Zap! The Magic

Platform: Windows

Status: Abandoned

Current patch: ver 0.1

Zap! The Magic is a "Magic: The Gathering" style collectible card game/RPG, originally released in 1996. A freeware version was released in 2008 that was updated to work on Windows XP/Vista. There is a digital version available for purchase as of 2012, but I am not aware how or if that version differs from the freeware release.

I enjoy the computerized versions of CCGs from this era, which could satisfy my favorite parts of the hobby, collecting cards and building decks, while avoiding my least favorite, pumping real money into buying card booster packs. Of course, the modern era of microtransactions and gacha mechanics have brought that aspect into the digital form of the genre alongside a focus on online player competition and ranking that holds no interest for me whatsoever.

The game runs more or less fine in Win7 at the very least. The included manual has all the rules and card descriptions in html, making it easy to plug into Google Translate and refer to during play. However, I wanted to see if I could at least get the menus into english, and then see about the in-game card descriptions so I wouldn't have to keep going back and forth between the game and manual.

This was the first Windows game I had tried to patch, so it was an interesting learning experience. There were a few glitches in how certain text displays if the game is not run in Japanese system locale, as well as some gameplay issues I could not find the cause of. The text issues I was able to patch out or work around. I found most of the menus and message directly in the game's executable, which I was able to extract and then manually overwite in a hex editor. The card text and event dialog are stored in .SAD files, which I was able to write a script to decompress, edit manually, and recompress again. Since the original text is padded to match the size of the text box, I could just overwrite it without needing to worry about changing text lengths.

With machine translations for the messages and card descriptions proofread and inserted, I was able to play throught the entire game. I could do the same for the event dialog, but didn't really feel that the effort would necessarily be worth typing it all in for a subpar machine translation. I may or may not come back to this in the future.

Zap! hacking notes (unedited)