3ds blue sky/for the sake of it/cheat style ROM hacking call to action.

Discussion in '3DS - ROM Hacking, Translations and Utilities' started by FAST6191, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    It seems the 3ds ROM hacking scene is starting to kick off, however I am seeing indicators of it heading down a similar to the one the PSP did (people doing good work, just sporadically and with odd approaches and the good work then taking several years to kick off).

    For those not familiar with the term "blue sky research" it is research conducted without much of a goal in mind, however in 10 years it may well mean the new researchers can get up to speed very quickly. Foolish people dismiss it as a waste of money, often government money/grants, but such mindsets are frequently proven wrong.

    Though the DS had something of a slow start compared to what could have been done it did get up to speed very quickly. The GBA, mainly thanks to early emulation and docs, was there from basically day one. I have sat and pondered it for a while and came to conclusion that the main differences were
    1) Cheat makers. On the DS they were some of the first and even main people to be doing applied assembly hacks, on hardware but in software debugging and figuring out all the techniques that go along with both of those. The end user might have only seen it manifest as a moon jump hack or experience multiplier but to get there involved quite a bit of good stuff. I see people saying they do not want cheats on the 3ds, such a thing is so very very wrong I can not quite understate it.

    2) People hacking for the sake of pulling something apart, this also including hunting for developer leftovers. I am mostly seeing people gravitating towards translations and asset ripping. I encourage both areas of hacking but they seem to be heading for a top down/tool using approach rather than a hardware specs and up approach which is not great. If someone wants to improve a game or generally pull it apart for the sake of it then it often produces some good data.

    3) Related to both really would be improvement and tweak hacks. Whether this evolved from ROM ripping (various times games were sliced up to fit various levels into different ROMs to fit on GBA vintage carts) or something else is up for debate, what is not is that a lot of good stuff happened from people that just tweaked the audio, polished up some text, dodged the need for a silly mechanic or otherwise pulled a game apart to write a guide on how it works (be it hacking or FAQ/walkthrough style).

    I see this also in embedded device world, say routers where people rip them apart to find security holes but share their methods, someone else then uses aspects of it in the port of ?-wrt to it and everybody is happy.

    Now I doubt I will be a part of all this -- I genuinely think the 3ds has an abysmal library compared to the GBA and DS before it*, and I can not see much going on for the 3ds that I can not get on systems that I like the library for, nor do I see much in the way of "it would be good if [some ROM hack] got done".

    *people seem to want to tell me it is new and will improve, I then have to mention it has been basically four years since it released ( https://gbatemp.net/threads/5-years-of-ds-roms-in-5-days-year-4.237156/ ).

    I do not want to appear nostalgic (nostalgia is rarely a net positive for me) but as I sat a few years before the end of the DS lifetime I thought "if I only knew then what I know now then things would have gone differently, my laziness notwithstanding". As I sit here now I can say I know things, and I know of many more that do.
     
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  2. LinkmstrYT

    LinkmstrYT ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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    You wanted to see where I live? You stalker...
    Interesting.
     
  3. zhdarkstar

    zhdarkstar GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    The DS was the first Nintendo handheld to have online capabilities. Because of such, online multiplayer wasn't as prolific in handheld gaming as it is this time around. Outside of first-party titles, most multiplayer games for the DS opted to focus more on local multiplayer than online. Those titles that did have online multiplayer soon found themselves plagued by cheaters.

    These two I'll address together as they are closely related. This may draw some ire from people, but the biggest roadblock in the 3DS scene has been the sharing/entitlement debacle. Both sides of it have been right in their messages, but wrong in their execution. Devs have every right in the world to decide whether or not their work is shared with others. At the same time, progress cannot be made as a scene if developments are not shared. The actions that do the most harm to the scene are when devs play "show-but-don't-tell" and when end-users do despicable things to leak the works of devs.

    I will admit that this is becoming less of an issue with each new release. However, there is still an inner circle that pervades the 3DS scene and limits the rate of development. We're still in an environment where you're expected to reinvent the wheel to something that can't be done in the sandbox allotted by the powers that be.

    I've said it thousand times before. The core reason that the 3DS library seems so small in comparison to the DS library is because of the emergence of the mobile games market. The lower barriers of entry for both developer and user made phones as viable platform for gaming, as much as it pains me to say. With regards to its impact on the handheld market, it's been a double-edged sword. Mobile gaming took most of the shovelware developers with it, but has also enticed bigger companies to shift some of their smaller teams towards making mobile games instead of handheld titles. It's impossible to make a fair comparison between the DS and 3DS libraries without taking into consideration how the phone in your pocket changed the landscape; especially once you realize that the 3DS came out right as the smartphone became ubiquitous.

    All of this said, I think that what the 3DS scene needs most is a breakdown of barriers. We need to stop looking at each other in terms of dev/user/insider/leecher, but instead as a scene united as one. No more cliques or secret clubs operating in their own interests exclusively.
     
  4. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I am aware of the online thing and it comes up in discussions of potential stuff for the 3ds.

    A lack of open discourse certainly does not aid things but as it stands there are exploits that basically allow fully access and that are readily available, though perhaps not at the "for the lint in my pocket" mindset that seems to have arisen during the DS era, something I hold to very much be the exception in modding devices. I would still hold though that for ROM hacking people are setting about it in a way I do not find ideal (the opening post having detailed it). We get a few people playing with a disassembler for the sake of it, a few people systematically examining releases like happened during the DS (though some of this might have been more for a first pass when translating Japanese games) and people generally making cheats for everything that plays well enough for someone to be a fan of it and I can rest happy. None of that is especially annoying to pull off at this point either.

    I am not especially concerned with why the 3ds does not have a library of note for me, indeed I would agree with the mobile market being the big drain (all the devs I liked on the GBA and DS seems to have been drawn into andrios, and I certainly can not fault them for it), the fact remains it is still the case.
     
  5. zhdarkstar

    zhdarkstar GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I'd say that the "lint in my pocket" mindset actually has more ties to being fallout from the PSP/Wii scene than the DS scene. The DS scene never saw a completely free modding solution. Sure, the cards may have eventually reached a point where prices dropped below $10, but it was never truly free. PSP and Wii, on the other hand, had free softmods available for most of the lifecycle.

    With regards to your call to action regarding rom hacks and cheats, I don't see it flourishing until the scene can come together for a "complete" loader solution. As it stands, the homebrew scene requires one loader, cheats only work on a specific loader with limited rom compatibility, and the rom loader scene favors emunand/eshop support over homebrew support. Part of what allowed cheats/hacks/homebrew to thrive on other modded platforms is the universal loader approach. Even the DS scene took this approach, as the various DS cards made sure that certain core features are to be universally expected, regardless of of the individual brands.

    Therefore in my eyes, I think that the first step towards your goal would be seeing the 3DS scene agree to creating a loader that incorporates all of the features that the various loaders can do. Until then, we're going to continue to see everything develop in forks that will gradually become even further incompatible with each other.