Tales of Hearts DS: n00b romhacker (me) attempting to rip compressed (?) scripts from the game, keeps hitting roadblocks and needs help

itsScarfy

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I've spent a large chunk of August trying to rip the script of a JRPG called Tales of Hearts for the Nintendo DS. Me and some friends are planning a translation patch project for it, and it's my job in the group to figure out the programming side of things.

Problem is, 99% of the text seems to be behind compressed files. And I'm having a hell of a time finding any sort of guide on the internet about ripping from + editing text in those.

(Background: I'm a newbie who's only just learning rom hacking, and am also only starting to learn programming so I can't write any of my own tools just yet. So atm I've only looked into pre-made utilities like CrystalTile2 for hex editing/searching roms, etc, Cartographer for script ripping and formatting, WindHex for general hex editing, stuff like that. I acknowledge that patching text into this video game is most likely a task that will require extra programming on my end, and I'm more than willing to learn more about the craft in order to accomplish what I need to. But I'm scoping "easier" methods out first to see what I can do right now, at least)

In any case, I've found two files that I believe hold (most of*) the text: m.dat and fcsr.dat. The former holding the main scenario text, and the latter holding text from something called "skits". I need to rip these text scripts from both of them, and also later figure out how to reinsert them into the game. However:
  1. Unless it's there and I just haven't figured it out, Cartographer isn't able to rip from compressed scripts
  2. Even if I export the .dat files from the rom and run them through a decompression program, I can't find anything on the net about ripping from sole files. Just from roms. Which I can't do if I don't have something that can decompress -and- rip at the same time
  3. I'm not even sure if I know how to decompress the files properly. I attempted to run them through a program called BatchLZ77 that's ostensibly made for DS files, but when I peeked inside the decompressed files with a hex editor they seemed even -more- messed up than they were before
  4. I could be wrong about all of this, but among the compressed, garbled chaos of those two files I did find text that matched up perfectly with stuff I know to be from the story cutscenes and skits respectively, so fairly sure/hoping that I'm right

Is anyone able to help me out/point me in the right direction? Thanks in advance!

*(The menu text (items, status screen text, in-game synopsis, etc), is mercifully located in uncompressed files, so they're not an issue right now)
 
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itsScarfy

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Oh snap, I absolutely have not seen that yet! This looks like exactly what I need, thank you so much! I'll take a stab at this and figure out what to do later if something goes horribly wrong!
 

itsScarfy

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Okay update, unfortunately there were problems. Many, many problems.
  1. Could not successfully insert the tods3 files after editing them (they're the uncompressed menu files that I mentioned before). I attempted to edit the file with the synopsis, TODS3_OutLineData.dat, but when I try to insert the file with CrystalTile2 it gives me this error (the attached picture), and trying to repack the ROM with DS Lazy decreases the ROM's file size by a notable amount too. Whether I pack it with DS Lazy or insert it into the ROM using CrystalTile2 (I just pressed OK on CrystalTile without changing anything bc I had no idea what to do), the ROM will boot up fine, but attempting to visit the synopsis section will give me a completely blank selection screen and make the game lock up (thankfully for my ears, the music keeps playing)
  2. There are absolutely no instructions on how to open and edit the files from m.b and m.dat (the files that hold the story script (I was half right! whoo!!). The Hearts tool lets you extract from the files, which creates a ton of folders with SCP files, but I can't find anything on how to edit them and opening the files in a hex editor Or text editor even after decompression just reveals a bunch of garbage (admittedly I didn't go through a lot of them, but there are a LOT of them and I have a feeling everything else would be more of the same + take me hours)
  3. The read me file states that the toolmaker was unable to make a tool for the skits (which are in fcscr.b and fcscr.dat, again turns out I was half right! \o/), which is. Gonna be a problem.
If any of you guys are able to help a little with at least one of these things, that'd be grand. Though, especially in regards to the skit tool problem, this looks like something that's big enough to the point I would probably have to commission help from someone instead of soliciting free help on a ROMhacking forum... Regardless, if anyone's able to help me out, thanks in advance!
 

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Fel

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Okay update, unfortunately there were problems. Many, many problems.
  1. Could not successfully insert the tods3 files after editing them (they're the uncompressed menu files that I mentioned before). I attempted to edit the file with the synopsis, TODS3_OutLineData.dat, but when I try to insert the file with CrystalTile2 it gives me this error (the attached picture), and trying to repack the ROM with DS Lazy decreases the ROM's file size by a notable amount too. Whether I pack it with DS Lazy or insert it into the ROM using CrystalTile2 (I just pressed OK on CrystalTile without changing anything bc I had no idea what to do), the ROM will boot up fine, but attempting to visit the synopsis section will give me a completely blank selection screen and make the game lock up (thankfully for my ears, the music keeps playing)
  2. There are absolutely no instructions on how to open and edit the files from m.b and m.dat (the files that hold the story script (I was half right! whoo!!). The Hearts tool lets you extract from the files, which creates a ton of folders with SCP files, but I can't find anything on how to edit them and opening the files in a hex editor Or text editor even after decompression just reveals a bunch of garbage (admittedly I didn't go through a lot of them, but there are a LOT of them and I have a feeling everything else would be more of the same + take me hours)
  3. The read me file states that the toolmaker was unable to make a tool for the skits (which are in fcscr.b and fcscr.dat, again turns out I was half right! \o/), which is. Gonna be a problem.
If any of you guys are able to help a little with at least one of these things, that'd be grand. Though, especially in regards to the skit tool problem, this looks like something that's big enough to the point I would probably have to commission help from someone instead of soliciting free help on a ROMhacking forum... Regardless, if anyone's able to help me out, thanks in advance!
You could try joining @PhantomGhost AGT Discord and try asking one of the hackers there for help, as they're active. :)
 

mn1712trungson

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Okay update, unfortunately there were problems. Many, many problems.
  1. Could not successfully insert the tods3 files after editing them (they're the uncompressed menu files that I mentioned before). I attempted to edit the file with the synopsis, TODS3_OutLineData.dat, but when I try to insert the file with CrystalTile2 it gives me this error (the attached picture), and trying to repack the ROM with DS Lazy decreases the ROM's file size by a notable amount too. Whether I pack it with DS Lazy or insert it into the ROM using CrystalTile2 (I just pressed OK on CrystalTile without changing anything bc I had no idea what to do), the ROM will boot up fine, but attempting to visit the synopsis section will give me a completely blank selection screen and make the game lock up (thankfully for my ears, the music keeps playing)
  2. There are absolutely no instructions on how to open and edit the files from m.b and m.dat (the files that hold the story script (I was half right! whoo!!). The Hearts tool lets you extract from the files, which creates a ton of folders with SCP files, but I can't find anything on how to edit them and opening the files in a hex editor Or text editor even after decompression just reveals a bunch of garbage (admittedly I didn't go through a lot of them, but there are a LOT of them and I have a feeling everything else would be more of the same + take me hours)
  3. The read me file states that the toolmaker was unable to make a tool for the skits (which are in fcscr.b and fcscr.dat, again turns out I was half right! \o/), which is. Gonna be a problem.
If any of you guys are able to help a little with at least one of these things, that'd be grand. Though, especially in regards to the skit tool problem, this looks like something that's big enough to the point I would probably have to commission help from someone instead of soliciting free help on a ROMhacking forum... Regardless, if anyone's able to help me out, thanks in advance!
Can you upload skits file (.tss or something)?
 

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