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Post subject: Hacking This Game
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:44 am 
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I see a few projects have been removed from the forums and well, I was surprised this one was still there. Just out of curiosity's sake, I took a look at it and I could tell right away it's a @#$%& to hack. There's two issues with hacking this game. First is the ROM is practically packed full with virtually no free space. Second is that the ROM can't be expanded. The maximum size for MBC2 games is 256kb. Given that J->E translations need about twice the space of the original, fitting a decent translation in under these conditions is quite difficult. So that left me with two ideas on how to approach the project. First idea is to use a powerful compression type like Huffman to fit the script back in. Second is to disassemble the ROM and see if there's any way to improve the ROM by finding unused data/code and adding compression to previously uncompressed assets.


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Post subject: Re: Hacking This Game
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 3:28 am 
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Hey, Garrett. Yeah, the other projects we've decided to just cut loose. I just haven't gotten around to writing a new story about it because this project is still up in the air. Wildbill has a complete translation and doesn't want to let it go, but may have to do so if he can't find the hacking support. I'm sure Bongo` could make an inserter but I'm not sure he wants to learn gameboy assembly to make sure the project goes smoothly beyond that. So, long story short, we could still use some qualified gameboy help to get this to completion, or it might have to be dropped too.

If you would like to help out, contact Wildbill at
Spoiler! :
wildbill@dynamic-designs.us

I'm sure he'd be thrilled to find someone that will help him see this to completion.


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Post subject: Re: Hacking This Game
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 7:00 pm 
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Well, Gameboy hacking isn't that hard. In fact the tools available make it really easy. However, the space restrictions in this game, make the task difficult.

A thought did occur to me though. It is theoretically impossible for the MBC2 to support more than 256kb within the old technological constraints. But developments in flash technology renders these limitations moot. So let's say I expand the ROM to 512kb, will it work on a flashcart? The problem isn't so much the size as being able to access the extra 256kb. I will ask that question to someone who knows more and if works on a flashcart, I will hack the game in the future.


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Post subject: Re: Hacking This Game
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 9:01 pm 
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Well, nevermind. Apparently it's pretty easy to convert the game to use a different MBC that supports an expanded ROM.

Anyhow, I will need Bongo's help for compression tools because it looks like the title screen and font graphics are compressed.


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Post subject: Re: Hacking This Game
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 10:37 pm 
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Garrett wrote:
Well, nevermind. Apparently it's pretty easy to convert the game to use a different MBC that supports an expanded ROM.

Anyhow, I will need Bongo's help for compression tools because it looks like the title screen and font graphics are compressed.
Will a patched game play on the popular NES emulators out there?


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Post subject: Re: Hacking This Game
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 11:04 pm 
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Yes, it works on any popular GB emulators.


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Post subject: Re: Hacking This Game
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 10:58 am 
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Garrett: You can always do what I did with Ranma 1/2 2 Gameboy. Let the game decompress the tiles and save a savestate. Assuming it decompresses them in that manner. Then just load the uncompressed tiles into your expanded space and override the compression routine with a new one that loads them. Its a pretty simple assembly hack.

That game might still happen someday, but I'm not sure anyone even cares. It was a pretty lousy game to begin with. Had great music though.


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Post subject: Re: Hacking This Game
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 10:41 pm 
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Yeah, I suppose I can do that, but it's gonna be kind of annoying. The game uses one routine to decompress a bunch of graphics including the font and title screen. I'm gonna need to relocate code and code some exceptions.


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Post subject: Re: Hacking This Game
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 4:59 am 
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Ouch, yeah, luckily Ranma had separate routines.


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Post subject: Re: Hacking This Game
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 5:50 am 
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I've successfully bypassed the compression. But I've only got the font finished and I'll need to tinker with the title screen.

The graphics code was quite tricky with lots of trial and error. My goal was to disassemble the original routine and make an alternate routine in the expanded ROM that's basically the same as the original minus the compression part.

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