Finding a DS game for a community driven complete reverse engineer/hack.

Discussion in 'NDS - ROM Hacking and Translations' started by FAST6191, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I have done surface level/basic hacking on many games, and taken a few somewhat deeper. A while back I tried a thread called thread of a thousand ROM hacks where surface level hacks could be done and noted just for no reason, it did not amount to much.

    What I propose here is we decide upon a game here and reverse it hard. File formats (custom and otherwise), file names, disassembly/ROM map ( http://datacrystal.romhacking.net/wiki/Yu-Gi-Oh!_Dark_Duel_Stories:ROM_map ) , the maths underpinning it ( http://www.dragonflycave.com/rbycapture.aspx ), maybe some pondering of the compositions (it uses a ? beat and * instruments sort of thing) and so on and so on. If someone wants to improve things for the game then so be it.
    As we are in the DS section I want this to be a DS game, if you want to replicate the concept for other systems then even better.

    It is possible to pick randomly, however I would want a reasonably playable game used here and perhaps more importantly I do not want it to be one that has already been extensively reverse engineered -- so no mario platforming, zelda, phoenix wright, mario kart, fire emblem, advance wars, golden sun, pokemon, megaman.... and though this is the DS then were we doing it for the GBA I would even dismiss fire pro wrestling. I would also shy away from licensed titles, save perhaps unless the quality was 8-16 bit era Disney-Capcom grade.
    If it could be something that really represents the DS library then it would be better still.

    Wiki, megathread, something else. That might have to evolve as things go on.

    Anyway thoughts from others?
     
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  2. Pablitox

    Pablitox GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    That sounds like a neat idea! I don't think i'll be able to participate right now as i'm kinda busy (but I'd really like too, learning romhacking is one of the things I want to do) and my knowledge of romhacking is rather short, but everyone interested should take a look. One of the games i'd propose is Summon Night: Twin Age, if only because I liked the genre and would like to know how each map is generated, how enemies are placed, etc.

    The original thread you were talking about "a thousand ROM hacks" seemed really good too, as it would help programmers that wanted to start a translation project.
     
  3. rastsan

    rastsan 8 baller, Death Wizard,

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    I would love to hear a little bit more for criteria. I still have my hands full with other projects though but if I can help let me know.
     
  4. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    For the choice of game? I opened it up early to try to narrow it down. Other than try to make it a good game/game worth playing and try not to do it for a game/franchise with an established hacking scene I had no real constraints I wanted to apply to the selection at this stage. Later I might consider doing a quick analysis of some of the potential picks to see what might be good for hacking, leaning more towards something to get teeth stuck into rather than just SDK formats from top to bottom*. I imagine the game will be one that you might expect to see in a feature like http://gbatemp.net/threads/links-to-various-gbatemp-features-over-the-years.352851/ (but also not with an established scene) but who knows.

    *the princess maker game that had source code embedded is tempting I suppose but that might be better saved for a different project.

    On time to do it that was half the point -- if you want to take some aspect and work it up as far as you like and give it back then you can. No commitments, no expectations, no deadlines, no end goal beyond discover a bit more than we already knew (if you reckon your hack needs a variable width you have to deliver a VFW or something akin to it, here if you lack the time then just some basic font analysis will do), no worries if you find your skills lacking for a given area. There is a risk of work done overlapping with another but if you include your workings/process that is just as valuable.
     
  5. Hiccup

    Hiccup GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    So you are interested in hacking a game that hasn't been done at all (so not NSMB, SM64DS or MKDS)?
    Some suggestions:
    * 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
    * The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
    * The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
    * Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
    * Yoshi's Island DS
    * Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
    * Kirby Mass Attack
    * Super Princess Peach
    * Kirby Super Star Ultra
    * Kirby: Squeak Squad
    * Kirby Canvas Curse
     
    Last edited by Hiccup, Jan 8, 2016
  6. Heran Bago

    Heran Bago Where do puyo come from?

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    A disassembly for a game that isn't already hacked up due to its popularity? Bold strategy and good luck. Previous full rom ASM disassemblies like Sonic and Mario games only came about due to their community, interest in hacking, and talented individuals.
     
  7. Hiccup

    Hiccup GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    As far as I am aware no post-2000 Mario or Sonic game has had a fully documented disassembly.
     
  8. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    A fully commented (and possibly assemblable) disassembly would be an end goal but not necessarily a starting/driving one. But yeah this is more for the love of/sport of hacking, and possibly an option for some to experience some more in depth hacking than they might otherwise be able to get to easily, than a true desire to see how a given game works for the sake of the base game.

    Edit. Missed the suggestions list. Whether I would have gravitated towards them I am not sure (see the general lack of Nintendo staples on the features threads that I have been responsible for, it is not an accident) but having sliced a few of them up for a surface or more specific analysis, or spoken to those that have, then they would fit the bill of playable games with interesting things to look at from the perspective of a hacker.

    DSiware/DSi exclusives probably not -- DSi stuff is hard to run and I was hoping for more of a game that anybody can fire through ndstool and start staring at a hex editor.

    I will probably make a portal thread before too long but the opinions of those that might be paying attention to the DS hacking section are something I wanted before I did.
     
  9. Shubshub

    Shubshub The Shubinator

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    Does the game having cheat codes available exclude it from being an option?
     
  10. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I could envisage a situation where it might but the classic infinite ammo/health/time, exp boosters, item unlocks and such things are not going to trouble it, both because it wouldn't and also because we might have a choice of about two pieces of shovelware that were only released in Dutch if we did that. I have long held that many of the cheat makers were some of the best applied assembly hackers going and some of the cheats reflect that but it would take something special to discount it.
     
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  11. Shubshub

    Shubshub The Shubinator

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    In that case, What about Dragon Quest IX? Its a decently popular game Its a good game as well and could use some love

    Map Editors anyone? :P
    Save Editing Tools?

    Go Nuts!

    Over in the 3DS Section I am trying to crack open Pokemon Super MD Mail Password algorithm :P
     
  12. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I thought it had something but I was remembering DQ5 DS instead http://jeffludwig.com/dq5ds/download.php

    Square Enix games do tend to generate their own hacking community before too long, especially for core franchises. Though if such a thing gets picked then that would be fine.
     
  13. BORTZ

    BORTZ "Another stunning Van Gogh"

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    What about something early into the DS's lifespan? Maybe something like Star Fox Command? Or that Metal Slug knock off, "Commando Steel Disaster"? Or that Custom Robo Arena, Bangai-o Spirits, or that MOON shooter? I'm really just spitballing sleeper hit titles at this point.
     
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  14. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Star Fox did have the control system analysed ( https://gbatemp.net/threads/starfox-command-u-d-pad-hack.118663/ for the end result, https://web.archive.org/web/20110604163902/http://crackerscrap.com/docs/sfchacktut.html for the guide to it all), though at the same time I have not really seen people make new levels and fiddle with it like some of the older entries in the franchise. Sleeper hit titles were a fairly large part of the things in http://gbatemp.net/threads/links-to-various-gbatemp-features-over-the-years.352851/ which I linked earlier and as such would be where I lean here. However I did not want to just pick a title according to my own whims*.

    *mainly as that would probably end with something like veggy world being the pick (it is actually a nice little shmup and would probably make for some good hacking).

    Before that I was also looking at Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ.
     
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  15. Auryn

    Auryn GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Well, i have a game and Normatt coult give you a kickstart to the project....the only thing is that it's not really a game :P
    What about RPG Tsukuru DS or if you prefer RPG maker DS??
     
  16. SomeKindOfUsername

    SomeKindOfUsername Member

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    Might as well throw in some suggestions.

    Air Traffic Chaos
    Beat City
    Club House Games
    Maestro! Jump in Music
    Solatorobo
    Space Invaders Extreme 1 or 2
    The Dark Spire
    Tingles Rosey Rupee Land

    Not trying to be obscure for the sake of being obscure with some of those picks, I figured these might interesting to pick apart while hopefully not being too crazy complex (at least to the point of where it becomes infeasible to make any progress).
     
    Last edited by SomeKindOfUsername, Jan 18, 2016
  17. BORTZ

    BORTZ "Another stunning Van Gogh"

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    RPG gamer interests me for some reason. Its a game... used to make games... on the DS. I wonder what we could do with it if we reverse engineer something like that.
     
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  18. I pwned U!

    I pwned U! GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Please choose the Mario & Luigi RPGs. The only edits that are somewhat easy to make for them at this point are text edits. For several years, I have wanted for the games to have custom graphics, custom maps, and a SDAT that uses STRM files for the BGM instead of SSEQs and SWARs.

    There is currently a viewer for some of the content called Yoshi Magic, but it is extremely far from being complete and does not support editing anything. The developer has worked on it off and on for many years, but without anyone helping him out much, the development is moving slower than a snail. Please consider helping him with his project to make it reach its full potential.

    For more information on the situation, please see my thread from 2 years ago that is still without replies from anyone other than me.
     
    Last edited by I pwned U!, Feb 12, 2016
  19. metastase

    metastase Member

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    You know, I had this same idea a few times in the past but since I'm not a pro I thought it would just sound like some random newbie asking for help. lol

    2 obvious suggestions: RPG Maker DS and Uncharted Waters Rota Nova DS. I don't even need to elaborate on why they're good picks. That said...

    I personally think that if we are to invest our blood into it, it must be a game that 1-) has enough depth/replay value to make it worth but at the same time 2-) it shouldn't be extremely complex (like 3D stuff) so even newbies can "walk the walk" and get involved in the proccess if they wish to (or at least can learn from it after all is said and done). And finally, 3-) it would be ideal that this game uses the main DS functionality - the touch screen - in a decent way as I feel that this justifies choosing a DS game as the target of this project.

    Considering this, my personal suggestion is RAGNAROK DS.

    This game is a stylus-focused ARPG based on the popular MMORPG with millions of fans. Every other attempt to create any derivative work on this franchise was a let down and not what people wanted: Tactics on PSP, Odyssey on Vita, Valkyrie on Android, etc. Surpsiringly, the DS exclusive is VERY reminiscent of the original game which is impressive. With a few doable hacking tweaks, it does indeed have an absurd potential.

    As far as the GFX are concerned, I know it's newbie friendly enough because I have hacked them myself (I managed to swap all Class sprites for their female counterparts, female hairs and other colours work too). The in-game GFX are the exact same sprites from the MMO except with lower quality. Since all of those sprites are easily available online that resource is already there to all modders who may wish to insert famous enemies, Class sprites or cool looking hats from the MMO.

    The coding was apparently done in Lua. If we can reverse engineer some scripts we can essentially recode the game events. But even if we fail at this, the improvements we can accomplish via hex editing enemy stats and spawns is worth pursuing considering the game already has enough depth to make it fun, all it lacks is enough content (read: more challenging enemies) or a better distribution of the contents already available.

    On the musical aspect, Ragnarok is well known to have some awesome music...and some trashy ones. Unfortunately, the highly replayable post-game dungeon in this game has a bad one. The story mode final boss has the awesome 1 and it's only played ONCE. This is a good place to start.




    For those not familiar with the MMO (or the DS version), here is a quick look at how this ARPG works and why it has actual depth despite simple and functional controls:

    After lvling up as the Novice Class a little, you choose between Swordsman, Thief, Mage, Taekwon, Archer, Acolyte, Merchant. Each of these classes has 1 advanced form, ie: Merchant becomes Blacksmith (and 2 secret, advanced unlockable classes). You can spend your stat points and skill points earned via lvl ups freely, but it's not possible to have all skills or max all stats by the time you reach max lvl. That's where part of the depth comes from: every class has multiple stat/skill/equipment builds to experiment and have fun with.

    After reaching a certain lvl, you can Rebirth. It basically resets your character in exchange for bonus stat points and eventually bonus skill points. So after a very long cycle of Rebirths it's possible to have a max stat/skills character of any Class. Since you can recruit and train NPCs of any Class, this process becomes easier and faster each time as you can have a high lvl support healer helping you, etc.

    The Mirage Tower is a semi-random dungeon with 50 floors and a chance to get the best equipment in the game. It's also the only multiplayer part of the game but it be soloed. Unfortunately, after finishing the main story this is the only place in the game that still offers some challenge and good rewards.

    But the game has all of the structure to fix this already in place if we decide to mod it:

    - There are repeatable quests, except their challenge/reward stops being meaningful (easy to fix by replacing the enemy/reward);
    - There is an open world but unlike the MMO, boss monsters don't respawn and eventually it's not worth exploring anymore (fixed by changing monster spawns/drops/their stats);
    - The NPC partner system is awesome but NPCs can't go into Mirage Tower in adition to the issue mentioned above (if open world exploration and repeatable quests become valuable again this point is fixed);
    - Although equipment variation is already nice, redundancies exist so they can be modded into useful stuff without any negative impact;
    - The point above also applies to some monster "Cards" that grant special effects by being allotaced into slotted equipment. ie: The anti-freeze card is awesome on the MMO but useless here. We can fix this by replacing the card effect for something useful OR by changing enemy spawn points+their stats in such a way that anti-freeze becomes a serious consideration (example: by putting "Marin" monsters together with Sonic Blow users and buffing their stats considerably);
    - There is a cool game mechanic of customer>shops relationship that unlocks better equipment and goods as you buy more from each shop. But once maxed, it becomes irrelevant. Since this is ultimately accomplished via the final scripted quest unlocked after spending X money, we can edit whatever SRAM value is used to upgrade the shop and give players some rare reward from the already existing Mirage Tower floor clear drops (then reseting player relationship with shp owner), effectively circunventing the dead end on this cool sub-system (and giving player rewards for more money loops from buying shop potions and stuff);


    That last point actually applies to everything in the game, really. The Mirage Tower can be considered a small, replayable game on its own. Floor challenges are designed to test specific things like player ASPD (atk speed), monster killing capacity (monsters of different races and sizes that can be affected by DMG mods) VS boss killing capacity (if you equip a weapon strong against the boss you're sacrificing general monster killing speed), etc. So the "invisible" objective in the Tower is to be as efficient and quick as possible in order to have more chances at rare equipment drops.

    Basically what I'm saying is that all game design concepts used in the Tower can be applied elsewhere and they're solid enough to fesh out the rest of the game world via hex edit swaps on enemy spawn points/base stats/drops even without reversing the Lua scripts. If reversing them is possible then we could try more advanced stuff like reusing the Tower semi-random floor generation on other maps too, theoretically expanding the game world without adding extra GFX. Or better yet, hacking the touch-screen commands to create new spells/skills (probably too hard but at the very least we could mess with charge times/delays/cooldowns for a similar effect).

    And if someone is wondering why people would play RO DS (via emulators) instead of playing the actual MMO instead, well, that's the thing. The majority of the players who quitted RO did so for basically only 2 reasons: it takes too much time to get anywhere in the game and/or they didn't like the Renewal mechanics. So even disregarding the actual DS portability (and being offline), RO DS has the potential to deliver on both ends even with simple mods if the community manages to make this possible. The faster lvling loop is already integrated anyways, it's possible to reach end-game levels in 1 afternoon with a few good NPC partners so Rebirthing doesn't feel like a chore or unrewarding grinding that takes months to accomplish in the MMO. It's not a big deal to swap classes in RO DS so being creative is fun.