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Topics - RetroProf

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1
I was fooling around in the directory of Drihoo, a Japan exclusive original Xbox game. And to my astonishment discovered the text is stored as plain text in TSC files. I opened one up in Notepad++, changed some words, uploaded to my Xbox, and it worked!

I'm kinda half tempted to do some translating. However, if I submit the TSC files with the new text, would these be accepted? There is other junk inside them too:

Code: [Select]
MTK_TALKTO "ブルズ"
MTK_TESTJUMP MTK_F_GETVAL(0)=0,TALKPROG,MTK_L_NEXT
MTK_TESTJUMP MTK_F_GETVAL(0)=1,GOODBYE,MTK_L_NEXT
MTK_TESTJUMP MTK_F_GETVAL(0)=2,NOMONEY,MTK_L_NEXT
MTK_TESTJUMP MTK_F_GETVAL(0)=3,ITEMFULL,MTK_L_NEXT
MTK_END

So in the above example, it's an NPC called "Bruce" and then below that is a bunch of Japanese text blocks.

Files range in size from 2kb to 128kb, and altogether weight in at around 500kb.

I would not want to do the work and then have the files rejected because I needed to go the long route of creating a patch file to patch these specific files.

I'm sure it's possible to read up on how to do that, but I'm really only interested in this because I can load the actual TSC files and just retype what I'm reading.

2
Skyblazer is one of my favourite SNES games. Hook was by the same developer, using what appears to be the same engine, so I've repeatedly tried to get into it. However, the character's movement is painfully slow compared to Skyblazer.

At first I thought the solution would be to swap in code from Skyblazer, assuming they were similar enough, but then I decided it's probably possible just to hack Hook to be faster. So I did that, and have almost cracked it.

I just need some help fixing it, and also an explanation (or link to reading material) on how to make an IPS patch that changes hex values.

When playing Hook:
The character seems to have 4 movement states:
1) Standing still
2) Walking slow
3) Jogging
4) Running

Only the running movement is anywhere near decent, the rest are slow as molasses. But to start running he needs to build momentum, meaning I suspect there's an internal value which counts up or down until it reaches a specified max/min value, whereupon your animation and movement speed end up "locked" into running mode.

My hope was to find this value and permanently set it to run, so that simply pushing the d-pad makes you run, just like in Skyblazer. I was using SNES9X's built-in cheat search to find this, by moving at various speeds (or standing still) and seeing what numbers changed.

The two main hex codes I've found are:

3000 F301 00?? (C0 or 80)
3000 F341 0002


Or to write them differently:
Adr: 0xF301 Val: ?? (192 or 128)
Adr: 0xF341 Val: 2


F341 relates to overall movement speed, including how fast the screen moves. Setting it to 2 is perfect. The character runs at a nice clip and the scrolls fast and everything feels much more like SKyblazer. Maybe it's a bit too fast, in which case 1 will suffice too. A value of "0" seems to be the stationary speed. Sadly with this activated, once you start running you can't stop - the character just keeps running until he hits a wall, and then just keeps running on the spot.

My concern is that this is directly tied to the fastest running speed, and rather than some kind of momentum counter, the game actually just changes this specific value. In which case a speed hack probably wouldn't work. Ideally I'd like the game's movement to function as if F341 was set to a value of 2, but with the ability to stop when needed - or at least have the run button "Y" automatically force it up to a value of 2 rather than the slow-asses build up that currently happens.

Anyway...

It gets confusing for me when we factor in F301. This appears to be the momentum counter. The standing hex value is C0, or 192 in decimal. At full pelt the hex value becomes 80 or 128 in decimal.

I had hoped that by locking this to a hex value of 80 this would permanently put him in run mode, but it actually seems to prevent him from running...? I tried screwing around with the F301 value, from 00 (0) up to FF (255), but anything outside the two preset values the game adjusts it to causes all kinds of weird crap to happen, including the screen flying violently in different directions.

Also address F321 seems to relate to the kind of animation cycle used (standing, walking, running etc).

I feel like I'm close, but maybe I'm way out of my depth here. I've tried viewing the memory dump in different states of movement, but too many things seem to change. However, the most noticeable events are around/between the F301 and F341 addresses.

Anyone have any ideas? Is this feasible? Are we on the brink of a patch that makes the game actually playable?

3
ROM Hacking Discussion / Secrets hidden in the ROM of Aurail
« on: September 20, 2013, 11:05:35 pm »
I did a search, and found no topics on this.

I haven't checked this myself, but I've got an inside source that if you check the graphics ROM in Aurail (arcade), you will find some really cool hidden artwork.

There's supposedly a large unused space.

If you find it, post screens, because I'd love to use it in my book in the chapter discussing it. Full credit will go to whoever provides it.

More secrets as I discover them!  ;D

4
This annoys me tremendously. And it confuses me. So what better place to ask than the internet's leading ROM hacking forum?

I'm sure we all know Planetemu. The French site with minimal adverts and a large ROM collection. For years I used them, since they carried clean, good dumps of pretty much everything.

If you wanted to apply a translation patch or a hack, their ROMs were the best to use.

A while ago though I noticed they replaced everything, their entire collection, ALL of their ROMs, with headerless / unheaded versions.

FOR EXAMPLE: Instead of U in brackets in the file name, the games have (USA) in the filename, and in some cases the files inside are bin instead of their accepted console specific file extension. Their entire Mega Drive set is now wrong. All of their Famicom Disk System games have the headers removed. Their NES games, likewise, are without headers.

Why would anyone do this? ROMs without headers are useless. Utterly useless. I thought the gaming community had long ago agreed that ROMs need to be single files rather than broken up, that we'd all agreed on a specific naming convention, and that headers were to be left alone as standard?

Without headers:

* You can't translate patch them.

* You can't apply hacks to them.

* Worst of all - the FDS games will NOT WORK in the PowerPak cartridge, because they absolutely MUST be disk images with their original headers. I had to download the entire GOODNES set to get them working, which I only discovered after wasting my time with Planetemus broken collection of non-functioning disk images.



Isn't that what the GOODSETS are all about? Standardised, clean dumps of perfectly functioning ROMs with headers? The fact Planetemu has abandoned GOODSETS, doesn't that mean it's now propagating bad dumps of ROMs?

Did someone in the romhacking community piss them off and this is now their revenge? Did they lose their minds? Did everyone suddenly agree that headerless ROMs were the way forward?

Because the patches on RHDN quite clearly state: apply to a standard ROM that has a normal header.

I'm utterly baffled why what used to be the best ROM site on the internet has done what it's done. I'm now visiting Emuparadise, and even donated to them, so it's not such a big deal. But it's still kinda sad to see. Planetemu is now dead to me. My primary reason for emulating is so I can apply the patches that you guys, on this website, create.


5
Wow, now that's a title.

Michigan Report from Hell is a videogame by Suda 51 of Grasshopper Manufacture:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan:_Report_from_Hell


It was released in Japan and had a tiny budget release in Europe, in English. Never released in the USA. Unfortunately 505 Game Street introduced a serious menu glitch during localisation.

The plot is bat**** insane, but during gameplay there are meant to be 4 videos you can find, which can then be viewed from the Theatre section in the Extras menu. Except clicking on it instead drops you into the pole-dancing extra the game features. The Theatre mode is entirely inaccessible.

It wouldn't matter, except the 4 bonus videos which explain the plot can only be accessed through the Theatre mode. I suppose a patch could be made to correct the menu bug, but I'm hoping there's an option to rip the video files from the disc. I recently rebought the game, and it's scratched to hell, but hopefully there is a way to get into it and extract the files. Then I can put it on Youtube.

What is the recommended procedure for this? Is it even possible? Will the files be read in something like VLC player afterwards?

Popping the DVD in my PC shows a "movie" folder with 4 x 700mb BIN files.


These are the inaccessible video files according to a GameFAQs guide.
Level 12 (Club "Gotchi")     Videotape: Meteor.
Level 5 (Brody Nursing Home) Videotape: Shooting.
Level 15 (24-Station)        Videotape: Interrogation.
Level 10 (Von Erich Library) Videotape: Paula's rampage.



EDIT:
Turns out the BIN files can be read in VLC player, but they're silent. They appear to be every video from the game in one long sequence. Is this some kind of propriety format the PS2 uses? Is there a way to activate the audio? Is the sound perhaps stored as a separate file on the disc? Looks like this might be easier than I thought!

6
ROM Hacking Discussion / Possible to open graphics files of a Saturn game?
« on: February 10, 2012, 03:07:16 pm »
I've got Sword & Sorcery here, and popping the disc in my PC drive shows a bunch of CHR files, with the names of various in-game characters. All are CHR extension and very small. I've googled and some places say CHR files are 3D models, used in games, but S&S is a 2D game, and all the characters are sprites.

I specifically want to open all the portrait images, because I really can't be bothered to playthrough for 15 hours just for some screens. The file names imply that's how they're stored.

Any advice on how one might be able to open said files? I can probably upload one or two online to see, if needed. They're about 10kb each.

Is this even possible?

EDIT:
I should add, there's another folder called Window with a file called WINTALK.TEX, which could be the face portraits. Same as above - how would one open a TEX file?

7
Hi guys,

Secured some localisation files from someone on the inside, which I will be making available in the coming weeks. First batch is some manuals and Hybrid Heaven's entire script, in Japanese and English, prior to editing and insertion. I thought this might be of interest to romhackers, hence the new topic.

Enjoy and check back for some really cool releases. There's 4 more which I've got scheduled.

http://blog.hardcoregaming101.net/2012/01/top-secret-konami-files-to-download.html



Quote
With the New Year great changes are in motion at HG101. Not just in the site itself and the way you read it, but also with a series of extremely exciting, exclusive articles, and also this selection of Konami files. In truth, due to a clerical error, these files were never technically under an NDA back in the day – so perhaps they’re not top secret. But they are interesting. They are a selection of localisation files, containing the original Japanese scripts and official English translations, for several Konami games and a variety of manuals. There’s also translation notes and other behind-the-scenes morsels in some of them.

We acquired them from a freelance localiser who has never been interviewed before – I want to emphasise this, said person has never been interviewed before – and for various reasons we were given permission to distribute them. Full disclosure as to why they’re being released will be revealed later on.

Alongside this final release will be a lengthy 10’000 word interview with our mysterious benefactor, at which time their identity will be revealed. Let’s just say after reading this you will never look at Konami or indeed the videogame industry in the same way again. HG101 staff have already read the unspeakably controversial feature, and everyone agrees it’s the most industry rocking article we’ve ever published. The pillars of heaven will shake. Some bits are so hot we’re not even sure if we can legally publish it – but we’re going to anyway.



8
OK, I can't reveal too much about this, since 1) I'm planning a big website reveal in the new year and 2) until I know what I've got it might actually be nothing at all.

I've been speaking with a major localiser who gave me some files, including a whole bunch relating to an extremely popular GBC game. The majority are Japanese and English text files, since it was localisation work, but a couple of files caught my interest.

One doesn't have a file extension but is called "[GAME NAME] Full"

Inside it seems to contain text from all the other files, in ASCII format, but also a tonne of gibberish code which neither Notepad++ nor Word nor anything else I have can open correctly.

Random section of code, there are reams and reams and reams of this stuff.
Quote
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Is this Notepad++ trying to display some kind of assembly code? Is there a program I should try opening it in? How do GBC games work? Surely they need to be compiled into a BIN file for burning to cartridge ROM chips, right? And why would a localiser be given the source? I'm just being naive and hopeful.

I should add, these have been through several OS and programs during editing, so this might be leftover junk from a Mac word processor.

I don't know what I have, so am asking here.

I'll be making all files available in the new year, NDAs be damned.

9
After playing the hideously fugly and awful Elevator Action update for PSN, I decided I wanted EA Returns on one of my consoles, preferably my Xbox HDD. Normal MAME and other emulators on the Xbox, last time I checked, can't emulate EAR.

But Taito Legends 2 has it on there, near flawless from what I can remember. Thing is, the full compilation about 650mb and my HDD is nearly full. Is it possible to open the file up, rip out all that extra crap, and just have EAR and maybe Metal Black in the ISO?

I have 7Zip which I've used to open ISOs before (Samurai Shodown emulation on PSP for example), but I've never tried anything with Xbox files.

Is it possible? What progs do I need? Is it as simple as busting it open, deleting and then zipping it back up again? Cheers. :)

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