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October 16, 2021, 11:13:52 pm


Use of ePSXe before 2.0 is highly discouraged. Mednafen/RetroArch is recommended for playing/testing, pSX is recommended for debugging.

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Messages - CONMAN

Thank you Kori!  I'll have to take a look at the GDX!

I'd love if you took a look.
Works in Progress / Souls of Destiny: Info update
September 19, 2021, 03:17:01 pm
It's alive!  Yes it's still happening. (I think this is how I have started last few posts already!)

I keep trying to find something motivational.  Jumping around half done mini projects isn't the best idea, but I also think I'm a lot more productive when motivated.

On that note, I paused on my final boss sprite and jumped back into some map making.  I didn't hit a wall with the sprite as much as I simply got all hyped up by ArmoredKori doing awesome work on maps.

I fixed up volcano map.... I actually think I fixed it once before hadn't saved my progress!!!

I put some work into making a Lesalia throne room.  I would put it around ~95%, but I haven't tested it out in game.  I was never super happy with the actual throne itself or the immediate background

This past couple weeks I started working on "Lesalia Palace Roof."  So far pretty happy with it.  Need to make a really fancy front on this building and haven't been happy with my attempts so far.

Souls is set up with alternate final battles.  I have done most of the event scripting for one of them but it needs a little clean up.

I briefly put out and then deleted a follow up youtube video for the penultimate battle.  As soon as I saw it I remembered that I was going to give Ramza a new theme song to battle to.  I changed up the instruments on "Hero" for the initial dialogue part of the event and attempted to transform Cid's theme for use during the actual battle.  I wasn't happy with it and next I'm going to attempt to change up "And I ran away" to give it a different feel.  This Ramza is plenty different from the original and altering the themes of these 2 songs feel like they would give some real weight to the character change.

Since the last post I made 5 or 6 new spell effects.  A couple are summons and some are largely just color changes, but using the guidance of Choto's effect editor I have been able to play around a little with the location of particle effects and sound effects.  The bosses in that last half of the 4th chapter seemed like they needed a little extra pizzaz and new effects seemed to be necessary.

I told myself no more new sprites, but I decided I wanted one more for a minion in one of the final battles.  It's just going to be a frankein-sprite, but it's still one more on the to-do list.

At some point in the future, I am going to change up some of the  music again, especially the random battle tunes.  When I first implemented these changes, I wasn't capable of altering file size and moving data around.  This meant that some better and higher quality songs sat in my folders and didn't see any use because I couldn't fit them into the available space. I will wait until I have added the last 2 maps and am confident with my selections before I gobble up more free space.
Final Fantasy Tactics / Battle Design and Concepts
August 16, 2021, 05:40:57 pm
I've found that one of the most enjoyable parts of making a tactics mod is creating interesting battle scenarios.  Managing to create an interesting and reasonably difficult battle event can feel extremely rewarding.  Crafting these battles really allow for a lot of creativity but it can also be rough hitting a wall after creating a few dozen story events and a hundred randoms. 

I looked into D&D for a while for inspiration and actually ran a fair number of sessions as a dm. That definitely helped expand my view of what can be done and what should be be avoided.

Anyway, I took a few guiding principals to heart and concepts that I try to include where I can.

Action Economy- This isn't quite a one to one with Tactics from d&d, but still (partially because d&d characters get bonus actions).  Essentially the number of turns and damage potential on each side should be fairly balanced.  Comparatively a normal 5v5 regular enemy battle and 5 vs one boss should require the boss to have 5x hp and deal 5x the damage in a round.  That's like asking the boss to one shot per attack or do something like 1/3 damage to the whole party....it's off.  Having a big bad and a couple minions (or lair actions in d&d) is generally a better solution.  Maybe a really good gimmick.

Using Terrain/Mobility- Not really a principal, but this is a tactics game and making the environment part of the battle is huge.  Choke points, obstacles, height advantages make for interesting planning.  Making the player consider the environment or suffer gives an extra consideration in battle. Balancing a boss with extra movement/flight or speed make for a fun otherwise under-powered unit to kite around and annoy the party.  The opposite can be fun as well- crafting a brute force melee user that is somewhat escapable but punishing in close quarters.

Avoid Gimmick bosses- The type that are near unbeatable with surprising status effect damage and chumps when you come back with adjusted equipment.  Also, bosses for whom one strategy is about the only way you can win.

There is such a thing as too many hit points- At a certain point the battle will just drag. 

I had a couple more but I'm running out of time on my end.  Any concepts/strategies/battle ideas, I would love to hear them.
Hadn't checked in for a while- this is awesome work!  Watched some of you videos on twitch last night Kori.  Looks so promising!
Help! / Re: Sprite glitch/Dorter trade city
August 13, 2021, 05:48:44 pm
You most likely exceeded the unique sprite limit (usually 9).  Probably have too many different sprites in the enemy party.
PSX FFT Hacking / Laughing Odin Spell Effect
May 11, 2021, 07:05:09 pm
I can't say that I have done too much more research into this subject.  The sound effects seem to largely follow the same rules as the music files.  I don't seem to ever see the variable that signal looping (for obvious reasons- this is a one shot), but I regularly see one variable that is not listed in the music/smd wiki page.  That would be: B2.  I regularly see this right between 90 and BA.  These are end channel and begin channel.  Sort of assume it's a signal to change channels.

After the "feds" header and the file size indication there is a number of pointer that either indicate the start of a channel or instrument selection.  Each of these indicators seem to have a timing function linked to the actual spell effect and simply changing these sound effect chunks of data out won't seem to work well unless the number of pointers line up (along with sounds that actually match what's happening.)  A while back I fused a holy and dark holy spell effects together. I used holy as the base, recolored it to red and purple and swapped the dark holy sound effect into the file.  The holy spell actually runs longer and this caused the sound effect get a nice stretched out and deeper sound.

Anyway, as proof of concept, here is a video where I replace the initial horse sounds from the Odin effect with the laugh portion of dark whisper.  Stupid horse sound pops back up at the end of the spell, but i'm satisfied in saying that the sounds aren't super hard to change.

PSX FFT Hacking / Re: Interesting Mod
April 06, 2021, 11:59:05 am
QuoteYes, the sprites are not perfect, but they would allow for a decent starting point I think! I am unsure as to how they would be able to add sprites to the game if they have too many colors though!  :shock:  (I am still a novice though!)

Sorry, I wasn't clear with my statement.  It's not that they use too many colors.  They DON'T have much of any shading.  (It would be no problem to take those sprites and and use shishi to put them into your own hack.)  Sprites have 16 colors (one is black for transparency) and 16 colors for the portrait.  Typically, original sprites and most of the custom ones here will only have black and then 3 or 4 other colors and a few shades of each of those colors. I mean that they use the same 16 but with more colors and fewer shades.

While I have not done the step off the map type of thing, I'm pretty sure it can easily be done with the eventing tools we have here. 

I agree how it would be interesting to rip apart this mod a bit.  I am often curious about how people choose and implement their designs.  I'm actually wondering if the Sin I was talking about is actually a manipulation of an "evtchr" image like we already use here.
I've looked at that those youtube streams before and it is interesting.

I largely checked it out for the sprites as well!  I came to the conclusion that most of them were ugly and would get laughed off this.  Usually too many colors, with no shading and/or ripped from other games.

What is the most interesting to me is a giant Sin sprite. I think it's Sin, I never played ffx.

The sprite is too big to be displayed without some special trick/hack.  I suspect that it has a special sprite type/sequence file.  The party actually walks on top of the sprite in the video below.

This is awesome ArmoredKori!  Map making definitely takes some patience.  I've made a couple ,but I've wanted to make several more!  I've had some big ideas only to stop and start a different one that I think would be easier to pull off.  I made a "home front" out of the thieves fort and tried to make bervenia into something of a volcano peak: https://ffhacktics.com/smf/index.php?topic=9333.msg223776#msg223776

I have long thought that it would be cool to have a royal garden or a badass throne room for Lesalia (or fuck the one from game of thrones.) Really anything Lesalia centered.

I'll be checking this out!
PSX FFT Hacking / Cool music visualization tool!
March 04, 2021, 12:46:32 pm
I've been poking around a lot at music/sound effects and such and found a tool that really breaks down how music is played by the game. https://github.com/vgmtrans/vgmtrans/wiki

I haven't messed around too much with this program.  It is supposed to translate out videogame music into midi files.  The one I tested came out terrible, but still pretty cool. Very nice to have a visual aid when messing with a song that didn't quite come out right.  I could have sworn that it picked up a variable that is not listed in our wiki! I'll be messing around with this for at least a couple days.
You're awesome Glain!  I looked through that thread before but clearly didn't look close enough.  I had poked in there looking at you're effect script info and totally missed how you got the header info from that table. While I had found the table with repeated hex reading:801c2500, it didn't jump out at me what that was.  With a little logic I should have inferred that the non-matching bytes accounted for the adjusted header of sets.

QuoteAt 0x801b48d0 in RAM is a table of data that defines where the effect file header is stored (in RAM) for each effect ID.
For ID 0x155, the table location is: 0x155 * 4 + 0x801b48d0 = 0x801b4e24
The value at 0x801b4e24 is 0x801c3cfc, the RAM location where the header data starts.
Effect files are loaded into RAM at 0x801c2500, so this results in a file offset of 0x801c3cfc - 0x801c2500 = 0x17FC.

It's a shame that this wasn't understood back when there were a dozen or more people that were really interested in effect editing rather than being a little niche interest!

I try not to post help inquiries until I have hit a wall, but at least others can learn from my mistakes!  Totally made my day!
I'm renaming this topic because I have something of a partial solution to my problem posed in the initial question.  I kept digging because I want my boss villains to have badass, boss-looking spell effects to match them!

To my main point, many effects don't start with a header that would point to things like palette color, camera, sound, particle effects, etc.  Many spell effects that couldn't be moved around actually have a bunch of asm code at start and then in the FUCKING MIDDLE of the file is the actual header!  This includes many of my favorite effects like summons and limits. I had 2 solutions in mind to tackle this problem.  Either I edit the file to run properly or investigate to see if a table exist somewhere that points to the actual header location in the oddball spell effects.

Both of the spells in my original post contained asm before their headers.  I attempted to find a work around with "Marsil" (Meteorain edit.)  I started with two attempts.  First I attempted to cut out the start of the file (which I assumed was the blast of red stuff that emits from Cloud as a sort of pre-effect effect- idk what I was thinking.)  I then tried to remove the part of the effect script that I thought pointed there.  You can guess how that went.

Second I moved the effect file so that it started with header and I adjusted everything in there to point to the new locations for data.  I can pretty confidently say that all the location pointers were adjusted correctly but I believe I needed to find and edit another pointer to the now moved asm code and I failed there.  Glain seems to point this out in this topic: https://ffhacktics.com/smf/index.php?topic=8408.0  I failed here... Possibly more than one pointer is needed or just messed up.

Finally my partial solution was worked out!  I found an effect I didn't like and one that also had a header mid-file and simply added added enough 00 bytes to Marsil between the beginning asm code and the header to match the header location for carbuncle.  I replaced carbuncle and it runs just as it should!!

However, this is a partial solution and points to the real fix.  I have pre-school levels of using a debugger and understanding asm.  While some of you are writing code, I'm trying to cram graham crackers into the disk drive and crossing my finger (sort of a true story there.)  What I'm trying to say is that a table of header locations should be editable.  In the wiki-data/tables locations page, a couple of tables are listed.

801b48d0 - table of effect file start locations

801b53e8 - start of data (8 bytes each, by effect ID) (From what I've read this list lba location and then file size-but I'm not so sure about this.)

801b8ba4 - Start of some data (0x54 bytes each, by effect ID)
   0x00 - set to 0x03 when used?

I presume that one of these has a pointer to the actual header location and not just the start of the effect file.  I've looked at the second of these and scrambled my brains a little, but I think a pointer to the header locations can be found.  I might attempt to take a few more looks but I can't promise I'll figure it out.

You should be able to make this happen by making some edits in an event.  A bar scene needs to happen in Warjilis Trade City and this is triggered when variable A4=1.  Go to the event you want DD to open up after and simply use "add variable" to open this scene.  If you want you could also change the map color by "zeroing" out the variable for the color of Warjilis (273).  This would be a reasonable alert that something is happing there.

Then it's just a matter of running the bar scene and that one will draw the map and location for DD.
At the moment I've just been paste/writing behind the header of a single short song and making duplicates for each entry.  I keep a copy of tactics with the music test patch applied so that I can screw it up all I want.  I jam it up with cd-mage.  It would probably help out if I ran a memory viewer at the same time.  I haven't been testing out different parameters but using short sound effects might be a lot easier to help decipher than the full on songs. Actually, as I type this, it occurs to me that I might be skewing some of the sounds that I have been listening to because some would appear to require multiple "channels" to sound correct.  I had been using the head from the "instrument test and I'm pretty sure it is set to play just one channel at a time.
I might try to send an email over at some point.  We have a lot of missing/unknown commands that I see pop up quite a bit in the music/effect files.

I'd like to correct in my previous comment that "AC" isn't "play note" it's select "instrument."  The system.sed file has a table for ~300 sounds and when I tried to jump up and test file 66 (hex) the sound I heard was clearly one of the "sparkle" sounds (32-37.) (Yes, I converted to decimal and counted down... roughly correctly.)  There is more going on there or rather it's not as simple as I would like.

Just for the heck of it, today I checked env.sed and easily found another offset table linked to some sound chunks.  My gut feeling listening to the first 4 sounds is that this file contains sounds for the weather/background sound effects.  The first 3 might be water/rain/river- a little rough on the ears. But the fourth sound seems like it's the thunderstorm background sound. Give it a listen.

PSX FFT Hacking / Event Sound Effects location found?!?
February 13, 2021, 11:50:24 am
Those are some interesting links Nitwit and honestly above my head.  The AKAO sequences seem to have some similarity with the .smd sequencing in that they are both similar to midi formatting (from what I've read at least.)  A peek at our wiki and the music/instrument shows some similar thinking in their design.

Two things popped out at me looking at these instrument players. One was locking back at this link. https://web.archive.org/web/20190320140257/http://sdamo.io/ff7/index.php.  While I haven't used that program to pull out effects from the ff7 effect.all the notes say that it pulls waveforms from the ff7 instr.all.  (Instr.all is already well mapped and much easier to pull waveforms from rather than the fft waveset.wd)  Makes me want to take a closer look at 2 files in the  fft sound folder: ENV.SED and SYSTEM.SED.

The other thing that popped out at me poking around with a hex editor was that the spell effect files point to an address that starts with:66 65 64 73, the text-string on the right reads "feds." Whatever the fuck that means, but both the ENV.SED SYSTEM.SED start with 66 65 64 73 (feds) in their headers.  Initially I thought that the sound effect data in the spell effects were too short and there must be a pointer somewhere else.  On closer inspection of the hex I realized that it seemed to follow the same structure as fft song files.  Starting with variable BA (start of channel) I copy/wrote over the channel start of an instrument test song and plugged it in. I tried it out in the music test and played the cure sound for me.  Just longer (on repeat.)

Anyway, that's why I'm guessing that song/.smd chunks for all the other sound effects are formatted the same somewhere.

-update edit.
Started poking around the system.sed.  I start adjusting the viewable number of bytes per row and took it down to 2 revealing a pattern!
(sorry I forgot how to hide stuff in a spoiler box)
66 65 
64 73  -(feds)
2A 21
00 00
A8 00
00 00
B4 02
00 00
00 00
00 00
00 00
00 00
5C 03  -start of sound effects?
60 03  -actual start with AC (play note):AC 43 94 04 B0 60 24 60 4A 60 A9 D9 03 17 02 C4 2E 60 C6 90
74 03    -AC 00 94 05 C4 23 60 CA 90
7D 03    -AC 04 94 06 98 04 60 83 99 90 E0 00
87 03    -AC 81 94 06 B0 D4 1E B9 60 0F 60 4B 90 B2
96 03    -AC 17 94 07 D4 08 FD C4 28 60 21 90 91
A3 03    -AC 00 94 06 C4 26 60 35 90 91 B2
A3 03    -etc.

these quick little pointers displayed similar chunks like song data and again testing with music box got several sounds.  Unfortunately didn't line up with the event sound id list. The first (starting with ac) is actually the confirm/cancel sound and the 5/6 or so is the #5 invalid sound.  Pretty interesting.

edit2- I take that back they do actually line up pretty good.  Some of these sounds inly play once but the events sounds play multiple times like the rolling numbers/gil sound.

This might be already be completely known by a few on this site already (looking at choto and xif) but I recently solved a problem that I was having trouble finding the answer to.

I hadn't been happy with many of the waveform/instruments used by the game and it seemed to limit my ability to convert music from other games.  A few sounds that I wanted to add included a guitar sound and a deep chorus sound (the instruments list certain sounds as voices but to my ear they are a lot closer to organ notes.)  I really struggled trying to convert other sounds into proper waveforms to replace the current game options.  I figured I could eventually find some in game sound effects and make the changes that I wanted.  I kept hoping I would follow some sort of pointer in the effect file images that would lead me to a cluster of sounds effects elsewhere in game.

What I had found is that ff7 has a lot of similarities with the design of fft for obvious reasons and I spent a fair amount of time looking into their music/sound effects set up.  The file structure for ff7 sound effects are simply just special changes in the use of notes from their waveform/instrument file. 

Sure enough, rather than ever finding pointers to hidden sound effect files I simply found the exact same music format inside of each spell effect file.  This feels obvious now, but I literally thought that the effect file pointers would simply lead to another pointer where those elusive sound effect files were hiding. :roll: 

I'm sure this is why the various event sound effects were never easy to find. They are likely in the exact same "song" format.

I feel dumb now :shock:
Spriting / God of Magic Kefka
January 29, 2021, 06:13:02 pm
I was thinking I would keep this sprite secret until I had a complete mod to show off but I figured I  would end up with a higher quality sprite if I received feedback and direction.  It was nice to have a Cthulhu sprite to both start from and have some practice from.  Some of the weird proportions and super wide hips will need to be changed up.  I feel like this sprite needs to tighten up compared to Cthulhu.  I actually started working of an Altima1 style sheet and restarted 3 times before happily moving on to the altima2 sheet.

So far Kefka has a bit of a mess where the shroud is.  I haven't even attempted it on the back frames yet.  Not sure if some cloth should drape down between the legs or not. 

The chest is flat and needs some shaping.  Some depictions have a gold pattern on his chest- not sure about that.  Also, some have should pads... without a shirt?

I was happy with getting a bigger head to look normal but the hair needs some work.  Kefka has some hair that dangles in front but this is off.  Need to add the feather business in the back and a ponytail.

A little limited on the space allowed for wings.  Maybe I can tag a little extra on there.  Mostly just stole the current ones from Altima1- might try to make some edits on them.

Thinking about just leaving the altima2 feet as is.

Currently just stealing hands from Altima2 and Zalera.  The original uses an open hand attack but I could change it into a big fist or possibly try something else.

Probably leaving the port alone until I am closer to finished.

If anyone has any suggestions or anything, let me know.

I'm working on this and splitting time re-playing ff6 (while pausing to make little edits.)

PSX FFT Hacking / Re: ASM Requests
January 09, 2021, 03:08:06 pm
Not a hundred percent that this fits here, but what the heck.

Could a fix be made so that the Kanzen sprite sheet can be pulled up properly from different sprite slots.  Outside of the Altima2 slot, the sprites are only pulled up partially in game.  Only the top third of a sheet like this will load on the map.  It would be pretty awesome if alternate giant sprites could be used for boss battles.

Edit: After some messing around, i found that I can use the arute (altima1) in different slots, but kanzen (altima2) will function in the altima1 sprite slot along with it's own.  This solves my issue.  Still a bit strange.  I'm assume some check for sprite id is used when the kanzen sprite attempts to be loaded.  Sort of unlikely that someone would need more than 2 spots for a Kanzen sprite.
Works in Progress / Penultimate Battle Preview Video
January 04, 2021, 08:40:05 pm

Thought I would share a video of my next to last battle event.  This event has a couple of imperfections ,but I started working on it a couple of weeks ago and figured I would share it on new years.  Unfortunately it wasn't ready.  I figured I would stop delaying and just put up this clip.

It's been about 14 months since I posted in this topic and that corpse you thought you saw was in fact a daydreaming sloth.  I have definitely been in a cycle of falling down rabbit holes.  Spending a couple weeks trying to properly import new instruments, working on alternate songs, daydreaming sprites that have no value to this mod, tinkering with effect edits or totally relearning tools I haven't used in a while.

So my current mod goal is to put out a 3.9 version.  This wouldn't include all chapter 4 random battle entds completed or my version of the deep dungeon fully complete either.  It would include final battles and at least partially complete ending scenes.  I still have events that need to be cleaned up between my 3.5 to now and need to balance these battles.  Currently the two big hurdles between now and this 3.9 release are that I need to complete an alternate final boss sprite and I want to make another map worthy of a final battle.  Tinkering with both of these has also drained a lot of time.

So yeah, those 2 big things and a bunch of grueling event work.