The New Romhacker's Bible

King Gideon Edition
(Last Updated March 2, 2007)


Welcome to The New Romhacker's Bible. This is a document aimed at users of almost every level, from someone who knows the basic Windows user interface (downloading and extracting .zip files is a must!), to the intermediate romhacker who wants to learn 65816, to the advanced level hacker who simply wants to know how Gideon does it all, this is THE document for you to read!

The purpose of this document is to introduce translation hacking to a new generation of users. While there are plenty of excellent documents out there, nearly all of them revolve around outdated, obsolete, otherwise buggy programs, or programs that, while being excellent software in their own right, simply do not work in Windows XP.

I aim to explain things in a simple manner, cleanly and concisely, complete with diagrams of the software I use and explanations of how and why things work. However, I am not going to bend over backwards to change an article if something is not adequately explained. You should not expect this to come particularly easy; if it does, you're either a natural or you're doing something wrong. I was not and still am not a natural.

I do not wish to simply teach people how to hack, however. Knowledge without understanding is useless, especially in this field where little to nothing is constant from game to game and your knowledge must be molded and adapted. As such, there will be a sizeable amount of theory and explanation packed in with the actual showing-how-to-do-stuff. To be an effective romhacker you're going to need to understand the theory, so please study it well.

Topics will be added to the sidebar on the left as the articles are written. Generally, this document will progress from the bare-bones basics to just about the most advanced hacking I'm personally capable of in order of increasing difficulty or advancedness. (Is that a word?) Please do not request additional articles until this document is complete.

The following are the core rules of romhacking:

You will not understand how things work without patience. You should not expect to truly understand how anything truly works without a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. And you should -always- go out on a limb on a long shot, or try something you think might just work, or simply systematically break the game until you achieve the desired effect. I do it all the time. It helps, trust me.

This document shall largely focus on SNES HiROM games, specifically using "Monstania" as an example. The reason for this is that a lot of things are technically easier to teach and understand on HiROM titles - once you get a grasp on HiROM, understanding other things (such as LoROM games, NES games, and Gameboy games) will be much easier and faster.

So, please enjoy this document. I hope it's helpful!