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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:03 pm 
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What the hell. Is this for real? "Not a Homebrew game"?

This is exactly what we needed... not only we have to constantly fight to inform people that those SMB hacks with swastikas aren't really "homebrew games", but now we also need to deal with people trying to discredit everyone else's effort by pushing some sort of "Homebrew = shitty games, my product = REAL GAME" distinction.

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Way to go "Collectorvision", the same people who adapted real SG-1000 and MSX games like Star Soldier (Hudson), Elevator Action (Taito) and others without a license into Coleco carts and sold them as "homebrews". I'm really surprised there has been no real backlash against them on the internet.

Image from their page: https://collectorvision.com/shop/snes/s ... -of-death/

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:26 pm 
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There's a whole lot of ignorance about what Homebrew means, just listen to Mike Mattei talking.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:01 pm 
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Dwedit wrote:
There's a whole lot of ignorance about what Homebrew means, just listen to Mike Mattei talking.

Sadly, this is true. Semi off-topic, but: I like Mike (we've talked in DM on Twitter, and I even mailed him my old analog joystick for his Apple IIE), but his (and James Rolfe too) understanding of what actual homebrew is a bit lacking. I don't think anyone's taken the time to write him something concise and with example that makes it clear to him. Despite his on-screen demeanour, Mike's quite friendly and receptive, so I'm sure he'd appreciate it + explain in some video that he didn't have full knowledge of the situation + play some actual homebrews.

It'd be important to explain the difference between "repackaged" games (read: not romhacks), and actual romhacks -- and the different tiers of the latter (ex. JP/EN/other translation vs. little kid hacks (turning Mario into a penis) vs. full-on and serious revamps (involving a LOT of assembly rework) vs. highly modified engines or maps (e.g. SMW, Zelda 3, Mega Man 2, etc.) that allow for practically creating a whole new style of that particular game).

The more I think about this, the more I feel strangely inclined to do a video on the subject, given my weird one-foot-in-snesdev/nesdev-the-other-in-romhacking background. Too bad I'm so rambly.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:57 pm 
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Punch wrote:
What the hell. Is this for real? "Not a Homebrew game"?

It's not a homebrew game in the sense that its homebrew programmer likely does not get a majority of the profit on it. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:00 pm 
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So what do you call a romhack that is built from a full rebuildable disassembly of the game? At that point, it's sort of a cross between Homebrew and Rom hacking. It's still based on someone else's code, but you have the full ability to change anything as if you had the source code.

Just a really really advanced romhack?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:24 pm 
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Dwedit wrote:
So what do you call a romhack that is built from a full rebuildable disassembly of the game? At that point, it's sort of a cross between Homebrew and Rom hacking. It's still based on someone else's code, but you have the full ability to change anything as if you had the source code.

Just a really really advanced romhack?

Need clarification on this: do you mean literally this process and nothing else?

1. Disassemble existing ROM (or use an existing disassembly somewhere)
2. Reassemble disassembled results into a working ROM file (and verified it's 100% identical to the original, if possible)

If that's all that's done, then this isn't a romhack or homebrew, it's instead pointless. :-)

If between steps 1 and 2 there's some kind of modification done, then it's a romhack. A good example is how I did the FF2j/FF2e intro for Neo Demiforce:

1. Demi sent me an IPS patch with all of his work + the CRC32 of the source ROM he used
2. I applied the IPS patch to the same ROM
3a. I disassembled the now-patched ROM
3b. ...split it up into relevant PRG portions
3c. ...reverse-engineered a good portion of the existing intro
3d. ...reworked badly-disassembled stuff (data vs. code)
3e. ...commented a bunch of Square's functions, made labels for them (I re-used theirs due to limited free space)
3f. ...wrote the intro, as well as an RLE compression routine in Perl and an RLE decompression routine in 6502 since the graphics BiGWiERD did were too large to fit natively
3g. ...added my own code using .incsrc equivalent, making sure it fits, nothing breaks, blah blah
3h. Reassembled results
3i. ...made sure all label-ised addresses were the same (orig vs. intro-ised), just in case existing game routines happened to have something I missed in step 3d that would do something like JSR $addr where now it should be JSR $addr+12 due to the intro injection
3j. ...did a binary compare to ensure the only changed stuff was related to the intro
4. Made an IPS patch vs. the original ROM (so IPS patch included translation + new intro)
5. Gave Demi the IPS patch

In this case, the romhack genre falls into the category of Translation/Translated, because that's what the goal was.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:28 am 
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Well Homebrew does have a bad name. In that they are more "look I did a thing" rather than an actual commercial quality game. I've seen points made that there are so many other games from "back in the day" that while average back then are super cheap and still better. Homebrew is usually associated with pirates and hackers as normally you need those two to make homebrew possible. I speak from a place of privilege where Homebrew doesn't exist though.

If you modify a game, its a hack. If you reverse the entire game and make modifications then its gets to a tipping point I guess. Garrys Mod is a 'hack' but its was such a big one that it became its own game. see also Counter Strike, and that base building game with humans and raptars that I can't remember the name of.. However as none of the Old Engines are released to use any of them means you need to hack them, so it could be argued that even if you completely change a game, its still a hack on X.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:49 am 
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When I do a Google search for new NES games, I type "NES homebrew". If I type "Indie NES games" I get mostly Retro Magazines, and sometimes Android games that have a retro look.

Like it or not, professional developers are stuck with "homebrew" just to connect to their audience.

And producers of hacked cartridges are stuck with "repro".

Sometimes Ebay/Etsy sellers will throw a "homebrew" label on their hacks, but I suspect that's to fly under the radar, to prevent their products from getting removed as an illegal copy.

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Last edited by dougeff on Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:15 am 
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Do not forget how people have now been saying that rom hacks and fan games are inherently evil, despite its goals. People who profit from work based on years of rom hacking research are now saying that doing a fan game is an evil thing to do. They say that doing some work that contains copywritten material is evil, even if you're just showing your love for that IP and releasing it for free, with consent from the original developers. It does not matter, you're evil. So it's natural that suddenly everything our dirty community does is automatically considered bad, amateurish and low quality.

I've always thought that what this community excels in technical understanding it lacks in marketing. Internet presence and PR is based on marketing skills and proactive advertising. When you don't do that you're going to be an obscure hardcore nerdy thing no matter what. Gone are the days that media outlets would actually do research. Their research is now to simply follow select social networks members and wait for news. If we're worried about bad rep to the mainstream public this needs to be addressed.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:36 am 
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Quote:
with consent from the original developer


Let's not kid ourselves. No major original NES developer has consented to this.

There are modern games, where mods are encouraged. Mostly, developers of games "official" policy is to oppose this, to protect their IP.

Big N does NOT consent, but sort of looks the other way.

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Last edited by dougeff on Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:37 am 
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That's bad :-(
The situation here is not very different from ebay.

In Mercado Livre, (more or less the brazilian's ebay) there's a lot of pirated games and emulators packaged with ROMs being sold as "patchs".
In the announce the vendors usually say that it was developed by him and his "team".
Some cartridges I bought were sent as "memory card" declared on the envelope.

Too bad a somewhat big project is detrimenting a whole community just to promote it's own product.
I sincerelly hope the hardware is not composed of 3v parts directly connected to the console.
What could be more badly produced than that?
I can only think of the rat's nests I do on my modded stuff, but I'm not claiming it to be professionally made or even selling it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:54 am 
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dougeff wrote:
Let's not kid ourselves. No major original NES developer has consented to this.

There are modern games, where mods are encouraged. Mostly, developers of games "official" policy is to oppose this, to protect their IP.

Big N does NOT consent, but sort of looks the other way.

Yeah, the vast majority doesn't care because it's a niche thing. There are a few rare cases where the original developers like the hack. That's what I meant. IE. David Crane complimenting my Super Pitfall hack. Granted, he's not the current owner of the IP. Even then it's still "evil". Go figure.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:49 am 
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koitsu wrote:
It'd be important to explain the difference between "repackaged" games (read: not romhacks), and actual romhacks -- and the different tiers of the latter (ex. JP/EN/other translation vs. little kid hacks (turning Mario into a penis) vs. full-on and serious revamps (involving a LOT of assembly rework) vs. highly modified engines or maps (e.g. SMW, Zelda 3, Mega Man 2, etc.) that allow for practically creating a whole new style of that particular game).

The more I think about this, the more I feel strangely inclined to do a video on the subject

Post the script here before you make the video and we might be able to help. Here is an incomplete list of categories that you might want to distinguish:

  • Original unlicensed game small in scope - example: Love Story
  • Original unlicensed game large in scope - example: Battle Kid, Nova the Squirrel
  • Infringing fan adaptation of a proprietary product identity* - example: Final Fantasy VII (Famicom), LJ65, AM2R
  • Total conversion mod - your "full-on and serious revamps"
  • Fan translation mod
  • Little kid hack

ccovell wrote:
It's not a homebrew game in the sense that its homebrew programmer likely does not get a majority of the profit on it.

Do you mean the sense that the producer is someone other than lead programmer, which is also true of things like The Curse of Possum Hollow? Or do you mean that it's an adaptation of an existing product identity, and the royalty for that product identity exceeds what any team member made on that project?

Dwedit wrote:
So what do you call a romhack that is built from a full rebuildable disassembly of the game?

Copyright infringement. To me, legal compliance is one of the biggest deciding factors between what's a game and what's an unauthorized mod.

Oziphantom wrote:
Well Homebrew does have a bad name. In that they are more "look I did a thing" rather than an actual commercial quality game.

Would that be my "small in scope" category?

nesrocks wrote:
People who profit from work based on years of rom hacking research are now saying that doing a fan game is an evil thing to do.

That's because fan games misappropriate proprietary games' product identity. The view adopted by other opponents of fan games reflects that supported by applicable law: Reverse engineering of a game console is supposed to produce a platform on which to build a game around an original product identity, not someone else's without consent.

nesrocks wrote:
even if you're just showing your love for that IP and releasing it for free, with consent from the original developers

How do fans obtain consent from the owner of a product identity to adapt it into a game at all? As others have mentioned, Nintendo has a policy of blanket rejecting consent for its own product identities.

nesrocks wrote:
There are a few rare cases where the original developers like the hack. That's what I meant. IE. David Crane complimenting my Super Pitfall hack. Granted, he's not the current owner of the IP. Even then it's still "evil".

And that's the key difference: it's "evil" precisely because they're not David Crane's rights to give.


* A "product identity", sometimes confusingly called an "IP", is defined in the d20 System's Open Game License to include things such as titles, logos, character names, likenesses, setting elements, plot points, and the like.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:32 am 
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A lot of people tend to accept "what is legal" as "what is moral" uncritically when it comes to things like copyright law.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:46 am 
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There are examples of IP owners that are ok and actually like mods to their games. That does not only apply to games, either. So there's nothing inherently evil about making fan games and derivative works. It's just a terrible generalization.

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