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Author Topic: mario kart hacks  (Read 631 times)

Janagirl

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mario kart hacks
« on: May 22, 2020, 03:29:41 pm »
Hello all,
this is my first post, I hope this is the right place for my question.

Yesterday I found romhacking.net and was very excited about so many hacks. While looking around I asked myself if this would be possible.

I'm totally blind. But it's possible for me to play some games, the best playable are fighting games like mortal kombat and street fighter.
But it would be so great to play racing games, too. So I asked if it would be possible to make hacks for mario kart games for super intendo or nintendo 64 where the kart you are driving is steering automatically in the right direction. And a specific sound if you can fire on an opponent.

What do you think about this?

Thanks,
Janagirl!

FAST6191

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Re: mario kart hacks
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2020, 02:33:48 pm »
Interesting.
We don't do the most of it around here but there are places (sadly I don't have any links right now) that will help blind/partially blind peeps play games by either emulating in giant form, piping out text to go into a text to speech synthesiser, and because I know it will get a groan I am sure you could also pipe it to one of those cool real time braille printers. Mind you with current voice synthesis tech being what it is (very small database of samples means almost indistinguishable to most humans on normal computer) I am actually interested in that one as a means of dubbing games without having to sort through a community of computer nerds to find a whole group with time, good voices, good microphones, some ladies to do the ladies/kids, and the desire to edit/master it all.
That is then usually more for RPGs and other such things and not what you asked for, I mainly mentioning them because if you mostly go for fighting games then this is a whole other world you might be skipping there.

As for the question at hand.

I imagine you could do something like that. Mario Kart might be a bit harder for any kind of useful weapons as many are specifically aim, very tight aim window, obstacles in the world/track and very tight timing. This is not to say something positive could not happen as a result, however compared to other things where you get essentially the same experience as someone else playing the game as is it is going to be a world apart, and I don't know if you can meaningfully play with anybody playing the conventional game either.

My general plan of attack would be the games tend to already have AI to drive around the course. Should not be too hard to flick the player over to AI (there might even be a CPU demo mode type hack already) and thus sort steering and speed. Wrestling away weapon controls from them is comparatively easy.

You might also be able to further reduce options to make things more playable. For instance I don't know how much you know of the games (be it from FAQs, discussions or because you played them before loss of sight) but in it you have green shells and red shells (also blue shells and a few others but let's not got there right now).
Red shells more or less home in on people but can be blocked by obstacles and some other items. Fair enough really. Bonus is they already have an audio cue when they get close.
Green shells fire in a straight line depending upon direction you turn (or backwards to act as a one time shield or frustration effort to a tailgater), can destroy red shells and other items, but bounce a few times after you fire them at barriers. They are also among the most basic and common weapons.

You can probably make something match a vector with a player character (the game itself will likely be doing something like it already, it is usually how FPS games work but guns are generally instant travel for bullets so make a better use of that approach) and send a tone/vibration when it will likely hit.
I say likely as brakes, shield, tight turn, jump, barrier... all ways of avoiding them, on the matter of shields/invincibility there is also the somewhat meta thing of do you make them waste it now or towards the end of the race when it is more valuable). I have also played against 8 year olds that have a mastery of that, and 5 year olds that get a good chunk of the way there.
To that end you could go the other way and restrict weapon choices to those that might do, though it could also make things overpowered as most of the things I would lose are also the most basic and skill capped items. Not to mention you still face the meta problem -- for any of the tracks with a big jump I am saving my lightning (makes everybody small, able to be run over and slow enough to fail big jumps) to do maximum impact, and likewise anybody with a star (few seconds of invincibility from items and a speed boost, as well as knocking out anybody you hit and probably losing their current weapon) is going to know that and save it.

Going further if it is to more or less keep up with some others you might also be able to give yourself a quicker recovery so things don't slow you down as much.

To that end if I am going to do a driving game I am sooner going to either do a rally game (a good one will have a copilot doing the in 200m hard right, immediate soft left routine that they do in the real deal) or something like gran turismo where they have suggested speed curves that you could probably kick to audio cues (high-low-perfect pitch sort of thing) or maybe rumble. Plus they will tend to be more amenable to memorising a track.

Even with all that, and while I am generally not inclined to tell someone how to have their fun, that does all sound like so much boring follow the tone/press when you hear from a hearing test, basically cookie clicker and general boringness. If I find myself at the extreme ends of the blindness scale tomorrow I am not going to try to get Mario Kart back -- I am going straight for the RPGs/text adventures to have something tell me a story and make some decisions or solve some puzzles in it. Or maybe a music/rhythm games (I will assume going blind makes me less tone deaf), suitable puzzle games, or maybe fighting games (some have some nice audio cues and are closer to timings/inputs tests than tests of visual recognition). This regardless of whether it is just me or possibly 7 new mates in the same boat, or me still wanting to be able to play at some level with those I presently play Mario Kart with.

Jorpho

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Re: mario kart hacks
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2020, 02:35:29 pm »
So I asked if it would be possible to make hacks for mario kart games for super intendo or nintendo 64 where the kart you are driving is steering automatically in the right direction. And a specific sound if you can fire on an opponent.

What do you think about this?
Many things are possible, but most things are extremely difficult, or at least very time-consuming, especially if no one has done anything like it before.

There are Super Nintendo emulators which support Lua scripting, and that offers a lot of flexibility - though there's no practical way to get that working on real hardware.

ETA: Are there already racing games for the PC or other platforms written with blind people in mind? Because it may be easier to add Mario Kart features to those games rather than the other way around.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 03:11:56 pm by Jorpho »
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FAST6191

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Re: mario kart hacks
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2020, 04:49:01 pm »
Many things are possible, but most things are extremely difficult, or at least very time-consuming, especially if no one has done anything like it before.

There are Super Nintendo emulators which support Lua scripting, and that offers a lot of flexibility - though there's no practical way to get that working on real hardware.

ETA: Are there already racing games for the PC or other platforms written with blind people in mind? Because it may be easier to add Mario Kart features to those games rather than the other way around.
I would still maintain some kind of AI drive and vector calculation for weapons could be done in hardware without getting too silly. Worst case there is you lose an AI player if for some reason the memory/CPU can't handle it. We have seen CPU fighting modes added/created/player input checks done a few times and generally it is nothing outrageous (almost at the level of some pointer fiddling).

As for blind/hard of sight, especially total or might as well be total lack of sight, I tend not to see specific games, or if they are then it is a happy accident (audiobook role playing type setups being that by default really), and more either options made available to help, extra programs used to work, boring training games (will have to see if VR as a blind person type setups exist as that could be fun) and the like.

Still if you are looking for source code to mess with rather than having to do what are fairly extensive hacks then Super Tux Kart is probably where I would point people
https://supertuxkart.net/Main_Page
It is not a bad game actually, though like most Mario Kart clones it is held back by trying to clone Mario Kart (a pretty weak game/series from where I sit) rather than "wacky kart racing - make it fun".

Jorpho

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Re: mario kart hacks
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2020, 05:52:32 pm »
As for blind/hard of sight, especially total or might as well be total lack of sight, I tend not to see specific games, or if they are then it is a happy accident (audiobook role playing type setups being that by default really), and more either options made available to help, extra programs used to work, boring training games (will have to see if VR as a blind person type setups exist as that could be fun) and the like.
Have you heard of the visually-impaired people who have attained mastery of unmodified fighting games?  The stories have been getting much attention lately.
https://variety.com/2018/gaming/features/blind-players-fighting-games-1202856319/
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FAST6191

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Re: mario kart hacks
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2020, 06:13:14 pm »
That one passed me by, though as above I can get to it (in such games most will close ranks or have audio cues giving reasonable locations, have audio cues for all sorts of things and mostly be about input mastery and timing, and while sight is useful a lot of the time I would probably figure if you are reacting to what you see you have already failed -- high level fighting games being likened more to chess played at speed than test of reactions). In my case had a few talks with people on hacking sites wanting to do things for hard of sight and as the tech/hacking was interesting/novel I perked up, few more when various homebrew audiobook games happened (the DS had a great one where you closed the lid, listened and pressed shoulder buttons which was great for late night play -- http://collectingsmiles.com/news/hyena-v100/ ), saw a nice C3 talk on various hacker related things/life as a blind person for hackers, there was that blind film reviewer on youtube that had some really good stuff (adopted a few of them myself -- I count my stairs in my house now) and in real life I know a few people that teach it for others so got to have a go with their modified swimming googles that simulate various types of sight loss.
Total loss is something of a novelty as most I have helped out otherwise have been partial in some way which does lead to a lot more choices for things.