Denizens of FEU, why do you hack?


#1

Sorry that an old fart like me comes crawling back for something as silly as this but a buddy of mine is doing a lecture/article at their university about games and modding.

I’ve been reaching out to old contacts but as people have had life get ahold of them… I haven’t really had the greatest of luck having the most updated contact info. Which is why I come to you here.

If you can spare the time… Even as just a passing comment…

Why do you hack? What do you enjoy about it? And any comments about the hobby?


What is your biggest goal(s) in FE Hacking?
#2

I enjoy doing this because it’s like a hobby and it keeps me amused. I’m also a fan of this series which is why I’ve been invested as long as I have been.


#3

I hack because I want to make my own games and I love fire emblem. It gives me the best of both worlds allowing me make what’s essentially my own FE game. I also really enjoy sharing the work I’ve done, even if it’s just to a few friends and people getting hyped for your work. It’s also helped me in school as I study computer science and I have to learn assembly for my A level course, since I learned to ASM hack, it’s easy. Also helped out with my understanding of computer science in general.

It’s also allowed me to meet awesome people in the FE community which is an amazing bonus (who are now some of my closest friends).


#4

I suppose it’s for the art. Because I can. Messing around in NES and SNES Fire Emblem games seeing what weirdness turns up is nice. Make an entry for a hacking competition in an unorthodox game? Dig up something unused and post it on the Cutting Room Floor? Make a Japanese hack’s menus English?

The whole “make your own story” isn’t my thing. I can’t tell serious stories. Bad jokes, yes. Competent story? No. Get too wrapped up in your plot and caught up in technical limitations, and you won’t get anywhere. Some hacks have gotten places. Many haven’t. We all have our dead projects, and forcing yourself to finish a project you don’t want to work on anymore isn’t fun. It’s all a hobby, at the end of the day.

EDIT:

Turning weird daydreams into ragefests, etc. is cool.


#5

I love seeing how stuff works, that’s why I always loved science, biology was always at the top for me.

Wanting to know how it all works together is, to me, a common ground between not just biology and hacking, but between most anything that I like, that might sound weird at first but that’s because it’s weird.

Even during language classes what I found the most interesting was how words get together, how they work when you join them, and what you can do with them, knowing HOW and WHY is something I always had inside, it was only a question of time until I grabbed that feeling and mixed it with something I love, like videogames.

Another thing that I love is making things.
I love to make stuff, see it work and share it with people, with hacking I have a base ground that people already know (the game) so people can easily see what changed, I don’t need to explain to them what I did, they know.

A lot of people start hacking because they have an idea for a complete game and want to use an already existing game as a base, that’s the case even for translations, but to me I just want to throw in any little idea I get, I don’t really have an end goal, I just want to make stuff so I’ll make anything I feel like, even if it’s useless, it doesn’t really matter much.


#6

It’s given me an opportunity to interact with a lot of talented folks I probably never would have interacted with otherwise.

Seeing all the parts come together as a finished product is also just immensely satisfying, and making something people enjoy is a pretty good feeling too.


#7

Good question.

First and foremost, for fun. I love FE. I definitely think it could be better. So what if I made it better?
Definitely gets me in this creative headspace that I just don’t have otherwise. When you get aha moment where you get a string of 20 “what if I do this?” thoughts in a row.
It’s a nice hobby too. I don’t really talk to other people much but hacking kind of forces me to because I don’t know how the hell anything works LuL. Nice to make friends, some really awesome people I meet.
All in all though I hope to make something people can enjoy, including myself. Fun is good.
I will get to that soon tm.


#8

Looking back at my own answers to my friend… This was definitely part of it too haha.

I mean since to me… games are art. It’s just like expression in the medium of programming with a base engine.


#9

I like to show off cool stuff and impress people
also memes


#10

because i can


#11

I hack just for fun, I find the actual process rewarding and being able to have an end product of sorts afterwards is a big reason why I think I find it fun.


#12

I like making characters up and drawing them but it’s also cooler to move them around, make them talk with each other and do stuff like bonking over characters over the head. Although now it’s mostly because I really enjoy map making.


#13

As a young kid, I always wished that more games had customization, specifically creating your own levels. My introduction to this was the Tony Hawk’s skateboarding series, where most of my time playing the games was spent creating custom skate parks rather than actually skating (and when I did that, I would skate as created characters instead of the pros). Not understanding the level of logistics that has to be behind any sort of creation tool you give to the player of a game (who expects a polished, glitch-free product) I thought it was a huge untapped market of sorts that players weren’t allowed to create their levels in Mario/Zelda/etc. Mario Maker exists now, and I would’ve played it nonstop as a kid, but now it’s too little and too late compared to what just modding Super Mario World or making a SMBX episode would get me.

The kicker here is that at some point, my ambitions changed from “I want to create my own Fire Emblem chapters” to “I want to create my own video game”, shifting from challenge hacks starring Eliwood and co to fully-custom stories with their own world and characters. One factor that contributed to this was the explosion of indie games demonstrating that making a video game doesn’t have to be some far-off, nebulous thing that requires an entire company to pull it off: all you need these days is a computer and a little determination. Another was that people were moving on from just using Elibe as a setting to making their own settings; it turned out that all the limitations we had come to accept (using FE7 instead of FE8, not being able to use the world map, etc) were illusions. My ideas went from “use this engine to make amusing, quirky things you’d play on a rainy day” to “this engine has tons of unexplored potential that we can and should unlock”. Half the stuff we do in FE modding these days, or even more than half, would be called impossible if you were to propose it six years ago when I started, and it’s inspiring to see how far we’ve come.

Finally, modding Fire Emblem helped me find my niche of music and sound. Over the years, I’ve gone from “I had to take piano lessons as a kid” to putting as much polish into songs and instrument samples as I would into designing the rest of the game. If I ever get frustrated with some other element (e.g. battle animations and setting all those pointers/palettes), I clear my mind by taking a break to work on musical stuff. As I’ve learned more and more about music and gotten a better feel for it, I notice the little touches in the music of other games that I’d never noticed before (e.g. in Wario Land 3 every song is a remix of the same main theme). Making my own versions of those touches, like having different characters’ themes identifiable by different instruments or sequences of notes, is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done; it feels like there’s always a clear point where a song goes from just being a jumble of notes to being a real song that’s more vibe-worthy than the sum of its parts, and passing that point is the greatest thing ever.

Sorry for throwing a novel at you, but it was genuinely fun to write this stuff down somewhere.


#14

Wouldn’t you take the chance to learn things that nobody else knows about something you love?

For me, it’s really that simple. All it takes is dedication and a bit of skill to unlock many secrets about these games we’ve been playing for years.


#15

After playing FE7 and FE8, I wanted more. I heard about a hack (I think it was called Will of Elimine or something), but as I recall I couldn’t find a link to it. However, it got me thinking about hacks in general, and I decided to try to make my own. Of course, it would be a massive endeavor and require loads of features that didn’t exist, so I started out by making one (the text color/text background color changing hack) after several stops and starts. Then it turned out making assembly hacks was more fun then all the other aspects of hacking, and people wanted me to make things, so here I am today, and I still haven’t made a hack (although I’ve made a few single-chapter things for MAFC and Ragefest, yay me).


#16

I love Fire Emblem.
I love level editors in games like Advance Wars, Mario Maker, and heck, even Super Mario 63.

So hacking puts the two together, plus I get to create my own story. It’s a really cool endeavor.


#17

I suppose for me it’s fairly simple: I just find it fun.

It’s a nice way to spend free time, I think, making a game/hack; It’s fun to do among friends too. Maybe not to have anything to show off all the time, but just because. It’s nice to just cool down after studying or working, for instance, and just fuck around with this stuff.


#18

I’ve been playing Fire Emblem since a friend showed me FE8 back in highschool;

I’ve been a tabletop roleplaying DM/player for like 5 years now.

Hacking an FE game allows me to combine two of my favorite hobbies. After watching Mangs’ 50k sub special I was inspired to try it out. After some googling I stumbled upon both FEUniverse and FEBuilder.

The FEU community is great, when I first posted here (like a month ago) I was afraid of getting ousted for being a scrub hacker; turns out people were more than happy to help by providing constructive criticism and being helpful in general.

~2 months later I have 22/25 maps done, 16/16 playable character completed, a basic timeline with descriptive notes for each chapter, and a boat load of other miscellaneous things. We’re getting there!


#19

[quote=“shadowofchaos, post:1, topic:4382”]
Why do you hack? [/quote]

Because writing a game engine from scratch sounds like work. v:

Besides that, because there’s just this mystical charm I always had towards the gba as a console, I really felt-- and still kind of do-- that it was all you really needed for anything?

And I played a lot of FE, so I was very much interested in seeing what else like it existed, and if maybe I could make something good with the set up.

What do you enjoy about it? And any comments about the hobby?

For me, it’s just enjoyable to watch everybody go by and think. I like watching people propose and debate something, it’s quite fantastic to see what ludicrous ideas people can come up with or even implement.

I keep trying to think of ways to expand this, but I think everybody else has come up with words a million times better than I could really imagine.

 
I came to dream, and I have yet to find a nightmare.


#20

I like hacking because, well, it’s something I find very intriguing. Being able to modify a game to do things it was once not able to or visually changing something such as graphics is just interesting to me. Well, actually, I think there’s a lot more to it than that, and I’ll explain it.

The Tools

As time moved forward, more and more tools (such as Emblem Magic, FEBuilder, and Buildfiles to name a few) came along to make this small hobby much more accessible to those who were too intimidated at first, myself included.
[BETA] Emblem Magic
FE_Builder_GBA

The Hacking Community

As much as I like making minor changes such as a map or event for a joke or two between friends, I like seeing others hack as well. I know that a few may not agree with some of these, but events such as FEE3, PMEs (Pick My Edits), MAFC, Chapter/Resource Blitzes, and Ragefest (the list goes on, trust me) are more or less a collage of talents from different people who happen to share the same hobby, be it a contest or collaboration effort. I’ve also met some great friends through this, so I have my personal thanks to throw in for that.
FEE3 2018: Can't stop, won't stop!
https://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?/topic/58410-make-a-fun-chapter-3-its-over/
Void's Blitzarre Adventure: Blitz Tendency (Earlygame Polish Released)
Ragefest V: The Enragement Ring OFFICIAL THREAD

The Potential

I believe another thing I like about hacking is that Fire Emblem itself is a goldmine of (nearly) infinite possibilities and potential, and many people see that. The various mechanics introduced throughout the series’ history are something that a few brave souls dared to implement to the GBA titles, such as the skill system, Pairups (into FE8), and Quality of Life changes to name a few. That isn’t all, either. There’s also original mechanics that were implemented as well, such as leveling down, or even ice puzzles. I recommend looking into the list of things I listed in the second spoiler (The Hacking Community) to get an idea of what I mean.
[FE8] Skill System v1.0 - 151 skills done, more on the way
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhi9S3xckkc

Although I did not say much about FE6 or 7 here, that doesn’t mean they don’t play a large part even today. There are people who do work in these games as well, two big examples being Maiden of Darkness (FE6) and Elibean Nights. There may be more support for one thing over the other, but that doesn’t stop some from doing what they love.
Elibean Nights - Final Version (Gamma Testing)
Fire Emblem: Maiden of Darkness. Check the OP for updates I do them everytime I achieve now

Custom Engines

There’s no way I could leave this out without feeling dissatisfied. Besides the normal ROM hacks, there’s quite a few engines that were made to simulate FE with varying results. FEXP, Lex Talionis, and FEXNA (2020? Let’s pray) are just some I can name off the top of my head. There was also a new one introduced here not too long ago as of writing this, which is pretty cool.
FEXP Download
FEXNA (Currently in Private Beta)
https://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?/topic/73271-the-lion-throne-fangame-and-engine/

Randomizers

If you’ve been around the block a few times, you know what a randomizer is. It mixes up various aspects of a game to create a different experience. A lot of people find fun in this, as it gives them a reason to go back and play their favorite titles that have a program made to do this. Circleseverywhere managed to do this for FE8: a self-randomizing hack, which, as the name would imply, allows you to randomize FE8 without anything other than applying the patch itself, which means you don’t need a new rom for every playthrough.
https://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?/topic/55809-universal-gba-fe-randomizer-v10/
[FE8] Self-Randomizing Rom v1.1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4hNUjSQOmk

Revisiting Old Relics

This one may be even more rare (and for novelty in some people’s eyes), but let’s be real here: how would you feel if someone went outside of the normal routine of hacking FE6-8 and did something like… FE5, Or even FE1? It’s really impressive. They went out of their way to do something with probably minimal tools/documentation, and that is both respectable and admirable.
A short FE1 hack by Darrman (For MAFC 3)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpW8mKleBo0
A concept for FE7 in FE5, by Zane Avernathy (For FEE3)
https://youtu.be/MKanZLG3cts

Translations and Translators

I don’t know if anyone thought about this one, but I include translations with all of this as well. It’s a very important part of Fire Emblem’s history (that includes the Tear Ring Saga series), as it lets us see the content that would otherwise be lost behind the language barrier. Props go out to folks like Bookofholsety for being awesome. Yes, before some of you say it, there’s a few translations out there that are subpar, but we have to start somewhere. If anything, I consider those a base for future translators to further work on/use as an example of what NOT to do when proceeding, that being errors that can freeze the game (hi Thracia 776), or glitchy text.
An FE5 Menu Translation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrYXdKtxSnM
Project Naga’s FE4 Translation
https://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?/topic/63676-fe4-translation-patch-open-beta-v7/

This also includes non-official material. we got a menu translation for FE Girls and FE Midori (the second of which spawned inspiration for REDFE by Mystic, be sure to check that out, it’s cool.)
Midori + Girls English patches and fixes
REDFE - Yes, Roy is in this game

Foreign Communities

You may asking what I count as “foreign” here, and that would be non-english speakers. Nothing to do with where you are in the world, but the language you speak, but I digress. We usually get some folks from other places, such as 7743, the creator of FEBuilder. If you look around long enough, you’ll see others as well, and it puts a smile to my face to see them communicate. We can learn from them, and they can learn from us.
NGMansion’s forums
https://wp.ngmansion.xyz/forums/
FE Latino
Fire Emblem [Latino] 2.0 ~ You Can (Not) Ban (Last Update 20/07/2018)

Something to Put Out There

It doesn’t always have to be about quality:tm:, really, but just an end result that shows someone out there was, or still is, hopefully, passionate about hacking Fire Emblem. This could either be an expansion to an already existing tale, a crossover of sorts, demakes, or to present new ideas altogether. The motives of these individuals can vary (for fun vs for glory), but at the end of the day, it’s just a thing people do.
https://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?/topic/21163-fire-emblem-sacred-contention/
GFE1R [Generic FE1 Remake]
https://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?/topic/62717-fire-emblem-iv-inheritors-of-the-crusade-v013-released/
[FE8] Staff of Ages (V2.1 is here!)

I may have missed some things, but these are the reasons why I like hacking, some less so for why I personally hack, and more so what I like about the hobby as a whole.