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Post subject: I've been working on Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 8:58 pm 
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So, not so recently Filler passed me his translation of Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear and I figured I'd take a crack at it. Then I had things come up and it got put on the back burner and Filler probably thought I would never get back to it. Recently I found some time to do some work and turns out I'm making decent progress though there is a LONG way to go.

For the first time ever, I've traced and recreated a decompression routine to decompress graphics and then reverse engineered it to recompress graphics back into the game. Thanks especially to the great debugger in Emulicious that actually makes it easy to find routines related to tilemaps and such. I wish all debuggers worked like this. Also helps that I know the Z80 a bit better than the 65816. (Still quite the novice though.) There is still a LOT of work to be done. The game has some strange programming and I have ideas for other assembly hacks that I'll try and pull of to improve the game further. Those may or may not work out but I will try. Either way, I'm pretty sure I can get the game done in some form at this point.

Here is a nice screenshot of progress I've made. The game now has a lower case font. (Though the font isn't final at this point.) Neither Filler nor I have discussed how release will be handled. This may not be released via Dynamic Designs, I'll leave that up to Filler. No matter how the game is finally released, I figured you guys would like to know things are happening. Note: The text isn't final either and I have put a comma in, it just wasn't in when I took that screenshot.


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Post subject: Re: I've been working on Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:15 pm 
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taskforce wrote:
So, not so recently Filler passed me his translation of Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear and I figured I'd take a crack at it. Then I had things come up and it got put on the back burner and Filler probably thought I would never get back to it. Recently I found some time to do some work and turns out I'm making decent progress though there is a LONG way to go.

For the first time ever, I've traced and recreated a decompression routine to decompress graphics and then reverse engineered it to recompress graphics back into the game. Thanks especially to the great debugger in Emulicious that actually makes it easy to find routines related to tilemaps and such. I wish all debuggers worked like this. Also helps that I know the Z80 a bit better than the 65816. (Still quite the novice though.) There is still a LOT of work to be done. The game has some strange programming and I have ideas for other assembly hacks that I'll try and pull of to improve the game further. Those may or may not work out but I will try. Either way, I'm pretty sure I can get the game done in some form at this point.

Here is a nice screenshot of progress I've made. The game now has a lower case font. (Though the font isn't final at this point.) Neither Filler nor I have discussed how release will be handled. This may not be released via Dynamic Designs, I'll leave that up to Filler. No matter how the game is finally released, I figured you guys would like to know things are happening. Note: The text isn't final either and I have put a comma in, it just wasn't in when I took that screenshot.
This is really exciting!

The main thing is you're having fun. Hey, working on games keeps us off the street and outta trouble! Anyway, you have this breakthrough skill now. It's yours, like learning to ride a bicycle.

Oh, already you need a re-write. That sentence is in passive voice! (Wildbill makes the sign of warding vampires with his arms!)


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Post subject: Re: I've been working on Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 12:07 am 
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Yeah, it is. But I just cut down what filler had there enough to fit the screen. I didn't even worry about how it was written. This game will not be easy to write because of the stupid limited space of that game gear screen. Phantasy Star Gaiden all over again. Got game gear PTSD yet?


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Post subject: Re: I've been working on Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 12:23 am 
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taskforce wrote:
Yeah, it is. But I just cut down what filler had there enough to fit the screen. I didn't even worry about how it was written. This game will not be easy to write because of the stupid limited space of that game gear screen. Phantasy Star Gaiden all over again. Got game gear PTSD yet?
I'm cryin' into a bottle of French rose with Sherry. Ummm... did you say something about game gear!? Whew! I think I need another Tarrytown doughnut!


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Post subject: Re: I've been working on Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 2:20 pm 
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I traced the routine back further because I hadn't quite went far enough before so it wasn't working on all graphics and in so doing found the graphic compression location table and now have what I believe to be every single graphic in the game decompressed. Now I can edit any graphics that needs changed to English going forward. Unfortunately, I might need to look and see if expansion is possible if anything winds up bigger than the space it came from because these banks are downright packed with data. I think it is possible as I'm pretty sure the Game Gear can go up to a 1MB rom. The problem is how the data works and if I can move it away from the other data there, I think it is possible but can't be sure yet. Anyway, I'm learning more than I ever did in the past and progress is being made.

Oh and Wildbill it is worse than I said with editing right now. I've got to figure out a way to program a new line code because it doesn't have one. It simply has every line of text as its own block with a pointer. Unless I can do that this game is going to be murder. :) I think that shouldn't be an issue (I hope). Just need to find space for a new routine when a line break is hit to move the position in VRAM being written to. It already did it for accent marks that I've disabled.


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Post subject: Re: I've been working on Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear.
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 7:07 pm 
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How many line banks and pointers are there? I figure must be hundreds.

Can you maybe squeeze on 4 lines of text in a dialogue box?


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Post subject: Re: I've been working on Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2021 4:56 am 
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Well there isn't that much text so no there aren't hundreds. And each thing has a different text routine on top of it. I'll figure something out. The other text besides the intro and ending has a full page thing so that shouldn't be so bad. I'll see what I can come up with once I've ffinalized the recompressor for graphics.


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Post subject: Re: I've been working on Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2021 9:56 pm 
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Whoops, I uploaded the wrong graphic before LOL! Here is the right one (this time even with the comma in place).


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Post subject: Re: I've been working on Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2021 1:39 am 
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taskforce wrote:
Whoops, I uploaded the wrong graphic before LOL! Here is the right one (this time even with the comma in place).
Well, shoot. In the space you have, that scene beginning appears finished.


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Post subject: Re: I've been working on Kaitou Saint Tail for Game Gear.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2021 12:47 pm 
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Here is a mockup of the title screen. Since I know I can move the tileset to a fresh new bank and add more tiles if needed because the title screen has plenty of room for more tiles. I think I'm gonna go with this for the title screen. Shouldn't be hard to put it in place once I have the recompressor done. What do you guys think? BTW: Yes, I think I can put a (c) (Whatever Group) or something on there somewhere if I can find enough space for it. The screen is pretty packed as there is also a press start blinking there.


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