[stella] An Alternative Distro Method For ROM Hacks (Patches)

Subject: [stella] An Alternative Distro Method For ROM Hacks (Patches)
From: Christopher Tumber <christophertumber@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 16:27:09 -0500
I'm back! (For everyone who doesn't know me, I've been out of town for three weeks [I was back for a day and a half about 2 weeks ago but didn't have time to do anything fun like post to Stella] so I have a tonne of catching up to do and if you see 20 posts in a row from me, that's why...)

Before I left I was looking at modifying a bunch of <=4k ROMs that don't work on the Supercharger to be Supercharger compatible. However, I'm definately not thrilled at the prospect of putting a bunch of copyrighted ROMs on my website due to the obvious possible legal repercussions.

So, I started think about instead doing writing a utility that would apply any modifications as a patch. And given the controversy over Thomas' PAL2NTSC conversions I think this is an idea worth exploring a little more...

I'm thinking a patch utility program and then a series of patches, propably using a simple scripting language. The upside is that there would be no legal pitfalls to distributing these patches, and the patches would remain the intellectualy property of the authors. So we could implement whatever EULA terms we see fit (ie: A prohibition on redistributing modified ROMs). Obviously there are people who will ignore this, but it gives added legal protection to the patch author as they are no longer party to any infringements due to ROM distribution. It also gives patch authors a stick, if neccessary...

This could include all types of patches; bugfixes (Kool-Aid Man), tv format conversion, Supercharger conversion, graphic hacks, whatever. 

The downside is that creating a patch is going to be more work than modifying a disassembled ROM directly (The procedure would likely be to keep notes of all modifications and then reproduce them in patch form) unless I can get clever and come up with a tool that will create the patch automatically based on the original and modified ROMs (Hmm, might be something to that...) Obviously I'm still in the preliminary stages of this.

Any thoughts?


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