Ocarina of Time fan PC port expected to release in April

Screenshot-of-Link-as-an-adult-from-Ocarina-of-Time-Nintendo-1998.png

Last November, the Zelda Reverse Engineering Team successfully reverse-engineered the entire source code to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. After this happened with Super Mario 64 in 2019, a PC port soon followed, and it looks as though the same will be happening with Ocarina of Time soon. Speaking to VGC, a group calling themselves Harbour Masters have announced that they're working on a PC port of the project, and that they're expecting to release it at the beginning of April. “I’d give it approximately 90%. We’ve been hoping to be complete by the middle of February and use a month or so until April 1st to refine the game before release," said Kenix, a developer from the group. "We’re hoping to have a public repository available in late February.”

The group also plans to make a number of enhancements to the original title, like widescreen support and plans for a 60fps release down the line. Harbour Masters' port will also make modding easier for their title, allowing for HD texture packs or other enhancements to be more easily made, because "[their] game has an asset loading pipeline much more similar to modern games."

Like the Super Mario 64 decompilation, it's unlikely this project will be taken offline because the team wrote new code by deconstructing Ocarina of Time, rather than basing it off of leaked proprietary documents. "We packed assets into an external archive," Kenix told VGC. "No assets are linked into the exe. Our belief is that this will prevent a DMCA takedown from Nintendo as SM64 linked all of the assets into the .exe file." Only executables that included those assets were struck by Nintendo; the reverse-engineered code itself was fine. However, Take-Two is currently taking legal action against similar decompilation projects, so only time will tell if things are safe for this project.

You can follow Harbour Masters' progress on their Discord server.

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FAST6191

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Plus, wouldn't ya think Nintendo would've gone after the original Mario 64 decomp by now? That's been available for about 2 years and still is up.

It is truly a mystery of the day for me. From where I sit all the copyright law is on Nintendo's side -- decompiling copyrighted code makes a completely unambiguous derived work from said material. Plenty of other companies smack things down here all the time, and Nintendo have shown themselves time and time again to be watching things very closely and be lawyer happy.

The only reason I can imagine them not going for it is in the event the court case does not go their way (maybe their lawyer found some obscure legal analysis) and by quirk of law (sure to be shut down at earliest convenience) it turns out not only is it legal but you can release it under GPL or something (as opposed to "for information purposes only" that most of these seem to adopt) that they don't want to be the one that causes that where today it is mostly only the same crowd that would be playing with ROMs, or indeed hacked ROMs, that bother and that will just go underground (not hard to set up a git server and build tools on something like TOR network).

Does anyone know if there's a similar reverse-engineering going on for Majora's Mask? I'd love to see the hacking community take off for that game.
For the most part assume any vaguely popular N64 game is getting this treatment (for instance the project doing it for a Kirby game discovered a hidden menu that was previously unknown so we know at least there is that https://gbatemp.net/threads/nintend...-cheat-code-discovered-21-years-later.585818/ ), and as we are some years out from C++ decompilation then it is not like everybody is suddenly going to discover the PS360 tomorrow and do things there instead so there is some staying power. Timelines for things vary dramatically depending upon the difficulty of the game to do it (the N64 featured some quite custom hardware that devs would play to*), skill of those doing decompilation (it is still a very skilled action despite computers being fast enough and computer based techniques advanced enough to render it a possibility vs what halting problem would have us believe), time available for those doing the decompilation, end goal of decompilation as in "1:1 vs 1:1 with comments vs just works" and more besides.
Most of them will be more like ROM hacking projects in that you might get an announcement somewhere but more likely it will be a surprise one day, and if you are the sort of person that can help with it you are probably already moving in those circles or can expect a PM one day seeing if you are up for it.

*not really a deep dive but covers a start of things in the emulation issues section if you did want a primer

I should also note it might not be that hard to do a conversion between Ocarina and Majora's like we sometimes see for various "Doom clones" that did not get a source release but were still substantially similar engines -- it is largely the same engine with a few additions (most of which are known to the player), similar formats internally and so forth.

But the game itself, characters, levels, story, music is also owned by nintendo.

Unless they release it under a different name, levels ect then nintendont could still go for them.

Regardless if they rebuilt the game using none of nintendonts code, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in itself is still nintendonts property, making fan based games using the same name is the issue as stated no reverse engineering of their IPs is permitted and is protected by law, you cannot distribute without permission of the licence owner.

And unfortunately no matter how you look at it, this is still a direct clone of a game owned by nintendont.

Same how they shut down a go kart company for dressing up as nintendont characters.

Its using their licensed properties without permission.

Yeah I said as much, though you are confusing a variety of terms and concepts in that.
The name part is trademark law. That being names of products, logos and whatever that your customers (which does include little old grandmas) might associate with your product and buy/obtain on faith and expectations of quality associated with your company.

I also agree the game's underlying code (for which this is not any kind of known workaround for replicating, and there are some**) falls under copyright, the characters (which could be trademark depending upon what they did -- pokemon wise I have not looked but would not generally expect anything that has not appeared in a smash brothers game, be it playable or pokeball, is going to be trademarked even if the drawings associated with it would be copyrighted), levels, story and music then being copyrighted works. However as most of these projects are all "you need to provide the original ROM for this so it can rip, convert and embed it all into this" then they dodge that aspect of it (still have the code issue).

The gokart thing was Japanese law, though broadly similar, and more in the trademark thing from what I saw of it all. Probably them not wanting the eventual headache when someone lost a game of beat the bus and someone took a picture of Mario as a red smear on the Japanese streets (and then the fun parts of the internet coming along and making a comedy edit in poor taste).

**see clean room reverse engineering (though again as in a post above I would not expect a 100 strong team that started day 1 of the game's release and full time ever since to be anywhere close to this right now), and that is also not withstanding the reverse engineering for copyright analysis (did Nintendo steal your/your client's code to make their game?), interoperability (which is possibly the reason for their reticence in filing lawsuits here like I would expect), disability access and whatever else gets trotted out in the "substantial non infringing uses" discussions of emulation and legalities thereof, or DMCA exemptions if in a place where that is in play.
 
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limpbiz411

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And because you made a front page announcement Nintendo will send a cease and desist. Don't announce this kind of stuff until it actually releases. Haven't we learned anything?
 
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Stone_Wings

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dumb question, I am a huge Oot/MM fan but I haven’t used any windows pc for a decade..
will this be able to be run on MacOS?
I only own the ones with the new M1 Chip sets..

I would like to say I feel sorry for you, but I can't when you purposefully spent the $$$$ on Macs. :P
 

Marc_78065

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Nintendo will probably still try to come at them for using their property.

If only Nintendo released it themselves, this wouldn't be needed. God damn stubborn company.
 
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FAST6191

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If only Nintendo released it themselves, this wouldn't be needed. God damn stubborn company.
Depends what you mean by released.

If they just did a PC port themselves then it would be the same problem as every other half arsed port. Modders might be able to pick it up and run with it for a bit but source provides so many more options. A lot of the fun things we see as far as ports to everything, mods that might not necessarily be in keeping with the spirit/vision of the original game (because you know there is going to be something like that involved, either fun with cyberpunk, everybody laughing at the GTA 3 family remasters, or general tone and tenor Nintendo thinks it cultivates) and things that go completely off the wall get to be far harder.

If you mean released like ID released their code ( https://github.com/id-Software ), maybe making sure to have a version of the ROM available easily on whatever platforms they care to deal with such that people don't have to go find their old carts and dump those then different matter entirely... however we seemingly don't live in the good timeline.
 

Imancol

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Nintendo will probably still try to come at them for using their property.

If only Nintendo released it themselves, this wouldn't be needed. God damn stubborn company.
And it can, if this is the same as ripping a game, or hacking an online game, even the most stupid of what YouTube does, download a video or demotize it because it is a video of one of its games. Something that allows you to play it, without purchasing a usability license, is much worse than all of the above.
 

The Real Jdbye

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dumb question, I am a huge Oot/MM fan but I haven’t used any windows pc for a decade..
will this be able to be run on MacOS?
I only own the ones with the new M1 Chip sets..
Probably. A friend of mine has a M1 Mac and Windows games run surprisingly well on it through the usual methods you'd use to run Windows games on non-Windows.
 

protomouse

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Perhaps Nintendo isn't too interested in a project that isn't being monetized or conflicts with their current pipeline.
 

Ottoclav

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That does not mean anything.

If the reverse engineering happened by careful observation of resulting program, aka clean room (though that can require further steps in some scenarios) then that would be one thing (though potentially dubious at some levels). This would also be a Herculean, indeed probably Sisyphean, effort and I would not expect a team of 100 dedicated high end coders starting 1 day after the original game's release to be within farting distance of a 1:1 compilation at this point.

If the reverse engineering happened by taking the existing code, running it through a program to make it a bit more readable by the common man and tarting that result up a bit, aka what happened here then it is much like taking someone's PNG image, saving it as JPG and claiming it is now yours (although this PC port is more like taking that JPG, adding a border, saving it as BMP and claiming all good). Quite why Nintendo have not gone hammer and tongs at the existing stuff (various pokemon and mario NES/SNES stuff being around for some time now, way before the mario 64 stuff was even technically feasible) I am not sure; every reading of law, previous case and in some cases the same rationales as they use against fan games would appear to be on their side if they did want to go after people here. Not including any graphics, music or text within the game is one thing and better than having that in there as well, but it is not like you can't copyright code either.


Anyway interested to see what they did here; I took a look at the Mario 64 original and then the first stage PC port to see what was changed and they got away with far less change than I imagined, saw the Zelda stuff when it dropped with an eye to doing things there and it looked like that would be far more of an effort (most of the code was not as nicely organised, I presume Nintendo also learned a thing or two about the N64 hardware so you also have that to unpack, if they are also tweaking a few things along the way for draw distance/fps/resolution/... then that would be further effort).
Actually, it more like taking the PNG file, saving it as a JPEG, and creating another JPEG that overlays on top of the original JPEG that brushes over all the original pixels and softens and sharpens the image to make it a more crisp and defined image. This is what is different than the M64 game. M64 had all the code written into the executable file, whereas the OoT exe file is left singular and the Dev team's code runs with it. At least, that is what I gathered from the post.
 

zupi

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The only improvement I ask for is for Link's walking to be sped up ( by 1.3~2x)

My biggest gripe with OoT is that Link moves so slowly that it feels like there's a really powerful wind resistance holding him back.
Nintendo used the most annoying way to pad out the game, it feels like they are holding you from moving and saying "look around, aren't you impressed this is all THREEEE DEEEE??"
 
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Lv44ES_Burner

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I expect it to be released, but much like any other project, I also expect it to be nuked with a C&D or a DMCA takedown order almost immediately afterwards. This is a first-party Nintendo IP product, after all, and of their properties that they protect the fiercest, their first-party games are almost always their highest priority to defend in a court of law.

Clean or dirty room reverse engineering really doesn't matter to them in the end; they *have* to attempt to defend their IP, and since OoT is currently a product they can argue they're actively making money on again with the NSO Expansion Pack, they can likely argue that they're in the right.

Remember why AM2R got nuked; sure, it survives to this day thanks to the good ol' Streisand Effect, but Nintendo WAS working on Metroid: Samus Returns, which was practically from an IP position the same property.
 

MikaDubbz

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They should implement all the stuff that was left behind. You know, medallions, items, dungeon designs, Link's attacks, the Portal mechanic featured in Forest Temple.
At the very least, maybe we can include Master Quest as an option when creating your save file, having both experiences in the same file.
 

MikaDubbz

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Everyone keeps saying it will get DMCA'd, but didn't the Mario 64 reverse engineering project stay up without issue? The only of these kinds of decompilation projects that I'm aware of to be taken down by a dev were the GTA 3, Vice City, and Liberty City Stories decompilations. And I believe it was Take Two specifically that took them down, not Rockstar.
 
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