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Author Topic: How to start? And a question about N64 games.  (Read 798 times)

ius_pizza

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How to start? And a question about N64 games.
« on: October 02, 2020, 02:33:12 pm »
Hello, this is my first message here. I have not found a presentation thread so I take the opportunity to say that I am a law student who was always curious about game translations and would like to learn the basics as a hobby.

I have two questions:
1- Is there a tutorial for noobs to learn to translate? I found one from about 12 years ago, but most tools didn't work with Windows 10 and I couldn't do anything.

2- There are N64 games that save game on the cartridge itself and others that require memory pak. Nowadays, with flashcards, the games that save games in the cartridge save inside the SD card. Would it be possible to hack the ROM of the games that save in a memory pak so that they save games as if the original cartridge had had its own SRAM?

It has caught my attention that in the NES there are hacks of this type to record / load games in the flashcards of games that used passwords. On the other hand, in N64 I have not seen anything. Is it impossible?

Thank you.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 05:06:21 pm by ius_pizza »

Jorpho

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Re: How to start? And a question about N64 games.
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2020, 10:01:20 pm »
I have not found a presentation thread
There is an "Introduction Topic" stickied at the top of the forum.

Quote
I have two questions:
1- Is there a tutorial for noobs to learn to translate? I found one from about 12 years ago, but most tools didn't work with Windows 10 and I couldn't do anything.
Could you provide a link to the one that you found?

DOS-based tools can usually be run in Windows 10 using DOSBox.

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Nowadays, with flashcards, the games that save games in the cartridge save inside the SD card. Would it be possible to hack the ROM of the games that save in a memory pak so that they save games as if the original cartridge had had its own SRAM?
It's probably possible - but a bit of Googling suggests there are already a lot of people interested in something like that, and since no one seems to have done it already, it's probably not very easy – or at least, not compared to just getting a controller pak.

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It has caught my attention that in the NES there are hacks of this type to record / load games in the flashcards of games that used passwords. On the other hand, in N64 I have not seen anything. Is it impossible?
There is not a lot of N64 hacking in general.
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FAST6191

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Re: How to start? And a question about N64 games.
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2020, 10:58:43 pm »
Just as the games themselves have not changed in the last 12 years then neither have the techniques to translate them, and I doubt we will be seeing anything fun that needs a supercomputer to translate them too soon (maybe some aspects of OCR and machine translation aside, but they will likely not yield truly practical results for a decade or two yet, if ever).

As mentioned many of the tutorials you find will probably lean into DOS programs (they might be old, they might be clunky but they work if you play to them and might still represent what we have), and if not DOS then maybe some weird version of visual basic that modern windows (even XP in the end was annoying to sort) will not have and you get to chase down the relevant runtimes. That said you should be able to find a table maker, a hex editor that plays to it, some relative search tools (see monkey moore) and get some stuff going on for Windows 10.


On the save stuff.
It is within reason to change such things, however it is not going to be a matter of intercepting some request to go from the c: drive to a USB or some folder or something -- the N64 does not have an operating system or similar governing its hardware so the games have to do it all themselves and the protocols themselves will be baked into the ROM and you get to alter all the respective bits of code handling it. I don't know offhand if you will have anything fun like you might on older systems still (stuff like the NES and gameboy have the saves as aspects of the cart itself and what you kick over to the cart itself can have impacts elsewhere) but I would expect something*.

*easy enough to go looking up though if you want a first "what if?" question and have some hardware documentation in front of you. What is the protocol for the cart saves. If it is some extra bit of stuff that can be included if the devs wanted to then great, if you have to change the apparent nature of a cart similar to a mapper change on the NES then that gets a bit harder.

You do also have the "going round a friend's house with my data" problem that a lot of games would have used the controller pak thing to handle (custom settings, stats and whatnot -- Bomberman and Perfect Dark multiplayer being examples of this) but I suppose that is more a nicety than fatal.

Comparing to NES password stuff. Assuming for the NES stuff it was not just a disabled for final build (cheaper to make cartridges if you don't have to also add a battery and save chip) but code still there or there in a beta then I would probably put redirecting N64 saving as an easier hack, though still not trivial or something I would expect to always be such.

To that end most probably did just opt for the "I'll get a memory pak, going to need one anyway" option.

ius_pizza

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Re: How to start? And a question about N64 games.
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2020, 07:16:41 am »
Thanks for answering, the N64 thing was just a curiosity, I don't have the necessary knowledge to do it. But I wanted to know if it would be possible.

About translating, if you can give me a tutorial or guide for newbies, I would appreciate it. The one I had was a pdf, but as it did not work and had many of the dead links I deleted it to find something better :(

Jorpho

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ius_pizza

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Re: How to start? And a question about N64 games.
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2020, 05:16:57 pm »
I no longer have that pdf, if anyone knows of a tutorial to get started I would appreciate it.