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Newcomer's Board / Not sure if I should submit my primitive "hack"
« on: December 07, 2020, 07:02:06 am »
Hey everyone, I'm seeking advice about if a super-simple hack is RHDN material or not. I'll have to elaborate a little to clarify.

So I'm new to all this and this is my first "ROM hack". Gargoyle's Quest 2 (NES) jumping physics always bugged me. Walking and hovering has 100% horizontal speed (1 pixel per frame) but while jumping/falling that is reduced to 75%. That makes it feel sluggish and kind of punishes jumping. No other game in the series does that, including GQ2's Game Boy port, making that one actually the fastest-paced game in the series while the NES original is the slowest. It causes some unnecessary frustration like in that infamous long flight over the river of fire, which is not an issue in its GQ1 or even GQ2(GB) equivalents, which made me wonder if that stage was originally designed without the slowdown in mind. It's the prime issue that makes GQ2(NES) feel less satisfying in my opinion.

So I dug into GQ2's code to remove that and make it feel more like the other games, and I found a very simple solution. At one point, there's an LDA instruction whose value kind of determines the speed percentage when in jump/fall mode. Changing LDA #$C0 (192/256 = 75%) to LDA #$FF (255/256 is virtually 100%) does the trick and I've playtested two full playthroughs with and without overclocking using the Mesen core in RetroArch. I've tried finding more elaborate solutions but found it very difficult to keep track of what's going on through all the sub-sub- and sub-sub-sub-routines, and of how the game exactly uses the carry flag for multiple operations at a time. Changing that one value seems safe and does what it's supposed to perfectly fine.

Now what I'm struggling with is if this is the kind of "hack" that's supposed to be on RHDN. I thought it'd be a shame not to share this but I'm not sure RHDN is the right place, in the sense that it seems to be a place for far more sophisticated hacks. I've read the guidelines and I believe it's in a grey area. I'd hate to submit something that the site isn't meant for.

Like, on the one hand you could say "it fixes the sluggishness, it's a more fluid experience now, a genuine gameplay improvement, and if changing a single byte does the job, then why not?"

On the other hand you could say "this is too crude for the quality standards here" or "it just changes one value to FF and it makes the game easier, it's just a cheat code!" (note: I did try to solve this via cheat/Game Genie code, but the RAM address in question is used by different subroutines, so I couldn't find a way other than manipulating the specific jumping subroutine in the ROM)

Thanks for reading, any feedback is appreciated!

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