Zophar's Message Domain

Go Back   Zophar's Message Domain > Emulation Talk > Rom Hack

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-28-2005, 09:47 AM   #1
Bit-Blade
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 43
Default The Decline of ROM hacking.

This isn't isn't some kind of alarm call to action. These are just my views on the rom hacking community as a whole and what I personally think of it's decline. Take them or leave them as you will. This thread is more intended to lead to a discussion of the issue rather than an argument.

First, you have to think about the romhacking generation. Most of us grew up playing Super NES, NES, and Sega Genesis games. For most of us this is one very big reason why we hack- to extend our love of this style of gaming and give it new life. At an even baser level romhacking is just another expression for wanting to create your own game. More to the point, our generation has the background to apreciate what rom hacking more generally is with gusto. The romhacking generation is growing older, however. Many of us are dropping the hobby of rom hacking all together to take care of matters in our own lives, like going to college and building for a career, meeting the love of your life and starting a family, or having a good enough job that you hardly have a minute to spare for hobbies- even a combination of all of these.

See, what I'm getting at is that more and more today, kids aren't going to be able to readilly apreciate NES and SNES games unless their parents inspire them to. They're the ones growing up with childhood memories of the Nintendo 64, the Playstation, the Saturn and beyond that in some cases. They don't have the background to apreciate rom hacking like most of us do (and by this I mean that because we predominantly hack NES and SNES games, the old 2D styles. We know all about that). I think that this younger generation is more than likely much less accepting of this aged styled of gaming.

There are many other contributing factors to the present state of romhacking, and quite honestly I don't know if there's a damn thing we can do to stop it. One such factor could be interest. I beleive that the general interest in romhacking has been dropping by degrees over the years. Perhaps only recently has it become so severe that we are now taking notice of it. The old rom hacking groups that used to be around have all but imploded. Even some of the most titanic web sites in emulation and rom hacking have taken a turn for the worse. We've lost quite a lot that made rom hacking what it used to be.

Now, I'm not saying that romhacking is all together dead. This is more like a slump- a complicated slump that has many, many contributing factors, probably more than a few I haven't even considered yet. I think perhaps this is just the way it goes. We aren't necesarilly helpless to stop it but I don't know is enough of us care enough. Personally I think it's going to take me quite a while to stop entirely, and I may never stop. I really love this hobby, and I know there are many of you that feel the same. Still... that's the situation as I see it. Others may have things that are perhaps a bit more insightful to add.
Bit-Blade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2005, 11:53 AM   #2
Fla Flash
Staff (News -- Rom Hacking)
 
Fla Flash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 8,141
Default Re: The Decline of ROM hacking.

That's well put. I do think the eagerness of parents to buy the kids the newer systems has made a big difference, but ROM hacking will more than likely survive. I don't believe it will become extinct - just a smaller and smaller community.
And for my two cents, you can actually have fun and get a sense of accomplishment over having hacked and changed an NES game that you can't get from playing a PS2 game that's almost exactily like twenty others they have on the market.
Fla Flash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2005, 12:31 PM   #3
User
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 46
Default Re: The Decline of ROM hacking.

> And for my two cents, you can actually have fun and get a
> sense of accomplishment over having hacked and changed an
> NES game that you can't get from playing a PS2 game that's
> almost exactily like twenty others they have on the market.
>

I say it's the gameplay which is changing. Look at the nes, it was the best console and went for 8 years (I think). Now, the consoles are based on graphics, which replaces gameplay because the programmers work more on the graphics then the gameplay. I say, who needs the best graphics? It's just that most games today on new consoles are not great. There are some good ones but it’s hard to come across. Old skool consoles (like the Nes or Atari) had lots and lots of great games and thats why so many people collect them. The problem with games today is that they don't require much skill to master or to finish. The games today need to have more skill to the gameplay. Look at counter strike, it’s one of the most real FPS and has a skilful gameplay. It’s one of those games that takes years to master. But if you like easy games, then keep buying new games.
User is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2005, 02:31 PM   #4
Advent_Kirby
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 18
Default Re: The Decline of ROM hacking.

Let's not forget that many games have already been translated. A lot of people (myself included) doesn't know ASML, and when you (and by that I mean me) find a japanese game with no ASML, a reasonable amount of kanji and great gameplay/graphics (for a Nes/Snes game) then it has in 9/10 cases already been translated by someone else. Not to mention that all the "great" untranslated titles have been "taken" as well (FF3 (Nes), FF5, SD3 etc. The list goes on).

I'm not complaining though, I hadn't even started when those titles were being worked on. <img src=smilies/cwm11.gif>

And like you said, a lot of ppl prefer N64/PS1/Saturn+. But it's not just the graphics. I could go on all day about how much I love old 2D games, (and I do, really) but the truth is: I can't for the life of me hack anything more advanced then Nes/Snes/GB/Megadrive etc. Simply because I do in no way know anything about programming. My "skills" consists only of fiddling with a hexeditor, while browsing through graphics in 1,2 and 4BPP. Sad but true.

Not that I'm a specialist at Nes or Snes. If it were'nt for the fact that other ppl already made all the Hexeditors I use (thank god for tablefiles) and Tileeditors, I would be just as stuck with FF3 (Snes) as I would be with FFX (assuming I actually tried to translate it). I suppose that if some kind soul were to grace us with all the PSX/N64/Saturn tools we would ever need, then the scene could get a bit more active. But that won't happen anytime soon, and I hate when noobs ask others to (basically) do everything for them (hence why I'm not expecting anyone else to do it for ME).

So, while more and more advanced programmers are qutting the scene, I'm doomed to watch how the Pokemon Hacking community is the first relevant hit when you search google for "romhacking".

<img src=smilies/cry.gif>
Advent_Kirby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2005, 04:40 PM   #5
Ugly Joe
Senior Member
 
Ugly Joe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,461
Default Re: The Decline of ROM hacking.

I don't actually think the decline of rom hacking has anything to do with the newer generation of games, but rather a lack of discipline or respect from people trying to get into "the scene". Most of the great hacks that are out there were made by people who were around while emulation of 8bit and 16bit consoles was still being readily developed. They were aware of all the hard work being put into the emulators and debuggers and technical documents that aided them in their hacks.

Most newcomers to rom hacking aren't aware of how much work was done beforehand and take the tools that are available for granted. I mean, God forbid you take an hour to play with a tile viewer or read a document on how tiles are typically stored in a rom. Old hackers had to edit graphics in a hex editor or create their own tools. Instead of being grateful for these tools, most newcomers do nothing but complain about not getting instant results.

The other part of it is that is can be hard to remain focused. Rom hacking is essentially useless. I mean, you can't put this stuff on your resume. Finding motivation can be very hard, so I think most new projects devolve into http://ximwix.net/xbmonths-long delays</a> and eventual abandonment.
__________________
Ugly Joe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2005, 04:49 PM   #6
Fla Flash
Staff (News -- Rom Hacking)
 
Fla Flash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 8,141
Default Re: The Decline of ROM hacking.

<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

Now, the consoles are based on graphics, which replaces gameplay> because the programmers work more on the graphics then the
gameplay. I say, who needs the best graphics? It's just that
most games today on new consoles are not great. There are
some good ones but it’s hard to come across. Old skool
consoles (like the Nes or Atari) had lots and lots of great
games and thats why so many people collect them. The problem
with games today is that they don't require much skill to
master or to finish. The games today need to have more skill
to the gameplay.

<hr></blockquote>

I agree 100%. Well put.
Fla Flash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2005, 05:06 PM   #7
Disch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 4,387
Default Re: The Decline of ROM hacking.

> I say it's the gameplay which is changing. Look at the nes,
> it was the best console and went for 8 years (I think). Now,
> the consoles are based on graphics, which replaces gameplay
> because the programmers work more on the graphics then the gameplay.

I've heard this a million times. And you know what? It's bullshit.

Games now are as good as they ever were. Hell... they're better. It's not just the graphics... it's the length, the complexity... the things you can do, everything. Sure there's a lot of bad formulaic games out now... but there were just as many bad games for the NES and older consoles.

If you're going to stand there and tell me that Metroid Prime is inferior to the original Metroid except for graphics.... or that Dawn of Sorrow is less creative and less fun than the original Castlevania... you're full of shit.

The reason you (or I, for that matter) don't like the games that are coming out now is simple:

<h2>We're getting old!</h2>

Just like our grandparents that for the life of them couldn't understand why the Beatles were great... we're looking at these newer games and saying "what happened to gaming?". Well... nothing happened to gaming. Something happened to us.
Disch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2005, 05:15 PM   #8
Dark Knight Kain
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,278
Default Re: The Decline of ROM hacking.

<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

Most newcomers to rom hacking aren't aware of how much work was done beforehand and take the tools that are available for granted. I mean, God forbid you take an hour to play with a tile viewer or read a document on how tiles are typically stored in a rom. Old hackers had to edit graphics in a hex editor or create their own tools. Instead of being grateful for these tools, most newcomers do nothing but complain about not getting instant results.

<hr></blockquote>

You can really see this now-a-days, when I first started all I had were outdated translation guides, but I knew well enough that if there were new programs available to use them instead (I remember when I first used DirectEd instead of Naga, it was like night and day in terms of how much I got done, same thing when I found TLP, and now YY-CHR). From there on it grew, I learned a lot more on my own than I ever did from any guide.

I think that's the problem, most of the newbies I see just ask questions rather than trying on their own. I remember I didn't even post on a ROM hacking forum until I had about a year's worth of experience, and then it was asking a simple question about NES palette editing, I didn't ask for offsets or anything, even though I knew they were available.


<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

The other part of it is that is can be hard to remain focused. Rom hacking is essentially useless. I mean, you can't put this stuff on your resume. Finding motivation can be very hard, so I think most new projects devolve into months-long delays and eventual abandonment.

<hr></blockquote>

I've always felt that if future game developers can put down their Doom/Quake/Half-Life mods and levels than I should be able to put down CV Retold. I think I seriously am going to if I aply to be a level designer.

As for long delays, it seems like the average ROM hacker wants some huge overhaul and doesn't know how to go about it, I'll bring up CV Retold again, I made its levels in one week, but it took me another two to actually make them fun to play, tweaking and adding things until they were perfect. Most other ROM hackers probably would've focused on getting one level perfect and then moving on to the next, which drains your time and your motivation to get it done. When you've got a ROM full of half-finished levels you're more inspired to actually do something with it.
Dark Knight Kain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2005, 06:30 PM   #9
assassin
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 16
Default Re: The Decline of ROM hacking.

I won't debate whether ROM hacking is on the decline, but in many ways, I think it's too early to make definitive conclusions.

Check out my timeline:

1) First NES game acquired = 1988
2) First SNES game acquired = 1992
3) First worthwhile hacking of an SNES game = 2000
4) First patch released = early 2003

Holy shat, that's quite a delay between #2 and #3! If you were waiting for me to hack something in that period, you would have been mighty disappointed.

Yet I suspect plenty of active SNES hackers fit that timeline.. We tend to overlook that huge gap between encountering a game and tearing it to shreds, at least for ourselves.

So is it much surprise that the "next generation", which grew up on Playstation/PS2/etc games, isn't hacking those games within a couple years of buying them? And if they're that much younger than us, of course they won't be focusing on NES/SNES games if/when they DO start hacking, for the same reason you won't see me burning hours on Atari 2600 or Magnavox Odyssey games: the former was never a part of my youth, and when my parents did dust off their Odyssey on occasion, it was mainly just a curiosity for me to laugh at. *beep* *boop* *swivel* *beep*
assassin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2005, 07:59 PM   #10
Ugly Joe
Senior Member
 
Ugly Joe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,461
Default Re: The Decline of ROM hacking.

> Sure
> there's a lot of bad formulaic games out now... but there
> were just as many bad games for the NES and older consoles.

Definately. I don't know how people can forget this.

Still, I enjoy my bad NES games much more than bad next-gen games. My mind works in 8 directions. This 3d stuff just confuses me. I'd much rather miss a platform by jumping too late or because of poor collusion detection rather than a shoddy camera angle or a bad sense of forward distance. It's like, with an NES game, I can suck at a game and it's my fault. With newer games, I can suck at the game and I can blame it on the camera waaaay too easily.

> We're getting old!

Yeah, that's what I'm trying to say <img src=smilies/magbiggrin.gif>
__________________
Ugly Joe is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 06:31 PM.

Contact Us - Zophar's Domain - Archive - Top

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.