TECH RELATED FAQ
Ok, I have a Sunday with particularly nothing to do so I decided to post a cute little sticky faq here as to let the newbies know what Tech Related is about. This is partially because I've been bumping off topic posts as of late. This will also serve as a "charter" of sorts to help clear up the difference between Tech Related and other technical boards, like Game Tweaking.1) What Tech Related is for:
Tech related is for the discussion of the Technical aspects of the various Final Fantasy video games created by Squaresoft. It's mostly concentrated on the engine for Final Fantasy VII, but this isn't a steadfast rule. If you can offer an interesting facet to Squaresoft's technology, even the NES games, it is welcome. We also cover the PC port of FF7 as well. As we often talk about the internal aspect of the programs, technical aspects of the platforms they run on (PSX, Win32) and APIs (Psy-Q, OpenGL, DirectX) are also appropriate discussions as well.2) What Tech Related is not:
This forum is not to discuss problems you are having with your games. We often have heard ad nausum about these bugs and can't do much about them. However, if you can offer a theory or a technical explanation to why something is crashing, we're all ears. The same goes to your newly applied mod. We don't deal with game modifications here other the the technical understanding on how to create them. If you want a handy dandy zip file or a patch, go to Projects. If you can offer us technical information on how to have the FF7 engine accept a foreign model without smashing. That would be great.
Here are some examples
"Chocobo races crash in WinXP, help!"
This post offers us nothing, it's a known problem in FF7PC. However, the following is a very welcome post.
"Chocobo races are crashing in WinXP because there is a far-flung unused pointer that's being created in memory. It works in Win95 because the 9x Kernel allows some parts of memory to be accessed with no protection. The NT kernel family is a little less forgiving of where you put unused pointers. Here is a patch that move the pointer to a better memory location. This may help."
That second example is a real life example, and a "Chocobo patch" is available, but not in this forum.
A quick rule of thumb, it you need a patch, go to Game Tweaking. We deal with discovery, they deal with execution.3) Topic Degeneration:
Sometimes a topic will leave the technical aspect and start to wonder off topic. If I deem in necessary, I will bump the topic to General if the technical aspects have been covered and nothing new is being added. If it goes horribly off topic I will lock the thread.4)
Mod Edit due to new rules5) Spoilers:
In the process of tearing the game apart, we expose all it's secrets. Some of these will be plot points that simply can't be censored to sensitive ears who have never played the game. So while you are here, assume every post is a spoiler, even if it's not. It really irritates me when we are talking about the technical aspect of a scene and someone blots out that actually is going on as not to post a spoiler. It's ok, we have all played the game. If you haven't I would recommend taking 40 hours out of your life and finish it. You will appreciate the engine more if you did.6) Posting Offical Sony Documentaion:
This is a no-no and consider this a warning. Sony's technical documentaion is copyrighted. You are not even supposed to have with without signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with Sony in the first place. This includes offical PDFs relating to Psy-Q, PSX internals, and File formats. If you are unsure about if the Documentaion is offical, look on the first or second page. If there is a copyright for SCEA, SCEE, or SCEI, it's thiers, not yours. Having it violates both contract and copyright law. Just don't post it OK?7) Getting Technical information:
If you want to dive into taking apart FF7, I recommend two documents. Partially because I wrote them, but also it gives you an understanding on how FF7 works.
The first is my (Very incomplete) Gears PDF. This explains pretty much the internal aspects of the FF7 engine for both the PSX and PC versions. It is incomplete, if you have something to add, let me know.
Gears is available at http://q-gears.sourceforge.net/gears.pdf
The second tech doc is my PSX internals doc. I highly recommend reading this as it tells how the PSX platform works and you can apply much of it to PSX games.
The PSX Doc is here: http://www.zophar.net/tech/psx.html
ADDUNEM: I'm open to suggestions on how to make this a more complete FAQ. Please post below.