Release: Star Ocean (Canoe Patch)

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Several months ago I set about creating a patch for Star Ocean to allow it to be played on canoe. In doing so I had to dust off my barely used ROM hacking skills, advance said skills, unlock the format of the data storage in the ROM, reverse engineer the SDA pointer format used by SFA2, and write code to dump and generate a patch in the same fashion.

I would have hoped the testing period would have been shorter, but I've decided that it's now time to release it to the public. I can't say that there won't be issues. Crashes, soft locks or bad tiles. I can only say that testing of the current patch shows no such issues. If you do find such an issue, please provide me with a description on how to reproduce, and most importantly save files!

That said, I'll try to keep this post short, and instead probably post details later of the journey (I took notes).

Enjoy! =)

P.S. #1: FYI, this is of course exclusively a SFROM Tool patch, and thus requires SFROM Tool.

P.S. #2: If you're interested in the story behind the development of this patch, you can find it here.

Usage Reminder:

Here's a friendly reminder for typical SFROM Tool usage and how to use this patch along with the English translation.

1. Place the "WUP-JUOJ.cnp" in SFROM Tools "/patches/" sub-folder.
2. Open SFROM Tool.
3. Select "Open ROM Ctrl+O"  in the menu and select the Unmodified Star Ocean ROM (.smc, .sfc).
4. Open the Advanced window (Shortcut F1).
5. Click the "..." button next to the "Add IPS" text.
6. Select the Dejap English IPS patch. (I think its called "soe.ips".)
7. You will see 3 items in the Patch Status list at this point. "SDA", "SlowROM Check Fix", and "IPS: soe". All marked with a check.
8. Click "Save" to close the Advanced window.
9. Select "Save SFROM Ctrl+S" in the menu.

For using this patch with the hakchi2 CE SFROM Tool intigration, just select the Star Ocean entry in hakchi2 CE after adding it with "Add more games", press Ctrl+Alt+E and follow steps 5-8 from above.


Star Ocean (canoe patch) v1.0 Download
(Please don't directly link to these files. Link to this post instead.)

Thanks to:

Robin64 - For beta testing the patch.
pcm720 - For both listening to my early ramblings, and discussing early attempts to get the game working with me.
[Name and "Thanks" Revoked - Reason: Conduct proving that he's undeserving of any form of promotion.]
Melthris - For recording the footage used for the Christmas announcement.
Dejap - For their old ZSNES graphics packs that I was able to use as learning material before doing everything properly and manually myself.
AstroBoyBlue - For teaching me the ROM hacking basics so many years ago.
SNES Classic Fans - For remaining patient! =)


MaccyTime said...

This is excellent, thank you for the huge amount of work this must have taken.

Unknown said...

Now this is awesome!

NM NORML said...

The game boots but the graphics are all scrambled like static on an old TV, I've done everything exactly as listed twice and it happened both times.

DarkAkuma said...

That is odd. It should only boot but show bad graphics if the Preset ID is set, but the graphics patch is not installed. I specifically left the Preset ID for Star Ocean out of the default data base, just so such a issue wouldn't happen and cause confusion when debugging any issues. If the patch is not supplied, neither is the Preset ID, so the game should not boot at all.

I'm at a loss for as to why my tool might fail to install only the graphics data/patch. So my best guess is that after opening the .sfrom in hackhi2, you opened its own garbage Preset ID window and corrupted the .sfrom. hackhi2 was designed with a flawed understanding of the .sfrom format, and is limited in that it cant support real .sfroms. Specifically ones that contain graphics data like Star Ocean. When you use hakchi2s useless Preset ID window it re-compiles the .sfrom and deletes the graphics data.

Unknown said...

I followed all the steps laid out, I have the soe.ips, and Star Ocean (JP), and your patch. Where do I place the SFROM files once I perform the last step (select save SFROM file)? The game will start fine but the text is still in Japanese. I'm using HAKCHI on an SNES Classic (US)

Unknown said...

hi i was wondering if .ups or .bps files work because those are the only patches i could find but they dont show up at all when i look for them after step 5, because, obviously, it says IPS text, and i figured it wasn't going to work. are there any solutions to this at the moment?

steev said...

Hey! First of all, thank you for this patch. I haven't personally played the game yet, but it's waiting there and ready for me to play whenever I get around to it.

Anyway, I might have figured out a little more about why the graphics corruption is happening to some people. I've helped two different people recently who had the SFROM Tool integrated into hakchi CE. For both of them, they got the graphical corruption when imported into hakchi this way.

I told one of them to try manually converting it to an SFROM using the SFROM Tool instead of relying on hakchi CE's integration and he reported success. I suspect hakchi CE's integration is somehow incompatible with the patch. I use CE's SFROM Tool integration because of the convenience, but I'm pretty sure I patched Star Ocean before I realized I could integrate it into hakchi.

DarkAkuma said...

Sorry for late responses. I had to use a moderation queue because of idiotic trolls, and I don't receive notifications for comments now.

@Unknown1: Sounds like you know what to do with the .sfrom since you suggest you have booted it. It just seems like you didn't select the soe.ips when generating the .sfrom.

@Unknown2: SFROM Tool does not support .ups or .bps.

@steev: I can't discount that possibility. As stated above, the common issue has always been people opening hakchi2s Preset ID window and corrupting it. But yea. I'd always recommend people manually generate .sfrom with the tool more. More control over what you are doing. The hakchi2 should just be used as a glorified upload client.

If I had to guess at what went wrong for the people you helped, its that maybe there was a issue with sfrom tool not finding the patch when run from CE. Like maybe when CE ran it, it did/didn't have admin access and was searching a different folder than where the patch was placed.

Mike said...

Where is the soe.ips file?

OHDG said...

I did everything as laid out, but when I get to step 7, there are only two patches visible, and not the SDA patch. Only IPS:soe is checked. Where do I get SDA?

OHDG said...

Addendum, I see that I haven't extracted the all in one packages to the patch folder. Since I already had the WUP-JUOJ.cnp file in there for the Star Ocean patch, it wanted to overwrite it. Are they different versions? Or will either work just fine?

Yabe_uke said...

I've been trying to patch this both with the standalone tool and with the integrated sfrom tool within hakchi, and I can't get it to boot properly in Canoe. If I use the hakchi integrated I get garbled graphics, and if I use the standalone tool the game does not boot at all. I can use retroarch to boot it, but if you could look into this it would be greatly appreciated.

Unknown said...

I'm having the exact problem as Yabe_uke unfortunately. Tried through Hakchi CE as well as through the tool itself. Made sure to disable the SFROM Tool on Hakchi CE as well. Tried leaving the ROM uncompressed completely as well, nothing seems to work. Hakchi CE 3.8.0 to be specific.

Unkown said...

I'd like to use this but the SFROM download link is broken :(

DarkAkuma said...

Sorry I havn't been keeping up with these comments. So a bit of a late response.

@OHDG: The patches are the same. There have been no updates to it since I first released it.

@Yabe_uke & @Unknown: I have heard of no such issues issues from others. The "garbled graphics" seen with hakchi2 CE integration suggests that you don't have the patch installed. It not booting at all, I would have no clue about why. I do know hakchi2 old crappy Preset ID window would corrupt SDD1 sfroms when used, and cause them to not boot. Though I personally dont know if CE still uses that window. I dont follow that project. But if so, avoid the urge to open that window and "check if it worked right".

There should be no other way I can think of that my tool alone would output a SDD1 sfrom that did not boot, other than not having the correct Game Code (Preset ID) selected. The patch automatically supplies that Game Code, so again... it sounds like the patch was not properly supplied.

@Unkown: The main link was broke. I forgot I even put a link to it on this post. But the mirror worked just fine.

The mirror link has now been edited to be the main link.

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