How long did you take to make a rom hack?

I have thought that making a map and cutscenes are the most tedious part of developing jrpgs. However tactical rpgs is a straight forward game with less exploration and maps. So I’ve been wondering that how fast can you make a fe rom hack and what’s the most tedious part of making it. I’ve never experienced rom hacking fire emblem but to me it seems fast to fully complete it.

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Longer than 2 years, I can say that much so far.

making a map… are the most tedious part of developing jrpgs.

This is only really tedious if you don’t enjoy making maps tbf.

how fast can you make a fe rom hack

Depends how long you want it to be, how polished you want it to be. Technically you could make one chapter in under an hour. Groups of people have also made full length hacks over the length of vanilla in a week, albeit un-polished.

what’s the most tedious part of making it.

Probably editing the battle anim frame for me, that was pretty tedious. The pay-off is worthwhile though.

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Mine took around a few weeks considering what i was aiming for. The most tedious part IMO, was definitely making palates to look nice and fit with the portraits.

Judging by the first post I’ve made about the hack I am currently working on I’d say I started about late February - early April, it’s about 70-80% complete with a full story and 16 out of the 22 maps planned so given my recent slow progress I predict I will overall take about five months to complete.

I can really blaze through chapter creation when I’m really invested in creating it, although right now I just want to move on to a larger scale hack so I’m moving slower on this one.

As for the most tedious parts of hacking, definitely making palettes for classes you haven’t paletted before, you have to figure out which color correlates to which part of the animation then edit the palette to make it fit the character. It’s not as bad and it can even be fun once you’re familiar with the common color orderings in febuilder (for example a lot of class palettes have the first color be the background). Doing end events when and talk convos when you just wanna move onto the next chapter is also pretty annoying, and supports are so tedious that I’m saving them for when I’m done with all the chapters.

As somebody that doesn’t have time to hack every single day, it’s taken about a year to get to where I am now and there’s still expected to be another year and a half or so of development before the end, generously. For me the most tedious part by far is eventing, getting a complex cutscene looking just right can take a lot of trial and error. Most of the process I don’t find so tedious though, otherwise I wouldn’t be in the scene to begin with!

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it took me about half a year to release roughly 1/4 of my hack. so being very generous it’d take me 2 years, realistically probably 3 or even more - i won’t have as much time as i did in the future, and the current build still has barely any writing anyway, which is something i am struggling most with finding motivation and inspiration for.

map making is my favourite part of romhacking! like zmr said, it’s only as tedious as you make it to be. for example i find working with animations highly tedious work because i don’t enjoy it very much, but i know many, many others would say otherwise.

people can and have made hacks in a single week. that’s what the blitzes basically are, though that’s a group effort. technically speaking, with simple vanilla tileset maps, simple story, no custom graphics besides f2u stuff, and basic eventing, i’d wager you can probably finish some 20-chapter hack in a month.

i think polish is what turns a month’s worth of work into potentially years. speaking from experience, probably nearly half of the time i invested into my hack is spent on custom portraits/statscreen/other graphical stuff, reworking maps visually, making sure events look okay, playtesting, etc, and i only have one chapter’s worth of story to show for, and i still have more custom graphics i want to do down the line! i have not made a new map in months.

tl;dr depends really

i evented my town and prologue back to back and got extremely burnt out by the end of it lmfao

Started in 2009, still going :ok_hand:

Serious answer

I have made private 1-3 chapter hacks for some friends, and it takes me less than a week to complete them (Including making the script, maps, inserting music, events, etc.), a regular 25~30 chapter hack with a serious and cohesive story would take from 3 to 6 months (depending on how much time you invest per day) if you already have the assets, it would take the double or tripple if you have to make the assets.

The only reason my hack isn’t finished is because I’m a freaking perfectionist (and so are my partners) and it takes us an eternity to finish a single chapter due to several factors.

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We’re at about 4 and a half years now for Avenir, but we’re also a really big project with lotsa chapters, mechanics, etc. I think we knew from the start we’d take a while on the project.

With college being extra time-consuming and a having job, I know I have very little free time where I want to do something that feels productive, and I know Noguchi has little free time as well.

While individual chapters and playtesting those chapters takes a while (and really adds up over many chapters), I also think big blocks of time have gone to developing new mechanics (especially ones involving graphics) from the ground up. I don’t know how long it’ll take until we’re complete, but we’re not in a huge rush or anything except maybe for FEE3 oh god oh shit

I relate to this. I try and get anything I can do out of the way. It is fun tho, once it’s finished. More so once they’re implemented into your game.

My Lord basically is a pink and blue-violet custom Eirika.


How long it’s going to take depends on the scope of your project. If you’re going to use the same classes and mechanics as vanilla, and you’re going to have a simple story that just points the group to each successive battle, then it can probably be cranked out fairly quickly. The more you change things up, the more time it’s going to take, and like others have said, creating a more polished experience also adds to the time it’s going to take.

I’m working on my second hack right now, and I spent a good chunk of the weekend just importing stuff and editing values in order to implement the classes and items that I want to have in it. It’s been some time since I was at this stage, and I had honestly forgotten just how time consuming it can be. Part of it is just me being finicky and examining the available assets over and over again to settle on what I want, but even aside from that, changing up the classes means having to think about how they interact and affect game balance.

My first hack was released after about 26 months of work. Now I spend a lot longer on things like portraits where when I first started, I would crank out several basic splices in an afternoon (I’m honestly getting a little tired of portraits). Fine tuning graphics is what I consider the most tedious, which includes maps (mountain tiles are agents of the devil).

In general, to make a hack with a large scope, you have to brace yourself to put up with delayed gratification. You might have a really cool idea, but it will probably be quite a long time before you see it fully realized. I could hardly believe I had reached that stage when I started hitting milestones such as having the lords promote in my first hack.


Took me about 1.5 Years to get 3/4ths of the way through my hack, from when I started my first animation and portraits until right now.

Most of the time has been taken up by making battle animations and custom portraits, and I definitely could have finished it by now if I used F2U stuff. My personal pride and pettiness makes me want to do everything myself though since I know it will lead to a more respectable product in the end. Dealing with school and summer jobs gets in the way a little, but those are definitely bigger priorities.

I’m at 2.5+ years and counting and still have realistically a year or so before a full release. I go through pretty massive ebb and flow patterns in my progress due to both motivation and what’s going on in real life.

For example, I just moved 1,000 miles and have been helping run FEE3, so my free time where I’m game for the hacking grind has largely evaporated. But I wouldn’t be surprised if a month or so from now, I get inspired and start finding time to make good progress on the hack again.

Additionally, I’d say my standards and expertise have risen substantially since when I first started, so I’ve spent a great deal of time revising and remaking nearly all of my first year or so of work. For me, this can feel like I’m making “no progress” because I’m essentially doing work I’ve already done, but it’s worth it to better achieve your vision for the project.


Chiming in from the lower-effort gang, it took me about 9 months, but for my project, I used only F2U community assets, and the only things I did personally were (most of) the maps and writing stuff like the story and supports.

According to my git commit log I spent over a month just writing supports so from the non-artistic asset side of things I’m gonna say that’s one of the tedium heavy hitters.


Gosh, the sheer number of things that I’ve been absolutely chomping at the bit to execute that I know won’t be ready to start for at least a year… :sob:

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Vision Quest took me about 2.5 years of on and off work to get done, and then prob a few months after to do some revisions for the final update once the game was fully playable.

I had a lot of help with art, playtesting, and some custom tech, which helped reduce the burden a ton.

I took 6 months just writing supports too, so the game was technically playable and fully written in a little under 2 years.

I also would go through periods of intense work and build and write 3 chapters in a single day, or replay a chapter 10 times until I was fully satisfied. Other times I wouldn’t touch the hack for a month. It really varies. I tried to do it when I found it to be most fun for me.

My advice is come up with a process that works for you and stay organized. Momentum is key and doing something, even if small, very regularly, helps keep things going in a positive direction.


you either finish your project as an asm noob or you ascend to wizardry and spend all your time writing custom code


I’ve been working on mine for about two month’s.
and i’m about halfway there so it should be finished soon enough.(though most of that time was learning how to use FEbuilder, sooo…)

But yeah, that’s how long mine took.