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Showing all posts tagged debug- and card-flipping-

📝 Posted:
🚚 Summary of:
P0214, P0215
158a91e...414770c, 414770c...3123c9d
💰 Funded by:
Ember2528, Yanga
🏷 Tags:
rec98+ th01+ animation+ blitting+ score+ card-flipping- glitch+ rng+ debug-

Last blog post before the 100% completion of TH01! The final parts of REIIDEN.EXE would feel rather out of place in a celebratory blog post, after all. They provided quite a neat summary of the typical technical details that are wrong with this game, and that I now get to mention for one final time:

But hey, there's an error message if you start REIIDEN.EXE without a resident MDRV2 or a correctly prepared resident structure! And even a good, user-friendly one, asking the user to launch the batch file instead. For some reason, this convenience went out of fashion in the later games.

The Game Over animation (how fitting) gives us TH01's final piece of weird sprite blitting code, which seriously manages to include 2 bugs and 3 quirks in under 50 lines of code. In test mode (game t or game d), you can trigger this effect by pressing the ⬇️ down arrow key, which certainly explains why I encountered seemingly random Game Over events during all the tests I did with this game…
The animation appears to have changed quite a bit during development, to the point that probably even ZUN himself didn't know what he wanted it to look like in the end:

The original version unblits a 32×32 rectangle around Reimu that only grows on the X axis… for the first 5 frames. The unblitting call is only run if the corresponding sprite wasn't clipped at the edges of the playfield in the frame before, and ZUN uses the animation's frame number rather than the sprite loop variable to index the per-sprite clip flag array. The resulting out-of-bounds access then reads the sprite coordinates instead, which are never 0, thus interpreting all 5 sprites as clipped.
This variant would interpret the declared 5 effect coordinates as distinct sprites and unblit them correctly every frame. The end result is rather wimpy though… hardly appropriate for a Game Over, especially with the original animation in mind.
This variant would not unblit anything, and is probably closest to what the final animation should have been.

Finally, we get to the big main() function, serving as the duct tape that holds this game together. It may read rather disorganized with all the (actually necessary) assignments and function calls, but the only actual minor issue I've seen there is that you're robbed of any pellet destroy bonus collected on the final frame of the final boss. There is a certain charm in directly nesting the infinite main gameplay loop within the infinite per-life loop within the infinite stage loop. But come on, why is there no fourth scene loop? :zunpet: Instead, the game just starts a new REIIDEN.EXE process before and after a boss fight. With all the wildly mutated global state, that was probably a much saner choice.

The final secrets can be found in the debug stage selection. ZUN implemented the prompts using the C standard library's scanf() function, which is the natural choice for quick-and-dirty testing features like this one. However, the C standard library is also complete and utter trash, and so it's not surprising that both of the scanf() calls do… well, probably not what ZUN intended. The guaranteed out-of-bounds memory access in the select_flag route prompt thankfully has no real effect on the game, but it gets really interesting with the 面数 stage prompt.
Back in 2020, I already wrote about 📝 stages 21-24, and how they're loaded from actual data that ZUN shipped with the game. As it now turns out, the code that maps stage IDs to STAGE?.DAT scene numbers contains an explicit branch that maps any (1-based) stage number ≥21 to scene 7. Does this mean that an Extra Stage was indeed planned at some point? That branch seems way too specific to just be meant as a fallback. Maybe Asprey was on to something after all…

However, since ZUN passed the stage ID as a signed integer to scanf(), you can also enter negative numbers. The only place that kind of accidentally checks for them is the aforementioned stage ID → scene mapping, which ensures that (1-based) stages < 5 use the shrine's background image and BGM. With no checks anywhere else, we get a new set of "glitch stages":

TH01's stage -1
Stage -1
TH01's stage -2
Stage -2
TH01's stage -3
Stage -3
TH01's stage -4
Stage -4
TH01's stage -5
Stage -5

The scene loading function takes the entered 0-based stage ID value modulo 5, so these 4 are the only ones that "exist", and lower stage numbers will simply loop around to them. When loading these stages, the function accesses the data in REIIDEN.EXE that lies before the statically allocated 5-element stages-of-scene array, which happens to encompass Borland C++'s locale and exception handling data, as well as a small bit of ZUN's global variables. In particular, the obstacle/card HP on the tile I highlighted in green corresponds to the lowest byte of the 32-bit RNG seed. If it weren't for that and the fact that the obstacles/card HP on the few tiles before are similarly controlled by the x86 segment values of certain initialization function addresses, these glitch stages would be completely deterministic across PC-98 systems, and technically canon… :tannedcirno:
Stage -4 is the only playable one here as it's the only stage to end up below the 📝 heap corruption limit of 102 stage objects. Completing it loads Stage -3, which crashes with a Divide Error just like it does if it's directly selected. Unsurprisingly, this happens because all 50 card bytes at that memory location are 0, so one division (or in this case, modulo operation) by the number of cards is enough to crash the game.
Stage -5 is modulo'd to 0 and thus loads the first regular stage. The only apparent broken element there is the timer, which is handled by a completely different function that still operates with a (0-based) stage ID value of -5. Completing the stage loads Stage -4, which also crashes, but only because its 61 cards naturally cause the 📝 stack overflow in the flip-in animation for any stage with more than 50 cards.

And that's REIIDEN.EXE, the biggest and most bloated PC-98 Touhou executable, fully decompiled! Next up: Finishing this game with the main menu, and hoping I'll actually pull it off within 24 hours. (If I do, we might all have to thank 32th System, who independently decompiled half of the remaining 14 functions…)

📝 Posted:
🚚 Summary of:
P0128, P0129
dc65b59...dde36f7, dde36f7...f4c2e45
💰 Funded by:
🏷 Tags:
rec98+ th01+ file-format+ gameplay+ card-flipping- waste+ debug- hidden-content+ bug+

So, only one card-flipping function missing, and then we can start decompiling TH01's two final bosses? Unfortunately, that had to be the one big function that initializes and renders all gameplay objects. #17 on the list of longest functions in all of PC-98 Touhou, requiring two pushes to fully understand what's going on there… and then it immediately returns for all "boss" stages whose number is divisible by 5, yet is still called during Sariel's and Konngara's initialization 🤦

Oh well. This also involved the final file format we hadn't looked at yet – the STAGE?.DAT files that describe the layout for all stages within a single 5-stage scene. Which, for a change is a very well-designed form– no, of course it's completely weird, what did you expect? Development must have looked somewhat like this:

With all that, it's almost not worth mentioning how there are 12 turret types, which only differ in which hardcoded pellet group they fire at a hardcoded interval of either 100 or 200 frames, and that they're all explicitly spelled out in every single switch statement. Or how the layout of the internal card and obstacle SoA classes is quite disjointed. So here's the new ZUN bugs you've probably already been expecting!

Cards and obstacles are blitted to both VRAM pages. This way, any other entities moving on top of them can simply be unblitted by restoring pixels from VRAM page 1, without requiring the stationary objects to be redrawn from main memory. Obviously, the backgrounds behind the cards have to be stored somewhere, since the player can remove them. For faster transitions between stages of a scene, ZUN chose to store the backgrounds behind obstacles as well. This way, the background image really only needs to be blitted for the first stage in a scene.

All that memory for the object backgrounds adds up quite a bit though. ZUN actually made the correct choice here and picked a memory allocation function that can return more than the 64 KiB of a single x86 Real Mode segment. He then accesses the individual backgrounds via regular array subscripts… and that's where the bug lies, because he stores the returned address in a regular far pointer rather than a huge one. This way, the game still can only display a total of 102 objects (i. e., cards and obstacles combined) per stage, without any unblitting glitches.
What a shame, that limit could have been 127 if ZUN didn't needlessly allocate memory for alpha planes when backing up VRAM content. :onricdennat:

And since array subscripts on far pointers wrap around after 64 KiB, trying to save the background of the 103rd object is guaranteed to corrupt the memory block header at the beginning of the returned segment. :zunpet: When TH01 runs in debug mode, it correctly reports a corrupted heap in this case.
After detecting such a corruption, the game loudly reports it by playing the "player hit" sound effect and locking up, freezing any further gameplay or rendering. The locking loop can be left by pressing ↵ Return, but the game will simply re-enter it if the corruption is still present during the next heapcheck(), in the next frame. And since heap corruptions don't tend to repair themselves, you'd have to constantly hold ↵ Return to resume gameplay. Doing that could actually get you safely to the next boss, since the game doesn't allocate or free any further heap memory during a 5-stage card-flipping scene, and just throws away its C heap when restarting the process for a boss. But then again, holding ↵ Return will also auto-flip all cards on the way there… 🤨

Finally, some unused content! Upon discovering TH01's stage selection debug feature, probably everyone tried to access Stage 21, just to see what happens, and indeed landed in an actual stage, with a black background and a weird color palette. Turns out that ZUN did ship an unused scene in SCENE7.DAT, which is exactly what's loaded there.
However, it's easy to believe that this is just garbage data (as I initially did): At the beginning of "Stage 22", the game seems to enter an infinite loop somewhere during the flip-in animation.

Well, we've had a heap overflow above, and the cause here is nothing but a stack buffer overflow – a perhaps more modern kind of classic C bug, given its prevalence in the Windows Touhou games. Explained in a few lines of code:

void stageobjs_init_and_render()
	int card_animation_frames[50]; // even though there can be up to 200?!
	int total_frames = 0;

	(code that would end up resetting total_frames if it ever tried to reset

The number of cards in "Stage 22"? 76. There you have it.

But of course, it's trivial to disable this animation and fix these stage transitions. So here they are, Stages 21 to 24, as shipped with the game in STAGE7.DAT:

TH01 stage 21, loaded from <code>STAGE7.DAT</code>TH01 stage 22, loaded from <code>STAGE7.DAT</code>TH01 stage 23, loaded from <code>STAGE7.DAT</code>TH01 stage 24, loaded from <code>STAGE7.DAT</code>

Wow, what a mess. All that was just a bit too much to be covered in two pushes… Next up, assuming the current subscriptions: Taking a vacation with one smaller TH01 push, covering some smaller functions here and there to ensure some uninterrupted Konngara progress later on.