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IHL Hockey (Fantasy ROM)


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So, this has been brewing for a very long time but I've been making a concentrated effort over the last few months and finally have a ROM of my own ready to share. There are still some adjustments I might make once I figure them out but this is suitable for now.

Anyway, this is a combination of ideas I've had. The team logos are adapted from the IceHL project that used to be part of the Icethetics website. The rosters are essentially my own creation, though there are a few homages here and there.

I haven't entirely settled on what I want to do with player attributes yet. I did have a few concepts in mind but there's also a fair bit of copying random players from the original game.

Eventually I'd also like to extend the idea to 95 but past attempts kept hitting snags. I don't know if 95 is more finicky or I'm just not exercising enough caution.

Anyway, features include:

-24 team fantasy league with Blitz-sized rosters

-No icing

-Edited menu music

-Color portraits

-Other miscellaneous fixes

Of course, massive thanks to everyone here for the wealth of information available as well as the Icethetics community for the logos.

IHL Hockey.bin

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This is a cool project - do you have any lore on the league to share? 

The aesthetic of the ROM is really cool, I just wish I knew which teams/players/etc have particular playstyles or whatever.

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Not being familiar with IceHL, my first thought was if this related to the IHL [1945-2001] [quickly clear it was not]

Have to say, the colour photos are impressive. I was a bit curious where the rosters came from until I saw an Alaska Husky player name Calvin Broadus. ....hmm, wait a minute.

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Haha, thanks. I was really pleased with how the color portraits turned out. Would love to know how they look on a TV but I don't have an EverDrive yet.

Anyway, the IceHL was a sort of community design project turned fantasy league that went from the late 00s until about 2017, judging by the last version of its page: https://www.icethetics.co/the-icehl

I did think about including a readme that gives a brief overview of each team but I wasn't really sure how to describe most of them. I can offer some insight into my design process, though.

For a while I was going to make this a 16-team playoff ROM. The Other Scores screen needs a minimum of 18 teams, though, so I had California and Washington as secret cameo teams at first.

Everyone on Broadus's team (California) is named after a real life musician. The pictures aren't actually them since it's not meant to literally be them, but there's still a fair resemblance. Some more than others.

Washington is mainly inspired by movies that are either about hockey or have a hockey scene. For the most part they have the actor's first name and character's last name.

When I decided to expand to 24 teams, I kept their cameo origins for fun. And honestly it was hard not to expand further with the options available.

A lot of the players in the ROM either came from various projects I've done throughout my life or were generated specifically for this one. This is actually a pretty personal project for me.

The two teams on the title screen were mainly chosen for the practical reason of having similar palettes, but I decided to run with it and made them the default teams as well.

So, the "canon" for the previous season is that Calgary and New York met in the finals, with Calgary coming away as champion. If you look in NOSE, the first playoff draw is how the rest of that tree looked.

The Wheeler Cup is something I made up for the ROM. I chose Wheeler since it's the same length as Stanley and got it from one of the logo designers for the IceHL. He designed the logos for Winnipeg and Seattle as well as a few others I didn't use here.

Milwaukee was originally designed to be a wildcard team for Cinderella runs when this was still a playoff ROM. They're also one of my favorites because I had a lot of fun with the player names.

Minnesota is intended to be one of the better teams in the game. Not only do they have the highest rated player, they also have a top tier defender as well as one of the best goalies.

Salt Lake City's concept happened on a whim while setting up stats. Basically they're a mediocre team that happens to have a breakout star on its roster. He may have a 93 OVR but they still averaged out to one of the lowest team ratings in the game.

Honestly, a lot of the stats were done arbitrarily. Looking at them again I sorta wonder why some of them are set the way they are. That's something to think about more carefully when I try again on adapting the concept to 95.

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5 hours ago, DeterminedApathy said:

Haha, thanks. I was really pleased with how the color portraits turned out.

 

THIS!  My jaw fell on the floor when I saw this.  Was it just a matter of changing the palette from b/w to a new set of 8 colors?  I'm curious if it had any other affects in the ROM?

 

Posting a quick screencap to show the awesomeness:

 

IHL Hockey_000.png

 

Also, the music is :red_heart:

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1 hour ago, kingraph said:

THIS!  My jaw fell on the floor when I saw this.  Was it just a matter of changing the palette from b/w to a new set of 8 colors?  I'm curious if it had any other affects in the ROM?

I'd noticed that wboy's tutorial mentioned that the colours are also referenced for elements on the main menu screen [and I think the pre-game perhaps?] but in testing it turned out that as long as you don't change the default white and black, the remaining six grey scale values can be any colour you want and you won't mess up anything else.
I've done this with other things, kind of jealous that I didn't think to try with realistic player photos myself.

@DeterminedApathy Just a heads up in case you haven't tested it yet, but as for NHL 95, turns out that the photo palette behaves the exact same way. Just a shame that EA ditched the player cards that year and you can only have your awesome photos for the starting lineup.

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Thanks again, guys.

I actually tried it on 95 first when I thought about experimenting with color for the player cards, but I appreciate the heads-up all the same since I hadn't tested it as thoroughly yet. I felt like they probably worked the same way, though.

I had to give it a lot of thought because I wasn't sure if it could work for realistic photos given the limited size, but looking at the larger palette in the Ron Barr window gave me an idea.

To be honest my graphics program (Photoshop Elements) did most of the heavy lifting here. I got my pictures from one of those AI generator sites, shrank them in steps to conserve detail, adjusted brightness/contrast if necessary, moved them onto a separate file that had the palette indexed, and it dithered everything for me. All I did was manual cleanup.

As for the music, that was just a lot of experimenting with different values until I liked how it sounded. I particularly like how the between-periods music turned out, which is good since I heard it the most.

I remember finding one in the snares that made me laugh out loud the first time I heard it. I'll have to go through my notes later to find it again.

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34 minutes ago, DeterminedApathy said:

Thanks again, guys.

I actually tried it on 95 first when I thought about experimenting with color for the player cards, but I appreciate the heads-up all the same since I hadn't tested it as thoroughly yet. I felt like they probably worked the same way, though.

I had to give it a lot of thought because I wasn't sure if it could work for realistic photos given the limited size, but looking at the larger palette in the Ron Barr window gave me an idea.

To be honest my graphics program (Photoshop Elements) did most of the heavy lifting here. I got my pictures from one of those AI generator sites, shrank them in steps to conserve detail, adjusted brightness/contrast if necessary, moved them onto a separate file that had the palette indexed, and it dithered everything for me. All I did was manual cleanup.

As for the music, that was just a lot of experimenting with different values until I liked how it sounded. I particularly like how the between-periods music turned out, which is good since I heard it the most.

I remember finding one in the snares that made me laugh out loud the first time I heard it. I'll have to go through my notes later to find it again.

Amazing work @DeterminedApathy. This has sprung me into thoughts of seeing how it applies to 95. This is ground breaking if it is @von Ozbourme for 95 roms. Ill be giving it a test this morning. Great find and love the music in the game @DeterminedApathy

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Nice, I'm happy to inspire people with their own projects with this.

Anyway, I looked through my notes and that amusing snare sample I mentioned is 6B in hex. If you want to hear it for yourself, that would go in 45090 for the title screen, 46DAA for the between-periods menu, or 490FC for the pregame matchup.

I also found my early test screens from when I put them into 95 first. They're a little rougher in quality since it was just a quick test but they still matched nicely with 95's anesthetics. I'm interested in giving it another go now.

Color Portrait Test001.jpg

Color Portrait Test002.jpg

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15 hours ago, DeterminedApathy said:

I got my pictures from one of those AI generator sites

Aah. I was wondering where you got those.

Curious though, have you conducted any experiments with 95 music too? I've been seeing how far I can go with changing every asset in the game, but haven't figured anything out with the sound yet. Figure that should be something to try too.

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No, I looked through what information is currently available and it doesn't look like there's anything on 95's music yet. I also tried searching for the relevant hex just in case but it looks like it's in a different format than 94. So, I'm not sure where it is yet.

Actually, the only reason I was able to alter the music in the first place was because someone else had posted on here somewhere about how to change the instruments. It does make a nice way to make a ROM more distinctive, though, so I was grateful to have found it.

Also, I was looking at your IIHF 95 ROMs again and I noticed you had made a small subtle change to the main menu background. Just out of curiosity, was that very difficult to do? I know the address is in the step-by-step guide already but it didn't look like its graphics line up as neatly as some of the other screens.

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2 minutes ago, DeterminedApathy said:

No, I looked through what information is currently available and it doesn't look like there's anything on 95's music yet. I also tried searching for the relevant hex just in case but it looks like it's in a different format than 94. So, I'm not sure where it is yet.

Actually, the only reason I was able to alter the music in the first place was because someone else had posted on here somewhere about how to change the instruments. It does make a nice way to make a ROM more distinctive, though, so I was grateful to have found it.

Also, I was looking at your IIHF 95 ROMs again and I noticed you had made a small subtle change to the main menu background. Just out of curiosity, was that very difficult to do? I know the address is in the step-by-step guide already but it didn't look like its graphics line up as neatly as some of the other screens.

The menu screens don't line as good. Especially the main menu. There seems to be atleast 1 byte off that causes them to stagger.

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4 hours ago, DeterminedApathy said:

Also, I was looking at your IIHF 95 ROMs again and I noticed you had made a small subtle change to the main menu background. Just out of curiosity, was that very difficult to do? I know the address is in the step-by-step guide already but it didn't look like its graphics line up as neatly as some of the other screens.

Took me a bit to remember what you were talking about. You mean flags/banners eh? Yeah there are a lot of repeated tiles on those screens in the name of saving bytes, so in that case I think I just imported a full mockup into another window and then copied the matching tiles over whatever they were replacing. The good news is that the hex code, that sets the arrangement of the tiles for main menu background and overlay and all of the menu screens, is usually found after each of the graphical assets. Can take a fare chunk of time going through and reconfiguring that, but it does open up the options.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I may as well bump this one to ask a question about the next one. I have my conferences set up for season mode but I'm stuck for a name for one of the divisions.

I kept the conferences as Eastern and Western, and the divisions are continuing the geographic theme. The division in question is one of the Western divisions.

Its teams are Boulder, California, Houston, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Texas. The best I have right now is "Expanse" but that almost sounds like they're all expansion teams or something.

I do have an alternate idea for a division naming scheme if it comes to it but I thought I would ask for suggestions first.

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1 minute ago, DeterminedApathy said:

I may as well bump this one to ask a question about the next one. I have my conferences set up for season mode but I'm stuck for a name for one of the divisions.

I kept the conferences as Eastern and Western, and the divisions are continuing the geographic theme. The division in question is one of the Western divisions.

Its teams are Boulder, California, Houston, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Texas. The best I have right now is "Expanse" but that almost sounds like they're all expansion teams or something.

I do have an alternate idea for a division naming scheme if it comes to it but I thought I would ask for suggestions first.

Yellowstone

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I appreciate the suggestion but it looks like I need something that's nine letters or less to fit the space given.

At the moment I'm leaning towards Southwest, which makes me think more of Arizona and New Mexico but might fit in the context of relative geography. Like, California would be southwest compared to Manitoba or something.

I dunno, it's just kind of a weird geographic group to me. The Texas teams feel too far east to call it Pacific, and Mountain probably only fits Boulder and maybe SLC.

I'm probably overthinking this.

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California is indeed South and West of Manitoba, but I wouldn't really consider Seattle very South.
And Houston is actually East of Winnipeg longitudinally...

Piss taking aside, you might be alright with Pacific, I mean if the NHL can put the expansion Vancouver Canucks into the Eastern Conference their first couple of seasons, Texas is close enough. Blame that giant dead zone that west of the 100th meridian [where the great plains begin] for the poor options of population dense hubs.

Although to be honest, I was always partial to the divisions being named after prominent figures, despite the vanity of it.

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Posted (edited)

You do have some good points there. Incidentally, naming the divisions after prominent figures was my backup idea.

Yeah, trying to account for geography when I was picking teams and arranging divisions did give me a bit of a headache. I ended up having to shoehorn one of the "new" teams (Montreal) into what's currently the Midwest division, since it's a little closer to that region than the east coast. Also, my Atlantic division is full anyway.

If you think that's weird, the actual IceHL project put New Orleans in their Western conference. I think that was mostly because the Eastern conference was so full but still.

EDIT: Alright, I've reached a decision on something. Thanks for the suggestions.

 

Edited by DeterminedApathy
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  • 2 weeks later...

So, here's the version for 95. There was a slight name change, partially because I couldn't make "Icethetics Hockey League" fit the opening copyright scroll and partially because it helps distinguish it from the 94 version.

Welcome to the Impact Hockey League.

To be honest I didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I would. I do like how the title screen turned out, though. Stats are mostly ported from the other version. I may release a revision some day with more varied stats but for now I think it's fit for public viewing.

Apparently the game uses two different sets of team overall ratings, one for with line changes and one for NLC. I never did find the set for line changes on but then I usually play NLC anyway.

Probably should've rerated the teams after I realized that, come to think of it. Maybe for a future revision.

Impact Hockey League.bin

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On 6/25/2022 at 9:57 PM, DeterminedApathy said:

Apparently the game uses two different sets of team overall ratings, one for with line changes and one for NLC. I never did find the set for line changes on but then I usually play NLC anyway.

Sorry, had one of those "Oh! Yeah!" moments when i read this. We encountered this before and figured it out on Ultramagnus' thread a while back.

There are in fact two different sets of team ratings. [it gets even messier if you were using the 34-team version.] Funny things is, I usually default to line changes on, so I had the opposite problem before coming across this. Never caught that line changes on/off was what determined which set got used.

Oh yeah, have to ask. Who's Sedge?

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Ah, thanks. That'll come in handy when I look at it again eventually.

Sedge was something I made up on a bit of a whim. I didn't really have any ideas for the second splash screen since the legalese screen I used on the 94 version seemed redundant with the way 95's title screen works.

So, I thought some kind of spoof of the Sonic Team screen would be funny. I was looking at what letters I had available to work with and just kind of hit on Sedge since I'd heard it somewhere recently.

It's a plant but it also sounds to me like an unorthodox way to abbreviate straight-edge, which has been part of my identity for 20 years now.

I may use that branding moving forward if I do any other edits. I like how it sounds. Certainly shorter than Determined Apathy anyway, haha.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/1/2022 at 4:00 PM, DeterminedApathy said:

Sedge was something I made up on a bit of a whim. I didn't really have any ideas for the second splash screen since the legalese screen I used on the 94 version seemed redundant with the way 95's title screen works.

So, I thought some kind of spoof of the Sonic Team screen would be funny. I was looking at what letters I had available to work with and just kind of hit on Sedge since I'd heard it somewhere recently.

It's a plant but it also sounds to me like an unorthodox way to abbreviate straight-edge, which has been part of my identity for 20 years now.

I may use that branding moving forward if I do any other edits. I like how it sounds. Certainly shorter than Determined Apathy anyway, haha.

 

Ah. Clever and the portmanteau something I can get behind.

Although as for the plant, I've never heard of them before, but to me the etymology of the word makes me think of the way Brits shorten words via either dropping or just not bothering to pronounce letters. Like it started out as "Whut's that growin' by ya fence theyah? Et looks like ah grasSy 'EDGE mate."

And of course, far be it from me to discourage the use of a developer alias...

Edited by von Ozbourme
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Im rolling with this for my NHL2023 mod....also, been playing around with it in our NHL95 online league as well. May have also found the season mod to expand it. Found most of the standings stats and where to adjust, but need to continue do testing to find more.

@DeterminedApathy @von Ozbourme

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On 7/17/2022 at 6:49 PM, UltraMagnus said:

May have also found the season mod to expand it. Found most of the standings stats and where to adjust, but need to continue do testing to find more.

Curious. Do you mean expand the number of teams in a season?
Only asking because in experimenting with the 34-team mod, I was able to set the schedule for any team in season mode, change the divisional alignment as far as season standings and change which playoff bracket they belong to when the playoffs start [because weirdly that is a separate bit].

The problems I'm running into however is when I try to include any of the additional eight teams. And while I can change the number of teams in each division, there is no room for the code to exceed 26 and I can't seem to find where to set the number of teams that make the playoffs in each conference. And worst of all, while I can pick whatever teams I want to show up in each division, as soon as you select to start the playoffs, the game freezes. Annoyingly, simply changing the playoff brackets to not include any of the additional eight teams seems to eliminate the freezing issue. Beyond the starting lineup player photos for those additional teams being located in a separate section of the ROM, can't seem to place what is confusing the game so much.

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Yes expanding to 32 teams. I've found all the spots where the standings data is stored and I've done the schedule changes and the division realignment, as well as the bracket. This is new to expand the season mode from 26 to 32 teams. 

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That's awesome.
Hmm, might have to see how this one works if I can borrow the base for a project. Problem I'm running into with the 34-team one is that there are a number of other instability and glitch issues I've encountered as well, and things such as the player trades not working with the non-original-26 teams.

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On 7/17/2022 at 8:49 PM, UltraMagnus said:

Im rolling with this for my NHL2023 mod....also, been playing around with it in our NHL95 online league as well. May have also found the season mod to expand it. Found most of the standings stats and where to adjust, but need to continue do testing to find more.

@DeterminedApathy @von Ozbourme

On 7/20/2022 at 8:03 PM, UltraMagnus said:

Yes expanding to 32 teams. I've found all the spots where the standings data is stored and I've done the schedule changes and the division realignment, as well as the bracket. This is new to expand the season mode from 26 to 32 teams. 

I swear every time I come back here just to check in Magnus has another amazing breakthrough!

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