Aside: Editing a ROM

If you've done any ROMhacking before, such as in another community or even by following older FE tutorials, you may be used to the idea that your Working ROM is your entire project. In fact, many of the older tools you may see people refer to, such as FEditor or Nightmare are designed to modify a ROM in-place -- that is, you change something, hit save, your old ROM is gone and an edited ROM has taken its place. This is akin to how most real file editors work (open file, edit, hit save).

This is not how our project is going to work.

Those of you who've worked with gigantic projects before may have spotted an issue with the old process. Namely, what if I mess up? This isn't so much of a concern for, say, word documents, as you can undo, copy-paste, whatever to restore your older version and fix mistakes. This is not so true for ROM hacking, where our ROM can be modified by all sorts of tools, often in more ways than we even realize. Mistakes can go undetected for weeks or even months of work, resulting in one of two scenarios:

  1. Restore from backup (assuming we even have one), necessitating those weeks and months of work be redone onto the fixed ROM

  2. Attempt to fix in-place, requiring possibly hours of research and debugging to even find the bug, as well as potentially introducing more errors when a fix is hacked on.

Needless to say, this is often a painful experience, and can even cause a project to slow or stop entirely.

Instead, we're going to be rebuilding our project from scratch, every time we change anything.

"Wait, what?"

Yeah, you heard me! Every time we make a change to the project, we're going to be remaking the new ROM from the raw base.

Not by hand, of course.

The key to all of this is that buildfile you just made. As the name may suggest, this buildfile is a file that says how to build our project. So if we want to change the project, we just have to change the buildfile! This means we get to take advantage of easy undo operations, human-readable changes and even more advanced things like Version Control! Fixing an old mistake is as simple as changing a few lines in our buildfile (or its included files -- we'll get there).

Those of you with programming experience may realize that our buildfile is our project's source code, and Event Assembler is our compiler. This way, the project folder is our entire project, not the output ROM.

Last updated