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Author Topic: About Early Day of ROMHacking  (Read 1186 times)

C4_KadalMen

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About Early Day of ROMHacking
« on: August 14, 2021, 05:31:16 am »
I know it sounds not smart since Windows 7 can do all of translation things.
But what did they use to do a translation in pre-Windows 7 Era?
I found NESticle, Tile Layer, UIPS, Search Relative and some Hex Editor for MS-DOS.
I wonder is there any Tool that they used to translating old console games besides that?
Like what can they use to translate old games in Windows 95 or later Windows?

Sorry for confusing you
~C4

FAST6191

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Re: About Early Day of ROMHacking
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2021, 12:21:34 pm »
If you have not read https://datacrystal.romhacking.net/wiki/Fan_Translation_Community_History then I might suggest it.
While I have nothing really to disagree with for the translation aspect I will merge some other aspects -- peek and poke, the commands to read and write memory respectively on various commodore BASIC based systems, being the subject of many things during the 80s, and the Amiga folks (some of the stuff I have seen of them pulling apart music formats... I actually used their documents/references/tools when the formats made for the Amiga were returned to for various far more modern games, though such things are usually either a retro throwback, serious optimisation, or patents https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/170671/Indepth_Playing_with_video.php https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/130122/the_trouble_with_patents.php ) as well as PC games doing lots of interesting things any of would call ROM hacking in timelines ahead of or parallel to some of that.
Not necessarily the same circles but notes some of the techniques we would otherwise recognise today
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCAL_YgYiP0

Emulation (this is for the SNES, but covers a bit of what went before then)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3vk3cHYLSQ

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-09-24-game-genie-declassified-that-summer-i-played-230-game-boy-games I will also link as it is also worth noting in this.

What little I have been able to glean of Japanese hacking efforts for things big in Japan (Japan often being its own little tech bubble until somewhat recently) are also likely to be fascinating if one day someone that can read Japanese well documents it, assuming it can be (not like we have many still around, release notes for things, forums that got archived, usenet or the like to look at).



Windows 7 is your cut off for PC stuff? Wow. OK then.

For the record the stages of Windows and I guess DOS run mostly

Way back when.
Early DOS. Very basic, many videos detailing things if you want but not much interest here.

Later MS DOS (though there were alternatives like PCDOS, and today you also have freedos).
DOS was still very much used but we also saw Windows start to be a thing. It really popped with 3 and 3.11 wherein many would spend the majority of time in that (even if it is technically more of an overlay). In hardware aspects Real mode, protected mode, end of TSR, himem.sys, dos4gw, mscdex and more would feature here. Networking was also a thing but I am less familiar with this one, though for a decent TCP-IP setup you probably would have had it as a paid extra.

Windows 95, though might have taken until the first service pack or various takes on such things (internet explorer was not standard for instance; I remember installing a copy from an age of empires disc one day (leaving it on while I was out for it to happen), using up most of my hard drive doing it, but being able to view internet documents as a result.
USB and more was an afterthought for some of this.
Windows 98, and Windows 98SE were in many ways a minor tweak but in other ways solidified it.
Then came Windows ME, we don't talk about this in polite society.

That was the consumer side of things though and prior to that business was a thing. Windows NT (short for network terminal) being the main things there. This culminated in Windows 2000 really which in many ways is the thing underpinning XP but more on that shortly. There are still business focused aspects (there is a reason they restrict their RDP remote desktop options and network logins to the more expensive versions) and there is also the server side of things which gets odd from a gaming perspective (Vista was legendarily awful, at least until rather later in the day, but the equivalent server version was quite popular with certain segments of gamers for having the perks of Vista, that mostly being DirectX10, without most of the downsides, that being the slowness and weird options picked) but that is getting ahead of things and off track.

Windows 2000 and ME were merged to create Windows XP. As far as I am concerned this, or at least SP2 of it, was the starting line for the current era of operating systems. Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and now 10 don't do anything substantially different as far as most programming notions are concerned (give or take forced ASLR and similar shifts to 64 bit probably putting an end to inline assembly). Sure stuff like old visual basic runtimes is probably 10x more annoying to install on 64bit Windows 10 than it was in boring and basic XP SP2 but that is a minor quirk.
Other than some emulators of modern systems, or things leaning hard in accuracy, then nothing in vaguely common use in ROM hacking today would have looked out of place in early XP, or indeed you could probably slap one of those modernised 98 builds hard enough to have it work.

This is all somewhat off topic though. Tools used. You have found most of them, and http://www.romhacking.net/utilities/ does house most things from then as well, guides section also doing vintage guides. You probably want to add romjuice to your list there.
Pointers, asset redirection, aspects of messing with the code... all variously missing or reserved for the seriously skilled in earlier days (see various early super mario brothers NES stuff and it using tile replacement which made for many on screen oddities), and since then we have seen people with the time and inclination to make full commented disassemblies of things, and naturally tools have allowed themselves a bit of overhead to not crash all the time (can afford a bit of safe coding and error handling when you can do things whilst having a browser with 1000 tabs open and not have it even noticeable).

KingMike

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Re: About Early Day of ROMHacking
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2021, 12:38:08 pm »
I'm an old person still using tools that probably all date to the XP era or earlier.

Tile Layer Pro is pretty good, but I recall also using a DOS tile editor called tmod2. One of the few I recall that could even import Windows BMP files.
Hexposure was such a good DOS hex editor that I even set up a DOSBox configuration just for it (only works with real DOS support, so doesn't work beyond Windows 98 natively).
I still use WindHex primarily as a ROM hacking hex editor. (one thing I still use Hexposure for is entering DTE text. WindHex hasn't worked well for me on that)
FCEUX and Geiger's SNES9x Tracer are the debug emulators I use most. (even though the latter requires some outdated DLLs to run)
"My watch says 30 chickens" Google, 2018

C4_KadalMen

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Re: About Early Day of ROMHacking
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2021, 05:17:27 am »
Thank you so much.
~C4