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Topics - milkmanjack

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Newcomer's Board / Game formats, game processing, and assembly?
« on: December 25, 2012, 05:24:16 pm »
I made a few posts some months ago about tables, string pointers, font icons and text compression. At the time, I was really just focusing what I could do with what I had, without having to figure out the inner details of the game or the platform. Now I'm trying to get back into it, but I'm trying to take a better route.

I think I read somewhere, or was advised at some point, that learning about the GBA's processor would let me know more about the inner workings of GBA ROMs, like where it stores data and why, and in what format, and so on. Another thing I've thought about is how the game itself is reading the data. I've seen people refer to reading debug output for the actual activities the GBA (or any platform) is doing as the game is playing; things like reading data from the game ROM and then using it for stuff. If I could get information like that, I imagine I could save a lot of time and effort figuring out, for example, what it looks like when the game is writing text to a dialogue box, or animating a sprite, so on.

So if anyone is knowledgeable about things like that (any platform), I'd love to get some responses or some private messages. I know the question is kind of vague, but I'm trying to express myself as best as I can about something I know nothing about.

I'm also trying to find a good book on assembly, because there seem to be basically no kind of easily accessible resources for assembly on the web. I know it's different between processors, but I know there are basic features they all share, like putting data at some location in memory, adding and subtracting, dividing and multiplying, bit operations, and stuff like that.

Thanks a lot.  :)

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So recently I started messing with editing dialogue for Playstation 1 games, and I ran into an interesting problem I can't seem to really understand. I've tried quite a few games, and the problem is pretty much always there, so I assume it has to do with how the Playstation stores its data.

Basically, whenever I find some dialogue or text meant to be loaded in a file, there is always, ALWAYS, some totally unrelated set of bytes every few entries within the file. Sometimes predictable, sometimes not.

Here's an example of an English game, with the dialogue in ASCII.
Code: [Select]
Dymÿlos "Youÿ're not ÿusing yoÿur brainý,
It seems to be putting FF every 8 bytes or so within the dialogue, in this particular scenario, but then most of the dialogue I can even recognize as dialogue looks like this:

Code: [Select]
There a9・too many members in the party. Who will マleav>・
This is obviously a message indicating that there are too many members in the party, and asking you who will leave. Then you get things that seem like dialogue, and are garbled beyond legibility.

Code: [Select]
"I'm going home.  If you need my help・ c」・fiウPyrigl."汝gtS 挺約ee hangin';ouニqujメ・ィⅵh橇,゚ justセn?d
I have a similar problem with FF7 in Japanese. I've already mapped out all the kana characters, so I can grab bits of a conversation, but it seems to kind of switch modes to print kanji. So if a kanji is near, I stop being able to read the dialogue. It also is injecting those random bytes around it, as well.

Code: [Select]
ビッグス.「さ[FF]すが、ソルジャー[kanji coming up...]ミB)[kanji passed]でもよ、[kanji coming up].M.ゅ[FF][kanji passed](しんら)ゲルー[FF]プ 【アバランチ】[the rest of the dialogue is cut short, or just not in a readable form]
I really am not sure of where to go from here. I tried reading directly from the data files in the disks, and the results are the same. The text seems to be compressed or something. I've tried doing searches for related stuff, but I can't seem to find the right way to phrase it.

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Newcomer's Board / New to Hacking -- Script and Graphic Editing?
« on: February 24, 2012, 06:22:02 pm »
I've recently decided to take up a bit of rom hacking, just for fun. My main goal is to eventually have the skills necessary to translate games and such. My first attempt to do this, I decided, would be with Pokemon Red for Gameboy, for no particular reason other than I really enjoy the game, and it is quite easy to read.



The first thing I decided to do was to find out how to locate/view the scripts. I read about tables, and about some techniques to determine what bytes represent what "font entity." What I did was made two save files, made the characters names in reverse, and then did a comparison. After looking through the places with a 5 byte difference, I found where character names are stored, and the range that is used.

This is pretty much where I'm at right now. My next goal is to figure out how to A) edit the in-game font, so that I may change the language the game draws in (to English), and B) edit the script in ways that allow me to add extra text.

For A, I have tried a few graphic editor tools. Almost all of them result in the output being garbled except in a few places. After looking around, this seems to be because the graphics are compressed. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to continue at this point...  I've tried a few things, but I can't seem to find what I need.

For B, from what I have read in the past, changing script sizes can be a problem. Due to the way pointers are, changing lengths of one thing require you to move pointers of other things. One thing I was trying to do was find references to the beginnings of dialogue in hex form, but I couldn't find anything for any of the few dialogue entries I tried.

If anyone has any useful information of resources I could use for this, I'd really appreciate it. This is something I'm kind of really interested in doing, but I have very little experience with handling files like this... as in, none.

Thanks!

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