Author Topic: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!  (Read 35777 times)

Swordmaster

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #255 on: September 20, 2016, 08:06:15 AM »
That pic reminds me of a DOS program I played around with way back in the day.  I think it was called Cubic Player.  It made midi files sound really awesome.  That was way before mp3s.  Although I remember downloading mp2s around that time.  ...I feel old now.

Squall

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #256 on: September 20, 2016, 08:39:33 AM »
Hehe, I was downloading MOD, ST3, IT, XM, ... files. They were much shorter then mp3 with much worst quality. :D

BTW what was your first PC you used Swordmaster?

Bahamut ZERO

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #257 on: September 20, 2016, 03:39:06 PM »
I don't know what's more awesome - the fact you now have an absurd amount of wiggle room to do what you want, or the fact there might possibly be an FFIV music hacking tool down the line!

Well, I'm a little more excited about the music tool given how tedious it is to do that by hand (I've tried a number of times but failed horribly outside of changing tempos and instrument selections), but still! Amazing progress all around I'd say!

Also, if you still wanted to use your "change disc" art screen idea, you could always implement it as a "Part 2" chapter screen with some background art showing some epic scene from Part 2, or Part 3 respectively whenever the routine to swap data occurs (that is, if the data swaps are 1 time occurrences after pivotal points in the story)
I update my graphics thread on almost a daily basis, so keep an eye out for new stuff!

Swordmaster

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #258 on: September 20, 2016, 11:17:10 PM »
Hehe, I was downloading MOD, ST3, IT, XM, ... files. They were much shorter then mp3 with much worst quality. :D

BTW what was your first PC you used Swordmaster?
I remember those!  I found a lot of them on rpgamer.com, back in its early days.  It used to be called "The Unofficial Squaresoft Homepage".  And, they sounded much better than just plain old midi files.

My first PC was a 486 SX, 300MB hard drive, 24MB of RAM (a lot at the time), an impossibly heavy full tower case, and only MSDOS.  I later borrowed a Windows 3.11 disk to install, but the knowledge I gained from playing around with DOS (mostly trying to get games to work) was invaluable.  What about you?

chillyfeez

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #259 on: September 21, 2016, 12:53:37 AM »
I had a Tandy 1000 back in the 80s. I think I got it in '88.
It had MS DOS, but it also had this special Tandy GUI which was like a low-res version of windows.

Anyway, back on topic...

Squall, this is a mock-up of what I envision the UI to look like:

The "song info" is a few commands that are always at the beginning of track 1.
Track info, with the exception of the track number, appears at the beginning of every track.
Aside from loops and GoTos, that would really be all the commands needed, as pretty much everything else doesn't really do anything as far as I can tell, or at least not anything useful.
I imagine the track # to be a drop-down box, where the user selects a track, and the program changes what's being displayed as appropriate.
In a perfect world, "view as" would also be a drop-down, and the user could select anything between 1/64 and 1.
The red bars represent notes being played on the track, and their length represents the duration of each note. Empty space would be automatically filled by rests of the appropriate duration.
The viewable field would be one octave, but the user would be able to scroll up or down into different octaves (and the program would insert octave up/octavbe down commands as needed).
Somehow notation would need to be available for loop points. I don't know exactly what that would look like - maybe a blue bar marking the beginning of a loop and a green marking the end? But there would also have to be a way of telling the program how many times to loop (as this is done with every loop point).
The GoTos would also require some figuring out. Since they really are used primarily to determine if the track repreats or not, I guess there could be another box in track info that says "Repeat to" and then the user enters a measure and beat into the field, leaving it blank for "no repeat."

I don't know... Does that seem like something that could be done?

Squall

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #260 on: September 21, 2016, 03:40:35 AM »
My first PC was a 486 SX, 300MB hard drive, 24MB of RAM (a lot at the time), an impossibly heavy full tower case, and only MSDOS.  I later borrowed a Windows 3.11 disk to install, but the knowledge I gained from playing around with DOS (mostly trying to get games to work) was invaluable.  What about you?
Whoah, what a coincidence, the first PC that I bought was 486SX too :wink: 486DX was so expensive compare to SX ... probably like i5 vs i7 today. Regardless I was able to play DOOM 2. I was thinking: whoah it so realistic (sweat memories) ... Thats funny because few days ago I finished Doom2016 and you can play the Doom2 inside and I was thinking: How much graphics had improved over the years...

Quote
Squall, this is a mock-up of what I envision the UI to look like:
Hehe, I said you are very creative person and you didn't disappoint me :whoa: very clean, intuitive, stylish! I wish you work for us and make the design for new projects :D

Unfortunately, there are few problems that I have to address:
- as far as I understood, the game allows you to mix commands and notes. This design would allow only a 'header' with commands and then notes only. I'm not musician, but I guess you may want to change the volume, tempo,... during the song
- changing octaves would require to 'record' when they are changed. That is a source of numerous edit problems - when you shift is it after the last entered note or you have to add some sort of markers of where the change starts. Also when generating the hex, what commands should I use - relative (E1/E2) or absolute (DA)
- what you see on screen is very small fraction of the song. For real songs I guess that will be enormous scrolling left and right, which is very tiresome for the eye and concentration. Add to that octave change visualization ...

Pinkpuff

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #261 on: September 21, 2016, 04:23:18 AM »
Also, how do you distinguish a note that's held for four units of time from four notes each played for one unit of time in rapid succession? Like a whole note versus four quarter notes (all the same note/pitch) with no rests in between?
Let's dance!

Squall

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #262 on: September 21, 2016, 09:49:56 AM »
I was working today, to make a prototype of the core functionality of the tool:


It uses text based input in order to generate the data for SPC. Idea is simple - each line is a command (or note) with appropriate number of parameters. For now the numbers are decimal, but I can easily change that. So far I have implemented all commands up to $E2 and $F0 and $F2. To most of the commands I have used appropriate name, but some I left without, so instead of name you can just enter the hex number of it - like D4. Actually I added a hint of named commands and those that I left unnamed.

How it works:
You may enter a single command and hit [Enter] or 'ADD'. In 'Track preview' you will see how that will be visualized and in 'Hex Preview' you can see the raw dump of what each command will generate.
I even added a 'script' of a song - each line is a command with the same syntax, but I have added an extra command - comment '//'. If you hit 'COMPILE' you will see the whole script as it will be visualized and the raw dump of the whole script.

Improvements:
As I said this is just a prototype - to show a possible way to enter commands, one way of visualization and possible raw (hex dump). There is room for many improvments. Please download and play with the tool and share you thoughts.

Download Application

P.S. chillyfeez do you think its better to make a new thread about that tool or you prefer to stay here?

chillyfeez

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #263 on: September 21, 2016, 11:53:31 AM »
I have a fair amount to contribute to this discussion, but I don't have the time right now.

But great to see that you got something going already, Squall!
Yeah, there should probably be a unique thread for this utility at this point.

Squall

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #264 on: September 21, 2016, 04:14:06 PM »
Quote
I have a fair amount to contribute to this discussion, but I don't have the time right now.
I'm eager to hear what you think after playing with the tool for a while. That is true for everybody that keep an eye on the thread.
TBH as I said I'm not art person, but while coding this tool today, suddenly a music spark made me want to put couple of notes of one of the two songs I can play on piano. Unfortunately the tool disability to play it clouded the spark :D

Anyway I will be away in next 4 days. I hope in mean time there will be plenty of comments and suggestions. So in Monday if we have a clean vision of what to do, a new dedicated thread will emerge.

Squall

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #265 on: October 06, 2016, 02:34:15 AM »
Just quick update:

Although there is no new info here, we worked hard with chillyfeez to define project parameters. All the latest you can find in a new dedicated thread on the music editor - click

cardunmax

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #266 on: January 06, 2017, 08:56:12 PM »
Is this game completed yet and if not has there been any new updates since the part where you are at Kapio?

chillyfeez

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #267 on: January 09, 2017, 02:44:53 PM »
The game is definitely not complete. The most recent alpha release technically ends at the end of the watery pass, but if you've been to kaipo then you've played that release.
I haven't quit working on it, but admittedly it's been a bit of a while since I've done work on it. Production typically slows in late fall/early winter because I work retail, but I sort of am experiencing a shortage of inspiration. Or motivation. Or something, I'm not sure. I will get back to it, hopefully soon, and I'll let you know here when I do.
The next "chapter" sees the party travel to damcyan, then the antlion cave, then all the way back to baron on foot, so there's a lot to write, and it's about half done at this point.

chillyfeez

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #268 on: November 01, 2017, 06:17:00 PM »
Hi everybody.

Yeah, so... Been awhile.

I've taken possibly more than a year off from ROM hacking. I got somewhat obsessed with stupid Final Fantasy freemium mobile games for a bit, but I'm pretty sure that phase is over.

Anyway, I'm ready to get back into this.

I have a l.o.t. of work to do. I tried to play through my most recent WIP ROM a while ago and am less than happy with the difficulty level.
As you may know if you'd been following the project, the idea is that the game would play out differently depending on the player's decisions during certain "epic choice" events, but the idea was that it should still be playable regardless of the choice. Well, (spoiler alert, sorta) I discovered that the Kraken tentacle fight (on the ship after Mysidia) is damn near impossible without Palom and Porom in the party. And that's a big problem. Big enough that I'm considering COMPLETELY reworking the monster level-up system, or even getting rid of it entirely if I can't make it work the way I'd like it to. The ROM expansion I was able to employ thanks to the custom version of FF4kster PinkPuff made for me gives me the freedom to either rework the system (even as in-depth as giving every monster several sets of stats depending on the average party level... Possible though not preferable as this would take a really long time to implement), or still play with the difficulty in all areas throughout the game depending on progress (making different encounter sets in the same locations will be pretty simple with the wealth of space I've acquired by expanding the ROM). Regardless of how I procede, though, this process will be pretty intense.

Good news, I finally figured out how I'm going to work through a pretty big plot point that had been giving me fits for a while, which will enable me to continue fleshing out the story progression. Unfortunately, the game is going to force the player to traverse back and forth through the Highwind Pass and the Watery Pass three times in a row, which may inspire flashbacks of (IMHO) the worst part about playing TAY, but the experience should differ slightly each time because the party will never be the same... I can't go into much detail there. Hopefully it doesn't get too monotonous, but what comes after that should hopefully be rewarding enough that it feels worth it in the end. Sorry for being vague...

Anyway, long story short - I think I'm back and I'm excited to get to work!

cardunmax

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Re: FF II: A Threat from Within - Expanded ROM = New Features!
« Reply #269 on: November 02, 2017, 05:00:32 PM »
YES YES GET RID OF THE MONSTER LEVEL UP SYSTEM KILL IT!!!!