Ah, it’s New Year’s Eve, and it’s time for that annual tradition of mine.
Darr’s 2023 Retrospective
- Be annoyed at myself for failing to enter Hack Jam 2 - I’m rarely far away from hacking contests.
- Slowly chipped away at making card art for Cipher of Destruction - converting cards to fit into GBA Yugioh is a slow grind, especially with the ideal quantity.
- Witness the release of Engage. I anticipated someone would launch a parody in the tradition of Destiny and Ternon, and I signalled intent to make one: this didn’t quite go to plan.
- Announced the MARTH (Make A Really Terrific Hack) contest: one month, one chapter.
- Come the 1st of April I had to release something: that something was the first version of War of Lovers, having evolved from the original Hack Jam 2 entry.
- A rail tour departed from my nearest railway station instead of Dublin for once, so I went on a nice trip as MARTH development rumbled on.
- Got introduced to the Archipelago randomiser - imagine Link finding a Power Star while Mario picks up the Hookshot.
- MARTH was more successful than I could have ever anticipated: I got 28 entries instead of the assumed five or so. A long judging process began.
- I had expected judging to be wrapped up before this, but I had Eurovision tickets and took off to Liverpool for a week - the first time I left Ireland’s shores.
- Resumed judging after losing my voice screaming (and crying about Ireland’s failure to qualify for the final - it never stops hurting). Ultimately it took until the end of June for the process to fully complete.
- Checked another railway line off using a very roundabout route: great views, but boy is it slow! Did well in a table quiz in the hotel while I was there. Also, I got soaked.
- A few weeks later I checked a tourist line off - summer specials cover more distance. Checked off a once-a-week track segment too.
- Resumed work on War of Lovers - the target was now FEE3. Trailers are the in thing. I learned how to edit a video and I think I did alright - the reviewers told me the audio balance was awful though so I had to fix that in an edit.
- Made a journey to the capital, saw some sights, hit a big milestone. I did a lot of travelling this summer.
- After the FEE3 deadline, entered Vesly’s Four Hour Blitz and produced Dimension Dungeon: Zelda meets FE2-style exploration. (I mainly chose the theme because I could reuse the portraits for War of Lovers…)
- My friends and I started work on a special Archipelago project, which hasn’t been officially announced here on the forums yet. But I think you’ll like it when it’s officially finished.
- War of Lovers v0.2 releases for FEE3. It ends up getting some of the most engagement in the comments section as a namewank war breaks out.
- One more thing off the bucket list: head up north and finish the goal of travelling the entire Irish railway network via one final holiday. My victory celebration was spoiled by floods and a bus substitution - the heritage railway I visited got wrecked the night after I visited it!
- After bashing my head on why Chiki didn’t want to animate properly, got War of Lovers v0.21 out.
- Worked on the general Fire Emblem collection, even if my book delivery missed Christmas.
- War of Lovers v0.3 continues in development, as does the Archipelago project. One of these days, I’ll get around to tackling the backlog…
- War of Lovers v0.3: ain’t getting it out for FE3’s 30th, as symbolic as that would be.
- MARTH 2? Or perhaps ALM, if I can think of a good enough acronym.
- Something on International Hack Release Day, of course. Whether it’ll just be a War of Lovers version or something actually new will depend on how that ever-dreaded motivation goes.
- Needless to say, something entirely off the rails is going to end up happening. Speaking of rails, Scotland and Wales are looking mighty stretch-goal like…
So, how did the art of romhacking (or other hobbies) treat the rest of the forum?
2023 was a strange but productive year. Moved out of a deeply toxic home environment and back to my own country, finished DoW, revived Do5, started Thirdhack. Wound up getting back into the swing of life late on. Set to be published for the first time, signed a contract for it. After the waking nightmare that was 2022, I feel like things are looking up.
2023 was a really productive year for me in terms of romhacking. In June I released the first complete version of Host of the Dark and from there on I felt like I made substantial improvements across the board from the influx of people giving feedback. Host of the Dark now is nothing like it was in 2022 or even back in June and it’s thanks to that first full release that it’s that way.
In terms of writing… Well, let’s just say that it’s obvious to anyone who followed HotD since the beginning that my writings greatly improved, quite dramatically might I add.
Later in the year I announced I was working on a sequel to Host of the Dark, Dawn of the Dark to a small but very excited reception. The project itself is coming along great and I’m incredibly excited to put it out there in 2024, with a lot more experimentation on my end as well to boot.
I was one of the judges for MARTH as well which was a stressful and at times aggravating experience but it was a fun time.
FEE3 also had the third showing of Host of the Dark joined again by @Epholo8 , this time also including myself. It was a very fun experience, albeit a very anxiety inducing one since I never really had spoken on the internet before and I’m quite self conscious about my voice.
I’m hoping that moving into 2024 I can continue to improve and make my hacks better along the way.
Rommed some hacks and hacked some roms. Not a bad year.
This year I finished basically half of the hack that I’m working on, The Tales of The Conquerors. I didn’t spend as much time on it than I would’ve liked to, but I’m nontheless really proud of it. It is the hack I always wanted to make, and it’s turning out great in my opinion. I’m so glad it wasn’t the first hack I’ve made, since it required a lot of knowledge that I learned through trial and error in my first one.
Besides that, I’m working on my creative writing, and I finished my second year in college passing all of my courses. It was a pretty good year for myself.
I might finish The Tales of The Conquerors in 2024. It all depends on wether there’s enough F2U portraits of specific Fódlan characters. I don’t like the fact that I have to depend on the Github to include or not certain characters to the story, but I don’t have enough patience nor skill to actually make portraits so I won’t complain
I was considering remaking my first hack, Emulation Theory, for 2024. Fixing the bugs and the dificulty and all that. Right now it’s kind of unplayable. I don’t know how long that would take, but it’d be fun to try
Learned a lot about project planning, logistics and…honestly a good general foundation. This was probably the most intensive year so far for me in terms of improving gameplay, map, writing and general QOL that was sorely needed
I never expected to receive that large of a positive reception for FEE3, which only makes me want to improve HoloEmblem: S4S more than what I have currently.
Even if it is my first hack, I want S4S to be something worthwhile. For 2024, that’s going to be my main goal, along with learning more of the artistic side of development
I published the first version of Spectrum back in August. And then, unfortunately, didn’t get much else done this year, to the point where I only got a single chapter done since (not sure if it was boredom, burnout or something else). I think I spent more time watching YouTube and playing the occasional video game than working on any of my creative projects, which I’m not particularly proud of.
At the very least I was able to get some creative ideas written down. I think if I figure things out I’ll have a clearer story plan for my hack and get a bit more done by the end of 2024. Even wrote a few fanfics (not as many as I’d like, but still!). Now that I have the ideas in my head, hopefully I should be able to write them down and get more progress done on the hack. Assuming I don’t get bored and distracted again.
This was also my first time doing FEE3. I wanted to do a self-Let’s Play due to neither wanting to worry about developing the skills to make a good trailer overnight, nor having the best social skills to ask for a volunteer. At the very least the video did pretty well, exceeded my expectations even. Even if I wasn’t as happy with my delivery, I’m still happy I made the attempt.
Plus, I even learned how to mod my 3DS just a few days ago! I can play my own works on my old console if I really want to! My hope is that I’ll gain some more certainty and get some actual progress made in 2024. No certainty, but here’s to hoping!
This year I slowed down a lot with hacking and let myself pursue other hobbies and focused more on work and my family (and we just recently had another baby… god I want sleep). I consider myself a bit retired from the scene sometimes, although that isn’t strictly true - I just have a different balance than before. I’ve still got some hacks left to rom.
The year has been tough admittedly but I did make some cool stuff this year. Looking at the amount of animations I put out, it’s not much but I think I improved quite a lot in terms of movements and concepts, I’m one who always like to go for the big changes and new concepts and as such It takes longer to make an animation, but I’m happy to say I’m satisfied with the stuff I churn out and glad that it’s getting used in some projects now heh.
This year, I did work for several telephone hacks and slowed Book 2 Remake’s progress down a fair bit in the process (it’s still alive don’t worry) lol.
I finished my first hack. Even after a year of procrastination and inaction I was able to get it out the door. For no small amount of time, I was free of the pressure to finish that damn game. Until I wasn’t.
After bug fixing my hack for a month post-release, I began work on a second, more focused, and intentional project to hopefully be done in spring of next year. It has been over a month since I’ve even opened FEBuilder, and I can only hope this will change in the coming year.
As much as I enjoy making hacks, I still feel a deep anxiety towards setting of expectations and making promises, even just to myself. Whenever my next project comes out (if it does), I’ll be sure to take care with how I plan my future past that point. See you all in 2024!
This year can be considered as a true year for me to be with FE hacks.
In February of this year, with the support of Team Distance Roads and many like-minded friends, I completed the Chinese translation of Call of the Armor. In April, with the support of @HyperGammaSpaces and the leadership of @jiny9675, our team successfully completed the Chinese translation of Sacred Echoes.
Afterwards, while continuing my translation work, I also began to try using FEBuilder to learn every step of making FE hacks. Although I did not achieve any decent results, I believe that the experience and lessons gained during the process are also worth it.
Starting from September this year, it is my second year of college life. However, here, the second year of college is often the busiest, so I haven’t had much time lately to make translations and study hacks. By the way, because I have almost no knowledge of assembly, I tried to follow the tutorial to create my own skillsystems in C language last month, but the result was still a failure 。 I plan to work harder during the winter vacation a week later, hoping to complete a new translation.
Finally, I wish everyone on FEU and those who have always supported me a happy new year!
2023 was a pretty good year, I think.
For International Hack Release Day I branched out from Thracia and went back to my FE8 roots. This involved a lot of behind-the-scenes work reorganizing the github repository, which is fun. I unironically like writing makefiles. This past entry was inspired by some work from @Leonarth and is basically invisible to wizards.
While working on some C stuff, I had the sudden inspiration to revisit an old joke. Enter: thumblib 3. This is a stupid library that allows GBAFE C programmers to write THUMB assembly directly inside their C source files. This is probably one of the most useless, over-engineered things I’ve ever done, but it was a blast to put together. I offer no guarantees that it’ll work for you.
I managed to push out a public release for my project, covering 4 chapters. It’s come a long way since it started in 2017 (and when it was shown during that year’s FEE3).
I decided to submit a trailer to FEE3 2023 to celebrate its progress: