Mania's Modding Ramifications

Discussion in 'Discussion & Q&A' started by Clownacy, May 15, 2018.

  1. Clownacy

    Clownacy UP - ON - CPU Staff

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    Excuse me? No need to get so defensive. But if you really want the reason, I don't like Mania modding. It think it's a silly trend that has no life expectancy. Frankly, I think it just combines the worst qualities of ROM-hacking and using a fan-engine: Mania's engine is inaccurate, you can only run it on PC, you have to reverse-engineer it, documentation's scarce, tools barely exist, and its code is machine-generated nonsense.

    The way I see it, this mishmash of downsides only limits what a mod can do. For example, how many Mania mods have added a custom badnik, or boss, or a truly custom character? The most impressive thing I've seen is someone add a boost, and that had to be done by poking memory.

    So am I wrong for wanting to be proven wrong? I asked if there's anything in this mod that can convince me otherwise, albeit without including a rant about why I don't like Mania modding since I thought the thread could do without it. Instead I just got a snarky response.
     
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  2. TheStoneBanana

    TheStoneBanana The Bananaman Member

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    He had a reasonable question, and didn't really seem that snarky. Asking if a Mania level mod has aspects that out-do hacks is a bit of an odd question, quite honestly. Not that it's unreasonable, but rather, it's not something most would think of or ask about when approaching a mod.
     
  3. TheInvisibleSun

    TheInvisibleSun Visible Member

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    You complain about the lack of documentation and tools for a game not even a year old.

    Also, it does come across as a bit argumentative to walk into a someones project thread and ask if the same things could be done in a hack (without even giving any feedback based on the screenshots given); this is kind of an irrelevant question, unless you're aiming to start a discussion/argument on Mania modding vs hacking, which you said you didn't want.
     
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  4. Pacca

    Pacca Level 1 inflatable otter thing Member

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    I find it funny that someone would complain about mania hacking being so limited; given that the game is barely a year old, the fact that hacking has progressed as far as it has is somewhat miraculous; I wouldn't be surprised if custom badniks and bosses were still a feasible thing to add, just waiting to be researched a bit more. And besides, one of the major draws of rom hacking (at least in my eyes) is working around the limitations of the Genesis/Mega Drive itself. That argument would be like saying the Adventure series is an unhackable waste of time, just because the scene is still limited in what it can do, and there's still a lot that needs to be reverse engineered.

    With that out of the way, I bought Mania just to play this, and was not disappointed. It felt very true to the original level, and was quite fun. My only complaints are the death pits around the end of Act 2, and that breakable block with an invisible air shaft that pushes you up into the spikes; I remembered this area from the original, and was hoping to find an alternate path.
     
  5. LazloPsylus

    LazloPsylus A Certain Scientific Railgun The Railgun

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    Interesting little depth this thread has forked onto. I read it as more of a curious inquiry. a bit of a feeler on what to expect in terms of content. Yes, Mania is severely limited in its modding base: It's quite young as a game, and highly limited in moddability due to a variety of factors. These combine to create a very nascent modding platform, and one where, at least currently, the boundaries look to be highly limited and rigid. I can see how Clownacy's question may be construed as a slight, but it is a legitimate question. As a community built on MD hacks, knowing how it would compare with a MD ROM hack in capability can help mentally gauge what to expect and adjust expectations to compensate.

    So just calm down, please. People have opinions, and have methods of expectation gauging that may rub people the wrong way, but we're all here to help explore and expand. We're all (supposed to be) friends here.
     
  6. Clownacy

    Clownacy UP - ON - CPU Staff

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    Geez, there's like three things I want to respond to. This is going to be a wall of text, I just know it.

    I knew back when I wrote that last post that someone would play the 'but it's only X years old' card. I really don't see how that matters. A lack of documentation is a lack of documentation. If there's more in the future, cool, but that doesn't change that mods such as this were made when it wasn't there. Tools and documentation already exist for the classic games, as well as for fan-engines that are worth their salt, and they both make fine substitutes (to my knowledge, hence the question). So what does Mania have that they don't, to justify going into uncharted territory?

    Anyway, what does it matter if I leave feedback or not? Unless you mean to tie it into my question, I guess, but I don't really see how adding 'judging by the screenshots, it doesn't really seem like it' would be any more polite.

    Speaking of, for a Mania mod posted on a forum centred around hacking the Mega Drive games, I don't think my question's irrelevant at all. But now I'm just repeating what LazloPsylus said already.

    You say that about modding Adventure, yet that's exactly what I've heard people say about modding the Steam version. The original 2004 version is so much more well-known that no-one even touches the Steam version, even if it's got one or two more features. Same reason people don't go around hacking S3K much, really. Just because they'll be added in the future doesn't make SonLVL's current lack of object definitions any less painful.

    And that's not even going into the existance of fan-engines. Maybe the reason Adventure modding hasn't taken off is because people have been using those for the past who-knows-how-many years instead. Like you said, it's pretty limited, and there's still tons to be figured out, so is it any surprise people just flock to Unreal and Unity instead?

    Edit: Since I suppose I should make this clear. Darn right I didn't want to start a debate. That's exactly why I kept my reasons to myself. But then someone had to pry. Maybe I should have just had the foresight to say it was none of their business. I was already trying to give Mania modding a chance, the only difference is my way wouldn't clog the thread. I ask for a fact, I get a fact, maybe I see the light, maybe I don't. Instead I got a few walls of text trying to pick apart my reasons for asking the question in the first place, while not convincing me of anything. So far, the only two real responses aren't really giving me the answers I was hoping for.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
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  7. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Administrator

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    Mania mods are in their early stages, and as much as a lot of it is rather primitive, it is getting there. I've seen some strides over the last few months with what I've seen now that people have figured out more than just sprite replacement. It'll be a while before people figure out how to inject new programming into it but give it a few years and maybe stuff will happen. No doubt certain stuff will be changed for the Mania Plus release meaning modders will have to figure out some stuff again, unless the developers are so generous to leave things intact.

    And for those going on about this mostly being a Mega Drive place, yes that is accurate for 95% of the stuff showcased, but it never hurts to go outside the bubble. I think some people have realised there's only so much left to do in terms of Mega Drive stuff and that's why they're moving on to the likes of 8-bit, 3D, etc. The stuff coming out for Mania was always going to happen once people figured out how to break into it and figure out the formats.
     
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  8. TheInvisibleSun

    TheInvisibleSun Visible Member

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    I really don't know much about Mania modding, but I'd guess it's popular because the source game probably has far less limitations and hurdles to cross in terms of sound and visuals, and has far more built in features and gimmicks than each Genesis game with none of the constraints. It basically has all the benefits of using a fan-engine, but also with physics that actually feel right.

    It matters because you immediately made this topic about whether it was worth doing it in Mania, rather than the merits (or demerits) of the actual project. Wouldn't it be a bit off-putting if say, you release a Sonic CD hack, and one of the first comments is "couldn't you have done this on Sonic 1?"

    It's a legitimate question (maybe this should be a separate thread?), I just think it doesn't give anything of value to the thread when you don't even talk about the project.


    EDIT: Moved comments about mod to actual mod thread
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  9. Clownacy

    Clownacy UP - ON - CPU Staff

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    ...But I just gave a list of upsides fan-engines have, that Mania doesn't. It doesn't have all the benefits.

    I wouldn't hold it against that person whatsoever. I don't see why someone should keep their thoughts to themselves just because an arbitrary number of people haven't spoken before them. And, the way I see it, it does have something to do with the project.

    Anyway, look, as I said in the edit at the end of my last post, I'm really not interested in this debate. The only reason I explained any of this in the first place was because someone asked.

    Edit: Guess this one's getting an edit too. What's riled me up the most about this is that this is the first time I've even brought the subject up. Ever since Mania came out I've been sitting back and quietly rolling my eyes whenever some oldbie on Retro claims Mania modding will replace ROM-hacking. Then I ask one question because for once I'd like to not be the odd one out. And what's my reward? Snark, condescension, and being told I shouldn't have asked in the first place. It's not fun.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
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  10. jubbalub

    jubbalub mania fanboy Member

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    Good lord. I don't mean to be rude or anything, but I don't appreciate my topic being derailed like this. I think this sort of thing belongs in a separate discussion thread and not in a thread where someone's trying to showcase their mod.
     
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  11. LazloPsylus

    LazloPsylus A Certain Scientific Railgun The Railgun

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    Tried to hint at it, but forgot for a bit that nuance gets lost a lot. Splitting, because this is actually a good discussion to have.

    It's a rather silly idea to "replace" ROM hacking. It's a ridiculous concept, and not necessary. Hacking has, and always will have its own niche. Other things will come, but never replace what's already there.
     
  12. Pineapple Arse

    Pineapple Arse I ironically hate cold temperatures. Member

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    Oh heck, I think this was once a discussion about a Mania mod! Jokes aside, it's quite sad that this seems to happen from time to time, where people become cocky and asinine to eachother (such as the music thread from a while ago). Even after these mistakes happen, no one seems to learn from it, and as a result, this happens over and over again.
     
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  13. LuigiXHero

    LuigiXHero Well-Known Member Member

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    Wow I should've known you'd interrupt a simple question as a threat. The reason I asked was because you asked the question with no context as to why you even thought that way. If you didn't want a debate why not actually explain yourself before asking a pretty obviously divisive question? Also I don't like being treated like a "snarky" and "defensive" by a hypocrite. Maybe actually read what you write for once?

    No wonder me and quite a few of my friends started drifting away from this community (in the case of two completely), couldn't stand it in the discord still can't stand it now. I might come back when there are a few staff changes but no promises i'm tired of holding my breath considering they can't even stand by their own calls.

    Anyways, I can't believe i'm starting to think the SM64 community is better, what a time to be alive.

    As for mania modding, Who the fuck cares who hacks what? It's a hobby of making hacks and mods for a children's video game. Grow up and let people do what they want in their spare time. If you don't care for mania then don't bother with it? Stop invalidating work people have done just because mah hacks of 20 year old games.

    This was a waste of time and energy, because i'm just being "snarky" and "defensive" and thus my opinion doesn't matter.
     
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  14. Pacca

    Pacca Level 1 inflatable otter thing Member

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    Oh man! I feel sorry I initially put my thoughts out on this now. Things have spiraled way out of control! First things first, everyone should try to bury the hatchet before this topic goes straight to the trash; anger never solved anything.

    The way I see it, Clownacy has a very valid opinion; they want to see mania hacking progress to a point where the engine can be fully utilized before they start surfing mods. That's totally understandable. And while it was an odd thing to bring up in the thread, it's not exactly worth leaping on them for it. While I did appear to be doing that prior, my goal was to explain the basic facts; in hindsight, they were all pretty obvious, and I really shouldn't have bothered.

    I personally feel that peoples work shouldn't be judged based on the platform they're made on, or the tools used to make it. An experience is completely independent of those things, and should be treated as such, even if it shows a bit in the final product. Then again, that's just my opinion.
     
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  15. MainMemory

    MainMemory Well-Known Member Member

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    Mania modding suffers a lot of the same problems as SADX and SA2 modding: the things that do exist aren't well documented, many things in the game are hardcoded, and much of the game's inner workings are largely unknown. Add to that the fact that the game is still being developed, and every time the game is updated, all the parts of the game's code that we've modified have to be re-found and adjusted for the new version, including the mod loader itself.

    I think there is merit in modding Mania, the same as there's merit in modding S&KC; it allows for certain things that can't be done in a Megadrive ROM hack, and it avoids some of the stigma of a fangame by virtue of its status as an officially licensed Sonic game and the fact that it was developed by people who have studied the originals for years.
     
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  16. Misinko

    Misinko If you need to shoot me, I won't complain! Staff

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    I was writing up a fairly big post for this thread, but decided against it at the last minute. There is, however, one thing I do want to address.

    This certainly wasn't an easy decision to come to. There was a good couple of weeks of thought that went into Oerg ultimately being unbanned, and it all started with his accidental unbanment from the IRC. We all stand by the decision, as Oerg has proven to have changed dramatically over the past few years with recent conversations both publicly in the IRC and Discord and via PMs, but this decision can easily be overturned. And similarly enough to how you take offense to what you feel is blatant misinterpretation by Clownacy, I'm sure Oerg doesn't feel too great about you trying to drag him in to an otherwise unrelated topic either.
     
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  17. LazloPsylus

    LazloPsylus A Certain Scientific Railgun The Railgun

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    Alright, this is *not* the venue to discuss Oerg's unbanning. You want to discuss it, my door is open like always, and I do enjoy a discussion and would like others to understand why something was done, but this is not the place to do it. Discord, IRC, PMs, that's fine, but here, diverging the thread that was already split because of subject divergence, is not the place.

    Not angry, but this needs to be made clear. You want to talk about Oerg, then talk. Just do it without taking away from the point of another thread.
     
  18. Cinossu

    Cinossu A blend of secret herbs and spices Member

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    Honestly, Mania modding right now reminds me of the earlier days of the hacking scene; we're changing the very limited things we are able to, such as palettes, sprites within their existing limitations, levels to an extent but still keeping some generalities, and especially programming changes beyond some small things. What we can mod of Mania right now is actually more extensive than what was available to everyone way back when. I'd say we've become somewhat spoilt with disassemblies, and especially the neatened up split disassembllies. I'm sure Mania will get to that level of modification eventually, especially with the attention it's getting, but it's not there yet.

    Will it replace ROM hacking? No. Is it a viable alternative to ROM hacking for those who want to? At the moment probably not, as it's still restrictive, but it could very well be in the future. Could those who don't mind those restrictions still produce great content? Hell yes.

    I think one of the things I've greatly disliked for a while about this community is this reliance on changes needing to be big, sprawling things, with programming changes left and right to make things more "interesting". Decent level or art hacks alone, making use of existing assets in new ways, these are things I actually miss seeing. Combining it with newly programmed bits and pieces is always good, but some people are just not that great at it.

    If there's one thing Mania modding has done, it's pushed those with the more creative side of things to the forefront again; level art, sprite art, etc. taking the priority again. Let's see what wonders they come up with.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  19. Natsumi

    Natsumi Markey's Member

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    So I wasn't really going to bother posting here, seeming as I do not have much to say about the mod itself, but since the thread was split, and it feels like I need to say a couple of things. Now, to be sure, I am not here to attack anyone, and I don't hope that anyone takes offense to what I have said or how I have said it. I just want to bring up a few things nobody seems to have caught on (or said anything about). So, here goes...

    Now, I am in a rather difficult place, because I have friends on both sides, but I think it also gives me some perspective, and based on what I observed, people don't seem to have good judgement towards the whole thing. Lets start from the beginning. Clownacy comes in, with a fair question, and I am sure out of curiosity more than malice, but the way he worded the post, immediately makes it seem like he is already biased towards the project and not really interested in taking it seriously. This already sets up well for a negative response, from Luigi. Because of various stuff happening in the past, and he and friends being close with jubbalub, he may have felt appropriate to be defensive against a staffer, and probably for the wrong reasons (at least from my perspective), and understandably Clownacy, not having anything directly to do with any of it, is not a fan. However, his response back, in light of the tone of his first post, comes off as very pretentious. Now, I have no doubt Clownacy did not mean to come off as such, but that was the initial impression I got from his posts as well. However, I decided that I had nothing to add at that point, so I did not respond. After further reflection, I realize it isn't like Clownacy to be a pretentious douchebag, at all. I propose, its much more likely Clownacy was startled by the way Luigi responded in the first place, and did not quite think through how the post would be seen by others.

    And while other people responded in a reasonable way, the good ol SSRG bandwagon was ready to start rolling down the hill. As usual, there was no hint of a measured response by many people. It's a shame really, because this is a case where neither side did really anything wrong to begin with, but people felt they need to go offensive and defensive for the sake of... Well, what? I understand that Clownacy wanted to defend his statement from him being mischaracterized by others, but what reason did Luigi have to go for offensive? I am sure if jubbalub had an issue, he could have said something to Clownacy himself: Not to mention bringing up staff as a whole, Discord drama and certain member, was rather unnecessary.

    I mean seriously, is it too much to ask to have some sense in your heads, and actually like, maybe, remember that just words on the internet isn't always enough to infer how something was meant to be taken. Have a little benefit of the doubt, it helps keep your head cool.
     
  20. Clownacy

    Clownacy UP - ON - CPU Staff

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    Calm down.

    'Hyprocrite' this, 'read what you write for once' that. Seriously, just take a second and calm down before writing the post.

    Look, as I've said like three times in this mess of a thread already, I didn't give my reason because I knew it would cause this. That's why I led with just a question instead of 'I think Mania modding is pointless, and here's why'. The problem was, when I saw your first post, I was already annoyed from a long day IRL. I visit this forum for fun, so when I saw what looked to me like a hostile post meant as a slap in the face, I flipped. I'm still not sure whether it was hostile or not. The tone of your newest post only makes me believe it was.

    I'm not sure how much of this is serious, and how much is just angry hyperbole, so I might accidentally skip over something important. I 'care' about who hacks what because I hack the MD games, and want to know what Mania modding has to offer. Sure, there are plenty of ways to do it, but my way was to ask a modder if their mod does anything you couldn't do on the MD. A simple (even if not really what I'm looking for) answer like 'it uses more than 61 colours' would be fine, and give me some insight on how modders approach Mania, and their reasons for using it.

    I'm don't see how I'm 'invalidating' people's work by doing that. Yeah, I think Mania modding's a little pointless in its current state, but here's another controversial opinion of mine: I think Sonic hacking is dying. I'd love to be proven wrong on that. I don't ever really want to say it because we could probably do without it. That doesn't stop me from trying to find out if I'm right or not though. I just do it in more subtle ways than saying "Sonic hacking is DOOMED - discuss". And as for the 'let people do what they want in their spare time' bit, I'm not stopping anyone. I didn't lock jubbalub's thread, or tell him to stop working on the mod. That part might've just been hyperbole though, so I guess it doesn't really need explaining.

    Right. So when I just got done writing the last paragraph, I hadn't read the posts after LuigiXHero's. Particularly Natsumi's. But yeah, I'll gladly admit that second post of mine was a little heated. At the time, I figured the post's attitude wouldn't matter, since I'm just stating an opinion. But somehow it seems like it set the tone for all the ones after it so whoops.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018