The emulation and rom hacking community appears to have lost an absolute legend, as reports indicate that coder and rom hacker Near has passed away.
It'd be an understatement to say the community wouldn't be where it is today without Near's contributions. Their creation of the SNES emulators higan and bsnes are still revolutionary today for their accuracy, but let's also not forget Near's numerous hacking and patching tools, the creation of things like BPS and MSU-1, preservation efforts and of course, rom hacking translations. And this is just scratching the surface.
Above all else, Near was a warm, caring, and gentle person who touched the lives of so many.
Earlier this year, Near completed their one true passion project: their English translation
of Bahamut Lagoon. Near demanded absolute perfection in their work, making this far away one of the most professional fan translations ever made. Their reworking of the game also pushed the SNES to its limits, to the point where some strange glitches began appearing with some people who were playing the game on real hardware using a flash cart.
Ever the perfectionist, Near created a workaround and put out version 1.1 of their translation a few days after the initial release. But they were determined to find out the root cause of the glitch: was it with the sd2snes flash cart, was it with certain models of the SNES itself, or was it something else entirely?
A little over a month ago, Near reached out to Ballz, one of their project beta testers, with a version 1.2 patch, knowing Ballz had experience issues with his 1-chip SNES console. After some testing and playing around with some settings in my sd2snes they did determine version 1.2 fixed the issue. Version 1.2 also contained some script fixes from the project's translator, Tom. This patch is absolutely perfect.
There was a bug, but it was with the firmware to sd2snes and Near fretted about when they should release the patch: do it now before the firmware fix was made and run the risk that some people would still report the bug, or wait until the firmware was updated... which would be who knows when. On June 1, Near posted this update to their site with little fanfare.
This is the final release of Near's Bahamut Lagoon translation. A labor of love literally decades in the making, and an absolute joy to play.
While community mourns the loss of a truly phenomenal person, people can also can take heart in knowing Near's legacy remains.
Thank you for everything, Near. Rest in peace.RHDN Project PageRelevant Link