News: 11 March 2016 - Forum Rules
Current Moderators - DarkSol, KingMike, MathOnNapkins, Azkadellia, Danke

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Paul Jensen

Pages: [1]
Gaming Discussion / Super Nintendo PlayStation prototype
« on: July 04, 2015, 11:02:28 am »
Has anybody here seen this video yet? The person in the video claims to have discovered a prototype Super Nintendo PlayStation unit, along with a controller, a cart that says デモ用 ("for demo use"), and a disc (which he unfortunately doesn't show in the the video). He says he's missing the power adapter, so he hasn't been able to get it running yet.

It looks real to me. What do you guys think?

This isn't strictly romhacking related, but I've released a tool for viewing and decoding most of the multimedia files in Digital Pictures' games for the Sega Mega CD/32X, for example Night Trap and Sewer Shark. It's called SCAT (SGA Converter and Analysis Tool), which is also a reference to the first game to use the SGA format (bonus nerd points to anyone who gets the reference ;) ).

Please check out the project page on SourceForge if you're interested.

Also, I'd be happy to hear from anybody who has experience cracking compression schemes. There's one encoding format used in DP games that I haven't been able to figure out yet, but if I can get some help with it, SCAT might one day become a complete decoding solution.

Is it just me, or is there a growing trend of Japanese games being released in Japan AFTER being released in other regions?

I've been lucky enough to get some games early by living here, like Soma Bringer (which never even saw legitimate release outside of Japan) and Fantasy Life, but a lot of games now see (near-)simultaneous release in all the major regions, or even worse (for me), come out in Japan last.

I got a copy of New Yoshi's Island yesterday, feeling lucky to live in Japan where I can get Japanese games ahead of other regions, but then I checked online and found out that the game came out in NA back in March. WTF? Same thing happened with LoZ: ALttP 2 (speaking of which -- the LoZ series goes by LoZ instead ゼルダの伝説 in Japan now). I hadn't thought about it earlier because I'd assumed the game had come out here first.

It kind of sucks to move to Japan partly because of a love for Japanese video games and then see Japanese publishers release not just their outsourced stuff, but even their locally-developed games here LAST.

Programming / Trying to crack Digital Pictures' video compression
« on: July 17, 2014, 04:42:25 am »
I'd like to hear from anybody here who has experience cracking compression schemes.

I'm working on a video decoder for Digital Pictures' Sega CD and 32X games. So far I've been able to figure out most of the compression and coding techniques they used in their videos, but I've got one or two left that I can't quite crack.

One of them uses a series of code words that =< $0f. Each code word is followed by 32-bits of compression flags. A bit value of 0 indicates a literal byte that should be copied as is. AFAIK, if the code word is 1, a bit value of 1 indicates that the byte should be copied from the decompressed output (i.e. RLE). The compression flags are followed by literal bytes (if any), and then comes the next code word, ad nauseam. There are multiple code words (a total of 16 in theory), and I'm assuming that each has a different behavior (some might be LZSS instead of RLE, for example).

Has anybody here seen this type of compression before? Does it sound like a standard type? I'd appreciate any help you can offer me.

Gaming Discussion / So, I got a Wii U...
« on: July 02, 2014, 06:45:29 am »
... and it's great! What's with all the negative press? I guess the system didn't have such a great launch lineup, but there are some really solid games out for it now. All the games I've played so far look great and are fun as hell. I'm disappointed with Mario Kart 8's lack of dedicated battle courses (and told Nintendo as much when I redeemed my Club Nintendo points), but still, it's a good system.

Anybody else here have a Wii U?

Script Help and Language Discussion / What dictionaries do you use?
« on: October 27, 2012, 12:17:16 pm »
What dictionaries do you use for translating? I have a feeling this question has been asked here before, but since things change, what have you guys been using lately for your translations? And what kind do you prefer? Traditional / paper? Dedicated electronic? Online? Mobile apps?

I prefer dedicated electronic dictionaries, although I use web-based ones too. I just got a new EX-word D10000 to use in my teaching and research. It's got the Green Goddess, the Blue Goddess, and a crapload of other dictionaries built in. Up until now I've been using mostly the electronic version of Progressive from my old EX-word, which is still a great dictionary, but from what I hear the Green and Blue Goddesses are the best dictionaries out there, so I'm glad to finally have them at my disposal.

Script Help and Language Discussion / Translating Titles
« on: June 09, 2011, 08:41:21 am »
A thought occured to me the other day about translating titles of games, movies, etc. from Japanese. It seems to me that a lot of people have been getting things backwards and mistakenly putting subtitles before titles.

For example, 宇宙戦艦ヤマト (uchuu senkan Yamato) is usually rendered in English as Space Battleship Yamato, which to me sounds very Engrishy. I think it would be much better rendered as Yamato: The Space Battleship.

I base this idea on the fact that Japanese is a head-final language -- the most important stuff usually comes last. So, in Japanese you get shop names like バーバーおかだ, where the name of the shop comes last. In English, we'd probably put the name first and call the shop Okada's Barber Shop. Or you get personal titles such as 田中社長, with name first and title last (which is arguably more important than a name because it signifies social status and thus distinguishes a person, much like the name of a shop, which distinguishes it from other shops).

Anyway, the fact that things like titles are often switched when translating from J to E makes me think that the same switching rule should be applied to things like the titles of games.

Another example: 悪魔城ドラキュラ (Akumajou Dorakyura) is often tranlated as Demon Castle Dracula, which again to me sounds Engrishy. Dracula: The Demon('s) Castle sounds much, much better IMO.

I guess one could run into problems if a game has a sub-subtitle -- as many Dracula series games do -- , but still...

Has anybody else made this observation before? What are your thoughts on this?

Hi everybody,

I'm trying to figure out how to ask for forgiveness in a few different European languages, and I figured I'd ask here since some of the members here speak those langauges natively. Anyway, here's what I've got now:

Lo siento! (Spanish)
Excuse-moi! (French)
Mi scuso! (Italian)
Ich entschuldige mich! (German)

Any corrections and/or alternate phrases would be much appreciated. ALso, as a linguist, I'd be interested to hear apologies from other languages, too.


Is there any way to get Atlas to insert binary data from an external file into a ROM? As far as I can understand from reading the docs, this isn't possible.

My Rent A Hero translation project involves changing some graphics. Right now I'm doing it all manually. I created a copy of the original ROM with 4k of extra space at the end. If I update the graphics, I insert the modified graphics into that space using Windhex.

What I want to do is set up my Atlas script file to automatically insert the modified graphics (in the form of binary files) at the end of the ROM, and then insert the script after that data.

So anyway, is there a command in, or an extension for Atlas that would do something to the effect of #WRITEBINDATA($Offset, filepath), and then update pointers accordingly?

Personal Projects / Rent A Hero (SEGA MD/Gen) English Translation
« on: December 20, 2010, 08:23:41 am »
I dumped the script to Rent A Hero a while back, and since AFAIK nobody is working on it, I've started translating it myself. I don't have a lot of time to work on it, so I don't know how quickly I'll be able to get it done, but I think I can spend at least a little time on it each day.

Even if I can get the script done, though, I'd still need to have somebody actually hack the ROM.  I don't know as much about ROM hacking as I'd like to. I know a lot of basic stuff, but not advanced stuff like writing VWF and (de)compression routines in assembly, so I don't think I'll be able to do the kind of hacking that would be required for this game -- not without taking a lot more time learning how to do it myself.

Two things that need to be done, for example, are to replace the (likely compressed) font, and to really figure out the pointer system, which, if I'm properly understanding the docs I have, is a little screwy.

Anybody who's interested can check out the Rent A Hero tool on the Abandoned Projects page at RHDN. A lot of the work already seems to be done, so some of you better hackers out there could probably figure out the rest pretty quickly, I'd imagine.

UPDATE (2011/10/11):

First draft of the script is 100% translated!

UPDATE (2011/1/29):

Translation is still progressing steadily. I've probably got about 20-25% of the text translated now.

I discovered some more graphics that need to be translated/altered. The game has a city map that comes up whenever take a train ride to a different part of the city where the game takes place. The map displays the names of the cities that you travel between. The names have their own special tiles that are separate from the main font, so those tiles have to be edited. They're compressed with Nemesis compression, but I was able to find the tiles (and all the other graphics in the game) in the ROM using the Nemesis searching tool. Anyway, it shouldn't be too hard to replace the graphics.

I made some changes to the font. I had replaced it with the font from Sword of Vermillion, but I changed it back because I want to use as many of the original game assets as possible. The game already has a set of upper-case Roman letters, so I decided to use those (mostly), as-is, and then add my own set of lower-case letters. The font uses two colors to achieve a sort of anti-aliased look (this is present in the original font).

I had some room left in the font tileset, so I added in graphics for the menu text. I had to squeeze the text to fit it into the menus, so the text looks different from the other text around it, so it's not an ideal solution, but it's not too bad, either.

I'll get some screenshots of this stuff up at some point.

The only major challenge I see now is altering the item get/use/drop routine to display words in the correct order.

UPDATE (2011/1/8):

Translation is going smoothly.

Discovered some new things that need to be modified, like the text that gets displayed when an item is used. For example, in Japanese you'd have:

1) Paulは フロッピィディスクを つかった。

The three main elements in the sentence (Paul, フロッピィディスク, and つかった) are variables. The code is set up to display things using Japanese word order, so even if the strings are in English, the result is:

2) Paul Floppy Disk used.

I guess now I've got to locate the routine for this in the ROM and figure out how to alter the order in which it displays strings.

UPDATE (2011/1/3):

Yesterday I inserted a complete English font into the ROM (thanks, golden). I ripped it from Sword of Vermillion, which seemed fitting considering the games use almost  identical (?) engines, and because AFAIK a lot of the same people worked on both games.

I also managed to replace the Name Entry screen to fit with the new font -- without doing any assembly at all. I was surprised at how easy it was. Kudos to the original programmers for making such a flexible system.

I've discovered some quirks while working on the script. The person who made the dumping/insertion tool (Guest/Anonymous) set things up so that instead of replacing the hard-coded string pointers in the ROM, the first bit of each line of the original string is replaced with a jump code, and then a pointer to the new string, which is in expanded ROM space. This technique works fine for most strings used in the game, but doesn't seem to work for strings used in system text. In these latter cases, the redirect code can't be used; the original pointer has to be overwritten. Fortunately, Mega Drive pointers are very easy to find, so it hasn't been an issue so far.

The only hacking that needs to be done at this point is to edit the menu rendering code to allow for more characters. I don't want to have to use abbreviations for menu commands like SRCH and CHNG if I can avoid it.

Pages: [1]