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  #101    
Old October 4th, 2008, 10:40 PM
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Rom Hacking Newsletter
Issue 6 - Saturday, 4 October 2008
Introduction
Opening words

Another week and another issue of RHN. This issue we have an interview of Darthatron by thethethethe, a hack review by Kaizer-X, some pretty darn useful tips and tricks and of course the HOTW mini-review.

The debate idea received excellent feedback but unfortunately I won't be able to organise it for a while yet. Unless someone else wants to get it running I can't see it happening until December at the earliest.

I seem to be running out of things to say here. Well anyway hope you enjoy issue number (already more issues than Hiroshi and Martin's put together D:) 6.
Article by dshayabusa




Hacking News
Staying current with the rom hacking scene

Map Reviewing

As of the week following next (hopefully) there will be a Map review by Neti who is very well known for mapping himself. Only the outstanding map of that week will recieve the review. For more info PM Neti. Details and guidelines will be in the next issue as well as the first review.

Hack Rating System
RHN will now follow a standardised rating system similar to that of IGN, ratings and their meanings are described below.
Spoiler:
10.0 to 9.0 - Masterful
Its almost impossible to make a hack that is perfect, but ratings in this range get pretty close. These hacks are flawless in all aspects of hacking, they are innovative and engaging.

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.



HOTW Winner
Spotlight on the Hack of the Week

Pokémon Snowstorm [Link]
Hack Author: Lucario 9
Reviewed By: dshayabusa

What's this? A hack with ice tiles? No way, since when? Ok so I'm exaggerating a bit but honestly there are just way too many of these right now. Overused tiles aside this hack is pretty decent.

The story is pretty intriguing so far, the idea of being raised by a Pokemon albeit "farfetch'd" (lawl) certainly captures ones imagination. The rest of the story seems to meld into the archetypical Pokemon story. I'm sure that it will develop later on. It certainly has the potential.

Mapping is really nothing new, all maps that have those tiles have almost the exact same type of mapping, I'm guilty of it myself. Thats not to say the mapping is bad but people will start to get bored of it. Also what is up with screenshots of the player jumping down from a hill? I've seen that in about 4 hacks now.

Hopefully Lucario 9 decides to implement different tiles later on (though with a name like Snowstorm that seems doubtful). If you can get over the tiles this hack certainly has potential in its storyline.
Article by dshayabusa




Hack Review
Hacks in review

Pokémon Police [Link]
Hack Author: G.K.S
Reviewed By: Kaizer-X
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0/10

Oh Yea!! Another hack with the main character being a member of the most famous crime-fighting group; the Police. Unlike Pokémon Flame of Rage, this hack has gone one step further by having the main objective of fighting Team Rocket base leaders all around the region and then in the end fight with the leader of Team Rocket, Giovanni instead of the traditional Gym Leaders.

The Storyline is interesting starting with an event of a break-in and then resulted in you joining the Police Force to fight Team Rocket. The hack is also very creative I with the setting of two rivals who both joined the Police and Team Rocket respectively.

The scripts are quite good, not really that amazing but it is decent enough and G.K.S has also done well in text-editing some of the events including the one you fought your rival.
But some of the scripts are left hanging in the air as it is uncompleted and cause the story to be confusing.

But in spite of all this, there is are some major drawbacks in the hack, especially in terms of mapping. The maps are too wide and empty. This has made the hack dull and a little boring. There are also a lot of errors in the warping. One minute you are going into the mart the next minute you have gone to a totally different map entirely. This is very annoying as it spoils the storyline and confuses the player as they don’t know what their next task is.

Personally I think this hack has room for improvement and for now I wouldn’t recommend you to play it unless you really want to.
Article by Kaizer-X




Tips and Tricks
A cool new trick that you may not have known about

Finally we've got a Tips and Tricks segment for the mappers here. Most of these can be found in AdvanceMaps readme.

CTRL + Right-Click Drag
This is used to select multiple tiles when mapping. Simply hover over the first of the tiles you want to select, whilst holding down the CTRL button and the Right Mouse Button drag your mouse over the tiles you want. This can be done in your map and your tileset. A small window will appear showing you what you have selected if you are in Map View. It will also select the current movement permissions for the tiles. This cannot be used in Movement Permissions but you can use it in the Block Editor.

Middle Mouse Button Click
Can be used in Map View and Movement Permissions. Clicking the middle button over a specific tile will fill tiles that are identical around it with the selected tile. This is similar to the paint bucket in Paint. Therefore leaving any gaps between tiles can cause unwanted filling. Unlike Paint however there is no undo function on A-Map so you should be careful especially with large maps.
Tip donated by AdvanceMap's ReadMe



Interview
An in-depth chat with...
Spoiler:
thethethethe says (9:49 PM):
Alright, hopefully there's no problems anymore?
Darthatron says (9:50 PM):
I'm ready when you are
thethethethe says (9:51 PM):
I guess I'll start with the simple question. How did you get into hacking?
Darthatron says (9:52 PM):
Well unlike the most people, I just stumbled upon PokeCommunity forums by accident. I then noticed the ROM Hacking section and got excited about it
Darthatron says (9:52 PM):
I played about 5 minutes of a hack, then decided I wanted to hack aswell.
thethethethe says (9:54 PM):
What hack was that?
Darthatron says (9:54 PM):
To be perfectly honest, I've forgotten. I joined nearly 3 years ago, you know.
thethethethe says (9:56 PM):
You're fairly well renowned for your programming talents. But what made you choose to create tools and things instead of making an actual hack?
Darthatron says (9:57 PM):
Well, the same year I joined I started doing a programming course at school.
Darthatron says (9:57 PM):
I wanted to learn how to HEX Edit, but it was rather annoying to learn, due to my short attention span.
Darthatron says (9:58 PM):
So, then I decided to try making tools, since there weren't many at the time.
Darthatron says (9:58 PM):
I found learning HEX Editing was much easier when I was making something as well.
Darthatron says (9:59 PM):
Don't get me wrong, though. I still think hacking is good, but I prefer to make it easier for other people, rather then doing things the hard way.
thethethethe says (10:00 PM):
Some time ago, I remember a hack of yours popped up in the scrapbox. Whatever happened to that?
Darthatron says (10:00 PM):
Well, I've been working on it less and less as the months went by. But be sure it's still coming.
Darthatron says (10:01 PM):
I prefer working on scripts, you see. And have barely any mapping skills.
Darthatron says (10:01 PM):
So it's difficult for me to progress.
thethethethe says (10:02 PM):
So you're somewhat similiar to me.
thethethethe says (10:03 PM):
But we haven't really seen too much from you lately. Why haven't we seen any tools from you recently?
Darthatron says (10:04 PM):
Well, as you might know, I took a rest from hacking for about a month. It was good, it let me get good at other things.
Darthatron says (10:04 PM):
I'm currently working on a tool that will helping with making title screens, and also world maps.
Darthatron says (10:04 PM):
Not a tilemap editor, though.
thethethethe says (10:05 PM):
There's like four of those now. No need for one more anyway.
Darthatron says (10:06 PM):
Indeed.
thethethethe says (10:06 PM):
In that break you took, did you ever consider not returning to rom hacking?
Darthatron says (10:07 PM):
Well, when I first went on the break, it was going to be me quitting. However, after getting very, very bored I decided I'd come back, after a month.
thethethethe says (10:08 PM):
Well, we won't all be hacking forever, how much longer do you see yourself doing this?
Darthatron says (10:09 PM):
Well, I like to think I'll be doing this for a while. But I do have other things to do as I get older... I think I'll probably stay in the community for another year and a bit. If you're lucky.
thethethethe says (10:11 PM):
Coolboyman is quite open about his ideas of hacking today. How do you feel about the hacking community, or even hackers themselves today?
Darthatron says (10:12 PM):
Well, when I first began hacking you needed to be fairly smart, since most of it consisted of HEX Editing. Now days there are lots of tools, and most are just copies of each other.
Darthatron says (10:13 PM):
I think most of the hackers in the community are... too young. The average age is about 12 now, it used to be around 15.
Darthatron says (10:13 PM):
Oh well, they're still not complete idiots.
thethethethe says (10:13 PM):
I see.
thethethethe says (10:15 PM):
If you could change one thing about the hacking community, what would you change?
Darthatron says (10:15 PM):
That's a hard one.
Darthatron says (10:16 PM):
I'd probably make it have less hacks that never get finished, and make people work on 1 hack at a time.
thethethethe says (10:18 PM):
Forcing people to work on only one hack at a time sounds great. I mean if you have enough energy to work on three hacks. You could probably put lots of time into just one.
Darthatron says (10:18 PM):
Exactly.
thethethethe says (10:24 PM):
You mentioned earlier that it seems like the average hackers age is about 12 or so. If Pokemon was to be aimed at a slightly older age group, do think hacking 'scene' would be different today?
Darthatron says (10:24 PM):
Definately.
Darthatron says (10:25 PM):
You look at the hacking scenes for Halo, and you can tell the maturity difference instantly.
Darthatron says (10:25 PM):
As an example.
Darthatron says (10:26 PM):
Even the cheating forums for games like RuneScape, or WoW are much more mature compared to Pokemon.
thethethethe says (10:32 PM):
With hex being something that is almost taboo in newer hackers, do you see any possibility of the fourth generation and a possible fifth generation being as advanced as the second and third generation hacking?
Darthatron says (10:33 PM):
I think that once the people who know HEX leave, that the community will begin to die.
Darthatron says (10:33 PM):
But, we are pretty set for the 4th generation. There are lots of tools in development as we speak.
Darthatron says (10:34 PM):
I'm not too sure about the 5th Gen, however.
thethethethe says (10:34 PM):
Have you ever tried to hack anything other than a Pokemon rom?
Darthatron says (10:35 PM):
Yes, I've tried hacking some of the Zelda games, and also Super Smash Brothers (64).
thethethethe says (10:38 PM):
You're apart of the ROM Reaverz Hacking Team, do you think a team works better than an individual?
Darthatron says (10:39 PM):
I think if you're good at everything you should work alone.
Darthatron says (10:39 PM):
But when you're like me and don't have graphics/mapping skills, then a team is best.
thethethethe says (10:40 PM):
But if someone knew were to have just begun hacking, would you recommend them to join a team quickly?
Darthatron says (10:41 PM):
No, I think learning things and giving them a go for a while is good when you first start.
Darthatron says (10:41 PM):
But if you've been hacking for a while and still lack the ability to do things, then join a team. But still, keep learning.
thethethethe says (10:42 PM):
Well, we should probably wrap this up soon. Is there any hack you'd like to recommend?
Darthatron says (10:44 PM):
I would recommend X-Buster's hack "Flame Of Rage" because it's has some briliant ideas and good game play.
thethethethe says (10:45 PM):
And what you said before could be considered advice but is there any other advice you'd like to give to new hackers?
Darthatron says (10:45 PM):
Try and learn as much as you can. Ask for help, but try and do things alone first.
Darthatron says (10:45 PM):
And, treat your elders with respect.
thethethethe says (10:46 PM):
Ok, thanks for the interview Darthatron.
Darthatron says (10:46 PM):
No problem, thethethethethethethethethethe

So the guest recommendation this week goes to Liquid Crystal:
Interview by thethethethe



Closing Notes
Some house keeping

If you like RHN and get a decent rating or other award why not post it in your hacks thread? Not only would people appreciate your hack more but you'd be helping promote RHN. I might not be able to do the next two issues so if I can't I'll leave someone else to post it for me. Sorry about the Tips and Tricks, I know I could have done it alot better. So yeah, thats it. Hope you enjoyed reading Issue 6.
Closing by dshayabusa
CSS design and graphics by dshayabusa. Ask for permission if you want to use them!
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  #102    
Old October 4th, 2008, 10:53 PM
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Dun-dun-duuuhn!
The new editon, eh? Pretty nice. I guess the tips and tricks could have been better, yeah, but it was pretty good overall. It was sort of duller than the previous ones, but who's perfect?

Spoiler:
...I'd say the youngest is about 10 and the average is still 13 or 14. I mean, there aren't any, what, 6 year olds here, are there? Darth...x.x
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  #103    
Old October 4th, 2008, 11:08 PM
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:D

Nice work as usual. but why there's no rating ( 0.1 to 10.0) for Pokémon Snowstorm?
  #104    
Old October 4th, 2008, 11:21 PM
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Didn't he say before? It can't get a rating without a game to play.
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  #105    
Old October 5th, 2008, 01:27 AM
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Nice job. This was great! It seemed a bit shorter than last weeks, but opposite to Dark Lakitu's comment, I think this weeks issue was well-written, and entartaining. It's sad you have to add the excerpts from the Advance Map Read-Me to this issue before some hackers see it at all >.< I liked this weeks interview a lot better than last week's, and as エロカメ pointed out, the recommendation is different than the award All in all, this was another great issue, keep it up. BOL!
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  #106    
Old October 5th, 2008, 01:53 AM
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I've subscribed to this thread great job! love it thanks.
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The best hacks ever:
Spoiler:




I'm a spriter for



Insert new pokemon WITHOUT removing old ones up to 25!
Tom's PokePet

Charizard the level 36 Charizard!

For All GBC hackers!
  #107    
Old October 5th, 2008, 06:57 AM
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I loved this issue, even though it was shorter. When those Map Reviews come in, it will be a good length again.

I agree with TB Pro, this weeks interview was awesome. Who knew that Darthatron was that freak'n cool!? =D

Keep up the awesome work, can't wait for next week.
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  #108    
Old October 5th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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That was a very interesting interview to read. ;]
I really liked this issue, and I'm sure the next will be just as great. ;D
Good Luck~
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  #109    
Old October 5th, 2008, 11:31 AM
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The new newsletter was great dshayabusa, i just felt that it was a bit short.
Now i can know what hacks to look at and what hacks to avoid.
the interview was interesting, and a bit long for an interview.
I wish you and your team the best of luck dshayabusa.
  #110    
Old October 5th, 2008, 07:06 PM
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Well, I thought it was great and I liked the "Tips and Tricks" section! Just because it's been stated somewhere else, doesn't mean it can't get stated again! This would be one of those situations (I'm speaking to all you readers out there) where if you didn't like the tips, then send some in yourself!! =] If you feel it was a bit short, send in an idea for an article!!
  #111    
Old October 6th, 2008, 08:03 PM
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Hello db.
I like what you've done with the newsletter.

It was something I had been trying to revive for a long time on this site, and you've done exactly what I envisioned. I commend you.

Keep up the good work.
And remember to keep it up with new innovative ideas, even silly things like a section for "common mistakes" or a "begginer's corner", maybe even articles on the hacking community itself, not just the hacks.

- EarthsVisitor, Rocket's Revenge and City of Evil, HotY 2007 3rd Place.
(Don't ask why I did that, it just sounds cool. xD That's right. PRIDE.)
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Last edited by EarthsVisitor; October 6th, 2008 at 08:09 PM.
  #112    
Old October 7th, 2008, 12:29 AM
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my days of absence from the community...
Oh well...

The newsletter is really great, and I really love the interview. For the time being, I think thethethethe's a great interviewer.

The tips and tricks was a bit er, known in my case, as well as others, but oh well... :\

oh, and I should agree about the overused ROM-base, the snowy tiles for a FireRed ROM... :\

As always, continue the great work. :D
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  #113    
Old October 7th, 2008, 12:57 AM
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I had a thought (amazing )
Maybe you can interview Lucario9 because he has won HOTW 3 times
just an idea
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  #114    
Old October 7th, 2008, 01:22 AM
thethethethe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hackimon12 View Post
I had a thought (amazing :P)
Maybe you can interview Lucario9 because he has won HOTW 3 times
just an idea
But is winning that award three times that great of a feat?
I'm not trying to put him down, but I mean, he's won it three times in 10 weeks and not one of those hacks has had a release of any form. To me that just seems like we'll never see too much from him, and he'll remain in between hacks. But that's just what I think of it.
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  #115    
Old October 7th, 2008, 05:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthsVisitor View Post
Hello db.
I like what you've done with the newsletter.

It was something I had been trying to revive for a long time on this site, and you've done exactly what I envisioned. I commend you.

Keep up the good work.
And remember to keep it up with new innovative ideas, even silly things like a section for "common mistakes" or a "begginer's corner", maybe even articles on the hacking community itself, not just the hacks.

- EarthsVisitor, Rocket's Revenge and City of Evil, HotY 2007 3rd Place.
(Don't ask why I did that, it just sounds cool. xD That's right. PRIDE.)
Those are some great ideas, I'll try to implement some of those but maybe a thread for themselves would be better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Time View Post
my days of absence from the community...
Oh well...

The newsletter is really great, and I really love the interview. For the time being, I think thethethethe's a great interviewer.

The tips and tricks was a bit er, known in my case, as well as others, but oh well... :\

oh, and I should agree about the overused ROM-base, the snowy tiles for a FireRed ROM... :\

As always, continue the great work. :D
Yeah I totally agree, thethethethe will do all future interviews, if he accepts of course.
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  #116    
Old October 7th, 2008, 06:34 AM
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Very nice only a bit short.. But it doesnt care.. But the tips where a little vague in my opinion.. well BOL!
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  #117    
Old October 12th, 2008, 02:47 AM
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Rom Hacking Newsletter
Issue 7 - Sunday, 12 October 2008
Introduction
Opening words

I've got school tomorrow and since HOTW hasn't finished yet I'm going to post this without a HOTW review. I can't do it on the hack that looks like its going to win either since its neck in neck.

There was something quite important I wanted to write here but I can't remember what it is, I'll edit this later when I remember.

This week we've got an interview with HackMew which I'm sure many of you will be interested in reading, a very interesting article on some user's attitudes towards hacks, a review of Mystic Dreams and also part 1 in a two part Tips and Tricks segment. Happy reading!
Article by dshayabusa




Hacking News
Staying current with the rom hacking scene

Update on Map Reviewing

I haven't had news from Neti yet so I think that he's still on holiday. Wind~ has started a Map of the Week thread so that will tie in perfectly with this.

Map of the Week
Wind~ has started a new topic for people to vote on the top Map each week in the Map Rating Thread. RHN will start a new segment on this. Be sure to check it out and cast your vote here.

Hack Rating System
RHN will now follow a standardised rating system similar to that of IGN, ratings and their meanings are described below.
Spoiler:
10.0 to 9.0 - Masterful
Its almost impossible to make a hack that is perfect, but ratings in this range get pretty close. These hacks are flawless in all aspects of hacking, they are innovative and engaging.

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.



Hack Review
Hacks in review

Pokémon Mystic Dreams [Link]
Hack Author: Seth-kun
Reviewed By: thethethethe
Reviewer's Rating: 0.4/10

Looking at its download size, and taking into account that this was its third release. I wasn't expecting too much from this hack.

Almost as soon as I started playing, my assumptions were justified. The mapping is mediocre and the scripting was horrible. Close to every in-game script I saw was just an edited copy of another script that he had used. A simple Poké Mart script was attempted and failed horribly and didn’t work at all. Also a note to hackers out there, if you're going to re-use talking events from the original game at least text edit them so that that the player can't recognise the text.

One other problem I had with the scripting is one that I notice in lots of hacks throughout the Pokémon Hacking Community. How hard is it to add colour to the text. ‘textcolor 0x[X]’ is all that is needed. Only like 13 characters, nothing too extreme. I don’t understand why there are so many hacks without coloured text.

Okay, maybe I'm already fairly riled up now and I just feel like pointing out problems I have with the game, but Seth-kun what's the point of having a storyline, when you don't follow it? If you read his plot line from within the thread, and then play through the hack. You'll find no similarities, other than the fact that you receive a Pokémon. The storyline sounds fairly interesting and speaks of clashes between Celebi and Darkrai. My problem is that when there is still no mention of storyline events at the third release. There has to be some kind of problem.

If this is Demo 3, I'm glad I didn't see Demo 1.
Article by thethethethe




Rom Hacking = Popularity?
No, Rom Hacking = Originality
The Rom Hacking scene in perspective

I've noticed a large increase of Rom Hacks appearing in the showcase, with little next to nothing done, (I am guilty of this myself, but now it has become a problem) People have begun to slap on a thread title and a few maps with not much done at all, with progress extremely slow as well. To me this has become alarming, because it's now not about people having fun and trying to make Pokemon that extra bit better, they want to grab some attention and five thousand replies, which looks like it will never happen. I few years ago, Rom Hacking was at it's beginning stages and people were more interested in changing the Rom, making it fun, then getting a single reply, it was more of a self pride thing. But things have flipped around the other way.

There is something I must put out into the public, it's called originality. Which seems to really be lacking in some threads. An amazingly long complex story is not originality, a one or two line story which immediately grabs everyones attention is. New graphics doesn't mean originality, it means your hack is different, not original. Every hack is starting to become the same thing over and over, an evil team is trying to catch some legendary that will send you back in time or something like that. Or someone trying to save a professor or person of some sought. There are not very many open minded hacks out there anymore. A story takes a long time to develop, you might even start with a three word story and take a month to develop it into a three line story. It all takes time and imagination.

I don't wish to offend anyone, but there are a large number of hacks I would easily regard as useless, and maybe a few that are quite interesting. I, and many other people probably have this same feeling, hacks are starting to become uninteresting. I don't really have any interest in downloading a beta and actually patching it, it now seems effortless. I hope that this changes soon in the future, or rom hacking will have a downspiral effect.

Another small point I want to get to is Rom Bases, and repeated tile use. I have noticed a large increase of people using rombases, I now have the automatic impression the hack is low quality. My rating on any hack with a rombase is now 0, unless I can notice a quite substantial change. I would write more, but it seems like an anger speech, and thats the last thing I want this to be.

Thats all I have to say, peace out.
Article by Visual



Tips and Tricks
A cool new trick that you may not have known about

Titlescreens! The first thing the player sees when they first play a hack. Not vitally important but always a nice touch non-the-less. This week for T&T I'm going to show you how to recreate the Pokemon Genesis titlescreen. Its going to come in two parts since this is almost a tutorial. Keep in mind that is not, I will not explain everything, anything I know is in an existing titlescreen tutorial I will ommit.

Preparations
Spoiler:
Before you start making it you need to get an idea of what you want you're titlescreen to look like. Genesis is all about, well... Genesis! The beginning of the Universe so naturally space is an ideal background. I also included the two main Legendaries; Arceus and Giratina. Here is the rough version I made in PS.
Keep in mind that it may not be possible to get it looking 100% the way you want.

Gathering and Sorting
Spoiler:
Now we need all the images and tile maps for out titlescreen. I got the space background from a resource sheet of Metroid and the two Platinum sprites of Arceus and Giratina from M_X's site. Next are the tilemaps which you need to export out of the rom. They UNLZ numbers are below, courtesy of thethethethe's tutorial at PHO.

2010 - Pokemon Logo Tilemap
2012 - Charizard Tilemap
2014 - 'Press Start'/'Gamefreak' Tilemap

So, we have a total of 3 tilemaps to work with and 5 separate images. Obviously the trick here is to combine images. But which images do we put in which tilemap? Well lets think about this. If we remember the original FR titlescreen we know that the Pokemon Logo appears at the front with the Charizard behind that and the Press Start at the very back.

There are a few alternatives but I opted to have the Space Backgroud go in the Press Start tilemap. Giratina, Arceus and a custom (unflashing) Press Start will go in the Charizard tilemap and the original Pokemon Logo with my custom Genesis version title will go in the Pokemon Logo Tilemap.

You may have already spotted a problem. How can Giratina and Arceus both go in the same image? We need to insert that image as an indexed 16 colour file, surely Giratina and Arceus will take more that 16 colours? And its true, they do but there is a way around that, one that I will come to when we need to. For now simply place them both in the same image without indexing, load your favourite tilemap editor and tile away!

I'll continue this in next weeks issue.
Tip donated by dshayabusa



Interview
An in-depth chat with...
Spoiler:
(11:57:01 AM) Malin: Ready to begin?
(11:58:09 AM) HackMew: Kinda.
(11:59:00 AM) Malin: You've been hacking for a very long time now but what first got you into it?
(12:00:10 PM) HackMew: I would say curiosity.
(12:02:40 PM) HackMew: I like and always liked to understand how things work behind the scenes. And to adjust them to fix my desires, eventually.
(12:05:40 PM) Malin: So, currently your most well renowned tool is eXtreme Script Editor or XSE. XSE began production when it was voted most wanted in your own little poll. Was there any distinct reason as to why XSE was apart of that list?
(12:13:11 PM) HackMew: Actually XSE development started more than one year ago. And from a certain point of view I could say it's my first tool, even if I released A-Starter (early named Different Start R/S/E). If you're interested I'll explain you more about that. Regarding the little poll, XSE was part of the list mainly because I knew already that was people really wanted indeed. The first place was rather obvious. The results confirmed that.
(12:16:32 PM) Malin: Oh yeah sure, that'd be great
(12:16:44 PM) HackMew: Okay, fine.
(12:23:17 PM) HackMew: Since I took hacking seriously, I decided to learn as much as possible about scripting. At the time I was using ScriptEd which was a quite good alternative to a hex editor. Soon I learned about the bugs and the limits ScriptEd got. Luckily enough I found out there was a source code available, and the source was written in VB6. I knew just a little bit of VB6, but I decided to go ahed and edit the source to fix whatever my limited knowledge could dare. That's how my Enhanced ScriptEd got life.
(12:25:02 PM) Malin: Enhanced ScriptEd? Did you release that?
(12:26:10 PM) HackMew: Somehow, I only released a preview copy on a Pokémon forum.
(12:26:28 PM) Malin: Oh I see.
(12:26:43 PM) Malin: I've heard that there is a new version of XSE currently being tested, but how much longer will it be before we see that?
(12:27:03 PM) HackMew: Less than you may think, I guess.
(12:27:35 PM) Malin: Could you give us an idea of some of the new features?
(12:28:49 PM) HackMew: Yeah, sure.
(12:33:05 PM) HackMew: First of all I've improved all frequent taks such as compiling/degugging, loading files and so on. Those were fast enough already, you may say. True, but when things work, why not make them work faster?
(12:33:45 PM) Malin: I agree, anything else?
(12:36:14 PM) HackMew: Second, I did a large amount of bug fixes. Finally come the new features. For example there's the ROM Resizer, which will let you expand or shrink it back any ROMs. Of course, XSE will be fully compatible with expanded ROMs.
(12:39:35 PM) HackMew: For those who use the Hex Viewer, they will be probably happy to see it features a bran new scrollbar.
(12:39:35 PM) HackMew: Multiple comments are supported too, namely ' ; //
(12:39:35 PM) HackMew: While closing XSE with unsaved scripts and multiple tabs, now there's a new prompt which can handle not just Yes, No and Cancel but Yes to All and Not to All as well.
(12:39:35 PM) HackMew: The File menu got a little addition: Print. Though it was already there but commented out since early betas, I decided to re-enable it to its full glory.
(12:39:35 PM) HackMew: Under the Options menu instead, there's the Decompile Options submenu now.
(12:45:27 PM) HackMew: What does it mean? Basically that you can choose between 3 different decompile modes and 3 differents comments to use while decompiling.
(12:45:42 PM) HackMew: The 3 modes are Enhanced, Normal, and Strict.
(12:46:06 PM) HackMew: Normal is enabled by default and it's just the same as any XSE user is used to when decompiling.
(12:47:06 PM) HackMew: The Enhanced one will go one step futher. That it, it will retrieve more extra information.
(12:48:01 PM) HackMew: A simple giveitem script, with Enhanced mode on would look like this:

#org 0x800000

giveitem ITEM_POTION 0x1 MSG_FOUND

end
(12:48:23 PM) HackMew: Same would happen for givepokemon and many others.
(12:49:54 PM) HackMew: What about strict mode? More or less the opposite, since it's just the Normal one with any comments stripped out.
(12:52:07 PM) HackMew: The file association got a nice addition: now you can associate (or deassociate) your .gba files with XSE at any time. When associated, a "Open with XSE" would appear when right-clicking your .gba files.
(12:53:47 PM) HackMew: And there's a good news for all non-admin people or Vista users with UAC on: file association does not require admin right any more.
(12:57:20 PM) HackMew: The Text Adjuster got improved too. Now you can throw in any text to get it adjusted in no time. Now supports re-adjusting too. Which means you can easily edit your own text by simply pressing Shift+Ctrl+A.
(12:58:18 PM) HackMew: Shift+Ctrl+F is another new shortcut which will open the folder of the current loaded script/ROM.
(12:58:51 PM) HackMew: A full list of those shortcuts and much more will be shown in the updated guide.
(12:59:41 PM) HackMew: There are two little progress bars now. The first will eventually appear in the status bar while you compile or debug a script.
(1:00:19 PM) HackMew: The second one will be activated once you open the Find and Replace dialog to use the Replace All function.
(1:02:06 PM) HackMew: While compiling there will be some extra checks now.
(1:02:21 PM) HackMew: Too less or too much parameters, and invalid command.
(1:02:46 PM) HackMew: If you're wondering about the second one, think about compiling a textcolor command into a Ruby ROM.
(1:03:18 PM) HackMew: That commands exists on Fire Red but not on Ruby, indeed.
(1:04:11 PM) HackMew: So it would produce no effect in-game. No need to compile it then.
(1:06:14 PM) HackMew: And there's the Inline Command Help now.

As soon as you type a command, a construct or a directive, a little tooltip will appear telling you what params are needed.
(1:07:34 PM) HackMew: The tooltip will disappear after a short time, unless you press Esc, Enter or you mouse click somewhere. If you really want, you can even turn it off permanently, using the Options menu.
(1:07:59 PM) HackMew: Last but not the least, there's an auto update checking feature.
(1:10:45 PM) HackMew: As soon as you start XSE, it will checks for updates. If some updates are found, the updated window will be shown letting you download and updated your own copy. Otherwhise nothing will happen. Even this can be turned off and back on if someone likes to.
(1:11:59 PM) HackMew: We can say those are the main improvements/features introduced so far.
(1:13:06 PM) Malin: Wow, that sounds great! All those features sound very useful.
(1:13:30 PM) HackMew: Hehe, nice to hear that.
(1:14:23 PM) Malin: Within that list of tools that XSE came from, some of them have come into fruition since your poll ended. Will all those tools still be made after the completion of XSE.
(1:14:31 PM) HackMew: Yep, my answer is yes.
(1:15:06 PM) HackMew: I planned to make them and I will make them, someday.
(1:16:11 PM) HackMew: Oh, yeah... back to XSE for a bit, I forgot to say there's even a French translation available.
(1:21:03 PM) Malin: You had your own hack, Oro Sole. With Shiny Gold nearing it's end do you see any reason in continuing your own Gold Remake?
(1:22:32 PM) HackMew: I don't see much point in not continuing my project just because there's ShinyGold. After all, when I started it, ShinyGold wasn't even posted. I do it for fun with the goal of top quality in my mind, and that's it. I don't care if it's not in the first page or if it's not famous enough. If people will like it, good. Otherwhise I'll go ahead anyway.
(1:23:44 PM) Malin: Are you still working on it now, even though the thread is closed?
(1:25:37 PM) HackMew: Not at the moment. My priority is still focused on XSE. But I already planning something.
(1:26:05 PM) Malin: Have you ever tried to hack any other games, other than Pokemon?
(1:29:53 PM) HackMew: Yes, but no ROMs.
(1:30:28 PM) Malin: Oh? Such as?
(1:32:17 PM) HackMew: Uhm, quite a lot. Can't remember all of them right now XD

But even removing an intro video was hacking for me.
(1:32:40 PM) Malin: I see.
(1:32:41 PM) Malin: If there was something you could change about the way hacking is today what would it be?
(1:33:02 PM) HackMew: Quite a lot.
(1:33:45 PM) HackMew: Most people today have great ambitons but almost no knowledge.
(1:34:33 PM) HackMew: It's like as soon they learn mapping and how to edit texts they want to release something.
(1:35:06 PM) HackMew: A sadly truth, but luckily there are still some good hackers out here.
(1:36:00 PM) HackMew: I can't really understand all those people demanding custom scripts.
(1:36:51 PM) HackMew: Or those who don't read tutorials, for example.
(1:37:28 PM) HackMew: If you want to learn, you need to mess around with tools and ROMs. Trials and errors, and everyday you'll learn something new.
(1:38:05 PM) HackMew: Instead, it seems most people are even scared by trying something.
(1:39:27 PM) HackMew: So they ask - or better, demand - for help.
(1:40:57 PM) HackMew: While it may seems the easy way, it's not always the best.
(1:41:10 PM) HackMew: What if no one answers?
(1:41:56 PM) HackMew: You need to rely on yourself. And then on the other hackers.
(1:41:56 PM) HackMew: If you have no idea what a "compare" command does, you shouldn't use it and the complain your script doesn't work.
(1:49:14 PM) HackMew: You asked me what I would change in the way of hacking. The way of hacking, though is strictly related to hackers. Till hackers are the same, their hacking way will be the same.
(1:50:29 PM) HackMew: Needless to say I was talking in general. No offense intended.
(1:50:44 PM) Malin: Before we wrap things up, is there a hack you'd like to recommend?
(1:52:56 PM) HackMew: I think I just can't because I'm not used to look at the many hacks posted in the showcase.
(1:53:45 PM) Malin: Thats fine, anything else you'd like to say before we finish?
(1:55:57 PM) HackMew: Happy hacking to you all. Expect a brand new XSE soon!
(1:56:38 PM) Malin: Ok, thanks for the interview HackMew.
(1:56:44 PM) HackMew: You're welcome.
Interview by dshayabusa



Closing Notes
Some house keeping

With my luck, zel will have posted the HOTW winner when I log out. I might edit this issue and put it in but don't hold me to it. Keep your ideas coming in! We love hearing all your comments too. Remember this newsletter is for the community and its only because of your support that we keep doing this.
Closing by dshayabusa
CSS design and graphics by dshayabusa. Ask for permission if you want to use them!
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  #118    
Old October 12th, 2008, 03:15 AM
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Neti
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im baack from my vacation, i think in the next issue there will be the map review ssection
good work on the two you did while i was away
and the last one was a really long interview
but the sad truth is true, more ppl start requesting stuff they could learn and do on their own instead of trying stuffuntil it works... if theres only one error they go ask someone
folks you need to put a lot of afford and time into learning hacking
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Last edited by Neti; October 12th, 2008 at 05:51 AM.
  #119    
Old October 12th, 2008, 04:42 AM
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Excellent! I really liked this release. The interview was really entertaining! HackMew is one of the best people here in the hacking scene, a perfect candidate for a interview like this.
Also I agree with the whole bad quality hackers thing. That should change...
I really like your newsletter dshayabusa, I hope we get a new issue soon :D
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  #120    
Old October 12th, 2008, 05:37 AM
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destinedjagold
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................
well, the new newsletter is great.
thethethethe and Hackmew, by their speech, are very true these days...
Visual's thought about ROM bases as well...

anyways, I enjoyed, and felt a bit frustrated about the newsletter, for it really shows the current situation... :\

oh well, as always, do keep up the great work~
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  #121    
Old October 12th, 2008, 09:37 AM
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I feel bad for Seth AND me. :[
I work for Mistic Dreams, and the mapping part..is my fault. I'm not good at caves, and I didn't want to edit the first town too much...

Anyways, the overall news letter was good, though I didn't read everything! xD
I might come back to it later, since I have just woken up.
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  #122    
Old October 12th, 2008, 01:38 PM
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I completely understand the problems, thethethethe. But, whoever said the events have to happen as soon as the game starts? I mean, since when was that rule around?

On another note, I'd be glad to add color to the scripts, but it was rather rushed. I know nobody likes to see their hack get a poor review, but that, honestly, was just harsh.

And, actually, I'm working on the graphics of the game right now. As in, the titlescreen, tiles...etc.
And, so what if I reused old, useless scripts? They're there for the taking, gosh.
Oh, and by the way, that storyline in the thread is the BACKGROUND STORY!!

Background story - Story that will happen sometime in the hack, but not right away. Events will lead up to the events in the background story.

What actually happens - All the events, including the ones Before and After the Background story.

There's a difference!

I also noticed that you only pointed out the bad things of my hack. And, let's see... if my hack got a 2.8, then there must be some good things about it, no? I'd like you to kindly tell me exactly What those good things are.

Last edited by .Seth; October 12th, 2008 at 02:35 PM.
  #123    
Old October 12th, 2008, 02:26 PM
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Hmm...This was a good issue. Hmm...I can't say I agree totally with the review this week, but who am I so say anything Visual's article is exactly right, and that is sad. I remember when there was five or six hacks in the showcase. They were all good/average hacks as well. Now, there is ten to fifteen hacks, and the majority of them are rubbish. Not all of them, some have some potential. The tips and tricks section was nice, I can't wait for the second part This weeks interview was one of the best so far. A nice, long interview with a great hacker. I completely agree with everything Hackmew had to say, the community is going downhill, in a hurry. If there was only a way to get the community out of this hole it's in at the current time. I noticed a few places, where, Hackmew's name wasn't in green Nothing major, just thought I'd point it out for you This was another great issue, keep it up! BOL!
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  #124    
Old October 12th, 2008, 09:59 PM
thethethethe
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Your quote was too long joined with this post, but I might as well try and justify what I said here.

Well by 'release 3', your words not mine, I'd be expecting some inkling of some nature of the storyline. My old hack, Legend of Dragons had probably only a little bit more gameplay wise done than yours but it at least mentioned Rayquaza, which was something that was to be apart of the main plot line later in the game.

I couldn't care about the graphics honestly. Mapping is so easily changed so I don't mention very much about it. The titlescreen, tiles didn't get mentioned because I assumed they would be changed at some stage. So I don't understand why you mention those graphics.

Whether the story in your thread is a Background Story, as you call it, is redundant. There's nothing in your third preview to the game to say 'Look at Me'. Nothing to draw me in to watch the hack and play me next time. No idea on what's happening next.

But instead there was a mention of an elder being in a house. In that house was the class from Viridian City. What's the point in that? All you had to do was maybe add in the first elder's script, and maybe include some mention of the GS ball. I don't want to be half way through a hack, and then the main plot (or even a sub plot) begins.

And, if you're whole hack is just talking scripts with nothing important except for a starter Pokemon, WHY RELEASE ANYTHING? Being rushed is no excuse. You decide when you release your hack. Not other people on forums. If you don't think it'll be ready by a time you mentioned, post in the thread saying it won't be ready be then. People won't care as long as they get the preview at some stage.

All this hack reminded me of, was my first hack that no-one bar one or two people ever saw. I felt this release felt a bit pre-mature and should have been released later. You want to hear the good things? Or the mediocre things that lifted it? Honestly, only judging from that gameplay, there wasn't anything that was really all that great. Just things that were okay.

But here's the good things I can say about this hack so far.
-It was better than the couple of hacks I played just before I played through this one
-There's a large amount of room for improvement.
There's only a tiny bit done, and there's so much more to add to it. I can only rate what I see. I can't see what's happening on your computer with it. I only rated this on demo 3.

I honestly, don't want to put you down and make you quit the hack because I gave you a bad review. Maybe it's just the way I am, and if someone tells me I'm crap at something I normally try to improve and get better. Maybe I'm just hoping everyone's like me, but I hope you keep working on this, just to prove that this was just a poor rating on my behalf and prove it was worth more.
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  #125    
Old October 13th, 2008, 01:54 AM
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Haha, I was reading the interview, did you get a bit bored there dshayabusa? With HackMew going on about all the new features, which I cant wait to see :D!
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dragging himself, forw
ard again, the pain has
still not diminished. E
ventually though, he e
merges inside a v
ery large room w

here everything about

the house

suddenly

changes.
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