Episode 122a - Rom Hacking and Retro Gaming


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Welcome to Episode 122a Main Topic
  • yes it is i the boy - who am i even

-son of unclemarc

-stevens type kid

-longtime mathematics enjoyer

-"pro" gamer

a quick personal history

-first talk about how i got into older games

-wii virtual console, snes emulator in 3rd grade (messing around with lunar magic, despite not knowing how to use it)

-got into gba in grade 6

-got into fe in grade 8, fell out a bit, got back into it in junior year

-got into hacking in freshman year of college

retro gaming

-old games are cool, but good luck finding the carts and consoles

-if you're not japanese there goes a lot of games

-solve these problems with emulation- play classic games, translate foreign games, etc.

-pretty much every system you can think of has emulators developed

-of note here is also the ability to play hacks

what the hell is a romhack

-take a game that you enjoy, and use your numerous powers to turn it into something new

-graphics, sounds, level design, mechanics- the whole nine yards

-why do you hack? for fun, to learn about old stuff, to show off to people

-it's like making a game, but you kinda have to be purely passion driven (no profit for you)

what do ya need, anyway

-a rom, obviously (yeah sure i totally dumped one myself)

-patience and perseverance

-whatever hacking tools exist for the game you wish to tackle

-god there's so many of them

-game specific tools (ex. lunar magic, febuilder)


-debugging emulators (ex. no$gba)

-graphical tools (ex. usenti, paint if you hate yourself)

-sound stuff (usually working with midis, either custom made, downloaded, or ripped from other games)

decomp vs. binary

-binary hacking is more straightforward to setup (usually)

-decompilations/buildfiles allow much more freedom

-buildfiles also give you powerful version control

-if you screw up, bug fixing is far more merciful

-binary has you burning edits into your rom- scary!

i just told you buildfiles are rad but anyway use binary hacking

-that all being said, binary hacking tools are probably the best way to start

-the simplicity allows you to acquaint yourself with the nitty gritty

-gonna be honest, i started with very little knowledge on the specifics

-never thought i'd casually pick up hexadecimal

you don't even have to do it all yourself

-lots of hacking communities have tons of resources

-graphical/musical assets for the artistically unable

-engine hacks so you don't have to reinvent the wheel adding cool shit

-documentation on the inner workings of a game

but sometimes you gotta

-gba assembly haunts my dreams

-thankfully, other options exist

-pokemon decomps use C, CHAX is a somewhat recent thing in fe

-with the gui methods, you can do a ton of stuff without ever touching asm

-just gotta be clever and maybe rub an elbow or two

screw it, fe hacking scene history

-nightmare (good old csv editing), various general use gba tools

-apparently hackers used to map in ms paint

-feditor is a nightmare hellscape

-despite this, we still had hacks

-shoutout to the last promise, made by a highschooler with the equivalent of rusty sponges

the golden age begins

-event assembler- insert data with a powerful and versatile tool

-buildfiles insert most of their data through EA

-in march 2017, skillsystem dropped- a revolution in the hacking scene to turn fe8 into a game as feature rich as modern entries

-emblem magic- an all in one gui hacking tool dropped in august 2017

-then febuilder dropped in september 2017 and kinda overshadowed it

-an aside on pokemon romhacking making you download like 80 things

-builder is a gift from a god known as 7743- easy to use UI with a ton of features and some underrated debugging power

-skillsys got ported to builder early on, and it has a ton of ui to complement it

-ever since, we've had tons more hacks

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Intro and Outro music credit: Tri Tachyon, Digital MK 2http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Tri-Tachyon/

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