Every textual character in FF1 GBA (and in FF2, I assume) is encoded in the ROM in 2 bytes, and not one, as is common in many ROMs. The table below should help you decode the text in the ROM. This is not exhaustive; just my observations as I worked on my mod.

Textual encoding in hex


A =8260 a =8281 J =8269 j =828a S =8272 s =8293
B =8261 b =8282 K =826a k =828b T =8273 t =8294
C =8262 c =8283 L =826b l =828c U =8274 u =8295
D =8263 d =8284 M =826c m =828d V =8275 v =8296
E =8264 e =8285 N =826d n =828e W =8276 w =8297
F =8265 f =8286 O =826e o =828f X =8277 x =8298
G =8266 g =8287 P =826f p =8290 Y =8278 y =8299
H =8267 h =8288 Q =8270 q =8291 Z =8279 z =829a
I =8268 i =8289 R =8271 r =8292


0 =824f 1 =8250 2 =8251 3 =8252 4 =8253 5 =8254
6 =8255 7 =8256 8 =8257 9 =8258


<cr>810a ,8143 .8144 :8146 ;8147 ?8148
<sp>8140 !8149 _8151 /815e 8166 -817c

Final Fantasy 1 Item Symbols

Sword8740 Rapier8741 Knife8742 Nunchaku8743 Axe8744 Hammer8745
Staff8746 Robe/Shirt8747 Armor8748 Armlet8749 Shield874a Helmet874b
Gloves874c White Magic874d Black Magic874e Potion874f Bag8750 Tent8751
Treasure8752 Trash8753            

Final Fantasy 2 Item Symbols

Treasure8300 Potion8301 Tent8302 Bag8303 Shield8304 Knife8305
Rapier8306 Staff8307 Mace8308 Spear8309 Broadsword830a Katana830b
Axe830c Double Axe830d Bow830e Helmet830f Robe8310 Armor8311
Gloves8312 Book8313 Trash8314 Fist8315 White Magic8316 Black Magic8317

Miscellaneous stuff

A simple 00 can end a string.

What this means

The name of the weapon “Rapier” is encoded in the ROM as shown below. You can fire up your hex editor, and search for the hex string below (without spaces) to find in in the ROM. For convenience, you can copy the string from the page here: 8740827182818290828982858292.

Sword R a p i e r
8740 8271 8281 8290 8289 8285 8292

String locations and pointers that I have identified


First of all, what is a pointer?

Simply put, it “points” to a particular place in the GBA ROM. Most of these pointers are 4 bytes in length, stored in Little Endian format. The last byte generally is 08… since the ROM is stored in GBA memory starting at location 0×08000000 when it is loaded into an emulator. For instance, if you searched for the string above, you found it at location 0×19a687. Following the rule above, the pointer would point to this place in the ROM by making that pointer 0×0819a687. However, since it would be stored 4 byte Little Endian format, that pointer would look like 87a61908 in the ROM itself. Are you following me? Good job!

String pointer locations in the ROM

Armed with this information, the string pointers at these locations will point you elsewhere in the ROM to find the actual strings that you may want to edit. Each actual string is of variable length, and each are terminated by a 00. If you need more space, you could actually edit the pointer to point to another location in the ROM (be careful that you don’t overwrite actual code) and write your string there (obviously, terminating it with a 00). There appears to be extra room for your own strings beginning at ROM location 0xee1000 and all the way through the end of the file, at 0xffffff.

In almost every case, pointers in the ROM either directly precede or procede the data to which the point. But as I’ve pointed out, they don’t necessarily have to.

If I don’t provide an ending for the lists below, it was because I was too lazy to find its end. You can always email me with that info if you find it yourself. And lastly, as you’ll see below, some information is in the ROM in multiple locations. For instance, to properly change a Class Name, you’ll have to edit it in three separate locations.

Class Names: 0×1da85c — 0×1da937 0×1e08a4 — 0×1e097f 0×1e13b4 — 0×1e148f
Pointers to Class Names: 0×1da938 — 0×1da967 0×1e0980 — 0×1e09af 0×1e1390 — 0×1e13bf
Item Names: 0×19a261 — 0×19a659
Weapon Names: 0×19a65a — 0×19ac05
Armor Names: 0×19ac06 — 0×19b319
Quest Item Descriptions: 0×19ac1a — 0×19bc9e
Item Descriptions: 0×19bc9f — 0×19c40c
Weapon Descriptions: 0×19c40d — 0×19d454
Armor Descriptions: 0×19d455 — ??
Spell Names: 0×1a8668 — ?? 0×1a021d — ??
Spell Descriptions: 0×1a0787 — 0×1a164e
Monster Attacks: 0×1a05bb — 0×1a0786
Monster Names: 0×2257ac — ??
Pointers to Dialogue: 0×210370 — 0×21177f
Monster Attacks: 0×1a05bb — 0×1a0786 0×211780 — 0×212b7f

Date published: 2010-04-05

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  1. If you ever get back into modding FF1 on GBA I would love to see changes made to mana gain curve (for 2.2 version at least, haven’t tried 3.0). you get way too much mana way too quickly. Cut it down by half atleast. Or maybe you could try making all spells cost more mana. Both even!


    keep up the good work

    — FF 1 fan · May 6, 11:06 AM · #

  2. Interestingly, the mana “curve” is programmatic, not data-driven. I acutally cut down on the amount of mana gained, but I do agree that it wasn’t enough. I believe I have some info here about HP/MP gains in the “code hacking” section. I hope that info helps.

    ludmeister · May 8, 10:23 AM · #