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Old 05-29-2009, 03:10 AM   #15
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,489

Okay... where exactly are you seeing these "dictionary" entries used? I tried using D0 (which, according to your table is the value of 'King') at a random point in the introduction but all I got were a couple of boxes.

I thought maybe they only worked in the dialogue. So I started the game up and named my character and got to the king and the first bit of dialogue, but searching in the ROM using your table, I can't seem to locate any of that dialogue. (And for a further test, I exited the castle and spoke to someone in the town, but wasn't able to find their dialogue, either.)

But then I realized that you'd clearly made too much progress on your table file to be on the wrong track, and based on the things you'd said you'd found, either I was missing something or you were hallucinating, and it seemed unlikely that you would be having completely logical hallucinations. So I scrolled through the ROM until I found the text.

And... I'd say that Reaper man's initial instincts were right and what you have is MTE, not dictionary compression. Still pretty easy to deal with. Unfortunately, I've only hacked MTE on a couple of occasions, so it's not something I can spout off instructions for from memory. And.... I can't seem to find whatever document it was that I originally learned how to hack DTE on myself. (DTE is Dual Tile Encoding, whereas MTE is Multi Tile Encoding. The difference is.... nothing, it was just originally called DTE because the first ROM anyone encountered it in (Final Fantasy II, I believe) only used 2 characters per byte. Once people started discovering ROMs that utilized more than two characters, the name was switched to MTE, but you'll still encounter old timers that use the term DTE.) Searching Google for DTE/MTE yields a bunch of documents on how to add MTE to a ROM, but nothing on how to hack existing MTE.

And then something that I saw in the ROM when I was first poking around it it comes to mind.... something that I thought I recognized but then thought I was wrong... because I was poking around in that something before finding the dialogue, and since the MTE doesn't actually work in the intro, my poking around in the other thing obviously had no affect... (Can you tell that I'm extremely tired at this point? It's not *actually* past my bedtime yet, I have another 30 minutes before I need to go to bed and still get a full night's sleep before I have to go to work in the morning, but for some reason I'm more exhausted than usual, so forgive the rambling (I realize that a good 90% of this post is going to be completely useless, but since I've now solved the problem (even though I haven't actually *revealed* the solution yet), I'm sure you'll live with it.)) (Note: Even when I'm exhausted, my grammar is still near perfect and I can properly close triple nested parentheses! Also, when I get tired, I tend to amuse myself by talking to myself in msgboard posts that are actually directed at someone else. Also, I think it's been over an hour since I started typing this reply.)

Anywayz... What we have is MTE. So... somewhere in the ROM is a table of those MTE values. What you want to do is take a fairly unique entry from your list of MTE variables (in your case, I'd recommend going with your first entry, 'King') and do a search for it in the ROM. Just do a basic text search (with your table loaded) for the word King. Nothing fancy about it at all, just the word King. In the case of your chosen game, I'm pretty sure you're going to recognize something familiar about the very first result.

Now, I can already envision certain questions you're immediately going to have. Unfortunately, I'm almost positive that there's no way my sleep starved brain is going to be able to remember the answers to them tonight. So, I'll leave you to play around with it in hopes that you'll uncover most of those answers yourself. If not, I'll try to find that aforementioned document tomorrow. Though now that I think about it, I don't think I actually was able to find that document whenever it came time for me to hack the MTE in Ultraman Ball, I think I just pestered someone (Gideon Zhi, possibly) until they explained it to me on AIM. (And, now that I think of it, maybe the document I'm thinking of never actually existed, maybe that was just an IRC conversation or messageboard post I read 10 years ago and just retconned it into being an actual tutorial.)

Wow. 7 (I suppose 8, now) paragraphs all just to state one fact. And I haven't even had a drink in several weeks. *Wanders off in the direction of his Jagermeister*
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