Project: Star Ocean on the SNES Classic (canoe)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas! =)

From day one of the SNES Classic release, when I first got my hands on it, my goal was to get Star Ocean running on the SNES Classic. And I don't mean that dumb Retroarch option. I mean Nintendos official emulator itself, canoe!

My research into it lead me down a path that saw me solve how to get every other 3 of the total 4 S-DD1 SNES games running on canoe (3 different region versions of SFA2), but successfully cracking the puzzle of Star Ocean eluded me. SFA2 was different, and comparatively easy. Known Preset IDs existed for 2 of them (the other was figured out easily), as well as the required ROM/SDA patch data. The pieces just needed to be found and pieced together with a little bit of effort for the games to work on canoe. Star Ocean is different however. It was never released on a Virtual Console like SFA2. So any work on running it had to be done blind, from the ground up. From scratch. Frustrated with only making minor advancements, I had to put that "project" on the shelf and focus on more productive things, like cataloging the entire list of known/unknown Preset IDs, and eventually working on yesterdays release of my sfrom Tool.

Earlier this month, after a brief bit of discouragement with with that project, I decided to take a another crack at Star Ocean again. I thought that maybe with all I've learned since then, that I could try something new and perhaps find new success. And... a couple days later... I did!

I got it to boot! And as expected... it looked like garbage! lol. As I often had to say about emulating it on canoe, the first step was getting it to boot at all. The next step was going to be getting it to look good.

Now with it booting, it was time to better research S-DD1, and the hacks Nintendo did for SFA2 to get it running on their emulators. To see if I can do the same method, but from scratch.

Now a few weeks later, I'm confident enough in the potential project that, yes, it can be done! I have an Alpha version patch for it running now! So I'm now confident enough to announce the project!

While my Alpha is quite complete, there's still more to do with the project! I want to take my time and be confident in that the entire thing is properly documented/vetted, and all the S-DD1 calls are properly patched like SFA2. Here's the thing. SFA2 has 2,767 S-DD1 compressed data blocks in it that Nintendo had to patch for the VC. Star Ocean? Well, what I know of right now comes in at about 30,000. That's... a lot! Further, it has become blatantly aware to me that Nintendo did NOT design their S-DD1 hack method with Star Ocean in mind. And because of that, the game requires some... extra hacking. Which I had to learn, but is thus far proving very successful.

That said, I can only announce the project right now. With projects like this, if you release something... then its out there for good. Bugs and all! You cant erase it from the internet, and people will constantly be sharing it, even when a better newer release is available. I never considered myself a ROM hacker before, though I guess I now am. But I now understand the point of view of previous ROM hack/translation developers I used to follow. So I don't want to release a hack like this until its been properly tested, and I'm reasonably confident that it's close to exactly how Nintendo would have done it officially.

So there it is. I finally caught my white whale! Stay tuned to one day add this game you your SNES Classic library!

To hold you over, and give this announcement something more tangible as a Christmas release/present, as well as provide some measure of proof, I had a video made! Enjoy! =)

P.S. - I will need some beta testers at some point. Primarily for the Japanese version of the ROM. But eventually for the English version. So shoot me a PM on reddit or something if you're up to it. It will require playing through the game searching for corrupt graphics tiles, crashes, soft locks, keeping/sharing save states and srams, etc.


Unknown said...

Why not on the retroarch emulator? Is it just because of the rewind feature?

Corran006 said...

So I take it this is still not out yet?

Unknown said...

That's a great news !! I hope it will get released someday and we can play Star Ocean on official emulator !!! Thanks for Your effort and determination :).

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