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Messages - PolishedTurd

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Gaming Discussion / Re: Game's that have caused you to feel emotion
« on: June 12, 2021, 04:42:55 pm »
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
Emotions felt from the game's design: depression, melancholy.

I may have once on another forum made a perhaps sleep-deprived comparison that MM does more to make us reconsider the futility of a life spent playing video games, than Jack Thompson (2000s game- and gamer-hating lawyer, do people remember him?) could have done.
And there's probably some bit to it.

I don't quite understand what you mean. I never played MM, but it sounds like you experienced some compulsion to play this game that was perpetually disappointing, to the point where it raised existential doubt about the value of playing video games at all. Is that accurate?

Gaming Discussion / Re: The hardest game you ever played.
« on: June 05, 2021, 11:49:08 am »
NES: Ghosts & Goblins, especially with that morale-crushing false ending and no saves. Battletoads, for brutal difficulty and limited continues. Contra without the 30 lives code. Ninja Gaiden 3, because of countless, cheap one-hit deaths from an airborne enemy into a pit. Mike Tyson's Punch Out, where you must develop lightning reflexes to defeat the namesake boss. Castlevania, requiring the mastery of clunky controls.

Gaming Discussion / Re: Game's that have caused you to feel emotion
« on: June 02, 2021, 11:22:48 pm »
Another vote for Phantasy Star 2, in the Nei/Neifirst scene. Something about the game's art, story and most of all, the soundtrack, really hit home. The same composer worked on Space Harrier 2, the Arnold Palmer golf game, and some strategy game (Daisenryaku something?), and his distinctive patches and compositions are probably the most beautiful among the Genesis/MegaDrive library.

The soundtrack to PS3 is maddeningly repetitive garbage and the larger part of why I could never finish that game, much as I wanted to.

I have an idea for Ninja Gaiden. Make a 'Fair Hack' that does the following;
  • Stop the respawning of enemies. When you kill an enemy, it should stay dead
  • If you die at any of the final bosses, you should only have to redo 6-3, not the entire act!
  • Add the Visible Item Holder feature from Ninja Gaiden 3, where you could see the contents of each item holder instead of having to memorize them (for those of us with bad short-term memory)
  • Nerf Bloody Malth's fireballs to be a bit slower (so they're avoidable) and fly in a straight line instead of semi-homing
  • Fix Ryu's jumping backward momentum
  • Limit the total number of enemies that can be on-screen to 3 or 4 max (also prevents slowdown/lag)
This would make Ninja Gaiden more fair, as some players still haven't beaten this game either at all or without cheating. The only real reason this game is so notoriously hard is because of limitations & bad programming & should be fixed.

I have been working on this, off and on, for a few years. #1 is definitely on the list, but it requires writing new code to track enemy deaths after killing and before spawning. The logic is all written; I "just" have to insert it in the game, along with other changes I want to include. Changing backward momentum and the 6-3 respawn bug are both just a couple of bytes, by comparison. It's also possible to reduce or entirely remove the knock-back from enemy collision, although this makes the game obscenely easy.

Malth's fireballs could be slowed down; the real kicker is how fast the Y coordinate tracks Ryu's position. But boss fights other than the final 2 are broken, usually amounting to nothing more than running right up and mashing the attack button. New AI is needed, but that's beyond the intersection of my skills and interest. The jumping slash is also broken and appallingly cheap, as it should only harm an enemy once per attack (I have written that code too!).

It would be easy to limit onscreen enemies to 4, although enemy projectiles count as enemies, so the screen would be sparse around machine gunners and mace throwers. It doesn't sound like fun to me, but I could bundle in a patch for it with the rest of the changes. As info, the game's enemy/projectile limit is 8, and no additional enemies can spawn until the number goes below 8.

I anticipate releasing a bugfix / quality-of-life hack before the end of this year, if you can stand to wait that long.  :thumbsup:

I have occasionally seen folks post a quick patch, Game Genie code or memory address for someone's request, when it can be handled as such. Some people have a depth of experience that allows them to quickly zero in on a solution that would take others much longer to find. That's always nice to see. Of course, when people have a laundry list of alterations in mind that go beyond "cheat"-like changes, that's going to take a level of commitment that most people frankly can't spare.

There are people who seem to really enjoy the technical end of this and are perhaps less consumed with their own projects at times, but I tend to see them jump in and help with other people's passion projects that have already made some progress, which they probably also have some interest in.
Couldn't agree more. What I've also seen is when an expert chimes in, offers guidance for free, maybe asks a crucial question or two, and the OP never follows up. As if they have no interest unless someone hands them exactly what they asked for. When you ask a specific question based on effort you've already made, an expert can have more confidence that what they say will be tried or considered. And that can be satisfying for both parties, while educating everyone else. For example, KingMike and Disch have both helped me with page swapping problems on the NES. Trax as well. I was very grateful for their help and solved my problem much faster. If I had said, "Hey, can someone patch this game so that when I push up and select, a special weapon appears in my inventory?" I would not have expected much, maybe "looks like the weapon routine starts at $1234, check there" if someone was really feeling generous.

Gaming Discussion / Re: Does anyone know what game this is?
« on: May 19, 2021, 09:13:17 pm »
Kameo, perhaps? I think it was late Xbox or early Xbox 360.

Personal Projects / Re: Simpsons Tapper
« on: April 03, 2021, 10:31:42 am »
I have actually done this very modification to a Tapper ROM, customizing the logo for a friend's birthday a few years ago. It was a fair amount of work, changing the logos on all the kegs, balloons, walls and bonus stage. I followed a blog post from someone who had done it for a local brewery and ended up writing a python program to manipulate the tiles and palettes. It still involved a lot of manual work and guess & check. I don't know if I still have it, but I will look.

Personal Projects / Re: Micro Mages: Editor and Community Level Set
« on: March 03, 2021, 10:28:10 am »
This is such a charming game. The video about how they made it is also inspiring.

What I don't understand is why they limited themselves to ~40K. With a fully expanded ROM, it seems possible to build a randomized level generator into the game itself, like Spelunky. Then you could play forever. :)

You "just" have to come up with the heuristics for the different kinds of level geometry and art, evaluate the player's critical path, place items and enemies in positions and combinations that match the difficulty grade of the stage...

I'm thinking of a similar project for another game. Of course, a community project is a different kind of beast, a collaborative effort that more people can contribute to. But that's where my mind automatically goes.

Personal Projects / Re: Castlevania Randomizer
« on: February 24, 2021, 07:57:40 pm »
This looks like fun. It's refreshing to see different enemies in familiar places. Just randomizing enemies and power-ups in the candles would add a lot of replay value, especially if it can all be seed-based in the ROM.

Thank you for posting an unfinished project. I have at least 3 projects at 90% or more completion that I had to set aside and have not yet aligned the time and inspiration to finish. Perhaps I should just release them anyway.

Gaming Discussion / Re: Cyber Shadow
« on: February 19, 2021, 08:57:43 pm »
The Messenger is next on my list. I'm currently on my second playthrough of Cyber Shadow unlocking the "feats", warming a little to it. But I can clarify my main gripes now.

#1, slow controls. We've had games with great player physics and tight controls since Super Mario, so it's hard to endure less responsiveness. It's like trying to play Super Meat Boy with Castlevania controls sometimes. #2, several levels involve waiting for AI and various moving level geometry for the right moment to proceed. If I wanted to sit around and wait for things to happen, I would go to the department of motor vehicles and read a book. As a ninja, I want to run and jump and slash and kill everything in sight. #3, lame boss fights. You're never really challenged to figure something out or react with good instincts. Once you learn the patterns, even the harder boss fights are a matter of doing the same thing over and over with few mistakes, like 8-bit Mega Man. I know that's true to form for NES, but it's not satisfying to me in a modern game. #4, music problems. It has glitches in timing between sections or repeats that sound like missed loop points, a distracting and sloppy problem. And it does not get you fired up to destroy. It sounds more like taking a drive on the highway.

It's still a ninja game, so I have to play it. Maybe I'll come around more as I tackle the harder feats. If only they had consulted me as a play tester...

Thanks for mentioning the other newer games. I'll check them out.

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?

Congratulations, this looks great! At this point, it seems like adding randomization for dungeons would really round out the features. Even though that feature exists in another program, having a one-stop shop for randomization is attractive.

Just a thought.

Gaming Discussion / Re: Analysis of Retro Gaming Culture
« on: February 07, 2021, 10:48:23 am »
I would characterize the 80s and 90s as a golden age for gaming, because of the experience of a some things that are now lost.

Number one, arcade machines and home systems relied on internal sound chips to produce their music, sounds and samples. To me, the sound of a game / system is a crucial part of its character. The crude simulacrum of explosions, jumping, impact / damage, etc. has a delightful charm to it. The thrill of hearing the symphony of bleeps and bloops as you draw closer to the arcade, before entering and becoming immersed in it, is not something kids can experience anymore. Now, game sounds can come from any audio source, so they are only as differentiated as film scores, without the system-level palette of sounds. If a game uses retro sounds now, they tend to have a bizarre gloss and reverb that feels false.

Number two, for similar reasons, pixels and sprites seem timelessly relatable (see Minecraft), whereas the polygons and crude 3D of the late 90s look terribly harsh and not endearing.

I clearly remember consulting GamePro and EGM for reviews and help. I will concede it was a dark time in terms of ability to ascertain whether a game was worth buying. Sometimes all you had to go on was a couple screenshots on the back of the box, the 4 single-paragraph EGM review, maybe the commentary of an acquaintance at school, perhaps a BBS. And then $40-$50 and an hour later, you'd realize the game was a piece of crap, not your cup of tea, and try to find ways to rationalize the ripoff, such as playing it now and again with the same lack of enthusiasm. Hundreds of dollars wasted this way, and I'm glad those days are gone. Now you can watch a video of gameplay, maybe even download a demo, and it's immensely satisfying to slam-dunk a game in the trash can after a few minutes, at zero cost. Or to find a gem. 

The used market for games either didn't exist or was not prevalent in my area, so you couldn't really wait for prices to drop much. Maybe 6 months or so, before old games were cleared out for new ones at the store. Now you can wait years, get old games for peanuts, wait for discounts or sales, and it's wonderful.

I have mixed feelings about the ubiquity of information about games now. Walkthroughs, cheat codes, maps, etc. within days or weeks of a game's release can take some of the fun and grind rewards away. I remember printing reams of Game Genie codes in the early 90s and trying them on SMB, manipulating the sprites and sound effects chaotically. It feels like the days of raw experimentation like that are less common, except here at RHDN, of course.

ROM Hacking Discussion / Re: nes multicart rom utility
« on: December 23, 2020, 06:17:48 pm »
If running an emulator is acceptable, FCEUXD has Lua scripting that would enable you to do this. You could put your 10 games in a folder, load up some arbitrary game with a name entry screen such as Zelda, then have your Lua script start up a game based on your input name. The script would have to read the name out of RAM. For example, if you entered "1" as the name, it starts up game variant #1.

It's not elegant and can't be shared, but it handily solves the problem.

Personal Projects / Re: BZK 6502 Disassembler
« on: December 06, 2020, 09:51:15 am »
This looks really cool! Can't wait to try it out on a couple games.

Thank you!

Gaming Discussion / Re: Recommend some PC Engine/TurboGrafx16 games
« on: November 08, 2020, 08:16:22 pm »
Bonk's Revenge
World Court Tennis
Final Lap Twin
Blazing Lasers
Cyber Core
Galaga '90
Bomberman (not sure which)
Dungeon Explorer (fantastic music)
Legendary Axe (fantastic music, decent gameplay)
Alien Crush
Devil's Crush
Military Madness
Fantasy Zone

I do not see this in the Hacks section. Has it been uploaded? I would like to try it.

I have solved this bug, as well as the knock-back that some people find frustrating. I was hoping to fix other bugs at the same time (enemies staying dead when killed, balancing the jumping slash...), but those will take me much longer. I'll try to release what I have very soon.

A hack that fixes the frustrating checkpoints for Ninja Gaiden on NES by sending you back to the last checkpoint, notably when dying at bosses and particularly the final boss at 6-4 sending you all the way back to 6-1!

Programming / Re: Random number generator in 6502 assembly
« on: September 29, 2020, 07:45:20 pm »
I ended up finding some truly elegant algorithms online that seemed to satisfy (practically if not academically) the problem of uniform distribution for any input operand up to, say, 32. If I recall, it involved integer division and some clever rounding to get "close enough."

Unfortunately, real life caught up with me pretty hard and I had to table the project. Pretty sure I kept my notes though, and I'd love to get back to it.

I'll look for them at the next opportunity and post what I found.

Would it be possible for the randomizer to generate a game with no overworld and minimal mazes? The physics and combat of Z2 are elegant, and I'd love to just play it as a side-scrolling platformer.

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