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  • Joined: 18 Jul 2020
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SMS Golden Axe Tyris Flare Edition ROM Hack
Post Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:13 am
Last edited by xfixium on Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:46 am; edited 1 time in total
This is a ROM hack that replaces Ax Battler (Tarik), with Tyris Flare, for the Sega Master System version of Golden Axe. This hack also replaces pretty much every graphic in the game, as well. It's currently in a WIP state, but there isn't much left to do.

What's left to do:
Write compression method for the SMS bin exporter
Play with a few compressed images to fit them within the ROM
Finish the final stage graphics (completed)
Go back and touch up some stage and object graphics

I will also push the source code for the editor to github as well as the project file for the Tyris Flare hack, when completed. I currently have a repository, but it needs to be updated, as there are bugs.
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_001.png (18.08 KB)
While the tile count is correct, this may need further fiddling to fit into the rom after compression.
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_001.png
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_002.png (14.13 KB)
While the tile count is correct, this may need further fiddling to fit into the rom after compression.
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_002.png
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_003.png (23.74 KB)
Stage 1 comparison
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_003.png
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_004.png (23.13 KB)
Stage 2 comparison
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_004.png
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_006.png (21.01 KB)
Stage 3 comparison
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_006.png
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_008.png (20.19 KB)
Stage 4 comparison
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_008.png
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_010.png (46.5 KB)
SMS Golden Axe Editor overall Sprite screen
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_010.png
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_011.png (10.7 KB)
SMS Golden Axe Editor import sprite dialog. It allows you to choose where you want your palette to be vs the target palette, as well as auto create the tile map
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_011.png
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_012.png (57.47 KB)
SMS Golden Axe Editor tileset screen, you can view how many tiles versus the original, as well as swap tiles around if needed
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_012.png
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_013.png (56.25 KB)
SMS Golden Axe Editor tilemap screen. You can edit the tilemap, you can also pick which tilemap to work on by clicking the arrow buttons all the way to the left.
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_013.png

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:00 am
This looks incredible
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:59 pm
Oh my god, your work is awesome!!.

Thak you for your time and effort making this hack possible.
Maybe having a physical copy would be incredible.
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:38 pm
Thank you for your work!! Great passion project!! I am looking forward to see and play the final result!!
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:14 pm
That looks awesome!
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:13 pm
You are doing great ;) Thankyou very much !!!
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:07 am
This is absolutely INCREDIBLE.

You seem to've polished up every single aspect of the game. No aspect seems to be worse!
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:41 am
Excellent & impressive work!
Even your editor seems very polished.
Congrats!

Feel free to make a bigger rom if 512k are not enough ^^

A "plus" can be to add a menu to choose the hero (Ax Battler,
Tyris Flare or Gilius Thunderhead). Maybe get in touch with our great Maxim ?
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:12 am
Incredible work! Looking forward to it.
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:29 am
Yes !!! Thank you !
Tyris is my favorite female SEGA character, so I'm more excited with this than the recent free game Golden Axed (PC) news.
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:20 am
OMG!!!!
Impressive work with the game and the editor.
In my wet dreams I can imagine some new games using that editor as kidded can do.
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:49 am
These new graphics look truly amazing. It's definitely a huge upgrade compared to the original. :)
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:43 am
This is really impressive! I wish you the best for this project.
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:57 am
Thanks for the feedback everyone! I didn't think this would garner much attention, guess I was wrong. So thanks again! As for the suggestions.

If I have to go over the 512k original size, so be it, but I'd like to fit everything in using the size limit. If other characters were to be introduced, then yeah, for that you'd definitely have to. This rom is pretty packed. There are a lot of limiting things, the palette would definitely be one of the biggest challenges if going for all 3 selectable characters.

I'm not really all that interested in doing that for the time being. This was basically just a quick side project, because I've always been a Golden Axe fan, and Tyris is one of my fave characters as well :)

That being said, I'll make sure everything is available for anyone who may be interested in pursuing further features. That means all graphic resources, the editor source and binaries, and the SMS Golden Axe project file. Which I hope would come in handy.

I would love to have a physical copy of this Tyris Flare edition. Just as a keepsake. One day I'll have to look into that. I've been shopping around for a SMS Mark III of late, just so I have one. I still have my Genesis and Dreamcast. Phantasy Star is still one of my favorite games of all time.

Right now I'm laying out the last stage. I believe I'll have that done this weekend, as well as cleaning up the other graphics that need a little more polish. The last thing would be handling the compressed images, and trying to fit them into the rom. So maybe 2 weekends worth of work? Then push the patches out for a beta test.
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:41 am
Fantastic work. I already seek your permission to make a showcase video of this when the time comes.
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:07 am
The space gains in the Phantasy Star retranslation came from recompressing a large amount of the artwork and rewiring the pointers throughout. Not a small task but it can get you a lot of extra space. If you’re already editing much of it then it may not be such a big deal. Of course I guess it has a lot of necessarily uncompressed art too which isn’t easy to compress.
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:26 pm
Tom wrote
Fantastic work. I already seek your permission to make a showcase video of this when the time comes.


Sounds great, I'm not familiar on what a showcase video means, but it sounds excellent lol

Maxim wrote
The space gains in the Phantasy Star retranslation came from recompressing a large amount of the artwork and rewiring the pointers throughout. Not a small task but it can get you a lot of extra space. If you’re already editing much of it then it may not be such a big deal. Of course I guess it has a lot of necessarily uncompressed art too which isn’t easy to compress.


So basically you're suggesting to compress the uncompressed image data in the ROM, to fit other graphics in? Then updating the pointers to that data? That would be pretty clever. That way, you could have your cake and eat it too, if the end result would be a rom still within the 512k limits. I'm not familiar with the overhead of uncompressing in game, but it doesn't seem to be that intensive? Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:40 pm
xfixium wrote
Tom wrote
Fantastic work. I already seek your permission to make a showcase video of this when the time comes.


Sounds great, I'm not familiar on what a showcase video means, but it sounds excellent lol
I can make a full playthrough from start to finish and upload it on Youtube for people to see, think about screenshots, but better. I do have less free time now that I work as a substitute teacher in a high school, but I'm sure I can work something out especially if they're going to close everything again because covid.
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:32 pm
Last edited by xfixium on Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:55 am; edited 1 time in total
Tom wrote
xfixium wrote
Tom wrote
Fantastic work. I already seek your permission to make a showcase video of this when the time comes.


Sounds great, I'm not familiar on what a showcase video means, but it sounds excellent lol
I can make a full playthrough from start to finish and upload it on Youtube for people to see, think about screenshots, but better. I do have less free time now that I work as a substitute teacher in a high school, but I'm sure I can work something out especially if they're going to close everything again because covid.


That would be great! I mean, except for the covid thing lol I wish someone would do that for the Psychic World rom hack too. I never seen that game before coming to this site.
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Post Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:52 pm
What I was thinking of may not be help much here. It looks like the game stores most of its tile data uncompressed in order to use it to make the "software sprites". Only a few areas like the title screen use a compressed format. If you find all art compressed this way, you can "free" the areas used for the art and the decompressor and replace it with a more powerful compressor and smaller art blocks. The decompressor is at offset $2df, if you catch all calls to that then you will find all the art too.

Doing this for Phantasy Star meant recompressing 71KB of data to 51KB, thus giving 20KB more space in the ROM, albeit in many small pieces.

Switching the game to use compressed art for sprites and backgrounds would likely slow it down too much, and be much more work.
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:48 am
Maxim wrote
What I was thinking of may not be help much here. It looks like the game stores most of its tile data uncompressed in order to use it to make the "software sprites". Only a few areas like the title screen use a compressed format. If you find all art compressed this way, you can "free" the areas used for the art and the decompressor and replace it with a more powerful compressor and smaller art blocks. The decompressor is at offset $2df, if you catch all calls to that then you will find all the art too.


Ah, I see. I may have to look into this if I can not reduce the compressed sizes of the images/tilemaps I want to put into the game. And thanks for sharing the offset location!

Maxim wrote
Switching the game to use compressed art for sprites and backgrounds would likely slow it down too much, and be much more work.


That is useful to know. I wasn't sure how much of a performance hit would come from it.

Edit: I managed to finish the last stage this weekend
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_014.png (19.03 KB)
I wanted that Eagle eye, as much as the turtle eye. Had to do some sacrificing, but I think it came out decently
sms_golden_axe_tyris_flare_014.png

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Post Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:30 am
Absolutely amazing the changes. Can't wait to play the game.
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Post Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:46 pm
This looks incredible!
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:35 am
hang-on wrote
This looks incredible!


Thank you for your information on the Altered Beast and Golden Axe trainers! It's the first thing I explored when I started researching this project. It was very helpful.
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:13 am
Wow if you are not increasing the rom size, I wonder why the original developers weren't able to design such impressive artwork.
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:33 am
PrOfUnD Darkness wrote
Wow if you are not increasing the rom size, I wonder why the original developers weren't able to design such impressive artwork.


My guess is budget and time constraints. Perhaps the limited graphic tools available at the time it was published, as well?

Edit: Touching up graphics, got all the stages where I like it now. Currently touching up game objects:
screen_40.png (9.8 KB)
Lt. Bitter and Death Adder comparisons
screen_40.png

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:47 am
xfixium wrote
My guess is budget and time constraints.


Time constraints are most likely. Iirc, Sega were notorious for giving their developers very tight deadlines (about three months per game from start to finish) for their Master System games.

Additionally, I think the artists were going for maximum readability with the plainer backgrounds. So in the end this might be an artistic decision, probably fueled by a short development cycle in the first place.
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:42 pm
Wow, this looks so great, nice job :)
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:40 pm
Kagesan wrote
xfixium wrote
My guess is budget and time constraints.


Time constraints are most likely. Iirc, Sega were notorious for giving their developers very tight deadlines (about three months per game from start to finish) for their Master System games.


Yeah, this is very true according to numerous developer interviews; Sega basically imposed the harshest sweatshop conditions for the majority of their in-house SMS titles. Deadlines for Arcade releases were super tight too - considering the bleeding edge nature of some of the hardware - but SMS projects were in their own league of tightness.
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Post Posted: Sun Oct 25, 2020 2:11 am
bumtree wrote
Kagesan wrote
xfixium wrote
My guess is budget and time constraints.


Time constraints are most likely. Iirc, Sega were notorious for giving their developers very tight deadlines (about three months per game from start to finish) for their Master System games.


Yeah, this is very true according to numerous developer interviews; Sega basically imposed the harshest sweatshop conditions for the majority of their in-house SMS titles. Deadlines for Arcade releases were super tight too - considering the bleeding edge nature of some of the hardware - but SMS projects were in their own league of tightness.


Going a bit off the topic, but I was thinking that after seeing Jeremy Parish latest videos (he had been reviewing every North American NES and every Game Boy release in chronological order, only recently taking some time to look at Atari and Sega's comparative offerings in the same time periods).

He finished the 7800 1986/1987 lineup in only two or three videos.
But the shocker was just how small that 7800 library was: is that right that TWO GAMES, two ports of older computer games, is all Atari could muster in 1987?
(though he's only done one Game Gear video since I think the Japanese launch games were all that was out by the end of 1990? Maybe one or two more by the end of the year?)

Guessing from that perspective, Sega probably felt a need for tight timelines to get a fair quantity of games out to put up a presence on the retail shelves?
At the least, I think it's safe to say he'll have more SMS games to talk about in 1986-1987 retrospective. :)
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:48 am
Wow!!!
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 5:12 pm
Awesome!!! the graphics look great, I wonder Can the 3 character be at the same time on screen since the blue, green and red are in life bars, forest, fire magic respectively, If the characters can then might be playable by romhacking keeping the fantastic art of yours.
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:57 pm
KingMike wrote

Guessing from that perspective, Sega probably felt a need for tight timelines to get a fair quantity of games out to put up a presence on the retail shelves?


Mark Cerny has said as much, complaining that early on, Sega put too much emphasis on quantity and not enough on quality in the SMS library. However, I've always felt that he was oversimplifying or perhaps just focusing on the worst examples in that regard, because quite a few of the earliest games in the library have some surprising hidden depth in the gameplay mechanics. Although a game like Great Basketball was not what a basketball game could or should be in 1986, something like Enduro Racer or The Ninja appeared to be quite simple at first but actually held some satisfying depth.

I think it was more problematic several years later, when you would see a game like Aerial Assault come out that was clearly inferior to a game like R-Type that had preceded it by a few years. It just made me wonder if developers were putting their junior staff on 8-bit games while the more senior staff were focused on building the 16-bit library.
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Post Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:22 am
Not to go too off topic but I agree. Despite the accounts of dubious deadlines and working conditions, a bunch of the early ones circa 1986 do Indeed hold up well.

The Ninja is a great example; while on the face of it it's a downgrade from the arcade original it really does prove to be the superior, more refined game.

Alex Kidd in Miracle World still defines the system to an extent.

Fantasy Zone is probably far better than a game quickly co-developed alongside the original ought to have been.

Anyway, I'm going to refamiliarise myself with Golden Axe SMS in anticipation of this remarkable looking overhaul..
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Post Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:58 am
[quote="Centrale"]
KingMike wrote

It just made me wonder if developers were putting their junior staff on 8-bit games while the more senior staff were focused on building the 16-bit library.


lol I thought this as well. Also, there are no credits for this game at the end. Not that every game had credits at the end though, but it's highly sus.

Thanks again for the encouraging words everyone! Like I said previously, I'm reworking some of the graphics atm. I didn't have the time this weekend to finish, unfortunately. So, it continues forward, till this weekend, I should be free to polish it off.
screen_41.png (9.15 KB)
Screwing around with the SMS palette and Adder family. Touched up his mask, as it was a tad flat before.
screen_41.png

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Post Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:20 am
[quote="Centrale"]
KingMike wrote

I think it was more problematic several years later, when you would see a game like Aerial Assault come out that was clearly inferior to a game like R-Type that had preceded it by a few years. It just made me wonder if developers were putting their junior staff on 8-bit games while the more senior staff were focused on building the 16-bit library.


In a Spanish Megaforce magazine issue around 1991, they already said that Juniors went to the Master System division, later promoting to Megadrive one and later on to the Arcade.
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:48 pm
very good work, i love golden axe :>
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Post Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2020 9:41 pm
Hi all, wanted to give an update, as I unfortunately have been busy with other things. My bro gave me 2 of his Game Gears a while back that didn't work, for me to fix. I replaced the caps in both. Both were worked after recapping, but the screen of the older one was still screwed. So I bought one of those McWill screens, and that took up my last weekend, and some of the one prior.

I'm back on this project this weekend, I have one last thing I want to touch up (re-sprite) before a "beta" release for testing. I also got my son a ps vita, and set up retroarch on it. So I loaded the modded rom on it for giggles.
20201105_191920.jpg (3.83 MB)
McWill wiring up
20201105_191920.jpg
20201105_210925_1.jpg (1.43 MB)
McWill, my first time ever doing this. I'm actually surprised it worked XD
20201105_210925_1.jpg
20201107_162244.jpg (3.86 MB)
Golden Axe hack on a hacked PS Vita
20201107_162244.jpg

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 3:58 pm
You put alot of love in!
Looks like an early Megadrive game, wow!
Golden Axe already looked pretty cool for an 8 bit game, but this is just amazing
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