AdamCatalyst Posted January 11 Report Share Posted January 11 (edited) NHL 94: 2023 Edition by Adam Catalyst v4.4 updated 2023 05 14 Hello there friendly strangers, Here is the latest version of my 2023 ROM. The goal is to try to provide the most refined and realistic up-to-date versions of this all-time classic game. I'm thrilled to be able to share this with you. Here are the top reasons you might want to give it a try… Gameplay Revisioned The gameplay has been adjusted for a more realistic modern hockey feel, with harder to score goals, easier to hit crossbars and posts, more realistic speed burst, fewer penalty calls, custom energy depletion and recovery rates (balanced for more realistic line rolling and shift length), and player rating distribution curves that have been carefully calibrated for more realistic gameplay on the ice. New in '23 800 players obsessively rated, up-to-date rosters, and realistic lines, based on extensive 2020-2023 regular season player data and analytics. Team colours, banners, uniforms, and logos all improved to be as realistic as possible, along with numerous other graphical refinements throughout the arena. Graphical Refinements Hundreds of other refinements have been made including title screens, banners, player photos, scoreboard, audience, face-offs, player sprites, nets, ice markings, coaches, scorekeepers, Zamboni driver, and more. The goal is to bring the most graphically refined version of NHL 94 ever made, while remaining faithful to the spirit of the original art direction. And so much more Of course there is the weight bug fix, but also a custom weight scale, less variance in Hot/Cold rating randomization, immediate goalie control by pressing the (Y) button with a six-button controller, a custom 3-Stars of the Game rating formula, a Vegas / Washington / Winnipeg Menu & Player Cards crash fix, and… Every single feature & modification is documented below. I would love it if you would give it a try, and leave me any feedback! -Adam p.s. I'd be flattered if you wanted to lift any of my mods for your own ROM. Anyone who contributes to making hacks or ROMs for nhl94.com is welcome to PM me, and I will happily send you source files, including Tile Molester bookmarks and palettes. Current Version NHL 94 [h] 2023 AC v4.4 - 2023 05 14.zip Previous Versions NHL 94 [h] 2023 AC v3.0 - 2023 03 13.zip NHL 94 [h] 2023 AC v2.0 - 2023 02 10.zip NHL 94 [h] 2023 AC v1.1 - 2023 01 17.zip Box Art Features & Modifications Title Screens & Under the Hood ROM Header: Updated to indicate support for Japan region, 6-Button Controller, both domestic & foreign ROM names, and updated checksum. Title Screen: Opening Logo screens display time reduced by 30%. Graphics: EA logo screen heavily modified. Graphics: High Score Production screen slightly modified. Graphics: Splash image updated with my personal 2022 MVP vote. Graphics: Masthead re-drawn to match EA’s current NHL23 lettering. Graphics: Title screen Logos removed. Text: Credits re-coloured & edited. Above: The player sprites design was revised to more accurately accommodate the wide range of colourations for all 32 NHL teams. Taped taped composite sticks complete the more realistic contemporary look. Above & Beyond: A global colour palette for the entire ROM was built, with all key colour decisions made in this relative context. Teams have been systemically coloured to have as accurate a representation as possible, with a consistent sense of depth, and realistic colour shifts for shadows and highlights. Tests were done with demo play, and final colour decisions were made to give the most accurate impression in motion, and not necessarily what looked the best in stills. Main Menu Settings: Default teams set for the 2022 Stanley Cup finals. Settings: Playoff brackets updated to the 2023 seedings. Settings: 7-minute period length option added. Settings: Line Changes & Penalties defaults set to on "On," because that's how I roll. Graphics: Team Banners & Logos updated, with consistent up-to-date official colours relatively mapped to the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive colour space. Graphics: Team Banner names removed, and replaced with "VISITORS" and "HOME" for clarity. Graphics: Player Photos all updated with official NHL headshot images, custom cropped & colour graded. Graphics: Error removed from the selection box. Hack: Player Photo carousel cycling order modified. Hack: Bug that would causes crashes upon cycling through the Player Photos for Vegas, Washington, and Winnipeg has been eliminated. Please note, this comes at the cost of preventing saved stats from showing under player names. Text: Re-wording of a couple menu options for greater clarity. Typesetting: Player names centred vertically. Settings: Default teams set for the 2022 Stanley Cup finals. Above Right: All logos were revised or re-drawn by hand, and matched for visual weight. Official team colours were relatively mapped to the Sega MD/Genesis colour space, and banners were matched to key logo colours, with some minor re-wording in the menus. Pre-Game Graphics: Banners have been refined to have better typesetting, and colours modified & dithered to look closer to the colours used in the menu screens. Graphics: The Pre-Game Announcer's picture frame has been altered to be more consistent with the design of similar elements throughout the game. Graphics: Ron Barr image restored to be closer to original. Arena Names: All up-to-date as of January 2023. Arizona State welcomes you to Mullet Arena. Pre-Game: Match-up position names have been simplified to “Forward,” “Defence,” & “Goaltender.” Above: When EA released Rewind (left), they kept the same very limited colour palette as the original for team banners, despite decades of new teams and new team colours. I've optimized this restrictive colour palette (right) so that all teams now look much closer to their authentic colours. Furthermore, typesetting has been improved in all banners to also be better than Rewind, with improved, kerning, alignment, and some custom letterforms. Rink Graphics: Colour Palette has been altered to improve the audience affect with more uniform tonal contrast, to improve the accuracy of the team banner colours, and to give the nets more realistic colouring. Sprites: Audience members design and animations have been refined. Graphics: Goal light & animation revised. Graphics: Instant Replay Reverse view inconsistencies fixed. Graphics: Minor refinements throughout the arena. Rink - On the Ice Graphics: Ice Colour lightened slightly. The darker colour was giving me eye strain. Graphics: Centre ice logos updated, adapted from NHL Rewind designs. Graphics: Face-off circles modification. (author unknown) Graphics: Net re-drawn to the most recent (2013) NHL proportions, with an updated goalie crease. Graphics: Trapezoid area lines drawn to NHL scale. Graphics: Glass & stanchions behind bottom net revised to be symmetrical and parallel to glass & stanchions at the top, horizontal seam in top glass has been erased, and on-ice reflections of stanchions have been fixed throughout. Above Top Row: The original face-off animations had a linesman that was looking in the wrong direction (Top Left & Centre), freakishly long & thin stick blades, seemingly random black pixels on some frames (Top Left, Calgary uniforms), disproportionally dark shadows that sometimes overlapped the image frame (Top Centre), stick shadows that would overlap incorrectly (Top Right), and a frisbee instead of a puck. Above Bottom Row: I’ve painstakingly gone through the 108 possible sprite combinations that can occur during a face-off, revised every issue I could find, re-drew the sticks to be more realistically shaped & taped, and perhaps most importantly, turned the Linesman’s head to face the right direction. We all need to do our part to improve the state of NHL officiating. Rink - On the Sidelines Graphics: Bench area modifications, including the addition of coaches. Graphics: Bench backup goalie hack. (slapshot67) Sprites: Bench players "chirping" animations refined to be less cartoonish. Graphics: Time-keepers added in, and time-keeper area Stanchion misalignment fixed. Graphics: Bench, Penalty Box, & Time-keepers area Stanchions modified to be consistent with the Sideboards view. Above: The original (Left) benches had floors coloured like the ice, and the players chirped with unhinged jaws, with no supervision from a coach, let alone a backup goaltender. Over time (Centre), utterly fantastic changes were made by slapshot67, adding a more realistic floor, fitting in a coach, and a perfectly matched backup goaltender! I've built on this work (Right) by getting rid of the leftover teal coloured shadow behind players leaning forward, drawing more realistic shadows on the players arms and back as they move, setting consistent mouth colours with a more realistic “chirping”, and refining the coach to match the other sprites a bit better, with a more realistic shadow too. Above (Botton Left): I really liked The Sauce’s wide take on the EA logo (Centre), as well as the bevelled style of the original (Left). I’ve mixed the two styles together, and refined it to better fit the allocated vertical space. The Sauce’s excellent ROM is shown here for relative comparison only, no criticism implied of his inspiring work. Rink - Sideboards view Graphics: Sideboards Bench, Boards, Glass, Ice, Stanchions, etc. revised. Graphics: Scoreboard Banners refined to have better typesetting, and colours modified & dithered to look closer to the Menu Banner colours. Graphics: Sideboard Scoreboard has custom drawn NHL logo. Graphics: Side-boards Score-Keepers added. (Based on the SNES version) Sprites: Zamboni driver revised to better match the perspective of the side-boards. Sprites: Player in Penalty box refined. Above Top: Beyond the improved banner, the scoreboard features brighter lettering and scores along with custom drawn a modern NHL logo. Above Below: The original Zamboni driver (Left) looked like a small ruddy-faced hunchback. I re-designed him to fit the style and perspective of the scene better, adapted the design of the scorekeepers from the SNES version to match, improved the design of the player in the penalty box (who disturbingly had no lower body in the original), and have made hundreds of minor refinements to the audience, animation, bench, stanchions, the light refraction on the edge of the glass, etc. In-Play Sprites: Player design was revised to more accurately accommodate the wide range of colourations for all 32 NHL teams. Tests were done with demo play, and final colour decisions were made to give the most accurate impression in motion, and not necessarily what looked the best in stills. Sprites: Face-off animations revised. Sprites: Players given grey composite sticks, because grey pixels have better puck feel, more flex, and are lighter weight. Sprites: Goaltenders masks revised to reveal their faces. Sprites: Player Helmet colour patch. (Clockwise) Sprites: Player Eye, Boots & Gloves, and Stick Tape patches. (Clockwise) Sprites: Improved Checking animations patch. (Clockwise) Sprites: Puck and its shadow revised. Graphics: On-Ice Player Numbers changed to white for better legibility against the ice. Graphics: On-Ice Player indicator (star) for Player 1 lightened to be less conspicuous and increase relative on-ice contrast for the Player 2 indicator. Graphics: Penalty box player colour error fixed. (Slapshot67 Above Right: The Scorekeepers in-play have been revised to consistently match the art style used for the Scorekeeper in the Sideboards view. Also, they have been modernized with touchscreens! Above: Note how in the original (Left) the player one indicator is distractingly very high contrast, while the player two indicator is much more difficult to see with low tonal contrast. Brightening the colour of the ice (Centre) helps, but then the already muddy looking player numbers become very difficult to see. I’ve re-balanced the colours (Right) so that the player one indicator is quieter while still being easy to see, the player two indicator is equally easy to see, and the the player numbers are much clearer to see against the ice. There's also a new puck, and revised puck shadow. The excellent Naples ROM is shown for relative comparison only, no criticism implied of their superlative work. Rosters Rosters & Lines: Updated based on extensive 2021–2023 regular season player usage data. Rosters & Lines: 800 total players have been included, covering the 25 players (14F, 8D, & 3G) with the most ice-time in 2022-2023 on each team. Above. 192 official NHL headshots used in-game), all individually cropped and colour graded for visual balance. Ratings Team Ratings: Team attribute & overall ratings updated as per the end of March 13, 2023 regular season data. Player Ratings: Underlying system has been changed from the default 1-6 scale to a 0-15 scale for more accurate differentiation of players. (smozoma) Player Ratings: ustom player ratings based on a mix of real-world data and gameplay oriented parameters. The goal is to make gameplay more contemporary, and individual player performance more realistic. Player Ratings: Custom overall rating formula. Player Ratings: Much more parity between the best and the worst of the league, with all players having a minimum 52 rating, ranging to a maximum 95 for McDavid, before Hot/Cold variance. Player Ratings: Weight scale modification patch. (smozoma) Player Ratings: Edit lines bug fix patch. (smozoma) Above: Here are the top fourteen players rated a 90 or over. If you don’t see your favourite player here, I guarantee I rated them an 89! Gameplay Controls: Goalie control can now be accessed immediately by pressing the (Y) button with a six-button controller. (clockwise) Gameplay: Body Checking and Aggressiveness have been balanced to reduce the penalty rate from the original, and approximate the real body checking and penalty rates of each team in the 2022–2023 season. Gameplay: Hot & Cold range of variance has been reduced by ~25%, and the frequency of variance has been reduced by ~50%. Gameplay: The "goal" area of the net has been reduced slightly, making it more difficult to score, and more likely that you will hit the post. Gameplay: The “goal” area of the net has been reduced slightly, making it slightly more difficult to score, and slightly more likely that you will hit the post. Gameplay: Player Speed Burst set to 25% of the original, for a more realistic feel and higher difficulty. No more winning every loose puck race. Gameplay: Custom Stamina Depletion & Recovery rates. Gameplay: Weight / Checking bug fix patch. (smozoma) Gameplay: Second-Assist bug fix patch. (smozoma) Gameplay: Overtime set to 5 minutes, Penalty Shots set to 15 seconds. Player Ratings: Attribute rating distributions have been careful set and thoroughly tested to produce a faster more contemporary feel to puck movement & gameplay, with better goaltending throughout. Stars of the Game: New custom formula. Behind the Scenes: Rosters, ratings, and lines are based on extensive real-world data and advanced analytics. All of this is conformed to custom ratings distribution curves, which give the gameplay its unique feel. This single most important feature can't be shown in stills. You have to play it to feel it. In-Game Overlays Graphics: Linesman & Referee pop-overs refined. Graphics: In-Game Timer logo has been re-drawn. (based on Sauce's design) Graphics: Line Change Energy bars have been re-drawn to have an inverse quasi-logarithmic gradation. Graphics: Instant Replay controls graphic revised. Graphics: Custom Stars of the Game icon and revised typesetting. Text: "Cross Check," "Face-Off," and "Fight Instigator" renamed to "Cross-check," "Face-off," and "Instigator" as per the official NHL rulebook. Above: Various evolutions… The Net has been re-drawn to closely match the current NHL proportions, an to slightly reduce the scoring area. The crease has been re-drawn to match, along with trapezoid lines and other updated ice markings. The Goalie’s mask has been revised to now show a bit of their face underneath (Right). A custom Stars of the Game icon and typesetting, to go along with a custom underlying selection formula. In-Game Menus Graphics: NHL & NHLPA Logos re-drawn. Graphics: "Hockey Night" Banner slightly re-coloured. Hack: Player Cards bugs that would causes crashes upon cycling through Cards for WSH (and possibly also VGK & WPG) have been eliminated. Hack: Player Stats now showing Checks instead of Penalty Minutes. (smozoma) Text: The “Change Goalie” option for “no goalie” is now in ALL-CAPS for greater visibility. Extras Artwork: Matching box art was made! The artwork is high resolution, print quality, and stays very close to the original North American box design. It is available near the top of this post. Known Issues * Vegas / Washington / Winnipeg Player Cards may crash if User Records are turned on, and there are stored goaltending statistics for these teams. A potential fix was being investigated, but is not at a workable state. For this reason, User Records are recommended to be left off. * User Records may incorrectly store user data if playing with Vegas / Washington / Winnipeg. Builds are tested with Genesis Plus 18.104.22.168 and Genesis Plus GX 1.7.5-RC1 r24-10-2021. If you are having any technical issues, you may want to try one of these emulators. If you are reporting a technical issue, please note the exact console or emulator version that you are using for me. Future Wish-List I'm not sure how much time I will have to work on this in the future, but if I did find more time, here is what I would like to focus on next… Gameplay: Reduce the rebound rate of the puck to be way less bouncy. Gameplay: Reduce effectiveness of B-checks. Line-Changes: Enable line changes to be initiated without possession of the puck, preferably with a dedicated button. Gameplay: Prevent the goaltenders from skating into the trapezoid areas. Gameplay: Enable energy Recovery for players sitting in the penalty box. Gameplay: Improve logic for how icings and offsides are calculated to use puck position instead of player position. Gameplay: Program the CPU to pull the goalie when trailing by 1 - 2 goals (currently only pulls with a two goal deficit). Gameplay: Increase the amount of CPU Checking without increasing the amount of penalties called. Sprites: Redraw Sideboards Referee to better match the art style of everything else (requires "de-compressing" shared tiles.) Sprites: Improve the comparatively low visual quality of the on-ice officials throughout (requires "de-compressing" shared tiles.) Penalties: Rename "Cross-check" to the proper "Cross-checking." Penalties: Re-name "Roughing" period that causes an injury to "Illegal Hit." Player Cards: Eliminate the crash that occurs on player cards for Washington when user records are turned on, and the goaltender has saved stats. User Records: Restore system to be as fully functional as possible. If you were able to help me research or implement any of these changes, please let me know! Credits This project was built decades of work by the NHL94.com community, and never would have been possible without them. I’m sure there are more contributors than I could ever possibly know, let alone acknowledge, but I will do my best… Contributors This ROM contains contributions from the following individuals… Brodeur30 Rink & Net collision logic. chaos Hot/Cold variation logic. Clockwise Goalie Control with a six-button controller. Player sprites helmet colour patch. Player sprites hockey tape patch. Player sprites improved checking animations patch. Player sprites eye colour patch. Player sprites boots & gloves colour patch. Dervin10 Roster extractor & importer tool development. Drezz Team uniforms Yoke colour isolated. kingraph Sideboards modification logic. Stars of the Game graphic hack. slapshot67 30 to 32 team ROM re-structuring. Scorekeepers graphic hack and original design. Bench backup goalie hack and original design. Penalty Box player sprite colouring fix. smozoma 0–15 Player Rating scale patch. Player Stats Checking patch. Credits editing logic. Edit Line Ratings bug fix patch. Player Overall rating formula logic. Player weight scale modification patch. Second-Assist bug fix patch. Stars of the Game formula logic. Weight / Checking bug fix patch. EARE tool development. Tony H. Stopping & Crossover Rate logic. wboy 28 to 30 team ROM re-structuring. Player photo logic. Player energy depletion & recovery rates logic. Speed burst rate logic. Rink modification logic. NOSE tool development. Author unknown Face-off circles graphic modification. Instant Replay controls graphic revision. Team uniforms colour restructuring. Special Thanks to… Drezz - original work and resources.kingraph - tips & resources.Sauce - resources for rosters, ratings, and lines.Seamor - tips, encouragement, and inspiration. smozoma - utterly invaluable tips, resources, tools, & support.von Ozbourme - resources and lessons. …and everyone at nhl94.com who tested Betas or provided feedback. Extra Special Thanks to… Ena - for nothing less than everything. I hope you enjoy! Edited May 14 by AdamCatalyst Updated for version 4.4 3 2 1 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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