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Dragon Quest V: Tenkuu no Hanayome

21 November 2001 - Reflection by Neil_


Ah, Dragon Quest V. My first high profile project, and likely my last. This little sucker was my first translation project. I started it early in the spring/summer of ‘98, and to a certain extent, I’m still working on it. There were a lot of pitfalls and what not with this project. Drama has sorrounded it from its start and even clouded it’s first real release. From the early days of attempting to find a translator to the late-early days which began my discovery that I sucked at project management (Hi Sarke!), and then on to the middle days when I was actually halfway decent at running a project and hacking, and then on to today when I got to be part of a translation war!

The project didn’t really take off until the winter of 98/99 when Dark Force offically got involved. Within about a week of him sending me the scripts, a random good samaritan from Michigan known only to history as Nan translated and returned to me the Dragon Quest V script, translated in full. The period of time from Early 99 all the way until around July of 01 revolved around script editing. The dialogue script was first revised by me. I sucked. As anyone who’s read any of my writing at length can tell you I have nowhere near a mastery of the english language. Needless to say, my draft was trashed. Next up to the plate was Josh, my college room mate. He took a few months procrastinating and randomly going over the script and turned out a work that was… well, poor. He never actually did finish the script. The parts he did polish in the first third of the script were of a rather cynical and harsh nature, which reflects him and his writing style perfectly. ;) Last up was Geechyguy, who I conned into doing the script revisions (I don’t think he’s forgiven me to this day)… I don’t really remember when he finished his revisions.. But his are the ones you see in the completed patch. His script was beautiful from my point of view. It flowed great from a western perspective and made very few compromises.

Also somewhere in that huge expanse of time was AWJ and I working hard on 8×8 translation refinements. Maht, one of my friends from IRC and an old RPGe member was kind enough to do the 8×8 translations. Once he had the basics down, AWJ and I went through and converted those translations into the mystical and all holy language of Dragon Warrior. Many many many many weeks were spent going over the monster names, scrutinizing nuances and possible meanings, comparing old DW monster charts and fan based charts to come up with what is possibly the most painstaking beastiary outside of the D&D world. :P Many a time I felt like I was some sort of schollar studdying the talmud rather than a random fan hacker working over a DragonQuest game. ;) The scrutinization extended to spell names, item names, and the like, and eventually ended with AWJ going to Japan and me holding in my hand a rather thoroughly scrutinized script.

Somewhere shortly after that I lost interest in hacking DQ games. :P The rest of the story is rather uninteresting from my perspective. Dark Force randomly reapeared after finishing Tales of Phantasia and told me that he fixed a bunch of bugs and had a lot more almost fixed. We released a patch which was compiled with a bad batch file. Don’t ask, it’s a long story. Most of our dialogue related problems were due to a BAD BATCH FILE. How lame is that. Here we are, thinking there’s some major flaw in the assembly file, and completly ignoring a little batch file. Go figure. In any case, that gets fixed, a new patch gets released, Dark Force and I simultaneously realize that we forgot to translate the status ailments and the slot machine text. I translated both myself. The first time in over a year I had looked at Japanese. And after the hell I went through racking my brain to remember simple Japanese, the last time I ever translate a sentence myself. EVER. Hopefully. ;)