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Author Topic: Thinking about taking on Final Fantasy Legend 3 as my first project.  (Read 1809 times)

ArkthePieKing

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So I'd like to take another foray into the wonderful world of hacking. I dabbled in Final Fantasy Tactics a while back, and actually had some fair success with it. Built my own cutscenes, classes, even imported art for a custom Red Mage class which was an absolute nightmare to make work, make no mistake.

But I'd like to make Final Fantasy Legend 3 as my first REAL start to finish project, but I'm unsure how difficult that would be. It doesn't look like there are any tools listed for it on the site, and trying to do this from scratch seems...daunting. I guess I'm not sure how deep I'm diving in, and was hoping for a guestimate on the difficulty level of this project.

Specifically I want to make the following changes:

-Improve on the end game. The last special classes (Monster, Beast, Cyborg, Robot) are obtained at level 30, and they stop improving from there. I'd like to add more to keep the end game from being as stagnant as it is. I'd also like to balance it a bit more if possible.
-Improve upon the script. If possible I'd like to increase the memory I can work with to expand on the script. The plot of the game is surprisingly good, but it's absolutely *butchered* by space limitations and truncated speech. I'd like to give it a little more depth from beginning to end, and fix more or less all of the awkward dialogue. I'd also like to give the two mutants in the party literally any dialogue at all. Two of your main party members are freakin' mute!

So anyway, that's my goal for this project. I don't THINK it's too terribly hard, but being as this is my first step into a world without easy to use tools, I'm not sure what I might be signing up for. Some assistance in understanding that, and possibly with the project itself would be wonderful!

SunGodPortal

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Re: Thinking about taking on Final Fantasy Legend 3 as my first project.
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2016, 03:25:28 am »
NOTE: I'm not a "master hacker" or anything but I have a basic understanding of how some of this stuff might work. Someone else will have to help with the technical details here.

Quote
-Improve on the end game. The last special classes (Monster, Beast, Cyborg, Robot) are obtained at level 30, and they stop improving from there. I'd like to add more to keep the end game from being as stagnant as it is. I'd also like to balance it a bit more if possible.

How much trouble it is depends on how it is set up. If the game looks up a table for each level and the table only goes to 30, you'll have to expand that and then add entries.

Or is this one of those games where your stat increases are not pre-determined? In that case I would guess that the game tells itself "no stat changes beyond level 30" and then "turns them off". That might be as simple as changing a few bytes.

Game Genie codes may help you find some of the important addresses here.

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-Improve upon the script. If possible I'd like to increase the memory I can work with to expand on the script. The plot of the game is surprisingly good, but it's absolutely *butchered* by space limitations and truncated speech. I'd like to give it a little more depth from beginning to end, and fix more or less all of the awkward dialogue. I'd also like to give the two mutants in the party literally any dialogue at all. Two of your main party members are freakin' mute!

You're probably looking at expanding the ROM and rewriting a bunch of pointers with this one. You'll also need to make a table file to help you identify and edit text in the ROM with a hex editor unless you can write an editor with the data you find.
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ArkthePieKing

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Re: Thinking about taking on Final Fantasy Legend 3 as my first project.
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2016, 03:32:29 am »
Well as the first part it's...both actually. It's pretty complicated and rather genius in my opinion. There's 15 sets for each class, 2 levels per set. Each set has 4 entries. For the monster and beast classes, you'll automatically upgrade when you level up. Not so for the cyborg/robot classes, but the problem is once you hit 30, those classes stop improving, whereas the base classes, mutant and human, keep gaining stats past level 30 making for some awkward team management decisions. So if it is a table like I'm hoping, then it should be as simple as writing up some new entries for that.

The second part, the text editing sounds like pure hell and waaaaaay out of my league. I mean even the first part sounds pretty hellish, but I think I might be able to figure SOMETHING out with some elbow grease and plenty of research. I can't honestly say I think I can handle that.

SunGodPortal

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Re: Thinking about taking on Final Fantasy Legend 3 as my first project.
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2016, 03:48:44 am »
Quote
The second part, the text editing sounds like pure hell and waaaaaay out of my league. I mean even the first part sounds pretty hellish, but I think I might be able to figure SOMETHING out with some elbow grease and plenty of research. I can't honestly say I think I can handle that.

Whether it comes to the extreme that I mentioned really depends on if there is any free space or not.
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Bahamut ZERO

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Re: Thinking about taking on Final Fantasy Legend 3 as my first project.
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2016, 01:26:44 pm »
I wish you the best of luck with your possible endeavors into Final Fantasy Legend 3. It was one of my favorite GB games when I was younger, and a main reason I started hacking FF4 on SNES (my original idea was to remake this game using FF4's engine, but it ended up going in an entirely different direction. I still plan on giving it a shot in the future though).


Any improvements to Final Fantasy Legend 3 are welcome in my book! Just make sure to keep backups of your progress to keep possible frustration down to a minimum.

Also, be sure to email yourself pivotal backups or copies of your notes as you progress, just in case technology tries to kick you in the nards.  :thumbsup:
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AWJ

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Re: Thinking about taking on Final Fantasy Legend 3 as my first project.
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2016, 04:49:55 am »
I've done some reverse-engineering of FFL3, and I can tell you that if your only hacking experience is modifying a PlayStation game using premade tools, it'll be pretty damn daunting.

All the "business logic" for battles, leveling up/transforming, spells and items is implemented in a custom bytecode language (FFL2, FFL3 and Romancing SaGa 1 all use slight variations of the same bytecode). Worse, unlike the other two games that use this bytecode, it isn't in a contiguous block, it's interspersed with little bits of machine code all over the place.

Because of the way the game is coded, you can pretty much forget about anyone making a noob-friendly FFHackster for FFL3. Special properties of items and spells, for example, are generally hardcoded into the bytecode rather than using fields in the item data. Like instead of the Psi knife/sword/gun having a flag in their data that causes them to do more damage when used by a Mutant, the damage calculation routine literally has the equivalent of "if (weapon_index == 0x41 or weapon_index == 0x35 or weapon_index == 0x60) {apply_mutant_bonus()}" hardcoded into it. So even adding or changing weapons or spells is not easy at all and requires hacking the custom bytecode.