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Author Topic: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC  (Read 2124 times)

juef

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N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« on: July 07, 2019, 04:48:35 pm »
Greetings!

My son is 6 and cannot read English at the moment, so I'm trying to find a way to make him play Paper Mario in French on the original console. The European release has a French language option, but since it's PAL, it won't run correctly as-is on my television with my 64drive and North American N64. I have tried a tool called PALadin but here's its output:

Code: [Select]
PALadin.exe /n /f Paper_Mario.n64

PALadin V3.1  [Hotblack / Dextrose]
>> Videotable-Converter + Country-check-Fix

Name: "Paper_Mario.n64", 67108864 bytes, Z64, Country: P, Org.Video: PAL
Creating backup "Paper_Mario.bak"
1080-Bootcode (6103)
Converting videotables to NTSC
Processing file...
Converting Video-Tables
NNNNNNNNNNNNNNPPPPPPPPPPPPPPMMMMMMMMMMMMMMPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPNPM...found 60 entries.
Removing country-check (forcing to think it's PAL)
Sorry :( Right now only calculation of Mario-Boot-Crc implemented!

Other than translating the original USA ROM (which I'm guessing is a relatively major undertaking), do you guys have any idea?

Thank you for reading!

TheDanaAddams

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2019, 05:25:40 pm »
Not exactly an answer to your question directly, but it seems like there might be an NTSC French version released in Canada?




From this old eBay listing: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Paper-Mario-Manual-Only-Nintendo-64-N64-NO-GAME-FRENCH-ONLY-RARE-/232260628132?_trksid=p2047675.m43663.l10137&nordt=true&rt=nc&orig_cvip=true

Psyklax

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2019, 06:33:40 pm »
When you say it won't run 'correctly', what exactly do you mean? I'm searching the net as I don't have first-hand experience of this, but it seems like the problem lies more with the TV than the console: US TVs are generally poor at showing PAL content, whereas PAL TVs back in the 90s got very good at displaying NTSC, using so-called "PAL 60". When the Dreamcast came along with the option to play games in 60hz, I'd always pick that. Even a modded PAL SNES can play NTSC games without issue.

So, it sounds like the console should play it fine, but maybe your TV doesn't like what the console is putting out. There are a few options. If a French Canadian version was actually released, as the above post implies, it's damn hard to find. Converting PAL ROMs to NTSC... I dunno. Translating the US ROM? No, crazy amount of work. So the one simple option remaining is emulation. I know N64 emulation is still not perfect, but I'm guessing that Paper Mario runs pretty well on Mupen64Plus.

TheDanaAddams

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2019, 06:49:36 pm »
The original post does specifically say they want it for real hardware. If another, compatible TV isn't available, there may be some kind of Force 60Hz option.
I don't know what kind of options are available with the flashcart, but if it has cheat device support, there may be a code for that, or even just some kind of configuration file to tell it how to handle PAL games. (Ie, Force 60Hz).

GhostlyDark

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2019, 07:30:49 pm »
I am currently working on NTSC patches for N64 games. The success rate so far is pretty awful which is why I don't have a working patch for that game right now. I am also focusing on emulation only, so I have no idea if I can be of any help.

Regardless, you can try the following:

1) Grab the "N64 to NTSC.ips" file you can find when downloading the package here: https://evilgames.eu/emulation.htm#n64-pal-ntsc-patches
2) Patch your Paper Mario ROM with it. It will change the ROM header to NTSC.
3) For bypassing the region lock, I have found a cheat code, which you might be able to apply somehow: 8106D650 2400

Source for the cheat code: https://gamehacking.org/vb/forum/video-game-hacking-and-development/hacker-threads/4709-mez-s-codes/page32?page=1
(For future reference: The forum may or may not block your IP address, I assume because of Europe's genius Article 13 law, so you might need to use a VPN service to visit the site.)
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 08:01:52 pm by GhostlyDark »

J^P

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2019, 02:21:08 am »

Source for the cheat code: https://gamehacking.org/vb/forum/video-game-hacking-and-development/hacker-threads/4709-mez-s-codes/page32?page=1
(For future reference: The forum may or may not block your IP address, I assume because of Europe's genius Article 13 law, so you might need to use a VPN service to visit the site.)
First of all article 13 has nothing to do with it. And second I live in europe and it still says my IP is banned, so its probably one of those sites that is limited to one country who knows why, or is invite only and only allows very specif IP's to enter.

GhostlyDark

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2019, 08:15:41 am »
First of all article 13 has nothing to do with it. And second I live in europe and it still says my IP is banned, so its probably one of those sites that is limited to one country who knows why, or is invite only and only allows very specif IP's to enter.
Sure, I could be wrong as they can be other reasons for the block. It's strange though that one can access the site via an American IP address. Can't access Zippyshare either from where I live. Whatever it is, it's annoying.

Back to topic: The cheat code I posted is said to be a "Master Code", so it might not do anything to bypass the region lock. Also, if the screen stays black it means that the game is region locked. Happens a lot for N64 games that are region locked.

juef

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2019, 03:35:30 pm »
Thank you all for your replies!

  • I can force NTSC or PAL with my 64drive. Unfortulately, the screen either stays black, or keeps scrolling up very fast, depending on the mode I choose. This is on my North American CRT television.
  • I have never heard of a Canadian version of the game, but the eBay listing is... convincing! Even No-Intro has nothing about it, though. Closest I can find there is a Wii Europe VC extrated ROM, but not only I can't find it, I can only assume it's PAL as well.
  • I just tried the patch from evilgames, but unfortunately it does not seem to work (results are the same). By the way, did this just come out? What a crazy coincidence!

Thank you very much for your time, everyone!

Zoinkity

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2019, 04:09:33 pm »
Forcing the mode with a 64drive changes what region the console reports itself to be.  It will be either PAL (0), NTSC (1), or the unlisted MPAL (2).  That tells the game which set of VI settings to use for display; in other words, the resolution, Hz, refresh rates, etc.

Setting PAL allows it to run, but the scrolling is due to 50Hz vs 60Hz difference.

Short answer for a fix is one of these three:
1) swap the VI settings table entries for PAL and NTSC (which is what PALadin does) and change the audio timing multipliers,
2) skip the region lock and run NTSC,
3) or use a non-CRT that will display either.

I'll try not to completely forget about this five minutes from now and do a quick conversion patch.

With the exception of Star Fox 64 (Japan) (Rev A) all the VC ROMs match retail releases.

juef

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2019, 10:09:16 pm »
I checked what happened on two LCD screens, and everything would be fine... if it wasn't in black & white, unfortunately.

Thank you very much for looking into this, I appreciate it a lot!

TheDanaAddams

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2019, 08:19:54 pm »
If it displays fine, but black and white, that implies that it's showing 50Hz, but trying to decode the colour signal as NTSC. There may be a setting to determine the colour signal; probably set to Auto-detect, and getting thrown off by an NTSC system.

Check your TV's setup/options menus and see if you can manually put it into PAL colour mode.

juef

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2019, 11:14:20 am »
Unfortunately, I couldn't find such options on my televisions.

However, someone reached out to me in private and came up with a solution! It's not 100% perfect, but it is for my intents. Said person prefers me not to release a patch here because of potential improvements (potential as in: no promises), so I will respect his/her wishes and let him/her post again here in the future if he/she has more information to share and/or further releasable progress.

I can't express my gratitude enough to everyone here who has chimed in and helped, but of course mostly to that person. Thanks to you all, my son has many hours of fun and reading ahead of him!

GhostlyDark

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2019, 11:06:26 am »
I managed to get most of the PAL N64 games to run in NTSC, either by only changing the region code (when no region lock exists), by additionally removing the region protection or using PALadin to work around the protection. As you would expect, most of them run too fast in one or multiple ways. But at least they work, which was my goal in the first place. I make these patches available to the public soon, including a release on RHDN.

Edit: Working patches published. Submission to RHDN done.
Link: https://evilgames.eu/emulation.htm#n64-ntsc-patches


The following games do not work after patching with PALadin:

6106

Cruis'n World
Yoshi's Story

6103

Excitebike 64
Kirby 64 - The Crystal Shards
Major League Baseball featuring Ken Griffey Jr.
Paper Mario
Pokemon Snap
Pokemon Stadium
Pokemon Stadium 2
Super Smash Bros.

I noticed that all of these games either use the 6103 (=7103) or the 6106 (=7106) bootcode. Games with bootcodes 6102 (=7101) and 6105 (=7105) do work fine after being modified by PALadin (country fix).

Additional notes:
  • For reproducing the patch files, take a vanilla ROM (do not change the header to NTSC yet) and patch it with PALadin v3.1: paladin /f romname.z64. Be aware that PALadin can't handle file names with spaces in them. Then change the region code to 45 at offset $3E and recalculate the checksum with rn64crc or ucon64, since PALadin can only do CRC-Calculation for the 6102 (=7101) bootcode.
  • PALadin lists the bootcodes with wrong numbers. Don't be surprised.
  • PALadin changes the line at offset $1000 and writes itself to the end of the ROM. Expanding the ROM is not neccessary, unless you try to convert Michael Owen WLS 2000 and its regional counterparts, as these games have important data up until the very end of the ROM for some reason.
  • Project64 uses special per game settings to make some games work, e.g. Paper Mario. It doesn't recognize the ROM files as the same after modifications that need new checksums, so the settings have to be set manually for such ROM files to make the games work.
  • Mupen64plus does not like files patched by PALadin. In order for them to even boot, the core settings (R4300 Emulator) must be set to Pure Interpreter.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 04:44:50 pm by GhostlyDark »

Mord_Fustang

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2019, 05:15:23 am »
Not exactly an answer to your question directly, but it seems like there might be an NTSC French version released in Canada?




From this old eBay listing: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Paper-Mario-Manual-Only-Nintendo-64-N64-NO-GAME-FRENCH-ONLY-RARE-/232260628132?_trksid=p2047675.m43663.l10137&nordt=true&rt=nc&orig_cvip=true

Regarding a possible French Canadian version of the game...

If you look at the box that was posted, it says NMQE which is the 4 letter code for Paper Mario in North America.  The PAL release is NMQP.  So I'm inclined to believe that it's just a French box with a game with English text.  The picture also isn't a full box and has the bar code on the front.  It's probably one of those sleeves they shrink wrapped with the manual which was pretty common in Quebec.

tl;dr:  There is probably no NTSC release of Paper Mario.

GhostlyDark

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Re: N64 Paper Mario: PAL -> NTSC
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2019, 04:50:27 pm »
Got the remaining games working, including Paper Mario. The pack has been updated:
https://evilgames.eu/emulation.htm#n64-ntsc-patches

For future reference, you can find more detailed info in the readme file but here's the short version:

6103 bootcode relocates RAM by an offset of 100000.
6106 bootcode relocates RAM by an offset of 200000.
PALadin ignores this, hence such games are broken after patching.

There are multiple ways of fixing this, but the easiest one is to subtract 100000 (or 200000) from the RAM entry point value in the ROM header at $8, patch with PALadin and revert the value of the RAM entry point back to its original value. That's it.