I dumped the script to Rent A Hero a while back
, and since AFAIK nobody is working on it, I've started translating it myself. I don't have a lot of time to work on it, so I don't know how quickly I'll be able to get it done, but I think I can spend at least a little time on it each day.
Even if I can get the script done, though, I'd still need to have somebody actually hack the ROM. I don't know as much about ROM hacking as I'd like to. I know a lot of basic stuff, but not advanced stuff like writing VWF and (de)compression routines in assembly, so I don't think I'll be able to do the kind of hacking that would be required for this game -- not without taking a lot more time learning how to do it myself.
Two things that need to be done, for example, are to replace the (likely compressed) font, and to really figure out the pointer system, which, if I'm properly understanding the docs I have, is a little screwy.
Anybody who's interested can check out the Rent A Hero tool on the Abandoned Projects
page at RHDN. A lot of the work already seems to be done, so some of you better hackers out there could probably figure out the rest pretty quickly, I'd imagine.UPDATE (2011/10/11):
First draft of the script is 100% translated!UPDATE (2011/1/29):
Translation is still progressing steadily. I've probably got about 20-25% of the text translated now.
I discovered some more graphics that need to be translated/altered. The game has a city map that comes up whenever take a train ride to a different part of the city where the game takes place. The map displays the names of the cities that you travel between. The names have their own special tiles that are separate from the main font, so those tiles have to be edited. They're compressed with Nemesis compression, but I was able to find the tiles (and all the other graphics in the game) in the ROM using the Nemesis searching tool. Anyway, it shouldn't be too hard to replace the graphics.
I made some changes to the font. I had replaced it with the font from Sword of Vermillion, but I changed it back because I want to use as many of the original game assets as possible. The game already has a set of upper-case Roman letters, so I decided to use those (mostly), as-is, and then add my own set of lower-case letters. The font uses two colors to achieve a sort of anti-aliased look (this is present in the original font).
I had some room left in the font tileset, so I added in graphics for the menu text. I had to squeeze the text to fit it into the menus, so the text looks different from the other text around it, so it's not an ideal solution, but it's not too bad, either.
I'll get some screenshots of this stuff up at some point.
The only major challenge I see now is altering the item get/use/drop routine to display words in the correct order.UPDATE (2011/1/8):
Translation is going smoothly.
Discovered some new things that need to be modified, like the text that gets displayed when an item is used. For example, in Japanese you'd have:
1) Paulは フロッピィディスクを つかった。
The three main elements in the sentence (Paul, フロッピィディスク, and つかった) are variables. The code is set up to display things using Japanese word order, so even if the strings are in English, the result is:
2) Paul Floppy Disk used.
I guess now I've got to locate the routine for this in the ROM and figure out how to alter the order in which it displays strings.UPDATE (2011/1/3):
Yesterday I inserted a complete English font into the ROM (thanks, golden). I ripped it from Sword of Vermillion, which seemed fitting considering the games use almost identical (?) engines, and because AFAIK a lot of the same people worked on both games.
I also managed to replace the Name Entry screen to fit with the new font -- without doing any assembly at all. I was surprised at how easy it was. Kudos to the original programmers for making such a flexible system.
I've discovered some quirks while working on the script. The person who made the dumping/insertion tool (Guest/Anonymous) set things up so that instead of replacing the hard-coded string pointers in the ROM, the first bit of each line of the original string is replaced with a jump code, and then a pointer to the new string, which is in expanded ROM space. This technique works fine for most strings used in the game, but doesn't seem to work for strings used in system text. In these latter cases, the redirect code can't be used; the original pointer has to be overwritten. Fortunately, Mega Drive pointers are very easy to find, so it hasn't been an issue so far.
The only hacking that needs to be done at this point is to edit the menu rendering code to allow for more characters. I don't want to have to use abbreviations for menu commands like SRCH and CHNG if I can avoid it.