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๐Ÿ“ Posted:
๐Ÿšš Summary of:
P0216
โŒจ Commits:
3123c9d...a0ff3f1
๐Ÿ’ฐ Funded by:
JonathKane
๐Ÿท Tags:
rec98 th01 meta

On August 15, 1997, at Comiket 52, an unknown doujin developer going by the name of ZUN released his first game, ๆฑๆ–น้ˆ็•ฐไผใ€€๏ฝž The Highly Responsive to Prayers, marking the start of the Touhou Project game series that keeps running to this day. Today, exactly 25 years later, the C++ source code to version 1.10 of that game has been completely and perfectly reconstructed, reviewed, and documented.

The TH01 title image.

And with that, a warm welcome to all game journalists who have (re-)discovered this project through these news! Here's a summary for everyone who doesn't want to go through 3 years worth of blog posts:

What does this mean?
What does this not mean?

So while this milestone opened the floodgates to PC-98-native mods, I wouldn't advise trying to attempt a port away from PC-98 right now. But then again, I have a financial interest in being a part of the porting process, and who knows, maybe you can just merge in a PC-98 emulator core and get started with something halfway decent in a short amount of time. After all, TH01 is by far the easiest PC-98 Touhou game to port to other systems, as it makes the least use of hardware features.

However, this game in particular raises the question of what exactly one would even want to port. TH01 is a broken flicker-fest that overwhelmingly suffers the drawbacks of PC-98 hardware rather than using it to its advantage. Out of the 78 bugs that I ended up labeling as such, the majority are sprite blitting issues, while you can count the instances of good hardware use on one hand.
And even at the level of game logic, this game features a lot of weird, inconsistent behavior. Less rigorous projects such as uth05win would probably promptly identify these issues as bugs and fix them. On the one hand, this shows that there is a part of the community that wants sane versions of these games which behave as expected. In other parts of the community though, such projects quickly gain the reputation of being too inaccurate to bother about them.

Some terminology might help here. If you look over the ReC98 codebase, you'll find that I classified any weird code into three categories:

Some examples:

Since I'm not in the business of writing fanfiction, I won't offer any option that fixes quirks. That's where all of you can come in, and use ReC98 as a base for remasters and remakes. As for bloat and bugs though, there are many ways we could go from here:

Then again, with all these choices in mind, maybe we should just let TH01 be what it is: ZUN's first game, evidence for the truth that no programmer writes good code the first time around, and more of a historical curiosity than anything you'd want to maintain and modernize. The idea of moving on to the next game and decompiling all 5 PC-98 Touhou games in order has certainly shown to be popular among the backers who funded this 100% goal.


Since the beginning of the year, I've been dramatically raising the level of quality and care I've been putting into this project, leading to 9 of the 10 longest blog posts having been written in the past 8 months. The community reception has been even more supportive as well, with all of you still regularly selling out the store in return. To match the level of quality with the community demand, I'm raising push prices from to per push, as of this blog post. ๐Ÿ“ As usual, I'm going to deliver any existing orders in the backlog at the value they were originally purchased at. Due to the way the cap has to be calculated, these contributions now appear to have increased in value by 25%.

However, I do realize that this might make regular pushes prohibitively expensive for some. This could especially prevent all these exciting modding goals from ever getting off the ground. Thinking about it though, the push system is only really necessary for the core reverse-engineering business, where longer, concentrated stretches of work allow me to study a new piece of code in a larger context and improve the quality of the final result. In contrast, modding-related goals could theoretically be segmented into arbitrarily small portions of work, as I have a clear idea of where I want to go and how to get there.
Thus, I'm introducing microtransactions, now available for all modding-related goals. These allow you to order fractional pieces of work for as low as 1 โ‚ฌ, which I will immediately deliver without requiring others to fund a full push first. Edit (2022-08-16): And then the store still sold out with a single regular contribution by nrook towards more reverse-engineering. Guess that this experiment will have to wait a little while longer, thenโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜…

Next up: Taking a break and recovering from crunch time by improving video playback on this blog and working on Shuusou Gyoku, before returning to Touhou in September.