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

Author Topic: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ  (Read 29785 times)

RHDNBot

  • Guest
ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« on: October 04, 2015, 10:21:43 pm »

Update By: puzzledude

After being in development for quite some time, this nonconventional Zelda3 hack is finished. Can you pass the impossible and beat its above average intuitive and algorithmic puzzles? It's like an IQ test, only with the Alttp engine.

May the Einstein be with you.

RHDN Project Page

Relevant Link

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2737
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2015, 02:01:12 am »
So this looks interesting but I can't get it to work.

I've verified the CRC of the source ROM
I've patched using the supplied patcher
I've tried running in both the supplied emus, as well as in Higan v094

Nothing but a black screen.


Plus, I'm extremely skeptical of any hack that requires a custom emulator in the first place.  Was this verified on hardware?

puzzledude

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 308
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2015, 06:23:28 am »
So this looks interesting but I can't get it to work.

I've verified the CRC of the source ROM
I've patched using the supplied patcher
I've tried running in both the supplied emus, as well as in Higan v094

Nothing but a black screen.


Plus, I'm extremely skeptical of any hack that requires a custom emulator in the first place.  Was this verified on hardware?
Then you are obviously doing something wrong, since the Rom and the patching process and the loading on supplied emus was tested numerous times.

Make sure to read these simple instructions again from the Readme:
Open the Xdelta UI patcher (Included in the ZIP).
Select APPLY patch.

-Under Patch select the Zelda3_IQ_Patch.xdelta
-Under Source File select the Original Rom (US non-headered Alttp rom with 1.024 KB)
-Under Output File press the ... button and then type in Zelda3 IQ.sfc

-Note: the file extension of the hack must be .sfc


The xdelta will prevent patching to the false rom and will thus not produce bugged roms like ips.


The second thing you should know is, that this game simply uses a different format. It is a Exlorom instead of Lorom. And will run on any device, which supports Exlorom. I've just supplied Fusoya's emulators, so players don't need to search for them, since they are the most appropriate choice.

The famous SMW hack by Fusoya called Super Demo World The Legend Continue uses a similar format. You even need to expand the rom in his case before patching and his game is a hit. So this format should be acceptable for hacks.

Also, do read the Legal Notice of the Readme.


« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 09:27:06 am by puzzledude »

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2737
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2015, 11:02:35 am »
Ah ok.  I missed the sfc extension.  Weird that that matters.

Still doesn't work on Higan, though.  Maybe it uses a db to know when to switch to ExLoRom or something?  Whatever.

EDIT:

I guess the question is... is ExLoRom a real thing?  Or is it something FuSoYa made up to allow for larger SMW ROMs?  If custom emu builds had to be made for it, that is very suspect.  It's like making up your own mapper in an NES game so you can do things that no real cartridge could.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 12:15:34 pm by Disch »

puzzledude

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 308
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2015, 12:35:54 pm »
I did some testing and the extension matters. It probably can not run on a "false" extension, pretty much how .doc and .docx are different. And the .docx doesn't work on old Word.

Regarding the formats, they are explained here:
https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Super_NES_Programming/SNES_memory_map#ExLoROM.2C_ExHiROM

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2737
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2015, 01:25:17 pm »
From that wiki article:

Quote
Thus, using a format which allows the usage of up to 6 Megabytes of ROM

Your hack is 8 MB.  No wonder it doesn't work in traditional emus.

This is sort of a philosophical debate of what emulation is.  Is an emulator representative of the hardware?  Or is it effectively a tool like game maker?

You seem to be treating it like the latter -- which I guess is fine, but will make your hack instantly dated, as more strict and accurate emulators surface in the future (or even in the present -- as is the case with Higan), your hack will be broken on them.  We saw this a lot back in the late 90s when people would make ROM hacks that only worked on NESticle.

Here you've made a ROM hack that only works on a custom build of SNES9x or ZSNES -- not even an official build.

SunGodPortal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2921
  • 2 + 2 = 5
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2015, 04:17:27 pm »
Quote
You seem to be treating it like the latter -- which I guess is fine, but will make your hack instantly dated, as more strict and accurate emulators surface in the future (or even in the present -- as is the case with Higan), your hack will be broken on them.  We saw this a lot back in the late 90s when people would make ROM hacks that only worked on NESticle.

Here you've made a ROM hack that only works on a custom build of SNES9x or ZSNES -- not even an official build.

It's a measure taken against repro makers.

EDIT: Play The Legend of Zelda - IQ Test.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 02:01:55 am by SunGodPortal »
War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2737
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2015, 04:21:22 pm »
It's a measure taken against repro makers.

Effectively proving my point.  If it doesn't work on hardware, it isn't really emulation -- it's more like Game Maker.

Like I said... that's fine.  But it dates this hack and vastly restricts how it can be played.  This hack will not work on future emulators.  Hell, it doesn't even work on current ones.

SunGodPortal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2921
  • 2 + 2 = 5
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2015, 04:24:10 pm »
Quote
Effectively proving my point.  If it doesn't work on hardware, it isn't really emulation -- it's more like Game Maker.

Like I said... that's fine.  But it dates this hack and vastly restricts how it can be played.  This hack will not work on future emulators.  Hell, it doesn't even work on current ones.

Well then enjoy it while you can. :D

EDIT: Play The Legend of Zelda - IQ Test.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 02:02:12 am by SunGodPortal »
War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2737
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2015, 04:25:29 pm »
I would, but I don't feel like configuring a whole new emu.

puzzledude

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 308
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2015, 05:21:56 pm »
I don't think we need to worry for the future. People will be smarter. With any PC emulator of the future we can assume that the author will want to make it complete (like save stating, cheating, IPS and UPS softpatching support, zip and 7Z and rar support, different rom-mapping support).

Exlorom really should be one of the standards since it allows a lot more space and data to be added (image how much SMW levels would fit into 8MB). Note: Fusoya made such a rom/hack (his was 6MB Exhirom, which is really not that much different than this one) in 2003.

SNES Stuff address calculator has these addressing modes implemented: Lorom, Hirom, Exlorom, Exhirom. The same (even more possibilities) with the calssic Lunar Expand.

The original authors of Snes9x took both: Exlo and Exhi rom mappings into the regard. I looked at the source code (easy to implement into an emulator if you are a programmer and are making a SNES emu). The only reason it did not support 8, but only 6MB was by accident.

Real hardware was somewhat limited to Lorom mapping with 4MB max for a cart due to phisical reason, which involved money (to distribute an 8MB cart would be much more expensive than 1 or 2MB one). There are some exceptions however which use expansion chips.

That's why real hardware can never run something, which has been updated. And this mapping is an update. However, certain clones of SNES, which were made, actually support save states and cheats, even IPS soft patching. I expect that in the future SNES clones (hardware), as well as emulators will support this format as well.

PS
You might want to ask byuu to add Exlorom and Exhirom support to future Higan releases. This should not be that difficult for someone who mannaged to program an entire emu.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 05:31:58 pm by puzzledude »

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2737
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2015, 05:43:54 pm »
Exlorom is supported by Higan.  Star Ocean runs just fine.

The problem is that Exlorom apparently caps out at 6 MB.  You are not obeying that restriction.  So what you are doing is not Exlorom, but is some custom thing that is totally fabricated and never actually existed on any SNES cartridge.  That kind of thing will not be supported in future emulators.  If anything, emulators will go out of their way not to support it as more emphasis tends to be put on accuracy as time goes on.


Read the page you linked to.  Nowhere does it say Exlorom or Exhirom support 8MB.  It specifically says 6MB.  The code in official Snes9x was not a mistake -- it was implementing proper behavior.



EDIT:

The definitive test here would be to take an existing ExLoROM cartridge (Star Ocean apparently was the only one), remove its ROM chip, and replace it with an 8 MB chip, and see if that runs on a SNES/SFC.

If yes?  You're good.  ExLoROM supports 8MB, and I'll eat my hat.

If not?  You're busted and your hack gives a big 'FU' to emulation accuracy.

I'm assuming you did not perform this test -- so at best you are playing with fire.  And again... since no emulator actually officially supports this... that's a huge red flag telling me that this hack is not legit.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 05:55:27 pm by Disch »

SunGodPortal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2921
  • 2 + 2 = 5
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2015, 07:59:38 pm »
Quote
If not?  You're busted and your hack gives a big 'FU' to emulation accuracy.

If a programmer is so obsessed with this concept of "accuracy" does any of this really matter? Because if someone is that anal about "accuracy" then the time will come when they no longer support ROM images because that's not "accurate", only a legit cartridge is "accurate".

Quote
I'm assuming you did not perform this test -- so at best you are playing with fire.  And again... since no emulator actually officially supports this... that's a huge red flag telling me that this hack is not legit.

Please expand on your concept of what constitutes a "legit" ROM hack, if you don't mind.

EDIT: Play The Legend of Zelda - IQ Test.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 02:02:29 am by SunGodPortal »
War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

JCE3000GT

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 433
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2015, 08:38:22 pm »
I would also like to point out that as a casual emulation gamer I have my emulators of choice installed and configured so having to download another emu just to play one hack isn't feasible.  Now my next point impacts me directly.  This hack will not run on my RetroN5 and I suspect it won't run on flash carts as well.  That's the future of 8/16-bit emulation so it not being compatible with those devices cuts out a portion of the audience. 

Just some thoughts to ponder...

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2737
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2015, 09:01:19 pm »
Bear in mind I am more of an emulator developer than a ROM hacker.  So my view here is coming from what might be considered a different world.

If a programmer is so obsessed with this concept of "accuracy" does any of this really matter? Because if someone is that anal about "accuracy" then the time will come when they no longer support ROM images because that's not "accurate", only a legit cartridge is "accurate".

You're taking that to an unreasonable extreme.

An emulated game on the SNES consists of two basic things:  the software and the hardware.  The ROM contains the software, but cannot possibly contain the hardware because that's a physical thing.  So it's the job of the emulator to simulate the hardware.

Simply:  SNES emulators simulate SNES hardware.

Good SNES emulators try very hard to simulate the behavior of what that hardware actually does in real life.  Quirks and all.  When done properly, software will not be able to tell whether or not it's running on real hardware, or on an emulator.  The behavior on each will be identical.  This is the goal of "accuracy".

Allowing 8MB of ROM when the hardware only allowed 6 creates a visible change in how the software runs.  This breaks accuracy.

The bottom line is... if the emulator is accurate, it will run any game you throw at it.  Anything that runs on the system, will run on the emulator.  This is invaluable for ROM hacking and homebrew scenes, as the emulator becomes a reasonably trustworthy test platform.  What's more, it future-proofs the emulator.

Inaccurate emulators often have to riddle themselves with dozens of game-specific tweaks in order to get games to run properly.  Which is basically how NESticle operated way back in the day.  And even older versions of SNES9x and ZSNES.  And if you remember, way back in the day there were probably hundreds of hacks and homebrews designed to work in NESticle that simply do not work in modern emulators.



Now imagine if you will, a homebrew game which was designed to run on ExLoROM.  A game which was actually tested on real hardware -- so it is confirmed that the game is programmed properly.  However, the game fails to run on an inaccurate emulator because of the visible difference in how the hardware is simulated.

Clearly this is not the fault of the game -- but is the fault of the emulator.  So this is something emulator authors try very hard to avoid.  The inaccurate emu author would then have to work in some kind of game-specific tweak to get this homebrew to work properly.  Which also would fail as soon as someone makes a hack for the homebrew.

An accurate emu, on the other hand, will simply always work.  It does what the hardware does, so it can't ever be wrong.

Quote
Please expand on your concept of what constitutes a "legit" ROM hack, if you don't mind.

If it runs on real hardware, it's legit.  If it doesn't, it's bogus.

Repro carts like Powerpak muddy these waters a lot, as they also tend to be emulators.  But that's a side-point.





Now... nevermind all of that... and just look at the consequences of this Zelda 3 IQ hack.  Anyone that wants to play this hack will have to abandon their emulator of choice, and use some other emulator.

Nevermind the inconvenience of that... and the fact that it resulted in a HUGE upload of questionable legality because he had to bundle the emulators with his hack... but what if someone wanted to play this on an emu for their phone?  They can't.  What if someone is running MacOS?  They can't play this hack either.  What if 5 years from now someone is running a version of Windows that is incompatible with these custom emu builds?  That person is also SOL.

By going against what SNES hardware dictates, this hack is destroying its playability.

Conversely, if your hack works on real hardware -- if you obey the limitations of the system... you hack will always work.  Every emulator throughout the rest of time will be able to run your hack.

someone

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2015, 10:01:45 pm »
Geesh, I had to register for this, its so obvious !

This is an IQ hack, to test your problem solving skills, yet this hack itself has a huge problem that needs to be overcome. I just love irony.

Puzzledude, I respect, and admire the fact that you made an 8mb hack of probably one of the more difficult snes games to hack, but I have to agree 100% with Disch.  Besides, you clearly like puzzles, so here one is, get it under 6mb.

Chpexo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 731
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2015, 10:33:46 pm »
Puzzledude, I respect, and admire the fact that you made an 8mb hack of probably one of the more difficult snes games to hack, but I have to agree 100% with Disch.  Besides, you clearly like puzzles, so here one is, get it under 6mb.
Well you start in the light world and then go to the dark world before going to the meat of the hack; the dungeons. Theoretically, it seems like you can trim some fat off the hack by removing the two. Though it's easier said than done.

SunGodPortal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2921
  • 2 + 2 = 5
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2015, 11:59:57 pm »
Quote
I would also like to point out that as a casual emulation gamer I have my emulators of choice installed and configured so having to download another emu just to play one hack isn't feasible.

The emulators are included in the archive so if you download the hack, you already have the emus. Problem solved, my friend. :)

Quote
Repro carts like Powerpak muddy these waters a lot, as they also tend to be emulators.

This may be silly of me, but the Powerpak is more of an add-on interface with emulated mappers than what many people would refer to as a "repro cart" or an "emulator". :P

I started to respond to your other stuff Disch, but I'm just going to let all of that go. I don't feel strongly enough about this to continue. Besides, it's not like what PD has done here isn't strange given that there isn't 8MB of content. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the ROM is mostly empty space (I only looked through about half in a hex editor so I am assumming when I say "mostly").

EITHER WAY, WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT...

I've been playing it and it's an awesome hack.

EDIT: Play The Legend of Zelda - IQ Test.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 02:02:58 am by SunGodPortal »
War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

Disch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2737
  • NES Junkie
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2015, 12:18:47 am »
I don't know about the SNES powerpak, but the NES PowerPak was essentially a mapper emulator in hardware form.  It had to simulate the behavior of all the various mappers the same way traditional emulators do -- only it does it through hardware rather than software.

I presume comparable SNES cartridges operate the same way.  Simulating LoROM/HiROM/etc (which are effectively the SNES version of mappers) where appropriate.


But yeah repro cart was probably the wrong term.  Apologies.  I stand by the claim of it being an emulator, though.

Quote
I started to respond to your other stuff Disch, but I'm just going to let all of that go. I don't feel strongly enough about this to continue.

Well like I said -- I'm coming from a different world.  I identify much more closely with the mentality behind emulator development than I do with ROM hacking.

A lot of people in this world have no problem looking at emulators with a less "purist" attitude.  A lot think it doesn't matter whether or not it runs on hardware because nobody would really bother putting it on hardware.

And that's all fine.  But my main point was that the choice to break convention here makes the hack much harder to play, and much less accessible.  So it probably was not the best decision.

SunGodPortal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2921
  • 2 + 2 = 5
    • View Profile
Re: ROM Hacks: Time to test your IQ
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2015, 12:43:51 am »
Quote
It had to simulate the behavior of all the various mappers the same way traditional emulators do -- only it does it through hardware rather than software.

From what I understand I think it's a bit of both. I mean, all of the mappers are individual files on the Powerpak, so wouldn't that make them a software thing?

Quote
Apologies.  I stand by the claim of it being an emulator, though.

Noted.

Quote
Well like I said -- I'm coming from a different world.  I identify much more closely with the mentality behind emulator development than I do with ROM hacking.

A lot of people in this world have no problem looking at emulators with a less "purist" attitude.  A lot think it doesn't matter whether or not it runs on hardware because nobody would really bother putting it on hardware.

I guess it seems that my concept of "emulation" is a little more liberal then. At the same time, I hate it when a hack won't work on my Powerpak**. I hate emulators, but you seem like an OK guy, Disch. LOL

**Though that is simply a matter of updating the software.

AND AGAIN...
Since all of this thread has been arguing/debating about formats and definitions: Just play the hack, people. It's great. if you cannot appreciate the gift of a new Zelda III hack, then shame on you. >:(

EDIT:


By the way, nice self-promotion there Puzz. :)
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 01:07:39 am by SunGodPortal »
War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.