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Author Topic: Hacker's Block  (Read 1369 times)

linkncb16

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Hacker's Block
« on: April 07, 2017, 09:54:04 pm »
1. the condition of being unable to think of what to hack or how to proceed with hacking.
2. my equivalent of an existential crisis

Seriously I don't know if it's just me, but I keep having this issue. I will work tirelessly night and day on a project for a while and then suddenly lose all motivation. It's not that I don't have the intention of returning to the project to finish it, but I feel like I need a break for a bit. Sometimes thoughts of doubt enter my mind as I wonder if anyone will truly enjoy my hack or if I'm just wasting my time. After all, there are people that know a lot more than me when it comes to creating extensive hacks and they could produce much better content I feel like. I hate that I think this way because I genuinely love what I do as well as this community in general. ROM hacking is my #1 hobby and I wish so much I could put all my energy and effort in it 24/7 (well, I already do for the most part...)

Anyway, does anyone else ever feel this way? If so, how do you cope with the discouraging thoughts and lack of motivation?
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FAST6191

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Re: Hacker's Block
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2017, 05:19:29 am »
You hack for other people? Strange way to set about it. I can sort of see it for translation hacking of story based games where if you spend dozens of hours staring at the script, and choices, you probably know the game and it has no mysteries to reveal but for improvement and alteration hacking then not so much.

Motivation to finish a hack? I learned long ago I cared more about figuring out how things work, and how I might implement the changes. I can usually manage that, and if I fail to figure out how something works it tends to only motivate me more.

"the condition of being unable to think of what to hack"
If in doubt then act randomly, you might even find something interesting in the code that the game might otherwise not speak to.


MagusLOGS

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Re: Hacker's Block
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2017, 06:36:53 am »
I think it was something to do with the lack of feedback for projects especially for newcomers and people who have the passion but not the knowledge yet. We should encourage these people because passion is what keeps a person motivated to continue their work and there is always room for improvement or to learn something new. Constructive criticism in form of feedback, reviews helps a lot.

If you are working on a project you dislike then there is in my opinion no reason continue working on it, keep the ideas and put it into a new project because nobody enjoys Shovelware. If you enjoy your own project then there is a high chance that other people may enjoy it as well.

Never forget that Rom Hacking is timeless and will never go away, look how popular the Emulators like RetroArch for Android and other devices are or how many people are building their own Emulator Machine with Raspberry Pis. A lot of people still play and love Retro Games and Rom Hacking makes this hobby more enjoyable than it already is.

linkncb16

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Re: Hacker's Block
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2017, 07:00:02 am »
I think it was something to do with the lack of feedback for projects especially for newcomers and people who have the passion but not the knowledge yet. We should encourage these people because passion is what keeps a person motivated to continue their work and there is always room for improvement or to learn something new. Constructive criticism in form of feedback, reviews helps a lot.
^Yes
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Jigglysaint

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Re: Hacker's Block
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2017, 02:44:48 pm »
Technically speaking, I've got 2 projects, though my desire to hack seems to come and go.  Aside from the problem that arises from being forced to use DOS editors because of a lack of utilities, I also run into the problem of not feeling inspired.  Oddly enough, coding in new things isn't too hard(though my coding skills are limited), but level design gets me.

Currently i have a Goonies 2 hack that has plans to add some end game content involving a certain mascot that you will need to punch over and over again, and also a Zelda 2 hack that does away with exp and towns and makes everything acquired via pickups, including all exp levels, spells, techs, and possibly even boss keys.  The problem with those 2 games is that there hasn't been any decent editors released since the late 90's.  Goonies 2 is manageable, but Zelda 2 is impossible unless somebody codes a level editor that works properly in windows 10.

The other thing that tends to demotivate me is that my previous releases, mainly Pimp Your Ride, and Nightmare's Illusion were pretty crappy all things considered.  I mean the new abilities in PYR were cool, but when it came down to redesigning the levels, I just kind of lost steam and released it as a hack with 2 complete levels, and enough changes to incorporate the new ASM abilities.  I didn't even check for bugs with NMI.  For somebody who has been in the rom hacking community for many years, I have very few things to my name, and even stuff like Gameboy Zelda hacking, in which I pioneered, others have come and totally eclipsed me in every way.  Not to mention other games I found data on but never got around to sharing.  The stuff I'm into just never seems to be what most people are looking for.  That can easily demotivate a person from keeping a project going.

linkncb16

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Re: Hacker's Block
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2017, 02:56:10 pm »
Wait, you're that Jigglysaint? :o I'm a part of the Oracles hacking Discord and I've heard many great things about you!
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itemdrop

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Re: Hacker's Block
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2017, 11:49:10 am »
being forced to use DOS editors because of a lack of utilities

Currently i have a Goonies 2 hack that has plans to add some end game content involving a certain mascot that you will need to punch over and over again, and also a Zelda 2 hack that does away with exp and towns and makes everything acquired via pickups, including all exp levels, spells, techs, and possibly even boss keys. 

The stuff I'm into just never seems to be what most people are looking for.  That can easily demotivate a person from keeping a project going.

While im happy that Dwedit DOS utility exists big time I can attest it was really slow and tedious to work and not fully featured. hopefully more advance editors will come out for Zelda 2 soon. I for one want to see your zelda 2 hack and i think a lot more people then you realize do too.

Jigglysaint

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Re: Hacker's Block
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2017, 12:49:48 pm »
While im happy that Dwedit DOS utility exists big time I can attest it was really slow and tedious to work and not fully featured. hopefully more advance editors will come out for Zelda 2 soon. I for one want to see your zelda 2 hack and i think a lot more people then you realize do too.

Maybe I should consider releasing a patch that adds in all the extra items, but not with any level design changes.  I should also get back to work on it too.

itemdrop

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Re: Hacker's Block
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2017, 08:54:24 pm »
When I started my Zelda 2 project I thought this is going to take a year max maybe less. keep it simple very simple I have no knowledge of hacking at all. I was so far off. Its probably been 12-15 months and ive gotten west Hyrule map done, DM map done, Death mountain all new rooms done and Palace 1 Done(currently redoing palace 1). Very little new sprite work has been done maybe 15% new sprites. So it's super time consuming especially when you come up with new ideas and rechange things. I've done Death Mountain 4 times over. because making hacks is a passion project for us it can sometimes take a back seat to many other things and it hard to get back into it or stay on top of it. So what I've tried to do is spend at least a few minutes on it every day. even if its just trying to think of a good idea that I might be able to implement or work on a new brick tile etc. Sometimes I find myself working on my hack for another 1 hour or 2 hours just from doing that few minutes a day.


rainponcho

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Re: Hacker's Block
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2017, 03:25:54 pm »
Quote
Anyway, does anyone else ever feel this way? If so, how do you cope with the discouraging thoughts and lack of motivation?

A lot. Oh yes, can it sink you down.

I make hacks, cheats just for me. Myself. Usually I'm okay because no one will be around to comment. Or nag. Nor give me longer short-term regret. I like what comes out. Simple. Less to feel bad about. Makes me happy = I'm okay not sharing it.

It's when I *think* about sharing something the problems start. It's not perfect. There's this Gradius nes hack that adds -all- this?... and what about that 2P Bomberman nes hack? They're both honestly impressive in their own way and the reviews say so too. What about Rogue Dawn? Argh - it's so good overall. People can expect only high quality "game art" these days, from any hack.

Mr. Richard may like the cleanups I helped him with on Wizardry Empires GBC. But I know there's person k who thinks it can be better. I personally think it can be better here, there. It took me a long time to get that far for something minor, but it's the quality of a 5-px "." vs something well-written, thoroughly re-arranged and carefully designed like TransCorp's Glory of Heracles IV (2 hrs in so far but stopped). That's a project that defines "hard at work".

Down the rabbit hole you go! The deeper you dig, the more impossible to get out!

So I'm thinking.. why not help others with their projects? If they knew what to do, they would've done it. Some asm work here, bite-sized contributions there. They appreciate it a lot more than I would (and honestly, most people I help out do since they get past a major roadblock). Sometimes much smarter people than me (being 2.0/5 skill) also help out and fill in the potholes I left around, which works out better for everyone. Until I realize maybe I shouldn't have gotten involved, because the other hacker did (or would have done) a much cleaner, better job (if I wasn't around)?

That gives me some enjoyment in the end though. For something I like (the vifiy93 Lufia projects), great! Clean and easy-ish job. Lower stress. For Artemis Lufia II bugfixes, wow - did not that expect that much. Because it took a decent amount of time and effort, less enjoyment. Worth it enough in the end.

And then I try going back to Wizardry Gaiden cleanups. Maybe it's because I'm lower interested in the series as a whole. Feels more of a grind, knowing -what- I need to do, given past experience. Even though it is less than the Empires hell. Have to push myself harder but that hits its limits, even knowing Mr. Richard will be more satisfied - he genuinely appreciates any improvements. Progress is slow, despite the work being easier.

Ended up doing some more minor side-work again for other unnamed members with their translations (some semi-big, many small). Funny enough, I enjoyed those small work more than the Wizardry hacking so far. Maybe because I don't need to care how it turns out, small asm hurdles overcome. Progress!

So for me, it depends on how much I'm --*personally*-- interested in the material. Or nature of the hack, even if boring and non-challenging.

The Rush 'n Attack joypad jump hack I had pleasure figuring out. Added in the features I wanted and how I wanted it. And the game is better for _me_ to play over the original nes controls. Until I started worrying about releasing it publically, to avoid someone else having the same hassles I went through. How others would play it - Alternate buttons? Use a custom menu? Does it suck? Missing feature? Improvements? Is there a better way to do it? Waste of time? What about the difficulty? What about porting some of the FDS stuff? Or fixing that tcrf glitch? That took the enjoyment right out. Not having a review yet actually makes me feel better, not being concerned about possibly maintaining it.

So there's my rhdn experience. Worrying about my Mega Man hack on the side. :)