I Need Help Creating a GBA ROM Hack!

Hello Everyone!

My name is Joey and I’m looking to create an FE7 GBA ROM hack. I know of FEditor and Nightmare, but I am having trouble using it because I’m trying to create it from a MAC laptop. Would anyone here know what software to use to create a hack despite this? Any information would be highly appreciated! Thank you very much!

  • Joey

use febuilder + wine and hack fe8 instead


To add here, FEBuilder is as close to an “all in one” software you can use to get into making a hack. It’ll be easier to use than Nightmare/FEditor as well. FE8 is now considered easier to hack and is the primary GBA ROM used today for hacking. Would recommend you try that instead of FE7 if this is your first rodeo.

Here’s the FEBuilder thread: FE_Builder_GBA

I’d recommend you also join the discord server since there’s a help channel there and usually active discussion, so you can get answers quickly when you find yourself stuck.

Good luck!


Thank you so much for your fast reply! I will take this into consideration as I work in this project.

Where can I find the discord server?

  • Joey
1 Like

Anytime - check out this link. The invite is in the first post. Tested and you should be redirected there: FEU Discord Server


To add onto everything already said, Nightmare and FEditor shouldn’t be used since Nightmare can’t do everything, so you need to open FEditor, and FEditor is widely known for breaking stuff and generally being a shit.

The two methods of hacking used now are FEBuilder and buildfiles.
FEBuilder is basically if you put Nightmare, FEditor, and everything else you need to hack into one app. You want to insert music? FEBuilder can do that. You want to insert portraits? FEBuilder can also do that? You want to write events for a chapter? FEBuilder can also do that. And, unlike FEditor, it probably(and by probably I mean 99.9% of the time) won’t eat your rom.

Good tutorials to learn how to use it are Shindad’s(or shin19 i dunno which username they prefer) FEBuilder primer as a way to familiarize yourself with the basic parts of hacking and Markyjoe’s Creating Chapters in FEBuilderGBA video tutorial which explains how to do a more advanced part of hacking, events, which basically control what happens in a chapter, like text and where units are loaded/move to during cutscenes.

Buildfiles work differently to FEBuilder and FEditor/Nightmare. I honestly don’t really know myself how to explain it(because I myself am a noob) but there is a tutorial for it that can probably explain it better. Generally this is less newcomer-friendly than FEBuilder, but ultimately it is better for more advanced projects as you get better at hacking.

There are also a few other applications you might need for hacking. Usenti is great for making portraits do to its grid and requantize so you don’t use too many colors, while Tiled is great for making maps(Edit: I forgot FEBuilder has a mapmaker built in that works just as well as Tiled), and Event Assembler is a must have for hacking in general. I think all these programs can be used on mac through wine?
Any other programs you might ever need for hacking can be found in The Ultimate FEGBA Resouce Repo.

There are also quite a few other good tutorials-Blazer’s original Ultimate Tutorial is great for the basics of hacking, even if the methods used are outdated by now, Markyjoe’s Tiled tutorial shows how to use Tiled, while Pikmin1211’s guide to map design is great to show what a good map should be like, Toaomr’s spriting tutorial shows how to make a decent portrait without needing to actually art too much. There are countless other good tutorials you can find on the Tutorials category here on FEU.

While FE7 can still be used as a base, most stuff right now is being developed for FE8, making FE8 generally better. That said as long as you aren’t hacking FE6(and you aren’t Onmi) you should be fine.

Finally, it’s generally good to try and search both FEU and google if you run into any problems. If you have a problem, there’s a good chance someone else ran into the same problem or made a tutorial to solve that problem.

Good luck on your hack!


Oh my glob thank you so much for this information! With all this information in mind, this project is starting to become more real. Thank you for your input!

  • Joey
1 Like

My experience from last fall is that FEBuilder experiences several glitches and issues when used with wine. Just about any program you’ll get recommended by another user is an .exe meaning you’ll be using wine and all the issues that come with that. For example, I could change character stats and names just fine, but map making was incredibly frustrating and the program would crash about every 30 minutes. So although FEBuilder + Wine allowed me to lay some of the groundwork for my hack, most of my real progress has been done after I switched to using a windows desktop.

Also, hacking Fe 8 may be easier, (I’m doing FE 7 myself), just don’t get roped into using the skill system or some other ASM thing if you don’t want to. Generally speaking, hacking projects which add features that were not originally in the game are far more prone to crash and have a plethora of issues than hacks which stick with the what’s already programed into the game. (Example: Renaming weapons and creating a new class = good, creating blue magic which can only be learned from monsters and a capture mechanic = bad) Fe 7 is a little more purist in that regard.

I hope you can find what you need to get yourself started & don’t get too overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, the people here are very nice and informative, and be sure to use that search bar in the top right, it’ll help a lot.

A Fellow Mac User.


Or you could report specific ASM issues you find so the people who work for free can fix bugs instead of making a sweeping generalization.


My hack has ~50 engine modifications in it, including very major stuff like skill system (which contains the modular stat screen, AI and item range fixes, etc), expanded modular save, modular minimug box, HP bars, so on and so forth.

Want to know how many times I’ve had it ‘crash’ due to this? Zero. Every time I hear the screech of death, it’s inevitably my own fault (overwrote part of a table, imported a bad animation, forgot to PUSH/POP around an ORG, etc). Or it’s because I installed conflicting hacks. Which is definitely a reason to be careful and not add lot of stuff simultaneously.

Now, I have had issues with this stuff. And they were quickly resolved, because I did what Snakey1 just said - contacted the authors and they fixed them. People are generally more than happy to make sure their shit is working properly.

Don’t get scared off installing engine modifications(‘asm hacks’) if it’d benefit your hack.