What is the ROM Hack Template?

By now you have might have heard of something called the ROM Hack Template. So far I’ve only given a basic explanation as to what it is. Due to this it seems that there are people that do not understand what it is. This article will be an attempt to better explain what the ROM Hack Template is and explain how it works. Please make sure to read this completely before applying for this team.

The ROM Hack Template uses a concept that that some people have tried in the past. With the ROM Hack Template you do not edit your ROM directly. It is actually a project not that different than some of the C projects you may have seen already. You make your changes in the project and then apply it to get your game.

What are the benefits of using it?

There are several benefits to using it, the biggest one that comes to mind is the compatibility with git. It allows for multiple people to work on the same ROM hack at once. Also the commits becomes your change log. If you make a change that breaks the game you can just reverse it. Gone are the days of having to pass around a ROM and waiting for someone to be done before you can work on it.

This method also helps to save on space. Currently, every time you update a script it takes new space every time. Every time you update an image you put it into new space. Of course there are ways to clean up the old data first, but not many ever do it so space is wasted.  With the Template you apply your changes to a clean ROM each time so no space is wasted.

Another feature that is being worked on is the support for multiple languages. You can compile your ROM hack in several languages,

Is this similar to a disassembly?

It is similar in some ways but it is not the same thing. A true disassembly has all of the games code available, ready to be edited. The ROM Hack Template only contains your changes. You don’t have to sift through everything. You just go for what you want to edit. Everything that is currently being worked on, like the Emerald Battle Engine Upgrade, is compatible with the ROM Hack Template. These type of things require some work to implement in the current disassemblies.  One big thing to note is that we can work on the ROM Hack Template right away. The disassemblies are far from being done. The ROM Hack Template can be seen as a best of both worlds type of thing.

What tools will the ROM Hack Template have?

The Template will have several tools to make certain things a little easier. Things like map editing are kind of annoying to do in hex or text files. For things like that editors will be included to make things easier. There will also be dumpers and converters for different kinds of data. This will allow people to port over their ROM hacks if they choose to. One good thing is that these tools should, in theory, be compatible with the disassemblies.

When will it be available?

There is no official release date at this time. The team is working on it. I would like to have it available by this Christmas. If we’re able to get it out sooner we will.