Friday, October 19, 2018

[Early Access Post] Out of Bounds in China: Automated Cheat Tool for Shenmue Two

In this post, we present our automated tool for Shenmue II that will let Ryo step right through walls, fences and boundaries as if they didn't exist. It is a companion tool to the one for Shenmue I (which can be found here).

What Is It?

The tool is a short script built in the Cheat Engine (an open-source memory scanner, editor and debugger) that scans through memory to identify boundary data for the current area, and clears it out. Bingo - the boundaries are removed.

The original method for removing collisions in the Dreamcast version was developed by Giorgio and BlueMue of the Shenmue Dojo.

We've also added an extra function to adjust Ryo's position in the area he is in. The following keyboard shortcut keys can also be used:

  • Insert / Delete: move Ryo forward/back in the X direction
  • Home / End: move Ryo forward/back in the Y direction
  • Page Up / Page Down: adjust Ryo's height (note, disable collisions first)

The tool is available now for Phantom River Stone patrons!
Not a patron yet? Click the button below to support Phantom River Stone on Patron - just $2 gets you advance access to this post and all premium posts published during that month, plus other cool rewards like weekly Shenmue news recaps & more! Plus, if you join this month at any level, you will automatically be entered in a draw to win a Shenmue Sacred Spot Guide Map.

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Shenmue Sacred Spot Guide Map Give-Away

It's a prize give-away! All our patrons have an equal shot at winning a shiny new Shenmue Sacred Spot Guide Map, fresh from the 2018 Tokyo Game Show. There's no better time to become a Phantom River Stone supporter ($1 at the lowest tier). The entry period closes at the end of this month on October 31st.

Join us here:

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A Prototype that Served Its Purpose: Thoughts on the Leaked Footage for a "Full HD Remaster" of Shenmue I & II

Yesterday, a video was released by Digital Foundry, showcasing leaked footage of a partially-completed remastered version of Shenmue I & II (which we'll refer to as a prototype) that was eventually shelved in favor of a version in which the enhancements were more manageable. This version was also worked on by d3t, the same development company who went on to develop the Shenmue I & II re-release that was released earlier this year.

The footage takes the form of a number of camera "fly-bys" around certain locations from the games (the Hazuki Residence, Yamanose and Dobuita from Shenmue I, and a few street areas in Hong Kong), highlighting comprehensively remodeled graphics.

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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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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Aerial View of Yamanose | Mods & Hacks

Looking down over Yamanose on a rainy day.

(This picture was taken using a hack for the PC version of Shenmue I that lets Ryo walk through walls - and in the air. We will be covering this hack soon on the blog).
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Saturday, October 6, 2018

Ryo vs the Bus | Mods & Hacks

Ryo peers through the front window of the bus to get a view of the detailed interior. Advertisements for a motorbike and cigarettes can be seen on the walls. Ryo, you'll make the bus run late!

(These pictures were created using a hack for the PC version of Shenmue I that lets Ryo walk onto the roadway. We will be covering this hack on the blog in the near future).
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Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for October

Every month Phantom River Stone holds a poll among our patrons to choose a topic for the blog in the coming month. The results are in for October, and the most highly-voted topic (including accumulated votes from previous months) was...

"The altar at the Hazuki Residence." During the game, Ryo vows before this altar to find his father's killer. We'll look at how such altars are a part of day-to-day life for many Japanese households.

We'll be releasing it on the blog later this month.

If you're interested in reading it early, check us out on Patreon - the $2 tier will get you early access as soon as its ready, plus access to all early-access posts for the month. Or participate in voting for a monthly blog topic at one of the higher tiers.
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Friday, October 5, 2018

"Shenmue Shorts" Weekly News Round-up for Patrons

"Shenmue Shorts" Weekly News Round-up for Patrons

This month we're trying to spread the word about some of the cool rewards we've got for prospective supporters over on our Patreon page, and here's the first!

Each week we publish an easy-to-digest news summary we call "Shenmue Shorts", covering the events, Kickstarter updates, industry community news of interest to Shenmue fans over the past 7 days. It's available to all our patrons, at any tier.

Check out the latest Shenmue Shorts below, and consider joining us as a patron if you'd like to help support the blog & stay up-to-date with Shenmue news!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

2-Year Anniversary & October Patreon Challenge

Phantom River Stone has recently passed its 2 year anniversary!

As a kind of commemoration, we've set ourselves a fun challenge of reaching 50 Patreon supporters by Oct 31. At the end all patrons will go into a draw for a special Shenmue item.

If you'd like to help us get there, visit our Patreon page. And of course, thank you to our existing patrons for your support and helping to keep the blog running.

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Shenmue at TGS 2018 | Event Visit Report

Shenmue at TGS 2018 | Event Visit Report

On Saturday, September 22nd, I joined the flood of eager game fans attending the first Public Day of the 2018 Tokyo Game Show. Information about the event in the days leading up to it indicated an exciting amount of Shenmue-related content, including a panel discussion, SEGA merchandise including a new official Shenmue T-shirt, and a hands-on play area at the SEGA booth for Shenmue I & II. Yu Suzuki himself had even made a surprise on-stage appearance during the Business Days.

Here is a report on everything Shenmue I encountered on my visit.

Getting to the Event

The day that dawned was gray and drab, with the smell of possible rain in the air. The event venue, as usual, was in Chiba prefecture at the sprawling Makuhari Messe convention center, so my alarm clock was set even earlier than Ryo's usual waking time for departing on the hour-and-a-half train journey.

Upon arrival at the convention center's train station, kitted out in my vintage Shenmue T-shirt I joined the flow of passengers heading in a single direction - no need to consult a map!

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