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ROM Hacking: Getting Started

As one of the most popular sections on PokéCommunity, ROM Hacking is often greeting new users who want to try their hand at learning how to manipulate the games. This thread acts as a directory for links, tools, tutorials and general advice for those trying to start off. For a more 'in-depth' guide, try Deokishisu's post.

1. What can I achieve with ROM Hacking?

Whilst the possibilities are near endless, here is a summary of the changes you could make without an indepth knowledge of the workings of ROMs:

Map editing - including inserting brand new tiles to create completely original maps.
Script editing - purposing the game coding to create your own events, NPC characters, Gym Leaders, and so on. This allows you to create your own story, as different from the original game as you'd like.
Pokémon Editing - changing evolution, changing moves or inserting completely new Pokémon! There's plenty to do. Completely custom sprites can even be inserted.

And much, much more. Hex-Editing and ASM use help open the door to new features and unique functions. As you develop as a ROM hacker you may start to look into those yourself.

2. What do I need to get started?

VisualBoy Advance-M - Standard emulator to run ROM files.
Lunar IPS, NUPS - A patching tool.
AdvanceMap 1.95 or Version 1.92 by LU-HO - Used to create new maps and insert new tiles.
XSE 1.1.1 by HackMew (unofficial link) - Most common scripting tool, for scripting NPCs and events. **RECOMMENDED TUTORIAL**
Gen 3 ROM Hacking Suite by karatekid552 - Able to edit Pokemon data.
Free Space Finder (FSF) by HackMew - A useful sidetool for finding empty space in your ROM file.
Nameless Sprite Editor 2.X by link12552 - Allows you in edit/insert sprites.
GBA Graphics Editor by nintenlord - Helps to retrieve and insert other graphical elements.
Hopeless Trainer Editor by Lost Heart - Allows you to edit trainer information and their teams.

These tools are mere suggestions - there are other alternatives out there. You can find many other useful tools here.

If you're looking for new tiles, overworlds or other graphical add-ons check out The Resources Thread. Remember to check out the link to the previous thread in the first post.

3. How do I do all these things?

Tutorials! We are lucky to have a myriad of tutorials here at PokéCommunity. Along with the one linked with XSE, there are many more in our Tools, Tutorials and Resources section. To select just tutorials, to help find something you're looking for, click the prefix [tutorial] or use this link.

If you would like to recommend any additional tools, tutorials or resources to include please VM/PM me, or post below and I shall add them in.