Tealer Teaches: How to make a Hack Thread
Welcome to what appears to be the first article in what could be many of Tealer Teaches. Well, let me tell you why I’m going in this way. I’ve been in the community for years and I see people progressing, doing great stuff and things like that. However, looking at the other side, there are a bunch of new people (or n00bs as people say) who post content which isn’t enough to provide toilet paper for a bear. Today’s post is……
HOW TO MAKE A HACK THREAD
It’s so simple, even a monkey can do it!
So a few days ago I came across this thread on a forum where a user had posted a ROM hack thread of his Sonic 2 modification, and literally contained only this:
Here is my hack. It’s called Sonic 2 Chirped. I have to restart it because I messed up with graphics. Screenshots and Download link coming soon..
Okay, what the hell? This guy posted a thread with zero information in it. You’d love to hear my reply, which actually got a lot of shit for it:
In a hack topic, you’re SUPPOSED TO HAVE SOME EVIDENCE OF YOUR HACK. By that, post a few screenshots and maybe a video. It’s the proof that we need in order to see that you’re making a hack, and to see what it’s like. I bet it’s probably just a silly palette hack and stuff taken from guides, because that’s what it usually is around here.
It’s not the full post though. Anyway, let’s get on with the show!
#1 – DOES IT WARRANT A FULL HACK THREAD?
Posting a hack thread should mean that your hack actually has a good amount of content. If you don’t have much or your hack is a small quickie, there might be threads available for your work, such as Sonic Retro’s General Project Screenshot/Video Thread and Random Hack/Mini Project Thread – don’t waste time if there’s available resources to hold your hack content for now! Once you have built up your content, now is the time to post a thread.
#2 – POST SCREEN SHOTS OF YOUR HACK
The most proof that people want to see is screen shots. You do know how to make screen shots right? Your emulator should have a function, although I personally recommend using Gens/GS for screen shots due to its fine output in PNG format. These images tell the thread readers what your hack contains and you can show off many things using them. New sprites, level art, palettes, level edits and maybe even a programming edit or two. However, what you don’t want to show off is lame shit, like shitty palette hacks whipped up in 5 minutes. That has no place with the Sonic hacking community any more, but if you add other kinds of content to it, it’s great!
#3 – MAKE SURE YOUR HACK LOOKS DECENT BEFORE MAKING A THREAD
The Sonic Hacking Community has changed. Years ago, the ROM itself was directly edited, but nowadays, split disassemblies are the norm, which allows more people to expand their hacks and do some great shit to it. As covered above, nobody wants to see lame shit that others have whipped up. Add more content to it, but they need to be good.
There are guides and tutorials out there which will show you how to implement things such as the Spin Dash in Sonic 1, but that shouldn’t be the focus. If you posted “HEY GUYS I ADDED THE SPINDASH LOOK AT ME AM I COOL NOW” in your thread, you’d be a laughing stock. Copy/pasting from guides isn’t much, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to not use them. You could look at the code and implement a completely different feature and show it off! If your stuff didn’t come from a guide, you might get a gold star for it!
#4 – POST OTHER MEDIA TOO
Screen shots don’t cover everything. People want to see your work in-game, so why not record a video and upload it to YouTube or something like that? It’s just a form of more proof for readers and it can help offer more comments and criticism to you, the creator. You can record videos using Kega Fusion. If you have music edits in your hack, be it imported tracks or edits of the original music, be sure to upload a VGM or MP3, as it can offer more comments and it would be clearer as opposed to a video, where you’d probably have sound effects playing during the gameplay.
#5 – DESCRIPTION
Get the readers into your hack by describing it. List all the features your hack has along with some information regarding it. Unless your hack is seriously so awesome, don’t waste time with a silly story like “Purple the Hedgehog is Sonic’s lost brother, Sonic broke his leg at a gay bar and Eggman has gone loose again, so Purple is going to save the planet by defeating Eggman once and for all!”, because that is a load of fucking shit and it will just humiliate not only your work, but yourself.
#6 – GIVE CREDIT TO OTHERS THAT HAVE HELPED IN YOUR HACK
One thing that isn’t acceptable is when you claim content as your own. Regardless of how big or small the contribution is, always give credit to the user who helped you. It doesn’t matter if it’s artwork or a tutorial, it’s still something that needs to be credited. Otherwise, people are just going to accuse you of stealing content or claiming the content as your own, which will involve deep shit at the end, something you don’t want to be involved in.
#7 – DON’T USE STOLEN CONTENT IN YOUR HACK
This happens rarely, but it can happen from time to time and it isn’t funny at all. Let’s say the source code for a hack got leaked around, that doesn’t mean you use it, otherwise it’s the same as stealing content. Even if you ripped something out such as the Super Peel-Out in Sonic Megamix, you’re still going to be caught out due to its distinct features. If you steal, you get what’s coming to you, usually in the form of a ban.
Has that helped in any form? If so, donate to the Jun Senoue Cat Fund, which provides unwanted cats to a new owner who will use them in a good way, as an instrument for Sonic the Hedgehog 4! If it hasn’t, then I don’t know what else would. Thanks for reading, now have a cup of tea. Pip pip!