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Author Topic: How to increase interest in hacking?  (Read 53198 times)

BlackDog61

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #160 on: April 19, 2016, 03:01:09 pm »
I'm sure peeps wouldn't mind having a better, general subReddit & possible #chan board. Many emu devs post on /r/emulation, but practically the only hacking-relevant sub is for nothing but Pokemon (/r/PokemonROMhacks), which is fairly active with 13,000+ users & the general ones are dead. What's that, about a 4th of the registered users here dedicated to just Pikamanz & nothing else? I'm sure 8chan can create the best things life has to offer.
Isn't #chan a very "volatile" place? RH projects last for years, and knowledge has to accumulate over about 1-2 decades per console. Or more. I mean - the more, the best. How's #chan going to satisfy that?
Also, its knowledge organization is chaotic at best. Finding stuff there is painfully inefficient. (If you know an efficient way, I'm interested. ;D )

Weretindere

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #161 on: April 19, 2016, 05:57:33 pm »
Isn't #chan a very "volatile" place? RH projects last for years, and knowledge has to accumulate over about 1-2 decades per console. Or more. I mean - the more, the best. How's #chan going to satisfy that?
Also, its knowledge organization is chaotic at best. Finding stuff there is painfully inefficient. (If you know an efficient way, I'm interested. ;D )
I know Uboachan has been used fairly decently to talk about & show off Yume Nikki fan games & clones. Many noobs would also rather not go through the hassle of making another account for a site to ask a couple questions & run off. I rarely use #chans, although I find it far more stable & organized of an option for discussion than IRC which is just a cluster of people talking over each other in broken conversations & mass disconnects with no one else, outside of those who are always connected, ever getting to see any previous conversations.

This is also a thing linked to illegal activity, Cease & Desist letters & a lot of shit about Nintendo taking down hack videos which would make many uncomfortable about showing off anything without that extra layer of anonymity.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 06:09:15 pm by Weretindere »
Mah Not Safe 4 Lyf hax: http://rimhark.weebly.com/rim-harks.html
I herd u liek archives so I put an archive in ur archive so u can delet an archive while u delet an archive.
Don't mention ROM sites. Dem r piracy sites.
Feel free to link to Cloud Storage, th0, those totes aren't piracy sites.

mevoid

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #162 on: April 20, 2016, 02:57:24 pm »
I actually started writing SUPER easy to follow and understand guides. Not giving away any secrets until the first one is released :p Hopefully this will help new hackers learn ROM hacking easier.

DackR

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #163 on: April 21, 2016, 01:08:38 am »
My main problem with this thread is the question itself.

I don't believe it's a lack of interest that causes folks to shrink away from becoming a ROM hacker, but the sheer volume of information that is required to understand even the basic concepts.

Like others have likely pointed out, there is a need for strong leaders in the community who have a willingness to share what they have learned in a more modern way. Times have changed and people are no longer searching bbses and icq for documentation-- many people give up because text document tutorials are often dated or rely on servers containing materials that no longer exist or software that no longer functions on a modern computer. It is also a struggle at times to verify information that exists in such a static format-- most times lacking references to source material.

I believe the best way forward would be for the community to come up with an actual curriculum which explores a variety of techniques that can be used to hack ROMs in general and others covering concepts that are more platform specific. Then, given the list of topics, people should be encouraged to create informational presentations and tutorials going into detail. I wonder if wiki.superfamicom.org would be a good place to contain links to (snes specific) informational videos. There are probably specific wikis that could already exist or be developed for other consoles.

YouTube seems to be a wonderful way to present this information. There is already a lot of information out there, but there is much that can be improved.

So... I hope tutorials like I've described become more common-place and freely available. There is much we can learn from each-other.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2016, 01:14:39 am by DackR »

SleepyFist

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #164 on: April 21, 2016, 01:31:06 am »
How about animated tutorial videos coupled with text "homework" exercises?

BlackDog61

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #165 on: April 21, 2016, 03:26:46 pm »
... the sheer volume of information that is required to understand even the basic concepts.

... share what they have learned in a more modern way.

... I believe the best way forward would be for the community to come up with an actual curriculum which explores a variety of techniques that can be used to hack ROMs in general and others covering concepts that are more platform specific. Then, given the list of topics, people should be encouraged to create informational presentations and tutorials going into detail.
You got me excited there!

... YouTube seems to be a wonderful way to present this information.
Now I'm lost. Youtube is static, subject to censorship and cluttered with ads.
Not to mention, video format is the least information-intensive. Which contradicts the opening quote above.

Would you suggest something more appropriate? I still feel we're up to something!

mevoid

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #166 on: April 21, 2016, 04:11:30 pm »
How about HTML Documents? layout's can be much better than TXT, and you can add images, and even javascript programs that could ask the user questions and the user will need to answer.

DackR

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #167 on: April 21, 2016, 11:47:42 pm »
You got me excited there!
Now I'm lost. Youtube is static, subject to censorship and cluttered with ads.
Not to mention, video format is the least information-intensive. Which contradicts the opening quote above.

Would you suggest something more appropriate? I still feel we're up to something!

I see your point. My thinking was just to be able to give working examples as the concepts are presented would be a huge step forward.

How about animated tutorial videos coupled with text "homework" exercises?

I dunno... I've never enjoyed homework. ;) But this is a possibility.

Perhaps interactive presentations should become the standard? I've used Sway before, but since that's not very accessible (regarding the format)... And I see starting at scratch html, JavaScript coding as a little too involved when there are so many great frameworks out there...

What about Swipe? https://github.com/Nextoon/swipe

I could see something like swipe catching on if someone were to create a way to share them in an organized and easily updatable fashion. I realize that none of this will be easy. However, what are rom hackers, if not perpetual masochists? If we come together as a community, I'm sure this could turn into something beautiful.

What say you, fellow hackers?? What's our next step?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2016, 11:58:11 pm by DackR »

dougeff

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #168 on: April 22, 2016, 12:17:56 am »
Video tutorials is a great idea.

I have no idea what 'swipe' is.

Can't this site host video content?
nesdoug.com -- blog/tutorial on programming for the NES

FAST6191

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #169 on: April 22, 2016, 07:20:41 am »
Video tutorials is a great idea.

I have no idea what 'swipe' is.

Can't this site host video content?

It would probably be a serious matter to consider; though site bandwidth and storage is not a great concern but it is something that is watched and noted. Video of any modest resolution (and that would mean laptop screen size at least) takes up a reasonable amount of space -- back when people were getting panties in a bunch about whatever youtube was doing that week (and it was one of the more pointless ones like removing ratings or something) some of those inclined to think about these things did some maths and it would take a host that wanted to do such things, a proper CDN setup or something that you have to think about (and pay for).

On videos I am still hung up on finding a format that works remotely as well as text and pictures.

tryphon

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #170 on: April 22, 2016, 12:49:08 pm »
How about animated tutorial videos coupled with text "homework" exercises?

It's a very good idea. Exercices are the right way to improve. But it takes time to create them.

BlackDog61

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #171 on: April 22, 2016, 03:25:12 pm »
It's a very good idea. Exercices are the right way to improve. But it takes time to create them.
I agree.
It's probably easier to create an exercise than it is to build the original knowledge (from scratch), explained in text, so I take it members who were not in the know of something and learn it in a document could be invited (if they so agree) to enhance the presentation of the same material.

zonk47

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #172 on: April 22, 2016, 03:54:00 pm »
On videos I am still hung up on finding a format that works remotely as well as text and pictures.

Exactly. The question is begged further: what is to be gained by attracting people who can't learn from a standard HTML presentation? I mean this sounds like Video Professor for hackers... not a great way to encourage original thought. We want to help people and facilitate their work, but we do not want to be their unpaid labor force/consultants. I think it does depend on the work though... for the more graphical aspects, like tile editing, a video is reasonable. For everything else it's pretty much a non-starter.

I don't think hosting of videos is an issue. TAS Videos would have no reason not to host.
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FAST6191

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #173 on: April 22, 2016, 04:06:10 pm »
Not really. If I could think up a video format that worked I would do it in a heartbeat, however where I can teach any number of other things I know using video I am at a loss on long form programming and hacking type things (earlier posts of mine in this thread have more). Worse is so it seems is everybody else as I have yet to see something on TV, internet or otherwise that pulls it off as well as say machining (watch the first few videos on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC79QdJW2rayvCzqNq-SAM-g/videos and get some time on the machines and you will be able to do some serious damage there).

Anyway as much as I never do homework exercises for things I am learning I do remember how disappointed people were with w3schools when they had rather suspect questions in theirs so hmm. I wonder if we should make the ROM hacking equivalents of hackmes, but keep them simplified a bit so as to give people the idea of solving a problem but without the fun and games that result from the rest of the game also being present as you are trying to do something. Normally I am of the "chuck them in at the deep end" persuasion, and most things I ever write quite deliberately relate things back to real world examples, even if it costs some purity of the concept or I have to say "by the end of the next section you will understand what this is, for now just assume it needs to be there in this form".

zonk47

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #174 on: April 22, 2016, 04:15:07 pm »
One thing that might be worth doing is repackaging the information on the vintage CPU sites. Like for example they explain rolling and shifting, but only in terms of what it accomplishes. They do not put either of these operations in the context of hacking, only stating a means without specifying an end. When you need to be specific, it's best to state the end and the means to get there.
A good slave does not realize he is one; the best slave will not accept that he has become one.

FAST6191

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #175 on: April 22, 2016, 04:39:37 pm »
If the operations can be used for endless things within the ROM, or indeed by hackers (there is a reason you tend to see a X2, X4, X8 progression for money, exp, other exp... multiplier cheats), and are otherwise part of the foundations for all but the highest level languages then how much would be gained for doing that? It seems a bit like teaching chemistry and saying "mixing, if you mix an acid and a base such that they react you get a salt and water" and leaving it there when there is a whole world of stuff out there.
I might come the other way and say these instructions handle BCD, no great need to pay much attention to them for games (I assume they are not used for those consoles with it and are more used by business programs and such). That and as games tend not to be so linear in their execution spend more time emphasising compares and jumps/branches.

RetroRain

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #176 on: April 22, 2016, 09:46:25 pm »
In response to the thread title, I don't think it is necessary to increase interest in hacking.  People who want to mod games will do it.  They'll see videos and/or pics of modded games, retro or modern, if they find it is something that they want to do, they'll find places like this and board2.

It's no so much the lack of interest in hacking I believe, as it is in time.  I myself don't have as much time to do very much anymore.  In fact it is very frustrating when your time is very limited.

I used to believe as well that there was a lack of interest in hacking, but having grown up some more and wisen up, that is a false fact.  People who don't care about hacking are simply not going to do it, and the people who want to do it, but can't, is because of time.  The other factor is that there are people that want to hack, but are not willing to put the effort in to learn (in which case you have to ask yourself, how bad do you want to do it?).  And one of the major reasons for lack of time is money.  Lack of money means lack of time.  Time is money, and money is time.

I believe that if everybody had more money, they'd have more time, and the more hacking would be going on.

But considering the activity that is going on, at this site, and on this forum, I'd say the ROM hacking scene is doing pretty good, and has come a long way.

zonk47

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #177 on: April 24, 2016, 11:20:22 am »
I was just thinking that it would be very useful to have an emulator features comparison table. Like for example, if I want to know what emulators have an option for break on RAM write to a specific location, then I ought to be able to look at a table to find out. I should not have to go through a list of all the 300 or so emulators (or 10-30 per system) and download them individually to find out.
A good slave does not realize he is one; the best slave will not accept that he has become one.

FAST6191

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #178 on: April 24, 2016, 12:40:26 pm »
I don't know if I would set out like that. By all means a list of the suggested and runners up debugging emulators for a given system would help people, however most things once they actually become a worthwhile debugger will gain the basics there. Beyond that you also have to wonder if there are any system specifics -- a 3d viewer is nice for systems with 3d but pointless for the NES, filesystem viewer is essential for anything with a file system but pointless for anything without it and the list goes on. Even defining a core feature set would probably not help much there, though maybe breaking it down by era could help (3d and filesystems were a somewhat later invention). In a pinch you could define a core set and then some extras in a separate cell or additional notes/features thing but that would not be ideal.

zonk47

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Re: How to increase interest in hacking?
« Reply #179 on: April 24, 2016, 12:49:08 pm »
I don't know if I would set out like that. By all means a list of the suggested and runners up debugging emulators for a given system would help people, however most things once they actually become a worthwhile debugger will gain the basics there. Beyond that you also have to wonder if there are any system specifics -- a 3d viewer is nice for systems with 3d but pointless for the NES, filesystem viewer is essential for anything with a file system but pointless for anything without it and the list goes on. Even defining a core feature set would probably not help much there, though maybe breaking it down by era could help (3d and filesystems were a somewhat later invention). In a pinch you could define a core set and then some extras in a separate cell or additional notes/features thing but that would not be ideal.

The issue is that emulation of old systems has reached something of a low point. Looking at Zophar.net's news page, most of the emulators are inactive and those that are are for multiple systems. There are some features that are needed for every system, and too, there are problems of emulator incompatibility with this card and that card, this cpu and that cpu, some emulators faster and others slower, accurate and inaccurate etc. I will carry out the project if just one more person agrees to help.
A good slave does not realize he is one; the best slave will not accept that he has become one.