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Author Topic: Patching PS1 games PAL to NTSC and shifting the Y axis?  (Read 1494 times)

RetroProf

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Patching PS1 games PAL to NTSC and shifting the Y axis?
« on: May 26, 2020, 05:30:01 pm »
Note to mods: I am not asking about piracy, I am simply asking about a means of getting a game to run in 60Hz. Please delete and PM me if I broke the rules so I can start a new topic while adhering more closely to them.

Situation:
I wish to play the PAL release of Chaos Break for PS1 in fullscreen, fullspeed 60Hz on my PSIO-enabled original console. It was never released in America, only Japan and the UK. Emulation is not an option - I want this to run on the original hardware. The Japanese import is not an option because you need to read in-game emails.

The game is incredible. It's a hyper-kinetic survival horror with analogue stick control, fast paced action, and just cool atmosphere. It's also a PAL exclusive!

Options: There exists three methods I know of to patch this PAL exclusive into NTSC:

1) PAL4U2K - a patching program
2) Zapper2000 - a similar program
3) A trainer patch which adds an NTSC boot select option

All three of the above solutions have the same major problem: after enabling NTSC output the screen's Y position / Y axis is misaligned. The game screen after patching is too big to fit, and by default all 3 of these align it so the bottom is cut off! It's too low down the TV screen, resulting in the essential energy and ammo counts to be cut off, rendering the game unplayable.

Sweet baby jesus, I am so close, but save for 5~10 pixels my goal is out of reach.

Problems: Let's ignore the trainer patch. It's a pre-made thing by pirates from around 2000, it doesn't work, and I don't feel like hacking someone else's hack.

This leaves P4U2K and Zapper2K utilities. Neither seems to have been updated beyond 2003. Which is very disappointing because the PSIO system, a new development, means we can all be rocking games on our original hardware!

Let's go over them.

P4U2K: This general use patcher requires you use one program to scan your game, thereby creating a patch. Then you use its sister program to apply that patch. The results are the best I can get - the bottom stats bar is about 5 to 10 pixels just out of view. Though the game is fullscreen and fullspeed, albeit with the bottom few lines cut off. So close. If I push my TV button to squash my screen into widescreen mode, I can see the missing lines, but obviously this is no way to play through the game. This patcher is supposed to detect the Y axis and patch it automatically, but there are NO options to vary this or input your own Y parameters.

Which leads us to...

Zapper2K: This is a similar patcher, but it has two boxes to input alternative Y coordinates. Except I don't know how these work. The default for PAL to NTSC patching is 0 and 0. I try this but the bottom of the screen is cut off. Not pushed below the screen edge, but actually chopped off! It obviously recentres the Y axis of how the game screen is rendered, and so no longer renders part of it.

The prog says if your screen is too low to input 21 and 21 into each box. I did this, but while it helps a little, it's still worse than P4U2K. So I try variations:
26/26
11/11
6/6

And so on. The 26 option cuts off even more, and while the 11, 6, and even 1 options provide a bit more of the screen, I still can't see the stats bar. I also do not know what these boxes are actually supposed to do.

I tried varying the first box, from negative to positive numbers, along a massive range, and nothing seemed to happen? The second number seems to affect the bottom of the screen, but I can't seem to just move the whole screen up a bit.

PLEASE HELP!

Does anyone know how to realign the Y axis on PS1 games? I just need the screen shifted upwards by about 5 or 10 lines of pixels. A small shift.

Alternatively, has anyone used these patching programs and can offer advice? Has anyone patched this game and got it to work?

I tried editing the patch files each program creates (P4U file and ZAP file), but the P4U file is encrypted (not hexidecimal, I used a hex editor, it's actually properly encrypted!), and the ZAP file just contains a single piece of data on where the Y position code is in the game itself.

I google trawled, and found a long Racketboy forum topic, but no one had this problem. They all managed to get games to patch just fine.

Part of the problem is that Chaos Break, despite being AMAZING, is very obscure. So no one has tried to patch the PAL version into NTSC.

I am so close I could scream. I spent hours on this and I am literally a few pixels away from victory.





Jorpho

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Re: Patching PS1 games PAL to NTSC and shifting the Y axis?
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2020, 08:28:41 pm »
I tried editing the patch files each program creates (P4U file and ZAP file), but the P4U file is encrypted (not hexidecimal, I used a hex editor, it's actually properly encrypted!), and the ZAP file just contains a single piece of data on where the Y position code is in the game itself.
I'm not sure how or why a patch would be encrypted, but in that case the solution seems obvious to me: patch the game and then, by using the unpatched game as a point of comparison, use xdelta or PPF-o-matic to create a new patch.
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RetroProf

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Re: Patching PS1 games PAL to NTSC and shifting the Y axis?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2020, 03:37:49 pm »
I fixed it.

I used my TV's secret service menu (via a code to access) to change the V-size and then shift the V position upwards. Everything else is borked, but Chaos Break looks great!
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 04:00:58 pm by RetroProf »