Skill System Is Absolute Garbage For New Hackers

I was talking with the main person behind a ROM hacking project I will not name, and I feel like I’d be remise if I didn’t say this.

Obviously, there are more than 255 skills in the skill system now. This is a problem as based off the current core skill infastructure, only the max value of a 1 byte int can be reached, which is 255.

I feel like kind of a dick for saying this, but, did you guys really think that you’d never reach 255 skills? Would it have killed to have made it a 2 byte integer just in case. There is literally zero chance someone has 65355 skills in a ROM.

As such, it makes the skill system unnecessarily hard to work with now. Especially for new hackers who would rather use FEBuilder.

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No need to be so inflammatory.

You have to consider that the skill system wasn’t built specifically w/ FEBuilder in mind. 7743 goes out of their way to ensure FEBuilder uses can use the system at all and update w/ minimal issues.

The folks behind skillsys and others are generally happy to help if you have questions on how you can do X w/ skillsys or find workarounds to issues.

Everyone involved is doing this for free - 7743 and many others go above and beyond to provide support. Why make this post?

Saying the tech “is garbage” isn’t helpful.


It should be mentioned that, not only was the skill system not built with FEBuilder in mind, FEBuilder literally did not exist when the skill system was created.

Using the original buildfile, you can swap out skills with relative ease. FEBuilder’s implementation of “custom build” is meant to replicate this, but seeing as that’s basically just using a buildfile with extra steps, it might be difficult for new hackers to use.


Skillsystem and buildfiles predate Builder’s rise in popularity. Admonishing them for not catering to a tool that was never meant to be used in conjunction with Skillsys (and only functions right now because 7743 is an incredibly dedicated individual who has not given up on the task of smashing a square peg into a round hole) is laughably entitled.


For a purely technical explanation for why skill allocations are the way they are…

Learned skills are kept in useless BWL (Battle Win Loss) data and there’s only four bytes that can be replaced without getting rid of the stuff most people care about. If shorts were used, we’d only get half the skills.

The skill system has always been designed with easily swapping out skills from EngineHacks/SkillSystem/skill_definitions.event in mind, so if you use buildfiles, which is originally intended method of using the Skill system, you won’t have much trouble swapping things around as you very likely won’t ever need more than 255 skills present in the ROM at once.

Now for my personal take, I really don’t see the point in complaining about how the current system doesn’t support 65535 skills. It should be enough that the system exists to begin with and it’s being currently maintained. It’s also very kind of 7743 to help work on it and make a version for FEBuilder to use even though he doesn’t use the system himself.


if you don’t like it, then make it 2 bytes per skill yourself. It isn’t even that hard. Though passive item / equippable item skills would be tougher. Ram is quite limited, so it doesn’t make sense as the default.

I don’t see why any hack should really need more than 255 skills. Custom build is very easy, too.


curse you, skill system developers! if only you’d pressed the right button, these hapless modders would be free of this torment, of deciding which 255 skills are the most worthy! how dare you not think of the poor febuilder users from the outset!


I don’t know why everyone is missing the point of your post. Compatibility with FEB isn’t the point. What 7743 has done is the work of a saint, and the level of accessibility now is extremely impressive.

But SkillSystems remains a finicky yet centralizing tool in any project that has it. Yet, its proven itself a pain to work with and doubtlessly caused many headaches for anyone dealing with matters of compatibility.

I’m appreciative for all these people attempting to give an answer, but “it’s fine” is not recognizing that buildfiles are not particularly accessible, what with the tutorial being as outdated as anything else. Of course no one (except for me) will use more than 250 skills, but it’s still a reasonable number at the higher end. The problem is how difficult it is to swap skills out when it could be significantly easier. As in, not a necessary step at all.

did you completely ignore contro’s post which had technical reasons for why they picked 255 in the first place


You literally just download a zipped folder, extract, swap some IDs in root/enginehacks/skilldefinitions.event and install

It is incredibly easy so idk what you are on about


Open Skill Custom Build in the Advanced Editors menu and click on the link in there to download a skillsystem build that you can edit yourself.

I read it, it’s a good one.

do most hackers even care if the skill is either 1 byte or 2 bytes tbh

as long as it sticks, we’ll use it
and like contro said, we won’t reach 255 skills… not counting people who does personal skills on each unit
but by then, they’ll know which skill to skim out

edit: this feels like my final project where i literally have to find problems that don’t exist


What is the point of this thread? Is the objective to suggest an improvement or to complain? If you have constructive suggestions for skill system, then posting a needlessly inflammatory thread is not the way to go about it. While skill system is not perfect, it is not by any stretch of the imagination “absolute garbage for new hackers” and its maintainers do a fantastic job of fixing bugs and helping users resolve issues.

You should feel like a dick for saying this. Next time consider asking why things are done the way they are before jumping to conclusions.


Unfortunately, I think the “could be” in this instance is “use custom build or a buildfile.” While it can be frustrating to work around the limitations, especially when you want to make changes after having already made a lot of prior progress, the fact that the skillsystem works at all in builder is already an impressive enough feat.

There are people actively working with rectifying this; the FE hacking scene has grown very large very quickly relative to where it used to be, and as a result there are elements of the scene that have fallen behind the demand for easier, better, more. There are people who will help teach buildfiles now, as well, if you can’t wait for those guides to be completed.

The builder SkillSystem, perhaps, which is already, as was said before, 7743 putting in a ton of work to make it work with builder despite the fact that they aren’t really all that compatible in the first place and allowing hackers to have access to the tool. SkillSystem as it was intended has allowed hacks to do things that would have been more or less impossible for the vast majority of creators, and even in its builder form is still a very powerful tool that has allowed for a lot of very creative and innovative games.

New hackers using Builder already have a ton of limitations placed upon them by the tool, made up for by the fact that 95% of these new hackers would never reach the competency level to feel their absence were the tool to not exist. With the way you frame the post, it reads uncharitably as a “why can’t I, as a builder user, have the benefits of buildfiles without having to use them?” and then laying that complaint at the feet of the SkillSystem devs, which is unfair to both their team and 7743 : /

Do you have a particular solution to the problem beyond buildfiles being made easier to learn or SkillSystem being reworked from the ground up to be more builder friendly? The former is already something people are putting energy into doing, and the latter is just a non-starter, so I find myself confused as to what the goal is with creating an entire thread about this. I can understand being frustrated – I, myself, have also had to make gameplay concessions due to my choice to use builder and my unwillingness to port to buildfiles, but I also know that this is a choice I’ve made. Plenty of people learn buildfiles, or start with them without any prior builder experience, and learn the ropes well enough with the educational tools we already have – if you don’t want to make use of them, that’s well within your rights of course, but why then make a public post complaining about the limitations therein?

Sorry if this thread is coming across as a dogpile, but even you were aware that it’s kind of rude in the first place, so… maybe it was worth taking a moment to consider whether or not this thread was worth making in the first place if you already “felt like a dick for saying this,” because, as bpat so rightfully pointed out, it makes you look like one.


You have misinterpreted every single one of my points despite my feeling I was quite clear at every moment. This isn’t about FEBuilder at all, it’s just plain accessibility and optimization, and having to ask a wizard a question every time there’s confusion is surely annoying. That tutorial needs updating and bothering someone more experienced is a reasonable solution for specific instances but not a bandaid fix.

If you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them. The skillsys github is accessible for anyone to contribute to, as well as encouraged.


For the first 12-14 years that I was in the hacking community, ie since the very beginning, there never was any way to add cool skills to romhacks. Not only that, but for a great many years, we English modders had to froth at the mouth and beat our chests like gorillas in envy of the amazing ASM the Japanese romhacking communities always seemed to have.

Even as far back as 2008 or 2010, there were Japanese romhacks of FE8 that had cool skill systems. I remember thinking the English community would always be lightyears behind them.

Then, in 2015 or 2016, there was a big concerted effort by a lot of people to ascend to the realm of wizards by learning the ways of the ASM. For years, the dichotomy had always been:

English hackers: Better graphics, better tools, better eventing, more well-rounded hacks overall, but little to no ASM.
Japanese hackers: Shittier splices (if not outright stolen graphics from the EN community), worse tools except the ones they took from the EN community, reskin hacks, but far better ASM and cooler custom stuff.

(Just look at Midori and some of those other older hacks.)

But now, it’s the modern era. Now we actually have the option of using a skill system, something which just six years ago I thought we’d never have. It’s quite robust, if imperfect. It’s configurable. Anyone can code skills for it.

As for why it only has 255 skills, I don’t know the technical limitations, but what I do know is that it’s a miracle we even have it, let alone that it’s as good as it is. Getting the skill system working properly, especially in FEB, is nothing short of divine providence.

So I’m thankful to people like Circles and Colors and Sme who keep it maintained. Maybe in time they’ll work out all those annoying kinks, and even if they don’t, well… there’s always Tactile and LT!


FEBuilder is mentioned in the first place because it’s the most accessible tool and most people will definitely use it, so those things will almost always tied to each other

well tell this friend of yours to actually help us fixing/making a better tutorial then! instead of making this stupid thread that goes nowhere


I feel like chastising the people who made a communal effort to bring variety for anyone’s project for free is a real dick move.

I should know, I’m familiar with the whole doing a dick move thing.

Have you considered building a bridge? It would help you get over it.