you obtain the associated spirit so that you can't skip any parts. I think there is 1 for each spirit so only 8 events to modify.

I don't know if I will have the motivation to change all the story events to make it coherent but if I only remove the "character joined" events you will still need to name the characters that you don't play so the story text will at least be readable even tho some girl and/or sprite will be invisible.

I think I will need to do 3 patches, boy only, boy-girl and boy-sprite
the boy-girl and boy-sprite maybe could be the same if I put an event at the beginning asking "Who will be the 2nd character ?" and giving you the choices "Girl , sprite". Looking at the way the events are coded with SOMedit I think it should not be too hard to do, I will only need to remove some text to make room for more events.

the 1P version will have some modification to the bosses stats (mainly reducing magic powers)
I already modified bosses till the serpent in the cave where you find Flammie. It is harder but its not that bad. Not having to baby-sit 2 idiot CPU players helps moving around faster and saves all healing items for the human player. Having no magic during bosses makes it more challenging but also more fun imo because the battles are less interupted. The battle with the wall-face was anoying because the eyes kept targeting me so I changed the max mana of the center eye to 0 so that it can't revive the eyes when you kill them. At first you keep getting targeted but once you kill an eye, things get better for you.