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Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Plus Some Game-Difficulty Thoughts

Also incorporating Shining Force Gaiden 1 & Shining Force Gaiden 2 (aka Sword of Hajya).

Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby Doomblade66 » Fri Sep 10 2010 12:11am

Adding to what Martin mentioned, the RPG classics site is a good one - and better than Wolfgang's, if only because Wolfgang listed the enemy stats as they appear on "Ouch" Difficulty, with the 25% Base Attack boost they get from that Difficulty Level included.

The "actual // base // raw" stats for the enemies are shown on the RPG-Classics enemies list (although note, of course, that weapon-wielding enemies do have their weapon factored into their "on-screen" Attack number, so if you were curious as to the actual-actual Attack of someone like Dantom (Book-1 Boss Enemy) who has a listed attack "in game" of 53....you'd have to subtract the +16 Bonus he gets from his Steel Sword...to find his actual "Base Attack" is 37).

I wonder if Rubix could take a look at this in conjunction with Bone Idol ? With their "powers combined" - I have high hopes they'd be able to figure out things at great speed. ;)
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby BoneIdol » Sun Sep 12 2010 2:45pm

Doomblade66 @ Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:11 am) wrote:I wonder if Rubix could take a look at this in conjunction with Bone Idol ? With their "powers combined" - I have high hopes they'd be able to figure out things at great speed. ;)

With your powers combined... I am Captain Planet! ;)

It'd be great if Rubix or BNC helped out they'd be able to do a ton of stuff I have no clue about like replacing sprites and hacking the game's code. SFCD will almost certainly be using a lot of the same code from SF1 and SF2; SFCD will have been built from the same code to save on time and money.

I'm sure they're probably just as busy as I am, so I'm not gonna pester them about it (especially considering I'm not really in a position to do a lot on this :(). I'll probably just ask them for some advice on this stuff when it crops up.

The first thing on my agenda for this (and for the next update of my STHA editor) is to write a proper patching program for CD-based consoles, so people can easily patch the games and Sega won't have a leg to stand on legally if they decide to bring out the banhammer. I'll be working on this after the next update for the SF3 save editor.
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby Sinful Force » Sun Sep 12 2010 10:10pm

BoneIdol @ Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:45 am) wrote:With your powers combined... I am Captain Planet! ;)

Man, you are so freakin' talented. You've got great skills & sense of humor. I am blown away!

Anyways, I can definately see great things coming out of Captain Planet persona (my apittite has been wet very badley with the possibilities of that team). And I'm perfectly fine if it takes quite awhile to get started too, just as long as it get's done eventually.
From what I remember about reading Moogie's forum guideline awhile ago, it says that by adding the letters j/k together at the end of a sentence or post, it prevents people from getting upset... So remember South Parkateers, in case of a volcano, stop, drop, tuck and roll. ... Oh wait, er, you know what I mean. ;)
From what I remember about reading Moogie's forum guideline awhile ago, it says that by adding the letters j/k together at the end of a sentence or post, it prevents people from getting upset... So remember South Parkateers, in case of a volcano, stop, drop, tuck and roll. ... Oh wait, er, you know what I mean. ;)
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby Special T » Sun Sep 12 2010 10:27pm

I don't know if this will be of any assitance but the only Sega CD projects that I know of that have actually been completed are the Phantasy Star II Text Adventure Translation project by M.I.J.E.T. which is completed but not yet released and Sonic CD Plus Plus which is a pretty cool hack of Sonic CD. It may be worth while to reach out to those groups to see if they have any tools they would be willing to share.
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby DarkKobold » Wed Sep 15 2010 5:44am

BoneIdol @ Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:45 pm) wrote: SFCD will almost certainly be using a lot of the same code from SF1 and SF2; SFCD will have been built from the same code to save on time and money.

I can 100% state that SFCD is SF2's code ported - for example, the RNG is takes up the exact same memory address. Same formula, same motion.

The level up code, however, has changed.
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby ChaotikZ » Wed Sep 15 2010 11:26pm

Wow, this is something I'd definitely like to see. the Shining Force III editor has shown me there are so many things hidden in these games ( unused characters, items, even maps ) ... I'm looking forward to it!
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby Special T » Thu Sep 16 2010 12:48pm

DarkKobold @ Wed Sep 15, 2010 5:44 am) wrote: I can 100% state that SFCD is SF2's code ported - for example, the RNG is takes up the exact same memory address. Same formula, same motion.

The level up code, however, has changed.

Well that's good news, do you have most of the SF2 code broken down and noted?


Also upon searching it looks like Dr Doom has made a couple of Codes for SF CD as well, maybe he can offer some assistance.
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby Doomblade66 » Sun Jan 02 2011 7:05pm

I guess there has not been any progress on the SF-CD Editor over the holidays (not expecting it at that time really) -but now that 2011 is upon us - what is the likelihood that Bone Idol and/or others who might help him - could come out with an Editor system we can finally employ with SF-CD ?


The main areas I'd love to be able to edit would be as follows (no particular order):


1. Enemy Stats - this includes HP - MP - Att - Def - Agi/Speed - Move - etc - and equipment (if monsters with weapons/items) - as well as Magic Spells known. The ability to edit Bosses is one of my main goals - but it would also be nice to improve the pathetic Book-1 enemy HP-values that standard enemies have "by default".


2. Modifying Shining Force members' stats / progression - this is not a huge issue, but some of the Mages (in particular) are set up to learn their higher level spells at very high levels - such that you never actually see your Level-4 spells in most normal playthroughs of Book-1 or 2 (needing Book-3 to ever see Lv-4, most of the time).

Also, a few guys - like Apis, and Rick (IIRC) - and that insane Birdman (Claude?) - with the massive Attack stat - get to be a bit ridiculous in their normal leveling progression.

It would be nice to reduce their defense (Apis, I'm looking at you !) - a bit, - in conjunction with boosting the enemy attacks as well. This would produce a more even damage output by the enemy forces during the battles, and ensure no single character becomes a "Peter from SF-II" type of "super guy".


3. Equipment stats - nice to be able to edit the weapon or item stats for a few of the things you can pick up - like changing range or "area of effect" for some of the spell staffs / rings - weapons -when "used" during a battle.



4. (optional) - being able to edit the stats for Magic Spells or Special Attacks' effects. Example - if an Ice Wyvern (example) does 20 damage in the default game with its Freezing Breath, it would be nice to be able to modify that to 28 or something, if we wanted to. Ditto for basic spells - like Bolt-2 - which has always been too weak in the base game (IMHO) when compared to the mana cost you toss out for it.
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby BoneIdol » Mon Jan 03 2011 3:58pm

Doomblade66 @ Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:05 pm) wrote:I guess there has not been any progress on the SF-CD Editor over the holidays (not expecting it at that time really) -but now that 2011 is upon us - what is the likelihood that Bone Idol and/or others who might help him - could come out with an Editor system we can finally employ with SF-CD ?

Quite likely. It is, however, in a queue. :(

As I've said before, if people provide me with information on how the files work, it will make things a lot easier. Using a hex editor to work out how files work is the most time consuming part of this stuff. The actual programming probably isn't even 10% of the work involved.

--EDIT--

Oh, and just so people know, I plan on writing the SFCD editor to be cross-platform (since Mega CD emulation isn't quite as Windows-centric as Saturn emulation). However, I have no access to Mac OSX for testing. If anyone would like to help out with that when I get around to doing this, that would be grand. :)
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby Doomblade66 » Sat Mar 19 2011 10:22am

Just so you know, B.I. - if you need any financial assistance to help support your SF_CD Editor program - or to assist in finally getting it over the hump (so to speak) - I would be glad to help you out. I have a good job (fortunate these days) and a strong love for "All Things Shining" ....and have been (as you know) particularly interested in the prospects of an Editor (similiar to what Rubix was able to do with SF-1 or - even better - something like SF-2-Edit for Shining Force 2 - since that game and SF-CD are almost identical - at least in mechanics // and the "way it plays".


Anyways - good luck with it, in the meantime. ;)


(the moment I can edit enemy HP / ATT / DEF - etc. - that ALONE - even without any other editing capabilities in a theoretical 1st Edition of any SF-CD-Editor .....would be amazing since the A.I. in this game was CONSISTENTLY the most amazing/challenging of any Shining Force game I ever played - and just being able to tweak them to make them strong enough, relative to your Forces' level-gains and strength - would make the game 100x's better - and it's already pretty good by default ! :) )
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby Martin III » Mon Mar 21 2011 12:56am

Doomblade66 wrote:(the moment I can edit enemy HP / ATT / DEF - etc. - that ALONE - even without any other editing capabilities in a theoretical 1st Edition of any SF-CD-Editor .....would be amazing since the A.I. in this game was CONSISTENTLY the most amazing/challenging of any Shining Force game I ever played - and just being able to tweak them to make them strong enough, relative to your Forces' level-gains and strength - would make the game 100x's better - and it's already pretty good by default ! :) )


And I for one would love to see what you do with the stats! Seeing as I have very little experience in balancing stats myself, but lots of interest in playing a freshly challenging game of SF CD.
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby Doomblade66 » Mon Mar 21 2011 1:46pm

Thanks Martin :-)

You should take a look at my Shining Force (1) - Challenge Mod over in that Sub Forum - I had many good comments from people who enjoyed the greatly increased challenge, reworked battles (some/slightly) - and overall "New feel" to a classic game that started the whole Shining Force series off ;)
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby ExevaloN » Tue Mar 22 2011 10:32pm

Earl wrote:I'm assuming the "BANKD##.X" are divided per battle, because there's 72 of the things. And poking around a few of them, all of the relevant icons can be found.

So it's not as simple as the Genesis games. Instead of editing one instance of, say, a short sword, you have dozens of instances. And what makes this potentially worse is the instances may be in different places in the different banks, so an editing program might have to know where a given thing is in dozens of banks of data. And multiply that by the number of items/spells/whatever.

And if you want to add towns, you'd be better off porting SFCD to SF2. Because I don't imagine it'd be easy adding a whole dimension of gameplay...

Although... The up side of hacking SFCD is that people would be able to play the hack on the actual system; the Sega CD had no copy protection, so it'll run CD-Rs just fine.


The instances for a given item must have a parent instance/object/blueprint they are all derived from. Changing or editing that Master Item, would in theory change everything related to it. Atleast, thats how it has worked for some stuff I have worked with. Is it a different case with SFCD?
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby Earl » Wed Mar 23 2011 4:15am

To be honest, I have no idea.

The item icons are in each bank (regardless of it's availability in that battle (or even in that book)), and the Robin Arrow and 8 other weapons have different stats between books 1 and 2... so then it would seem that in the best case each book would have to have a master. I'm guessing that all the data really is managed on a per-battle basis, but that's just a guess.
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby Doomblade66 » Thu Mar 24 2011 5:03am

B.I. seems to have a pretty strong grasp of how it's organized - remember that his SF-III editor is capable of "per-battle" type adjustments too - I think (never tried it fully yet) - and he seems fairly confident that he will be able to produce a good (if basic, initially) Editor for SF-CD at some point.

The last thing he said on the issue was that "it's in the queue" - meaning he'll get to it eventually.


B.I. ... can you at least offer us some assurance you'll complete / release it prior to Dec-2012...you know, just in case .... :) :lol:
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby BoneIdol » Thu Mar 24 2011 10:35am

Doomblade66 wrote:B.I. seems to have a pretty strong grasp of how it's organized - remember that his SF-III editor is capable of "per-battle" type adjustments too - I think (never tried it fully yet) - and he seems fairly confident that he will be able to produce a good (if basic, initially) Editor for SF-CD at some point.

This is because all a save file is is a dump of chunks of memory. The reason the save editor can do these sorts of arrangements is that SF3 loads enemies stats/spells/locations etc. into memory at the start of the battle and then makes adjustments to the values as the battle wages on. When you create a save, it stores (among other things) a dump of this block of memory and when you load a save this dump is restored. There is space between saving and restoring this dump where this memory can be easily manipulated.

I think I can still do things per battle though. Its just that its for different reasons. ;)

ExevaloN wrote:The instances for a given item must have a parent instance/object/blueprint they are all derived from. Changing or editing that Master Item, would in theory change everything related to it. Atleast, thats how it has worked for some stuff I have worked with. Is it a different case with SFCD?

I'm guessing that you're talking about modifying parent classes in Object Oriented Programming? That involves modyfing the game's code - thats running before we can walk. I'm aiming to work out how to modify the data used to make instances of such objects in memory before I start work on dissasembling the game's code (assuming I decide to go that in depth). ;)

Earl wrote:The item icons are in each bank (regardless of it's availability in that battle (or even in that book)), and the Robin Arrow and 8 other weapons have different stats between books 1 and 2... so then it would seem that in the best case each book would have to have a master. I'm guessing that all the data really is managed on a per-battle basis, but that's just a guess.

My tinkering seems to suggest that everything is mirrored in each bank file (so each battle has its own set of items, enemy stats, names etc.). I'd imagine this is due to the bandwidth restraints inherent in a 1x speed CD Rom drive (maximum transfer rate of 150 KB/s :() that is constantly streaming CD quality audio. It makes sense to keep everything in one file; sequentially reading one file is much faster than grabbing stuff from lots of files that are spread out all over the CD.

Doomblade66 wrote:The last thing he said on the issue was that "it's in the queue" - meaning he'll get to it eventually.

Yes. Sorry to sound like a shit here, but I'm probably a candidate for the most disorganised person in the world. I'll make it when I make it. The fact that I've commited myself to making it at some point means that I'll be constantly thinking about it - what I generally do is pick at things on occasion, let the information ferment for a bit, pick at it some more and repeat until I have a eureka/House moment.

I'm also currently learning the C++ programming language and Nokia's Qt framework and GUI toolkit. I'm wanting to move from C#.net (what I used for the SF3 save editor) to these as it'll let me easily write cross platform programs and force me to learn how to manage my own memory when I code (via pointers and references etc.).

Doomblade66 wrote:B.I. ... can you at least offer us some assurance you'll complete / release it prior to Dec-2012...you know, just in case .... :) :lol:

I think I can safely promise to have something thrown together before that particular date, being that its more than a year away. But please read this. This 2012 end of the world bollocks upsets me on many levels.

Phew. That took forever to write.
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby Doomblade66 » Sun Mar 27 2011 10:13am

Thanks for the info, B.I.

The 2012 thing was just a joke // friendly incentive ! ;)


"Bone, did you finish your editor yet ?"

"Ugh...Moogie...can I have a moments peace ?"

"Well, you've got dozens of eager fans and the end of the world's just around the corner"


"Grumble, grumble....all right..."


:)
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby ExevaloN » Wed Mar 30 2011 7:11pm

BoneIdol wrote:
ExevaloN wrote:The instances for a given item must have a parent instance/object/blueprint they are all derived from. Changing or editing that Master Item, would in theory change everything related to it. Atleast, thats how it has worked for some stuff I have worked with. Is it a different case with SFCD?

I'm guessing that you're talking about modifying parent classes in Object Oriented Programming? That involves modyfing the game's code - thats running before we can walk. I'm aiming to work out how to modify the data used to make instances of such objects in memory before I start work on dissasembling the game's code (assuming I decide to go that in depth). ;)


Ah ok. I figured we were already talking about the game's code. But wouldn't it be easier to already do that instead of managing the data in each memory bank? I mean, I figure we would want to edit the game as a whole instead of specific battles. Unless im missing something here.

Also, wouldn't the code in the memory bank make reference or call their main functions?
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby BoneIdol » Mon Apr 04 2011 5:15pm

ExevaloN wrote:
BoneIdol wrote:I'm guessing that you're talking about modifying parent classes in Object Oriented Programming? That involves modyfing the game's code - thats running before we can walk. I'm aiming to work out how to modify the data used to make instances of such objects in memory before I start work on dissasembling the game's code (assuming I decide to go that in depth). ;)


Ah ok. I figured we were already talking about the game's code. But wouldn't it be easier to already do that instead of managing the data in each memory bank? I mean, I figure we would want to edit the game as a whole instead of specific battles. Unless im missing something here.

Also, wouldn't the code in the memory bank make reference or call their main functions?

To tell the truth, I haven't really looked to see if there's any code in the .x files, but my gut instinct is that the files are just data that gets loaded into memory. From what I understand about Mega CD games, a lot of the game's code is stored in special sectors on the disc rather than in files that one normally has access to - usually sectors 0 to 15 according to the developers' documentation.

As for the editing the whole game by altering the base classes comment; while this is theoretically true, practically it probably isn't. Every Item, Enemy etc. is going to be a new instance of a particular class made from the data inside the current .x file. While altering the base class is going to alter all items, all the changes we'd like to see (such as different stats) are almost certainly something that is assigned upon creation of each individual instance. Altering the data used to make these instances is the only way to change these.

There's also the problem that a lot of this stuff is probably not going to be stored as classes. If you're just storing data and not doing any encapsulated code you'd be better off just using a data structure. Aside from changing the type of data a struct can hold (which is a BAD idea if you can't make the data fit the changes) there's not really a lot you can do with them. :(
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Re: Possible to do a SF-CD Editor Program ?

Postby ExevaloN » Tue Apr 05 2011 12:58am

In other words, there is no easy way or better said, comfortable way of doing things. It doesn't seem too intuitive to code or manage data this way. But then thats me speaking in my C++ mindset. Assembly was the way to go back then. Which leads me to ask, what did the sega cd use?
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