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Author Topic: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation  (Read 2547 times)

RHDNBot

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Update By: GhaleonUnlimited

One of the 16-bit era's hall-of-fame RPGs has received a Phantastic makeover!

Phantasy Star IV was one of SEGA's best RPGs, with great story, character interaction, and gameplay, but the English translation was merely adequate. It suffered from awkward, often laughable dialog, as well as many mistranslations that were meant to tie the 2,000-year-long story of the previous three games together.

Among the goofiest translation choices:
-Misnaming the planet "Palma" to "Parma", which is a suburb of Cleveland.
-The main character yelling "I'm not going to fight for no mission!" at a pivotal story moment.
-An emotional goodbye between bros punctuated with "You silly!"

And so on.

The patch author, Chris Hatala -- "GhaleonUnlimited", was surprised that a Phantasy Star IV hack fixing the series references was never tackled, so he decided to learn what ROM hacking was all about.

Thanks to the help and support of two other fan-project leaders -- vivify93 and lory1990 on RHDN -- Chris was able to completely rewrite the script where needed and inject it into the game, along with adding bugfixes, fixing censorship, and allowing for player preference in which script they wanted to play.

Also, thanks to their help and also great resources online, the original Japanese was used to best match the original creators' intentions.

Being a big fan of the breezy dialog and whimsical nature of the Lunars on SEGA CD, Chris aimed to add a naturalness to the dialog, as well as accentuate each character's personality.

He also added humor that was appropriate to the established universe and tone of the game, because much of the game's funnier moments were lost in translation or were simply missed opportunities in the original script.

Now that English fan translations of the brilliant SEGA AGES remakes of Phantasy Star 1 and 2 have been completed, this project was meant to link both both the classic translations together but also these new exciting developments in the Phantasy Star world.

At version 1_48, most of the text errors and bugs should be fixed. The author hopes that this relocalization will give 16-bit RPG fans who missed out on PSIV -- as well as long-time PS fans -- a reason to revisit one of classic gaming's best RPG story arcs!

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the_E_y_Es

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2018, 12:23:54 am »
Oh, nice. It's always good to see PSIV get some attention, it's one of my favorite RPGs of all time. I had no idea that Chaz was named Rudy in the original. Looking at the screenshots in your homepage, the dialogue does look natural. Less like it was translated from Japanese and more like it was actually written in English. I've a question, though; the second screenshot shows the line "Is Shortstack here your new protoge?". I think you probably meant "protégé", is that right?

In any case, I salute you for the effort. Will definitely give it a go when I have the chance.

Guadozoku

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2018, 10:31:48 pm »
I've been replaying the game recently on my PS3 in Japanese, and confirmed one of my most WTF lines in the game. Chaz doesn't saay Dark Force revived Zio as a god, but he says "Is this the Dark Force Zio worshipped as a god?" Has that line been fixed in this patch?

mziab

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2018, 07:17:47 am »
-The main character yelling "I'm not going to fight for no mission!" at a pivotal story moment.
-An emotional goodbye between bros punctuated with "You silly!"

Interesting. Do you by any chance have the Japanese script for those two strings? Truth be told, they never felt out of place to me, so I'm curious to see what the original was and how you handled them.

-Misnaming the planet "Palma" to "Parma", which is a suburb of Cleveland.

And also a city in Italy, but that's besides the point :) That was my first thought when I saw the name Parma in the game.

GhaleonUnlimited

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2018, 01:51:13 pm »
Oh, nice. It's always good to see PSIV get some attention, it's one of my favorite RPGs of all time. I had no idea that Chaz was named Rudy in the original. Looking at the screenshots in your homepage, the dialogue does look natural. Less like it was translated from Japanese and more like it was actually written in English. I've a question, though; the second screenshot shows the line "Is Shortstack here your new protoge?". I think you probably meant "protégé", is that right?

In any case, I salute you for the effort. Will definitely give it a go when I have the chance.

Oh yeah, I fixed that in the first revision. Not very promising I know to post a Pic with a typo, haha.

Gone through many revisions so far! I'm almost done w the game, so at least all the story typos should be fixed once I get through it.

Thanks for the interest!

GhaleonUnlimited

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2018, 01:53:24 pm »
I've been replaying the game recently on my PS3 in Japanese, and confirmed one of my most WTF lines in the game. Chaz doesn't saay Dark Force revived Zio as a god, but he says "Is this the Dark Force Zio worshipped as a god?" Has that line been fixed in this patch?

Yeah, looking at the Japanese, this was just written awkward, so I forget what I changed it to but it's in the annotated script included w the download.

All lines like that were changed to make it sound like something a native English speaker might say, haha.

GhaleonUnlimited

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2018, 01:57:57 pm »
Interesting. Do you by any chance have the Japanese script for those two strings? Truth be told, they never felt out of place to me, so I'm curious to see what the original was and how you handled them.

And also a city in Italy, but that's besides the point :) That was my first thought when I saw the name Parma in the game.

Well, Rudy using double negatives doesn't match his established dialect, so I don't really see why he would use one at such an important moment. You might disagree though, that's fine!

I don't have the full JP script so not sure what he says there. I'd be really surprised though if he is meant to use poor symantics at such an event.

Oh yeah, lol, it's also a city in Italy, forgot about that! Being from Cleveland, the suburb is always what I thought of, haha.

galletteuh

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2018, 03:44:10 pm »
Amazing work.
Phantasy Star IV is my favourite Genesis game.

I am currently trying to translate it in french (I am french) and thanks lory90 disassembly of the game I can do it.
But I have actually a little problem. Even if I can translate text I don't know how to modify/add tiles for the font.
So I have to avoid accented letters.

I saw other translations, in portuguese for example, but I didn't find the way.
If I can't do it I will continue without accented letters, but if someone can help me with this I will be very pleased.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 04:11:38 pm by galletteuh »

Gavin the Demon

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2018, 06:55:01 am »
Looks like a really cool hack and retranslation. I won't be able to play it just yet, but it still looks great.

Also, Parma is better known as a city in Italy. Great hack eitherway!

Guadozoku

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2018, 08:06:17 am »
I don't know for certain, but Japanese games tend to have more hiragana and katakana than there are English letters. FInd which tiles are unused in the English version because they were katakana oer whatever and use those.

mziab

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2018, 08:33:52 am »
Amazing work.
Phantasy Star IV is my favourite Genesis game.

I am currently trying to translate it in french (I am french) and thanks lory90 disassembly of the game I can do it.
But I have actually a little problem. Even if I can translate text I don't know how to modify/add tiles for the font.
So I have to avoid accented letters.

I saw other translations, in portuguese for example, but I didn't find the way.
If I can't do it I will continue without accented letters, but if someone can help me with this I will be very pleased.

The dialogue font is actually stored raw as 1bpp, 8x16 in the original rom at 0x2A3542. There is plenty space for additional characters. You'd have to find and replace the respective data block in the disassembly. The 8x8 menu font is another story. It's compressed and there's barely any space for extra accents, if I recall correctly.

Anyway, I know of at least one other French Phantasy Star IV translation in the works. Someone contacted me about some of the technical details earlier this year and it seems their project is more or less finished, but real life interfered. They were also basing their work off lory90's disassembly.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2018, 01:42:18 pm by mziab »

butane bob

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2018, 05:22:33 pm »
Seems like a good hack, thanks. Minor gripe/whinge - I was enjoying it untill an NPC said a really goofy line about the antagonist looking like "an Emo" because he dresses in black. It completely broke my immersion and pulled me right out of the game. That slang seems wildly out of place for the world that the game is set in. But hey that's just me.

Digitsie

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2018, 07:43:50 pm »
Goth might be a better word in that case than 'emo', wouldn't it? Though I'm still not sure it's appros for that world either.

galletteuh

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2018, 09:03:29 pm »
The dialogue font is actually stored raw as 1bpp, 8x16 in the original rom at 0x2A3542. There is plenty space for additional characters. You'd have to find and replace the respective data block in the disassembly. The 8x8 menu font is another story. It's compressed and there's barely any space for extra accents, if I recall correctly.

Anyway, I know of at least one other French Phantasy Star IV translation in the works. Someone contacted me about some of the technical details earlier this year and it seems their project is more or less finished, but real life interfered. They were also basing their work off lory90's disassembly.

Thanks a lot !
With your indications I was able to locate it in asm file, and I had created five more letters who helps me out !
I am not bothered by 8x8 letters, because the menu is not that important, Item names and descrption can easily be used without accent.
It was important for the script, and It is a success (of course I have a lot of work to do!).

I hope I will be the first one to release a french translation of that great game!

Spooniest

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2018, 03:55:47 pm »
Seems like a good hack, thanks. Minor gripe/whinge - I was enjoying it untill an NPC said a really goofy line about the antagonist looking like "an Emo" because he dresses in black. It completely broke my immersion and pulled me right out of the game. That slang seems wildly out of place for the world that the game is set in. But hey that's just me.

To each their own, I suppose. I thought it was funny.

GhaleonUnlimited

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2018, 09:59:45 am »
Seems like a good hack, thanks. Minor gripe/whinge - I was enjoying it untill an NPC said a really goofy line about the antagonist looking like "an Emo" because he dresses in black. It completely broke my immersion and pulled me right out of the game. That slang seems wildly out of place for the world that the game is set in. But hey that's just me.

Cool, thanks for letting me know how you felt and your experience!

My goal was to write stuff that I felt wasn't too far off from the feel of the original English translation.

Like having Chaz find a Game Gear and stuff is pretty fourth-wall breaking in the original,

So I felt that gave me some license. I basically wrote something in the vein of Working Designs SEGA CD stuff, without poop jokes or pop-culture references that broke the wall too much. "CSI Piata" is about as far as I went. Which hey, could be a book series in this world!

The way I feel is, who knows if "emo" is in the Palman lexicon or not? :)

I knew not everyone who would every aspect of the script so it's good to get some feedback! I hope you play more and let me know more feelings you have about it.

November 04, 2018, 10:03:36 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Thanks a lot !
With your indications I was able to locate it in asm file, and I had created five more letters who helps me out !
I am not bothered by 8x8 letters, because the menu is not that important, Item names and descrption can easily be used without accent.
It was important for the script, and It is a success (of course I have a lot of work to do!).

I hope I will be the first one to release a french translation of that great game!

Wow, excellent that you're taking on a full translation. I had it easy!

Glad this community is cool and helped you with your question. If you finish your table for new characters , could you please let me know?

I wrote "protégé" in my script but didn't have access to accented characters, so technically it's incorrect. I'm not a programmer so I didn't know how to make that change.

Best of luck! Lory's disassembly is the best, right? Lorenzo has helped me a ton with my project, and I'm sure he'd help you if you reach you to him directly via email.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 10:06:56 am by GhaleonUnlimited »

Squirrel2

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2018, 09:06:56 pm »
I've only gotten through the town of Piata, and I'm mostly liking what I'm seeing. Definitely looking forward to another play through of this great game!

GhaleonUnlimited, I did notice some typos though. Is there another release coming out soon? Are you still looking for typo reports? If so, can I post them here or would you rather have those go through email?

Keep up the great work, man!

GhaleonUnlimited

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2018, 10:40:12 am »
I've only gotten through the town of Piata, and I'm mostly liking what I'm seeing. Definitely looking forward to another play through of this great game!

GhaleonUnlimited, I did notice some typos though. Is there another release coming out soon? Are you still looking for typo reports? If so, can I post them here or would you rather have those go through email?

Keep up the great work, man!

Hey, glad you gave it a shot and are enjoying it!

I've let some time go by between updates mostly because my save got erased ;p But I finally loaded an earlier save and am almost back to where I was toward the end of the game.

I have fixed all the typos and glitches I've seen and have gotten lots of help in finding them, too.

Prob in the next week I can finish the game, and make 1.50 the "final" patch since I'll have gotten through the game in full. This will include a lot of the changes that i just haven't released yet.

So if you hang tight I should have a mostly finished file soon in a week or so!


Cirosan

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2018, 01:54:07 pm »
This is an excellent retranslation and you should be tremendously proud of your work.

Before I say any more, let me clarify where I'm coming from: I'm a real snob about localization. I do fan translations myself, and I'm always the jerk that can hardly play something without copyediting it in my head as I play along. I've been spoiled by the likes of Ted Woolsey and Alexander O. Smith, and I have pretty high standards for this sort of thing.

That being said, this is probably the most polished retranslation I've encountered in a while. You mention on the patch's page that you have a background in journalism, and your professionalism shines through with an expert command of character and wit. The difference between this and the original script is night and day - even comparing the first minute of gameplay, the dialogue in your version is leagues more naturalistic and believable.

However, I would concur with some of the above discussion that certain terms and pop culture references push things a tad too far. I'd consider the worst offender to be the "emo" quip which comes up at least twice - in my playthrough, I found two children huddled in a basement in the village Zio attacks. One was scared, the other made the flippant "emo" remark, and it was a tonal mismatch. Further, "emo" is just too modern, too connected to a recent cultural period to be able to get away with. There's also a certain stigma to it: it's an overused insult, and just isn't very funny. There's more natural ways to make a dig at Zio: "How many buckets of black dye do you think he uses when he does his laundry?" "He was dressed in black from head to toe... What, does he have to go to four funerals in a row or something?" and so on.

The CSI joke also doesn't quite land, again because it borrows too heavily from real-world context to work. Mentions of the Game Gear and a recently translated Shining Force game are similarly ill-advised, though those are tucked away in an out-of-the-way enough room to be permissible as easter eggs. Overt pop culture references, I find, don't land well and don't age well.

I don't want to come across as patronizing or insulting, because you're clearly qualified and you've clearly done your homework. In fact, I wanted to take time out to type this whole thing up precisely because I consider this retranslation to be so damn good, and the above concerns are the only real blemishes that I've found. Ultimately, it's your call, but I would caution against insults and slang that are too modern (as with "emo", above) as well as pop culture gags, for the reasons given above.

Regardless, the main takeaway is that you've produced a script that's a categorical improvement over the original, and infused it with a sense of charm that even professionally-produced localizations struggle to capture. I hope you continue translating, as your authorial voice is one I'm eager to hear more of.

Digitsie

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Re: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4 - A Relocalization & Retranslation
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2018, 08:12:58 pm »
Out of curiousity, what differed between the regular and the Generations, storywise for 1-3, besides the obvious graphics/platform?