Monday, December 31, 2018

[Pinned] Announcement: Phantom River Stone is on Patreon!

It is hard to believe that over one-and-a-half years have passed since the Phantom River Stone blog launched. We've made more than 200 posts on our favorite subject: translations of community interviews, magazine articles and design documents, notes about everyday items and culture reflected in the game, photos of real locations around Yokosuka... just celebrating the awesomeness that is Shenmue.

In order to sustain this rate of output, and dedicate the time needed for the translations and posts, I wanted to offer a way for blog readers who wish to help contribute to do so.

And so, I am excited to announce our new Patreon page for Phantom River Stone!

If you're not familiar with Patreon, it’s an easy way to give those who find the blog of interest, a way to support it directly.

Plus, you will receive some great rewards in return, such as exclusive "behind the scenes" content, early access to blog posts before anyone else, and monthly voting on a future blog topic. We also have a Discord channel for chatting about Shenmue and blog posts & I look forward to chatting with you there.

There are several different reward tiers, which you can check out in detail on the new Patreon page.

Thank you for considering becoming a patron of the blog, and regardless of whether you are in a position to offer financial support, thank you for being a reader of the blog!

Click to open the Phantom River Stone page on Patreon!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Ryo Lost in the Golden Qr | Mods & Hacks

"I'm looking for the Yin Tan apartments". Ryo climbs a nearby street light for a better view.

This picture was taken using a hack for the PC version of Shenmue II that lets Ryo walk through walls - and in the air.
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Monday, October 15, 2018

The New Shenmue Guide Map: The Differences

The New Shenmue Guide Map: The Differences

The Shenmue "Sacred Spot" Guide Map is a multi-page tourist pamphlet highlighting locations of interest to Shenmue fans around Yokosuka and is a collaborative effort between Yokosuka City and SEGA. It was originally released at the end of 2017 in both English and Japanese versions (see our video about the map with links to their pdf downloads).

A new edition of the map has made an appearance at SEGA's booth at the 2018 recent Tokyo Game Show in September.
Shenhua shows off the new edition of the map at TGS 2018.
Shenhua shows off the new edition of the map at TGS 2018.
In this post we compare the new version directly with the original, page by page, to see what differences there are.

The language of the new version is Japanese (whereas the original map also had an English version). This is understandable, given its purpose as a promotional item for the release Shenmue I & II in Japan, as we shall see.

Note: an official pdf of the new map is not available, so photos have been used which may introduce some color variation.
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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Walking Through Walls: Automated Cheat Tool for Shenmue One

While playing Shenmue it's not unusual to wonder what lies behind some of the inaccessible areas in the game. It would be fun to roam around the world of Shenmue outside of the usual boundaries - peeking behind shop counters, strolling over to areas blocked off by walls, or even running out onto the road to play chicken with the traffic.

Over the years, talented hackers and modders in the Shenmue community figured out the changes needed to achieve this in the Dreamcast version of the games. And with the re-releases it turns out that a similar approach can be taken for the re-release games, as described in our earlier post.

Today we present our automated cheat tool for Shenmue I, a program that allows Ryo to walk past the usual boundaries at the click of a button. This tool is for use with the PC (Steam) version of Shenmue I.

Read on for details on how to use it to go exploring for yourself. The download link can be found at the end of the post.

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Exploring the Road Outside New Yokosuka Harbor | Video

In recent posts we've seen a few interesting places Ryo can go once the in-game boundary restrictions are removed: such as over to the warship in the harbor, or even behind the mirror in the Russiya China shop in Dobuita.

This time Ryo is out exploring the road in front of New Yokosuka Harbor, for which access is normally limited to the area in front of the bus stop. Along the way he greets an abusive guy pushing a trolley, and witnesses some questionable driving.

Related post:
  • See our post about our one-click tool for information on how to easily turn collision detection off in Shenmue I, allowing Ryo to literally walk behind the scenes. 
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Thursday, October 11, 2018

How Reflections Work in Shenmue: Russiya China Shop (Video)

This video, created by James Brown, demonstrates how Shenmue creates the clever illusion of a fully-working mirror within the game. The location is the Russiya China Shop in Dobuita.

He comments on the Shenmue Dojo forums:
"I decided to check out the infamous reflection technique that was used back in the day to get around the obvious lack of technology for creating a mirror image! The mirror in Russiya China Shop and the one in Ryo's basement were the 2 obvious choices. I decided to check out Russiya first and even though I knew it was going to happen, it still blew my mind the genius of creating a second room that's mirrored next to the main store, and creating a like for like movement second Ryo so it appears that Ryo's reflection is actually present in the mirror (when in fact it's just a second Ryo character model standing in a second room! :D )"
The part where Real Ryo speaks to the shop owner from behind the mirror (with Reflection Ryo standing there quietly) is quite creepy!

Related post:

  • See our post about our one-click tool for information on how to easily turn collision detection off in Shenmue I, allowing Ryo to literally walk behind the scenes. 
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Warship at New Yokosuka Harbor | Video

The Warship at New Yokosuka Harbor | Video

When Ryo explores New Yokosuka harbor in Amihama, he has a view of a battleship sitting across the harbor, but he isn't able to get a very good look at it.

The inclusion of this ship in the game, which has the designation "975" on its side, is historically accurate and is based on an actual ship that was stationed in Yokosuka around the timeframe of the game:

The ship in the game is based on one that actually existed.

And using a hack to allow Ryo to walk outside the normal bounds, we take a walk over to the ship and inspect it up close as demonstrated in this video.

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Walking Through Walls | Part One: Collision Detection in Shenmue

Today's topic was selected by the Phantom River Stone blog patrons via our monthly poll. If you'd like to have a say in what subjects we cover next, consider supporting us on Patreon!

The topic we'll be looking at today is about collision detection in Shenmue. The aim is to allow Ryo to "walk through walls" and roam around the landscape freely, without being constrained by the boundaries normally in place in the game.

The discussion will be divided into three parts:
  • Part One (this post): some technical background of the knowledge contributed by Shenmue community members on the way collision data is stored in the Shenmue games, and a proposed approach for applying this to the Shenmue I & II re-releases.
  • In Part Two, we will provide an easy-to-use file you can run to allow Ryo walk through walls for any area in Shenmue I (on PC). No technical expertise required!
  • Part Three will introduce a tool for Shenmue II.
Note: although today's overview is somewhat technical, do not worry if you aren't able to follow everything; in the following posts of this series we will be providing a tool that takes care of all the necessary changes on behalf of the player.

Hacking & the Shenmue Community

The Shenmue fan community has a strong hacking / modding scene that goes back many years, right to the day the original games were released on the Dreamcast. This activity continues with vigor today, new graphic & sound mods appearing already for the recently-released PC (Steam) version of Shenmue I & II.
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