News:

11 March 2016 - Forum Rules

Main Menu

How do I do Romhacks on an Android?

Started by Arceus I, September 21, 2022, 11:17:49 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Arceus I

I know Windows & Linux are the essential parts of a Romhackers career, but what about Androids? The still popular devices that are like miniature computers? Are there hacking tools that can be used on these devices? I know that I can PLAY Romhacks on such devices, but not CREATE them (At least, as far as I know). So if that essentially blocks me from creating Romhacks, then we might need to add utilities that work on these too.

Just asking a very important question regarding phones.

Bonesy


FAST6191

mac or linux is also a big handicap in making ROM hacks -- being having Linux as my main OS for quite some years now actually (about the time XP ended finally I shifted wholesale) and it is a slog compared to Windows with several things missing that I would really like.

Android wise then unless it runs on a website (there are a few online hex editors, disassemblers and emulators, never seen a tile editor that could be used in ROMs but it is within reason) or is android remote controlling a Windows computer then not really.

Theoretically it could be done; most android phones being dozens of times more powerful than the PCs that saw ROM hacking go more mainstream. You would run into the legacy programs issue if you get into the more well hacked games/franchises where some tool that is the only one of its type/reference grade in all other ways might be 15 years old and not only windows only but windows + some obscure and annoying to install specific version of visual basic*. Still get a decent hex editor, tile editor, compression handling tools for those systems it makes sense for, unpacking tools for isos and big consoles where it matters, maybe any archive formats, some audio stuff (most game consoles are fairly narrow focused here), relative search and some text handling that makes sense of https://transcorp.romhacking.net/scratchpad/Table%20File%20Format.txt and you are 95% of the way there for most purposes, debugging emulators are a bit harder to do but withing scope as well.
Chances of it happening are fairly slim from where I sit; most ROM hackers that advance the state of the craft/write the tools come from heavy technical backgrounds and that means they will all have PCs as a matter of course, or at least an old laptop sitting around (and anything that might have sensibly ran Windows XP back in the day would do) that also has the perks of large screen, keyboard and mouse if they do decide to work on a ROM hack during a lunch break.

*curiously, though it is a thing I am thankful for, ROM hacking largely missed the java boat which would have made things easier to port here. I am never entirely sure why (some ponder whether the Java schools types https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2005/12/29/the-perils-of-javaschools-2/ that saw it pushed never made it as ROM hackers and thus did not spread it there, though prevalence of visual basic stands rather in contrast to that) but it is what it is.

akualung

Maybe using Exagear, some Windows-only hacking tools could be used on an Android device to some extent?

Cyneprepou4uk

Quote from: Cyneprepou4uk on June 25, 2019, 10:59:21 AMI think the best you can do is install a hex editor app and poke around in bytes. You probably will be able to change some text and (maybe) palettes, but that's it. So good luck with that.

Better sell your iphone and buy a pc.

Also, even if Android would have all those tools that I use for romhacking (which it doesn't), there is no way I would prefer my smartphone over a PC. Because it's inconvenient.

Arceus I

But for me, it's the only way. PC is not an option as I'm restrained.

Nintenja

Unipatcher and rom patcher js can help you put together patches in android...but all the best utilities are on pc sadly..maybe the future will change this..there are pc emulators for android..but when my pc broke (I got it fixed)I couldn't figure out how to get one working.

tygerbug

  You need Windows. That's what most of the good tools are for.

C_CliFF

#8
Quote from: Arceus I on September 21, 2022, 11:17:49 AMI know Windows & Linux are the essential parts of a Romhackers career, but what about Androids? The still popular devices that are like miniature computers?

The problem is not that it won't be powerful enough to do it, but Windows and Linux (x86) use different architecture than Android (ARM). Android phones are not "like" miniature computers, they ARE miniature computers but you can't run x86 on ARM and vice versa without emulating it, which is not an option if you're planning on doing anything remotely serious.

Arceus I

Quote from: Nintenja on September 22, 2022, 04:26:03 AMUnipatcher and rom patcher js can help you put together patches in android...but all the best utilities are on pc sadly..maybe the future will change this..there are pc emulators for android..but when my pc broke (I got it fixed)I couldn't figure out how to get one working.

Now how in the world would this happen in a "Reasonable Timeframe" when I have ideas that are yet to be unleashed?

Literally banging my head into a wall in frustration because the romhacking community hasn't moved to Android even though it's over 10 yeaars old now! :banghead:

FAST6191

Why would the community move to (moving implies abandoning a previous one) or otherwise embrace Android? It has not even embraced Linux yet.

Android is a restrictive environment (unless you further want to reduce it to all that have root), offers no great advantages as far as power (indeed probably several disadvantages on the multitasking front), most of the fun things are paid for (granted not as bad as OSX and IOS) especially on the emulator side of things, is annoying to use unless you otherwise get a keyboard added on and at that point you are back at basically a laptop, lacks all the nice legacy tools (of which there are dozens with little hope that some kind of compatibility layer), needs different approaches to coding for the most part...
About all it has it some try hards/masochists want to use it as a their primary computing platform and it is marginally more portable than an X86 laptop for those that want to do hacking on their lunch break and don't want to break out the personal laptop.

Arceus I

Quote from: FAST6191 on September 26, 2022, 01:08:40 PMWhy would the community move to (moving implies abandoning a previous one) or otherwise embrace Android? It has not even embraced Linux yet.

Android is a restrictive environment (unless you further want to reduce it to all that have root), offers no great advantages as far as power (indeed probably several disadvantages on the multitasking front), most of the fun things are paid for (granted not as bad as OSX and IOS) especially on the emulator side of things, is annoying to use unless you otherwise get a keyboard added on and at that point you are back at basically a laptop, lacks all the nice legacy tools (of which there are dozens with little hope that some kind of compatibility layer), needs different approaches to coding for the most part...
About all it has it some try hards/masochists want to use it as a their primary computing platform and it is marginally more portable than an X86 laptop for those that want to do hacking on their lunch break and don't want to break out the personal laptop.

Yeah...Most Androids now have a built in keyboard. No external keyboard needed.

JP32

Quote from: Arceus I on September 26, 2022, 04:42:56 PMYeah...Most Androids now have a built in keyboard. No external keyboard needed.


Yeahhh have fun coding with tiny touchscreen keyboard

Arceus I

Quote from: JP32 on September 26, 2022, 05:02:43 PM

Yeahhh have fun coding with tiny touchscreen keyboard

I've used it for a few years now, apart from occasional tiny mishaps, I'm consistent.

PowerPanda

The thing to realize about the romhacking community is that a lot of the people who put out romhacks here are ALSO the people who wrote the tools for their games. They wrote those tools for the computer that they were working on, and then were kind enough to share those tools with the community at large. It is rare that a game has enough of a modding scene to create tools that anyone can use. I know of only a handful of games that fall under that umbrella, and each of them has their own dedicated hacking website.

So if you want the romhacking scene to have more options with Android, the answer is, whether you like it or not, to find the game you want to hack, code a utility to do it in Android, and release it to the community. Once you have created enough apps, you'll start to build momentum around the Android hacking community, and as Android-exclusive users join the romhacking ranks, they will create more.

Arceus I

Quote from: PowerPanda on September 26, 2022, 09:34:06 PMThe thing to realize about the romhacking community is that a lot of the people who put out romhacks here are ALSO the people who wrote the tools for their games. They wrote those tools for the computer that they were working on, and then were kind enough to share those tools with the community at large. It is rare that a game has enough of a modding scene to create tools that anyone can use. I know of only a handful of games that fall under that umbrella, and each of them has their own dedicated hacking website.

So if you want the romhacking scene to have more options with Android, the answer is, whether you like it or not, to find the game you want to hack, code a utility to do it in Android, and release it to the community. Once you have created enough apps, you'll start to build momentum around the Android hacking community, and as Android-exclusive users join the romhacking ranks, they will create more.

Good concept, but I don't know how to create such things, the closest I have is Lucky Patcher...

lexluthermiester

Quote from: Arceus I on September 21, 2022, 11:17:49 AMHow do I do Romhacks on an Android?

I know Windows & Linux are the essential parts of a Romhackers career, but what about Androids? The still popular devices that are like miniature computers? Are there hacking tools that can be used on these devices? I know that I can PLAY Romhacks on such devices, but not CREATE them (At least, as far as I know). So if that essentially blocks me from creating Romhacks, then we might need to add utilities that work on these too.

Just asking a very important question regarding phones.
The short answer? You don't. To do game hacking/modding of any kind you need a proper PC, whether it be Windows, Linux or Mac. Phones and tablet simply don't have the tools and software.

Jorpho

Quote from: Arceus I on September 26, 2022, 12:06:48 PMNow how in the world would this happen in a "Reasonable Timeframe" when I have ideas that are yet to be unleashed?

Ideas are cheap. Do you have a specific idea of how you would "unleash" any of your ideas with the existing Windows tools?
This signature is an illusion and is a trap devisut by Satan. Go ahead dauntlessly! Make rapid progres!

PowerPanda

Quote from: Arceus I on September 26, 2022, 09:50:51 PMGood concept, but I don't know how to create such things, the closest I have is Lucky Patcher...

And that's why there are no tools for Android. Be the change you want to see.  Or buy a cheap PC.

JohnH

There is no reason that someone couldn't write a patcher for Android. The only real problem is logistical--mobile platforms try to hide the filesystem from the user generally, and also tend to do things like give each app its own filespace, requiring that you grant them permissions to view other files, which is an extra hoop both for the app author to jump through (asking for that permissing) as well as the user (granting that permission, hunting for the files through the somewhat obscure file system on the device).

It's frustrating that mobile OS devs' attempts to make their systems easier to use has in fact put up this huge artificial barrier to working with files across multiple apps, but that's just the state of mobile computer use in this year of our frog 2022.