sfrom Manager... Dead before it was ever really alive...

Friday, November 24, 2017

The program I was making is called sfrom Manager. I thought it would be useful to people to have a program to make good proper sfroms that used the format to 100% of what its capable of, and be a perfect way of making the 100% as intended compatible ROMs that canoe expects. I put a TON of time into the program, and just recently sacrificed a TON of time in order to create a large list of over 50 game compatibility patches. I finally released the Beta to the SNES Classic Discord community to help find issues and provide feedback to get to the public release that much sooner. And...

Zero fucks were given. =/

Zero feedback. Zero discussion. Evidence that pretty much no one even downloaded it or any of the patches. I gave it a few days, but finally just had to give up. I have to chalk this up as another fail. Another program no one cares about. People are fine with poorly made sfroms, buggy games, and poor performance/lack of features just using retroarch. No one cares about my program, but would rather endlessly discuss dumb shit like using the SNES Classic for everything other then SNES games (retroarch).

This is why I left the SNES projects behind. To little fucks given about anything I worked on. The whole time while making something, I'm driven forward with the belief that the project is something people are going to want and find useful. But when I'm finally done, reality is so much less true. This is at the core of everything I try to make. I just want to figure out something that's fun to make, and that people want. And I constantly fail on that. The only reason I got back into this SNES stuff was that I thought I found something, but I was just as wrong in the end. As usual I only get half the fun. The fun while making it under the misguided belief that people will care about the project, but little to none of the fun afterwards when it's released and seeing people enjoy it and find it useful.

So I removed everything from being available. The program and the near 150 patches. I now need to figure out whats next. I probably need to get back to professional projects. I've been struggling this year trying to get stuff off the ground. I have ideas, but nothing that really stirs a passion and is fun. I may have to try one of my ideas thats more outside of my wheelhouse, just to see if those non-programing/non-3d modeling ideas resonate with me in a way I couldn't predict.

I'm back? In more ways than one.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Just realized its been almost a year since I posted anything here. My professional projects started taking so much of a focus, I basically forgot I even had a hobby project blog. Not that I really had anything to post about here.

But things have changed now! A couple months ago I got into SNES communities again, though this time related to the then upcoming SNES Classic. It was nice to feed an old passion again, for the SNES. I found I had a ton of knowledge to share about it on places like reddit, that others could use. After the SNESC was released and I got mine I found myself delving deep into the modding portion of the community, to the point that I was made a mod on r/miniSNES which I happily accepted to help control the spread of proper true information.

Soon after I found myself diving into my own little subsection of the modding community, with my own efforts to get S-DD1 games running on the SNESC. That lead to me learning so much about canoe (the emu on the SNESC), VC emulators/ROMs and such that I became probably thee most knowledgeable person about such stuff to the point that I had to start analyzing everything I knew and start sharing it, as no one else was going to, and it would be a waste if I didn't do anything.

I started focusing on the biggest mystery of the SNESC modding scene, in a header value known as a preset id. There seemed to be little sense to be made of it. But one thing was certain, games required the correct preset id value to work properly or at all. How does one figure out that value? They just looked like 2 random bytes! So I set out to catalog all known official preset id values, the games they belonged to, and various ROM details that might be related. Once I cataloged a total of 96 I could clearly see what I already suspected. There was an order to them. The order didn't make sense, but it was clear that the IDs were an index value. So I placed them in their hex order and... well, that was the next step.

The order made little sense. How could I make sense of it? I noticed a common sub pattern where the different region versions of a game would be placed in a common order. That could help predict where unknown region versions of known games could be placed, but that only went so far. Eventually I figured out that the order was based on the product ID order of the games on the original Wii. Sadly, this put a nail in the coffin for most games getting a "proper id" as most of the SNES library was not released on the Wii. But still, this was a big help because many of the best games were! And many of those were not officially released on the WiiU/3DS/Classic, but still had a preset id reserved.

I filled out the list as best as I could with educated guesses, marking the degree of error as I could. The lists line up VERY WELL. But not 100% perfect, so I can't label anything from the Wii VC list as 100% verified. Outside of maybe 1 game as 99% verified.

After I finished the list, it didn't feel like things were done, so I had to figure out what the next step was. Both because I was enjoying doing SNES stuff as a hobby again, and because I feel there's still more to do with the preset id compatibility stuff. Namely, the guesses I made could stand to be tested manually to zero in on the correct game+preset id matches. I thought the community would do that now that they had all the info I shared, but while some have, most won't. If further work is going to be done, I'm going to have to do it myself. I think I'm expected to atm...

I have noticed that canoe/preset ids are very picky, and expected very specific versions of games. Not just game+region+version number, but version numbers never before released on cartridge, and versions that are just hacks of the versions released on cart. What games on the list require such versions/hacks needs to be cataloged, and patches to be made. I already made some patches for the 3 versions of SFA2. And a PCM patch for MMX2, just to see if anyone saw a difference. Those patches are more unique though, and can't be applied via a simple IPS. I tried to reach out and discuss such patches with the creator of the main modding program for the Classic units, but as it turns out hes a egotistical douche who doesn't give a shit about anything but his own ideas.

So I concluded that the next thing I need to do is make a program that uses all the data I cataloged, to make proper, non-buggy, 100% capable, compatible ROMs for the SNESC. The program would install the unique SFA2 patches, PCM patches, the unique Virtual Console patches, allow users to fully adjust the header settings for the games, and experiment with the unknown ones to help figure out what they are for. All using a custom updateable database so that all that most users will have to do is click 2 buttons. Select their SNES ROM, and Save as a canoe ROM (.sfrom).

That's where I'm at right now. Trying to put the finishing touches on that program. Once done I can resume work on fine tuning the official canoe compatibility list by testing each game one by one to find its preset id, and making VC patches as needed.

Back to the Drawing Board

Saturday, December 24, 2016

After 2 long months, this VR Jam is finally over. I put more effort into it than probably any project in years, if not ever. With my $0 budget and limited time constraints I was stretched all over, digging deep to find new levels of talent I had never seen before from myself. I had to do scripting, 3D modeling, shader coding, texture creation, animation, logo design/creation, menu creation, design new original game mechanics, scene composition, design a consistent aesthetic, create story/premise, design and create a trailer, come up with humor for everything, testing with limited to no proper hardware, and probably stuff I'm forgetting. It's an insane amount of areas I have to have skill in and divide my limited time between.

My First Game!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Yesterday I announced on my new website that I'm finally making my first game! It should be noted that I don't count W.A.R.P, the game I made for last years oculus VR Jam, because I tried to make a game with that, but don't feel I succeeded and didn't plan to move forward with it. But this one I do! I hope to one day release this commercially!

New "Professional" Website

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Something I've been wanting to do for a while, but never seemed to get around to is making another website. This one has served me fine, but the fact is that some of the projects I've posted here over the years just don't belong along side others. Z-Net, Kokiri Forest, etc. Due to their nature they don't reflect a professional side of myself, and as I try to move forward with publishing assets for sale on the Unity Asset Store, one day make and sell a VR game, and even offer myself up for freelance services, the two sides don't belong together.

So I've been wanting to make a "professional" website for a while, and I finally did just that!

First Impressions - CV1

Monday, September 26, 2016

Today I finally got my head into a CV1! It's been a couple weeks longer then I expected, but still is early since I don't have all of my hardware yet.

Not counting the things I'm not upgrading right now, like Power Supply and non-SSD HDD, this is my part list. Not top end, but way above the level I'm used to! I'm still waiting on the MB, RAM and SSD, but I did install the GFX card into my current system to see how well the CV1 works. I expected the USB 2.0 of my current system to bottle neck it, and I'm sure it is, but surprisingly it works quite well as is to allow me to dev, try some demos, and form opinions. And I guess that last one is what this is about.

Figure it's time for a general update

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Since it's been a few months, I feel I should post something.

I'm happy to say that the sales of my 2 unity assets have picked up since my last post about them. While money isn't rolling in like crazy, I never expected it to be. But I'm currently quite satisfied with the sales the past few months. I don't know what caused sales to pick up. My increased efforts in marketing material, increased capabilities, or just that it takes some time to get noticed. Whatever it is, it's working now! Its mostly the VR3DImagerViewer asset to my surprise. Since it's more popular, I've been more focused on it. The live version is pretty stocked with features and fine tuning. I even have official video and Stereoscopic 360 media support coming up in the next version! There's not much else left on my list for it. Currently I'm just waiting on some hardware so I can update the setup procedures since Unity v5.4 changed things quite a bit. I know Vive support at least got broken to an extent, and now requires a new setup procedure. Rift support, I'm not sure about. I'd think it would too, but all my feedback so far has been from Vive users.

I got bored... - Kokiri Forest/Project Ocarina

Monday, May 23, 2016

With my 2 Unity assets published, I need time evaluate their success. So I don't want to start another asset until I have a clearer idea of investment vs reward for asset publishing from the evaluations of those. Ideally, I'd be working on the RPG I want to make. But there's little I can do ATM outside of brainstorming for that. I need to actively work on something! It's a weird feeling for me, but I don't have a lot on my plate right now.

Updated VR3DImgeViewer - More Asset Store Experience Talk

Friday, May 20, 2016

Last week I updated VR3DImageViewer, and it was approved on the asset store a few days ago. The main things that are updated about it is a new optional method for rendering 3D images, and some better visuals for conveying what the asset does.

TransformEx now on the Unity Asset Store!

Saturday, May 07, 2016

I'm a couple days late on posting this. I wasn't going to since I said the bulk of what there is to say in my last post about it. But hey, it's my birthday, and I like to do releases on my birthday, so why not make a short post?

The approval process went much smoother then last time, and a few days quicker as well. TransformEx is now available! This one should do well in the long run. It's a tool every VR dev should have!

TransformEx

Size and Position objects using real units of measurement.

For sale now on the Unity Asset Store!