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Hiya!

I'm Zane. You might know me from my FE5 Menu Translation. Although work on the menu translation has essentially ceased, I've been steadily working on a project that uses it as its base. So, I'd like to introduce Emblem Chronicle VII (henceforth called ECVII):

 

ECVII is essentially a demake of FE7 within FE5. It's a proof-of-concept, learning tool, and showcase all in one. I'm currently planning on making all of Hector mode, skipping Lyn mode. This release has two chapters.

This isn't 1-to-1, however. I'm not looking to write Elibe fanfiction, but this won't ever be a cut/paste job from 7 to 5. Classes, enemies, maps, and dialogue, along with some other things, will likely be changed.

Unit stats, skills, and classes are not final. This is partially due to the WIP nature of the hack, but is mainly just me figuring out how to play with FE5.

Have some screenshots:

Spoiler

89b9815358.png

Here's a patch:

ECVII [12-1-17]

This is for an unheadered, unedited FE5 ROM.

I'm not responsible for anything past chapter 2. Please don't ask me why it's vanilla. I'd also like to reiterate that essentially none of this is final--if you have a suggestion, I'd like to hear it. If you've got a complaint about stats/levels, be thankful that they'll be getting smoothed out later.

I'd like to thank everyone involved--I certainly couldn't do it without you:
 

Spoiler

The end of the current patch has a credits list, but a short version is:
Project artists: eise, L95, 2WB, blueeyedman24, flingleforp, Glacoe, Kabby, Tsushi, Blaze, Monkeybard
Tools, resources, help: bookofholsety, StanH, Smilies
Doc, NMMs, other things: Lamia, j2e, Pukachi, DarkTwilkitri

Love, support, feedback, and ideas: everyone over at FEU and the ECVII Discord


There are plenty of bugs in the current build. If you find one not listed here, let me know.
 

Spoiler

The title cinematic will crash the game if allowed to run for too long.
Item descriptions are too large for the shops.
Hammering 'Start' during the Chp1 cutscene may spawn additional allied units.
Some windows have their background colors cut off.
The EXP gain window lacks a background.
Enemies without items may flee the map from strange locations.

 

I'll probably be releasing more tools, doc, and whatnot sometime soon.
More info, plans, and screenshots are likely to be appended to this post shortly.

 

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Rebecca having Paragon has made me feel a certain kind of happy I haven't felt in a very long time.

Seriously though, I'm really looking forward to more from this project. FE5 ROM hacking is barren right now, so anything will be welcome, and it helps that this looks so damn quality. You have my support, Zane, for sure. (  ' v')b

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Cool! I hope @Mage Knight 404 will cover this on his channel for FE E3 2017. Oh wait, he's already here? Well how about that.

This is a really neat idea. It'll be weird to see Ninian do more than just one twirl and bow. Now she'll actually dance.

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This looks awesome. Not enough FE5 hacking out there, but this looks pretty neat. Could you potentially explain which FE5 mechanics are being altered for this (are you keeping in 1-99 HIT etc.)?

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I'm not interested in changing many mechanics. 1-99 hitrates, 1RN, staves missing, and a lot of other FE5 mechanics are here to stay, at least with current plans. If I decide to make any large mechanical changes in the future there'll definitely be some kind of warning.

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Matt's portrait was made by eise. Here's a list of portrait artists, which can also be seen after finishing the current patch:

 

Spoiler

Matthew portrait - eise/Glacoe
Oswin portrait - eise
Wire portrait - eise
Lowen portrait - eise
Rebecca portrait - eise/L95
Farina portrait - eise
Eliwood portrait - Glacoe
Marcus portrait - Glacoe
Guy portrait - Glacoe
Jaffar portrait - Glacoe
Uther portrait - Blaze
Pent portrait - Blaze
Harken portrait - Tsushi
Serra portrait - Kabby
Zagan portrait - 2WB/Smilies
Bartre portrait - flingleforp
Merlinus portrait - flingleforp
Lucius portrait - flingleforp
Legault portrait - blueeyedman24
Elbert portrait - L95
Ephidel portraits - L95
Erk portrait - L95
Florina portrait - L95
Fargus portrait - L95
Canas portrait - L95
Limstella portrait - L95
Ninian portraits - L95
Nils portraits - L95
Hannah portrait - L95
Teodor portrait - L95
Lyon portrait - L95
Nergal portrait - L95
Zoldam portrait - L95
Kenneth portraits - L95
Hector portrait - Zane/Glacoe
Dorcas portrait - Zane
Soldier portrait - Zane

 

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I really enjoyed this. The concept alone is what got me interested, it's a genuinely neat idea and the hack itself was good fun. I can't wait to see more, keep up the good work!

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So does the current patch go up to ch. 2, or did I read that wrong? Regardless, i'm gonna have to give this a try later.

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Wow that's actually pretty cool ! I'd love to see this game fully remastered with Thracia's engine. There's some balancing issues and some portraits were not very good looking but I trust you to fix that

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I have not extracted or edited battle sprites yet, but they are compressed graphics cut into pieces with some kind of frame data that determines their placement.

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57 minutes ago, Zane Avernathy said:

I have not extracted or edited battle sprites yet, but they are compressed graphics cut into pieces with some kind of frame data that determines their placement.

Then how can you get map sprites? What's the difference between them

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So everything after ch.2 is vanilla? Are the characters still vanilla or is it just the maps?

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6 hours ago, xiaohong said:

Then how can you get map sprites? What's the difference between them

For an explanation of how I went about extracting the map sprites, see here. I don't know anything about the battle animations.

2 hours ago, Tuvy2 said:

So everything after ch.2 is vanilla? Are the characters still vanilla or is it just the maps?

I don't see why this matters. Besides, it shouldn't take you long to check yourself, if you wanted to.

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Hi bro thank you very much for your hard work its very amazing havk please when is the next update ???

I have been waiting for some fe5 hack for years ://///

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Hacking is a hobby. Like all hobbies, there are a few basic principles to it:

Spoiler
  1. It's done for enjoyment. Unless you manage to turn your hobby into a job (congratulations on making money for doing what you love, if so), hacking should be interesting to you. Every few weeks, a very wise friend of mine asks if I'm still enjoying what I do. Sometimes I realize that whatever I'm working on just doesn't interest me at the time and I put it down in favor of something else. ECVII is essentially a side project that makes up a part of hacking as a hobby to me. I chose to showcase my work in the form of a demake because I'm simply not interested in hacking as a means to tell my own story. I hack because I enjoy using my own skill and ingenuity to discover things that few people, if anyone, know.
  2. It's done in an individual's spare time. I spend more of my free time messing with FE5 than doing anything else. Most of that goes into ECVII indirectly. Documenting routines, locations of things within the game, structures of tables, graphics, and other fun/complicated stuff allows me to implement things in ECVII.
  3. An individual has no obligation to finish anything involving their hobbies. If you think it's disappointing for you to not have a release to play, you can't imagine how hard it is for the person who missed their own deadline. Life comes up, snags are reached, enthusiasm dies. On top of that, you get people whining to you that you didn't put the effort in. The rest of this post should clarify, at least a little bit, how much effort goes into this.

 

A large part of my work with ECVII has been tackling the tedious. I've redone nearly everything in the hack at least twice now, creating and updating tools and methods. Unlike modern GBAFE hackers (not to bash them, however), I simply don't have multiple text insertion methods, fancy editors, or a documented event standard library unless I write them myself.

So I did.

A lot of the tools I've written are currently unpublished due to their rather amateurish state. I do plan on releasing them, too, but there's still a lot of iterations to come. I think that the best hackers are the ones who actively release documentation and tools for the betterment of other hackers, which is why I strive to post as much information I can.

Here are some examples:

So, surely all of this information helps me work on ECVII, right? Let's talk about some progress I've made.

A huge amount of effort has went into a portrait formatting tool that automatically converts portraits from a human-readable hackbox state into a compressed 4bpp SNES image, palette(s), and table entries.

Here are the portraits we currently have now:

Spoiler

Playable.png.7f1df66ec799daef87b89240d8786bdf.pngBoss.png.4b04382aae700addd77dd5c64f689756.png

Other.png.9791516dad596744ee5f9bbc678a5a35.png

 

Huge amounts of cleaning files and transferring individual tables and routines into their own files, along with some organizational tools and macros to keep things fairly drag-and-drop.

I've started transitioning menu elements to a prerendered variable-width font. It's not without its issues, however (possibly more on that later).

ECVII-20180517-101508.png.3064f355e1a7256aa9be689d70dd21b7.png

Events have been partially redone with changes to my fe5stdlib. The library currently has most of the vanilla codes documented. Events also are utilizing much more sensible encoding definitions. I've figured out quite a bit of FE5's text control codes, too.

Spoiler
wire_vs_hector
    .text "[TextFont]"
    .text "[LoadRight][Hector]"
    .text "[LoadLeft][Wire]"
    .text "[TargetRight]"
    .text "You're not Marquess Laus' assassins,[N]"
    .text "are you? You're too good. Too professional.[N]"
    .text "Nothing like those idiots over there.[A][ScrollText]"
    .text "[TargetLeft]"
    .text "You've no need to know, [.]little Lord Hector.[N]"
    .text "A fool like you, [.]sneaking out of the country[N]"
    .text "alone. You'll go missing, [.]never to return.[A][N]"
    .text "Your body will never be found.[N]"
    .text "Tidy story, [.]eh? [.]Ha [.]ha...[A][ScrollText]"
    .text "[TargetRight]"
    .text "Tsk tsk... [...][N]"
    .text "Looks like your luck's run out.[A][ScrollText]"
    .text "[TargetLeft]"
    .text "Our luck, what are you..."
    .text "[TargetRight]"
    .text "You see, [.]I'm about as angry as I've[N]"
    .text "ever been. I doubt that even a[N]"
    .text "dozen of you could slow me down.[A][N]"
    .text "Prepare to die![A][ED]"

 

Up next is maps. I've written a map converter based on circleseverywhere's tmx2ea and have maps for chapters 11-17, 19-20, missing Port of Badon because of a current lack of a proper ship tileset. (Did you know that water tile animations take up $10000 bytes in the ROM?)

Spoiler

13x.png.9ad19edfc0a4b0759eb615050b3d9653.png
14.png.ccca49d21984c5cbb40ac1e68b2296a0.png

20.png.1f5418590cf2c45f6b255a711a509a90.png

I mentioned before about using images for menu text. There are some huge issues with that, including but not limited to:

Spoiler
  1. Limited amounts of freespace in the ROM. I spend a lot of time looking for replaceable things, like vanilla events, dialogue, and graphics so that I may fit a GBA-sized game into an SNES-sized ROM. Some hacks and translations (such as Project Naga for FE4 or ChimeraHardline's FE5 work) expand their games from their original cartridge sizes. This creates the issue of possibly needing external ROM mapping information and the potential to not work with certain emulators or even on hardware. I don't ever want to have to pull "emulator magic" to have a runnable hack.
  2. FE5 wasn't designed for English text, let alone individual images for each piece of text. Without being extremely careful, things like screen flickering or image flickering will occur, along with other issues. The SNES can only copy so much information to VRAM every frame and things get ugly if too much is happening. There's no guarantee that I can even write all of the images at convenient times.
  3. A lot of the time there just isn't room in VRAM or rejiggling the content of VRAM is tedious or impractical. A good example is ChimeraHardline having to change some of the preparation menu's functionality to fit all of the allied unit names in VRAM at once.

There's so much more I could talk about, from the multiple things I've found in the game that nearly nobody knows about to the dozens upon dozens of routines I've written to get anything at all done, but I feel like I'm rambling on at this point.

Here's your tl;dr:

If you knew just a smidgen of the amount of work that goes into any hack, especially one for a game without an active community, established tools, or doc, you wouldn't make low-effort comments toward people who spend their time creating hacks.

Be patient and understand that this is something I do for fun.

 

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Great job up there, good luck with your hack.(Just hope it won't be as hard as Vanilla Fe5 which I think it's impossible to do a perfect run)

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The amount of work you've had to put in to understand how maps are inserted, how events are managed, not to mention the dialogue, the fantastic portraits... all I can say is:

avatar-foamingmouthguy.gif

Elimine bless you, Zane.

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A few of the portraits in the "Others" sheet are used to represent the artists when reading off the credits at the end of the patch. I figured that it'd be best to let the artists represent themselves with a portrait of their choice.

The Lyon portrait actually replaces Anna when the suspend option is chosen, stemming from a joke suggestion in my dev chat. It also serves as a kind of throwback to the original project I wanted to do in FE5, which was an FE8 sidestory that never took off.

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