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Author Topic: Help me understand the "hackers, you should port this to this old console " idea  (Read 1594 times)

FAST6191

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A trend I have repeatedly observed over the years is people asking for ports of an old game to a similarly old console. I don't get it. Is it really just people vastly underestimating the time investment? I am no stranger to the emulation vs hardware vs accuracy vs developer intentions debates but I can't even see something from arguments and mindsets I commonly experience in such debates*.

Like
"Can you port this old 8-16 bit era game to PC"? Probably not going to be me what does it but "Fantastic, may I one day see it on https://osgameclones.com/ "

"Can you port this old game to [device supported by vaguely modern programming setup, think https://devkitpro.org/ ]?" Again probably not me being the one doing it but assuming it is vaguely plausible then please share the news when it happens.

"Can you boost this device to work on new mapper or newer but seriously closely related device like GB to GBC? (think http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/3784/ )". My particular hacking specialities are the GBA and DS so no real options there for me to do much (nobody counts the DSi) but more power to you.

Similarly why anybody would want to juice the usually cut down versions of things we see on places like https://osgameclones.com/ (at time of writing I am seeing people put in a fair bit of work for wolfenstein 3d on the SNES) I am not entirely sure but still feel far more positive about than premise of this thread. For something like Doom 64 where it was a fairly radical departure then say no more. Also if at the time it happens to be the best or otherwise really viable choice for something (doom GBA holds little appeal but at the time you were not going to get a better handheld version, or if you were then it would have been some really obscure device) then that also plays.

At least when someone asks me to translate a 200 hour mega epic RPG you would end up with a 200 hour mega epic RPG if I did it. My porting a SNES game to the megadrive might demonstrate some artistry in coding but what does it really gain? I could maybe understand "demakes" if I leave my opinion on fan games aside (you gain essentially a new game at the end of it) but a straight "port" I don't get.

*if I squinted and bashed my head on the wall a few times then maybe I could buy "hardware, any hardware" being "more legit".

tvtoon

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Let truth be told, excessive behavior is relative, but I do agree with your considerations.

To me, it is a useless idea producing a game for MSU-1, but even so it already got to the point people backporting all that Chrono Trigger stuff just for the love of doing.

Now we get some "atari backport": get that cool NES game into ZX Spectrum or something like that. People just can't avoid their dreambox, living in the past got its limits.

Maybe another rule to warn about this kind of stuff...

SleepyFist

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If I read you right, I think I get it, I even saw somebody trying to get an SNES rpg backported to NES awhile ago :laugh:, I don't really see the point in making a stripped down version of a game when you could be doing the complete opposite, unless its a consideration of whether console B is more easily emulated than console A or something.
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Jorpho

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Is it really just people vastly underestimating the time investment?
Don't they always?
This depresses me. I feel like a goldfish right now...

NERV Agent

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I find it worthwhile and interesting if a mod of a PC game was ported over to its console counterpart. Like if an FF7 mod for the PC gets ported to the actual PlayStation version. I appreciate this as a technical feat since modding PC games is as easy as opening some files using a trainer program, etc., or if its not that simple then using a common programming language that they teach in school. With the console, its much more difficult since they use unconventional or even proprietary formats, and if the hack is complex enough it would require learning ASM and going through an obscene amount of code with a tracer and debugger. Also, fuck data compression, I fucking hate it (I'm looking at you again FF7).

That, and to me it just seems more "authentic" to be playing a mod on the actual console version rather than the PC port. But that's just my subjective personal preference regarding this.

But I also agree with the notion that endeavors which are pretty much "port this game to this older console" can be a waste of time and effort.

Like this one time I was at this other ROM hacking website, and there was this guy who was obsessed with recreating New Super Mario Bros. on the NES. He was stubborn in his thinking and wanted to use the original SMB1 engine. Others would explain to him that this would be extremely difficult, or just downright impossible, and that he should just use the SMB3 engine instead.

But the guy just wouldn't listen and even demanded that someone do an ASM hack of the SMB1 engine to do the things he wanted.

But srly, if the guy wants to play New Super Mario Bros. that badly, then maybe he should just PLAY New Super Mario Bros.
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FAST6191

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I am happy enough to see fixes and obvious tweaks propagated every which way to all versions.
I know some sort of prefer the originals (if we are speaking about Final Fantasy then using the GBA versions as your jumping off point may raise a few eyebrows, though probably not as many as the PS1 versions).
Full bore mods (not necessarily to the point of total conversion but similar parties) can seem like a bit of a wasted effort if on the PC first of all, and the PC version is one that is or can be made worth playing, but if it floats your boat then yeah.

"or if its not that simple then using a common programming language that they teach in school"
Sure there are some games that use an interpreted language, or something as easy to decompile as .net, but most PC games will still see the people mired in assembly if they step outside what the developer mod tools provide. As most dev tools tend to provide a means to create more content within a game framework rather than properly switching it all up then there are plenty that still go for the mired in ASM stuff. Granted many of the tools available to those doing stuff on the PC are so much nicer than almost anything we have in console ROM hacking, and that is ignoring the wonder that is IDA.

As for compression then is it not so bad once you get used to it. Just another step I would probably rate as akin to a header format having more information than just names and locations.

Chronosplit

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There is some use to backporting when it comes to hacking in general.  And by that I mean when the older title is somewhat easier to hack due to things like tool availability or personal knowledge of the platform.  Take for example Pokemon, where new game mechanics being backported means they are usable in games which have disassemblies (Crystal for example).  Here they potentially have way more usage in whole new projects.

Bregalad

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There's absolutely no point in doing it, let alone in asking somebody to do it. The only real reason is if you're trying to prove something technically hard is acheivable.

For example, porting Star Fox to the Mega Drive, or using advanced tricks on the NES to simulate the 2 backgrounds of a SNES game is interesting. This says "see, by using the hardware wisely this old console can still do that !". However a tech demo is enough to do this, there's no need to port the full game.

Your time is much better spent on translations as you said yourself, at least you get new hours of gaming ahead.

J^P

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SML2DX is more than just "port of gb game to gbc", it adds color(the original is in black&white), new playable character, and gets rid of slowdown, so its major improvement over the original, I dont see the problem.

Chronosplit

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SML2DX is more than just "port of gb game to gbc", it adds color(the original is in black&white), new playable character, and gets rid of slowdown, so its major improvement over the original, I dont see the problem.
I don't really think SML2DX is the target; that's more like an upgrade to a newer console model, if you look at the GBC's ability to get the slowdown in check.

KingMike

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Though I'm sure it's still quite a bit of work to pull off, I wouldn't count GB to GBC as a separate console. Not sure how similar GBA to DS or DS to 3DS are but I would guess those are more significantly different?
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