Do you want to be a ROM hacker? This section will help you to clarify those things for you. It doesn’t matter if you are trying graphical hacks, or level hacks, you really need the same fundamental knowledge for any kind of ROM hacking. All the documents and utilities in your database will be very helpful for beginners just like you.
We are going to show you how to start helping yourself with all our beginner level documents on your own. ROM hacking is a self-taught hobby, here is an outline of what you will be seeing:
- Hex editing
- Graphics Hacking
- Level Editing
- Data Editing
- Music Hacking
- ROM Expansion
A hex editor is one of the most fundamental tools in ROM hackers repertoire. They are usually used for editing text, and for editing other data for which the structure is known. Text editing is one of the most basic forms of hacking. Many games do not store their ASCII form, because of this some hex editors have been developed. A hex editor is a tool of choice for editing things like characters, item properties. Some intrepid hackers perform level editing with a hex editor, but it is extremely difficult.
Basic hacking skill is graphics hacking, which can change the appearance of the game’s environments, characters, fonts, or other such things. The graphics data vary from console to console, but most of the early ones are stored in tiles, which are an 8×8 pixel. Graphics hacks can range from simple edits like porting characters from one game to another.
More sophisticated graphics hacking involves changing more than tiles and colors, but also the way in which the tiles are arranged. The hack has been discontinued, but it still serves as a good example of what can be achieved with the tools available.
Level editing, is one of the most popular forms of ROM hacking. It entails modifying or redesigning a game’s level or maps. Level edits can be done to make the game more challenging or to alter the flow of the game’s plot. Earthbound is one such ROM which was hacked for unlimited power. For more info of this amazing hack, just visit this website. The game can take on a very different look and feel, combined with extensive graphics hacking.
A core component of many hacks is editing the data such as character, item and enemy properties. It is usually done either by hand if the location and the structure of that data are known. A hacker can alter how weapons work and how strong enemies are or to create a new scenario for the players. It can be done to make the game easier or harder, also to create a new scenario for other players to face.
This type of hacks is relatively rare, due to the difficulties in composing a piece of new music. Music cracking is very uncommon, and many hacks do not have any ported music added in. The program sap tapper can be used to hack GBA music data, as many GBA games use the M4A engine for music. The same engine being used between games is on the Nintendo 64, which use the same game format, but different sound banks as expected. Various tools exist to alter the music of games which use the SMPS engine and many of them made their way to Steam Workshop.
A ROM hacker cannot normally add some content to a game, but merely can change the existing content. This limit can be overcome through ROM expansion. The size of the ROM image is increased, making room for more content and in turn a larger game. The difficulty of this process varies depending on the system for which the game was made. For example, expanding NES ROM may be difficult or even impossible due to the mapper used. If a mapper allows 16 ROM banks and all are used, expanding the ROM further is impossible without somehow converting the game to another mapper. Which can be easy or extremely difficult.
Expanding a SNES game is straightforward. To utilize the added space, the game code has to be modified so the game knows where to look.
Hope this guide on how to hack ROM was helpful. If you have any doubts in this guide, let us know in the comment section.