FE Modding: On the State of the Art

#1

Especially with the buildfile and EM sprouting up so quickly, there’s a lot of outdated advice on what tutorials to read or how to do things. I remember when I was learning to hack, I chose to learn to use the anti-huffman patch and raw hex editing to insert text, over using FEditor. While I don’t regret learning it (the knowledge is very useful with creating TextParser etc), it was outdated (I can’t even find tutorials for it anymore). To prevent faux choices like that, I hope to address some common issues and point to the right, up to date (Summer 2017) resources.

##Intro
There are basically two schoolsof though: The Event Assembler method and the Emblem Magic method. In the former, we log changes to be made to the ROM, and rebuild it every time. In the latter method, we directly edit the ROM (more in the spirit of how it used to be done).

##Common Outdated Things

  • Avoid using FEditor if you can. There are alternative ways to do the same things with EA.
  • Nightmare 1 is preferrable to Nightmare 2
  • Tiled is preferred to Mappy.
  • FE8 is preferred over FE7. Don’t hack FE6.
    • Most tools and engine hacks in development are for FE8 exclusively.

##Common Useful Things

##The EA Way
The best tutorial here is Ultimate Tutorial 2. It shows how to do most things. My guide to inserting things is a bit outdated, but probably worth a read after UT2. I highly recommend this way as we just have a lot more nicer tools that output to event files.

Notable Features:

  • EA will be the only tool directly modifying the ROM.
    • Namely, no FEditor, no Nightmare.
  • Circles’s tool suite is used (tmx2ea, s2ea, c2ea, etc).
  • It’s much better to do maps in Tiled than Mappy.

##The EM Way
Eventually, Emblem Magic will replace all other tools mentioned this way. But it’s not out yet. I’m giving this name to the idea that we should edit the ROM directly. That said, here are applicable tools:

  • Most ways of doing things in Blazer’s Ultimate Tutorial (I still recommend one skip the sections with FEditor).
  • Nightmare 1 is preferred table editor.
  • EA for events.
  • Nintenlord’s Tiled Map Inserter for Tiled maps (preferred as to not have to manually do tile changes).
  • Any of these ways can be replaced with the EA way and inserted with EA.
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#2

The problem is, that we STILL need an equivalent replacement for FEditor. Saying ‘use something else because it’s bad’ isn’t good enough. FEditor is still the easiest thing to use. Open a rom, go to the animation section, insert a rom at a slot, DONE. Then you can preview it and even modify a few things.

The EA method doesn’t have that yet. Hell, I still don’t get what I’m supposed to do to convert something to EA. I spent a solid 5 hours trying to wrap my head around it before giving up. You can’t discount the value of a gui for menial tasks and using a visual aid to help newbies along.

My recommendation is to come up with a visual editor that will eventually do the majority of the EA filebuilding. Why don’t we have a converter yet for converting animations from FEditor to EA format?

And on the off chance we do have that, someone should help me figure it out so I can finally begin the major animation rebuild topic, just like I did the one on Serenes.

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#3

Circles has made .rar packages for mose of these so often you just need to #include an installer and possibly set your classes to use them. Granted, making the installers takes more work but that’s a different aspect.

Emblem Magic --soon->

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#4

Like colorz said - the buildfile method is definitely useful in how space management becomes a non-issue when using that method. Thing is, i didn’t even really know about the new EA and buildfiles for the first months programming EM, so yeah I did it the usual ROMhacking way, except i made sure to have a write history to easily track everything youve done, as well as tools for space management in the ROM.

Emblem Magic will be out before the 28th of august, albeit perhaps somewhat incomplete - and the insertion of things like battle animations is pretty much just as simple as with FEditor (with just the addition of everything concerning repointing being directly shown to the user).

As far as easing users into using it, i’ve started writing some help documents (yknow, the HTML help .chm embedded into the program). In these I’ll detail how data is stored in the ROM for the various things to edit (so you can learn to hex edit them if you want), as well as pages listing functions of each editor.
In terms of tutorials though, i wouldn’t really know how to write them so i’m openly asking for help here (no pun intended) - if you wanna make tutorials for emblem magic, hit me up

#5

He did? Where can I find those?

Also, as I’ve said in FEU chat, I have a goal to make a new animation topic. It would include these things:

-FEditor-formatted animations, basically what we have now.
-FEXNA formatted animations (I will do this part by myself)
-Buildfile formatted animations
-Gifs for every animation (It’s 2017, people, you can handle it)
-Standard filestructure inside of every animation folder (Right now that shit is all over the place, with every animation using a different naming system, some extracting inside of folders and others just exploding files everywhere… yeesh.)
-A “download everything” option to get them all at once, nicely formatted, inside of folders

An additional bonus would be if I can use the Blitz buildfile to create an all-in-one standardized romhack shell, which I would use for myself and others can if they wish. The shell would include every known F2U animation in the fandom (And I would encourage others to donate if possible), along with recommended base stats, growths, and animations set up properly to map sprites and such.

Some serious standardization, along with a buildfile-based 35 chapter shell for FE8, would do a lot to aid long term progress in making hacks for people. Shit, if I can just get this made, I could easily pump out one feature length hack per year, and maybe more!

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#6

I’m aware of a few for whom this would cause the page to be uselessly long load-time wise and also unnavigatable on a number of mobile devices; please consider linking them instead of embedding them

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#7

I would end up linking them, yes.

#8

We need a vigourously-updated event dictionary of some sort; FE8 is impossible for beginners because there’s no up-to-date tutorial on the events as far as I am aware. Whatever FE8 tutorials were out there already have almost certainly been obsoleted by new versions of EA not working with the codes that they provide.

Also, pls recommend that people disregard the Ultimate Tutorial’s section on music, because nobody should have to put their self through that unless it’s the year 2007

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#9

Hacking has shifted so much that we should probably rewrite the Ultimate Tutorial. Arch is doing a good job on that front, but linking people to the UT is a bad idea since it’s way way waaaaay outdated for the tools and methods we have now.

#10

Imgur

Get hype

#11

Hence UT2?

1 Like
#12

These are all really good ideas. These are all worth working on.

#13

I’d like to back this up as it summerizes my feelings too.
FEditor despite the various issues, if handled very carefully, allows for a very user friendly tool to work with.

You can edit text, animation and even spells. You can even just rip animation and even get the script and the pallete RGB configurations.
GBA Graphics Editor is good for still images but nothing like Feditor.

#14

I’m in the Emblem Magic beta, and EM’s animation tool is about on par with FEditor’s, albeit it breaks less often.

The only thing it currently lacks is the ability to export animations to gifs.

#15

on par ?

it allows for sprite transformations/rotations, FEditor never did that

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#16

Exporting as a gif would be godlike.

#17

It has the tradeoff of no gifs (yet) but has other things FEditor doesn’t. It’s not a straight complete upgrade, as the one thing you still need to open up FEditor for is gif dumping, therefore it’s on par. That’s all I meant.

It would be completely superior and a straight upgrade if it had gif dumping as well. I can’t even think of other things we could add to improve it as of now.

#18

someone better at explaining things than me should update that fe8 wiki

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#19

Oh yes. I never realized how weird FE8 eventing was until I tried it. I think the wiki just needs to go into more detail about things that are very different from FE7 like the different codes and memory slots for example.

#20

What wiki