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Author Topic: SMT IV Rom Hack  (Read 1222 times)

RickyTheRocket

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SMT IV Rom Hack
« on: October 08, 2018, 03:11:41 pm »
Greetings and salutations!

I recently decided that for my first foray into the ROM hacking world that I'd like to make a first person camera hack for Shin Megami Tensei IV on the 3ds.

However, before I get started, I was hoping that I might be able to find a mentor of sorts who would be willing to set me off in the right direction:

I'm really trying to get a sense in advance about the scope of the project, what's required of me and to figure out if this would be outside of the realm of my capabilities.

Would a hex editor suffice or would I need something more in depth? Would I have to do any programming or would I pretty much just have to change the values on an X,Y,Z axis? How much time should I prepared to invest in this project?

I've tried searching camera ROM hacks and the only things that I've been able to find were some articles saying that someone made a first person hack for Mario 64. If anyone would be willing to advise me on my specific project, I would be beyond grateful. Thanks for your time! :)

Isao Kronos

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2018, 11:18:18 pm »

RickyTheRocket

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2018, 01:14:28 am »
Out of my depth in what sense? Is it going to require scripting beyond changing the values for camera location? Would it require an extension?

Also, if there were a problem with my topic, I'd think that it wouldn't have been approved, correct?

Jorpho

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2018, 10:32:55 am »
Is it going to require scripting beyond changing the values for camera location?
Even if that's all it takes, you'd have to find the values for the camera location first, and all the ways that the game's code tries to change those values while the game is running.  This task is far from trivial.

You might have better luck writing an NTR cheat plugin that changes the values while the game is running, rather than altering the ROM directly, but I know very little about such things except that they exist.
This depresses me. I feel like a goldfish right now...

RickyTheRocket

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2018, 12:55:11 pm »
@Jorpho That's the thing. I know that there are certain scripted events where the camera gets locked into place, such as when interacting with certain things and certain transitions.

The main thing that has me thinking this might not be terribly overwhelming, however, is the fact that most conversations, all battles and even a lot of cutscenes are actually in 2d and from an already first person perspective. Also, the world map itself is zoomed out and just uses an icon to represent the character so, in a sense, two thirds of the game are already "done". And that would only really leave me with the field exploration. And as far as that goes, there's really nothing really "cinematic" that happens with the camera outside of a couple of interactions.

I'm really not trying to underestimate the amount of work that's required, in fact, I'm banking on it being much more complicated than I think it'll be now. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to go about it.

For instance, would this be too complicated for hex editing? Am I most likely going to have to actually mess with the game's code to do this?

Essentially what I'm looking for is a yes or no answer like "yes, you can do this with a hex editor" or "no, You're going to have to change the game's code".
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 07:20:39 pm by RickyTheRocket »

Jorpho

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2018, 10:36:27 am »
Your question makes no sense.  The game's code is a compiled binary and a hex editor is the only feasible way to examine it.  Data dealing with camera positions is also probably stored in a custom binary format that you will have to manually reverse-engineer using a hex editor.

Exactly what were you expecting..?  I suppose it's possible the game uses human-readable XML scripts or something, but that's pretty unlikely.
This depresses me. I feel like a goldfish right now...

RickyTheRocket

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2018, 12:51:53 pm »
Your question makes no sense.  The game's code is a compiled binary and a hex editor is the only feasible way to examine it.  Data dealing with camera positions is also probably stored in a custom binary format that you will have to manually reverse-engineer using a hex editor.

Exactly what were you expecting..?  I suppose it's possible the game uses human-readable XML scripts or something, but that's pretty unlikely.

Alright, maybe I'm under a mistaken impression here:

I was under the impression that hex editing entailed changing values and that assembly hacking entailed having to actually write code.

And I was wondering whether I'd have to write the code itself.

I apologize for any confusion, I'm just getting started here so I'm not 100% with all of the terminology and it's also practically a certainty that I'm also mistaken on some things as well. That's why I'm asking questions now. Also, I really appreciate you taking the time out to talk to me.

Would I be correct in assuming that I'll have to find a program that'll let me debug the game so that I'll be able to see what's going on and using a hex editor to change it from there?
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 01:17:37 pm by RickyTheRocket »

Jorpho

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2018, 09:03:01 pm »
I was under the impression that hex editing entailed changing values and that assembly hacking entailed having to actually write code.

And I was wondering whether I'd have to write the code itself.
In the end, assembly code is just hexidecimal reformatted to look a little more readable.  And in the end, if you have to write new assembly code, you'll still have to find some way to edit the existing code so that the program will know to use your new assembly code.

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Would I be correct in assuming that I'll have to find a program that'll let me debug the game so that I'll be able to see what's going on and using a hex editor to change it from there?
Yes, you'll need some way to debug the game.  But this might be easier than it sounds.  This is why I was referring to NTR cheat plugins.

See, way back in the days of 16-bit consoles, it was often easy to use a device like an Action Replay to, for instance, let you have unlimited lives in a game.  If you started with 5 lives, then you could start the game, and search the console's RAM for every instance of the value "5".  Then you could lose a life, and look at which of those instances changed to "4". And so on, and eventually you'd find the spot in the console's RAM where the current number of lives is stored, and then you could use the Action Replay to keep that value set at 5 at all times, and presto – unlimited lives.

Notice that I'm saying "RAM".  In a case like this, the console loads the value of 5 from somewhere in the game's ROM when the game starts up, but we don't have to know anything about how it does that, or how the game's program decides to reduce your number of lives, or anything else like that.

So, I'm guessing you can use an NTR cheat plugin on a 3DS in a similar way to find the coordinates of the camera, and then manipulate those coordinates as you see fit – without having to make any changes to the ROM or extensively analyze the game's code.  Lots of people seem to be writing NTR cheat plugins these days, which would seem to indicate that it's not especially difficult.  That said, I've never done anything with NTR cheat plugins myself.
This depresses me. I feel like a goldfish right now...

RickyTheRocket

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2018, 02:47:03 am »
I'll definitely look into the NTR plugins. It seems like 3ds rom hacking is still pretty much in its nascent form in a lot of aspects, especially in regards to cam hacks.

One of the other ideas that I had was seeing if I could just remove the character model since the game has an over the shoulder perspective as well. Do you think that'd cause any major issues?

The game looks great with the 3d setting turned on, it's just a but distracting with the character popping out and makes it hard to focus.

I really do appreciate you taking the time to help me out! 

Jorpho

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2018, 10:04:48 am »
It seems like 3ds rom hacking is still pretty much in its nascent form in a lot of aspects, especially in regards to cam hacks.
I know there's one video of someone messing with the camera in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but I haven't a clue how it is done.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjtfQoyrRRs

Quote
One of the other ideas that I had was seeing if I could just remove the character model since the game has an over the shoulder perspective as well. Do you think that'd cause any major issues?
That would probably depend on the specific means used to remove the character model.
This depresses me. I feel like a goldfish right now...

RickyTheRocket

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2018, 05:16:55 pm »
I know there's one video of someone messing with the camera in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but I haven't a clue how it is done.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjtfQoyrRRs
That would probably depend on the specific means used to remove the character model.


I saw that video and there was also one for one of the Pokemon mystery dungeon games, but absolutely nothing on how it was done.

I really wish that I had a way to get a hold of the person that did a first person mod for Super Mario 64, they'd probably at least have an idea of what to do. I might try to get ahold of the person that made those hacks as well though too. 

And for getting rid of the character model it all depends on what I'd actually be able to do. My first thought was to just edit one of the models to just be blank. I saw a video where someone made a camera hack for Saint's Row the third that was in first person and it looked like they just deleted the head and part of the torso and moved the camera to where the head was.

But that brings about 2 concerns:

1.) If I just colored over the model to make it appear "invisible" I'm pretty sure that the 3d effect would still make it pop out, so I'd probably have to find a way to put in a blank model, which leads me to the next issue.

2.) It doesn't really seem like 3ds hacking is to the point where you edit and replace models with relative ease yet. And if that's the case wouldn't it make more sense just to try and change the camera since I'd have to do all of the work anyway?

Jorpho

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2018, 09:28:51 pm »
But that brings about 2 concerns:

1.) If I just colored over the model to make it appear "invisible" I'm pretty sure that the 3d effect would still make it pop out, so I'd probably have to find a way to put in a blank model, which leads me to the next issue.

2.) It doesn't really seem like 3ds hacking is to the point where you edit and replace models with relative ease yet. And if that's the case wouldn't it make more sense just to try and change the camera since I'd have to do all of the work anyway?
As you say, this is all sufficiently new that you are unlikely to find good answers here.
This depresses me. I feel like a goldfish right now...

Hemlock

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2018, 10:31:06 pm »
Son, GBAtemp.net is over there. They might have answers to your questions. ;)

RickyTheRocket

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Re: SMT IV Rom Hack
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2018, 08:18:37 pm »
Son, GBAtemp.net is over there. They might have answers to your questions. ;)

Believe it or not, I literally copied and pasted the exact same OP that I have here and I haven't had a single response lol.