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Author Topic: Secret of Mana, Turbo - Beta 190525  (Read 18628 times)

Queue

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Secret of Mana, Turbo - Beta 190525
« on: January 31, 2019, 06:45:12 pm »
Edit:
Public test release is available (updated as of 2019-05-25):
https://ufile.io/yzk0a2dt

Comprehensive info in this post has not yet been updated. Just getting the link available, will beef up documentation in a bit.



(not a mock-up)

Mostly complete, but have not yet decided on release format; will elaborate in a bit.

The primary gameplay change for which it's titled "Turbo" is the complete removal of the game's stamina system for attacks (and running).

Core "Turbo" Features:
- Removes stamina (attacking / running / blocking)
- Streamlines weapon charging UI
- Removes weapon charging klaxon
- Stairs don't prevent running (but still slow you)

This patch is built on top of zhaDe's New Gameplay Improvement and is currently piggy-backing on zhaDe's ZPS patch format (and patcher). It also includes any dependency patches (FuSoYa's VWF Edition, vivify93's Proper-caser, etc., the list is pretty long) within the ZPS file. Which is why this patch release is still in an indeterminate state; I'm not sure about this community's stance on permission getting for redistribution vs. simply giving proper credit. At the very least I want to hear from zhaDe because this mod relies on changing some of his work (while other dependencies are effectively as-is).



Secondary Features:
- Adds MSU-1 v2 support to ZSNES v1.51 Win (official build only).
- Adds the unused Ruby Armet to a shop.
- Restore prettier Japanese title screen image.
- Filter title screen image chunks to reduce blockiness.
- Simulate shimmering light on title screen image.
- Remove TM symbol from logos and trim legalese from end of intro text.
- Option to use the more minimal Japanese legalese.
- Preliminary FastROM enabling.
- Bug Fixes (listed below).

Changes to zhaDe's New Gameplay Improvement (V0.18):
- Organized the patch selection menu
- Glove weapon has guaranteed enemy knockdown (was Axe)
- Whip has negative knockback (pulls enemies towards you)
- Boomerang moving attack executes quicker
- Added sound to Axe thrust
- Changed sound of Sword thrust
- Added diagonal thrusts to Sword
- Hold 'A' while charging to pause charging gauge
- Block button changed to 'R' and stamina use removed
- Damage and healing numbers disappear faster (split to its own option)
- Magic Recharge times greatly reduced, but still present to prevent spamming
- Magic Recharge made configurable in the patcher (Advanced Options)
- Changing direction while running requires gradual turns (no instant 180s)
- Added sound when selecting secondary weapon
- QuickSpell primary hotkey changed to 'L'
- QuickSpell use doesn't require direction holding
- QuickSpell use finalizes on 'B' press instead of release
- Can reset QuickSpell menu with 'X'/'Y'
- Can still strafe while charging using 'L'
- MP display only shows after obtaining Undine
- Split ally and enemy AI changes into multiple options
- Split spell tweaks into multiple options

Bug Fixes:
- Fixes various whip post issues that get you stuck.
- Fixes having Spike Knuckle equipped when Mana Magic fades when originally equipped with sword 9 and being double unequipped when the spell's second half fades.
- Shifts boss rooms right to prevent invisible bosses when at the left edge of the room.
- Cleans up messy tile graphics in out-of-bounds areas (primarily helps when using [Scroll_Hack]).
- Fixes water flow direction in Temple fountains.
- Fixes for obscure permanent character loss (often related to being Frostied?).
- Prevent the ring menu from opening offscreen to avoid a hang.
- Fixes the truncated 'Weapon Skil' label on the Weapon / Magic Skill screen.
- Fixes a Mode 7 rendering issue near the world corners (especially visible near the volcano).
- Changes gogogogogogogogogogogogo... into ..... when talking to Elman before naming the girl.
- Disables the Magic Rope in the Pandora Castle Barracks (which normally gets you stuck).
- Fixes the 'sticky' trap on the right cliff outside the Wind Temple.
- Fixes a save data glitch by having the landing spot in Northwest Ice Country put you outside of Neko's clearing.

Patches currently included in the ZPS:
- New Gameplay Improvement (V0.18) by zhaDe
- VWF Edition (v1.00) by FuSoYa
- Proper-caser (v0.1a) by vivify93
- Relocalized (v1.7) by Timbo
- MSU-1 (v1.0) by DarkShock
- Item Limit Increase (v1.0.0) by Masterflow
- No HP Restored At Level Up (v1.0) by Kethinov
- Level 9 Weapons Progression Balance (v1.1) by Kethinov
- Early Luna (v1.1) by Kethinov
- Restore Unused Fanfares (v1.1) by Kethinov
- No Music (v1.0) by Kethinov
- Better Default Text Boxes (v1.0) by Kethinov
- Earlier Midge Mallet (v1.0) by Kethinov
- Later Midge Mallet (v1.0) by Kethinov
- Faster Weapon Grinding (v1.0) by Kethinov
- Faster or Slower Spell Grinding (v1.0) by Kethinov
- Neko and Watts in the Mana Fortress (v1.1) by Kethinov
- Watts in the Haunted Forest (v1.0) by Kethinov
- Gaia's Navel With the Girl Without Doubling Back (v1.0) by Kethinov
- Steal From Matango Innkeeper (v1.1) by Kethinov
- More Useful Evil Gate (v1.0) by Kethinov
- Remove Barrels on Run (v1.1) by Kethinov
- Magical Herb (v1.1) by Kethinov
- Faerie Coconut (v1.1) by Kethinov
- Faerie Coconut Replacement Graphics (v1.0) by Kethinov, ThanatosZero, and Timbo
- Scroll Hack (v1.0) by Binarynova
- VC without PCM (v1.05) by DarkAkuma
- SNESCE Mempatch (v0.0) by rhester72
- Skill Screen Spaces (v0.0) by Justin3009
- Full Percentage Damage (v0.0) by Mop
- Hittable Vampires (v0.0) by Mop
- Overcharge Fix (v0.0) by Mop
- Weapon Affinity Damage (v0.0) by Mop
- Seven Items Max (v0.0) by Mop
- Super Change Form Boss Crash Fix (v0.0) by Regrs
- Luna And Dryad Weaknesses (v0.0) by Regrs
- Functional Armor Wisdom Stat (v0.0) by Regrs
- Restore Aegagropilon Devour Attack (v0.0) by Regrs

The reason for including so many, apart from convenience, is to resolve conflicts (or in some cases, bugs) between patches. The VC and SNESCE patches are mainly available for conflict testing for Canoe support. In the case of Skill Screen Spaces, I was implementing the same but having two different patches that do the same thing floating around seemed like a bad idea (that's the case for some of the other included patches as well, or there is really only one sane way to implement something and I'm giving credit for prior art when I find it, even if my recreation was coincidence).



And now a story (that basically explains why I made "Turbo Mode"):

In the Summer of 1994 I bought Secret of Mana... then the next day I went on vacation for two weeks, leaving my Super Nintendo and expensive (SquareSoft tax, wtf) new game at home. I took the game's manual along with me and read it cover to cover a few times. Needless to say, I was excited. I finally sat down and played through it and loved it.

Then time passed.

In the late '00s I was replaying some old favorites and got to Secret of Mana and... well, hated the gameplay. Why did I need to flee and cower between sword swings? Why did less than 100% attacks do jack for damage? So in 2011 I figured I could fix things. I removed stamina usage from attacks and running and streamlined the stamina UI area. I combined it with the Hard Mode Hack by Masterflow (which itself included FuSoYa's VWF Edition), generated an IPS, and gave it to a buddy as a birthday present. I also had fun playing it.

Then time passed.

My buddy (not the same one as in 2011) got a Super Nintendo Classic Edition for Christmas (2018). He started up Secret of Mana, and within minutes his wife was asking why anyone could possibly stand playing the game with the combat as it was. After relaying this to me, I remembered my project from nearly 8 years prior and suggested I might have a solution. I had about 2 weeks before we'd have a full day we could spend modifying his SNESCE (and playing), so aside from reading up on what would be needed to properly change Secret of Mana on the SNESCE (spoiler: we added it as a separate game rather than changing what was there), I figured I'd spit-shine my hack. I came across zhaDe's New Gameplay Improvement and quickly realized it'd provide most of the spit-shine I was looking for. After dealing with a speedbump in zhaDe's patch that made Canoe overturn and sink, everything went great.

Then I decided maybe I should share this with the world at large. RHDN has given me lots of fun over the years, so I figured it'd be good to give back. But applying 8 or so IPS patches as a prerequisite, adding and removing an SMC header depending on the IPS, and getting everything correct was, uh, not a great user experience. So, I ported all the dependencies from IPS to ZPS so it could all be in one patch file, with a pleasant check-box-driven selection menu.



Here are a couple other title screen images (baseline and subtly animated). I'll figure out what else is screenshot-worthy later. Probably.




I'm still working on more vanilla game bug fixes. Weapon overcharging, item trashcan abuse, item selling abuse and charge level 5 Whip are on my radar, but I'd really appreciate posts mentioning other vanilla bugs that I might not be aware of. I don't intend to fix any sequence breaks (unless they also cause data corruption), but things that get you stuck, corrupt data, or just are sloppiness (like stray pixels in art) I'm interested in.

Queue
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 06:03:44 pm by Queue »

vivify93

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2019, 11:59:32 pm »
Hot damn, this looks like the ultimate Secret of Mana mod.  :o Great work! And you have my approval to use my mod.  :thumbsup:
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Queue

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 02:28:10 am »
I'm delighted to hear from you. Thank you so much for the encouragement and permission. =)



Me getting pretty beat up during testing:


The fight's incomplete though; currently I haven't gotten his legs turning into a drill correctly. Thankfully Hiei-'s patch has the fight functioning so it's serving as a reference to cross-check against. The ultimate result may just be to use his implementation, but even detangling that from the rest of his patch looks to be non-trivial. The upshot to zhaDe's ZPS format though, is once I have everything isolated, it'll be available information by just viewing the code specific to restoring Chainsaw Kettle Kin, rather than obscure bytes among a monolithic IPS.

The picture also serves to show off the minimalist UI. It's nothing spectacular, but gets a useless empty border out of the way. I'm open to suggestions regarding the mana display positioning.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 11:45:08 pm by Queue »

darthvaderx

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2019, 06:24:00 am »
-Better Default Text Boxes (1.0) by Kethinov is very good too.

My combo:

1-MSU-1 (v1.0) by DarkShock
2-Scroll Hack (v1.0) by Binarynova (Add Header)
3-Proper-caser (v0.1a) by vivify93 (Remove Header)
4-Variable Width Font Edition (v1.0) by FuSoYa (Add Header)
5-Drop Table Balance (v1.0) by Kethinov
6-Item Limit Increase (v1.0.0) by Masterflow (Remove Header)
7-Restore Unused Fanfares (v1.0) by Kethinov
8-Level 9 Weapons Progression Balance (v1.2) by Kethinov
9-Better Default Text Boxes (1.0) by Kethinov

I'm considering this hack as well, but only after it gets fully done.

10-Relocalized (vFinal) by Timbo
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 06:31:19 am by darthvaderx »

acediez

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2019, 07:19:00 am »
Looking forward to trying this hack! The things you describe sound like what I expected SoM to be when I first played it: a more straightforward and fast paced action RPG, more similar to Illusion of Gaia. Removing all the waiting inherit to the combat system sounds like a great idea

Timbo

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2019, 10:50:33 am »
Well this just about changes everything.

Gi Nattak

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2019, 01:35:21 pm »
This is very cool, as is the other included patches and zhaDe's mod of course, but I must ask: wouldn't this make the game that much easier, not having to take into account re-charging up the weapon for max damage each time? I never found it as a nuisance really as it made sense as a sort of ATB bar and gives the battles a bit of strategic merit - swinging weapon around over and over takes energy lol. Running taking stamina does kinda suck, but not as much as running in a straight line lol.. But yeah I find attacking without charging back up useful as well, to keep the enemy stun-locked or just if I wasn't able to charge back up fully. I guess what I'm saying is the stamina/atb charging is an essential structure to the battle system and removing it would basically render stamina useless? Does the stamina stat even dictate how fast the character recharges up to 100% anyway, I've never thought much about character stats in SoM.

I'm not too sure what these two features are also, if anyone could please enlighten me:
- Streamlines weapon charging UI
- Removes weapon charging klaxon

Timbo

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2019, 01:43:53 pm »
This is very cool, as is the other included patches and zhaDe's mod of course, but I must ask: wouldn't this make the game that much easier, not having to take into account re-charging up the weapon for max damage each time? I never found it as a nuisance really as it made sense as a sort of ATB bar and gives the battles a bit of strategic merit - swinging weapon around over and over takes energy lol. Running taking stamina does kinda suck, but not as much as running in a straight line lol.. But yeah I find attacking without charging back up useful as well, to keep the enemy stun-locked or just if I wasn't able to charge back up fully. I guess what I'm saying is the stamina/atb charging is an essential structure to the battle system and removing it would basically render stamina useless? Does the stamina stat even dictate how fast the character recharges up to 100% anyway, I've never thought much about character stats in SoM.

I'm not too sure what these two features are also, if anyone could please enlighten me:
- Streamlines weapon charging UI
- Removes weapon charging klaxon

I would like to mirror Gi Nattak's questions. I've seen the screenshots and I've got to say, I kind of miss the little weapon charging HUD. What would be neat is if the code could make it appear for player controlled characters only. Could we maybe get a video so we can see it in action?

chillyfeez

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2019, 03:14:39 pm »
I think difficulty could be fixed by increasing enemy defense, or HP, or both. On the whole it'd end up just making the game more fast-paced, which seems like a good thing to me.
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Timbo

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2019, 03:25:59 pm »
-Better Default Text Boxes (1.0) by Kethinov is very good too.

My combo:

1-MSU-1 (v1.0) by DarkShock
2-Scroll Hack (v1.0) by Binarynova (Add Header)
3-Proper-caser (v0.1a) by vivify93 (Remove Header)
4-Variable Width Font Edition (v1.0) by FuSoYa (Add Header)
5-Drop Table Balance (v1.0) by Kethinov
6-Item Limit Increase (v1.0.0) by Masterflow (Remove Header)
7-Restore Unused Fanfares (v1.0) by Kethinov
8-Level 9 Weapons Progression Balance (v1.2) by Kethinov
9-Better Default Text Boxes (1.0) by Kethinov

I'm considering this hack as well, but only after it gets fully done.

10-Relocalized (vFinal) by Timbo

Oh, this was going to be final as of last night when they approved 1.3...

I suspect the reason Queue hasn't included Relocalized in his list of hacks is because of the changes to the title crawl sequence which includes big compressed blocks of code for the palette, the script, the tiles, the background, and code for loading that background.

I was "assisting" Mziab on this very task yesterday when I decided that I would save the background and text changes for the HDemake project we're working on instead.

I can and probably will do an update that doesn't touch the intro at all in order to ensure maximum compatibility.

IcePenguin

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2019, 09:44:03 pm »
Wow, I'm super excited for this.  I could relate a lot to your story, and how your gameplay tastes changed over the years.  Hope all goes well with your project!   Also, I'm gonna show this to my friend (he isn't into modding), since SoM is one of his favorite games. 

- Stairs don't prevent running (but still slow you)

This change is the best!  I always hated going on the stairs in SoM.  :P

KingMike

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2019, 09:46:32 pm »
Don't run on stairs, you could trip and hurt yourself. :D
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Queue

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2019, 06:41:33 am »
Geez, I'm sort've overwhelmed by the positive response to this. Let's see...



Gi Nattak:
Yes, this definitely makes combat easier without additional balance tweaks; it plays much more like an old Zelda game where you can just go nuts slashing on one enemy to keep them locked down, though that won't stop other enemies from smacking you in the back. And no, I don't especially care that it makes combat easier; fundamentally, the game is already fairly easy, but it's also tedious and really cheese-able. Turbo Mode resolves the tedium, and zhaDe's spell cooldown resolves the magic cheese. Probably the most straightforward way to balance things would be to reduce all weapon attack values (rather than changing every enemy) but currently that's not in my plans. I expect once I've cross-checked everything, this would be compatible with the Hard Mode hack if you just want longer fights (back in 2011 I played the simpler version combined with Hard Mode and it was pretty good up until Pure Land).

I have no clue what the stamina stat does, or like, any stat really. I hadn't even thought about it until you asked.

Streamlines weapon charging UI = Makes most of it invisible until you actually start charging a weapon.

Removes weapon charging klaxon = Gets rid of the weird alarm sound effect that loops while charging up. There's still a mild "tick" sound for each charge level.



Timbo:
The invisible HUD is 99% just an art change, and it can be split into a toggleable option via the way zhaDe's ZPS patch format works. It would be possible to change HUD visibility based on whether a given character is player controlled, but that would surely be not insignificant work.

I'm not really set up for recording video.

I haven't included Relocalized yet primarily because it's still in progress (that was my perception anyway) and it's fairly substantial. Oh, and after looking at your thread, it seemed like some of the junk I was working on (title screen, Kettle Kin) would be stuff you'd want to use, so I was partially working on getting my stuff usable in yours instead of the other way around, but I'm not averse to the other direction or both.

For reference, FuSoYa's VWF Edition comprises over half the raw bytes of the entire ZPS file currently and is effectively just a massive blob of raw data taken straight from the IPS (and that's assuming it stays in; I haven't had a chance to start reaching out for permission for things, and this one especially concerns me), but it's almost all neatly contained in one large block; its patches to vanilla code are fairly few, just hooks to call to code residing in said large block.

Relocalized is somewhere in the same (IPS file) size range and I haven't committed to analyzing it yet.

Proper-caser seems to be just pure data so was cake to get imported and doesn't seem to conflict with anything.

The MSU-1 patch touches some important stuff (like the NMI handler). I noticed writes in bank 7F RAM where they didn't make sense while working on the title screen stuff. I tracked the writes to the MSU-1 patch, so I disassembled the entire thing to figure out why, and found 4 potential bugs that I patch on top of. It was generally using long addresses, but was using STZ and CPX while assuming a data bank of 7E which wasn't true during the title screen (at the very least). This took up a full day's SoM hacking fun time and it's not especially big.

Kethinov's stuff tends to be only a handful of bytes changed per patch so I can get it chopped up, imported and verified for compatibility in just a few minutes. I just haven't gotten to all of their stuff yet.

So please don't take Relocalized's omission as a slight, it's definitely on my radar.



IcePenguin:
I'm especially happy about the stair running: in 2011 I couldn't figure out how to change that so it was objective number one when I got back into this.

IcePenguin

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2019, 09:30:39 am »
I'm especially happy about the stair running: in 2011 I couldn't figure out how to change that so it was objective number one when I got back into this.

Truly, an excellent change!  I never imagined that someone would actually fix this, ha ha.  As I was reading your original post, I cheered when I read that part.   :laugh:

teahouser

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2019, 02:19:09 pm »
Really nice to finally seeing what SoM's title screen should have looked like from the beginning! Really excited to play this project, I'll be glad to test it on Canoe once its released.

Queue

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2019, 06:15:46 pm »
Here's an example shot of zhaDe's patcher showing the description formatting as I currently have it:


And I didn't have enough time when I last sat down to continue work on Kettle Kin, so I played with some art assets by redoing the weapon charge numeral graphics. I crammed in a full-size forward slash and 5x5 versions of the 6x6 health numerals.

I tried a couple other styles but I think this one looked nicest. If it's not clear what I'm talking about, it's the little 4/6 beside the boy's weapon charge bar. Compare with the vanilla numeral art in the Kettle Kin screenshots.

KingMike

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2019, 09:51:25 pm »
Does VWF apply to the menu screens as well?
I already thought the original translation menu font (which is the regular font displayed in high resolution) was far too small.
I think VWF in that same font would be the same as the "tiny fonts on SD" complaint people have about modern games.
"My watch says 30 chickens" Google, 2018

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2019, 01:24:00 am »
Everything here sounds near-perfect if it's half-way as good as it sounds.  Although there's one thing I've always wanted in SoM and haven't seen it in a romhack yet.  Rather than stupidly being forced to get hit by some specific attacks, being able to skillfully dodge certain attacks.  The best example I can think to use here is the mantis boss/tutorial right at the start of the game.  He attacks you with an unnamed claw attack that sends a 'sonicboom-like' projectile that is nearly-impossible to evade by skill -- it'll hit you even if the graphic comes nowhere near your character.  Since I haven't played the manual block/dodge hack yet, perhaps this problem gets addressed there to some extent.

Very much like you Queue, I got a SNES Classic for Christmas 2018 and decided to introduce this incredible game from my childhood to my wife (who also loved her SNES as a kid, but never got into RPGs like me at that time).  Overall she was really enjoying herself, until coming to this first boss and being attacked by this claw projectile multiple times.  "...what?  That's bullsh**!  Why am I still being hit by that when I obviously evaded it?"  I didn't have an answer for her, and found myself equally annoyed -- then remembered how I always found this part of SoM's combat a bit lazy.  Basic magic attacks are one thing, but it would be an massive game-improvement if many attacks like these were dodgeable.  Not sure if it's possible, but considering how ambitious this project sounds, maybe it is.

I'll gladly hold-off our playthrough until there you choose this project is ready for release -- looking forward to this immensely!


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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2019, 11:21:02 am »
Does VWF apply to the menu screens as well?
I already thought the original translation menu font (which is the regular font displayed in high resolution) was far too small.
I think VWF in that same font would be the same as the "tiny fonts on SD" complaint people have about modern games.

FuSoYa's patch, which is used here, only implements a dialogue VWF. And the font used for that is the good old Chicago, so there should be no problems with readability :)

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Re: Secret of Mana, Turbo
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2019, 04:06:50 pm »
Queue, thank you so much for streamlining the Secret of Mana patching process! That, combined with your new bug fixes and gameplay tweaks, should make for the best version of Secret of Mana to date!

Any plans to add the Earlier Midge Mallet patch to the Turbo patcher? If not, no biggie!

As an aside, part of me would also get a good chuckle out of having the "Turbo" from the Street Fighter II Turbo logo slapped onto the Secret of Mana logo. I'm sure adding that would be more trouble than it's worth, though. :P