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Why do people hack?

Discussion in 'Engineering & Reverse Engineering' started by 87th, Oct 13, 2007.

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  1. 87th


    FOX HOUNDER Member
    This is something that has never really concerned me, but judging the somewhat aggressive nature in ways people have been defending/criticising hacks, it's something that I'd be interested to ask? Why exactly do people hack?

    Is it simply a complex form of expressing creativity? Is it based on peoples' desires to see their dream features in one of their favourite games? Is it a way to develop ones' programming skills, or just a way to "show off" and get attention?

    While I'm quite certain that no one hacks for just one of these reasons, I'm not terribly sure why people who are sensitive of the quality of their hacks upload them to the internet for all to see.

    As you may or may not know, I am not a hacker. I've been taught how to program in school and didn't enjoy it one bit, so the idea of hacking is simply not worth the bother for me. I am, however, very interested in game development and I'd like to be involved somehow. I don't believe I possess the patience, nor the talent to do anything hands-on, but I am quite an analytical and critical person so the best thing for me to do is either help find faults and provide ideas for hacks.

    The thing is, many hackers and sympathisers take great offence to this, suggesting that I am complaining about their work and that if I don't like it, I shouldn't play it. This leads me to wonder, "Are people really interested in making a quality game? Do they want their hack to appeal to anyone?".

    If anyone has any thoughts on this, feel free to express them. I don't think I'm actually helping anyone, at the moment. Whether that's because people are too close-minded to listen to me or my suggestions are shit, I don't know. I feel like a prick posting this, but I'd like to know whether or not anyone appreciates what I try to get across in my criticisms. I feel pretty arrogant even considering that I'm helping to improve the quality of these projects.

    I'm don't want to bring up any introspective points here. I'm not looking for pity either, but if any hackers could answer these questions, I'd appreciate it-

    1- Why do you hack?
    2- Why do you share your hacks with others?
    3- Do you welcome constructive criticism?
    4- Do you feel influenced by suggestions and criticisms that others provide after they have played your hack?

    That is all. Thank you.
  2. JcFerggy


    Do you want to taco 'bout it? Member
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    GoldenEye: Source, Other Stuff
    1. I do it to express my self. It fun doing something else that none of my friends are doing.

    2. I mainly share my work because I like being told that I did a good job, or just showing off something that no one has done yet.

    3. I like constructive criticism, but I hate it when people say something is alright, when it awful, and they don't want to hurt me.

    4. Yes.
  3. PC2


    GenMobile > 3DS Member
    Various Artwork & Music, :smug:
    I did/(do...?) it for fun, and nothing else. Hacking isn't really a big-time hobby of mine, which is the main reason I can never keep a stable project. But sometimes it's fun to come up with simple ideas and implement them into the games. But it seems so easy to lose interest because of all you have to do to make the hack actually worth playing. "Well, time to tweak the layout, now let's play it to make sure it's clean. Uh oh, it sucks. Time to go back and do it again. And again. And again. And again." It gets so fucking repetitive and boring, the fun just seems to drift away.

    I shared my hack with others to get their opinions on it and see what I could improve, and how to improve it (constructive criticism, basically), I guess. Most feedback I got was positive, and I got a couple of neat ideas, but since hacking isn't a big hobby for me, it doesn't really make much of a difference. Hacking isn't my life, and I only do it when I damn well feel like it. I may start another hack someday, just maybe, but there's no gurantee it will get that far. I'm looking at Sonic 2 - hacking Sonic 1 just bores me to death, and its successor has much more possibilities, even when it comes to the level design alone... But I don't like the sprites. <_<

    It's so much to do, and if you have a "team", then you still have to put in a very substantial amount of effort or else nobody's going to give a fuck about the hack anymore and you'll just look like a lazy slavedriving jerk. If hacking's not a main hobby of yours, then it's really tough to stay tuned. I'd really rather get all, or most of the work done myself if I do decide to try again, I guess because it would feel better if I could take all the credit for jut a simple hack.

    Criticism really depends on the hacker, though. I don't mind it because it helps me choose what belongs in the hack and what doesn't - what makes it better. But I can see how it could be really annoying if you're working your balls off and all you hear is bitching about "YOU SHOULD ADD <irrelevant character>!1!1!!! TEH GAEM IZ TOO HAAARD!1!1!!!shift" And then, there's still a difference between constructive criticism and just flat out bitching.
  4. SMTP


    Tech Member
    1) "simply a complex form of expressing creativity"

    2) "just a way to "show off" and get attention"

    3) Of course! See next question.

    4) Yes, but I barely have much time anymore. So if the criticism is a request to change something I took quite alot of time working on it'll usually be scraped or put to the side. See: New background for GHZ in S2SMTP. :P

    Though I must ask. Is anyone else getting deja vu from this topic?
  5. Chimpo


    Los Angeles, 2029
    Aiming for 1cc!
    1. Shits and giggles

    2. Only if they like shits and giggles too.

    3. If they offer things that make it more giggles and shits

    4. No.
  6. Blue Warrior

    Blue Warrior

    Sonic 1 soundtrack
    I'm more into Super Mario World hacking than Sonic hacking, but whatever.

    1. Making games is something I've always wanted to do. It's enjoyable for me when I both know how to make it, and get to express some creativity when doing so.
    2. Like Chimpo: to spread shits 'n' giggles.
    3. Of course. For me, there's no point in making a hack if I can't get people to enjoy it (unless it's for self-educational purposes... on, y'know, learning how to hack). I don't want people to tell me what I make is awesome or pathetic when it really isn't. In fact, those who can't handle criticism are only sharing their hack to boost their e-dick, if you ask me.
    4. I used to be affected by them, but I'm not heavily anymore. I was shot down on a Super Mario World hack I made about two years ago, and I felt sort of depressed afterwards, but it wasn't something I'd rather whine about. Still, I'm a lot more thick-skinned nowadays. All criticism seems to affect on me now is to "hurry up and fix it". I normally fix a bug or bad feature a month after it's pointed out... or more. You could call that time restraints or laziness, but I prefer to see it as a combination of the two. :p
  7. Cinossu


    London, UK
    Sonic the Hedgehog Extended Edition
    1. I hack for a number of the reasons you listed. It's to both develop my programming skills, using a language not commonly known and working with an engine that isn't my own (often the case in a lot of gaming companies nowadays, having to add on to existing work), and therefore adding my dream features in to the hack. It's also a form of expressing creativity, but as others have said, just to have fun.

    2. I have no desire whatsoever to "show off" and get attention. I show my work to get opinions and critisism on the work I have done, so that it may be improved, and to show what is possible to people who might not have done any ASM before and would like to, unsure of just what it is you can do beyond standard hex-editor style rom hacking.

    3. Absolutely. If you think my work is shit or not good for a reason, I want to know that reason so I can go and improve my work.

    4. Tying in with the above, yes. I take the critisism and work with it (unless it's something like "SONIC 2 SPINDASH PLZZZ", something that I am not adding because I prefer the SCD spindash and because it fits more with the Sonic 1 style IMO :P).

    As for people who are sensitive about their hacks, the best thing to do is test the waters first before releasing a demo. Show a screenshot, get opinions. Show some more. More opinions. Next, show a video of it in motion, inciting more opinions, this time on a working and moving thing they can relate to rather than something static. If all is well, then release a demo.
  8. Shadow Fire

    Shadow Fire

    Ultimate victory! Member
    The Land of Darkness
    Sonic: The Lost Land (Series), The GCN (site)
    Because I want to. I like to think I'm making the game more enjoyable for myself and a group of friends.

    So people can get the same enjoyment I get out of it. (No sexual references, either)

    Of course. Constructive criticism is the only way to achieving betterment. (Is betterment even a word?)

    Yes and no. Depending on my personal likes and dislikes, as well as limitations, I may or may not be able to modify the hack to suit other peoples' needs. If people bitch, I will get defensive, because after all, I don't work hard on something, just to have some wanker belittle my efforts. (Except the original versions of my hacks, because they really did suck =P)
  9. Sik


    Sik is pronounced as "seek", not as "sick". Tech Member
    being an asshole =P
    Because I'm bored :P

    There's little sense to have it for me only.

    Like I pay attention to it :P


    This goes for both hacks and fangames. So bad I can't show what I have of my Sonic 3D hack...
  10. Ritz


    Subhedgehog Member
    So, is there no one here who hacks solely for the sake of making the game more enjoyable? Of course, I can't in good conscience say that looking for personal amusement and praise is wrong, but this does strike me as disheartening- at the very least, all this more or less substantiates my concerns with the community, so I can rest easy now.
  11. Chimpo


    Los Angeles, 2029
    Aiming for 1cc!
    The games are already enjoyable. All we have to worry about is not making it suck.

    We're hacking Genesis Sonic games here, not Deadly Towers.
  12. CloverCC


    1- Why do you hack?
    - I don't have an straight answer.. It's just something I really, really love to do.

    2- Why do you share your hacks with others?
    - Because I want to show people what I'm capable of doing, and I want to hear what they think of my work.

    3- Do you welcome constructive criticism?
    - Hell yeah, as long as it's not anything retarded, such as "Wow. Someone who actually makes worse pallets than me". People can improve, but not by anything that isn't helpful.

    4- Do you feel influenced by suggestions and criticisms that others provide after they have played your hack?
    - Occaisonally..
  13. Upthorn


    TAS Tech Member
    1) Because I miss Sonic games being awesome fun, and it seems like the best way to fix it is to make new games on the engine that was awesome fun.
    2) Because there is no point to making a fun game if noone can play it.
    3) I like to think so, yes.
    4) Absolutely.

    Although, as I'm answering these, keep in mind that I have yet to do a solo hack, but these accurately represent my reasons and behaviors while working on megamix.
  14. PsychoSk8r


    PsychedelAnt | Tone Turner Oldbie
    Birmingham, UK
    30 Day Project: Revisited.A New Release!
    1- Because I enjoy a challenge, I actually enjoy crawling through code, trying to find what I'm looking for, and to fix problems, and the Great sense of satisfaction after getting something new working.
    2- I like it when when other people share their hacks with me, so why not?
    3- Always
    4- Occasionally =P
  15. Aquaslash


    Emerald Dragoon Moderator
    Hampton, VA
    The S Factor: Sonia and Silver
    1- Why do you hack?
    At first, it was just something to do. Now, I think it's to express some form of creativity, to let ideas flow, and because it's probably the only way I'll ever get to play as my favorite series character. A bit desperate, but whatever.

    2- Why do you share your hacks with others?
    For the chance that someone else thinks my ideas are cool. If not, I can always change some things.

    3- Do you welcome constructive criticism?
    Of course. Even on things other than my hacks. I've got my dA account permanently set to Advanced critque mode. I've always felt that I can do better in some way. The results are often sweet too.

    4- Do you feel influenced by suggestions and criticisms that others provide after they have played your hack?

    Of course. I've got one major beta tester (more like a co creator ) at the moment, and his input ha really been helpful.
  16. Techokami


    For use only on NTSC Genesis systems Researcher
    Sonic Worlds Next
    1) Mainly to see what I can do with existing code, as well as find tidbits of leftover stuff that most people may overlook (ex: You can define a third animation for most enemies in Super Mario World to give them a turning animation, like the Koopa Troopas

    2) To show off what can be done with existing games.

    3) Absolutely! The only way to improve your work is to know what people want.

    4) See answer to 3.
  17. Jayextee


    Monochrome Cat Game Guy™ Member
    Atro City
    1- Why do you hack?
    Well, I merely want to create my own take on Sonic 1. When this is done, instead of letting the skills I've learned go to waste, I'll be art and music monkey for other's projects.

    2- Why do you share your hacks with others?
    I haven't. When it's done, you'll all play it. When I have something worth showing, you'll all see it.

    3- Do you welcome constructive criticism?
    Well, what little I showed on the old Sonic Retro forums had some nice criticism, although I welcome stuff like "Tone down that purple to make the blue stand out more" over "Wow, this is great". It's just the kind of person I am.

    4- Do you feel influenced by suggestions and criticisms that others provide after they have played your hack?
    They haven't, and I probably won't. In earnest, what I'm making is for me and me alone. If anyone else enjoys it, that would make me happier, but I'm simply doing what I want to do.

    Having said this, nobody who wasn't on Sonic Retro's lovely blue forums has seen anything I've done. Gimme a week or so to redraw some awful placeholder art and make layouts, and you'll have screens of a lovely new Marble Zone replacement.
  18. Hayate


    Tech Member
    Why do you hack?

    It's certainly a lot easier for me to make a Genesis Sonic game with disassemblies at my disposal than it is to make one from scratch for a shitty OS like Windows. Besides, the Genesis kicks ass.

    Why do you share your hacks with others?

    There'd be no point hacking if it wasn't for someone else to play or watch. 'nuff said, really. That's also why I upload a lot of YouTube videos of versions of my hack before they're released.

    Do you welcome constructive criticism?

    Definitely. Having someone tell you what you need to work on makes it a lot easier.

    Do you feel influenced by suggestions and criticisms that others provide after they have played your hack?

    Yes and no. I'm usually quite definite on where I want to go with something, but if it's something I haven't even thought about, suggestions can make a lot of difference.
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