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Author Topic: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)  (Read 39203 times)

Supper

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Oh, to be fair, bad US cover arts were commonplace in the nineties. And they're not without their B-movie charm.  :laugh:

Spoiler:




Speaking of undubs, having the translations for Silhouette Mirage, Grandia and both Lunar games ported to their superior Sega Saturn ports would be nice too. I tried with Grandia but the font being compressed in the disc (and probably not including the ASCII set) put a swift end to whatever plans I might have had.

It's also interesting how games from back then used standard Mac computer fonts, like Chicago, but the Lunar PSX games used Times New Roman. If you figure out how to change the font, please share any info you can find out, as well as your hacking notes so far (which must be a real treasure trove for anyone wanting to prepare balance mods for these games).

Porting over the translation would obviously be a bigger project, and I'm reluctant to give the mangled English script any more exposure than it already has, but I might at least see how much effort would be required. For the original Eternal Blue, Game Arts was clearly anticipating the possibility of a western release and included the English font even in the Japanese version, so a similar situation might have occurred with the remakes.

My notes are quite crap, to be honest, but I'll try to sort something out -- I might just throw those and my utilities up on Github and worry about proper formatting later. As bad as I am at it, I think it's important to document these things properly, which is why I've been taking the time to put together full explanations on TCRF of the changes I've found.

About Arc the Lad 1 :

1) Portraits are better in the japanese version , WD changed them to look more like Arc the Lad II:

USA:

Japan:

2) WD also removed some speeches (when the characters are moving in battle without doing any other action) that were in the Japanese version ...

Thanks for the heads-up. Assuming I get around to the game, I'll probably change the portraits back, but if the dialogue wasn't dubbed then there's not a lot of point sticking the Japanese back in. (A similar situation occurred in Rayearth -- almost all of the dialogue was originally voiced, but the US version cut out all but a tiny fraction of it to save dubbing costs. Most of the Japanese voice acting was left on the disc, actually.)

I never knew that Working Designs messed up Arc the Lad like that.

Another PSX Working Designs game that needs to be fixed up is Silhouette Mirage, here's all the stuff they changed: https://tcrf.net/Silhouette_Mirage_(PlayStation)

Here's two screenshots from the Japanese version to help you:

There supposed to be religious references.

The rabbit merchant is supposed to smoke.

I wonder what changes they did to the PSX Lunar games that need to fix?

Yeah, Silhouette Mirage's changes are pretty well publicized, unlike with a lot of these games where I seem to be the first person to have bothered looking into the issue. I have a feeling trying to fix it will be a pretty involved project (and given the nature of the game, I do wonder if it's worth the effort over just playing the Japanese version), but we'll cross that bridge when/if we come to it.

I haven't gotten to the JP-US comparison phase on the Lunar remakes yet, but I expect similar changes to the originals -- perhaps something more involved for The Silver Star, since the original game was an early WD conversion that wasn't changed much.

The problem with "un-working" stuff such as Silhouette Mirage, the 32-bits Lunars or Grandia (not WD, this one, but still) is that it would be a [monumental] wasted effort for many people since the PS versions are way worse than the original SS versions. In this day an age, nobody wants to play downgraded versions --  most fans are well aware of the subject, and will most likely ignore any patch for the PS versions. In other words, many want to believe that masterpieces such as Grandia or Shiru-Mira deserve a translation patch for their original versions, and that it will come sooner or later, given that the SS is a system still young in the hacking communities which just hasn't been looked into too much yet. In the very case of Grandia, finding anybody tolerating the dubbed version these days would be weird, if you ask me (though I believe there's an undubbed version patch for this too).

Too bad, hearing that Supper's patches aren't compatible with undubbed versions patches, by the way, though that's what I expected. Thanks for letting us know there's a way for doing it yourself -- it's anything but quick or easy, though. Hopefully your MKR patch gets popular enough so that well... it happens what it usually happens when something's popular enough in the internets (...).

Yeah, that's certainly something to consider. While they may be based on imperfect ports, I think fixing the existing English versions is "good enough" for now -- I expect dedicated fans can play the Japanese versions without too much trouble anyway -- but I certainly hope that someone will be eventually be willing to give these games a proper translation instead of the awful Working Designs rewrites. If anyone is, I'm happy to lend a hand with the hacking -- I haven't had the chance to work on a real translation project before, so it'd be interesting.

Midna

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A more faithful retranslation of some of the games Working Designs messed with would be neat, but it seems like a lot of them had voice acting, so either you'd have to rig up a subtitle script or find amateur English voice actors (who don't suck) to fill the parts, and either way that would be a lot of effort. I'm not saying it's impossible, though.

KingMike

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For the original Eternal Blue, Game Arts was clearly anticipating the possibility of a western release and included the English font even in the Japanese version, so a similar situation might have occurred with the remakes.

I wonder about the Saturn version. WD had announced the Saturn Lunar games I think, presumably before US consoles sales got too bad even for them (and I'll guess MKR got released since it sounds like they had already been pretty invested in it).
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GHANMI

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I wonder about the Saturn version. WD had announced the Saturn Lunar games I think, presumably before US consoles sales got too bad even for them (and I'll guess MKR got released since it sounds like they had already been pretty invested in it).

For what it's worth, Sega of America was supposedly working on their own Grandia localisation before cancelling it in 1998 or so. As always, it was a mismanaged mess under Bernie, who already went in one E3 and discouraged WD and any other publishers openly from bringing these RPGs.

SCD

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Including it was Bernie Stolar's fault that the Sega Saturn tanked real hard in America.

Panzer88

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I know they didn't release the Saturn versions, but since you seemed able to do magic knight ray earth, any chance you could insert the English text of Grandia and silhouette mirage into the Saturn versions? I'd be eternally grateful.
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Ishkabibble

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A more faithful translation of some of the games Working Designs messed with would be neat, but it seems like a lot of them had voice acting, so either you'd have to rig up a subtitle script or find amateur English voice actors (who don't suck) to fill the parts, and either way that would be a lot of effort. I'm not saying it's impossible, though.

If these were ever given a fan treatment to be more faithful (which I would support 100%), I think the "undub" route would be fore the best, subbing audio-only cutscenes instead.  It'll making them more distinct from the official English releases.  Also, fan-dubs themselves are about 99% terrible anyway--I'd prefer resorting to a .txt script file or keeping the WD efforts to that.

Midna

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I don't know, I've heard some pretty good fandubs before. Quite a few that were better than WD's efforts at least.

Ishkabibble

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I don't know, I've heard some pretty good fandubs before. Quite a few that were better than WD's efforts at least.

Perhaps, but I don't think a project like this one, which appears to be a one man show (and a very good one at that), is going to attract much talent.

Supper

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Here are a few updates, in no particular order:

As I mentioned I intended to do, I've put my game-specific tools on Github. The code is appallingly poor (these were written to perform specific tasks exactly once), but it might be better than nothing. I've also included my unfiltered hacking notes, which are in a similar state of dysfunction. I'll try to keep this updated.

I've also uploaded cmpdism, a comparative disassembler/binary differ for several architectures that I wrote to help find changes in these games. It's pretty esoteric, but I may start a separate thread for it, since it has somewhat broader applications.

I've almost finished Silver Star Story JP (I think the game wants me to grind a couple more levels for the final boss, but I'll probably just cheat through it and call it a day). I'll be starting on the actual hacking soon.

I made a comparison video showing the changes to enemies between the Japanese and US versions of Magic Knight Rayearth, which might interest a few.

Finally, I found out -- via one of Vic's old Usenet posts, of all things -- that bikinis were added to the Harpy enemies in the US version of Vay, so I guess I'll have to go back and figure out how to undo that.

I know they didn't release the Saturn versions, but since you seemed able to do magic knight ray earth, any chance you could insert the English text of Grandia and silhouette mirage into the Saturn versions? I'd be eternally grateful.

Like I said, it would probably be an involved project. My  distaste for the Working Designs scripts limits my willingness to go to any great lengths for them, but if it miraculously turned out to be easier than just undoing the difficulty changes, I might give it a go.

Perhaps, but I don't think a project like this one, which appears to be a one man show (and a very good one at that), is going to attract much talent.

Well, we're going out onto quite a hypothetical limb here for a retranslation project that doesn't actually exist, but I'd generally agree that subbing is preferable to dubbing in this context for a number of reasons. Subtitles are obviously more difficult technically, but dubbing introduces a whole host of organizational issues that are just as bad if not worse.

And thank you! I'm doing the best I can on these, and I hope people are getting some use out of them. It's really been quite a trip so far.

Special T

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I was about to report a bug in popful mail until I checked a guide and realized "Elixyr" was spelled that way in the original game. I wonder why they didn't spell it normally i.e. "Elixir"

Supper

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You'll all be pleased to hear that I've finally seen the light! Today I had the sudden revelation that Working Designs did nothing but good to the games they published, and are truly the unsung heroes of the '90s gaming industry. Indeed, their only failing was that they didn't go far enough. Therefore, I'm dropping the Un-Worked Design project in favor of a new one:

Lunar: The Silver Star (Sega CD) -- Worked Design patch v0 (4/1/17)

Not tested at all, because pssssht who does that?
Changes:
Spoiler:
* Saving the game now costs Silver (100s times Alex's level). This was by far the best change in the US version of Eternal Blue, and I know everyone will be euphoric to have this same experience in The Silver Star!
* Trying to load checkpoints will now reset the game. While this might appear to be a bug, if you think about it, it's really just a logical extension of the improvements to the save system!
* All enemies have their stats raised substantially.
* All items now cost much more.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of Worked Designs. Look forward to future entries in this series!

Piotyr

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You'll all be pleased to hear that I've finally seen the light! Today I had the sudden revelation that Working Designs did nothing but good to the games they published, and are truly the unsung heroes of the '90s gaming industry. Indeed, their only failing was that they didn't go far enough. Therefore, I'm dropping the Un-Worked Design project in favor of a new one:

Lunar: The Silver Star (Sega CD) -- Worked Design patch v0 (4/1/17)

Not tested at all, because pssssht who does that?
Changes:
Spoiler:
* Saving the game now costs Silver (100s times Alex's level). This was by far the best change in the US version of Eternal Blue, and I know everyone will be euphoric to have this same experience in The Silver Star!
* Trying to load checkpoints will now reset the game. While this might appear to be a bug, if you think about it, it's really just a logical extension of the improvements to the save system!
* All enemies have their stats raised substantially.
* All items now cost much more.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of Worked Designs. Look forward to future entries in this series!
Brilliant my man! Can you change the plot like they did to the playstation release too? Oh and more fart jokes!

GHANMI

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0/10

Came for the 0 kilobyte patch and was disappointed with the completable game.
WD does no wrong.

Such a missed opportunity not to make the harp you play at the end of the game a missable item with obscure fetch quests to get it, for example a sidequest in that incestuous village (according to American Lunar canon) where you help a bastard child find out who his mother is, is it Hillary Clinton, Michael Jackson or Madeleine Albright? And then you get a piece of shit for your trouble which you have to trade with the white dragon in the beginning (imagine how priceless for players to realize that after they can no longer get it!) as the beginning of a looong fetch quest with no obvious cues or even dialogue hinting you got that item.
Add to that a hidden timer until the final boss is fed up and just initiates the end of the world (and wipes all saves). To add realism, and fix one gaping plot hole those japanese hacks didn't think of.
The possibilities are endless!

Well, including scrapped features like the old party movement pattern might be cool but who cares about that, why would we give those stupid devs the time and chance to screw up this game even further than they already did? We have enough on our plate to fix as it is already.

Supper

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0/10

Came for the 0 kilobyte patch and was disappointed with the completable game.
WD does no wrong.

Such a missed opportunity not to make the harp you play at the end of the game a missable item with obscure fetch quests to get it, for example a sidequest in that incestuous village (according to American Lunar canon) where you help a bastard child find out who his mother is, is it Hillary Clinton, Michael Jackson or Madeleine Albright? And then you get a piece of shit for your trouble which you have to trade with the white dragon in the beginning (imagine how priceless for players to realize that after they can no longer get it!) as the beginning of a looong fetch quest with no obvious cues or even dialogue hinting you got that item.
Add to that a hidden timer until the final boss is fed up and just initiates the end of the world (and wipes all saves). To add realism, and fix one gaping plot hole those japanese hacks didn't think of.
The possibilities are endless!

Well, including scrapped features like the old party movement pattern might be cool but who cares about that, why would we give those stupid devs the time and chance to screw up this game even further than they already did? We have enough on our plate to fix as it is already.

Well, I did consider delaying the project three years in order to finish writing the OFFICIAL strategy guide, available from our toll-free line for ONLY $49.99! implement those changes, but unfortunately I was contractually obliged to ship by April 1st. Oh well, maybe next time!

I actually looked into restoring the old party movement a while back, and got it sort of working. If you copy over the chunk containing what I assume is the character movement scripts from the demo version to the final, you get working old-style formations with full party control. Unfortunately, this also breaks a lot of essential parts of the game, such as random encounters. Making it fully playable would take more finesse (plus it's full of bugs with characters getting stuck on terrain, which is probably why they scrapped it).

I'll see if I can dig up the ISO I was experimenting with and make a patch. The change involves copying chunks between the RES**.DAT files, though I can't seem to find where I wrote down the exact procedure...

Special T

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Is it normal for the cut scenes in popful mail to stutter occasionally or is this just an emulation issue?

I'm playing popful mail on a raspberry pi 3 in the lr-genesis-plus-gx emulator.

lexluthermiester

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Is it normal for the cut scenes in popful mail to stutter occasionally or is this just an emulation issue?

I'm playing popful mail on a raspberry pi 3 in the lr-genesis-plus-gx emulator.
Fairly certain it's a glitch for the emulator on the pi. Been playing the same game on Fusion for Windows and it runs perfectly.

Edit; Also runs perfectly on MD.emu for Android and GenPlusGX on Wii HBC. Must be a RPi thing.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2017, 10:06:37 am by lexluthermiester »

Supper

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Finally finished up with SSSC.

Lunar - Silver Star Story Complete (PlayStation) -- patch v0 (4/9/17)

Tested all the way through, should work fine.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* All regular enemies have their stats restored to their original levels from the Japanese version. (In general, the US version reduced enemy HP by 10%, increased Attack by 20-40%, reduced EXP payout by 15%, and reduced Silver payout by 11%.)
* The stat scaling used for bosses now functions as in the Japanese version. (The US version increased the scale rate of some stats for certain bosses, and increased the minimum scaled level by 2-6 levels for all bosses.)
* Chests now give out their original amounts of money. (The amounts were halved in the US version.)
* Additionally, a hidden Silver bonus in the Vane library was restored to 100s. (It was reduced to 10s in the US version).
* Jessica's Escape Litany spell now costs the original 1 MP rather than 20 MP.
* The note containing the solution to the first puzzle in Myght's Tower, which was deliberately removed in the US version, has been restored.
* In the US version, the hint text for the final color-order puzzle in the Goddess Tower was changed to an incorrect order that doesn't reflect the actual solution; it's been changed to the proper order.
* Alex's Ocarina is no longer required to finish the game. It's now also possible to give it to Nall, as in the Japanese version.

Note that the patching procedure is a bit different this time around in order to deal with the multiple discs/tracks. Be sure to read the readme.

This wound up being quite the adventure. Lots of stuff got changed all over the place, which made the job more interesting. I think this is an excellent counterexample to the seemingly common misconception that later Working Designs games had fewer gameplay changes.

One alteration I didn't do anything about was the bromide locations, which Working Designs changed, as usual, to try to drive up sales of their strategy guides. (Oh, excuse me... "to make more sense, or add continuity", according to the manual, in the same breath as some unsubtle comments about "frustrated gamers who were unfortunate enough to buy an unofficial guide".) While restoring this would be technically tricky but feasible, the more pressing issue is that I don't have translations (or even JP script dumps) for the event dialogue that was removed in the US version, which precludes any real effort at it for now. Sorry. Same goes for the shenanigans with the "Rememberizer".

Is it normal for the cut scenes in popful mail to stutter occasionally or is this just an emulation issue?

I'm playing popful mail on a raspberry pi 3 in the lr-genesis-plus-gx emulator.

I can't tell you with any certainty, but I don't know of any reason the patch would cause that. The only change of any consequence other than replacing the stat tables is to the order of the files on the disc, and while that might cause issues on hardware (as we've seen with Eternal Blue), I wouldn't expect it to cause stuttering unless the game is doing something very odd.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 06:20:17 am by Supper »

GHANMI

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Finally finished up with SSSC.

One alteration I didn't do anything about was the bromide locations, which Working Designs changed, as usual, to try to drive up sales of their strategy guides. (Oh, excuse me... "to make more sense, or add continuity", according to the manual, in the same breath as some unsubtle comments about "frustrated gamers who were unfortunate enough to buy an unofficial guide".) While restoring this would be technically tricky but feasible, the more pressing issue is that I don't have translations (or even JP script dumps) for the event dialogue that was removed in the US version, which precludes any real effort at it for now. Sorry. Same goes for the shenanigans with the "Rememberizer".

Awesome as always, Supper.
By any chance, do you mind elaborating on those removed random dialogues? Seems like quite the serious cut and now it really begs my curiosity.

It's not like anyone else online is documenting these changes that much, as much as passionate people trying to convince others it's actually a completely accurate translation ("did you know Quark says my poop/washi no unko in the Japanese version" or stuff). That would be really lovely. Your digests of the major changes for each game are always a treat to read and have new trivia not found anywhere else, but on the other hand I can see the romhacking work is already draining (dropping that many hacks for CD-based consoles casually is no small effort).

SCD

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You did a great job on this patch Supper, keep up the great work.