SNES Classic: What's left? What's next?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Now that I've basically completed the Preset ID list, and as a result my .sfrom header database efforts... there's really not much left. I didn't even feel a need to update SFROM Tool for the better part of a year because that too was complete enough. There's minor things I can pick away at here and there, but nothing important and meaningful.

Lets first talk about "What's left?". Mysteries I haven't solved. Work I haven't done, etc.

SNES Classic: Big Update!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Out of nowhere here comes a big update for my SNES Classic efforts!

I never thought I'd get here, but the Preset ID list... is basically complete! I've updated the list with 69 new verified Preset ID's. This will largely not effect most people, as my previous efforts to make educated guesses have proven to have around a 99% accuracy rate. But its nice to now know they are no longer guesses at all.

In addition to Preset IDs, this update will see a handful of new VC patches. PCM patches as well. There are also some header data amendments. The full change log will be posted below.

Naturally, SFROM Tool will see an update too.

With this update, its hard to see this being anything other then a "Final" candidate. There is very little that can be done from here with Preset IDs, VC patches and header data. All my effort has been on cataloging and predicting the official stuff relating to that. If all the official stuff is now verified, there's nothing left to catalog or predict.

The only things remaining are a select few things. E-PAL, and to some extent D-PAL/F-PAL games on the list have Preset IDs legitimately meant for that version of the game, but went unused. So they can never be truly verified. Korean versions, I don't know if they will ever be dumped and proven not to be the same as above. 2 games, Super Mario All-Stars and Stunt Race FX I strongly feel have ID's, and for one of them I have patches for. But while they can not be verified at this point, they possibly can be in the future with rumored Switch releases. Then there's the list of rumored games ripped from a 3DS ROM. Those likely have Preset IDs, but cant be verified because they were never released. Again, maybe in the future on Switch.


69 new verified Preset IDs (181 total now)
1 wrong guessed Preset ID among those 69
2 additional guessed Preset IDs moved as a result
2 fixed Preset ID set wrongly by typo
6 real PAL releases verified among the 69 (E-PAL, D-PAL, F-PAL.)
13 new VC patches
I didn't bother counting the total header info amendments, just a couple specifics
3 games with a new MaxInput value of 4 (up from the normal 2)
15 adjustments to h2_unknown3  among games (from 1 to 0)
8 or so header Product IDs moved from being 3DS based to WiiU based
2 fixed typoed Product IDs
1 new game added that I concluded didn't even exist
1 missed game I verified late last year but forgot to record.

You can get the patches in the "all-in-one" package. I silently posted the package before, but its now been updated. For now the individual patches are out of date/missing some. I may be removing those.

Preset ID List
SFROM Tool
Patches

Release: SFROM Tool v1.1.2.0

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Contrary to recent conclusions, I have NOT abandoned SFROM Tool. The fact is that it is simply doing its job well enough as is. There's little left to do with it, so there's little point working on it. I've been contacted several times on the basis of people making this assumption in a misguided effort to get me to make it open source. Not because anyone would want to maintain or update SFROM Tool, but instead just to take what they want from my code and put it in other projects...

I'll set the record strait right now. If I truly felt that there was more to be done with the tool, but didn't feel I wanted to do it myself. Than yea. I might consider releasing it as open source. But that's it. In general I don't care for and have zero interest in open source projects. I enjoy the freedom of not having to maintain presentable code, I enjoy having a project to work on myself, and the idea of having the source open for other people to work on reduces what work I can do. I got a bad taste early on for people effectively stealing my projects, renaming their edit and trying to remove credit from me.

On this project in particular I've felt that last one is an issue, as I've given a LOT to the SNESClassic modding community, more so than probably anyone else. Yet people have tried to erase me from history and downplay my work.

Anyway, if there's something more to do with SFROM Tool, I'll do it. It isn't abandoned. Hence this update.

I was made aware only now that my .srm <--> .sram conversion feature didn't work with all games. So I updated it. It should now be able to make Mario RPG, Yoshis Island, Starfox 2 and Kirby Superstar .srams.You just have to choose the PresetID of the sfrom that you plan to use the .sram with. (Thanks goes to u/tunapizza for discovering how to get these working.)

I corrected a minor mistake with the compression code used for the patches.

I updated the SuperFX byte in the Advanced panel to the Special Chip byte, based on Bosco's findings.

And I fixed detection of a couple games.

As usual, you can find the link over on the SFROM Tool page, or via the self update checker.

News: The Bad Side of Doing Projects on the Internet

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hey! It's been a few months!

I've currently moved on to working on more official projects to expand my profession portfollio rather than hobby projects, so there hasn't been much to post about here. I've stepped back from the SNESClassic hacking and development community almost entirely. I don't keep up with the day to day stuff anymore. But a few days ago I was brought back. At first for a good reason, but it quickly turn bad.

Dev Log: Star Ocean Canoe Patch

Monday, April 02, 2018

When I started the development of the Star Ocean canoe patch, for some reason I thought to try and keep a reasonable log of my point of view at that time as I thought that some people may find it interesting what goes into developing something like it. I planned to post it in a more broken up multi part post series, posting each part shortly after that part of development took place. But I ended up deciding against that as, I didn't know when the final patch would be released, and I didn't want to generate any extra hype for the patch that would feed any impatience. Doing so felt like it would just be an unfair teaser to people. So I held it off, thinking that I might post them shortly before I released the patch. But even then, I just wanted the patch out and elected to post it after, if at all.

Due to some recent unjust slander against me, causing me to have to defend myself against bogus claims, I'm now feeling more need to post my log. Originally this log would have made up 3 long posts, but I'm going to try and edit it and condense it down into this 1.

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.












Release: SFROM Tool v1.1.1.0

Friday, March 30, 2018

This is a small update consisting of mainly just minor improvements and fixes.

You can download the new version over on the SFROM Tool page.


Update Notes:

  • Advanced window will refresh if you select a new file while its open.
  • Added a menu option to force the database.xml to reimport/recompile.
  • Fixed the database.xml to now check and reimport as needed when the program is run via command line.
  • Fixed detection/compatibility for "Space Football - One on One".
  • Fixed a issue with the patch select popup always defaulting to the first option, no mater which you chose. 
  • Added console output messages for the various steps of the patching process, so CE users can better know when and what has happened. 

Release: sfrom Tool v1.1.0.0

Friday, February 09, 2018

Today I've released an update to sfrom Tool. Outside of bug fixes, this update mainly consists of a UI overhaul. Gone are the large buttons in favor of a more traditional Menu Bar. Also the Tabs setup has been replaced, and instead now the Advanced settings have their own window (where the Patch Status list ow resides).

This new interface will allow me to expand the features of the tool as I see fit. A first example of which is the sram conversion options on the new Extras menu. While not directly "sfrom" related itself, it was just an easy to code nifty little feature I figure should be in the hands of as many people as possible. It will allow you to continue progress of games previously played on different emulators, now on canoe. Or vice versa.

While the UI overhaul was needed in general, what sparked the change at this time was my desire to help some newcomers to the SNESC development scene, who unlike previous developers, actually want to progress things forward and are willing to accept others contributions. Formerly just a personal fork of hakchi2 by u/princess_daphie, now a group collaboration by the newly formed TeamShinkansen, their new fork "hakchi2 CE" is fastly becoming the defacto hakchi2 build to use, and at the very least the one I'd recommend. While SFROM Tool is still going to remain its own program that I develop and expand as I see fit, keep an eye out for this fork to soon be able to utilize SFROM Tool to generate .sfroms using its extensive database and patches, and help see to it that more users are playing with the best possible compatible games as possible! =)

The new sfrom Tool update is available over on the dedicated sfrom Tool page!

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.

Release: sfrom Tool

Sunday, December 24, 2017

After a bit of back and forth on releasing the project at all, I've decided to release it for Christmas! "But this is Christmas Eve!", you may say? Well, I figure people will probably be pretty busy tomorrow, and well... I have something else more suited that's planned for then. Stay tuned! =)

So what is sfrom Tool? The SNES Classic uses a game ROM format of .sfrom. But no other program makes GOOD, PROPER, COMPLETE sfroms. The ones made by hakchi2 are bad. The creator wrote his poor implementation of the format off of early, flawed tech documents for formats of different platforms. He didn't bother to research the format of the actual SNES/SFC Classic sfroms themselves. I noticed flaws in it right away, and despite my bringing it to his attention and providing better info... I was just ignored. So I made this!