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Author Topic: Translations of early Famicom games  (Read 8622 times)

goldenband

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #40 on: June 29, 2017, 04:13:40 pm »
I tried to change the title screen on the Japanese Puss In Boots game, replacing it with the US one, but alas, there are 19 tiles too many to fit in the ROM. :( Now I'm not sure what to do: make a new title, or work on the US one and try to squeeze it in. Tricky.
From what I'm seeing, I'd favor a totally new title screen, as the US one is no great shakes, but of course either option is certainly fine.

The layout of the Famicom title screen is a bit awkward, with the subtitle in the upper-right corner above the main title. I think a plaintext "Around the World in 80 days" would be OK if need be, and most of those letters are onscreen already if that helps the tile count (I don't know if the Famicom ROM has a full English alphabet tileset or not, since many don't).

Psyklax

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #41 on: June 30, 2017, 05:23:36 am »
(I don't know if the Famicom ROM has a full English alphabet tileset or not, since many don't).

It does, like most early Famicom games. Don't forget that the English alphabet only takes 26 tiles, whereas either kana set takes 46 each for a full set. This is one reason I started the project: most early Famicom games need no translation for this reason, and those that do have precious little text anyway. So I might just follow your suggestion and do a new title. I was going to do the subtitle with the existing tileset anyway, saving space for the main logo.

On another topic, I looked inside Time Stranger. It should come as no surprise that a game with so much text would use compression, and it does, namely dictionary compression. This is both good and bad: good that a translation could utilise the compression already built in, but bad that it's already compressed so adding more could be a challenge. I read a doc about using DTE and dictionary at the same time, wonder if that would work here...?

goldenband

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #42 on: June 30, 2017, 11:44:34 am »
It does, like most early Famicom games. Don't forget that the English alphabet only takes 26 tiles, whereas either kana set takes 46 each for a full set.
I've seen a few games that included only the English/Latin letters they used, or that had tilesets that only included a limited subset of the English alphabet for that particular screen of the game.

IIRC, Chack'n Pop on the Sega SG-1000 was one of the latter -- which wasn't a big surprise since the tutorial screen (the only part of the game that needed to be translated) had a whole bunch of kana and just enough English characters to display "SCORE" and so forth, but of course it was easy enough for me to splice in the full English tileset from elsewhere in the ROM.

The compression in Time Stranger sounds like a fun challenge if you're in mountain-climbing mode, so to speak. :) Also, are you at all interested in working on Famicom Disk System games, now or down the road?

Psyklax

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #43 on: July 07, 2017, 06:04:22 pm »
Who wants an update? 8)

So there are two more games to tick off the list: Mahjong and Puss In Boots (can't be bothered to write the original title). Take a look!
http://www.romhacking.net/translations/3112/
http://www.romhacking.net/translations/3114/

Mahjong was a process of elimination, changing things one bit at a time. Puss didn't take long, but I was surprised that I had to write an ASM routine just to display "days" instead of one kanji, but hey, all good experience. ;)

Where to next, then? Well, apparently KingMike had some progress on a couple, and I'm not 100% sure about the Mississippi game given the C64 version is so verbose and a translation would likely never come close in quality. So that doesn't leave much from 1986 and earlier. An obvious one for me is the shougi game. It'd be logical for me to do a third board game, I suppose - hopefully shougi is easier to understand than mahjong. :laugh:

Other than that, I've got Time Stranger's script figured out I think, with its dictionary compression. That's certainly an option to go for. There really isn't much else on my list. I'm a bit shocked at how prolific I've been! :)

Also, are you at all interested in working on Famicom Disk System games, now or down the road?

To be honest, I've never really got into FDS games, not sure why. Maybe not having a GoodROMS set, maybe cause ones you find sometimes have saved games and corrupt data so it's more fiddly than plain NES. But never say never. After all, I'm getting up to the end of 1986, but by then there were a good few FDS games out, so it'd make sense to cover them too.

cccmar

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #44 on: July 08, 2017, 02:07:55 am »
FDS is really darn annoying to hack, so it's mostly up to you! Pennywise is working on Dead Zone right now, and DvD is doing Cleopatra no Mahou, so you can cross those two off the list immediately. Frankly, I don't know that much about FDS games of that period, but there could be something cool there potentially.

For Mississipi you can always lift the script from the C64 version... IF you really want to, that is. ;) I believe that version came out a bit earlier than the Famicom version as well, hence the script quality.

Speaking of Time Stranger, I'd say it would be good to have it tested by a few people before you release it - mostly due to the fact that it's easy for some typos to slip by in a script of this volume. Even I could give it a shot once the translation is ready!
I can also recall that this game is based on an anime/to a lesser extent manga series, so maybe it would be good to watch the film for context (well, they were probably being developed at the same time)? Dunno, just tossing ideas around. :)

« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 02:54:09 am by cccmar »

Psyklax

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #45 on: July 08, 2017, 06:57:14 am »

For Mississipi you can always lift the script from the C64 version... IF you really want to, that is. ;) I believe that version came out a bit earlier than the Famicom version as well, hence the script quality.

Speaking of Time Stranger, I'd say it would be good to have it tested by a few people before you release it - mostly due to the fact that it's easy for some typos to slip by in a script of this volume. Even I could give it a shot once the translation is ready!
I can also recall that this game is based on an anime/to a lesser extent manga series, so maybe it would be good to watch the film for context (well, they were probably being developed at the same time)? Dunno, just tossing ideas around. :)

Lifting the text is one thing. Putting it in the Japanese ROM is quite another. :) It will definitely not be an easy task.

Good tip on Time Stranger, I'll see if I can find an anime to watch. My next job, however, is Hon Shougi, because the amount of text is minuscule. I don't think it will take very long.

KingMike

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #46 on: July 08, 2017, 12:28:42 pm »
In getting into FDS games, the one I had begun work on was Exciting Billiard, I think the one of the Konami sports games that wasn't localized. I had gotten as far as dumping the text.

I suppose one notable (well, if we're talking about "historic" Japanese games here) FDS game could be Aspic. Was it a port of a game that, along with Black Onyx (already fan-translated on SG-1000), could have been one of the first Japanese RPGs?
Though as I recall, Aspic (FDS at least) had already been using all of its screen space so fitting a translation in could be difficult.
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goldenband

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #47 on: July 08, 2017, 08:39:18 pm »
So there are two more games to tick off the list: Mahjong and Puss In Boots (can't be bothered to write the original title). Take a look!
Awesome, and great work! :)

Man, the early Famicom game list is looking so different than it was before you started this project. If/when you complete Hon Shougi that'll mean -- with the exception of that one subtitle in the Macross game -- the first three years of the Famicom library have been completely localized. That's quite a landmark.

To be honest, I've never really got into FDS games, not sure why. Maybe not having a GoodROMS set, maybe cause ones you find sometimes have saved games and corrupt data so it's more fiddly than plain NES.

I totally understand -- it is a lot "messier" than dealing with unchangeable ROMS, for sure. No-Intro has done FDS sets, so at least there have been some efforts at keeping things clean.

But never say never. After all, I'm getting up to the end of 1986, but by then there were a good few FDS games out, so it'd make sense to cover them too.

I asked partly for that very reason, i.e. because the FDS games will (at this rate) soon be the only untranslated Famicom-related titles left from 1986.

The other reason is -- full disclosure -- that I have an unfinished translation of a Famicom Disk System game and have been hoping to find someone to finish the job, as the work remaining (animated title screen replacement, name input fix, a bugfix or two, clean up any saved games) is beyond my skill level.

But believe me, I'd rather see you keep doing what you're doing! :)

In getting into FDS games, the one I had begun work on was Exciting Billiard, I think the one of the Konami sports games that wasn't localized. I had gotten as far as dumping the text.

Heh, and the game I was working on is Konamic Tennis -- the only NES/FDS tennis game that hasn't been localized or fan-translated -- so sounds like we're digging in the same field here. :) Trying to get all the 8-bit tennis games done, then maybe look into the SNES or (eek) PlayStation...

I suppose one notable (well, if we're talking about "historic" Japanese games here) FDS game could be Aspic. Was it a port of a game that, along with Black Onyx (already fan-translated on SG-1000), could have been one of the first Japanese RPGs?

Just as a side note, the Famicom port of Black Onyx (called Super Black Onyx, for whatever reason) is already 100% in English, right? Bruce T. did a nice job with the port & translation for ColecoVision, that then got backported to the SG-1000.

Pluvius

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #48 on: July 13, 2017, 01:40:22 am »
First off, Psyklax, I'd like to give you some praise for taking up a project like this.  I had thought about doing something similar myself but I'm too asocial to get something like this started.

At any rate, with the Aighina's Prophecy translation leading me to discover this thread, I was inspired (by that and the reminder that it was originally an American game) to look into Murder on the Mississippi.  I regret to inform everyone that it's not a very good port.  At all.  It looks like there was an abortive attempt to make a game fairly close to the original (despite a missing character), but a lot of that seems to have been fallen by the wayside.  On the bright side, it makes inserting a decent script a lot easier due to all of the wasted space.  I haven't played enough to confirm yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if so much empty space and dummied-out text exists that compression isn't even necessary to do so.  However, I've already inserted a form of KingMike's DTE/dictionary routine (with some pretty heavy modifications due to this game's weird text routine) and I got it working with little bug-fixing somehow.  I imagine that I'll be done with it in a week or two (mostly finalizing the script and confirming that it matches up as well as possible with the original game) if no weird obstacles come up.

Someone could probably do more extensive hacking to Mississippi Satsujin Jiken to make it more like Murder on the Mississippi, but that's above my pay grade.  A lot of the missing things aside from the lost character and the interactive notebook seem like they'd be within the realm of possibility to reintroduce, though.

Psyklax

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #49 on: July 13, 2017, 08:09:28 am »
I imagine that I'll be done with it in a week or two (mostly finalizing the script and confirming that it matches up as well as possible with the original game) if no weird obstacles come up.

First off, thanks for the compliment on the project. ;)

Hold on, hold on... this is intriguing. What exactly have you done so far? You've got the entire script out of the C64 version and you've inserted it into the Famicom version? It seems like you've managed it quite easily. :)

I think just translating the text is enough. Re-engineering the game to be like the C64 version seems like a colossal waste of effort given that you could just play the C64 version instead. In fact, that's why I wasn't so interested in tackling this game, so I'm delighted that you've done it yourself. :D

There is a risk, of course, that the script is a bit different in the Japanese version, so somebody might need to look at the English and Japanese side-by-side to check (if your Japanese is good enough, that could be you, of course :) ).

Keep us all updated on this, I look forward to your progress! :)

Pluvius

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #50 on: July 14, 2017, 12:23:13 am »
Hold on, hold on... this is intriguing. What exactly have you done so far? You've got the entire script out of the C64 version and you've inserted it into the Famicom version? It seems like you've managed it quite easily. :)

I haven't inserted it yet.  However, after I've finalized the script, doing so would be a simple matter of running it through ScriptCrunch and Atlas then play-testing for bugs.

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There is a risk, of course, that the script is a bit different in the Japanese version, so somebody might need to look at the English and Japanese side-by-side to check (if your Japanese is good enough, that could be you, of course :) ).

There are differences.  However, I've ignored those on the grounds that the game was originally in English and thus intended by the creators to be played with that script.  I'm playing the two versions side-by-side to make sure that the text in the hack follows as closely as possible to the original.

For the same reasons, I've also thought about looking at Law of the West, another early Japan-only port of a Western game.  That one will probably be harder due to the eight-column advantage that the C64 has over the Famicom, something that I could mostly ignore in Murder on the Mississippi due to the lack of menus and a nifty auto-pagination feature that allows me to use as many lines as necessary without needing new pointers.

Psyklax

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #51 on: July 14, 2017, 04:31:54 pm »
Definitely go for just planting the C64 script in there. If there are any significant differences, they might be interesting to note in the readme or something, but better to get the game looking as if it were originally released in the States, which would be the same original script I imagine.

Anywho, it's that time again... UPDATE TIME! 8)

Hon Shougi - Naitou 9 Dan Shougi Hiden is now DONE! I've submitted it to the database but you can grab it from my site if you're desperate for some Japanese chess action. I would've done it even quicker but I had a few social engagements this week. :D It wasn't a particularly difficult hack. But hey, now I know how to play shogi! Much easier to understand than mahjong, I can tell you.

So what does this mean? It means that now, every single Famicom game from 1983 through 1985 is available in English! :thumbsup: Something to cheer about, I say. But what do we have left? Well, allow me to repost my updated list:

Code: [Select]
Name (GoodNES) Translated?
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 1983
Gomoku Narabe Renju Yes - Psyklax
Mahjong Yes - Psyklax
Popeye no Eigo Asobi Yes - KingMike
 1984
4 Nin Uchi Mahjong Yes - GAFF Translations
 1985
Choujikuu Yousai - Macross Partial - Makimura Manufacturing
Hon Shougi - Naitou 9 Dan Shougi Hiden Yes - Psyklax
Ikki Yes - Psyklax
Kekkyoku Nankyoku Daibouken Yes - Quest Games
Ninja Jajamaru-kun Yes - Stardust Crusaders, Aishsha
Obake no Q Tarou - Wanwan Panic Yes - pacnsacdave & Localised - Chubby Cherub
Onyanko Town Yes - pacnsacdave
Penguin-kun Wars Yes - Penguin Translations
Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken Yes - DvD Translations
 1986
Aigiina no Yogen - From The Legend of Balubalouk Yes - Psyklax
Atlantis no Nazo Yes - pacnsacdave
Banana Yes - KingMike
B-Wings Yes - Stardust Crusaders
Daiva - Imperial of Nirsartia Yes - MrRichard999
Doraemon Yes - Sky Yoshi
Dragon Ball - Shen Long no Nazo Yes - TransBRC & Localised - Dragon Power
Ganbare Goemon! - Karakuri Douchuu Yes - Spinner8
Ganso Saiyuuki - Super Monkey Daibouken Yes - pacnsacdave
Ge Ge Ge no Kitarou - Youkai Dai Makyou Yes - Aishsha & Localised - Ninja Kid
Hokuto no Ken Yes - Stardust Crusaders
Hottaaman no Chitei Tanken Yes - SixFeetUnder
Kanshakudama Nage Kantarou no Toukaidou Gojuusan Tsugi Yes - KingMike
King Kong 2 - Ikari no Megaton Punch Yes - DvD Translations
Mississippi Satsujin Jiken No
Musashi no Ken - Tadaima Shugyou Chuu Yes - GAFF Translations
Nagagutsu wo Haita Neko - Sekai Isshuu 80 Nichi Daibouken Yes - Psyklax
Sansuu 1 Nen - Keisan Game Yes - Pikachumanson
Sansuu 2 Nen - Keisan Game Yes - Pikachumanson
Sansuu 3 Nen - Keisan Game Yes - Pikachumanson
Sansuu 4 Nen - Keisan Game Yes - Pikachumanson
Sansuu 5 & 6 Nen - Keisan Game Yes - Pikachumanson
Seikima II - Akuma no Gyakushuu No
Sherlock Holmes - Hakushaku Reijou Yuukai Jiken No
Space Hunter No
Super Star Force Yes - GAFF Translations
Super Xevious - Gump no Nazo Yes - Psyklax
Takeshi no Chousenjou Yes - KingMike
Tatakae! Chou Robotto Seimeitai Transformers - Convoy no Nazo Yes - Stardust Crusaders
Toki no Tabibito - Time Stranger No
Urusei Yatsura - Lum no Wedding Bell Yes - Stardust Crusaders
Valkyrie no Bouken - Toki no Kagi Densetsu Yes - DvD Translations
Wing of Madoola, The Yes - Psyklax

As you can see, there's not much left of 1986 to finish off. Mississippi Satsujin Jiken, as we've heard, is coming along very nicely (keep it up, Pluvius! ;) ) and the script of Sherlock Holmes - Hakushaku Reijou Yuukai Jiken is near completion according to Filler, but I don't know who is actually doing the hacking part of that job. Seikima II - Akuma no Gyakushuu and Space Hunter were being tackled by KingMike, and I think I'll give him a PM because both projects look interesting to me, so I'd be happy to take them off his hands if he's busy. :D

So that just leaves Toki no Tabibito - Time Stranger. I've actually got a table file compiled, which includes all the dictionary entries (the game uses dictionary compression), so a text dump is next on my list. There's obviously a lot of text here, way more than any other game I've tackled on this project, so this will take a bit more time. Also, I hate translating kana-only texts... :( But as they say, しかたがない. :P

So crazy to think where we were only six weeks ago today. I've translated eight games in that time (though to be fair, most of them were very easy jobs). Now it seems that my original goal is actually within reach, in record time. Not sure I'm ready to tackle 1987, though... but I'll certainly be checking to see how much work there is to do there. :D

Spinner 8

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #52 on: July 14, 2017, 05:27:57 pm »
As you can see, there's not much left of 1986 to finish off. Mississippi Satsujin Jiken, as we've heard, is coming along very nicely (keep it up, Pluvius! ;) ) and the script of Sherlock Holmes - Hakushaku Reijou Yuukai Jiken is near completion according to Filler, but I don't know who is actually doing the hacking part of that job. Seikima II - Akuma no Gyakushuu and Space Hunter were being tackled by KingMike, and I think I'll give him a PM because both projects look interesting to me, so I'd be happy to take them off his hands if he's busy. :D

I'm hacking Sherlock Holmes fwiw.

Psyklax

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #53 on: July 14, 2017, 06:28:23 pm »
I'm hacking Sherlock Holmes fwiw.

Awesome! ;) I look forward to that. I should have a look at a longplay to set what it's all about.

Psyklax

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #54 on: July 22, 2017, 06:07:18 am »
Update time again! :)

First off I want to mention to anyone that doesn't know, that Murder on the Mississippi has been completed! :)
http://www.romhacking.net/translations/3133/
I'm grateful to Pluvius for namechecking me in the readme for inspiring him to do it, and I hope my efforts over the last two months will inspire even more people to get translating the earliest Famicom games. Good job! :)

Back to my work. Given how much text there is in Time Stranger, I obviously haven't got very far - previous games in this project have been much easier to make progress on, given the lack of text. But I watched the anime movie that the game is based on, and it's actually quite an interesting movie. It centres around a teenager from the future who is disillusioned with how things are, so he goes back in time, while a member of the Time Police heads after him to stop him changing history. This game, strangely, takes place after the end of the movie, and has you controlling the cop (the movie's antagonist). So, if you haven't seen the film, the premise of the game is a heck of a spoiler. :D

As for the game itself, I've done some work outside the main script (which I've dumped and am translating currently, and will obviously will take a long time). The profile of the main character has been translated, and the screen showing his mode of transport has been corrected for spelling errors:


I've also done all of the time/places you visit, and the introduction text:
(SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FILM! :D )


Other than that, there's nothing to show. I just need to knuckle down and translate, and then I guess it's done. Only thing I'm not sure about is the title screen, because it includes the title in both Japanese and English, just like the movie does. So, I don't really think there's any point in touching it.

Since the translating usually takes place on my mobile phone while I'm out and about (I know :D ) I figured I might want to get into hacking another game to keep busy at home, but since all the remaining 1986 games are being handled, I've started looking at 1987. There's a surprising amount of games already translated, but obviously plenty still to be done. I've been going through every game - in some cases even examining the graphics to check if I can see any Japanese text - to see what needs doing, but I'm still compiling my list. Once I finish it, I might pick the easiest one and get to work. :) But I'll post it here first, just in case anyone knows of ones I've missed (or if they're already being worked on).

So, that's all for now. Keep me updated with all your work, it's very much appreciated! :)

cccmar

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #55 on: July 22, 2017, 06:29:45 am »
It would seem that there are about 30 untranslated games in 1987, according to Spinner's list (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tvtZ5O9Uwd51GVdnMgEan-V1xBQcYj1XzTJ5tbpUl-w/edit#gid=1935945707). It's a good list btw, you can even sort it by date/genre. :) Quite a few of them are RPGs, but I'm pretty sure some are being tackled. For example, Filler translated ZOIDS already (maybe someone is working on insertion right now) and I'm pretty sure someone was tackling Indora no Hikari as well. So, that's two RPGs less for you to worry about. It seems that there are a few adventure games and RPGs in that year though, so it will obviously take quite some time to deal with it.

As to Time Stranger, it's interesting that the game is basically a sequel to the movie. Perhaps that's how it was marketed as well. Neat stuff. :D I do remember reading somewhere that the game had a couple of endings. They're probably dependent upon your choices... well, either way, good luck!

Psyklax

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #56 on: July 22, 2017, 09:53:06 am »
I know Spinner has a nice list... but I just like to do things my way. :)

Funny thing about Time Stranger, I did some googling and it seems to have a reputation in Japan as a bit of a 'kusoge' or 'crap game'. :D But it must have a bit of a cult following because a guy made a wonderful website with a detailed guide, which will be very useful as I translate the game.

Anyway, after posting earlier today I decided to take a look at Space Hunter. Very quickly I realised there was so little text, and a capital English alphabet, that I could finish it in an afternoon. :) Alas, it's never that simple. The text is written in such a terse format, and there only 32KB of PRG-ROM, that actually writing something readable will be a challenge. At first I thought "ah, the mapper supports bank switching, I'll just add another bank for the text", but it only supports many CHR-ROM banks, not PRG-ROM. It's also written in an awkward way, mixing and matching phrases in a way that doesn't make sense for English grammar. So close...

There's no wasted space inside, so DTE or just adjusting pointers isn't going to work. They really crammed a lot into 32KB. What to do? I'm open to ideas, but short of changing the mapper, which I know would be a pain, I can't think of any.

KingMike

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #57 on: July 22, 2017, 02:15:09 pm »
Someone already did Famicom Board Game: Railroad King (1987) though I've had mine sitting around forever. That game is one with CHR-ROM switching. When I get back to it, I'd have to do some disassembly probably to find room to do some bank-swapping. You would have to do a mapper hack probably and find if there's something you can swap out (like maybe the title screen?) during gameplay.
If it's an CNROM game, then GNROM (such as used in SMB/DH) would seem the logical extension of that mapper, but since that mapper appears to write PRG and CHR registers at the same time, maybe not the best?
I remember DvD said he had a hard time with Portopia fitting the text back in and had to do some ROM expansion to fit it.
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Psyklax

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #58 on: July 22, 2017, 03:58:28 pm »
Someone already did Famicom Board Game: Railroad King (1987) though I've had mine sitting around forever. That game is one with CHR-ROM switching. When I get back to it, I'd have to do some disassembly probably to find room to do some bank-swapping. You would have to do a mapper hack probably and find if there's something you can swap out (like maybe the title screen?) during gameplay.
If it's an CNROM game, then GNROM (such as used in SMB/DH) would seem the logical extension of that mapper, but since that mapper appears to write PRG and CHR registers at the same time, maybe not the best?
I remember DvD said he had a hard time with Portopia fitting the text back in and had to do some ROM expansion to fit it.

I'm aware that you've been working on Space Hunter yourself, but it's not CHR switching that's the problem since this game already does that. It's the PRG that needs switching, but CNROM can't do it. As you said, maybe there's an alternative, though mapper hacks are a new area for me.

I'm not surprised DvD had trouble with Portopia given it didn't even use an MMC, God only knows how they crammed all that in there. He did an awesome job though, I played it all the way through and it was excellent. Space Hunter really doesn't have much text though, so I don't know if it's worth the effort.

maseter

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Re: Translations of early Famicom games
« Reply #59 on: July 23, 2017, 03:03:23 am »
Does 1988 count as early? :)

There is this Iron Tank game
which was censored in the US:
https://tcrf.net/Iron_Tank


But not the Japanese release called "Great Tank":


My question is, what would be easier, taking text from the US release and inserting it into the Japanese game, or taking graphics from the Japanese release and inserting them into the US? Which way? If somebody could please take a look. Sorry if off topic, but i don't know where else to bring this up.