About the usefulness and difficulties of emulators

About the usefulness and difficulties of emulators

You probably heard of a concept called “emulation” if you read this blog often.  I even mentioned it several times when I was talking about glitch hunting or even just being able to see more in-depth what the game is doing.  If you actually never heard of it, the featured image of this post is actually illustrating that pretty well, you have Super Paper Mario, a wii game running on something that is clearly not a wii because of the specs info next to that window (its actually my system 🙂 ).  In fact, it’s clearly running of a program on the system which is again, nothing like a wii.  This is mainly what emulation allows you to do and not only it sounds awesome that you can do that, there’s actually much more extended uses of these programs that only these can offer.

First, I just want to tell a little experience I have been having with Dolphin in particular because I actually did (and probably will still) contributed to the project as it is open source (and learning about the project allowed me to do this post).

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The force 20 glitch explained – where undefined memory accesses can be manipulated

The force 20 glitch explained – where undefined memory accesses can be manipulated

I know I haven’t posted anything since months and in the mean time, my post on the flipping mechanics in Super Paper Mario just got a lot of views due to large interest on reddit, thank you on that btw 🙂

But considering what I am writing on right now, trust me, it was worth the wait.

One of the most fascinating glitches I could ever learn about are those that are in theory so undefined that you have to wonder how in the world the game wouldn’t crash and even worse, could even be with practical researches defined enough to have the glitch work in your favor through some clever manipulation of it.  This is why I still think the most fascinating glitch I learned about is the missingno glitch which I talk more about in this post .  The key part that I find it fascinating is how small the error is, but how elaborated it can become once you know about it.

The force 20 glitch from a game called Gotcha Force is a really great candidate for this description.  In fact, to get why, I think it’s better to just show it.  Here is a video made by the Dolphin emulator channel on YouTube showing an accurate emulation of the glitch and a crash that comes from it:

The first time JMC47 (the main Dolphin tester) showed this to me as a suggestion for me to research on it, I instantly knew: this is going to be awesome to research!

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My glitch hunting: how the flipping mechanic in Super Paper Mario works

My glitch hunting: how the flipping mechanic in Super Paper Mario works

First, I know I haven’t posted for around 2 weeks, but I had to take a break as my semester just ended and I really got happy to finally be back on glitch hunting Super Paper Mario.  Now, as I was streaming my glitch hunting session, I realised that I could use my blog to post about complex findings I would do that talks deeply about the engineering of the game I am testing.  One of the in my opinion most complex mechanic of Super Paper Mario (which I will call SPM from now on) is the core one: the flipping mechanic.  It is such a simple mechanic to use, but when testing it, it took me 2 weeks to completely figure it out due to how much stuff I had to figure out to just TEST it.  I hope I can find more so I can bring more glitch hunting related post to this blog, but this one was a good start at least.

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Unused data in video games

Unused data in video games

If you like to hear more about certain games, say you are a fan of some, you probably at least heard once a story about contents in the games that end up being unused, but it is factually still on the media.  There’s a variety of stories about ideas that were planned, but got cut in development and you could see traces in the files, contents that was in progress, but couldn’t be completed in time of the game release and even data that has nothing to do with the games.  Why do these contents even exists and what can they mean exactly?  This is what I am about to talk about and I will also bring examples to just show how this is not uncommon to happen.

But first, let clarify one thing that I see a lot of people mistake

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RNG or random number generator: the reality about luck in video games

RNG or random number generator: the reality about luck in video games

You probably know if you play a Pokemon game that the luck factor is present almost everywhere.  Getting encounters, dealing low or high damage, missing or hitting and even some rare stuff like getting a shiny or not.  You might wonder how is it possible in a software to have this luck factor in any software because you could be trying to find a pattern…..and you likely will not be able to unless you get really deep with the game (like checking its memory while it runs).  Well, it is designed so that you can’t find the pattern easily, but there is a pattern and depending on how robust it is, you can even manipulate that to your advantage.

The reality is there’s never true luck in any software, only numbers and algorithm called RNG.  this post will be about explaining them more deeply.

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Stereo imaging in video game music

Stereo imaging in video game music

Music in video games is for most a very important part to make the experience more immersive and in some cases more memorable.  Video game music (or VGM) is in my opinion a genre of its own that has a really wide variety of music that fits almost every situation due to this variety.  Depending on the atmosphere you want to have, the music can just feel different.  Although the instruments and sounds can be very important, one thing that I don’t tend to see talked much is how the music uses stereo sounds to not only make impressive effects, but also to make the audio very immersive.  This is why I had the idea to make a post on just that 🙂

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Seqeunce in video games: how are they made?

Seqeunce in video games: how are they made?

A sequence in a game is basically a sequence of triggers that determines where you are in the logical flow of the game.  Ever wondered how a game can have a flow that starts at the beginning, has a couple of events in the middle and eventually ends while all of this can happens in the same game with the same maps and everything?  The sequence (especially the linear one) is a mechanic that makes this possible and it is also related as to why there is a reason breaking it can result in entire section of the game being skipped or bypassed.

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