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rec98+ th01+ position-independence+ pc98+ thief-

🎉 TH01's OP.EXE and FUUIN.EXE are now fully position-independent! 🎉

What does this mean?

You can now add any data or code to TH01's main menu or ending cutscenes, by simply editing the ReC98 source, writing your mod in ASM or C++, and recompiling the code. Since all absolute memory addresses in OP and FUUIN have now been converted to labels, this will work without causing any instability. See the position independence section in the FAQ for a more thorough explanation about why this was a problem.
As an example, the most popular TH01 mod idea, replacing MDRV2 with PMD, could now at least be prototyped and tested in OP.EXE, without having to worry about x86 instruction lengths.
📝 Check the video I made for the TH04/TH05 OP.EXE PI announcement for a basic overview of how to do that.

What does this not mean?

The original ZUN code hasn't been completely decompiled yet. The final high-level parts of both the main menu and the cutscenes are still ASM, which might make modding a bit inconvenient right now.
It's not that much more code though, and could quickly be covered in a few pushes if requested. Due to the plentiful monthly subscriptions, the shop will stay closed for regular orders until the end of June, but backers with outstanding contributions could request that now if they want to – simply drop me a mail. Otherwise, the "generic TH01 RE" money will continue to go towards the main game. That way, we'll have more substance to show once we do decide to decompile the rest of OP.EXE and FUUIN.EXE, and likely get some press coverage as a result.

Then again, we've been building up to this point over the last few pushes, and it only really needed a quick look over the remaining false positives. The majority of the time therefore went towards more PI in REIIDEN.EXE, where the bitplane pointers for .BOS files yielded some quite big gains. Couldn't really find any obvious reason why ZUN used two slighly different variations on loading and blitting those files, though… :onricdennat:

As the final function in this rather random push, we got TH01's hardware-powered scrolling function, used for screen shaking effects and the scrolling backgrounds at the start of the Final Boss stages. And while I tried to document all these I/O writes… it turned out that ZUN actually copied the entire function straight from the PC-9801 Programmers' Bible, with no changes. :zunpet: It's the setgsta() example function on page 150. Which is terribly suboptimal and bloated – all those integer divisions are really not how you'd write such code for a 16-bit compiler from the 90's…

And that gives us 60% PI overall, and 50% PI over all of TH01! Next up: More structures… and classes, even?

📝 Posted:
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rec98+ th01+ file-format+ thief-

Last of the 3 weeks of almost full-time ReC98 work, supposedly the least stressful one, and then things still get delayed thanks to illness 😕 In better news though, it looks like I'll be able to extend these 3 weeks to 8, as my RL is shutting down for coronavirus reasons. I'm going to wait a bit for the dust to settle before raising the crowdfunding cap though, since RL might give me more to do from home after all. I may or may not also get commissioned for a non-Touhou translation patch project to be worked on in that time…

The .GRP file functions turned out to, of course, also be present in FUUIN.EXE. In fact, that binary had the largest share of progress in this push, since it's the only one to include another reimplementation of master.lib-style hardware palette fading. As a typical little ZUN inconsistency, the FUUIN.EXE version of one .GRP palette function directly calls one of these functions.

As for the functions themselves, they basically wrap the single-function Pi load and display library by 電脳科学研究所/BERO in a bowl of global state spaghetti. 🍝 At least the function names now clearly encode important side effects like, y'know, a changed hardware palette. The reason ZUN used this separate library over master.lib's PI loading functions was probably its support for defining a color as transparent. This feature is used for the red box in the main menu, and the large cyan Siddhaṃ seed syllables in (again) the Konngara fight.

Next up, we've got the .PTN format!

📝 Posted:
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rosenrose, [Anonymous]
🏷 Tags:
rec98+ th03+ thief-

No priorities, again…?! Please don't do this to me… 😕

Well, let's not continue with TH05 then 😛 And instead use the occasion to commit this interesting discovery, made by @m1yur1 last year. Yup, TH03's "ZUNSP" sprite driver is actually a "rebranded" version of Promisence Soft's SPRITE16.COM. Sure, you were allowed to use this driver in your own game, but replacing the copyright with your own isn't exactly the nicest thing to do… That now makes three library programmers that ZUN didn't credit. Makes me wonder what makes M. Kajihara so special. Probably the fact that Touhou has always been about the music for ZUN, first and foremost.

But what makes this more than a piece of trivia is the fact that Promiscence Soft's SPRITE16 sample game StormySpace was bundled with documentation on the driver. Shoutout to the Neo Kobe PC-98 collection for preserving he original release!

That means more documented third-party code that we don't necessarily have to reverse-engineer, just like master.lib or KAJA's PMD driver. However, the PC-98 EGC is rather complex and definitely not designed for alpha-tested 16-color sprite blitting. So it (once again) took quite a while to make sense of SPRITE16's code and the available documentation on the EGC, to come up with satisfying function names. As a result, I'm going to distribute the entire RE work related to TH03's SPRITE16 interface across a total of three pushes, this one being the first of them.

  • The second one will reverse-engineer the SPRITE16 code reachable from its interrupt handler, and also come with somewhat detailed English documentation on the PC-98 EGC raster ops in particular,
  • and the third one will cover TH03's sprite drawing functions, which look pretty undecompilable once again… (Update: 📝 Delivered and actually decompiled in P0060)

Next up, we do have more TH05 progress though, now for the first time specifically with position independence in mind. Pretty excited for this one!