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Hacking FAQ


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#1 Fire Blazer

Fire Blazer

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 09:42 PM

I was thinking, we need to have a hacking FAQ. This should answer all the standard questions people have like "how to add more units", "how to use nightmare", "how to change class and inventory and level", "how to change battle palette", "how to edit music", "how to load FEditor Adv", "how to edit text", etc...

There are quite a few topics at forums that already have these questions answered. This primarily means FES and FEU but also includes FEND and SF. We should just put the answers to those questions here and if somebody still asks the question we just kindly link them to the FAQ. Obviously we can't make an all-inclusive guide but we can cover a lot.

That being said I need some help with this, so... somebody who is good at organizing stuff.

HOW TO USE:

Have a question? You can read all the things here or just use ctrl+f (Find) and search up some key words related to what you're trying to get answered. For example, if you're trying to get started, try searching individual words like 'start', 'new', 'programs', or if you have a question about Mappy Map Editor, search 'mappy', or if it's about text editing, search 'text' or 'script'. Hopefully you get the idea.

CODE
[b]Question:[/b] *Insert Question Here*

[b]Answer:[/b] *Insert answer or link to topic here--preferably don't link to topics at FEU because you have to register to go there*


Regulations/Guidelines:

The idea is to follow the above format (very basic) and put a simple question that might be asked, especially questions that might be asked frequently and aren't too specific. For example, a question answering how to use a specific Nightmare module or what pointers are would probably be good, while a question that asks "what character is 0x23" or "why won't this script (insert EA script) work" is too specific.

By the way, I'm going to delete non-helpful posts that don't actually include questions & answers (any discussion of sorts). You can discuss something in a separate topic or via PM.

Also, people, you are free to update posts made by other people to make them better (just don't go crazy with changes). However do not write lengthy posts or write tutorials. If you want to cover a subject in detail, just make a topic in the Resources forum and then link to that topic. It's much more efficient. If there is already a tutorial on a subject, then that's all the better--just make a good question that somebody might ask and look for to accompany that tutorial. One tutorial might even answer multiple questions.

Lastly, when adding more questions & answers, please just update ONE of your posts. We don't want 10 members making 35 replies to the thread when they could just have 10 replies, one post per member. If you are making an update to a question that has already been covered, make a line/note in your post letting me know and I will just keep the most updated one.

Thank you, and have fun contributing!

-------------------

Question: Where should I get started hacking Fire Emblem games?

Answer: Link


Question: Who are the major contributors of utilities, programs, etc. used in Fire Emblem hacking?

Answer: For a list of many people, see here.


Question: I don't want to have to have the tutorial in my FE7 hack OR I want to be able to go straight to Lyn's Hard Mode, Eliwood's Mode, Hector's Mode, etc., how can I do this?

Answer: You can reprogram the game or use a savestate which has the game already completed such that you can choose which mode to play in. Link


Question: Where can I find existing patches of games and utility patches?

Answer: Link


Question: Where can I get started on finding out about more intricate aspects of hacking and/or look at documentation of hacking developments?

Answer: Google can help you a lot. You can find some documentation here.


Question: I've been looking all around the internet for the right programs and utilities... but I'm afraid of having outdated ones or not getting everything I need. Where can I get everything?

Answer: Almost everything you need to hack Fire Emblem, excluding ROMs (illegal; do not ask for them), can be found here, except Nightmare and its modules, which can be found here.


Question: What are the most commonly used patch formats?

Answer: They are IPS, UPS, and XDelta. UPS is probably used the most--I don't have evidence for it, but I've seen several people use it and haven't seen it as much as the other two. You can find more info about them by clicking on their names or downloading them here.


Question: How can I play the games?

Answer: Once the games are downloaded and extracted from a ZIP, RAR, or 7Z file (download WinRAR or 7zip to extract them) you should be able to play the games with an appropriate emulator.


Question: What is LZ77 compression/what do I need to know about it?

Answer: It is a common type of data compression used to help save space. Many graphics use it but it can also be used for non-graphical data as well. There are some varieties of LZ77 as well (LZ77-10, LZ77-11, etc.), programs that can deal with LZ77 compression can be found here.


Question: What are Huffman and RLE compressions?

Answer: Huffman is a compression used to compress text in GBAFEs. It can be used for other things though. RLE is a Run-Length-Encoder or something--it essentially compresses data by "scrunching together" a string of the same bytes. For example, is the byte "2C" came up 20 times in a row, it could scrunch those 20 bytes to maybe 2 bytes or something.


Question: How do I edit battle animations/insert custom sprites?

Answer: Use the format as described in the documentation of FEditor Adv and load a custom battle animation script using FEditor Adv's class animation creator/inserter.


Question: How do I make my own sprites?

Answer: This question is better fit for the spriting forum. Check there and people should be able to help you get started spriting. There are some tutorials to also help you get started. Some of it is intuitive and might take a little bit of talent though.


Question: How do I insert my portraits?

Answer: Once they are properly formatted as described by FEditor Adv and the image is 16 colors or less (you can use Usenti's (an image editor's) requantize feature to quickly decrease colors/get rid of unnecessary colors), use Feditor Adv's portrait editor to load the PNG or BMP and replace an existing portrait. You can use your mouse to move the mouth and eye frames to where they belong. Save as normal.


Question: Sappy 2006 won't work, it freezes when I try to load a ROM, what should I do?

Answer: This happens to most people. It is some flaw with the program. You don't need Sappy 2006 to insert music though, but if you still need to get it to work, try using another computer (windows XP is preferable). You may just want to try Sappy 2005 or Sappy 1.6.


Question: How do I insert custom music?

Answer: Obtain a MIDI, download the necessary programs, and follow a music insertion tutorial. The most elaborate one (with pictures) can be found here.


Question: How can I import music from one game to another?

Answer: Shadow of Chaos wrote a tutorial here.


Question: Where can I find music lists to know which song is which?

Answer: Link


Question: What program do you recommend for me to edit MIDIs to change the instruments, volume, truncate it, or anything else?

Answer: Anvil Studio is one of the best, most used programs for MIDI editing. It is very good and I recommend it.


Question: What the heck is TSA and/or what does it stand for?

Answer: The meaning of TSA is lost but people speculate it stands for "Tile Sortment Arrangement" or some other combination of words relating to tile arrangement and arrays and stuff. It is also called "map data" because it maps out an image (but doesn't provide the actual graphics). TSA can be used to make a small bunch of tiles actually make a picture. When viewing graphics in a program like GBA Graphics Editor, images may appear jumbled. TSA/map data helps make everything look right in-game.


Question: Where can I learn more about TSA and learn how to edit it?

Answer: There aren't a lot of tutorials or good guides, but this tutorial by Ryrumeli is one of the better ones.


Question: How can I insert a custom map into my game?

Answer: Using Mappy Map Editor and Fire Emblem tilesets, make your map. When done, make sure it is saved as an FMP. Then export it as a .MAR. Use the MAR Array Inserter to insert it to free space and then use the Event Reference Table Editor to repoint the old map to the new map. I suggest looking at a tutorial for more of an elaboration.


Question: How big can a map be?

Answer: The limits aren't completely set but a couple general ideas can be found here.


Question: I have some hack ideas. Where can I post them to share them and maybe get some critique or thoughts or new ideas?

Answer: This topic.


Question: I have a mac (macintosh), some apple computer, some other operating software... Is there some way I can still hack since I can't run windows programs?

Answer: Although you will have some limitations, some programs are (supposed to be) compatible with other operating softwares as long as you have Java and Mono installed (and possibly other things for other programs. See this topic for some more information.


Question: I have a MAR file of a map. Is there some way I can turn it into a .FMP file?

Answer: No easy way, no. You could try inserting that MAR into a Fire Emblem game (if it is compatible with Fire Emblem) and then taking screenshots to get the image of the map. The image of the map can then be used in a conversion using FE-Mappy Converter by BwdYeti. If you already have a screenshot of the map though, just start with FE-Mappy Converter instead of going through the process to get a screenshot.

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Signature thanks to Shu.


#2 Zeldaicflame

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 06:44 AM

I'll gladly help.

Here is a few.

Question: What programs can I use to edit text?

Answer: FEditor Adv is the best program. It supports all GBAFEs. The Text Editing Suites are a much older and not-as-good method to edit text, but they can still be used. However, the two programs cannot be used together.

Question: How do I use FEditor Adv to edit text?

Answer: This is actually quite simple. Download FEditor Adv if you do not already have it and load your ROM. Click Tools-> Text Editor. From here search for the text you wish to edit (the first line is usually enough). Alternatively, if you know the text index of a certain text, you can type that in. Once you find the text you want to edit, simply type whatever you want to replace the existing text. Hitting the 'enter' or 'return' button on your keyboard is recognized as a new line in the game. [A] is for the blue arrow which requires pressing the 'A' button to continue the text and [X] ends a text entry. For more codes, look at existing text or FEditor Adv's doc.


Question: How do I know where to find certain text and edit them?

Answer: This is done using FEditor's Text Editor, like all other text. You can often find the text indexes of things in Nightmare Modules. For example, the Character Editor has an entry that says "Character Name" and a text index, AKA text pointer. If you type this into FEditor Adv's text editor you can go straight to the text you want to edit.


Question: How do I change battle sprite palettes?

Answer:
Link here: http://forums.feshri...?showtopic=3073

Link to video tutorial:
Part 1.
Part 2.


Question: How do I add units to a Chapter?

Answer: There are mainly two ways to accomplish this. Many people use the Event Assembler to create custom events and, along with that, make a totally new set of units for the chapter.

Alternatively, there is a tutorial on doing this without the Event Assembler, which you can find here: Mercenary's Guide

(Posts fixed-up and updated by Blazer)

#3 Fire Blazer

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 01:33 AM

I added a question to my post regarding maps. It is at the end of the post. Arch's Chapter Construction tutorial covers map editing a little bit. The outdated/old FE Ultimate Tutorial had a chapter on map hacking, I think, but I can't be sure. See for yourself.

Btw, discussion posts will be deleted within two days of their posting.

UPDATE: Added more questions to my original posts in light of a recent lack of activity.

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#4 Fire Blazer

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 06:39 PM

Blazer's Hacking FAQ Additions Part 2

(It deserves its own post)

Question: Where can I find a list/directory/archive of patches/projects/hacks?

Answer: Link


Question: There isn't a guide or tutorial for something... help?

Answer: You can request or ask for or suggest a guide or tutorial here.


Question: I want to have a custom triangle attack, not just pegasus knights but other units, or I want to have the armor knight triangle in my hack, is there any info on this?

Answer: Link


Question: Is there an easier way to edit battle palettes?

Answer: Relevant link


Question: I want to edit the battle template/battle layout in FE8, are there some notes or anything on this?

Answer: Link


Question: I have a creative hack idea/suggestion, can I post it somewhere for critique (or some other reason)?

Answer: Link


Question: How do I add more enemy units to a chapter?

Answer: Link


Question: How do I add ally, enemy, or NPC reinforcements/reinforcement units to a chapter?

Answer: You'll need to use the Event Assembler and make a turn event that loads units. See a tutorial on the Event Assembler for more details.


Question: I am trying to convert an item into a weapon, like pure water into a sword, is this possible?

Answer: Relevant link


Question: Alright I got a question here. I want to move the shop and armory data from chapter 10 to chapter 9? The map is still in progress but since chapter 10 will be a castle map I didn't want to shops to go to waste.

Answer: That will require custom events meaning if you do that you will also have to hack the events either directly in hex or using Nintenlord's EA... sorry D:



Question: Where are the FE8 battle screen graphics?

Answer: Offset: 0x5B65C0. Relevant information can be found here.


Question: Is there a way to hack the turn limit for a gaiden?

Answer: Yes. You either need to disassemble the events and locate the turn condition event and edit the turn #, or do the above but edit the events in hex instead of using the Event Assembler.


Question: Are there any notes on DS music editing, mainly for DS Fire Emblem games?

Answer: Link


Question: How can I expand the class table in FE7 (or any other tables)?

Answer: Relevant link


Question: Is it possible to create multiple tiers of promotion in the GBA games?

Answer: Yes, just use the class editor to create a chain of promotions and edit the promotion items to include the new classes.


Question: Is there a size limit to patches?

Answer: Yes, 32MB, although there'd be no reason to have such a large patch (and such a patch would contain the entire ROM anyway, so... it'd have to be a homebrew game to have a 32MB patch).

Err, confusing crap aside, your patch probably shouldn't be bigger than 16MB, but in any case, you'll have more than enough space to hack Fire Emblem...


Question: How can I split physical weapons and magic weapons and are there any notes on the subject?

Answer: Relevant link


Question: How do I edit staff experience gain?

Answer: Link


Question: When I change a class the colors get messed up and weird and the battle palette gets screwed, how can I fix this?

Answer: Link


Question: Where can I find other tutorials besides/outside of the Fire Emblem community, like guides to hack other GBA games or general stuff?

Answer: Link


Question: When I make a new class the map sprite is weird and the overworld moving and standing ones are different, what do I do?

Answer: Link


Question: I'm having trouble recoloring battle animations, help please?

Answer: Link


Question: Where is empty space in the GBA games? What space is used by FEditor's autopatch system?

Answer: ~~ FE 6 ~~

0x002DBF50 to 0x002DBF8C - used by auto patching system

0x00817A00 to 0x00A00000 - confirmed

0x00A297B0 to 0x00B00000 - confirmed

0x00B013F0 to 0x01000000 - confirmed

~~ FE 7 ~~

0x000CB51A to 0x000CB910 - used by auto patching system

0x00D00000 to 0x00E00000 - confirmed

~~ FE 8 ~~

0x00464400 to 0x00464470 - used by auto patching system

0x00B2A610 to 0x00C00000 - confirmed


Question: How do I open FEditor Adv?

Answer: Link


Question: My changes in Nightmare (original) won't save, how do I save?

Answer: Hit enter after every change to a slot in a module, and ctrl+s when you are done making all your changes.


Question: How do I save with the FEditor Adv text editor?

Answer: Hit "apply" after making changes to a text slot, and then save the ROM after all text changes are done.


Question: How do I ban a character from the battle prepartions/preps so they can't be used or selected (aren't selectable)?

Answer: Use Nintenlord's character banner patch in Nintenlord's hacking utilities topic (google it).


Question: When the chapter loads it just freezes even though the Event Assembler said my events didn't have any errors.

Answer: Check the battle preparation settings. If they are on, the game loads the opening event BEFORE the battle preps, and any events on turn 1 AFTER the events. If they are off, you may need to turn them on to work right.


Question: After the battle preps are done in my custom chapter, the screen is kind of black and weird, how do I fix this?

Answer: You may need a special code to get rid of this black thing after the battle preps have ended. Make an event on turn 1 and at the beginning put "CODE 0x0C 0x00 0x00 0x00" to fix this.


Question: Is there a way to export spell animations and import them into another GBA FE game?

Answer: No. Relevant link.


Question: How do I edit script/text?

Answer: FEditor Adv or the Text Editing Suites.


Question: What program/application is used to create or animate Custom Battle Sprites/Portraits?

Answer: FEditor Adv.


Question: Can you import a tileset from one game to another?

Answer: Probably, but it hasn't really been done before and there isn't much information on it (as of now).


Question: Can you use a snow tileset in FE8?

Answer: Yeah, it's already in there. This video has some pertinent information.


Question: How do I get rid of the Nightmare error "an unnamed file was not found"?

Answer: You may have your ROM opened in multiple places. You have to close out of the other places and just have it opened in one place. Also, you may be trying to load a file that has moved or doesn't exist anymore. If you have modules linked to a ROM and the modules have been renamed or moved, this could also result in this problem (in which case you have to reload the modules and re-link them).


Question: How can you tell how many colors (number # of colors) are in a portrait or sprite?

Answer: Use Usenti or another program and it will usually tell in a palette editor.


Question: Is there a patch to fix the background music kill (BGM-kill) effect of the Exxacus sword spell and other magic animations?

Answer: Link with patches for download

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