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1
Programming / Re: Any idea what this SLZ algorithm is?
« on: January 07, 2009, 12:24:08 am »
Looks like the "SLZ" author didn't know about LZSS.

2
ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Cartographer
« on: January 05, 2009, 02:04:15 pm »
Quote
I'm not talking about filenames.

Neither was I, I was talking about displaying the text inside a user interface. But filenames are a huge problem, too.

Quote
To take advantage of Unicode (UTF-16) on Windows using straight Win32 C ... Converting after the fact was nearly unfeasible.

I'll share some of the fun I had porting my apps to Unicode.

1) need to #define UNICODE (cleaner, safer than adding Ws everywhere), which instantly breaks a few hundred to a few thousand Win32 API calls. You'll cry when GCC spits out 4,873 compilation errors.
2) best to write a generic wrapper to turn UTF-8 into UTF-16 on-the-fly:
Code: [Select]
class utf16 { public:
  operator wchar_t*() { return buffer; }
  operator const wchar_t*() const { return buffer; }
  utf16(const char *s = "") {
    if(!s) s = "";
    unsigned length = MultiByteToWideChar(CP_UTF8, 0, s, -1, 0, 0);
    buffer = new(zeromemory) wchar_t[length + 1];
    MultiByteToWideChar(CP_UTF8, 0, s, -1, buffer, length);
  }
  ~utf16() { delete[] buffer; }
private: wchar_t *buffer;
};
... and vice versa.
3) all of your filename passing fails. Have to convert them to UTF-16 first. This also breaks all your libc file access functions: fopen needs to become _wfopen, mkdir needs to become _wmkdir, etc. This also breaks all your third-party libraries: have fun patching zlib, libjma, etc.
4) int main(int argc, char *argv[]) fails. The non-ANSI parts become question marks, so even converting them to UTF-16 won't let you open the files. Need some serious black magic to get that back to valid UTF-8:
Code: [Select]
int __stdcall WinMain(HINSTANCE, HINSTANCE, LPSTR, int) {
  //argv[] is in 7-bit ANSI format; Unicode characters are converted to '?'s.
  //this needs to be converted to UTF-8, eg for realpath(argv[0]) to work.
  int argc;
  wchar_t **wargv = CommandLineToArgvW(GetCommandLineW(), &argc);
  char **argv = new char*[argc];
  for(unsigned i = 0; i < argc; i++) {
    argv[i] = new char[_MAX_PATH];
    strcpy(argv[i], utf8(wargv[i]));
  }
5) all of these changes are Win32-specific, so you have to encapsulate all of them in #ifdef _WIN32, so that it continues to work on pure UTF-8 systems like Linux / BSD / OS X. And if you want unified GUI text for all platforms, then 100% of your Win32 API calls need to wrap UTF-8 -> UTF-16.

The best part ... all of this could be avoided, and current apps could transparently gain Unicode support, if Windows would just accept a UTF-8 codepage with the *A functions.

The bad news, you pretty much have to do this stuff. If someone has a Windows username that isn't pure ANSI, and you app saves data inside their profile (as it should, apps are supposed to store data in the App Data folder), it will completely fail to save the data without Unicode support. This really pisses off non-English speakers, and for good reason. I had someone on 2ch asking why I hated Japanese people because I couldn't load Japanese-named ROMs >_<

The really bad news, most big-name commercial apps can't handle this, either! Winamp, Firefox 2 ... 95% of my applications failed to work at all when I used a non-English profile username.

3
ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: Cartographer
« on: January 05, 2009, 11:39:38 am »
Quote
// POINTER SIZE: This is were the program crashes. The game uses 3-byte pointers
//        so I changed it to 04 like the readme said. I tried just for testing
//       to change the value to $02 and then it extracted fine.

... am I the only one who wondered why you weren't supposed to use a value of $03 to represent a 3-byte pointer? :/

Quote
And yes, Unicode can be UTF-7, UTF-8, UTF-16, UTF-32 ± BOM or UCS-2, UCS-4 ± BOM! Seriously, I don't get what's so hard about making a unicode compliant program.

Windows internally uses UTF-16 only. Linux uses UTF-8 only. You can feed it whatever format you want, but you have to manually convert it.

Easy to get cross-platform support by writing a MultiByteToWideChar(CP_UTF8...) wrapper for 'doze. Losing O(1) character lookup sucks royally, though. UTF-16 can't do that 100% cleanly thanks to surrogate pairs. Sure you can ignore those, but yuck. So you can use the even less common UTF-32, fun. I just make sure my UTF-8 tables use characters that encode as 3-bytes/per so I can be cheap about indexing.

The ROM hacking scene has always been about ten years behind the common encoding format, anyway. When I started, it was all about EUC-JIS encoding. Be happy most are at least using Shift JIS now.

4
News Submissions / Re: Translations: Emerald Dragon Updated!
« on: November 24, 2008, 06:50:52 pm »
SNES9x 1.51 does not play the patch nor the original game. Sorry, you're out of luck. SNES9x 1.43 does however it butchers the music pretty badly. I'd recommend using the latest version of BSNES.

BSNES is fine with me; I like what Byuu does for the scene.  Thanks.

Excellent, Nightcrawler ... our master plan is working! He who controls the spice emulator, controls the Universe! >:D

5
News Submissions / Re: Translations: MOTHER 3 Fan Translation Complete
« on: October 20, 2008, 05:45:13 pm »
How about we replace this ...
http://www.romhacking.net/newsimages/newsimage728a.png

... with this?
http://mother3.fobby.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/supershop.png

Off-topic crap:
Spoiler:
Quote
Ouch. Time for an updated release? :P Though if you care enough, you can always edit the screenshot yourself now that the entry has assimilated into RHDN and it's community editing power!

I'm waiting to see if SE localizes DQ5r for the DS. If they do, I'm not going to touch it out of respect. Otherwise, yes, I'll go back and re-do it. Start another post or PM to continue discussion, please.

And I'd actually rather the screenshots stay. I like using them to post off-topic complaints like this ;)

6
News Submissions / Re: Translations: MOTHER 3 Fan Translation Complete
« on: October 20, 2008, 11:56:02 am »
RHDN: slightly faster than Slashdot. Just teasing ;)

Quote
rofl at that first pic, just had to use a buggy one

You think you have it bad? Try having your absolute worst lines singled out :P
... and that was after they went back and made the pictures / description much more polite.


7
News Submissions / Re: Site: Revised RHDN Policy
« on: October 03, 2008, 06:46:50 pm »
Quote
Hell, my documents are the only thing of any value on this site.

Context, people. He was obviously meaning to say that his documents were the only thing of value belonging to him on this site.

I don't think there's anyone out there with enough vanity to think that his contributions alone are the only thing of value at RHDN as a whole.


8
News Submissions / Re: Site: Revised RHDN Policy
« on: October 02, 2008, 07:22:10 pm »
Quote
Basically it always includes "You can't sue us if you use the services" to avoid frivolous legal battles.

And those clauses are almost always rejected by the courts.

Example:
http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20080831104451947

Quote
"Courts, not arbitrators, decide the validity of arbitration agreements," the court wrote ... "Courts will not be easily deceived by attempts to unilaterally strip away consumer protections and remedies by efforts to cloak the waiver of important rights under an arbitration clause."


9
News Submissions / Re: Site: Revised RHDN Policy
« on: October 02, 2008, 04:00:35 pm »
Quote
You're free to delete all your work unconditionally since you didn't submit it yourself.

Ah ...

Quote
In summary, we still respect unconditional deletion requests on material submitted to our site in good faith by third parties that an author may not have wished to appear here.

That's much better. Now how the hell did I miss that? Sorry x.x

So long as your upload submission has a disclaimer that by uploading, it's an agreement to allow you to continue to host the file, then I'm completely okay with the change.

10
News Submissions / Re: Site: Revised RHDN Policy
« on: October 02, 2008, 02:43:53 pm »
Quote
byuu:
Does copyright matter at all when by submitting, you're agreeing to grant permission by our terms? I don't see any violation of copyright when the author agreed to give us permission and agreed to our terms first hand.

It does when you realize that I've never once submitted a single file to this site, yet you have eight things by me hosted here. So I haven't explicitly given you permission to host anything of mine. But for what it's worth, I don't mind that you guys host any of that stuff. All of my stuff is licensed for public distribution anyway, so I can't legally tell you to take it down even if I wanted to.

That is a good idea, though. How about this for a solution?

Encourage people to submit work themselves. Give the incentive of giving such submissions their own articles on the front page (otherwise it gets added silently or something), with links to homepages for free "advertising" and such; and ensure much faster hosting (eg delay 1-2 weeks before staffers will upload new stuff.)

Whenever you submit a file, there's a checkbox where you can assert to being the copyright owner, and that you are granting RHDN an exclusive, non-transferrable (eg only giving RHDN permission, nobody else) license to host the file here indefinitely. Again, require that for some sort of "perks / rewards" program. Maybe larger avatars on the forums, or some neat special title or something.

Whenever that box is checked, store a flag in the database to say that it was. Deletion requests will be honored then only at your discretion, and you reserve the right to reject them.

In the event someone wants something deleted, and that wasn't checked (eg it's an older "legacy" file, or someone else submitted it without their permission), or in the event someone fraudulently claimed to be the author of the work, then delete the work unconditionally. Make deletion more serious to discourage it. Eg, "if you request deletion, we will never host this file (or worse, anything from you) again." And force them to use a hot pink RHDN theme for their IP / account in the future.

For those who simply don't want to submit stuff themselves, and for the older works, maybe allow logged-in users to click a button under each entry to authorize RHDN to host it indefinitely.

I realize doing all of that is a lot of hard work, and thus may not be feasible.


11
News Submissions / Re: Site: Revised RHDN Policy
« on: October 02, 2008, 01:18:54 pm »
Just throwing in my two cents, feel free to disregard this post. Otherwise, go and get some coffee. This will be a long one.

I'm not a lawyer, and I have no formal education in case law. However, I've read the actuals texts of US Copyright Law, the Berne Convention, a lot of case law (Sega v Accolade, Lexmark v SCC, etc), lots of [citation needed] stuff on Wikipedia and various articles from others on copyright. While I may not have a good enough understanding to win a court case, I do believe I understand the issue fairly well.

That said, my understanding is that by simply translating the work of someone else and releasing it, it is a violation of copyright. Recent court cases suggest to me that we would not be very successful with even hacks. Especially when you consider the role expensive lawyers play in court cases.

In response to:

Quote
I recall someone else years ago linking me to the text of some treaty that the U.S. had signed which specifically stated that translations of software that were intended to increase usability were legal.

Pics Links or it didn't happen :P

---

But this is mostly irrelevant. Regardless of whether or not a translation / hack / document is legal, the work put into it is still copyrighted by the owner. It does not become public domain just because it's not legal. Nor is it PD just because no license was specified. The default state of a work means all rights are reserved, not the other way around. An author has to manually give up his rights, eg with a license agreement.

Think about an example: someone makes Chrono Trigger 3D. It's wildly popular, and Square-Enix sues to stop it, because it violates their copyright. Now what? Does it go public domain, meaning that since Square-Enix owns the copyright and trademarks, that they can take the 3D game and sell it as their own? Of course not, the creator still owns the copyright. But since it's illegal, he can't distribute it. However, Square-Enix can in turn buy his rights to the 3D game, and then sell it. But they don't get the rights for free. By default -- if it's illegal, then nobody has the right to distribute it.

If the patches aren't legal, then the rights holders could demand you take things down as well. They could take legal action against you too, if they don't mind bad PR.

And if it is legal, RHDN is in the same predicament. Either way, by ignoring an author's takedown request, you are making yourselves liable for copyright infringement claims. If this concerns you in the least, and you even slightly doubt me on this, you should consult a real lawyer.

Now, to play the devil's advocate ... what ROM hacker out there has the resources to issue a valid DMCA takedown notice, and/or to take you to court, with lawyers, court fees, and all that? And all for work distributed free of charge to begin with (eg little to no monetary damages)? Not going to happen.

The translation scene has always came off to me as extremely uninformed regarding copyright law. From someone threatening to sue me because my font looked like his (fonts are not copyrightable -- TTFs and such are a gray area, as they are claimed to be "software", but raw pixel fonts are not for very justified and obvious reasons), to not even knowing that the Berne Convention exists, to never specifying a license for their works anywhere, to calling it "copywrite". And on and on.

Essentially, it comes down to two choices:

1. If you don't care about copyright:

... you accept that the files you're hosting are, at the very least, questionably legal in the first place. So why start respecting the rights of those in the community, but not the companies who created the games in the first place? It's a double standard to do so. Shield yourself using the DMCA, and require that end users, not staff members, upload all new content. Now you only legally have to remove it upon receipt of a DMCA takedown notice, and you will not be held liable.

2. If you do care about copyright:

... and you believe the files hosted here are legal, then you really should demand a valid license to the work you host. Licenses such as the GPL exist for a reason: they guarantee that distribution rights cannot be retroactively revoked. As it stands, I don't know of any fan translations (apart from ones I've worked on) that have actual licenses specified. Without specifying, the copyright owner retains all rights. Including the right to distribution. Even if the work itself is a copyright infringement in the first place!

This really shouldn't be hard. Require future content, starting from now, to be under a list of acceptable licenses. Anything here already, leave the old rules in-tact. If they ask for removal, take it down. If they ask for removal, but explicitly placed the work; tell them to go fuck themselves, or something to that effect.

There are lots of nice software licenses: BSDL, LGPL, GPL, etc; and lots of nice creative licenses, eg Creative Commons. Make a list of acceptable ones, and start including a license field with each new hosted file.

---

As for the issue itself -- my personal opinions are irrelevant. But for what it's worth, I'm quite happy with the presentation of my works on this site. Nightcrawler was very quick to remove a now-useless Snes9X bugfix patch for me when I asked. I'm (hopefully) mature enough at this point to not go demanding all my work be pulled because Nightcrawler or someone else here hurts my feelings, so it doesn't really affect me.

Sadly, people already host my emulator on various porn sites to get click-through revenue. So I doubt even if RHDN went that route, that it would really bother me much.

I don't know what I'd do if I were in charge of this site. I have nothing but respect for those staff here subjecting themselves to this endless drama for no profit whatsoever.


12
Further proof that Langrisser kills fan translation careers.

Awesome work, though! A Langrisser game in only four months, truly impressive.

For those who have played DL, even on light path, this is still highly worth checking out. The games are totally different after scenario 3 or so. This one is also maddeningly more difficult. Expect to lose the very first scenario. Multiple times.

As for the previous L2 patches, well ... read M.I.J.E.T.'s readme file. He puts it better than I ever could.

13
Quote
Most/all professional sites worth going to have already figured out that fixed width is a huge no-no)

If we had vectorized graphics and the ability to set images for corners of divs (for rounded edges -- 9x nested DIVs is really, really tacky), we could maybe argue that there was no use for fixed width.

Luckily browsers are starting to support scaling of images, too, so it's not really as big a deal even if you do use fixed width if your browser scales everything equally.

Don't get me wrong, I always use em-sizing when possible, but it'd be nice if I could mix some hand-tailored gradient backgrounds with that.

14
Oh, I haven't, don't worry :P
But I would have considered it*. Why? Because referencing your own personal page is one thing, but referencing a site outside of your control is another.
(* The "hacking" part in the URI would obviously be a concern, heh.)

Example:
"Hey prospective employer, check out my website, www.thebestpageintheuniverse.com, to see how awesome I am! It's a very impartial source for outside opinion of the quality of my work."
-or-
"Please see www.independentnewssource.com, which has an Alexa rating of 600, for a reference of my work."

I don't know of any other sites indexing my translation work -- well, other than "GoodSNES" ROM set sites.

15
   

A quality product, I'm sure.

Yeah, it's pretty depressing to have my work hosted alongside such "works." But no worries, not going to ask for anything to be pulled, neither my work nor said hack. But you can bet I won't be using RHDN for any professional referrals of my work from now on :P

16
News Submissions / Re: Translations: Dual Orb Version 1.5 Released!
« on: June 06, 2008, 04:13:11 pm »
Quote
Wait, wait, who is still playing that one? Or bothered to play it back then

Someone reported it as a bug, saying it happened on his copier, too. I declined to look at it, as it's a fan translation, until someone started chiming in on how "it's an emulator bug and needs to be fixed," so I had to drag my copier out. Broken there, too, as I expected. Turns out the guy was testing an NTSC game on a PAL copier + PAL SNES.

Quote
What's the deal with DQ1&2 again? The notes seem to suggest it works on a copier.

As far as I know, the DQ1 title inside the dragon flames doesn't show up in English. You know, because bit $4212; bmi $fb; bit $4212; bpl $fb is just so much effort.

Quote
I hate to nitpick, but wouldn't "Arekusu" be Japanese for Alex?

Both work. Aresu is more common, though. See Lunar: Silver Star for the best example I can think of off the top of my head. It doesn't really matter, of course. If you'd prefer to transliterate nonsensical names that no one in the real world uses when a standard name is also a valid translation, be my guest.

17
News Submissions / Re: Translations: Dual Orb Version 1.5 Released!
« on: June 05, 2008, 06:18:36 pm »
Quote
One other thing of note is that the infamous Yes/No issue on copiers has been corrected. You can now strike Dual Orb 2 off your list of translations exemplifying poor emulator versus copier/SNES differences.

Fixed that for you ;)

SNES9x, SNESGT, SNEeSe and bsnes all properly handle VRAM writes during vblank. Hell, I bet even Schuper does. Super Sleuth is in deep hibernation (or Elysium), so if pagefault addresses this issue with ZSNES v2, then we can finally rid ourselves of this problem once and for all.

Aside from that, great job on the release :D
You and Gideon rock. I'm always happy to reduce the number of games with such issues. Now we just need to patch up Dragon Quest 1&2 and Sailor Moon, and hopefully I won't be bothered by false bug reports anymore. Hoorah!

Quote
(the hero's called Aleth):

Well, technically he's called Aresu, Japanese for Alex. I think Nightcrawler said Alex didn't sound cool enough to him, so he chose Aleth.

Spoiler:
And it's KAERU, dammit! >_< j/k

18
Quote
I think I'm going to take away that smiley. It's been abused around here lately.

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FF5 was a travesty. I'm glad the SNES never got to see that script.

While I haven't played the PSX one, but I have played the GBA one ... not sure if they are the same, but if so, I completely agree with you. The US GBA port gave the characters absolutely no personality whatsoever. They all sounded like Daria ... only with cheesy, retro jokes that weren't at all funny.

"Oh, that old man died. Well that sucks. What, you want to join us now? Sure, whatever."
"Oh, no. Father's gone missing. We should go get something to eat."

That was perhaps the driest script I've ever read.

19
Quote
Just because the max level is 40 doesn't mean you can't continue to gain HP and spell uses.

As if it even matters, when you can just (MAJOR)
Spoiler:
hit the last boss with cure two times to kill him.

Quote
Mystic Quest was actually released in Japanese first

Unfortunately, that is incorrect. The US release was on 1992-10-05, and the JP release was on 1993-09-10.

I imagine the differences were more related to localizing a US game for a Japanese audience. For what it's worth, I personally like the Japanese names and such more, as they are more consistent with the rest of the FF series. I don't know that I'd personally want to retranslate the dialogue script for that alone ... a patch for the US version might be more efficient.

Still, I support your project and wish you the best of luck! :D
Don't worry about what others say, just have fun doing what you enjoy! That's all that matters.

20
Quote
2229 downloads totaling 2.3Gigs of bandwidth. Highest drawing single file on the site for bandwidth following the Der Langrisser news images on the main page for June.

Hah, fun. We pulled a few thousand downloads on both cinnamonpirate and CoES, ourselves. Thanks for posting the stats, an interesting read.

Quote
I must say I'm surprised so many people have been into Der Langrisser. Maybe I'll rethink doing game nobody cares about so I can get more than a few dozen people to come in for my translations.  laugh

And they said all the big name games were done already.

Warsong was a major cult classic on the Genesis, so it isn't too surprising how popular its' sequel is. And really, how many SNES games can you name where you can choose to fight for light, imperial, chaos, or just say fuck everyone and be your own master, betraying everyone in the entire game all at once?

As far as big name games, I don't think they are all done, but they're really getting close. I think the only big name game remaining is Far East of Eden Zero, which is about as popular as Star Ocean.

Of course, there are a lot of gems that people don't know about, like Chaos Seed and the Dai Kaijuu games. And then there are the really, really awful games that people will do just because there's nothing left, like Starlight: Traverse and Prarie, BAZOO, Granhistoria, etc.

We may disagree on exactly how many good games are left, but I think we can both agree that all of the really major games that would attract people outside our own community are quickly dwindling. The absolutely massive games the translation scene brought in, were names like:
- Final Fantasy V
- Secret of Mana 2
- Tales of Phantasia
- Star Ocean
- Dragon Quest V
- Dragon Quest VI

And now, we are working on games like:
- Dual Orb I
- Bakumatsu Kourinden Oni II
- Silva Saga II

If you ask RPG fans who were around in the mid 1990s in the English-speaking areas of the world, nearly all can tell you about the former, but I bet you virtually none are familiar with the latter. It doesn't necessarily make them worse games, but they're usually of a lower quality level than the big name ones. The games being worked on are just going to continue to get worse, as we continue to cherry pick the best ones remaining to work on.

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mwuahha i got it i was just checking around the message boards at gamefaqs and someone said to try to name it just DL_J
and try it and it seems to have worked.

It's because you have file extensions turned off. You were naming it dl_j.smc, but the filename already ended in .smc, so Windows was actually naming it dl_j.smc.smc. You should probably ask Windows not to hide file extensions from you.

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