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Old 02-11-2011, 09:07 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Midwest, U.S.
Posts: 1,489

My initial reaction is that you'd be much better off using Game Maker than trying to do a ROM hack. Rather than simply leave it that, though, I'll try to go through your various plans and expand upon my reasoning.

- Change graphics, overworld, sprites, etc
Easy enough. Any idiot can do this with the available tools. And if you look at the various Final Fantasy hacks in existence, you'll see that many idiots have done so.

- Instead of walking around and entering battles, the dynamic of the game will be having the characters walk around and be able to control machines. So for example, you are remote controlling some machine that can roll around and shoot people. Within the normal walking around environment not going to a separate battle screen thing
This would require massive amounts of programming. You want to take an RPG and turn it into an action game. As far as I know, there are no mechanics that would allow for shooting in the overworld, so you'd have to code that completely from scratch. Not to mention that there are no enemies on the overworld, so you would have to create that as well. This is where you get into it being far simpler to just write a game from scratch rather than trying to modify an existing engine.

- Reading about nes music programming frightened me a little...I dont know if this makes it easier or harder but I was planning on maybe taking FF2 and FF3 songs and putting them in the FF1 rom (or switching those around if that makes anything easier, probably not).
I don't know much about NES music but, from what I do know, it's one of the most difficult things to hack. If they recycled the music engine from Final Fantasy into Final Fantasy 2 & 3, it might be possible to transfer songs between the three games easily but I don't know enough about it to say for sure.

- Learn how to add cinematics (if none were there before) to a rom
I'm not sure if I've seen anyone do this for NES. I know it's relatively simple to tack on an introduction to SNES ROMs but from what little I know about NES programming, it would be quite difficult unless you were dealing with a game that had loads of extra space or you managed to expand the ROM.

- Find out how much can be added to a rom before things go awry
Without a ton of work of expanding the ROM, you can't usually *add* much of anything to NES games. You can modify existing things but adding completely new things is quite difficult.

Again, for what you're wanting to do, I would suggest using Game Maker, if not a full blown programming language. I imagine a majority of what you want to do would be fairly simple with Game Maker. If you've never looked into Game Maker, it's similar to the RPG Makers and such but without the limited scope. You can make anything from Pong to Final Fantasy with Game Maker. You can also easily port Game Maker games to Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and PSP. It's definitely worth looking into.
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