HyperHacker

April 21st, 2009
Lazy Bastard: Aside from hacking quite a few well-known codes, you hacked the first (and currently only, I believe) custom track for Mario Kart 64. What inspired you to do so?

HyperHacker: Well, there were a few sources actually. Basically one day I thought "hey, nobody's looked at Mario Kart's levels yet, I should do that", and I made some simple hacks, adding floating messages in the air, then kinda got bored of it and moved on to other projects for a while...until I fell in love with this Japanese girl, and wanted to come up with something to impress her. I'd been thinking about making a track, but I had no decent ideas and wasn't too interested in doing all that work. But I was listening to some tunes and that song came on and I thought holy crap perfect. And from there had the idea to design a track around that theme.


Viper187: You originally went by Pika9876. Why the obsession with Pokemon? ;)

HyperHacker: I was like 12? :-p  I still find them some of the greatest games of all, though only the first two generations :-p


Lazy Bastard: What is your favorite code/hack that you hacked?

HyperHacker: well the Mario Kart track is my favourite ROM hack. As for codes I think the Infinite Longshot/Hook Onto Anything for Zelda OoT. That's a lot of fun.


Lazy Bastard: What is your favorite code/hack of all time?

HyperHacker: I suppose all the work done to Super Mario World by the community surrounding that. They've really hacked the crap out of that game; it's pretty amazing.


Lazy Bastard: Who would you say influenced you the most in the video game hacking scene? Who did you 'look up to' when you first entered the scene? (doesn't have to be the same person for both)

HyperHacker: I guess Parasyte, he was always a "hacker god" and it was a long time before I could do a lot of the things he could.


Lazy Bastard: What was your first code/hack?

HyperHacker: Well, the first thing I did was remaking the infinite health code for Mario 64 just to learn how the process worked. My first "hack" if you can really call it that was to redraw Mario as a girl in Nesticle's graphic editor. I know the first ASM hack I ever did was Infinite HP for G/S, didnt work very well though :-p


Lazy Bastard: What do you think is the most difficult type of code/hack to hack, and why?

HyperHacker: A lot of times it depends on the game engine...they tend to make one thing easy and another difficult. Overall, probably hit detection, that's very complex math so it becomes a real pain to hack.


Lazy Bastard: What is your favorite type of code/hack?

HyperHacker: Codes that unlock debug modes and other cool things left over in the game.


Lazy Bastard: What is your least favorite aspect of hacking?

HyperHacker: Often there's a lack of decent software to do the job. Good debuggers are difficult to find, especially on Linux.


Lazy Bastard: What do you dislike most about the hacking scene?

HyperHacker: People can't get along, always going crazy because someone "didn't credit them" for their one-line code that any idiot could make in 5 minutes, splitting off into their own little communities, etc, and kids these days who equate hacking with ISO loaders and just want want want without any appreciation for what it takes to actually make a hack on modern systems, and what you can do with it besides just piracy. 


Lazy Bastard: Which game did you find the most fun to hack, and why?

HyperHacker: Probably Mario Kart 64, because you can really do some crazy stuff with it, the code isn't overly complex or fussy, and the results are usually quite entertaining. Pokļæ½mon G/S were also fun.


Viper187: Was there a game that was just the most evil piece of programming you ever had the cursed luck to hack codes for?

HyperHacker: I think Zelda OoT wins that one, actually... the code is rather a mess. It loads item routines and such on the fly, and tends to be quite sensitive, crashing easily, so it can be a huge pain to actually find the routine you want, and then the game crashes, you load up again, and it's moved. I've been somewhat fortunate in avoiding games that are deliberately evil with their code, but Nintendo is pretty good at being sloppy and weird :-p


Viper187: Do you have any specific hacking techniques or peculiarities?

HyperHacker: I've basically just learned to notice a lot of patterns... there are a surprising number of little things in game code you can rely on being consistent even though they have no need to be, primarily because they're using well-known design patterns and structures. One place where knowing how to code can help, just learning those same patterns. Sometimes, you find a technique that has no real logic to it, but works anyway :-p


Lazy Bastard: Did you ever hack an awesome code, or find an address in memory that would've yielded an awesome code, but then lost it somehow?

HyperHacker: yes, I put together various trippy effect codes in Mario 64 to make the game a total drug trip...I called it Mario's on Shroomz and it was maybe 15 lines. It did all sorts of crazy things. The sound was all weird effects, the graphics flowed and moved and flashed, cannon sights and shadows looked like they'd melted, etc. I had it stored on my Gameshark when it completely died, wouldn't even boot up...I'm sure I posted it online somewhere too but I've never found a copy since then.


Lazy Bastard: What was the most difficult, 'hair-pulling' hack you've ever accomplished?

HyperHacker: well right now I'm working on making bigger levels in Super Mario World, by adding more RAM to the cartridge and moving the level data there. Adding RAM is just one byte change in the header but there are tons of pointers and routines that need to be changed to make it work with the level data moved and it's proving very difficult to find them all.


Lazy Bastard: Was there ever a code you just couldn't get to work quite correctly (something you hacked/attempted to hack)?

HyperHacker: I never did figure out the maximum speed for the planes in Diddy Kong Racing. They work a lot different from the other vehicles so all I managed to do was slow it down or completely break the physics.


Lazy Bastard: Aside from hacking and gaming, how do you like to spend your time?

HyperHacker: I waste a lot of time on Youtube and funny websites, sleeping too much, or just walking around town for no particular reason. Recently I've been trying to draw things in Inkscape, since I found I can actually do fairly well with vectors. I can't draw a damn thing any other way :-p


Lazy Bastard: What do you think must happen for the video game hacking scene to continue to thrive?

HyperHacker: I think hacking future consoles could get very interesting with online services. We've already seen commercial cheat devices just about eliminated with updateable firmware, and hacking X360 is just about impossible if you want to play online because of its design. So I think the most important thing to keep hacking newer consoles will be keeping one step ahead of the manufacturers who try to prevent hacks from working, finding exploits and writing apps to enable hacking. Of course hacking the classic consoles will never die... at least until every old game has been hacked to death :-p


Lazy Bastard: One last question: if you had one thing to say to current, aspiring, and future hackers, what would it be?

HyperHacker: Don't ask "is it possible" or "can it be hacked". Because unless you're asking for something beyond the limits of the hardware, the answer is always yes. It's all just code, that can be changed. Infeasible, maybe, impossible, not at all. I'm always making and seeing hacks that people thought were impossible, and often they turn out not that difficult. Also...cool hacks can impress chicks ;-)