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Author Topic: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod  (Read 1786 times)

elgarta

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Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« on: October 11, 2020, 01:56:58 am »
Good evening RHDN,

I am sharing some files that I began working on back in 2013-2014 , but never ended up completing for a few reasons. I am hoping that someone can make use of these, to help create some neat mods. These are edited field files which aim to restore cut / unused content from the original FF7 Japanese release, such as some scenes that mention Sephiroth as Cloud's motivation to do what he does, some extra conversations that flesh out the members of Avalanche a little more, and probably most importantly.. re-introduce the original Honey Bee Inn! The files are all usable on FF7US, and although I have not tested them in a playthrough since 2014, everything up to the entrance of the Shinra tower worked just fine, although I just stopped testing past this point due to some life changes.

History


So a long while ago, I ran into an amazing deep-dive from Shademp over at TheLifeStream.net , https://thelifestream.net/ffvii-the-original/final-fantasy-vii-the-unused-text-series/. I reached out to Shademp back in 2013 and asked if I could look at the files he was working on, since I was curious as to whether they could be imported into the US game to create a sort of "Director's Cut" mod for the game, and he was happy to oblige. I did work with the files, and using his articles as a guide I was able to restore some of the alternate scenes in other fields too.

The files he supplied did not contain formatted text boxes, as they were ripped from the original Japanese release which contained no English text. Due to this, I had to go back in and add text, set conversation choices, etc. But there is no denying that Shademp's work was immense!

My original plan was to import DLPB's (at the time) WIP retranslation script to the PS1 release, and modify existing text to line up with it, however I initially put the project on hold after Green_Goblin began his own project, which lead to the retranslation patch we currently have here on RHDN: http://www.romhacking.net/translations/2340/ . My plan was to then make my own "Director's Cut" project an addendum to his eventual release, and I ended up putting my work on hold until it was complete. I was maybe 50% done with the line-by-line migration at that point, but work and family life took all my time. Once his patch did come out, I did go back through and attempted to continue work on it again.. but unfortunately some big things came up which again took my focus, so it all sat on my hard drive, unused. T

I eventually decided to myself that I would release something to line-up with the FF7 Remake release, but I suffered a large scale hard drive crash and thought I lost everything. Luckily, about 2 weeks ago I found a backup I had made in 2016, likely when I was trying to alter text so it would become consistent with the retranslation patch. I figured it was maybe time to just put this stuff out on the internet so someone else can work with it instead instead of just laying here, going to waste.


What exactly is included in this archive?

So this is mostly a mix of Shademp's files that I made completely playable, and stuff mentioned in his through to maybe scenes involving the Highwind. I did originally work on some of the things like the alternative form of the Mayor's guessing game in Shinra HQ, but I think the re-translation patch actually ended up handling that nicely, so I don't think the files were kept.

These are .dat files that need to be imported into an FF7 NTSC-U ISO, and I believe they require an edited kernel file due to an increase in the disk size. Green_Goblin's release is edited in this manner, and works great as a base. Most of the files should be formatted to match that patch, so they include things like character names being a different color in text-boxes, colored names for Materia, materia icons, etc.

Most of the cut content was during the early parts of the game, between Midgar and the flashback at Kalm, so that is mostly what you will have here. The files all worked for me during my testing, I just never finished it.

I did my testing on a PS3 with Custom firmware, and played it using the built-in PS1 emulator. I also did test it on PCSX and ePSXe when I was trying to trouble shoot any bugs I came across, and to test that I was formatting text correctly.

Bugs!

Now there are some bugs that I ran across, that I honestly lacked the knowledge to permanently fix. These are based on notes I took back in 2014, so I cannot be more specific about them unfortunately..

1) On the map MRKT3 (Outside the Honeybee Inn) would occasionally freeze on me when I walked outside to talk to Aeris, in order to progress the story. It would either freeze when I was talking to her, or when I would walk to a certain part of the map without her in my party.. I could replicate it over and over, but I couldn't find out why it was happening.

2) On ONNA_1 (Honeybee Inn Downstairs Lobby), the line of people would reset every time I left the building, meaning you would need to wait to be served at the front desk AND watch an event with Palmer every time. I am sure there was some sort of progression value I was missing, but I couldn't find a working solution to it. It isn't game breaking, it was just annoying. Oddly, the dialogue with an NPC in the room that was needed to progress the story didn't reset, so it is specific to the other NPCs.

3) ONNA_3 (A new Honeybee Inn room) did have working waypoints for the door to come in, and leave, but I don't think this set of files included the final one I had worked on before my HDD crash. I believe you can enter the room fine, but then you are teleported onto a piece of furniture and cannot walk due to the map collision. I know for a fact that this is easy to fix, but I apparently cannot channel 2014 me for guidance.

4) During one of the last ever tests I did, I apparently ran into a freeze after Cloud went into the 7th Heaven's basement to speak with Avalanche for the first time. There is a set of events that should play out, and it froze when transitioning to one of them. I did not have issues with it during my other tests, so I can't tell if maybe I had patched the ISO badly or if I broke something else.

Here is the archive link: http://www.mediafire.com/file/zx7koy5pauus0x1/Final+Fantasy+VII+PS1+Restored+Scenes.rar/file. I did also put a text document in there going over a few things. Now, I will not do any bug support or trouble shooting on this moving forward, so apologies in advance. I may still attempt to make a personal Director's Cut patch and release it "as-is" incase someone else wants to attempt to make a more final product out of it.

I will answer any questions I can though, as long as they aren't about fixing bugs :)

Green_goblin

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2020, 07:10:54 am »
Hi elgarta,

The best tools I know to work with the PSX version are "Cebix Tools":

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Zl1cNjjWEKJ-Z6HaYPeuHs8UCrARdNRr

First you need to install Python on your PC:

https://www.python.org/downloads/release/python-2718/

Then you need to add Python to the command line:

https://geek-university.com/python/add-python-to-the-windows-path/

Then you need the correct ISO files which are:

Quote
Disc 1 (SCUS-94163): 747.435.024 bytes
CRC-32: 1459cbef

Disc 2 (SCUS-94164): 732.657.408 bytes
CRC-32: a997a8cc

Disc 3 (SCUS-94165): 659.561.952 bytes
CRC-32: 1c27b277

That way everyone will be using the original game data to apply your patch. Once you have these ISO files, put them in the "iso" folder and rename the files to match this format (CUE files are mandatory):

Quote
FF7-1.bin
FF7-1.cue
FF7-2.bin
FF7-2.cue
FF7-3.bin
FF7-3.cue

In your case you only have to:

1 - Double-click the file "0-psxrip.bat". This will extract the contents of the ISO files.

2 - Replace the original DAT file with the modified ones (do this 3 times as there are 3 discs)

3 - Double-click the file "3-psxbuild+fixup.bat" to create the new ISO files.

I think that's all.

Regards!

elgarta

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2020, 11:13:02 pm »
Thank you!

As a test, I did try recompiling the ISO using this method, but for some reason it doesn't work. The final file is unusable in any emulator.

I even extracted the files and recompiled it without any changes, and it would still cause error messages when loading. That is kind of peculiar.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 12:58:03 am by elgarta »

Green_goblin

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2020, 03:55:49 am »
Quote from: elgarta
That was an easy guide! I am trying it, and it all works... as long as I don't re-insert modded files.

Out of curiosity, what files are primarily edited in your patch? The FIELD .DAT files, Kernel.bin and Scene.bin I am sure, but what else?

Did you do any of the kernel extender patches?

I am not understanding why replacing a few field files causes the ISO to become unplayable.

My retranslation patch modifies the following files:

Quote
KERNEL
SCUS
MENU
BATTLE
CHOCOBO
SNOBO2
SCENE
.DAT

I think I used the "kernel extender patch", but that is no longer needed with Cebix Tools.

Thank you!

As a test, I did try recompiling the ISO using this method, but for some reason it doesn't work. The final file is unusable in any emulator.

I even extracted the files and recompiled it without any changes, and it would still cause error messages when loading. That is kind of peculiar.

The DAT files in the original game are in capital letters, and your files are sometimes in lowercase, maybe that is causing problems.

If that does not solve the problem, try to open the DAT files with Makou Reactor (latest version) and save them (no need to modify anything, just "Save as..."). I recommend this because you probably created these DAT files with an older version of Makou Reactor, which created wrong DAT files (wrong memory alignment). The problem was solved some years ago, so the latest version should create compatible files.

Regards

elgarta

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2020, 01:02:27 pm »
Thanks for following up!

I should update the opening post to mention that. The lower case ones need to be renamed in order to work, so when I am applying them they have already been renamed.

Interesting note on the memory alignment issue though.. The version I am using is indeed newer than I had in 2016. I will try re-saving the files and see if that works.

So if I extracted an ISO patched with your patch, then recompiled the ISO again, it should just work.. Right? Have you ever seen a problem where it causes emulators to crash by recompiling the ISO even with no changes?

Green_goblin

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2020, 01:24:38 pm »
So if I extracted an ISO patched with your patch, then recompiled the ISO again, it should just work.. Right? Have you ever seen a problem where it causes emulators to crash by recompiling the ISO even with no changes?

I don't know, never tried that. See what the command line says when you do it, if something goes wrong it should warn you.

elgarta

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2020, 12:15:10 am »
It gives no errors, it just completes successfully.

Also, when I am opening and saving the .DAT files I. Makou Reactor, they don’t save. It doesn’t create a new file if I change the directory, or show an update file time/date if I overwrite the file.


Green_goblin

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2020, 04:41:25 am »
It gives no errors, it just completes successfully.

Also, when I am opening and saving the .DAT files I. Makou Reactor, they don’t save. It doesn’t create a new file if I change the directory, or show an update file time/date if I overwrite the file.

Try the "Mass Export" option and see what happens:



If that does not solve the problem you will have to contact the author of the tool:

https://forums.qhimm.com/index.php?topic=9658.0

Regards

PD: or try the following. Open a DAT file, modify anything in the dialogue, like typing a space and then deleting it. Save the file and see if that works.

elgarta

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2020, 11:28:35 pm »
Ok trying to change some of the text caused it to update! But unfortunately it still results in crashes.


Using a tool like Mass ISO Update causes some of the maps to say their location is moving, which causes another map to be replaced.. such as ROOTMAP and WHITEBG2, I cannot put both of those in for some reason. This was never a problem when I worked with the files years ago!

Are there other importing methods you know of? Or, using those same tools... does actually replacing any of the .DAT files cause loading issues with the ISO if anyone else tries it? Like importing the ONNA maps for example. Some of the maps can be imported using Mass ISO Update, but I have had 0 luck any other way.

Green_goblin

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2020, 05:14:15 am »
Please update the download link of first post with the new DAT files (capital letters + new saved files). I'll try to insert them on my PC and see what happens. ¿Which emulator are you using?

elgarta

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2020, 02:43:49 pm »
Sure, I will update it shortly once I am off work then! The whole thing is a huge mystery for more, and I wish I made backups of the other software so I could check to see what worked before.

I used epsxe and retro arch using the PCSX core.

Edit: http://www.mediafire.com/file/z4dc8ek3008a4cc/Disc+1.rar/file

These are the files that should work for disc 1. It is less than what is in the initial upload, mainly because I decided to cut out the ones that had very few edits or changes in them, for the purpose of testing.

I am going to try digging around on some older computers that I used in 2014, since I did migrate a lot of data off those machines onto external drives, but I don’t think I formatted or disposed of the drives they had in them. It’s a long shot, but it might be helpful
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 03:05:54 pm by elgarta »

Green_goblin

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2020, 10:57:43 am »
Hi elgarta,

I did the following:

- Delete the ISO folder and its contents and create a new one.
- Rip CD-1 with Cebix Tools
- Paste your new DAT files to "iso\FF7-1\FIELD" folder (overwrite all)
- psxbuild+fixup.bat

And it looks like it worked, I loaded the game with ePSXe with no problems.

elgarta

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Re: Final Fantasy 7 - Cut Content Mod
« Reply #12 on: Today at 01:20:10 pm »
Interesting. I wonder why it isn’t doing that for me, I might try some things since it’s clearly in my end.

I did actually manage to find the tool I used in 2014, and it actually works! I will throw the files together and make sure they work all the way through, and probably just make this into a usable patch then.

At least so I can avoid an issue with ISO compilation not working for certain people lol