What is Hex Editing?

With the GRE out of the way, I should be wrapping up my thesis and looking for universities in the US to apply to. But oh no. I had to hit one of those creative streaks that keep me up until 5.40am, when the silliest of bugs is right in front of my eyes and I just can’t see it. I’ve been doing a lot of other stuff lately, including creating a Speech Recognition tool for NBA 2K13 (a basketball video game) and a lot of reverse engineering via hex editing. I’ve created a lot of hex editing automation tools, most of them used to customize various aspects in the NBA 2K13 game I mentioned, such as edit the rosters or edit the values of the lighting shaders used in the game that affect how the players are lit and shadowed. To get an idea of what I call “programming as a hobby”, you can take a look here at all the tools I created for last year’s iteration of the game. It’s been just a few days since the game was released, and I’ve been hard at work, juggling finishing my thesis and programming those tools, working 10-14 hours a day in front of my computer.

So, I was asked by a user at the OperationSports forum, “what’s hex editing?” Since, as most of you know by now, I aspire to be a teacher, I love “101” questions like that. Here’s my answer:

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