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Member of the Month - May 2017
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Display Case - Interview Archive - Member of the Month - May 2017
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This is not the 3am show and never will be. I have never presented it nor shall I ever. I'm usually asleep by then. If you like the 3am show, ask Impetus for it and she might present another instalment another time.

Anyway, we have the super-clever Codec for this month's Member of the Month! For those who don't know, he's the guy that updated AddMusicK recently. Turns out there's a lot more in the pipeline too...

Tahixham Hey, Codec! Congrats on being May's Member of the Month. How you doing?
Codec I'm doing great! I am glad to be considered for such a nomination.
I hope you're doing fine as well, Tahixham.

Tahixham I'm good thanks! So, the most obvious way for me to start is by asking about the AddMusicK update. What made you want to update it?
Codec Well, an interesting question for sure. I have been always fascinated with what makes older systems tick and, with the SNES being my favorite, I noticed that the SPC700 chip's potential tends to be relatively uncharted.
I had quietly lurked SMWCentral for several years, but after a while, I decided to finally pluck up and participate, and what better way than by improving a widely-used piece of software?

Tahixham That was something I was also going to ask you, as I'd heard you'd lurked for quite a while.
Codec Indeed. I've actually learned 65816 assembly nearly 10 years ago and watched the SMWC community grow the entire time, but I tended to be a fairly private person, so I never showed my work.
Tahixham As you've seen the community change and grow over all that time, what do you think of the way it's changed?
Codec It's definitely far more advanced than when I started observing it in 2008. However, it seems to have gotten somewhat quieter in the last handful of years. I suspect Super Mario Maker helped contribute to that, which is reasonable, since I believe Nintendo actively tried to cater to the popularity of SMW and SMB3 level editors because they saw it's potential market. Despite this, there is still quite a
bit of innovation going on among the bigger hackers within the community, and that I am glad for.
Tahixham I see. Do you intend to hang around for years to come? Or at least, would you like to?
Codec I'd like to participate and contribute some other programs for the community. However, how many years I'd be able to do so remains uncertain. At the very least, if I have the time, I'll try to keep an eye on what's going on and contribute when I can.

Tahixham Of course, lives change all the time and you never know what will come up. Do you have more plans for AMK?
Codec Indeed I do. I actually plan on making a successor program derived from the work I've done on AMK to allow some new features not possible with AMK's current structuring. While AMK 1.1 will most certainly exit beta, my plan is to keep AMK 1.1 compatible with AMK 1.05 hacks safely and to make the new program have more changes to how the SPC700 and the 5A22 communicate to facilitate more complex commands.

Tahixham Can you explain a bit for about the SPC700 and 5A22 for those (like me!) who don't understand much of SMW's and the SNES' inner-workings? You don't have to go into loads of detail, just briefly if you can!
Codec Well, basically, the SPC700 and 5A22 communicate with just 4 8-bit registers. $2140-$2143. $1DF9-$1DFC are in fact mirrors that send their info to these addresses to communicate with the SPC700 chip. The 5A22 chip itself is the main CPU which most people are familiar with.
Super Mario World uses two registers for sending most of the sound effects, $2140 and $2143 (mirrored to $1DF9 and $1DFC).
I wish to combine these communications in the future on the 5A22 side, and to set up the sound effects to be sent in a queue to avoid any issues of overwriting. Yoshi's Island actually uses a queue for it's sound effects for a similar reason.

Tahixham I see (I think, heh). How did you become interested in tool programming, or just generally programming overall?
Codec I've always been an avid video game fan, so I eventually wanted to learn how these games were actually created. In regards to tool programming, it's somewhat straightforward that you can usually achieve results faster by setting up a tool to do most of the work for you. After all, you can see that in particular with sound effects within the SMWC community. No one wanted to deal with writing them in raw
8-bit hex values because this is a misery to actually understand what's going on. This was actually the biggest reason I got into modifying AMK, as I felt sound effect creation was the most heavily unexplored facet of the game.

Tahixham As its unexplored and uncharted, like you said. With AMK, are you sort of working in the dark and have to work out a lot of things to yourself with regards to the chip?
Codec I fortunately was able to locate several documents on the internet that I was able to review thoroughly, and much like Kipernal, I was able to use Love Labo's disassemblies of several SPC engines (including analyizing those by Square and other companies besides Nintendo) to get a grasp of how they function.
Several of the features were inspired by comparing the N-SPC engine (and by virtue of that, what AMK changed) with those others.
However, the sound effect and slowdown improvement are not based on this, and were solved through means I had to come up with mostly on my own, though partially derived from the remnants of broken sound effect code that was present in AMK.

Tahixham Have you ever made your own SMW hacking projects? Whether it be ports, compositions or even a hack?
Codec About 8 or so years ago I did make some sprites and music ports that I never uploaded. While the former would potentially hold up well, the music ports are both inaccurate and from before even AddmusicM was out, so they almost certainly did not age well. haha
I never created a bonafide hack.
However, I have been working on an SNES homebrew project that tries to imagine a different direction for a sequal of SMW.

Tahixham Sounds interesting. Is porting and coding something you'd like to come back to again in the future?
Codec Certainly. I believe that the power of the SA-1 has been relatively untapped even by Nintendo as it was mostly utilized very late in the system's life, and I'd like to try to see how to push it to it's limits in different ways than one would expect.
Only two platformers actually used the SA-1 from what I recall, Kirby Super Star and Kirby's Dream Land 3, but the former used it mainly to help with AI and animation calculations and the latter to keep track of how relatively busy the visuals are.
I'd like to use the SA-1 in a different direction geared more toward level manipulation, instead.
Tahixham Level manipulation?
Codec Well, instead of being more oriented to how sprites behave (although they will not be simple), it's geared more to how levels move. Think of like how levels undulate when Yoshi touches a Fuzzy in Yoshi's Island thanks to mode 2. Similarly, the level engine is not limited to one primary direction like Super Mario World's is, but instead takes a more Yoshi's Island-esque approach where "screens" can be
offset in any direction.
Alternatively, think of something like how Super Mario Bros has looping sections if you take the wrong path. Things like that.
Tahixham Ah, that makes sense.
Codec However, I can not reveal anything yet visually.
Tahixham Ohh, still in the works then.
Codec Indeed. I have no estimate for when it will be complete, even though most of it is already planned out thoroughly.
It tries to appeal to why people enjoy SMB3 and SMW, though while taking some cues from SM64, and has a fairly large emphasis on powerups.

Tahixham I've longed for more powerups in SMW for ages, LX5 fulfilled my wish, heh.
So, I asked you previously what you thought of the SMWC community so far... What do you think of the future of it and SMW hacking in general?
Codec Well, while I prefer the SA-1 chip, it'd be interesting to see if some bigger headway was made with SuperFX2 compatibility. I think the future for the SMWC community will remain fairly robust. I believe advances with familiarity with the SA-1 chip will provide a boost in concepts within the next year or so, although to what degree remains uncertain. I am looking forward to several of the hacks that I've seen videos of that are currently-unreleased works-in-progress.

Tahixham Well, that's pretty much all I've got for you! Anything you want to throw in?
Codec Shoutouts to the people that helped provide input and opinions on how AMK should be improved, it wouldn't be here in it's current state without you!
Tahixham Whoo! Well, thanks very much Codec! Enjoy your custom name colour, haha.
Codec Glad to talk!

go congratulate and stuff
Originally posted by Tahixham
If you like the 3am show, ask Impetus for it and he


Codec is a good boy


Originally posted by lion

that was legit a typo I knew that... fixed
Ah yes, Codec. A user who definitely deserves this title since he's put way more hours into making something for the community than a hobbyist should.

or as oj simpson would say mmmh yes that's the good shit my mannn 👌
this was a great read, I always love getting insight into the more complex sides of SMW hacking I dont know much about. Plus, it's always great when somebody gets to gush about something they're interested in!

Congrats Codec!! 👌#fim{:B}

A much deserved choice! Congratulations Codec! Looking forward to the pitch oscillation stuff you plan to add to the new AMK!
Congrats Codec! I was personally not aware of your work until recently oops, but it's really astonishing how much dedication you've been putting into making us a better tool. Your effort absolutely cannot go unnoticed :)

Also this was some great interview structuring, good job goose 👌
Been checking the thread for the beta version of AMK every once in a while, and I could already notice how much effort you put to it. I haven't downloaded it myself but I will soon.

Congrats Codec. This was definitely deserved!
I think I'm just going to echo the consensus of the entire thread. Congrats on MotM, congrats on making AMK1.1, seriously, huge deal, and congrats for just being a cool person all around. I hope you see fit to interact more with the community in the future, because you seem really cool, but I get it if not.

Still, glad to have someone like you around regardless!

I've become very grumpy these last few years, and have been biting my tongue here in SMWC's forums quite a bit. I just want to let you all know that if ever I come off as harsh, I still care about you all. You guys are great.

(Avatar by, butchered by me)
Congrats and good work!

Your layout has been removed.
Extremely deserving. He didn't make it too clear from the interview, but this guy has gone above and beyond for Yoshi's Island too, has become a big contributor to the disassembly repo. All BRR files are segregated into separate files now, and much better segregation of all other sound data too. THANK YOU and congrats!
congrats dude, now finish that PWM feature so we promote you to admin.

But realtalk, thanks for your effort on improving the tool.
Oh! I haven't tried the newest AMK just yet. Good job, Codec!
Not sure where to put here... or is it? (Also: Yay! Old layout!)
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holy shit kamek, chill with the burns


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