Origins of Zelda Master Quest Debug Rom?

Discussion in 'Unreleased Games Discussion' started by link83, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. link83

    link83 Enthusiastic Member

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    Hi all,
    I hope I can discuss this here, it seems like the most appropriate forum :nod:

    A while ago I found out about the Zelda Master Quest debug rom. Theres quite alot of videos of it available on youtube, like these:-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a61SoJIRP1Q
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5gNqLlDXu4

    Search for 'Zelda Debug' on Youtube:-
    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=zelda+debug

    For those that dont know this rom allows you to select stages/locations etc in Zelda Ocarina of Time: Master Quest and it contains quite a few test locations/items etc that were removed/changed in the final game. The actual rom is 64MB (512Mbit) which is double the size of the standard Ocarina of Time/Master Quest roms which are 32MB (256Mbit) each.

    It appears to have been leaked in 2003/2004(?) but my question is where did it come from? I have heard it mentioned that it was leaked from Nintendo of Europe (which would be very unusual in itself) but is this true?

    Also, since the debug rom is the Master Quest version and features the GameCube controller buttons aswell as the year '2003' on the title screen, can we safely assume this debug rom was somehow used in the creation of the Zelda Master Quest bonus disk for GameCube? and if so was Master Quest ported by Nintendo themselves or did they outsource the port/emulation to another development company?

    Just curious as to its origins really, hope no-one mind me asking ;-)
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
  2. zidapi

    zidapi Rising Member

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    I can only talk with certainty about how it got into mainstream circulation and the part I played in it. The rest is assumption.

    Clearly it's from the Master Quest Disc but it leaked well after development ceased and the game was released. It also seems it is built off of a snapshot of the original Ocarina of Time code since it retains so many debug features and things that were removed from OOT.

    Nintendo runs a notoriously tight ship and it's almost unheard of to have software leaks from with Nintendo themselves. Which leads me to believe that they did outsource the port to a second-party developer.

    At some point the ROM was leaked online and began to make it's way around select circles of top ROM hackers in hopes of pulling it apart to reveal it's secrets. There were concerns there may be a digital fingerprint or some other tell tale that may be able to be traced back to the leak so there was no intention at the time of a widespread release. Time passed and the existence of the ROM became more known but it was still impossible for the average person to obtain it.

    Eventually an extensive guide with images was made by one of said ROM hackers (HyperHacker I believe) although while writing this I've discovered it no longer exists it was once at this address:

    http://hypernova.amarok-shadow.com/MyStuff/oot_debug/

    This is where I come in. Being the curious s.o.b. that I am, I explored the "index of /MyStuff/" (who could resist with a directory name like that?) I was just hoping to find more pictures from the ROM itself instead I found the ROM itself sitting there in a generically titled zip/rar.

    I shared the location of the file with a friend who used to do alot of hacking N64 codes on a Gameshark type device back in the day and asked him to have a play. I expressed my concern about digital fingerprinting and asked that he keep it to himself.

    That was my mistake. Being a bit of a Nintendo fanboy with an interest in all things beta, debug, and development I wanted to know everything about the ROM so I asked this friend to look at it. Him too being a fanboy wanted to share it with the world. So he started telling people and posting the link in the public domain.

    The rest as they say is history...

    It was for the best without a doubt, as more people with an interest in ROM hacking and disassembly were able to have a crack at it.
     
  3. DevHackr

    DevHackr Enthusiastic Member

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    My guess would be this. The "debug rom" or so it's called was probably distributed via ftp between NOJ/NOE. As such, it was most likely a loose file, as the master disc uses n64 emulation. The "debug" parts were likely there to test various areas and the effects of emulation.
     
  4. zidapi

    zidapi Rising Member

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    Ok, here's some more on this ROM.

    [​IMG]

    Firstly here is the ROM exactly as I found it on the site shown with last modified dates etc... (ZELOOTMA.zip) It wasn't as generically named as I thought it was but, being that the game is commly abbreviated to Zelda: OOT, ZOOT etc.. it's not something I would have been able to locate via google without knowing the title.

    Zelda - Master Quest (ENG).zip is a copy I downloaded once it began to spread like crazy. Almost 2 months after I first found it.

    I also found this document today which I hadn't seen before. It's a very comprehensive guide to the debug ROM. It's not the same guide that was once at the address above though.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/7181664/Guide-to-LoZOoT-Debug-Version
    and as a pdf
    http://rapidshare.com/files/244315213/7181664-Guide-to-LoZOoT-Debug-Version.pdf
     
  5. GaijinPunch

    GaijinPunch Lemon Party Organizer and Promoter

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    That's fucking hillarious. Why would the guy leave the rom on the site? It only takes one thing to break and the whole directory is exposed.

    Anyways, cool stuff. Glad that it made it out there.
     
  6. link83

    link83 Enthusiastic Member

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    Wow thanks for the replies :nod:

    I guess we have you to thank zidapi for getting it out there :icon_bigg even if it was unintentional.

    Thanks also for the links zidapi, that pdf is great, and you can still access the original 'HyperHacker' site you linked to using the internet archive:-
    http://web.archive.org/web/20070402234359/http://hypernova.amarok-shadow.com/MyStuff/oot_debug/

    I have seen quite a few slightly hacked/different versions of this rom, one even had the names of a release group hex edited in, but they obviously couldnt have released it because I had already found roms that predated theirs which lacked their names!

    The date on zidapi's 'ZELOOTMA' rom is 22/03/2003 which is alot earlier than I had thought, although I realise it is just the date the rom was last accessed/created and not when it was released (which appears to be sometime in 2005?) It even predates the launch of Wind Waker in both the USA and Europe, even before the European bonus disk had been released (It only came in a bundle with the Wind Waker in Europe) However it doesnt predate the USA bonus disk promotion though...

    I am curious what the 'original' leaked rom used as the internal name? The one in the goodset has the name:-
    Legend of Zelda, The - Ocarina of Time - Master Quest (U) (Debug Version)
    and is titled in the rom:-
    THE LEGEND OF ZELDA .......NZLE

    and another version (Presumably the same as the one zidapi has) is titled:-
    ZELOOTMA
    and is titled in the rom:-
    THE LEGEND OF DEBUG .......CZLE

    Interestingly one has CZLE, with the 'C' suggesting it still has 64DD hooks, and the other says NZLE with the 'N' suggesting it was Nintendo 64 only - although I do realise how easy it would be to change these letters with a hex editor, which is why im curious what name/letters the original rom used.

    Both have an 'E' at the end which usually means its a USA rom :confused:

    What I also find interesting is that this rom is mostly in English, suggesting either Nintendo outsourced development to an English development team, or that it was leaked from either NOA or NOE during testing/translation?

    Also this rom is the Master Quest version, but presumably started out as an Ocarina of Time or Ura Zelda debug, and im guessing would also have been totally in Japanese?

    Oh and zidapi, I think your 'Zelda - Master Quest (ENG).v64' rom is simply the normal Master Quest rom ripped from the GameCube bonus disk? Im only guessing because its half the size of the normal Master Quest debug rom judging by the file sizes shown on your picture.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
  7. Jimmy130

    Jimmy130 Active Member

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    The 'E' at the end means English for USA games.
    Zelda OOT Debug rom is in english because Zelda OOT JPN already contains english text.
     
  8. link83

    link83 Enthusiastic Member

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    Thanks, I kind of guessed it must have stood for English, but I think the 'E' is also specifically for USA games, as European ones also feature English language but have 'P', and Japanese games have 'J'.

    Really? I saw hardly any English text in JPN Zelda Toki no Ocarina or JPN Zelda Toki no Ocarina URA :confused: Am I missing something?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
  9. Knuckles500

    Knuckles500 Spirited Member

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    Okay, most of you are on the right track - but that's not the whole story. :p

    In short terms, yes, it was leaked from NoE itself. I don't know what dept it came from (suspecting QA) - but of course, the only way to get something like this is to get a developer who was working on the emulation side of the project. The game itself couldn't be ported in time as the game itself was on a strict time schedule, and most of the game's engine took advantage of the N64 hardware with MIPS assembly and a mixture of C. The only quick way was emulating the game by out sourcing development to "a group of people" who were hired to write an emulator (I can't say who, sorry - it isn't important anyway). Of course, since it's Nintendo, they only outsourced what was nessassary - so this meant only final and debug builds of the game were sent for development - no source. This build was only built 2 minutes after the final version, so this was compiled along side the finalized code.

    However, Nintendo (or somebody else) does keep a good record of all the things used in development of the game - as the maps suggest it. I personally don't know what the original ideas for the compilation were - but I personally believe they wanted to aim for much more besides a few object placement changes. They still have all the old maps you've seen, as well as old builds and test maps, and the tools of the trade. AND, they even have older versions of retail maps (see map number 125 :)) Which of course is no surprise. What strikes me, is that the so called "finished version of Ura Zelda for the DD" was never even brought up during development of Master Quest. So I don't know if they lost the code, couldn't compile it into the rom, weren't interested in DD emulation - the people they outsourced emulator development had no insight into it.

    The rom itself was kept in secret for about a year, when one of the friends of the original developer had a copy of the rom and decided to tell other people about it. It wasn't until maybe two years after that we actually got the rom ourselves. Prior to all of this, I wanted to make a shoutout on a few rom site boards to see if someone still had a copy of both this AND some MM Kiosk rom. Of course, I had no results, but when we finally had the rom in our hands we decided to make plans to release it.

    At the time, I had no idea what ASSEMblergames was, or what kind of people collectors were, so I had no idea how to release anything properly. I wasn't in charge of the planning of the rom (the friend of the developer was actually doing this without his permission - which later on, proved Nintendo never really gave a fuck), so I don't know what the original intentions were. I think we were working around the idea of fixing the rom, understanding it, and hacking it for a little bit until we released it - but I couldn't wait any longer. So finally I just asked the leader about it, and he gave me the okay. I didn't know where to release it first, so I did it on just a few boards hoping that it would catch on and magically appear in a GoodSet. Thankfully it did, but it all happened very slowly. And even then, not a lot of people cared of the fact that a rom of something like Zelda surfaced. Go figure.

    The rom that was in the N64 GoodSet is actually a modified version of the game. The original, released along with it somewhere - and the tools to fix it manually were released along with it. Any copy of the rom that has the header "LEGEND OF DEBUG" is a modified version. But we didn't watermark with any name - like NintendoAGE (cough), we actually had good intentions with editing the rom. The original version of the rom had rooms 120/125 behaving irregularly and crashing, and those were maps that could be found in an actual Zelda 64 prototype. So we knew that we wanted to fix them so they could be loaded for everyone to play. For some reason, I leaked the original copy plus the tools to fix it originally. The hacked rom was what made it on to GoodSet.

    And one last thing about that "rom found on unprotected webspace". First of all, that wasn't how it got leaked in the first place. I actually OWNED that space, and we kept rare prototypes of things and a copy of the GoodSet (password protected folder of course) - as well as a backup somewhere of that extensive guide to the rom (really awesome to read, and no one wanted to see History destroy it), so I made a copy of it. We kept all the roms there with the intent that we could share, so sorry guys, no conspiracy. Thanks for visiting the site though. :p

    So there you have it, a brief look of the history/origins of the rom. I was relunctant to tell originally, but hopefully I won't draw a crowd since it really isn't an interesting story. And of course, no story would come complete with it's drama - which is why I kinda supressed the story for such a long time. I kinda wished it would spark an outbreak of other N64 prototypes being released, but sadly, no one came foward. But, I guess if it wasn't for LostLevels, Digitpress, and ASSEMbler - I never really could understand why.

    I'm glad you all enjoyed the rom, since it's all that we're probably going to get. Hopefully something turns out in the future that will bring another oppertunity like this. :)

    Thanks for reading~
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
  10. Jimmy130

    Jimmy130 Active Member

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    You can translate in english, Zelda no Densetsu - Toki no Ocarina (J) (V1.0) with this action replay code : 8011B9D9 0001.
     
  11. DevHackr

    DevHackr Enthusiastic Member

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    Haw! Any dig at NA is funnier then hell to me ;)
     
  12. zidapi

    zidapi Rising Member

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    Firstly, thanks for filling us in on the story of this gem.

    Cool, well that matches the dates in my screen cap exactly. 2003 being the last modified of the ROM in the Zip, and late 2005 being when I finally got a hold of it.
    Oh, and that Majora's Mask Kiosk that was released by CARROT was mine :icon_bigg

    Again, that matches the the files I have with the larger ROM being the original, and the half sized ROM being the 'Official' GoodSet version.

    Well I'm glad I wasn't responsible for the ROM becoming widespread. I had been working on that assumption because before I found I couldn't find it anywhere, then once I had (and told my friend about it) within a few months it was everywhere.

    I've certainly never tried to take any credit and like you this is the first time I've ever mentioned it.

    I don't know about that. CARROT has released a bunch of unreleased and Prototype ROMs.
    Frogger ALPHA, O.D.T, Forty Winks, A WIP Turok 3 (and numerous requests to release mine :p) That shitty fighting game ALPHA with the Final Fantasy placeholders... I'm sure there is more
     
  13. Knuckles500

    Knuckles500 Spirited Member

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    Heh, cool. I remember trying to bid on the MM Kiosk cart on eBay and someone got it before I could and then later on (like a few weeks later) the rom showed up. Go figure. :p

    The whole plan of releasing the rom was to release the rom as low as we could go (really small rom sites, etc) and not put a name attached so it couldn't leave any connections. The reason for that was because we still didn't know if Nintendo would be on our asses for even having it in the first place - so we went on and on about either or not we should keep it secret or actually release it. The reason for that was for a number of reasons - there were barely ANY Mario/Zelda prototypes released to begin with, so we thought that there was a reason for that (like, Nintendo made sure that no "Beta" would ever leak of their own franchises). This was during the time where there were BARELY any prototypes for the N64, so we also thought that was another reason that it wouldn't be a good idea. To show you how really naive we were, we still called everything "beta", we didn't get Map Select loaded yet, we were still counting on Beta Quest, Nemu64 could still run on our computers, etc - so you could see how anyone part of a community so small and so close would be scared if a great oppertunity was infront of them. But, I just released it as anonymously as possible and I guess the plan worked out in the end. :)

    Of course, I always did want to put my name on the rom and be famous and all that crap ~ but maybe it was for the best. And boy, I'm sure glad I never did.

    Nintendo never really responded to the rom, not even to the extensive hacking that was going on for the game. I think me (and some stupid members who decided to go with a direct approach) tried to push the fact that there was an Arwing in the game, no one knew what the hell it was there for, so there was a Miyamoto questionare for about a month on 5 different websites and I submitted the same question in every single one and they never asked. Which led me to believe that Nintendo doesn't really care about prototypes (they just care about roms and emulators in general, I suppose).

    Speaking of prototype N64 games, what I meant by "N64 prototypes", I think I meant like prototypes people really cared about (Mario/Zelda/etc). Infact, that Duck Dodgers prototype and some other prototype (forgot the name) was released by ZZT32 with some loans given to DreamTR so we could dump them. We could've had access to a lot more, but we didn't have the funds going in like drx had to borrow them. ZZT32 also had a lot of trouble running his rom dumping equipment (forgot model atm), so even if prototypes were coming in - we couldn't dump them in time to send them back (he was even suggesting doing it byte by byte copying of the data by typing it all out - yikes).

    One thing I guess I regret out of the release - I wish people would stop treating it as a prototype on YouTube. Those videos drive me insane, one guy actually said it was a "rom hack". I ask a lot of people if the debug rom made hacking OoT any easier, and they say that they never really needed it, I digress. Everything you see on YouTube that has to do with hacking OoT is using the debug rom. Talk about ignorance, huh.

    And finally, about those 10 extra maps at the end of the Map Select ~ to this day, we really don't know why they were included. They were included ESPECIALLY for this build of the game - so they aren't available in any final version. My guess is that someone wrote the first 10 maps ever finalized for the game and put it in. That's why you have test maps first, prototype maps and unused maps second. We had theories that 120/121 tested lighting, while 116 tested texturing techniques. Personally, I think they just included them just cause - anyone's guess is possible. Besides those extra maps, debugging features, and Master Quest stuff - nothing else was added for the sake of the debug version.

    I hope one day we get another rare Zelda/Mario treat. We just have to find the right opportunity, I suppose. :p

    Here's hoping that CARROT releases some other N64 goodies soon. I support you guys all the way. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  14. DevHackr

    DevHackr Enthusiastic Member

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    The issue is this. Cart based formats got written over, over and over. And according to interviews with NOJ, nintendo has an immediate "destroy old revision" policy. Once a new build is made the older one is erased, or in the case of disc based stuff immediate shredding. I'm fairly sure NOE/NOA are the same, but I think they do all their testing and revision building in japan.
     
  15. sayin999

    sayin999 Officer at Arms

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    I am not sure if this whole destroy all revisions is true. It's been shown that Nintendo has used stuff from prototypes. The earthbound English cart for example, had the graphical changes and other misc stuff added to the Japanese mother 1&2 release for gba.

    In fact when they did an interview with one of the staff that worked on kirby 64, he had a prototype cart that was a bit different from the final cart disccussing control and misc stuff. Also stuff that was beta in oot was used in majora's mask as well.Based on various interviews and stuff shown at conferences, Nintendo archives all it's stuff, but most of it is only kept in japan. Is it just me or did mario ds extra levels possibly stem from beta levels not used in mario 64 or levels designed for mario 64 2?
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  16. emu_kidid

    emu_kidid Enthusiastic Member

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    If you disassemble the actual emulator on the retail disc of Zelda Collectors Edition for the Nintendo Gamecube, they have actually coded functions for the DD emulation part, such as:

    diskGetROMXX
    diskPutROMXX
    diskGetDriveXX
    diskPutDriveXX
    (where XX is the size of the read or write from 8 to 64 bits)
    Which I assume would be for the 64DD disk drive as they aren't accessed by normal ROM files.

    It also has "CZLE" & "CZLJ" and "The Legend of Zelda Debug" strings inside in there.

    I suspect they "ran out" of time to develop it perhaps.

    That's my 2 cents anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  17. GaijinPunch

    GaijinPunch Lemon Party Organizer and Promoter

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    My guess is that it holds true across the board. Who wants to keep up w/ how many old, buggy beta versions there are? It's a hassle, and insecure. The media is also recopyable, so it does not good lying around.

    However, I've read in places that loke test versions of PCB exist "somewhere" so it's not totally unheard of.
     
  18. Knuckles500

    Knuckles500 Spirited Member

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    I put the emulator's ELF file in IDA Pro to see what those strings might be for, and here's what I concluded:

    Those disk functions are for loading the actual .n64 data from the disk (drive) and locating it somewhere else (probably ram). Hence why the numbers are only for 8/16/32/64, because those are the only sizes N64 roms can get to. You also have functions for getting the serial code of the rom, which is the CZLE stuff (It might be, not sure). Those are kept for the function systemSetupGame(ALL), so that the emulator can configure itself depending on the rom's code. In this case, CZLE/CZLJ are set up to use the emulator's default settings (Majora's Mask uses a different configuration). There are other games mentioned in the .dol because obviously the person wanted to test more games to see if they were going to work properly. Those other games were most likely not provided by Nintendo themselves, and is part of the author's own rom collection. Nintendo only provided Zelda builds.

    That's what I THINK anyway, I'm probably terribly wrong. :\

    But I think it's safe to assume they weren't planning on using DD emulation at all. Infact, the rom (from looking at it really quickly ages ago) was picked clean of DD debug references due to the new debugging info screens (taken from MM, btw, so they probably used some MM engine code for OoT since it was probably cleaned up a bit). So I'm guessing the only code base they used was OoT's and possibly MM's - but I could be wrong. Unfortunately as I said, the people coding the emulator had no insight of the project plan - so even if I could somehow get in touch with them again, they have no answers. :(

    However, there is evidence that the game itself was not originally called Master Quest in America (maybe even Japan). I forgot the name itself, but they accidently left different banner designs on the disk somewhere. I'd have to find it again, but I really don't wanna - so, :p.
     
  19. michal99

    michal99 Peppy Member

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    This is not true there is a quite a lot of games which are inbetween these numbers. For example GoldenEye only 12 MB, Dr. Mario 64 4 MB, Donald Duck - Quack Attack 20 MB ...
     
  20. Knuckles500

    Knuckles500 Spirited Member

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    Heh, forgot about those.

    Then I guess those numbers are for the sizes of the roms that the emulator developers had. I think anyway. :\
     

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