The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, originally released on November 21, 1998 for the Nintendo 64, is among the best games of all time. After about two years of work, a small team has achieved the impossible: decompiling the source code of the game.
All code has been recreated in the C programming language by the Zelda Reverse Engineering Team (ZERT). This language can be read by modern computers and could open the door to modifications for the game or even a PC port, as was the case with the Super Mario 64 conversion in 2019.
Interestingly, this move is completely legal as it only uses legitimately sourced content. For ZERT, this presented an additional challenge to recreate the game from scratch in a modern programming language. Please note that the project does not use the graphics or sounds used in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time distributed by Nintendo.
“It was quite an adventure. We managed to create a C code that when compiled reproduces the original game. We call it ‘mail-in’ decompiling, ”ZRET told VideoGamesChronicle.
“Last night, Fig, who is a notable member of the community and also a project manager, fulfilled the last remaining role. This means that all compiled code in the game has been converted to human-readable C code. We thought for a while that maybe we could never combine all the features together, so this is a very exciting success. Dozens of people participated in this project and together we were able to achieve something extraordinary ”.
I still work despite everything
For ZERT, the job is not done. Other projects are moving forward, particularly in terms of documentation. Modders want to rearrange and rename the code, as well as its definitions. The team also aims to improve the management of game assets so that they are easier to view and / or modify on modern computers.
For now, only the Master Quest (GameCube) version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has been decompiled. The reason is simple: the latter includes some useful debugging features in development. The team would like to address other versions in the future. Knowing that there are a dozen of them, ZERT has a lot of work ahead of it!
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