Difference between revisions of "About:Research Methods"

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< [[About]]
The following are the ways GDRI determines the developer (company) of a game.
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==Primary methods used==
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The following are the primary ways GDRI tries to determine the developer (company) of a game:
===Actual mentions===
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An "actual mention" is when a company name is actually mentioned in or on the game. Sometimes, a game or game package will say upfront it was developed/programmed by a certain company.
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Other times, the mention is not-so-forthcoming. It might say "Produced by Company" or "Designed by Company." And other times still, the company might just be mentioned in the copyright notice. In these cases, we might need to infer that the company is the developer. Hopefully, there will be other evidence to back up that initial inference.
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==Actual mentions==
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An "actual mention" is when a company name is actually mentioned in or on a game. Many games or game packages will state directly that the game was developed/programmed by a particular company or companies.
  
Examples of "actual mentions": [http://gdri.smspower.org/wiki/index.php/Image:Robin.png 1] [http://gdri.smspower.org/wiki/index.php/Image:Kabuki.png 2] [http://gdri.smspower.org/wiki/index.php/Image:HaniontheRoad(J)-023.png 3] [http://gdri.smspower.org/wiki/index.php/Image:Actualmention1.jpg 4]
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Other actual mentions are not so forthcoming, however. They might say "Produced by Company" or "Designed by Company," or the company might only be mentioned in the copyright notice. In these cases, we will look closely for other evidence.
  
===Code comparisons===
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Another kind of actual mention is when the name of the developer is written on a wall, sign, or other object in a game. An example of this can be found in the unreleased ''Ninja Gaiden'' for the Sega Mega Drive. A sign flashing "[[Opus]]" backwards can be seen at the end of round 4-2. [http://gdri.smspower.org/wiki/index.php/Image:Ninjagaidenopus.png]
Thanks to a program developed especially for GDRI, we can now do code comparisons. This program can look at two different files and tell you what is shared between them. For our purposes, we compare two ROMs for games we know to be by the same developer and see what code is shared between the two. From there, we can search for this shared data in other ROMs. If there's a significant amount of shared code in these other ROMs, there is a good possibility that these were programmed by the developer of the two games we originally compared.
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Sometimes, this is not particularly helpful if there is a lot of generic code used or there are drastically different programming teams. Other times, this can be a powerful tool (especially if it can be backed up by other evidence).
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Mentions in credits are also considered actual mentions.
  
The aforementioned program is not available for download yet, as it is not in a distributable state.
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Examples of actual mentions: [http://gdri.smspower.org/wiki/index.php/Image:Robin.png 1] [http://gdri.smspower.org/wiki/index.php/Image:Kabuki.png 2] [http://gdri.smspower.org/wiki/index.php/Image:HaniontheRoad(J)-023.png 3] [http://gdri.smspower.org/wiki/index.php/Image:Actualmention1.jpg 4]
  
''NOTE: GDRI does not condone software piracy.''
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==Code comparisons==
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Thanks to a program developed especially for GDRI, we can perform code comparisons. This program can look at two different files and show what is shared between them. For our purposes, we can compare two ROMs for games we know to be by the same developer and see what code is shared between the two. From there, we can search for this shared data in other ROMs. If there is a significant amount of shared code in these other ROMs, there is a good possibility that these were programmed by the developer of the two games we originally compared.
  
===E-mail===
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This is not necessarily helpful if there is a lot of generic code used, or there are drastically different programming teams, but it can be a powerful tool, especially when backed up by other evidence.
Sometimes, GDRI is able to make contact with former staffers who are willing to help and share info with us. Consult our [[In Their Words]] for some of the replies we've received so far.
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If you are a former staffer with one of the developers featured on GDRI and want to help us, please contact us at smsgenny [@] vgrebirth.org.
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The aforementioned program is not available for download yet as it is not in a distributable state.
  
以前ゲームの開発に関わった方なら、どうぞご連絡ください。日本語、他国語問いません。
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==Hidden data==
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Hidden data are data in a game that a player cannot access through normal use or through "tricks" (e.g., pressing a button combination to bring up a debug menu or special message). Other tools are needed.
  
===Online resources===
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Text strings are the most common type of hidden data. You can see them by opening up a ROM or disk image in Notepad. We prefer using [http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897439.aspx Strings], a tool for finding UNICODE (or ASCII) strings in files. Example:
Company websites are great resources for information, especially if the company is open about the games it worked on in the past (thus eliminating a lot of legwork for us).
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Failing that, a great resource is [http://www.review-site.net/developer/ SIT Developer Table], a Japanese site that was the inspiration for GDRI. There, you'll find works lists for a multitude of game companies. If we're interested enough in a company listed, we might be inspired to do some of our own research.
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<pre>MS SONIC¥THE¥HEDGEHOG.2 Ver1.00 1992/09/05 SEGA /Aspect Co.,Ltd</pre>
  
Sometimes, information can be culled from message boards and discussion forums such as [http://www.2ch.net/ 2ch], the large Japanese Internet forum.
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Another type of hidden data are graphics. For example, if you view the tilesets for ''Donkey Kong'', ''Congo Bongo'', or ''Zaxxon'' in MAME, you will find the [[Ikegami Tsushinki]] logo.
  
===ROM text===
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==Interviews==
You never know what you will find when you open up a ROM (which is as easy as opening it in Microsoft Notepad). One might find the name of the developer, names of staffers, or other "secret" text strings not otherwise accessible by playing the game.
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GDRI will try to get information by making contact with former staffers. Look at our [[Interviews]] section to see many of the people we have successfully talked to so far.
  
Take, for example, the following text string found in the Master System ''Sonic the Hedgehog 2'' ROM:
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If you are a former staffer with one of the development companies covered on GDRI and want to help, please [[Special:Contact|contact us]].
<pre>MS SONIC¥THE¥HEDGEHOG.2 Ver1.00 1992/09/05 SEGA /Aspect Co.,Ltd</pre>
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===Shared credits===
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以前ゲームの開発に関わった方なら、どうぞご連絡ください。日本語、他国語問いません。
GDRI scours the Internet, ROMs, and other sources to find game credits. We might even play through an entire game just to get them. When we've gathered enough credits from various games, we can compare them, see what is shared between them, and hopefully come to some sort of conclusion.
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As we mentioned before, credits can be found in the ROMs. Usually, these are the same credits that can be seen by finishing the game. This is not to be confused with ROM text (described above), which is typically not meant to be seen by the general public.
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==Online resources==
 
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Company websites are great resources for information, especially if the company is open about the games it worked on in the past (thus eliminating a lot of legwork for us).
==Disclosing what methods were used==
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Many of our entries will use one of the following "configurations" to display what methods were used to determine our game lists.
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===Configuration 1===
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Failing that, an excellent resource is [http://review-site.net/dt/index.php/メインページ Developer Table], a Japanese site where you will find works lists for a multitude of game companies. If we are interested enough in a company listed, we might be inspired to do some of our own research.
The most common of the two configurations is essentially a straightfoward list at the top of the page like this:
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:'''Research Methods:''' Code comparisons, e-mail, online resources (see links), shared credits
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If you need a reminder of what each "research method" entails, you can just click on '''Research Methods'''.
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Information can also be culled from [http://www.wikipedia.org/ Wikipedia] articles or message boards and discussion forums such as [http://www.2ch.net/ 2ch].
  
===Configuration 2===
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==Print==
This configuration is more specific and more time-consuming to put together, so it will only be used with a few smaller developers. Instead of one general list, each game will have listed the methods used to figure out the developer. For example:
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Books, magazines, and other publications can also contain useful information. Check out the Further Reading section of a particular entry for a list of resources.
  
*''Sonic Labyrinth'' (under SIMS) (JP/US Publisher: Sega)
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==Shared staff==
:[[Credits:Sonic Labyrinth|[Shared credits]]] [[ROM text:Sonic Labyrinth|[ROM text]]]
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GDRI scours the Internet, ROMs, and other sources to find game credits. We might even play through an entire game just to get them. When we have gathered enough credits from various games, we can compare them, see what is shared between them, and perhaps come to some sort of conclusion.
  
If a method listed has a link, you can click it to find out more. In the case of "[Shared credits]," you will be taken to a page containing the game's credits. Relevant staffers will be linked. Click the link and you can see all the other games the person has worked on.
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As we mentioned before, credits can be found in ROMs. These are usually the same credits that can be seen by finishing the game. This is not to be confused with text strings as described under "[[#Hidden data|hidden data]]," which are typically not meant to be seen by the general public.

Latest revision as of 22:57, 6 February 2015

< About

The following are the primary ways GDRI tries to determine the developer (company) of a game:

Actual mentions

An "actual mention" is when a company name is actually mentioned in or on a game. Many games or game packages will state directly that the game was developed/programmed by a particular company or companies.

Other actual mentions are not so forthcoming, however. They might say "Produced by Company" or "Designed by Company," or the company might only be mentioned in the copyright notice. In these cases, we will look closely for other evidence.

Another kind of actual mention is when the name of the developer is written on a wall, sign, or other object in a game. An example of this can be found in the unreleased Ninja Gaiden for the Sega Mega Drive. A sign flashing "Opus" backwards can be seen at the end of round 4-2. [1]

Mentions in credits are also considered actual mentions.

Examples of actual mentions: 1 2 3 4

Code comparisons

Thanks to a program developed especially for GDRI, we can perform code comparisons. This program can look at two different files and show what is shared between them. For our purposes, we can compare two ROMs for games we know to be by the same developer and see what code is shared between the two. From there, we can search for this shared data in other ROMs. If there is a significant amount of shared code in these other ROMs, there is a good possibility that these were programmed by the developer of the two games we originally compared.

This is not necessarily helpful if there is a lot of generic code used, or there are drastically different programming teams, but it can be a powerful tool, especially when backed up by other evidence.

The aforementioned program is not available for download yet as it is not in a distributable state.

Hidden data

Hidden data are data in a game that a player cannot access through normal use or through "tricks" (e.g., pressing a button combination to bring up a debug menu or special message). Other tools are needed.

Text strings are the most common type of hidden data. You can see them by opening up a ROM or disk image in Notepad. We prefer using Strings, a tool for finding UNICODE (or ASCII) strings in files. Example:

MS SONIC¥THE¥HEDGEHOG.2 Ver1.00 1992/09/05 SEGA /Aspect Co.,Ltd

Another type of hidden data are graphics. For example, if you view the tilesets for Donkey Kong, Congo Bongo, or Zaxxon in MAME, you will find the Ikegami Tsushinki logo.

Interviews

GDRI will try to get information by making contact with former staffers. Look at our Interviews section to see many of the people we have successfully talked to so far.

If you are a former staffer with one of the development companies covered on GDRI and want to help, please contact us.

以前ゲームの開発に関わった方なら、どうぞご連絡ください。日本語、他国語問いません。

Online resources

Company websites are great resources for information, especially if the company is open about the games it worked on in the past (thus eliminating a lot of legwork for us).

Failing that, an excellent resource is Developer Table, a Japanese site where you will find works lists for a multitude of game companies. If we are interested enough in a company listed, we might be inspired to do some of our own research.

Information can also be culled from Wikipedia articles or message boards and discussion forums such as 2ch.

Print

Books, magazines, and other publications can also contain useful information. Check out the Further Reading section of a particular entry for a list of resources.

Shared staff

GDRI scours the Internet, ROMs, and other sources to find game credits. We might even play through an entire game just to get them. When we have gathered enough credits from various games, we can compare them, see what is shared between them, and perhaps come to some sort of conclusion.

As we mentioned before, credits can be found in ROMs. These are usually the same credits that can be seen by finishing the game. This is not to be confused with text strings as described under "hidden data," which are typically not meant to be seen by the general public.