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Castlevania Bloodlines hacking/stuff

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by AbsoluteG, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. AbsoluteG

    AbsoluteG

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    I think this might be the right forum to share beta secrets for other games, and I had this info lying around for a couple of years, but I guess if its ok I could share the info here...

    Now I am sure some people who know about the prototype of the game, but for those who don't know about it, specifically, there were some missing levels, specifically in Level 4. One of those I recalled reading about was the Blimp level. from this screenshot.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately screwing around with the European Beta of bloodlines (The New Generation), mainly the area modifier, the level is no where in sight, neither are the other missing areas of Stage 4, but this is to be expected.

    However I did find something in the level graphics for certain stages. Upon using the tile viewer in Gens, I had found what I believe to be the graphics to the weird blimp BG that had been removed from the final game.

    [​IMG]

    I don't think its all the graphics, nor do I know the type of compression the game uses for graphics. But it seems to me that the graphics for the original blimp stage (4-7) are still present in the game, and for some reason are loaded too in in one section of Stage 5, But also 3-8 coincidentally plays level 4's theme too in this build.

    I do know the blimp graphics are also in the final version too, also unused.

    also I noticed the area modifier having a completely odd order of levels. When I get the chance I will list the levels. But almost all of the levels are completely in random order, also putting $50 or above in the level order crashes the game, presumably meaning that is where it ends.

    If this topic is in the wrong forum, feel free to trash it.

    EDIT: I do have more info on stuff and notes I will post later, but for now I need to sleep.
     
  2. MathUser

    MathUser

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    Well, don't delete this topic if he actually finds the compression for the graphics. I'm interested in seeing beta stuffs.
     
  3. Andlabs

    Andlabs

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    Writing my own MD/Genesis sound driver :D
    Ugh... I tried to analyze the version of Bloodlines's sound driver used in Contra Hard Corps, and dear lord it's one of the most confusing pieces of code I've ever read. Unlike with the Hyperstone Heist driver (Rocket Knight Adventures), which I do know a lot about and can learn more, I have absolutely no idea where to start with this. After I finish with the Chaotix special stages, I could go through the version in Bloodlines and see if that one is identical or different and try to understand that.

    If the art in the ROM is compressed, good luck with the art compression, though.
     
  4. AbsoluteG

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    Ok, so I have listed down the entire area values, and By using the PAR Code FFFB2A:XX, you are able to choose any area in the game. Unfortunately NONE of the prototype levels, Beta Stage 4-2, Beta Stage 4-5, Beta Stage 4-7, and Beta Stage 4-10 are present in this beta. The only remotely interesting level is 3-8. Which is only because it seems to have overwritten a previous prototype level. So in general this is for sure a late beta, or a just plain boring build.

    <div class='codetop'>CODE</div><div class='codemain' style='height:200px;white-space:pre;overflow:auto'>FFFB2A:XX
    ------------------------------
    00: 1-1
    01: 1-2
    02: 1-3
    03: 1-4
    04: 1-3 (entering from bottom left stairs)
    05: 1-3 (entering from bottom right stairs)
    06: 1-4 (entering from stairs at end of area)
    07: 1-5
    08: 1-6 (Small room resembling the second level of Castlevania 1)
    09: 1-7
    0A: 1-8
    0B: 1-9
    0C: 1-10
    0D: 1-11
    0E: 1-7 (entering from top of level)
    0F: 1-6 (entering from top of level)
    10: 1-10 (entering from stairs to 1-11)
    11: 2-1
    12: 2-2
    13: 2-3
    14: 2-5 (entering from end of area)
    15: 2-4
    16: 6-6
    17: 2-5
    18: 2-7 (Level 2 Boss)
    19: 2-6
    1A: 3-1
    1B: 3-2
    1C: 3-5
    1D: 3-9 (Level 3 Boss)
    1E: 3-7
    1F: 3-3 (Eric Lecarde)
    20: 4-1
    21: 4-2
    22: 4-3
    23: 4-4
    24: 3-8 (Possibly what overwrote the ORIGINAL 4-5, It plays Level 4's music, hmm...)
    25: 6-8
    26: 6-5 (Entering From top)
    27: 6-5
    28: 6-7
    29: 4-5
    2A: 4-6
    2B: 4-5 (entering from top)
    2C: 4-9
    2D: 4-10
    2E: 4-11 (Level 4 Boss)
    2F: 3-3 (Eric, entering from end of area)
    30: 6-11 (Final Boss)
    31: 3-3 (John Morris)
    32: 3-6
    33: 1-6
    34: 1-6
    35: 4-8
    36: 5-1
    37: 5-2
    38: 5-3
    39: 5-4
    3A: 5-4
    3B: 5-3 (Entering from other end)
    3C: 5-5 (Top)
    3D: 5-5 (Bottom)
    3E: 5-7
    3F: 5-8 (Level 5 Boss)
    40: 3-4
    41: 6-7 (Entering from end of stage, what a waste of level slots)
    42: 6-1
    43: 6-2
    44: 6-3
    45: 6-4
    46: 5-2
    47: 5-6
    48: 4-7 (Frankenstein Boss, worst replacement of a lost stage ever)
    49: 6-6 (Level 2 boss rematch)
    4A: 6-6 (Level 3 boss rematch)
    4B: 6-6 (Level 4 boss rematch)
    4C: 6-6 (Death boss fight)
    4D: 6-9
    4E: 6-10
    4F: 6-10 (entering from top, yet again another waste)
    50-FF:FREEZES GAME</div>

    EDIT: Upon further research, the game's level layout is made of 32x32 tiles, I am screwing around in a savestate to see if anything new pops up

    EDIT 2: Yep, they fully removed the BG alright. Not a single 32x32 tile remaining, but another odd set of tiles I hadn't recognized had appeared.
     
  5. AbsoluteG

    AbsoluteG

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    This game makes no sense on a lot of things. I had been poking around the game a lot and I found a few things that are kinda frustrating in finding anymore Beta stuff

    Sure enough, the graphics are using some kind of compression, It must be one of Konami's compression types. I'm not sure what exactly.

    Layout is compressed as well. and the way the palletes are loaded are completely bizzare. They load besides the main character palletes, the level palletes in chunks of $8 colors in random locations throughout the rom. It took quite a while for me to find one single level pallete because of this.

    I did however piece together the tiles of the blimp as best as I could and I managed to piece this much together so far...

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Andlabs

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    Writing my own MD/Genesis sound driver :D
    Just wondering, what are you using to poke through the ROM? IDA?
     
  7. AbsoluteG

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    <!--quoteo(post=483365:date=Jul 24 2010, 11:19 PM:name=Andlabs)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Andlabs @ Jul 24 2010, 11:19 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=483365">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Just wondering, what are you using to poke through the ROM? IDA?<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    Actually I'm just getting into doing that now. Before I was experimenting with a savestate file (kinda newbieish methods I know,but at least getting a grasp on the ram and how it works might give me more insight on this game), and that was when I figured out how the level tiles were stored in the game.They are stored in ram via the main art patterns, and then 32x32 chunks or metatiles

    Hex was how I figured out the how the palletes were stored.

    At the moment I'm just trying to figure out where the compressed art is stored (IDA and hex), so I can go through ALL of the compressed art archives in the rom. If I can figure that out I might be able to dig deeper. Basically I'm looking for something along the lines of pattern load cues. If I can find out where some addresses are I MIGHT be able to uncover more lost art if that is present in the rom. as I don't doubt there is a bit more than what is in the rom already. That blimp can't just be the only thing lost in there.

    I know this is no easy task, especially since this is some kind of unknown or special compression Konami uses for their games, or at least exclusively for this game.
     
  8. Andlabs

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    Writing my own MD/Genesis sound driver :D
    If Konami used a single compression routine, you could after disassembing as much of the code as possible (which includes following their nearly endless chains of indirect jumps and function pointer lists :| and if you need help with that just ask) hit the X key on a function to see where it is called and find the most often called function; or maybe if we're lucky a function that writes to the VDP directly =P

    Unfortunately I only have a minimal amount of the Bloodlines code disassembled as I just wanted to find the sound driver, but I could look up anything in Contra Hard Corps or Rocket Knight Adventures to see if they use similar compression formats. (I don't necessarily understand the code; I just have the bulk of it disassembled =P)
     
  9. MathUser

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    It is excellent that you found the blimp. I don't know if you will find much else graphics in the ROM but it would be great to hear you cracked the graphics compression format anyways.
     
  10. AbsoluteG

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    Ill see what I can do, about the compression, but in all honesty, I don't doubt there are more lost things in the rom. Konami left the Blimp graphics right out in plain sight via VDP. If that tells me anything, then that is that there could be more. I don't think any of the beta enemy graphics are the game, such as the different mermen. But I don't doubt that some of the Level 4 missing elements are still in the game. They might just be lying dormant in the rom.

    Konami could have removed the graphics for the blimp before the release of the game, but the fact they didnt shows a whole lot. I think more is lurking inside of the rom. And that is what I am intending to find out. I'm currently screwing with Bloodlines in IDA. My primary focus is the graphics locations first, and then changing graphic pointers.

    I am to do this with every compressed archive in the rom, and as I do, any new findings if any, will be posted here. Once thats done I will figure out the compression. Which will be my next step after I got what I wanted done.

    It'd be nice to see that Bloodlines Beta dumped. but oh well...
     
  11. AbsoluteG

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    I know that bumping up a 4 year old topic isn't usually a good idea. But I found this info on TCRF's forums.

    Apparently someone recently got the infamous 0.5 Beta/Tara200 prototype from Castlevania4ever/Simon_Belmont. whoever it is seems to be selling it, although it might be a repro cart.I'm not sure entirely why, but even if so, the ROM seems to be legit. What would your thoughts be on this? (also it seems the guy dumped it for himself judging by the screens being clear)
    Link to post/thread
    Here's the link in particular

    I was told more info about it by the guy himself who has a rom dump of it. It seems he paid a sum of money for a ROM dump, not the actual cart.
     
  12. Epsilonsama

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    My god selling ROM dumps seems to be IMO a very scummy thing to do.
     
  13. AbsoluteG

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    I don't know the entire story. But that's what I got the gist of according to him.
     
  14. Shoemanbundy

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    He spent $2500 on the ROM from a collector known as Niels and is trying to make it back by selling repros. It's a bit sketchy and I would have maybe gone a different route than making repros, but considering he spent all the money himself I don't blame him wanting to make some of it back somehow. That's a huge amount to just then give away the ROM for free.
     
  15. AbsoluteG

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    I PM'ed you back. And yeah, I do actually think it's bullshit. I don't blame the guy who has it though, I blame the guy he got it FROM. If that were the case, I would not have gone higher than 500. If even. and that's even very shaky on it's own.
     
  16. Shoemanbundy

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    Yeah, he put a ridiculous price on it. I think that completely unreleased Resident Evil for GBC had a ROM fundraiser for $2000 total? And again that was an unreleased game. This Bloodlines proto might be the most expensive ROM purchased so far.

    He did offer me a very early Aladdin proto with completely different levels and gameplay for $500 though. Not too bad. He also has some Rocket Knight and Sparkster protos I'm waiting to hear back about.
     
  17. AbsoluteG

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    Sparkster? Which one? SNES? or Genesis, I'm interested in the latter. Also did he say anything about RKA1, how early is it?
     
  18. Shoemanbundy

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    I'm still trying to figure out, he's horrible at ever responding despite signing on and probably having seen I msged him twice by now :x Even emailed him. Honestly surprised the French guy was ever able to make that deal for the Castlevania proto.

    Sparkster is Genesis. I'm hoping the RKA one is the same one I heard Pachuka had years ago that was early and ended up being sold on Assembler. I'll definitely post again if anything ever comes of these since I've had both these games on my proto want list for awhile.

    He also has a very early Mickey Mania that he says is very different. Can't seem to dump it, though. Nice thing about him though is he's only looking to sell the ROMs, so I don't think anyone's gonna be buying the carts off him and hoarding them away anytime soon. I hope... :P
     
  19. AbsoluteG

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    I'm wondering if it's the one with the different first boss design. I'd been dying to see a Rocket Knight proto out in the open. Or at least the Sparkster proto with the different title music.
     
  20. Shoemanbundy

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    I'm hoping the RKA one has more than just a different first boss. I've noticed all early previews I've seen don't ever go past the first stage so there's no telling what more there could be.

    Besides the titlescreen Sparkster had lots of graphical differences. I used to run a Japanese blog where I posted about protos and made an entry for it once. Maybe some of the shots will be neat if you haven't seen them before.

    http://protos.at.webry.info/201303/article_8.html

    Got abandoned like many projects do.