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Old 08-25-2009, 10:42 AM   #1
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Kilyle's Avatar
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Stuck in the black hole that is TVTropes.org
Posts: 24
Question Phantasy Star IV - Two-tile Font

After a long absence, I'm toying with hacking again. And I started to pick through Phantasy Star IV. I forget how I found a table for it before (made it? downloaded it?), but the table gives me some lists of like spells and stuff. But I can't find the script, so I opened the thing with Tile Layer Pro and tried to hunt down the font.

The font was very odd, so I had to change the ROM from .smd to .bin to de-interlace it first, but once I did that, the font was there nice and clean. However, it's done with tall letters - two tiles per letter. Makes for a nice font, but difficult hack (to me, as a beginner, anyway).

So the font looks like this:


...where 0 and 1 make up A, 2 and 3 make up B, etc. For simplicity, I'll use this version instead:


...where Aa stack together to make the letter "A", Bb stack together to make "B", etc.

Using the test word "ready" (biggest word in the first sentence of the game), I can think of three ways the program might use these.

First, it might encode thusly: RrEeAaDdYy, having both halves of the letters right next to each other.

Secondly, it might encode thusly: READYready, doing all the tops then all the bottoms (even more difficult to work with if it does the top of a whole line of text before it gets to the bottom of that line).

Thirdly, it might have the pairs encoded in the word-handling code, such that you pass it the line "ready" and it adds the "READY" top portion when it prints the line.

So... I'm stuck. I tried relative searching, but though I "found" a few words in the first sentence, the others weren't in the file, which makes me think that they're not encoded in straightforward fashion. I tried finding the hex values of top and bottom together, but that didn't work. I'm not sure what to do next.

Advice? (And, yes, "Phantasy Star IV is way too advanced for a beginner to hack" is advice that I'm willing to take.)
Only the curious have, if they live, a tale worth telling at all.
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