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Topics - PolishedTurd

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ROM Hacking Discussion / NES: Animate a horizontal or vertical rope
« on: June 19, 2021, 11:28:30 pm »
I am wondering how to animate the action of an NES avatar shooting a rope, horizontally and vertically. Like Spider-Man and Batman, the idea would be for the rope to emanate from the player sprite and "travel" through space to some target or max distance, then pull the player to the target. Essentially, a rudimentary grappling hook that could travel potentially the length of the screen.

My initial thought is to simply draw a series of "rope" sprites that spawn one after another until a wall, ceiling or other obstacle is detected. But this would almost certainly cause flickering in the horizontal direction. That's not a deal-breaker, but I am wondering if there's a better way.

In Battletoads level 2, there is an elegant vertical rope mechanic that is as if tethered above the screen while allowing the player to swing from side to side. In Rygar, there are multiple instances where static ropes are spawned, vertically and diagonally. I suspect the actual background tiles are changed in Rygar, due to their fixed locations in the game.

For a first pass, I would be happy to have strictly vertical and strictly horizontal ropes. Are sprites my best bet?

Gaming Discussion / Cyber Shadow
« on: February 18, 2021, 01:33:21 pm »
Because it's such an obvious nod to Ninja Gaiden and a few other golden NES games, I watched this game for a couple of years before it was finally released last month.

Aaaand I'm disappointed. The controls are sluggish and imprecise. Split-second timing is hard to achieve and not rewarded. What kind of ninja cannot crouch!? Boss battles are mostly boring. The music is sterile and weak, lacking the punch and vigor of a good NES soundtrack. Most of all, the level design, AI and controls do not seem to foster the "flow" experience of a good platformer.

Honestly, the Deadpool hack of Ninja Gaiden was a far more enjoyable experience, which I have put much more playing time into. (As well as other notable NES hacks here, such as Metroid Rogue Dawn and Contra Red Falcon.)

I am disappointed that creators / hackers here do not have the exposure or financial acknowledgement of their labors of love, when their work is enjoyed by others.

Can someone recommend a better retro ninja-like game (preferably available on Xbox One)?

And is it against the terms or spirit of RHDN to offer or solicit donations for hacks?

Newcomer's Board / Editing Tile Layout Like a Pro
« on: April 08, 2020, 02:14:36 pm »
I am looking to edit a couple of title screens on the NES. Some time in the last few years, someone posted about capturing the screen you want to edit in one program, then importing that data in another program, such that clicking on a tile in the screen would take you directly to that tile to edit. That's the functionality I'm looking for.

But I don't remember either program, can't find it in the documents, and I can't bring it up in a search. I even copied the post to a text file, but it was lost with an old hard drive.

Can someone point me in the right direction?

Edit: I think I found it by using Google to search the forum.
I find it especially useful to load nams dumped from fceux. It's like magic!

- get to where you want the nam dumped by playing the game on fceux
- open hex editor, dump PPU
- use PPUSplit (or split it manually by hex editting? too much work)
- simply load the nam in bg editor in yy-chr and navigate to the correct CHR page in the rom.
- magic!

Done in 2 minutes:

Gaming Discussion / RPG Guidance
« on: February 04, 2020, 03:50:22 pm »
I have long thought I'm not into RPGs anymore, lacking the large swaths of time I had as a kid. But I suspect there are some gems I might have missed that would fit into my current lifestyle.
More specifically, I am looking for games that hit all or most of these criteria:
  • Very little grinding (or patches to avoid it)
  • Linear progression. Not a lot of exploration, backtracking, "where do I go now?", etc. I don't want to talk to every sap in town and read their blurbs at two characters per second until I find the critical piece of info. Just point me at the next place to go and the thing to kill.
  • Not a lot of text to wade through. If I wanted to read a book, I would.
  • Some kind of real-time element to combat, ideally involving hand-eye coordination and timing, not just taking as long as I want to make a decision. Games like Fable and Tony Hawk have widgets in them where your timing, multi-tasking or coordination greatly affect the outcome. I fantasize that such a thing exists in RPG world, where the amount of damage you deal or receive also has an element of real-time skill, at the caliber of a fighting game or platformer. Short of this, even a countdown element where negative outcomes intensify over time would be an improvement over strict turn-based combat.
  • Preferably on NES, SMS, TG16, Genesis/Mega Drive, SNES, PS1, Xbox, Xbox 360, or Steam.

At the time, I greatly enjoyed Phantasy Star 1 and 2, Dragon Warrior, Zelda 1/2/aLttP, Sword of Vermilion. But I could not stand grinding through Phantasy Star nowadays and would only entertain it now with a walk fast + double money/experience patch. The very worst thing I could imagine is the SNES Final Fantasy - walls of text, boring combat, grinding, endless length (from what I remember). I know I'm railing against key elements of the genre, which is why I've all but written it off for myself by now. I don't mean to insult anyone's taste, I'm just talking about my very clear preferences. Within these constraints, what am I missing out on?

I am working on a project for an old friend. I want to send him a long message via an NES game. Ideally, it would be a game with many little screens of text, as immediately as possible after power-on, with a fast typing speed, where screens could be manually advanced by button press. Also ideal if the title screen is straightforward to hack with minimal mirrored tiles, and if the game was released from 1988-1991.

What comes to mind is the cutscenes from Ninja Gaiden, although the text speed is fixed and screens can't be advanced; the wall of text at the beginning of Castlevania 3, although I don't think it's long enough and it scrolls slowly; perhaps a town in an RPG like Dragon Warrior, where each person says a piece of the message, if I could somehow get the game to boot with the player immediately in the town; and other not-so-hot ideas like those. Can anyone think of a more suitable example?

Gaming Discussion / Good Combat Engines
« on: February 20, 2019, 04:15:44 pm »
I am looking for games to play that feature a good combat engine, but where combat is not the sole focus. Ideally, there is some kind of platforming, exploration or puzzle to solve, and the combat happens along the way. I'm less interested in beat-em-ups, fighting games or Gauntlet-style games, but if the mechanic is unusually elegant, I'd be happy to consider it.

What makes a good engine to me: a variety of moves to choose from, including melee, ranged, area of effect; an element of defense and/or counterattack; perhaps a positional element such as high or low attack / defense; movement and perhaps some use of the environment.

Most importantly, a good engine allows you to enter a state of flow, improvising and adapting as the events unfold. Button mashing, spamming a simple combo or "turtling" should be ineffective.

Good examples include the Batman Arkham games on Xbox 360, Ninja Gaiden Black on Xbox, Zelda 2 swordplay on NES... Star Wars Force Unleashed and maybe some of the swordplay in SNES Prince of Persia. It's hard to come up with more examples because it's a rare experience for me.

Programming / Random number generator in 6502 assembly
« on: September 10, 2018, 10:23:07 am »
I am trying to write a random number generator for the NES that will work on any ROM. The goal is to be able to pass the max value as a parameter via a register, and receive the random number in another register. For example, if I pass in 10 (decimal), I expect to get a value between 0 and 9.

My strategy is to sample a regularly changing number that is larger than the input arg (e.g., a timer that decrements every cycle and wraps at 0), and subtract the input successively until the value is less than the input (modular arithmetic). But I'm not aware of a ROM-independent way to get the regularly changing value. It's not the end of the world to hunt for a timer register in every ROM I work with, but I'm wondering if there is a better way. For example, I vaguely recall someone sampling the noise register for random values, but this doesn't seem reliable.

Gaming Discussion / Games featuring grappling hooks
« on: May 03, 2018, 11:05:25 am »
I'm just wild about grappling hooks! I would like help to build a list of platforming games that feature them (or a similar swinging mechanic triggered by the player, if not exactly a grappling hook). My interest is in the 8- and 16-bit consoles, but we can entertain PC and other consoles as well. Ideally, these games are also worth playing, or at least have some elegance to the grappling/swinging action. I would like to play them all and compare the different styles.

  • Bionic Commando (of course)
  • Rockin' Kats

  • Super Metroid
  • Super Castlevania IV
  • Phantom 2040
  • Spider-Man and X-Men vs. Arcade
  • Spider-Man
  • Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom
  • Goofy's Hysterical History Tour

ROM Hacking Discussion / Solar Jetroid - combining 2 NES games
« on: April 09, 2018, 11:17:18 am »
I am wondering about how feasible it would be to combine Solar Jetman and Metroid into a single game. Metroid is too slow and repetitive for me by itself nowadays. But if it were an excursion from Solar Jetman, where you periodically land the ship in a Metroid-y world, explore a little, go kill a boss, then get back in the ship and fly to another world, I would enjoy it. It's essentially the same idea as Blaster Master, where the  vehicular exploration component is almost an entirely separate game from the overhead shooting component, and you go back and forth between them.

I have not hacked Metroid myself, but I know it has been thoroughly hacked and is reasonably well understood. Solar Jetman is on Mapper 7, which I have no experience with... It seems like the approach would be to "host" Metroid in the Solar Jetman game. Sprites and backgrounds seem easy enough; the challenge would be to bring in the physics, animations and (ideally) the sounds and music from Metroid.

Can someone with experience frame the approximate difficulty of this? I am able to understand and write ASM, work with a debugger, swap memory pages, etc., although I don't have nearly the depth of familiarity with the NES hardware and functionality that some users here do. I guess I'm looking for either a "forget it, too hard" or "actually, it wouldn't be so hard..." kind of answer (and why).

Programming / Recommended source control for a hack
« on: March 02, 2018, 09:44:29 am »
In the past, I've relied on a loose system of copying my hacked ROM iteratively, giving it some kind of descriptive name to indicate the most recent changes I've made. It is not a reliable system. I would prefer to use a basic source control system, ideally one that could compare and show my changes in hexadecimal. Then I could see my own comments, alongside the actual changes, with an option to roll back a change I no longer want. Is there such a thing?

I have used Team Foundation Server and believe it would be overkill. I have some experience with Git as well. Online capability, multiple users and branching are not needed. Any recommendations?

Newcomer's Board / SMB3: Replace mushrooms with Kuribo Boot
« on: August 03, 2012, 09:53:23 pm »
Hello, I am wondering what kind of undertaking it would be in Super Mario Brothers 3 to make all of the mushroom powerups be Kuribo's Boot (big green boot from level 5-3). I always loved the boot and would like to play the whole game with it. Because this would make certain levels less playable, it would also be nice to push select and skip to the end of the stage, if possible. That's not as important as the boot though.

I have done a small bit of ROM hacking, so I'm familiar with FCEUXDSP (a fine piece of work). I am just wondering what kind of effort this would be in general, i.e., swap a couple of instructions or add a few lines of code, vs. manually change every level in the game. SMB3 seems like a thoroughly hacked ROM, so I'll bet the ROM is fairly well known.

Newcomer's Board / Phantasy Star II sounds
« on: May 26, 2012, 10:00:17 am »
How can I get the sound effects from Phantasy Star II (Sega Genesis 1989) into a .wav format? I remember some terrific sounds for enemy attacks and weapons. I know there was a sound test built into the game, but it was music only. It's the sound effects I want.

What I had in mind was somehow disabling the music and triggering the sound effects by iterating through them in whatever section of memory they're in. But I know nothing about Genesis emulators. Is this possible? Has it already been done?

Newcomer's Board / Screen shaking (NES)
« on: January 15, 2011, 01:44:54 am »
How can I make the screen appear to jitter and shake in an NES game? Yes, it's Ninja Gaiden. I guess all that would happen is pixels being shifted left-right and up-down by a few pixels, with some kind of time and distance parameters. I want it to seem as though the castle is crumbling as the time winds down, so ideally, I could increase the amplitude and/or frequency of shaking as the timer runs down. I would like for the map tiles and sprites to jiggle while the HUD remains stationary, if possible.

Is this feasible?

Newcomer's Board / Help with bankswitching (NES)
« on: December 13, 2010, 02:00:22 am »
Thanks to the users and documents here, I've been successfully adding my own code and modifications to Ninja Gaiden.

All the code I've been adding is related to player movement and conditions, and response to controller input. It all has been in the fixed bank (Ninja Gaiden uses mapper MMC1). But I'm out of space there and need more. I've expanded the ROM using KingMike's Nflate program (thanks KingMike!), so I now have oodles of space.

Disch's documents about mappers are thorough and helpful (thanks Disch!), but I don't understand how to move code execution from the fixed bank to a particular page in the swappable bank, which is what I think I want to do. Is that even possible? Can I read from the MMC what page it's currently on, push that on the stack, then jump to one of my newly added pages, execute my code, pull the previous page number off the stack and switch back to it? That would be all too easy, and I've seen nothing in the documents discussing "reading" values from the MMC.

I presume the logical method is to find some code in the swappable bank that executes "often" (since I am adding code that will need to execute in all levels of the game, not just particular places like level data or story text), figure what page that's on, insert code to swap to the page where I've added more code, and then at the end of its execution, swap back to the page the game ordinarily expects. Do I have that right? One problem is that all of the code I've seen and poked around with so far (sprite movement, powerups, player status, score, etc.) lives in the fixed bank. So I would have to jump from the fixed bank to a subroutine in the swappable bank, then swap in the new page, right? And be certain before the switch that that exact page would always be the one swapped in when jumping to it from the fixed bank.

...And that's my question, assuming I have everything correct so far. How can I find a suitable page to perform the swap from, when I need the code to be ready to execute at any moment during gameplay throughout the entire game, and all the code I see doing that lives in the fixed bank?

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