Wednesday, September 21, 2011


So, I set up an image blog at Tumblr.  It's really easy to post images there, so I've been posting a ton of stuff there.  Mostly anime related stuff, but also some math jokes, funny stuff, and animated gifs.  Check it out!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Decompressing Archive Files

I've been decompressing archive files recently.  It's a lot of fun; it makes me feel like a detective.  I started after I read this blog post ( about extracting resources from a Final Fantasy PSP game.  I had wanted to do this sort of thing when I was in high school, but I didn't even know where to start.  I wondered how I'd fare now after years working as a programmer.

I followed that blog's links for a while and came across this useful guide ( and this great forum (  After reading the guide and following the Quake example, I felt I was ready to try an archive on my own.  It really wasn't very hard, just time consuming.  I found it was generally true for all the different archives I ended up working on.

Decompressing an archive is reverse engineering how the data is compressed, so most of the challenge is in detecting patterns and guessing at data structure... which is pretty fun.  Things go better with good tools and more experience, but there's always a lot of trial and error.  Success can rely heavily on luck.  Sometimes the archives can just be too confusing or sometimes the encryption is too hard to reverse.  I haven't come across too many "impossible" examples, but I haven't done too many archives either.

I decided to document (with some side comments in orange/brown) how I solved my first solo archive to hopefully help people who are just starting out themselves.  This isn't the best or most efficient way of doing it (in fact, it may not even be completely correct), but it should be a good starting point to understand how it can be done.  I did this on a Windows XP machine over a (long) evening.

I chose the game Half Minute Hero, which is a sprite based PSP game.  It's a great great game, so I suggest you buy a copy.  You can get it on XBox Live too.  It's one of my favorite games, although that's probably due to my increasing ADD tendencies.  It's a mashup of a puzzle game and JRPG, as well as a sort of a deconstruction and parody of NES/SNES JRPGs.

My goal was to rip the sprites from the PSP version of Half Minute Hero.  This is how I did it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Half Minute Hero Review

* The previous owner of this blog wrote up this review and wanted it posted up.  I've also played the game and think it's great.
Half Minute Hero is an awesome game and you should buy it. At the very least, you should watch some video gameplay or try the demo. This game is an innovative mashup of different genres (primarily JRPG and puzzle) and I think it's very, very entertaining. If you enjoyed the PSP original, ever enjoyed JRPGs in your life, like to play puzzle games, or like quirky/innovative games... you should just stop reading and buy the game. If you're on the fence, I'll do my best to describe to you what this game is and what this game is not. I'm going to write a lot, but it's necessary to give a good picture of this game.

(If you've played the PSP version before, skip to the end of the review for a list of changes made.)

As you can tell, I'm a huge fan of this game. I enjoyed it a lot on the PSP and I enjoy it even more on the xbox. I'm going to be very enthusiastic in this review since I don't think many people even know the game exists and it can use all the hype it can get. But I seriously encourage you to at least try the demo, it's such a interesting concept that I think most gamers should at least experience it.

I can't guarantee you'll like it. But who definitely won't like Half Minute Hero? People who loathe solving puzzles, the JRPG concept, quirky games, or non turnbased games. People who like the genres they're already playing and don't want to try something new. People who buy it expecting it to be a traditional JRPG. People who hate quirky games or who need top of the line graphics and voice acting to enjoy a game. People who need to spend more than 60 hours on a 10 dollar game just to get all the achievements.

By the way, this game does not take 30 seconds to beat. It's not a 60 hour game either, but there isn't any fat... no grinding hours for items or toiling on mindless tasks.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lost Odyssey Dream Transcripts

Lost Odyssey is a JRPG for the XBox360, with music by Nobuo Uematsu and direction by the father of Final Fantasy.  It was a decent RPG... but what really made it stand out were the "dreams" scattered throughout the game.  The dreams were short stories about the life and experiences of the immortal main character prior to the game.  They are nice, melancholic reads.  You don't have to play the game to understand them, they're completely stand alone.

You can read all of them here:

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