Adventures in memory editing: The search for lost ryona


Ryonani Teamster
Jul 20, 2010
After years of lurking I've come back to say........ I think we missed a couple
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I've been going back through alot of ps2 games with the help of an emulator and cheatengine to datamine animations that didn't get implemented into the game proper. Some things, like this nina grab here, are in the game, but incredibly rare to have occur or happen under special circumstances, i've gotten this grab to play 2-3 times after spending hours with this guy.
Which brings me to cheatengine, death by degrees here is one of the easier games to "preview" animations with, most games actually use similar methods of registering and indexing animations, with death by degrees being one of the easier games to understand from hexadecimal point of view. I can break down the process for anyone if they are interested in checking games themselves or to create content. I'm gonna put up a runthrough of what ive found so far, starting with the better stuff ive found.

Death by degrees
besides the aforementioned grab, theres a couple things i havent seen in youtube videos yet. all of nina's attacks and reactions are set in memory to play an animation when they are triggered, they can be changed to any other animation at will. the interesting thing about death by degrees is all the animations are made with one skeleton rig, nina's. all the enemy death animations can be played by nina, and they all work flawlessly. the problem here is the game doesnt load animations that aren't relevant to the level(basically every loading screen). there's a whole set of animations made for bosses to counter nina's grab throws, theyre nothing special but you cant normally see them because every grab on a boss is canceled immediately, you cant throw them. these animations only load during the boss fights, same with boss attacks and throws. I currently know of no way to force the game to load animations so im at a dead end with this game. another animation they made for the game but didnt implement is heihachi's head slam move he does in tekken when he beats someone. The animations are all sorted neatly, in 4 byte format in cheatengine they start at around 300 and go all the way to around 2600 i think, but theres big gaps in there numbers depending on what level you're in(no animation plays if you try to preview it).

Golden axe beast rider(ps3)
the same techniques to find and preview animations for ps2 games works for ps3 games as well with rpsc3, but its a little harder. gabr is unique amongst the games ive searched though, most games use an "index" of sorts to keep animation addresses, its usually just numbers but gabr has the numbers and the full name of the animation too. in terms of missing content its just 2 things: the final boss lizard death adder has a tail wrap grab where he just grips tyris with his tail and chucks her, its not really all that good and i dont think the ai can use this attack naturally. the other is a death animation that plays when tyris dies to fire but i dont think it got implemented in normal gameplay, she only ever just falls backward, in this animation she flails around and falls forward. this animation is unique because it plays an exclusive voice over for her, and it is DRAMATIC to say the least, her voice actor put alot of work into that one

tomb raider trilogy(legend, anniversary, underworld)
these 3 games all use similar setups for storing and playing animations. when lara plays a death animation normally the animations plays partially and switches her over to ragdoll. what you dont see is the animation is actually complete, lara falls to the floor with a final pose for her death animations. Oddly anniversary has the most death animations of the 3 games, underworld has the least. I haven't been able to find the qte death animations, or any of the cutscene animations even though they are played in engine. Just like death by degrees only relevant animations are loaded per level and scene. The big mutant in anniversary has a grab and slam lara animation you only see half of because she transitions to ragdoll halfway through, this animation only gets loaded during the boss fight and right after.

I've gone through alot of games on ps2, some on pc and ps3(and one on xbox, but that emulator is trash). If you want me to detail my process for finding animations i'll walk you through it by updating this post, if you wanted to ask about a game i may have already checked lemme know too, ill update this post.

I wanted to footer this post with what i consider my greatest failing, I have made no headway in deciphering these games animation techniques, not a single one. While other games from different developers and different countries use similar setups in memory to handle animations, capcom seems to be doing something entirely different from everyone else, i haven't been able to figure it out, which sucks because some of these games(the onimusha series in particular) have alot to offer.

kubi mage

Avid Affiliate
Mar 10, 2015
Cool stuff. I'd be interested in learning more about DBD since I owned that game. Never thought about looking at it in an emulator.

About TRA, I've actually looked at the QTE deaths without the letterboxing using a settings glitch in the PC version, and it turns out anything that wasn't supposed to be visible in the cutscene is either very lazily animated or not animated at all. So when you can see the whole thing it's just very awkward.
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