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Author Topic: How to increase interest in hacking?  (Read 34899 times)

RyanfaeScotland

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #80 on: March 01, 2016, 03:58:51 pm »
Hacking is NOT taking an editor like Lunar Magic and making a new game from an old one.
Poppycock. Next you'll be claiming Super Mario Maker isn't hacking. :thumbsup:


And don't say "gimme a Kiwi Kraze level editor". (That's a reference to a comment from last year).

http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php/topic,20011.msg281539.html#msg281539

That is an epic reply from Quick Curly given such an obviously leechy post.

BlackDog61

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #81 on: March 01, 2016, 06:14:23 pm »
I'm much more interested in translation/localization patches.
I second that.

For those the idea of an easy-to-use, one-size-fits-all tool is absurd: by the time you could possibly have a tool like that, the important hacking (knowing how the game works) is done anyway.
I think having a tool that does everything probably isn't the most efficient / likely to happen way forward, indeed. But I can't help thinking some more pieces of software could be shared.
TableLib is (to me) a brilliant way to just ease a couple of things more. It's not going to do the job for you, but it removes "yet another task" to be done (and all of the crany tidy tedious bits of error correction that goes with it). There's just plain so many things to do already...

Anyways, I'd like to hear if my idea of sharing a "story editing program" would be of any use to anyone. (Not for a specific game - more a user interface with dialogue, portraits and numberof lines for each bubble, branching story, maybe even flags if we think there's a use for it, and the possibility to have more data parsed if you've gone further in interpreting the game's scenario events engine.) It wouldn't be universal. A user interface can't do thereal thing. But it could help translators if we gear it with what they expect. (I mean - what do translators expect nowadays? Tell me please.)

CM30

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #82 on: March 01, 2016, 06:32:14 pm »
I would at least mention that many (maybe most) SMW hackers don't just use Lunar Magic.  They also use a bunch of other tools and custom resources, a fair few likely made by the individual modder (and for anyone elitist about it, many with command line interfaces).

At the moment, the scene over there is basically like the scene for a game engine like Unreal or the Cryengine or Unity.  The game itself is used as a very limited base, and then various much larger changes are made through a crap ton of other tools, patches, hex edits, etc.  Technically, this was made in Lunar Magic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INa41RSwiCc

It's a bit like the Mario fan game scene.  A lot of games there are based on engines (like say, the hello engine), the distinction is between games which significantly add to said engine and provide an interesting experience or use resources in new ways and those which use it like a simple level editor.   There's a huge variety between the most basic level changes and graphics/music/text/whatever changes and games which are basically SMW in base engine only.
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NERV Agent

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #83 on: March 01, 2016, 06:59:58 pm »
Command lines aren't the problem because that only effects people who are lazy and unwilling to learn something new (the kind that shouldn't be hacking in the first place). If someone can't even figure out how to use a command prompt they just don't have the capacity to hack in the first place. Hacking is NOT taking an editor like Lunar Magic and making a new game from an old one. I repeat: That is NOT hacking. Don't flatter yourself, people. That's just using a computer program like every other pedestrian. The author of that program was a hacker, many of the users are not. Hacking involves building reverse engineering and problem solving skills. It is not a hobby for the dim or lazy.

I think /dACE said it best:

I agree that GUI is more convenient than using a command line. I prefer using GUI over command lines. However....

When many of us were young children, we learned to use command lines. I would use them as a kindergartner to play various edutainment games in the school computer lab.

If today's would be "hackers" are overwhelmed by something a kindergartner can do, then how the Hell are they gonna do more complex things like finding and changing textures/sprites, palettes, text, etc.? Maybe they should find a new hobby.

I believe that real actual hacking is like being MacGyver.

If you are one of the bad guys, you use a gun (Lunar Magic or any game specific editor).

If you are MacGyver, you don't use a gun; you use a Swiss Army Knife, duct tape, and whatever else is lying around (hex editor, Tile Molester, human brain, etc.).

To be hax0r, you must have MacGyver skills.

Nightcrawler

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #84 on: March 01, 2016, 07:59:09 pm »
Lead by example! I've heard many great ideas over the years, but so few people want to actually take the time to stand behind them or help turn them into reality! Mock something up, post a new video, do an interview, write a review, get something new started! You can do it! As it relates to the site, if you make some good content, or mock up some changes, we can certainly work with you on getting it up on the site! :)

Motivation and productivity is often contagious. People usually join in if you take some initiative and get something going! If they don't, well, not all ideas can be great ones! hehe
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Rotwang

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #85 on: March 01, 2016, 08:35:42 pm »
The vast majority of hacks of Mario titles out there can't seem to have a single original thought and instead import sprites and backgrounds from other games and shoehorn them in. It always looks like shit and they all look the damn same and are fucking boring. That video CM30 posted above is a damning example of this. Maybe the scene would get some more members if most of the established work wasn't all so trite. But I guess people just like seeing the same shit from 20 years ago rehashed.

But then again, do you guys really WANT this hobby to be more popular? Isn't part of the fun of ROM hacking being in a gang of elite nerds who have learned a skill with a very steep learning curve that seems like magic to the uninitiated? Do you all really want to lose that feeling? Or does this thread exist partially because of the cognitive dissonance of being proud of having mastered a skill that most people in the real world don't really give a fuck about?

zonk47

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #86 on: March 01, 2016, 09:03:57 pm »
Lunar Magic has a straight-up financial incentive: a number of "online arcade" sites are paying for SMW hacks.

I'm gathering, based on posts here and elsewhere in the forum, that a central issue regarding Japanese-to-English translations is a lack of translators. Would it help to have like, Japanese language training sessions over IRC? I understand that many people take Japanese classes in college, but are those classes really helpful when it comes to hiragana-based language? Additionally, it's not like your typical state school or community college offers Japanese courses. Which means that when it comes to non-Japanese natives and Japanese, we're trying to entice upper class people... always a winner for this kind of stuff :P
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Rotwang

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #87 on: March 01, 2016, 09:26:20 pm »
I'm gathering, based on posts here and elsewhere in the forum, that a central issue regarding Japanese-to-English translations is a lack of translators.

I believe in the Samurai Pizza Cats approach to translations.

FAST6191

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #88 on: March 01, 2016, 10:06:46 pm »
The vast majority of hacks of Mario titles out there can't seem to have a single original thought and instead import sprites and backgrounds from other games and shoehorn them in. It always looks like shit and they all look the damn same and are fucking boring. That video CM30 posted above is a damning example of this. Maybe the scene would get some more members if most of the established work wasn't all so trite. But I guess people just like seeing the same shit from 20 years ago rehashed.

But then again, do you guys really WANT this hobby to be more popular? Isn't part of the fun of ROM hacking being in a gang of elite nerds who have learned a skill with a very steep learning curve that seems like magic to the uninitiated? Do you all really want to lose that feeling? Or does this thread exist partially because of the cognitive dissonance of being proud of having mastered a skill that most people in the real world don't really give a fuck about?

On the mario levels thing I was reminded of something. I have almost certainly brought it up before but a while back IGN did a playthrough of Doom with John Romero (video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUU7_BthBWM ). In it John Romero makes a passing comment about those doing user made levels doing things he never would have thought of (and possibly beyond him that day). I have always liked that sort of thing in science and tech but so rarely see it in games and that stuck with me.

"I agree that GUI is more convenient than using a command line. I prefer using GUI over command lines. However...."
There are many occasions during which a GUI is more convenient, few would argue otherwise though part of such an argument would be ease of programming, and you do have https://xkcd.com/1168/ to consider. Some seemed to be wanting to eschew it entirely though and that is just crazy.

Yeah there is always need for more translators and it would probably be one of the bigger timesinks, however more hackers are always useful as well.

"cognitive dissonance of being proud of having mastered a skill that most people in the real world don't really give a fuck about?"
"Do you all really want to lose that feeling?"

Two things in life scare me
1) The possibility that I will one day wake up with kids and a mortgage
2) The possibility that I will be one of the people that thinks "never hire anybody smarter than you" is a good idea in the long run.

Related to 2) would also be the weakest guy in special forces concept -- you might be the weakest but the variation in skills will get you somewhere good and you are probably still a hard bastard. Alternatively there is the meeting of scientists/engineers thing to consider ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0ZgED70FMg ) -- I would consider myself a decent hacker, able to wander into any random ROM and do some damage, at the same time I do not really know PS1 MIPS assembly or architecture and thus someone that spent a couple of weekends learning it could probably get my best fish impression should I be foolish enough to claim "I R master haxxor" on the matter.

Anyway serious skills in pointless fields* is the epitome of man as far as I am concerned (even more than laziness), and one of the few things I actually do anything resembling improvement in.

*bonus points if they were once a useful field like engineering.

NERV Agent

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #89 on: March 02, 2016, 06:44:31 am »
I can't remember who said "make more tools, not command line"... but, I'm thinking now, that's kind of vague.

What tools are we lacking? What tool, if existed, would make the people on the sidelines say " oh, I can make a hack now". ?

If there existed a version of Tile Layer Pro that can actually save tile arrangements, it would be a gift from Xenu.

Grimlock

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #90 on: March 02, 2016, 09:20:01 am »
If there existed a version of Tile Layer Pro that can actually save tile arrangements, it would be a gift from Xenu.

Increasing the size of the tile arranger would be fantastic also.   Several times I've ran out of space while working on large animations with multiple frames.  4x the existing size would be great.

RyanfaeScotland

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #91 on: March 02, 2016, 10:48:56 am »
Increasing the size of the tile arranger would be fantastic also.   Several times I've ran out of space while working on large animations with multiple frames.  4x the existing size would be great.

What's the difference between TLP and Tile Molester? I see TM has the source code uploaded so adjustments could be made fairly easily.

Scratch that, the source to TLP is available on SegaRetro so the changes could be made to it as well.

Still interested in the difference though, why use (and update) TLP and not TM?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 10:56:18 am by RyanfaeScotland »

chillyfeez

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #92 on: March 02, 2016, 12:31:34 pm »
Because Tile Molestor's name creeps me out.

I hear YY-CHR is in all ways superior to the other two anyway, but I'm satisfied with TLP.

Of course, I only do sprite work when I absolutely have to...
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Bahamut ZERO

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #93 on: March 02, 2016, 01:48:42 pm »
If there existed a version of Tile Layer Pro that can actually save tile arrangements, it would be a gift from Xenu.

If you blank out a large section of any random rom (that you aren't planning to work with) using the transparent color of a palette, you can easily use YYCHR's copy and paste functions (coupled with its great pattern function) and do literally what you hope for with 5% of the aggrivation!  :thumbsup:

Meaning:

1) Have two YYCHR windows open: one with the rom you're working on, and one that's your work area (with the blanked rom)

2) Play around with the different patterns until you can make out what you're wanting to work with. You can even add you own patterns. For example, a character's battle sprites in FF4 can be viewed easily using a 2x3h (horizontal) and a 3x2h pattern.

3)  Use the right mouse button to highlight what you want to copy, and hit the Copy button (you can also use ctrl + c for the same effect, and is much faster).

4) Paste your highlighted graphics to your work area using the Paste button (you can also use ctrl + v for the same effect, and is much faster). I recommend pasting what you want to work with a 2nd time, above the one you're going to edit in case you don't like the results of your edits.

5) After editing to your hearts content, copy and paste that shit back to the rom you're working on and test out your edits.
Like Super Mario Land? Then you'll love my first completed Rom Hack: Maniac on the Run!

BlackDog61

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #94 on: March 02, 2016, 01:57:23 pm »
Related to 2) would also be the weakest guy in special forces concept -- you might be the weakest but the variation in skills will get you somewhere good and you are probably still a hard bastard.
I have to make sure I counter-balance this.
Being a group of human is about doing 1+0.5+1=5. You are in the right group if you help this set of humans perform with the best they can, enriching each other's ideas and doing.

On that note, I think this thread can indeed become that. Being aware of what others also see as things we could share on / improve about is the first step to get there.

i'd love to have a version of TiledGGD that changes its window layout when you maximize it. (Today in grows when I drag, but not when I maximize.)

RyanfaeScotland

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #95 on: March 02, 2016, 05:55:58 pm »
What's the difference between TLP and Tile Molester? I see TM has the source code uploaded so adjustments could be made fairly easily.

Scratch that, the source to TLP is available on SegaRetro so the changes could be made to it as well.

Scratch that as well, the program was developed with Borland C++ Builder and hence half the files aren't compatible with Visual Studio. I love you guys enough to download the source and give it a go but not enough to set up a whole new IDE for the pleasure.

BlackDog61

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #96 on: March 02, 2016, 06:13:28 pm »
Scratch that as well, the program was developed with Borland C++ Builder and hence half the files aren't compatible with Visual Studio. I love you guys enough to download the source and give it a go but not enough to set up a whole new IDE for the pleasure.
It's probably easier to recreate the project as a Visual Studio project, then.
But since I'm not volunteering, I'll spout my useless chatter a little away. ;D

EDIT: did have a look for 2 minutes and indeed the whole GUI would need to be redone for a conversion. Yuck...
« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 06:22:13 pm by BlackDog61 »

Dr. Floppy

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #97 on: March 07, 2016, 02:13:03 am »
Unless I'm misreading some extreme sarcasm in your more politically pointed posts, I would say that you are definitely Far-Right since you have blamed Progressive policies for causing a ballooning debt and say that you want to vote for Ted Cruz who is the most far right candidate of this election season.

Yeah, I'm probably "far-right" politically... But my penchant for legalizing hard drugs, prostitution, abortion, etc., doesn't usually sit well with the "conservative" set.

Ted Cruz is aight, but I voted for Trump in the primary.

Quote
I am simply saying if those are your genuine feelings towards women it is no wonder that you skew that far to the right which has consistently degraded women.

"Women trend towards Not-X" != "Women shouldn't do X". When you get a minute, please re-read my offending post. There is nothing in there even remotely resembling a "Girls shouldn't be allowed..." sentiment. I grew up in a family all but entirely comprised of females. What I stated is merely reflective of my firsthand experiences.

Quote
With all that said I have deep respect for your skills in rom hacking and you are often willing to lend a hand to those who need it. If you truly hold to these outdated ideas about women though you may want to re-examine your moral compass.

Here, here!  :beer:

I'm not saying I particularly like my observations, nor that I'd personally arrange for them were I The Almighty. Just that "it is what it is", and there's probably a reason why men and women have diverse interests.

zonk47

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #98 on: March 07, 2016, 03:48:51 am »
In this age of disruption the only viable platform for tools is virtualization. Some people hate virtualization for some reason I really don't understand... you can make a GUI in Gambas BASIC . I really don't understand why someone would ever make a GUI in C++, given that it wasn't designed for the task. C++ is for algorithms... VisualBASIC is for GUI.

Or if the tool is simple and you don't need to load things like workspaces, you can use HTML 5. Beware browser bugs though... they pop up where you least expect them.
A good slave does not realize he is one; the best slave will not accept that he has become one.

VicVergil

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #99 on: March 07, 2016, 06:38:30 am »
1) this "age"/"era"/"year" doesn't matter much, as long as the program is working with the targeted OS
2) command prompt tools are by far the easiest, the most straightforward and the first thing learned when it comes to coding
3) command prompt tools allow for using bat files, to automate a process for multiple files in a directory with minimal effort

4) C++ applications are faster, more stable and allow for better control / memory management than Visual Basic, let alone HTML5 or Java (both can be an endless source of frustration due to all the memory leaks). Considering the nature of most romhacking tools (designed to parse huge files lots of times after loading them in memory) it's by far the biggest priority.
To ask hobbyist programmers to learn a whole new language and put up with stuff like huge memory leaks ("browser bugs") just because it has a shiny GUI on the outside, with not so nice implications about ones who don't embrace this... is a bit ill-advised, considering the different priorities.