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Author Topic: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation  (Read 15408 times)

SamIAm

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Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« on: July 10, 2015, 05:46:37 am »
Zeroigar is a 2D vertical shooting game released in August 1997 for the PC-FX. In addition to its unusual RPG-style level-up system, its most outstanding characteristic is its excellent story told through anime FMV cutscenes.

The cover:


My partner elmer and I (with thanks to Esperknight) have fully subtitled all of the FMVs with hardsubs that work on real hardware, and there is zero quality lost in the image. This was possible for several reasons. The original video had 16 pixel tall black borders at the top and bottom. We essentially cropped off the top border, doubled the bottom border, and stuck the subtitles down there. Because the PC-FX's playback chip is JPEG based and can essentially display two JPEGs at once, and because there was enough bandwidth, we simply appended the subs to the original video as a separate video that plays at the same time. It looks quite nice, if I do say so myself.

 

Also, there are many in-game dialogues that are voiced with text. These text segments have all been converted to English, with the text color changed to yellow and timings carefully adjusted to make them easily readable.

 

The "level-up" screen that appears after you die or complete a stage, which contains vital information and gets in the way of non-Japanese speakers understanding the game more than anything else, is also fully translated.

 

Certain Japanese kanji do remain, such as in the title. We left these because we thought they were beautiful, and because the game itself is so Japanese that it's best for it to retain that aesthetic.

The title screen menus and other secondary menus have been translated.

 

...and there are other things in English that I'll let you find yourself.

The translation is essentially finished. We are currently working on a recreation of the manual in English, and a handful of friends are playtesting the game for us. We hope to release this on August 8th, the game's original release day. Being a week before the 70th anniversary of WWII's end is also highly appropriate as well. Can you see the bombed out ruins of Tokyo in that screenshot above?

This is a very special game, and I love it to death. We hope you'll all enjoy it when it's released!
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 06:38:45 am by SamIAm »

Lentfilms

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2015, 12:48:16 pm »
I've been following the progress of this translation at the Pcenginefx forums for some time now and I'm very excited to hear that it will be released soon. We don't get very many PC-FX translations, I believe there are only two, and the screenshots look great! Can't wait to play the game in August!

Midna

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2015, 03:02:20 pm »
Looks good. I do think you should at least add "subtitles" to the logo, though. (Leave the graphics alone, but put smaller text underneath it with a translation of the title text for people who aren't fluent. It's what some anime dubs do, so it'd only be fitting.)

elmer

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2015, 04:42:57 pm »
Looks good. I do think you should at least add "subtitles" to the logo, though. (Leave the graphics alone, but put smaller text underneath it with a translation of the title text for people who aren't fluent. It's what some anime dubs do, so it'd only be fitting.)

We thought about it ... and there's even a really nice replacement title screen with the logo in an English font.

But in the end ... we decided against it.

We didn't feel that putting in "Choshin Heiki Zeroigar", or the commonly-used, but awful, "Super God Trooper Zeroigar" did anything to make the game any more understandable.

Just because we can technically do it ... doesn't always mean that it's the right thing to do, and we felt that this was one of those cases.

Set in Japan, just after the end of WW2, the 16 minutes of custom-created anime tell a really good story, and tell it with a distinctively Japanese voice.

We like it that some of the menu screen's titles still show their Japanese origin, and the calligraphic beauty of the kanji.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 01:27:45 am by elmer »

Pennywise

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2015, 06:12:47 pm »
First off, impressive work on this game. Ingenious work on implementing those subs.

Now, I do have on criticism that is minor in the grand scheme things. I think it's a bad idea to not translate the entire game and leave Japanese in. Sure, the origin of the game is Japanese, but I believe the goal of a translation is to make the entire game understandable for non-Japanese speaking people. That includes stuff like the title screen. I think romanizing and having a literal/clunky translation of the title are both not the best approach. Why not go with a looser translation that attempts to capture the spirit of the game? Also, even though I know we all do fan translations, but I always strive for professional quality translation. I think if a professional company like XSEED hypothetically translated the game, they would have translated the title screen.

Just my two cents.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 06:34:19 pm by Pennywise »

SamIAm

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 12:24:22 am »
First off, impressive work on this game. Ingenious work on implementing those subs.

Now, I do have on criticism that is minor in the grand scheme things. I think it's a bad idea to not translate the entire game and leave Japanese in. Sure, the origin of the game is Japanese, but I believe the goal of a translation is to make the entire game understandable for non-Japanese speaking people. That includes stuff like the title screen. I think romanizing and having a literal/clunky translation of the title are both not the best approach. Why not go with a looser translation that attempts to capture the spirit of the game? Also, even though I know we all do fan translations, but I always strive for professional quality translation. I think if a professional company like XSEED hypothetically translated the game, they would have translated the title screen.

Just my two cents.

We appreciate your comments. It's something we're talking about now.

I must confess, there is an element of compromise to leaving some things in Japanese. Changing them wouldn't just be a matter of "losing some Japanese flavor", but also a matter of being an enormous hacking ordeal.

As it stands the "Anime Mode", which is really the game's main attraction, is 100% translated. People who try this mode are going to get the full experience. Even the credits are translated.

Zeroigar has a special unlockable parody mode with slide-show style cutscenes that aren't FMV and are only voiced. Translating these would mean hacking in a print routine where there was none before. I haven't done any of the hacking, but from what elmer tells me, that would be the kind of undertaking that would take weeks and dozens of hours. Considering that few people are going to get that far in the first place, it seems acceptable to me to release a simple supplement as a PDF or web-site. I've written up a translation for the whole thing already.

As for the other bits that are untranslated in the game, we'll have another look at what we can do.

By the way, about the subtitle 超神兵器. "Super God Trooper" does not appear to be official, thank god. 兵器 doesn't mean "trooper", it means "weapon", for one thing. Also, contrary to what many English websites say, it is not "Choushin Heiki", it's "Choujin Heiki". Somebody used the wrong on-yomi there. I am positive that this is a bit of wordplay on 超人兵器, which would mean the giant humanoid robot weapon.

I'm thinking of forgoing any attempt to duplicate that pun and just going with "Divine Weapon". Let's just say that there's more than one reason to go with "divine", too.

Anyway, we'll see what we can do!
« Last Edit: July 12, 2015, 02:24:23 am by SamIAm »

Cargodin

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2015, 01:23:35 am »
Your work looks beautiful, you two! Really excited to play this gem in English! Thank you guys for your hard work!!  :woot!:

jobless_floppy

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2015, 01:33:37 am »
We appreciate your comments. It's something we're talking about now.

I must confess, there is an element of compromise to leaving some things in Japanese. Changing them wouldn't just be a matter of "losing some Japanese flavor", but also a matter of being an enormous hacking ordeal.

As it stands the "Anime Mode", which is really the game's main attraction, is 100% translated. People who try the game are going to get the full experience. Even the credits are translated.

Zeroigar has a special unlockable parody mode with slide-show style cutscenes that aren't FMV and are only voiced. Translating these would mean hacking in a print routine where there was none before. I haven't done any of the hacking, but from what elmer tells me, that would be the kind of undertaking that would take weeks and dozens of hours. Considering that few people are going to get that far in the first place, it seems acceptable to me to release a simple supplement as a PDF or web-site. I've written up a translation for the whole thing already.

As for the other bits that are untranslated in the game, we'll have another look at what we can do.

By the way, about the subtitle 超神兵器. "Super God Trooper" does not appear to be official, thank god. 兵器 doesn't mean "trooper", it means "weapon", for one thing. Also, contrary to what many English websites say, it is not "Choushin Heiki", it's "Choujin Heiki". Somebody used the wrong on-yomi there. I am positive that this is a bit of wordplay on 超人兵器, which would mean the giant humanoid robot weapon.

I'm thinking of forgoing any attempt to duplicate that pun and just going with "Divine Weapon". Let's just say that there's more than one reason to go with "divine", too.

Anyway, we'll see what we can do!

It's not the end of the world if the title graphic isn't changed, though it's always a nice addition. Especially since they're are more than a few people here who provide some excellent logos and such. Same with that extra mode. But yeah, if it's the sort of thing where it just sits behind a wall of hacking requirements it's understandable. Thanks for your work though  :thumbsup: looks pretty nice from the screenshots.

This might be an excuse for me to learn how to actually emulate the PC-FX. As I understand there is the emulator in mednafen and that pay emulator right?

Jonesy47

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2015, 02:30:40 am »
Retroarch has a pc-fx core also!

As to the translation itself, I support all the pc-fx games I can get in English!! I've got a weird softspot for pc-fx even if it doesn't have the biggest library.

SamIAm

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2015, 02:50:24 am »
Retroarch has a pc-fx core also!

It does? It doesn't seem to be listed here.

http://iphoneteq.net/emu/post-3955/

Mednafen is the only emulator that emulates this game accurately. ME-FX and XE have major problems with it, unfortunately. They're pretty much game breaking.

Anyway, thanks for the encouragement, everyone!  :)

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SamIAm

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2015, 05:00:16 am »
Oh, OK then!

If it's using Mednafen as the core, it should work fine.  :)

jobless_floppy

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2015, 06:18:16 pm »
It does? It doesn't seem to be listed here.

http://iphoneteq.net/emu/post-3955/

Mednafen is the only emulator that emulates this game accurately. ME-FX and XE have major problems with it, unfortunately. They're pretty much game breaking.

Anyway, thanks for the encouragement, everyone!  :)

I'll keep that in mind then.

Pennywise

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2015, 08:10:38 pm »
We appreciate your comments. It's something we're talking about now.

I must confess, there is an element of compromise to leaving some things in Japanese. Changing them wouldn't just be a matter of "losing some Japanese flavor", but also a matter of being an enormous hacking ordeal.

As it stands the "Anime Mode", which is really the game's main attraction, is 100% translated. People who try this mode are going to get the full experience. Even the credits are translated.

Zeroigar has a special unlockable parody mode with slide-show style cutscenes that aren't FMV and are only voiced. Translating these would mean hacking in a print routine where there was none before. I haven't done any of the hacking, but from what elmer tells me, that would be the kind of undertaking that would take weeks and dozens of hours. Considering that few people are going to get that far in the first place, it seems acceptable to me to release a simple supplement as a PDF or web-site. I've written up a translation for the whole thing already.

As for the other bits that are untranslated in the game, we'll have another look at what we can do.

By the way, about the subtitle 超神兵器. "Super God Trooper" does not appear to be official, thank god. 兵器 doesn't mean "trooper", it means "weapon", for one thing. Also, contrary to what many English websites say, it is not "Choushin Heiki", it's "Choujin Heiki". Somebody used the wrong on-yomi there. I am positive that this is a bit of wordplay on 超人兵器, which would mean the giant humanoid robot weapon.

I'm thinking of forgoing any attempt to duplicate that pun and just going with "Divine Weapon". Let's just say that there's more than one reason to go with "divine", too.

Anyway, we'll see what we can do!

Well, like I said it's relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. I can understand the amount of work it would take to translate the parody mode. I won't fault you guys for leaving it alone. Good luck finishing the translation up.

Seihen

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2015, 10:52:01 pm »
By the way, about the subtitle 超神兵器. "Super God Trooper" does not appear to be official, thank god. 兵器 doesn't mean "trooper", it means "weapon", for one thing. Also, contrary to what many English websites say, it is not "Choushin Heiki", it's "Choujin Heiki". Somebody used the wrong on-yomi there. I am positive that this is a bit of wordplay on 超人兵器, which would mean the giant humanoid robot weapon.

My personal instinct would be that it's closer to a play on 超合金, Chougoukin, which is the same toy/robot line that Voltron and a large number of other giant robots have come out of.

To be fair, 'super' and 超 in the late 80s and early 90s in Japan was a lot like using an x for XTREEEEEEME!!! used for everything in the late 90s US. Huge fad.

SamIAm

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2015, 10:45:52 am »
Tonight I asked my wife, who is Japanese: "You know that game I've been spending all my time working on? That one I showed you once last month?"

"Yeah, sure."

"Do you remember the title?"

"Zeroigar, right?

"It's actually called "Choujin Heiki Zeroigar. By the way, what kanji do you think they write 'Choujin' with?"

(writing on her hand) "Probably 超人."

 8)

I do actually take the fact that she couldn't remember the title other than "Zeroigar" as further evidence that we don't even need to bother with translating 超神兵器 at all, though.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 11:06:46 am by SamIAm »

elmer

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2015, 02:38:35 pm »
Zeroigar has a special unlockable parody mode with slide-show style cutscenes that aren't FMV and are only voiced. Translating these would mean hacking in a print routine where there was none before. I haven't done any of the hacking, but from what elmer tells me, that would be the kind of undertaking that would take weeks and dozens of hours. Considering that few people are going to get that far in the first place, it seems acceptable to me to release a simple supplement as a PDF or web-site. I've written up a translation for the whole thing already.

I'm happy to announce that the parody mode slide-show cut-scenes are now also going to be subtitled!  :)

That means that the entire story, and all of the game modes, that the original developers created will finally be available to an English-speaking audience.

We've even found the hidden "Easter Egg" theme song to the parody mode; a song that has probably never been heard by more than a tiny few of the game's original Japanese players.

We're also, now, planning on replacing the Title Screen with an English version, which will feature our updated translation of the game's name ... "God-Fighter Zeroigar".

But ... and I'm sorry if this offends some purists ... we are still not, at this time, planning on removing those of the huge kanji screen titles that still remain in the game.

The original artists made those titles look really nice ... and I still want Western players to be constantly reminded that this particular game, set in Japan, just after the end of WW2, was created by Japanese developers, for a Japanese audience.

Midna

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2015, 11:04:24 pm »
I don't like your "constantly beat the player over the head with the fact that this is a Japanese game by Japanese developers originally intended for Japanese people" idea. I'm gonna be blunt. Remember that Shin Megami Tensei and the Persona spinoff series are also Japanese games by Japanese developers, set in Japan, originally intended for Japanese people. The localizers of these games have a similar viewpoint to yours. They leave in some honorifics, don't translate certain words that have no real English equivalent like "sempai"... but they do make sure the player at least knows what's going on. If a giant title card, something the player is meant to understand, appears, it usually gets translated. That's where their style diverges from yours. They make sure the player realizes the game is set in Japan, but they don't bludgeon them with an Ore no Outoto ga England no Dainana no Joou! body pillow while screaming "DO YOU UNDERSTAND? DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW JAPANESE THIS GAME IS YET?"

Is Zeroigar a quintessentially Japanese game? Yes. Should the work's Japanese pride shine through in your translation? By all means. Should you leave the kanji screen titles completely untranslated just for the sake of reminding the player that an anime-style game with ethnically Japanese characters set in post-WWII Japan was - surprise! - developed in Japan and intended for Japanese audiences? Probably not. If you're that worried about the art, at least add subtitles.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 11:16:18 pm by Midna »

elmer

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2015, 01:19:20 am »
Is Zeroigar a quintessentially Japanese game? Yes. Should the work's Japanese pride shine through in your translation? By all means. Should you leave the kanji screen titles completely untranslated just for the sake of reminding the player that an anime-style game with ethnically Japanese characters set in post-WWII Japan was - surprise! - developed in Japan and intended for Japanese audiences? Probably not. If you're that worried about the art, at least add subtitles.

I get what you're saying ... which is why everything that it's useful/informative/entertaining for the player to actually know is translated or subtitled (depending upon the screen).

But there are some (only a very few) screens where there isn't room for a subtitle, or where the subtitle just wouldn't look good.

The important parts of those screens that give information to the player are already translated ... but, and again, I'm sorry if this offends some people, I just don't want to replace those specific kanji titles with English.

Those Japanese titles don't offend me in the least ... but the thought of changing them, actually does ... considerably.

I'd personally like to believe that when you've selected "Trial Mode" on the Main Menu, and you're faced with a new screen that gives you the option to "Start Game" or "Exit Trial" ... then most people aren't going to be offended that the screen's title, which says "Trial Mode" in Japanese, is left in the 42-pixel-high anti-aliased font that the original artists thought was right for that screen.

If you're running a game that you know was for a system that was only released in Japan, and you've got your way passed the system's initial Japanese boot-up screen without fainting at the sight of kanji ... then I'd hope that you're the kind of person that can appreciate the artistic beauty of the Japanese language, even if you can't understand it, and not just quit the game because there are a couple of untranslated (but attractive) menu titles.

IMHO, there's only one screen where a player has even the slightest question of what to do, and that's on the "Ship Select" screen in the "Normal Mode" ... a game mode where I still don't fully get the point even and after months of playing the game.

That's a complex issue that's better dealt with in the manual ... and it's not because one single screen in that whole game mode doesn't say "Ship Select" in English, when your only choice on that screen is to select one of three possible ships/pilots ... and after which, absolutely everything else is translated.

I really do appreciate the feedback, and if there is a massive outcry from unhappy players when we release the translation, then I'm willing to reconsider my position.

But I'd prefer to wait until everyone here can actually see the game as we intend it, rather than compromise on something that I do feel pretty strongly about ... just yet.

BTW ... you (and anyone else) that does feel equally strongly about this, is absolutely welcome to come over to the PC-FX section of the PCEngineFX forums and discuss the matter there with some actual PC-FX owners. You'd also have the chance to see a bunch of screenshots and see exactly what has and has not been translated.

Seihen

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Re: Zeroigar (PC-FX) - Complete English Translation
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2015, 02:20:56 am »
Gotta agree.. I think there are some cases where Japanese adds to the ambiance of the game. Final Fantasy VII in Midgar, for example. "Legend of the Mystical Ninja" also left some sings and scrolls with kanji, which I think drove the point home that you're in a old-Edo Japanese world.