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Author Topic: MOTHER / EarthBound Addendums (Vanilla Sprites, Stats, etc)  (Read 3988 times)

redmagejoe

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MOTHER / EarthBound Addendums (Vanilla Sprites, Stats, etc)
« on: February 16, 2019, 02:36:19 pm »
MOTHER - Vanilla Sprites: http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/4377/
MOTHER - Re-Faithful: http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/4414/

Quote
Hey everyone.

I was looking around at improvement hacks that more or less turn old NES and SNES games into "definitive versions" of the classic experience without outright remakes or drastic overhauls (like mechanics and whatnot), and I came across this wonderful MOTHER hack.

https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/2211/

Unfortunately, I tend to agree with the one review that pines for the classic overworld sprites for characters, the Peanuts-style sprites for Ninten and company, as well as NPCs. Does anyone know of a project, in-progress or finished, that simply patches the unmodified character sprites? I'd like to use this wonderful Anniversary patch, while still using the old sprites. Sadly, I couldn't seem to navigate sprites through BBHack and I'm kind of a novice modder.

Thanks in advance.

February 18, 2019, 03:51:22 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
I've looked around for a while and haven't found anything, and I'm guessing by the lack of replies that something like I've described doesn't exist. :-\

In that case, does anyone know of any resources that would allow a novice such as myself to:
  • Navigate the ROM for all instances of the overworld sprites
  • Copy/extract the necessary data
  • Put that data into an IPS file
Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 10:37:05 am by redmagejoe »

Cyneprepou4uk

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2019, 07:28:30 am »
Hi Joe

I know nothing about this game or its hack. However you can try something common. Load this hack and original rom into YY-CHR program, you will be able to see all game tiles. Also open hack in FCEUX emulator, use PPU Viewer and Code/Data Logger to locate tiles which are currently used for sprites on the screen. Find those in YY-CHR and replace with original tiles.

Use Lunar IPS to create a patch.

P.S.: what the hell is BBHack?
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Jorpho

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2019, 01:40:11 pm »
P.S.: what the hell is BBHack?

Earthbound and Earthbound Zero have quite a few game-specific utilities at this point.
https://www.romhacking.net/utilities/1162/
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Cyneprepou4uk

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2019, 04:39:06 pm »
Earthbound and Earthbound Zero have quite a few game-specific utilities at this point.
https://www.romhacking.net/utilities/1162/

I see, thanks
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redmagejoe

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2019, 11:28:28 am »
So I'm in the process of doing exactly as you'd described (thanks for the advice!), and I'm still feeling out how to actually operate the GUI, but I've found the locations of character sprites in both ROMs. Already knowing how Lunar IPS makes patches though (comparing two files and patching the differences), how would I achieve a sprites-only patch? I mean, I can make the patch myself and have a Mother 25th Faithful Edition + Vanilla Sprites, but what if I wanted to provide other users in this community with a vanilla-sprite patch? Is that feasible? Would it be a faux pas to offer/upload a fork of Mother 25th Faithful Edition with the vanilla character sprites?

EDIT: Nevermind, I'm an idiot. All I have to do is modify my Faithful hack with vanilla sprites, and then compare THAT to the Faithful hack and it should just spit out a patch with only the sprites changed.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 12:03:29 pm by redmagejoe »

werewolfslayr925

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2019, 12:00:33 pm »
So I'm in the process of doing exactly as you'd described (thanks for the advice!), and I'm still feeling out how to actually operate the GUI, but I've found the locations of character sprites in both ROMs. Already knowing how Lunar IPS makes patches though (comparing two files and patching the differences), how would I achieve a sprites-only patch? I mean, I can make the patch myself and have a Mother 25th Faithful Edition + Vanilla Sprites, but what if I wanted to provide other users in this community with a vanilla-sprite patch? Is that feasible? Would it be a faux pas to offer/upload a fork of Mother 25th Faithful Edition with the vanilla character sprites?

Thanks in advance.

Amateur though I am as well, this I can help with! I actually wanted the same thing but was too lazy to follow through with it. The Faithful Edition's sprites are too blobby.

Once you've edited the sprites in YY-CHR, save the ROM, preferably under a different name. Lunar IPS has a "Create Patch" function. Iirc, you select the "original unmodified ROM" (in this case, that'll be the Mother 25th Faithful Edition), then select the modified ROM (your graphically superior version), then it'll ask for the name of the output file (i.e. the final patch product), which you can save in your favorite folder. Very easy.

If you have any more questions or have any problems feel free to let me know. Also, I'm quite interested in the patch in question, so I can't wait for the final product  :thumbsup:
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redmagejoe

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2019, 12:07:24 pm »
Alright! I've got a working patch! It only modifies on-world character sprites (and since there's a few repeats at different points in memory, I'm guessing that there's a "cast" of sprites in the credits or something), and leaves alone any of the polished non-character sprites that I found in the same regions in memory. So updated signs, objects, etc are still touched up, and the blocky characters have been reverted to their silly Peanuts-esque appearance. Should I upload the vanilla sprites patch to this site? That way it could be used on top of 25th Faithful, 25th Anniversary, or any other patches that include character sprite modifications.

EDIT: Fully tested this on top of Anniversary, Faithful, and even an unmodified ROM. Since it only changes graphics and no data, you can layer this hack on top of any other hack ad infinitum with no crashes whatsoever. I'm quite happy with this, and even though it only took a very minor amount of copy-pasting work, I'd still like to release this for those people interested in it. Thanks again to Cyneprepou4uk for the pointers, and werewolfslayr925 for the interest.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 02:32:45 pm by redmagejoe »

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2019, 02:41:59 pm »
Glad I could help :)
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redmagejoe

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2019, 03:29:22 pm »
The new hack is available here!

http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/4377/

I also discovered that the Anniversary/Faithful patch causes level-up text to auto-scroll, which is upsetting given that it makes min-maxing, RNG manipulation, and save-scumming difficult. I don't have nearly the know-how to revert the level-up text to its default behavior of demanding button input to proceed. Suffice it to say, I'm pretty disappointed by Dragon's decision to change that.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 02:42:35 am by redmagejoe »

Rodimus Primal

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2019, 03:10:45 pm »
The new hack is available here!

http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/4377/

I also discovered that the Anniversary/Faithful patch causes level-up text to auto-scroll, which is upsetting given that it makes min-maxing, RNG manipulation, and save-scumming difficult. I don't have nearly the know-how to revert the level-up text to its default behavior of demanding button input to proceed. Suffice it to say, I'm pretty disappointed by Dragon's decision to change that.

Cool. I always like the ability to have options. I'll have to try this out on my Title Screen patch for Earthbound Beginnings.

redmagejoe

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2019, 05:31:29 pm »
I wish I had the know-how to revert the level-up auto-scrolling back to the vanilla version. The text change is fine, but the ideal setup would be:
  • Await player input after "YOU WON!", or auto-scroll to "X has leveled up!" then await player input
  • Scroll through first 5 stat growths, await player input before HP/PP
  • Scroll to HP, await player input before PP
  • Scroll to PP, after this it doesn't matter
The default behavior, of course, is to await player input after every single stat level up. Not ideal, but at the very least reverting to that behavior would not impede min-maxing. I'm sure the intent behind the change was convenience, but sadly Dragon likely didn't take into account the exploitability of the old behavior.

February 27, 2019, 04:59:37 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
I am also now noticing that the starting HP/PP of Ninten is 28/6 in the hack as oppossed to 30/8, which brings into question what else was changed under the hood. I really hope that he didn't change the stat growth, which is well documented here, as any changes would render that analysis irrelevant. I wish Dragon was here to give input on this. :-\
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 06:43:34 pm by redmagejoe »

DragonDePlatino

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2019, 07:48:35 pm »
Hi! Glad to see you have some interest in building upon MOTHER 25th Anniversary Edition. If you'd like to see a comprehensive list of all the changes that were made, you can compare the hex of "Earth Bound (USA) (Proto)" and my hack. In a program like Tiny Hexer, you would open both .NES files and go to Window -> Tile vertically. Then you go to Tools -> Compare and it will highlight all of the changes in green. To see what these locations mean, you can check the ROM map here.

One thing to note is that Tiny Hexer won't translate characters by default, so when you look through the script it will just be garbage data. To translate characters, you need to load up a .tbl file into the program so it knows which hex values correspond with which ASCII characters. You can get a translation table by going to Options -> Plugin Settings -> Custom character translation table... and clicking the save icon. Edit that table file in the editor of your choice and then load it back into Tiny Hexer.

Unfortunately, I no longer have a lot of the project files I used while developing MOTHER: 25th Anniversary Edition which includes my .tbl file. You should be able to make a new one by looking up the values on this page and entering them into the table file. The table file asks you to translate hex bytes to ASCII bytes, which you can find a list of here. It might take a bit to enter in all of it so if I were you I'd just do the alphanumeric characters.

It's important that you are able to edit text inside your hex editor because that's how you'll change things like the level-up auto scrolling. If I recall correctly, the game has special control codes that change how text scrolls, waits for player input or adds in line breaks. I think these were 0x00 for END, 0x01 for NEWLINE, 0x02 for CLEARLINE and 0x03 for NEXTLINE. To change the level-up text I think you need to go to offset 0x00C10 (Battle window text) and edit the corresponding line. Be careful and make sure that your new string doesn't go past any 0x00 characters and start overwriting the next string in the table. It will create lots of nasty bugs where text overflows from the window or other strings are affected.

For things like initial character stats and stat growth, I think these are found at offset 0x31E50 (Initial character data). If you want the original stats you can just copy and paste that entire portion of the ROM from "Earth Bound (USA) (Proto)".

If you have any other questions then feel free to ask. I don't check these forums too often but I've enabled instant email notifications so hopefully I'll get notified of replies here.

redmagejoe

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Zero/Proto Vanilla Character Sprites
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2019, 08:05:59 pm »
Hi! Glad to see you have some interest in building upon MOTHER 25th Anniversary Edition. If you'd like to see a comprehensive list of all the changes that were made, you can compare the hex of "Earth Bound (USA) (Proto)" and my hack. In a program like Tiny Hexer, you would open both .NES files and go to Window -> Tile vertically. Then you go to Tools -> Compare and it will highlight all of the changes in green. To see what these locations mean, you can check the ROM map here.

One thing to note is that Tiny Hexer won't translate characters by default, so when you look through the script it will just be garbage data. To translate characters, you need to load up a .tbl file into the program so it knows which hex values correspond with which ASCII characters. You can get a translation table by going to Options -> Plugin Settings -> Custom character translation table... and clicking the save icon. Edit that table file in the editor of your choice and then load it back into Tiny Hexer.

Unfortunately, I no longer have a lot of the project files I used while developing MOTHER: 25th Anniversary Edition which includes my .tbl file. You should be able to make a new one by looking up the values on this page and entering them into the table file. The table file asks you to translate hex bytes to ASCII bytes, which you can find a list of here. It might take a bit to enter in all of it so if I were you I'd just do the alphanumeric characters.

It's important that you are able to edit text inside your hex editor because that's how you'll change things like the level-up auto scrolling. If I recall correctly, the game has special control codes that change how text scrolls, waits for player input or adds in line breaks. I think these were 0x00 for END, 0x01 for NEWLINE, 0x02 for CLEARLINE and 0x03 for NEXTLINE. To change the level-up text I think you need to go to offset 0x00C10 (Battle window text) and edit the corresponding line. Be careful and make sure that your new string doesn't go past any 0x00 characters and start overwriting the next string in the table. It will create lots of nasty bugs where text overflows from the window or other strings are affected.

For things like initial character stats and stat growth, I think these are found at offset 0x31E50 (Initial character data). If you want the original stats you can just copy and paste that entire portion of the ROM from "Earth Bound (USA) (Proto)".

If you have any other questions then feel free to ask. I don't check these forums too often but I've enabled instant email notifications so hopefully I'll get notified of replies here.

Whoa, ask and ye shall receive it seems! Thanks the for reply, Dragon! Really blown away by the hack and would definitely like to build on it, or at the very least make addendum. That's a lot of helpful information, and I'll see if I can put my nose to the grindstone and find where those pieces of data are. You don't happen to recall if you changed any stat growth values or formulas, I'm guessing. I'll see what I can do though! Definitely reinvigorated by your presence!

So I pulled the table file, which just gives exact conversions (0x00=0x00), and if I'm understanding correctly, I'm using that EarthBound Zero TBL link and manually entering in those characters in the table file? (for instance, 0xA0= , and 0xB0=A) Sorry if this seems newbish. I actually do have a programming background, but I've never actually worked on Assembly or anything so low level. I'm actually pretty excited for the opportunity.

February 27, 2019, 10:31:23 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Still trying to figure out the table building. So I found the aforementioned character initial stat tables, and I can see where liberties were taken with character's starting levels and stats (as the mod mentioned party members were met at higher levels). For the sake of a min-maxer's/difficulty purist's standpoint, I have reverted everyone to their level 1 and level 1 stats (not sure why Ninten got a -2 HP and PP nerf), and may make a patch once I can figure out the auto-scrolling text. It also seems like stat growth was modified, and while I'm all for the re-balance/convenience patch, I admit that I'm conflicted about changing internal mechanics like stat growth when there's a plethora of documentation/analysis on the internet compiled over the years. That material becomes irrelevant for min-maxers when changes like these are made.

I will probably revert that as well for the yet-to-be-named patch. I'm assuming the rebalance was made for more casual players to get into, and in the end it probably makes the distinction between bad roll characters and perfect roll characters less significant. I'm curious if anyone else is interested in the vanilla "hardcore" stat mode enough for me to make a patch like this. I would most likely leave the random encounter rate adjustment Dragon applied alone, assuming that it just makes the game less tedious and not significantly harder to grind in.

I have concerns about tampering with anything that I don't understand yet, especially without having translated the script, but I can clearly see that (I'm pretty sure) Ninten's stat growth constant values start at 0x1DD00B. I don't know who this mystery character is before him, though, that had values changed from 4 to 0. I also don't understand the values at 00 and 08 offsets. I've plugged them into hex-to-dec calculator but the values still mean nothing to me without context. For the time being, I'd rather not touch the constants until I know if I'm going to break something else.



Resources used for Base Stats and Stat Growth:
http://shrines.rpgclassics.com/nes/ebz/characters.shtml
http://starmen.net/mother1/gameinfo/technical/equations.php
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 10:54:02 pm by redmagejoe »

DragonDePlatino

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Addendums (Vanilla Sprites, Stats, etc)
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2019, 05:07:11 pm »
So I pulled the table file, which just gives exact conversions (0x00=0x00), and if I'm understanding correctly, I'm using that EarthBound Zero TBL link and manually entering in those characters in the table file?

In MOTHER, each byte represents a different character so for example, 0xC1 = A. ASCII also works like this except 0x41 = A. To write a translation table, you match each MOTHER byte to an ASCII byte so in your table file I think you would write

Code: [Select]
[To_ANSI]
0xC1 = 0x41

[From_ANSI]
0x41 = 0xC1

At least that's how I think it works. The translation table format seems more complex than that in the Tiny Hexer version I used a long time ago...

I have concerns about tampering with anything that I don't understand yet, especially without having translated the script, but I can clearly see that (I'm pretty sure) Ninten's stat growth constant values start at 0x1DD00B. I don't know who this mystery character is before him, though, that had values changed from 4 to 0. I also don't understand the values at 00 and 08 offsets.

It's been years since I poked through that table and I don't remember which row corresponds to which character. But I do remember that ALL party members are stored in that table including temporary ones like Pippi, Eve and Flying Man. If you're unsure who is who, you can always tweak some values and check the starting stats of a character in-game. Have some cryptic notes I left myself, they might help:

Code: [Select]
Ninten      Anna    Lloyd   Teddy   Pippi   EVE     FlynMan
Blank       HP      PP      Offense Defense Guts    SpdStat Vit IQ
Lvl /XP3    XP2/XP1 InitHP  InitPP
Blank   ...
Blank   ...

12 34 56 = 56 34 12

Exp Requirements = 80 / 256 for everyone
            Fight   Speed   Wisdom  StrengthForce
Character   Guts    Speed   Status  VitalityIQ
Ninten      4       4       4       4       4
Ana         0       3       8       2       6
Lloyd       2       2       6       3       8
Teddy       8       6       0       6       0
Pippi       8       6       0       6       0
EVE         0       0       0       0       0
FlynMan     0       0       0       0       0

For the time being, I'd rather not touch the constants until I know if I'm going to break something else.

If in doubt, it's always safe to copy things over from "Earth Bound (USA) (Proto)" and paste them into your ROM. I didn't make any interdependent changes like moving around overworld objects or rewriting the text pointer table so no changes you make will break the game.

redmagejoe

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Addendums (Vanilla Sprites, Stats, etc)
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2019, 05:10:43 pm »
Awesome. I'm still a bit uneasy on the table thing, but I'll try my best and post the finished TBL here for peer review. I'll go ahead and just copy-paste the stat growths from the vanilla ROM.

Thank you for the reply.

With that, the initial stats and the stat growth for characters is reverted. The only thing I need to do now is revert the auto-scrolling, preferably to the ideal behavior described above.

March 01, 2019, 09:10:33 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
It took a lot of trial and error, but I finally figured out exactly how to syntax the TBL and get it loaded and working in Tiny Hexer. It's a lot easier to navigate now, and I've even found the area where scrolling is handled. I've found four places (after "Leveled Up!", after the 5 stats, after HP, and after PP) where I was able to modify the behavior to demand a pause for player input, but sadly that appears to be 0x01 which is an ENTER command, and no matter what, it appears to scroll the text box up once a button is pressed. I kind of liked Dragon's aesthetic where "Ninten leveled up!" stayed on Line 1 of the 3-line text box, while Lines 2 and 3 were reserved for the scrolling of stats. Sadly, once you reach the pause after IQ/Force, "level up" gets pushed off of Line 1. The same will obviously happen with the pause after HP.

Is there any way to keep that "leveled up" message on line 1 with control codes?

March 01, 2019, 10:41:10 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Progress: Starting stats - DONE. Stat growth - DONE. Enemy encounter rates - DONE. Level-up breakpoints - FUNCTIONAL / UNPOLISHED

I'm dubbing this new patch MOTHER Re-Faithful to represent a return to faithful combat/stat behavior. I could release it now, really, but I'm kind of hung up on the "leveled up" message scrolling away. It just looks unpolished, and could only be fixed by figuring out a way to A) keep it on Line 1 and use Lines 2 and 3 for scrolling stats, or B) have it scroll away in the first place in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 10:41:10 pm by redmagejoe »

DragonDePlatino

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Addendums (Vanilla Sprites, Stats, etc)
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2019, 01:45:59 am »
Glad to hear you got the tables figured out! I think in the newest version of Tiny Hexer they're a lot more complicated. Back in the day I remember being able to just type letters directly into the TBL file and it'd work.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure if there's a way to prevent the first line of the level-up text from scrolling. Text scripting in MOTHER is pretty basic: you've got those 3 control codes and a few special sequences of characters that insert names of the protagonists, favorite food, etc. If you wanted to do anything more complicated you'd need to get into ASM stuff which unfortunately is pretty beyond me... :-\

redmagejoe

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Addendums (Vanilla Sprites, Stats, etc)
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2019, 11:25:45 am »
Hmm... I may need to get some assistance with the assembly. I decompiled the ROM and I am immediately overwhelmed.

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Addendums (Vanilla Sprites, Stats, etc)
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2019, 11:59:53 am »
What exactly do you mean by "decompiled"?
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redmagejoe

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Addendums (Vanilla Sprites, Stats, etc)
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2019, 12:13:36 pm »
I used 6502d to disassemble the ROM and I'm looking over it in NotePad++. I've got a 6502 instruction set open in a browser tab, but as I mentioned before, I'm pretty awful with and overwhelmed by assembly. It's terribly archaic and I don't envy people who programmed in it, but I'm trying to decipher it enough to see if I can't understand where it handles the behavior of text boxes and text scrolling. There's a relatively small window between each stat level up wherein you can work with an instruction set 01 03 02 (ENTER, wait for player input, then scroll then cease parsing), and it seems that you can fill in those addresses before the 01 03 02 to your heart's content and it won't actually affect the instructions given, as anything other than 0, 1, 2, 3, or 5 appears to be interpreted as characters, and 05s might as well be filler values that don't affect the progression of text scrolling at all.

This may be way too much energy to worry about changing scrolling behavior, but I figured I would at least give it a shot. The issue is that the 01 (await player input) is also an ENTER, so the moment the player gives input to make the little blinking triangle go away, it scrolls text up.

March 02, 2019, 12:43:23 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Unreal. I figured out a (stupidly) simple way to have Line 1 preserved and continue Dragon's method of having stats scroll on Lines 2 and 3 only. Instead of using 01 03 02, (as 01 03 must be maintained, anything inserted between these two will disrupt the instruction to await player prompt and then print to next line), inserting a 05 between the 0103 and the 02 (which is apparently a STOP PARSING instruction, and thus anything after it will be pointless) will result in the desired behavior.

So to keep "Ninten leveled up!" on Line 1 for the entire level-up scroll while also having player input breakpoints, simply add 01 03 05 02 in address to the end of any desired stat breakpoints, before the next stat readout in address. :woot!:
Also to get the initial "leveled up!" message to go to Line 1 after the initial prompt (as it waits on Line 2) and not scroll away, it needs a 01 03 01 02, or 01 03 03 02. Any value in the third address other than 01 or 03 will result in undesirable behavior. Now I simply need to test this with multiple characters leveling up in the same battle...
« Last Edit: March 02, 2019, 12:58:25 pm by redmagejoe »

Cyneprepou4uk

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Re: MOTHER / EarthBound Addendums (Vanilla Sprites, Stats, etc)
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2019, 02:14:44 pm »
Never heard of it. I just tried to use this disassembler on some random rom to see what is it and can I make use of it somehow. Well, it is totally lame. All it does is shows me opcodes in a text file, which were converted from bytes, and of course he couldn't manage to do it correctly because he can't tell code from data. Dude, don't torment yourself, use debugger in fceux, add some comments to ram addresses which you already know and it will be easier to understand something. Looking at this text file won't do you any good.
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