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source code for importing NES levels?

Started by renegade74, February 23, 2017, 08:16:00 PM

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renegade74

Hello,

I've contacted a programmer who has agreed to code a game for me - which includes imported levels from an old NES title.
I've sent the .nes file.
However, they have stated to me that I need the "source code" to import the levels.
He asks, "How can I change things if I don't have code for it? It won't even let you extract graphics from that, not quality at least. To make modifications in the game there needs to be a backend for it...I get the front end game, but for modifications backend is required.

Could you help make sense of this? I also understand there may be some document(s) available here to help w/ debugging and if I send an emulator, this may solve the issue. I'm not sure if this is what they mean though.

Please understand, this is someone supposedly with knowledge of C++/ C#/ Python/ Java/ Linux/ Database/ VB/ Mobile Platforms and ECommerse plus more.

  Thanks very much!

    -Jared

NoOneee

Quote from: renegade74 on February 23, 2017, 08:16:00 PM
Please understand, this is someone supposedly with knowledge of C++/ C#/ Python/ Java/ Linux/ Database/ VB/ Mobile Platforms and ECommerse plus more.
Unfortunately many high level programmers have no idea how things work on low level (although if he know C he should at least understand how pointers work).

But yeah, the way to go would be to use a debugger to understand how the levels are done. Using a debugger you can see the disassembled NES code (which as far as I know be close to the original uncommented source code anyway because I think they were programmed in assembly) and see the graphics on VRAM. It may be worth searching here or on Google to see if someone has documented the level format.

I can't suggest a specific debugging emulator because I've never used one for NES.

renegade74

thanks a lot for the reply...so it could be debugging? someone else has told me source code is generally unavailable for NES games.

Disch

There's clearly a communication problem here.  It sounds like he has the impression that there's an existing game engine ("backend") and he's just adding to it.  You should explain that he'd be making the game in full.... and that you can only provide assets, not code.

Then ask him what format he needs the assets in.

Then figure out how to pull the levels/graphics from the game and put it in whatever format he needs.  This might require you to recreate the levels by hand.

renegade74

yeah, sounds like the last part is most crucial....btw, do you code games?  :)

Disch

Kinda sorta

I do all sorts of things.   :P

renegade74

so what assets would I be providing? just change requests...and then he has to code the levels as you stated? Do you have reverse engineering/ 6502 knowledge or able to do this in Nintendulator?

Disch

Whatever engine he's using is going to have a way to load levels.  You'll have to put this game's levels in files that match the way his engine is expecting them.  The file format depends entirely on the engine.  This is a question only he can answer.

As for "what assests would I be providing" -- that's between you and him.  If he's going to be doing all the programming, he's probably not going to want to create any of the content (or at least, that's usually my mindset).  So I'd imagine you have to provide everything in one form or another.

Quote from: renegade74 on February 23, 2017, 09:30:18 PM
Do you have reverse engineering/ 6502 knowledge or able to do this in Nintendulator?

As is indicated below my profile pic, I'm an NES junkie.  I can do just about anything with an NES.  I've fully RE'd games, deciphered compression algorithms, cracked password systems, written entirely new music engines and hacked them into existing games, and even written full emulators.

assassin

wow, this stinks of pending disaster in so many ways.

have you gotten permission to reuse the game's levels from its original publisher?

QuoteI can do just about anything with an NES.

but can you run away from an NES at 25mph and never look back?

renegade74

its a private project....not to be sold or even shared

assassin

and how is the programmer being compensated for this private project?  numerous back rubs?

renegade74

no, by a more valuable exchange...heard of bartering?

MathOnNapkins

Closed b/c this isn't really a programming question or discussion about a programming topic. If you want someone to code a remake of a game, either you (renegade74) or the person you've convinced to do work for you will have to do the reverse engineering involved. That is, unless someone else has already done the relevant research, documentation, and programming to extract the code and assets in a format that will be readily convertible into a remake.