Tutorials » CPS2 Arcade Ripping with Kawaks The title says it all! In this tutorial I'll show you how to rip sprites with this cool multi-arcade emulator. But while Kawaks is a multi-arcade emulator, but it doesn't play all games. It plays games from three arcade platforms:
  • Capcom Play System 1 (CPS1)
  • Capcom Play System 2 (CPS2)
  • SNK's Neo-Geo

This tutorial will focus on a CPS2 game, though the methods for CPS1 and CPS2 are identical. Neo-Geo ripping is pretty similar too.

Please don't reproduce or steal my tutorial. Thanks!


I. Get Kawaks.

This is easy enough. You can get the newest version here.

II. Get a game.

As always, SDB does not distribute roms or links to rom files/sites. Running an arcade rom works a bit differently from a console rom. You need a zip file with the proper name. To do this, go to File->Load Game and check "all".

Under the "Driver" column will tell you the name of the file you need. So, if you want Art of Fighting, for example, go to Google, search aof.zip, and see if you can't find a download. Then download the .zip (don't unzip it) and move it to the Kawaks/roms/ folder and place it in the appropriate sub-folder (neogeo, cps1, or cps2). Then, go back to Kawaks, and double click the name to load it. If you can't get past this step, I'd recommend seeking help elsewhere; this is just a sprite ripping tutorial so please don't send me questions about basic emulation.

III. Get to an appropriate point in the game.

We'll use a fighting game as an example for this example, Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors. For starters, you'll need to enter "coins". Don't start looking for a coinslot on the back of your computer; just hit F3 to add coins. Once you're at the character selection screen, choose the character you want. Now, it won't be very feasible to rip sprites with an enemy pounding on you, so have a second player join by hitting F2. (Redefine player 2 keys under Game->Redefine Keys->Player 2. I reccomend the numpad for up, down, left, and right, and Insert, Home, Page Up, Delete, End, and Page Down for the six principle buttons.) Now, depending on what character you choose, the background will vary. Some backgrounds are better than others for ripping than others.

IV. Disable background layers

Like any good emulator, Kawaks can disable background and sprite layers. To do this, hold Alt+1, Alt+2, and then Alt+3.

You should end up with something like this. But we don't want black as the background color. For a lot of games it won't be a problem but you never know. To change it, go to Video->Set Background Color, and choose a color. Most people like to use something like neon pink or green. It's painful to look at, but it doesn't get in the way of the sprites.

Gahhh! But at least the sprites are safe. If the sprite had black on it, leaving the background black would cause complications.

V. Pause and take screenshots

Now you're ready to start ripping. First, pause the game by hitting Enter on the keyboard. Then, take a screenshot using the PrntScrn (actually, use Alt+PrntScrn) key and paste it into your graphics program of choice. Now, we'll learn about one of Kawaks' most valuable features: single frameskipping. While paused, hold Shift+Spacebar. The game will advance exactly one frame. If your character doesn't change, keep hitting shift+space (slowly) until he/she does. When their position changes, take another screenshot, and start arranging the sprites in order until you have all the frames for an animation.

VI. Sticky situations

There are always some problems when ripping sprites, but Kawaks has more ways to solve them than any other emulator I can think of. For example:

In this shot, we want to get Huitzil's punching pose, or maybe Morrigan's hurt pose. But there's a big impact burst in the way. Do we want that? No. So what do we do? Go to Tools->Shot Factory.

This is an incredibly powerful tool. Firstly, check the box that says Blink Selected. Make sure that the "Shot Factory" window is not overlapping the game screen. Then, start scrolling through the sprite numbers, starting at 000. As you scroll over a number, the corresponding sprite on the game screen will start blinking.

If you double click the checkbox, the offending sprite will disappear. Most objects and characters are made of multiple digits. Hold shift while selecting a number to select more than one.

To save time click Deactivate Selection to turn off all selected boxes, rather than double clicking each of them. You'll get something like this (note: I missed a few tiny parts of the impact in the example above, so be careful and make sure you get them all.)

Now, if you want Morrigan's pose, Huitzil is in the way, and if you want his, Morrigan's in the way. To solve this, go back into the shot factory and get rid of the character the same way you got rid of the impact, then take a screenshot.

Not bad, eh? But (and it's a big but) if you advance the frames, the number of the sprite parts can change, disabling things that seemed to be enabled on the last frame and re-enabling things that seemed disabled. You have to be careful about this. It might seem like a big pain in the neck, but you will get used to it.

Well, that's about it. Questions (besides where to get roms), comments, or concerns? Might as well email me about it.
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