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Author Topic: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request  (Read 5351 times)

Sheeracali

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Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« on: December 16, 2014, 06:05:02 pm »
My goal is to create a Shantae game for Super Nintendo. I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction of what game to hack. My first choice would be Magical Pop'n, but there is no save feature. Could I port a save feature from another game? Are there any ASM save feature tutorials? I have also thought of hacking Super Mario World using Lunar Magic and a few other tools. would that be an easier game to hack that will give satisfying results? I just want some opinions from experienced hackers and a few pointers. I might add that I'd be willing to donate to someone who can add a save feature to Magical Pop'n. Thanks :)

FAST6191

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2014, 09:52:14 pm »
Altering an existing closed source/no source game is usually considered a backwards way of going about things, though with the state of SNES homebrew development (basically ASM or nothing) it is not necessarily the worst option. If you are doing this mainly to get a game to play then I would not suggest going forward, if you are doing this mainly as a way to learn assembly then maybe if you know it is the sort of thing that will keep your interest on the subject. If you want to make a game that looks, sounds and plays like it could have been a lost SNES game but is otherwise coded using modern languages and tools then fantastic -- loads of people love the SNES aesthetics and feel.

Hacking saves into games. The main times this comes about are either a) when the game had a save in beta/another region and was otherwise left in code but the final game lacked the save so it is so much unlocking or b) when the system itself has pretty trivial save system, I can not say I am all that familiar with SNES save protocol but I do know it is not the more basic things as might have been seen on the GB/GBC or something like that.
It is by no means an insurmountable hack without either of those. You figure out what data you need to save and where it is in memory, find a way to grab said data and then find a way to restore it. Works better if it is basic unlocks, high scores and the like but the principle is no different for a big RPG style setup. Also you will need to figure out what the save type the emulator thinks it is using and, accuracy depending, a safe/reliable way to read and write to your hypothetical save chip -- http://wiki.superfamicom.org/snes/show/Schematics%2C+Ports%2C+and+Pinouts and http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Super_NES_Programming/SNES_memory_map#Misc_locations being some jumping off points.

Donations for hacks is a subject covered elsewhere. The general opinion, one that I certainly share, is both that such things are when the lawyers come calling and having to point out that such things kind of have to become a consultants rates (the going rates for reverse engineer capable of working in old embedded/industrial chips are not quite the "have a few rounds on me" sums that people tend to have in mind).

CM30

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2014, 03:02:29 pm »
Well, I haven't played any of the Shantae games, but based on what I remember of them... you could probably make a decent one using Super Mario World as a base and using things like custom level, player and enemy ExGFX and music and whatever else.

The advantages of doing this (over hacking another game or trying it homebrew would be):

1. The engine is pretty dependable, and very well documented.
2. The tools available make editing levels and things much easier than they would be otherwise.  Lunar Magic, AddMusic, Sprite Tool, Block Tool, Asar... those types of programs make it a lot easier to add custom resources into the game than it would be if you worked off another title or from scratch.
3. SMW Central exists. ROM hacking is often pretty tricky otherwise, since finding help is an absolute pain on more general sites.  With SMW hacking, you both have a ton of pre made resources to fall back on if need be and a community that can help you out when you mess things up (like you inevitably will if you're new to ROM hacking).

As for whether it's easier or will give satisfying results... well, I'm coding a pretty extensive SMW game mod at the moment, and the end result is something that looks and feels like its on its on the Game Boy Advance or later.  You can do a serious amount of stuff with the engine and its tools, even without delving into hardcore ASM programming or MSU1 functionality:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lcg773BEILA

http://www.smwcentral.net/?p=viewthread&t=58407

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffilTZOK47g

And even more if you are a ridiculously good programmer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4hf3rLPpGM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgxlTDeyGng

If you ask me, you should probably consider SMW if your plan is to make a SNES era 2D platformer/hack and don't need a really specific bunch of requirements like some sort of unique weapons system crossed with level ups and magic.  It's a lot more versatile than editing just about any other SNES 2D platformer, and saves a lot of wheel reinventing compared to trying to figure out every single inner working of the SNES and starting from scratch.

But that's just my opinion.

As for donations... eh not a good idea.  Bringing money into the equation is just asking for disaster if the lawyers come calling.
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M-Tee

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2014, 06:39:50 pm »
What you're wanting to do, to do it well, will take more time and effort than creating an original game from scratch.

SunGodPortal

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2014, 03:07:49 am »
Magical Pop'n and SMW are great, but what about Super Metroid? That seems like it more closely resembles what Shantae played like (from what I remember). It also has a save function already built in. Considering that it seems like there are about 50,000 Super Metroid hacks, the existing tools must be pretty good.

To be realistic though, what you're describing sounds like a MASSIVE undertaking. Tons of graphics, new music, level designs, etc. Plus, didn't Shantae get her extra abilities by tranforming into animals or something? That in itself would be a lot of work. Just like a lot of other games, to make it actually play like Shantae you'd probably have to make a bunch of complicated modifications to the game engine itself *nightmare alert* :o

My advice would be to find something easier to work on. Unless there's a miracle involved I don't see something of this scope getting completed. I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but I recently took on a project that's probably just as daunting and I keep thinking "Oh boy. What did I get myself into?". It's good to be bold and ambitious but it's also best not to bite off more than you can chew. Trust me. :banghead:
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Sheeracali

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2014, 02:58:42 pm »
I did think about Super Metroid, I heard the way the player sprites are stored is very cryptic. This is just a thought, but has anyone ever ported a GameBoy game to SNES? Could the original Shantae be ported over and have its graphics updated?

henke37

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2014, 03:01:39 pm »
The systems are quite dissimilar. Different graphics hardware. Different processors. Different audio hardware. Different everything really.

SunGodPortal

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2014, 07:36:43 pm »
One of us should have asked this from the get-go, but was your original idea to A) redo a SNES game with a Shantae theme, B) remake one of the Shantae games for the SNES or C) create an original Shantae game for the SNES?
War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

Sheeracali

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2014, 08:57:11 pm »
Sorry I didn't explain it that well. My idea was to create an original Shantae game for the SNES.

Seihen

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2014, 09:11:17 pm »
I realize this is a rom hacking website about modifying games, but when it comes to the idea of making an entirely new game, wouldn't it be better to use something like GameMaker and build the game yourself from the ground up (WORLDS easier than trying the force an older game on old hardware to do things it was never meant to do)? You can even use 8-16bit style graphics to keep the feel of it. I just see absolutely no benefit to this endeavor other than that it would (might?) run on an actual SNES.

Sheeracali

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2014, 05:48:58 pm »
My goal is for it to run on the SNES. Im a fan of older consoles and I really like the idea of playing on a real SNES.

Dwedit

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2014, 10:04:06 pm »
Probably much easier to hack the GBC game to make it into a Super Game Boy game.  That said, Shantae uses tons of GBC exclusive features, lots of DMA transfers and stuff like that.
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Sheeracali

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2014, 03:06:37 am »
As a Super GameBoy game, would it be able to use 16-bit sprites?

Vanya

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2014, 09:03:03 pm »
I have to agree that for a beginner it would be best to try hacking Super Mario World.
The primary editor for it, Lunar Magic, is one of the most complete hacking tools for any SNES game that I have seen.
It has fully automated ROM expansion so space is not an issue for the most part.
Between this and the plethora of other utilities and the existing custom music, graphics, blocks, sprites, and patches there is a ton of potential as to what can be done with SMW.
Plus there is a very knowledgeable community at Super Mario World Central that you can learn from.

As far as Shantae specifically, you'd have some limitations in using SMW as a base.
Namely it isn't set up as a metroidvania style game from the get go.
Stages are limited to being horizontal rooms that are no more than two screens tall or vertical rooms that are only one screen wide.
However, since rooms can be linked in multiple ways and it is possible to disable room timers completely it should be possible to have all the levels in the game linked together however you choose without interruption. And you don't even have to use pipes. There are custom teleport blocks that can be used to transition to other rooms directly.
As for her powers, the actual dances would be difficult to implement out of the box. However I have seen plenty of hacks that include multiple playable characters. So the resources do exist for the possibility of creating something like her animal forms.
Oh, and there are already several patches for graphical health systems, so you wouldn't have to use the hit system from SMW either.

So if you're serious about making this a SNES game, SMW might be a good place to start. It wouldn't be as flexible as learning how to program 65816 ASM code and making a homebrew, but it would be a bit easier to learn how to hack SMW. Plus you'll probably learn a lot about ROM hacking in general too.

Midna

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2014, 10:08:00 pm »
As a Super GameBoy game, would it be able to use 16-bit sprites?

The Super Game Boy can play enhanced music (e.g. Animaniacs, the Kunio-kun volleyball game) and/or sound effects (e.g. Kirby's Dream Land 2 and Star Stacker, Animaniacs), overlay things on the screen, and add color to areas of the screen (not layers, just areas; the color effects can't scroll, so most things which aren't a HUD will still be limited to four colors). As far as I know, it can't update sprites to 16-bit quality.

Dwedit

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Re: Shantae for Snes Hack Help request
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2014, 11:03:25 pm »
Actually, it can do SNES sprites.  But no game actually used that feature (except for Picross's unimpressive title screen).  Probably not enough VRAM for many frames of animation though.
"We are merely sprites that dance at the beck and call of our button-pressing overlord."