This week we've got the final part of our 3 part Tips and Tricks. An interview of the creator of Shiny Gold and an article debating the recent changes made to the Rom Hacking Forum.
Opening by Thrace
HotY Round Two - Category Round
Round 2 of Hack of the Year 2008 has begun! In this round we give awards to hacks that excel in particular aspects of hacking. Know of a hack with excellent mapping? Or maybe one with scripts that leave you speechless? Well whatever it is let your voice be heard by voting!
Best Newcomer is for hacks that are relatively new! Don't vote for something thats been in production for a long time! Surely this is obvious?
Hack Rating System
RHN will follow a standardised rating system similar to that of IGN, ratings and their meanings are described below.
8.9 to 8.0 - Impressive
Hacks that we feel are outstanding and are exceptional in at least one aspect will receive ratings in this range. Hacks that we feel are worthwhile and that everyone will find enjoyable. You'd need to put in a lot of effort to get this rating.
7.9 to 7.0 - Good
An excellent hack that is let down by a one or two major problems. Above average in all aspects but just missing a few things it needs to be great. Not amazing but has potential.
6.9 to 6.0 - Passable
Hacks that are just above average. Nothing to really get excited about. Nothing particularly horrible about the hack but nothing all that great either.
5.9 to 5.0 - Mediocre
A hack that provokes no emotion, standard, run-of-the-mill whatever you want to call it, these hacks are as average as they come.
4.9 to 4.0 - Lackluster
Hacks that do not have enough effort put into them. Probably not worth the attention for the time being. Has some potential to be better, but not enough to become something spectacular.
3.9 to 3.0 - Poor
Hacks that are flawed in all areas, most likely caused by inexperience by the author rather than effort. Not worth checking out regularly, will probably be cancelled the next week.
2.9 to 2.0 - Bad
Hacks that we recommend you avoid, not worth playing. Might have a few interesting ideas but ultimately is just very poorly executed. Major flaws in all aspects.
1.9 to 1.0 - Terrible
A hack we believe should not have had its thread accepted. These hacks are not even worth browsing over. These hacks are usually made by people trying to achieve internet stardom.
0.9 to 0.0 - Abysmal
Hacks that are not even truly hacks, more like edits. A few small changes to the original game, achievable in mere minutes.
The Dawn of Pokémon [Link]
Hack Author: dratii
Reviewed By: Thrace
Despite the questionable introduction this hack is really quite promising. dratii is obviously a very talented hacker, having done a lot of ground work before attempting a hack. Something many new hackers could learn from.
Mapping is very good mostly. Theres a few issues that could do with sorting out, such as the use of only one type of grass tile. It may seem like a small problem but its quite noticeable. The scripting is as good as you could ask for. Nothing special yet but as I've said many times thats not always a problem.
The thing I don't like is how dratii isn't taking this hack seriously. Thats not to say that dratii isn't trying but he says so in the introduction that this hack is for him to learn. Making mistakes is the best way to learn. Maybe dratii will get some inspiration for this hack and will continue to develop the story. I'd certainly love to see that.
Article by Thrace
Map Author: Lucario 9
Map of: Fire Red
Map Shot: Click Here!
I look at this map, and my eyes are instantaneously drawn to that ugly line of empty space on the right. By the looks of that, it seems as if Lucario 9 had gotten lazy in the final editing. Next, my eyes were pulled to the rock. Sure this is a simply terrific rock, but it seems as though there almost too many corners. They aren’t well rounded, and generally have a poor shape. Now as I look at this map as a spectator, instead of a player, it is generally eye pleasing, and seems like a lot of effort was implemented into this map. Now when I imagine myself going through this map (keep in mind this is only the second route, as entitled ‘route 2’. This would be a pain in the ass to go through, and the lack of Pokémon you have at this point wouldn’t really help either. The shape is mediocre, and just generally not well done. The tile use on this map is poorly done. The standard Nintendo trees should not be scattered like the way he incorporated them. It results in the map becoming more lackluster. The fact that the rocks in the water don’t have their dark shadows also irritates me, seeing as Lucario 9 took an easier way out. The last thing that bothers me about this map is the one blocked ledges. It just does not look right at all, and they are implemented badly. I think this map is too difficult without any spots for healing, especially since it is this early in the game. I am not a fan of this map, sorry Lucario 9.
Article by Disturbed
Good or bad, that is the question. These changes might give the rom hacking forum a nice new look, but lets think about it a bit more, it used to be four sub-forums, but then the scrapbox was added, now their is another. I'm getting the feeling that the forum is becoming crowded. It looks a bit messy now, due for a cleanup. But first, lets get into the positives of this new change.
Most types of threads now have somewhere specifically to be put, whereas before it was a bit confusing. You also have the advantage of knowing where to go to find a certain hack, unlike before, you cant tell the difference between a hack that has a playable beta and alot of progress and a newbie hack. The other good thing about this is the whole forum isn't as random as before, adding to the point of threads going where they should.
But then of course, there are things that do not compliment the changes, as I mentioned before, things got a bit confusing and messy, I couldn't find a hack from before. The whole hack forum still needs a bit of a tidy up, the only way that could happen though is by a complete refreshment of the forum, but that wont happen. The forum now looks jam packed aswell, too many sub-forums are making it look a bit bad. But you do have to face bad things for good things to happen.
But hacking is moving in a forward direction, it may not happen quickly, but overtime everything will have a nice noticeable change. I don't want to disagree with the changes, but I don't really want to agree aswell.
I'm deeply sorry if the article wasn't up to everyones expectations, but right now there is not much else I can report on.
Visual - Signing out.
Article by Visual
Flags. Something that not many newbies seem to understand... In fact, most people don't understand them. So, today I will be telling you all about them. I'll go into as much detail as possible. So here we go...
= Here's a Pikachu.
Ok, that's a simple GivePokemon script. But wait... It keeps doing it. How do we stop that? Simple answer: Flags.
= I already gave you one[.]
Right. Now it checks to see if it's already been done, however we still haven't set the flag. Thus haven't told the game we only want it done once. And to do that we do...
And that's it. Of course the flag doesn't have to be 0xA0A. And be sure to use a different flag for every script. Anything between 0x1 and 0xA000 are usable flags. Also, remember, some flags are used by the game, so it's best to to use something above 0x850.
I hope you all understand flags now. ^^
Article by Darthatron
“Well, it can vary by a lot depending on my mood. But I can spend anywhere between 5 hours, and 100 hours hacking. In the school holidays it's less, because my friends are all free to do stuff. And if I really get into something it can be an astronomical amount of time... Anyway, my answer is: "Too much."”
TB Pro! says:
“For me, it depends on the week, and what is going on at the current time. If I have nothing going on at the current time, I like to spend roughly 90 hours a week. If I have something going on I may only spend 50 hours hacking. I usually only spend about 20 hours a week on my hack, though. I prefer to work on other hack-realated projects most of the time.”
“IT varies, but usually at least 3 days a week.
It depends on if I'm in the mood or not. I work on my hack some and do other hacking things some.”
Compiled by Thrace
So, last week we learned how to edit the moves that the Move Tutor's can teach. And this week will be a continuation on that. Today I'm going to tell you how to edit which Pokemon can learn which moves from the Move Tutor's. =)
So open up whatever offset you want in a Hex Editor and you should see this: [ 0000 9A40 9A40 9A40 FF60 FF60 FF60 FD40 ... ]
These are the "Binary Switches" which tell the game which Pokemon can learn what moves. So... First things first, get value #1 (9A40) which is Bulbasuar, and flip the Bytes.
So now it should be 409A.
Next, open up Window Calculator. (Make sure it's in Scientific Mode) and then click the "Hex" option button. Then, put in our next flipped bytes. (409A)
Then, we need to click the "Bin" option button. Now, you should get the binary value of that hex number, which is: 100 0000 1001 1010
Right... Now, these values are kind of like flags (in scripting). They can either be 1 (On) or 0 (Off). So, what we want to do is work backwards starting from the far right, and make a list of what the values all mean.
Get it? Good. Because I can't explain it any better... Now, you might be wondering why we had to make the list backwards... This is because the list of moves is read backwards by the game. (Substite first, Mega Punch last.)
So, simply put this is what all those values mean...
And that's it, do the same for every other pokemon, and then you're done. =D Have fun haxxing.
Hope you guys enjoyed that, I know it was missing some stuff but hopefully it was a decent size. That article by Visual was supposed to be in the newsletter 3 weeks ago. Somehow it just disappeared from my PM box.
So as always keep your comments coming in. Make sure you vote in HotY as well!