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Author Topic: Locksmith - Solomon's Key level editor (NES)  (Read 6104 times)

Lumaga

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Locksmith - Solomon's Key level editor (NES)
« on: November 25, 2011, 12:59:38 pm »
I've always enjoyed Solomon's Key, and I've felt it is an underrated puzzle game for the NES.  A few years ago, I started fiddling with the ROM and making my own manual hack of the first level.  Last November using the info I had gleaned, Data Crystal, and snarfblam's Romulus framework, I put together a small editing tool for the ROM that I work on as time permits.  There have been other Solomon's Key editors in the past (SK Edit and one written in PHP), but they are either gone or incomplete.  I don't mind making another one since this has been a very educational experience for me.

Here's a few screenshots.

The unmodified first level:


Here's my editor in action:


This editor is far from being complete, but there are some functional features to it.

What it can do:
View and edit the start, key, exit, and block positions.
View items and move their positions within the level.
(Added 5/25/12) Create IPS patches based on the difference between your changes compared to an unmodified ROM.

What it cannot do (yet):
View or edit enemy data, though the location of the data in the ROM is known.
Add, remove, or edit the item data.  This would require recalculating pointers within the ROM.
View or edit Solomon Seals.  These are key bonus items found in specific levels throughout the game.  Collect them to get the best ending.  I know where they will be positioned within the levels they are found in, but I have not found data telling me which levels they are in.
Change the level colors.  The background color changes every four levels.  I have not found within the ROM where that data is stored.
Apply IPS patches.

The project is open source and available at http://code.google.com/p/solomons-key-locksmith/.  If you would like to contribute, please let me know.  After I have a more functional application (minimum I'd like to add is to view, edit, add, and remove items and enemies), I will submit it to the site.  As it is now, you could probably make an OK hack, but lacking the ability to edit enemies and items puts a handicap on it.

Let me know what you think!
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 09:31:44 am by Lumaga »

Trax

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Re: Locksmith - Solomon's Key level editor (NES)
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2011, 09:42:04 pm »
Good to see some other NES games being worked on. The layout seems well done, nothing overly fancy. I suggest to keep it as simple as possible, and prioritize functionality over slick interface. Too many times I've seen hackers trying to make editors a little too user-friendly (for example, everything done with the mouse, drag-and-drop stuff, animations), and end up abandoning their projects...

Keep it up, it's a nice start...

snarfblam

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Re: Locksmith - Solomon's Key level editor (NES)
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2011, 02:50:41 pm »
I think I do a pretty good job of having my cake and eating it too. But you're right. Functionality comes first. Making a shiny, polished interface takes a lot of work and if that's what you really want, you better be prepared to heavily invest yourself in the project.

Lumaga

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Re: Locksmith - Solomon's Key level editor (NES)
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2011, 10:03:46 pm »
I suggest to keep it as simple as possible, and prioritize functionality over slick interface. Too many times I've seen hackers trying to make editors a little too user-friendly (for example, everything done with the mouse, drag-and-drop stuff, animations), and end up abandoning their projects...

Funny you mention that.  I've made chunks of meaningful progress followed by getting caught in minutiae.  Then after several weeks I come back to it to make more real progress and then tweak things that don't need tweaking.  Anyway, thanks for the encouragement.

And snarfblam, thanks again for the wholly awesome framework.

Lumaga

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Re: Locksmith - Solomon's Key level editor (NES)
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2012, 09:36:13 am »
After a hiatus, I was able to add the ability to create IPS patches based on changes made to the base ROM.  It only took me a few hours to develop this based on the spec and test it out, so I really had to question why I waited so long to make any progress on this tool.

Also, I've been taking to heart the considerations of having functionality vs. a slick UI.  I had plans to make the UI pretty snazzy at one point, but I know I'll just get caught up in it and never add anything.  I've looked at some other editors recently, and there's not a huge need to make a hacking utility flashy (not to say it's OK for it to be clunky and ugly  ;)).

That said, if I'm not making a fancy interface I think I could knock out some other key features in the next week.

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Re: Locksmith - Solomon's Key level editor (NES)
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2012, 09:51:15 pm »
I'll use this bad boy when it's done, I'm really feelin' this editor! I used SKedit for my Solomon's Key hack back in 2006. The editor expanded my hack to 97kb, I guess if I wanted to add more stuff. SKedit is pretty much done, if you click on one button if fucks up the whole screen & you gotta shut the editor & open it again.

Lemme know if you wanna look at it, it's hosted somewhere & I'll give you the link through PM. :)   

Weavers010

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Re: Locksmith - Solomon's Key level editor (NES)
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 04:52:46 pm »
hey can u give me the link please