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Author Topic: ROM Hacks: Phantasy Star Generation 4: A Relocalization - Final(ish) Patch Released w/ Script Options  (Read 4318 times)

RHDNBot

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Update By: GhaleonUnlimited

Phantasy Star Generation 4 is a relocalization (and for most of the story script, a retranslation) of the classic SEGA JRPG Phantasy Star IV.

Integrating fan feedback with dozens of hours of editing, the author has release a final(ish) version of the patch catering to as many player preferences as possible -- along with substantial story script improvements.

1. Script versions: Choose between Recommended or "No Joke" (removes added NPC lines, some character interaction while retaining revised script).

2. Names/Items/Spells matching either the Master System original, the Playstation 2 remakes, or a hybrid of both (recommended).

Also, further PS fan resources and a new podcast series with interviews of PS fan translators are located at the project website.

Coinciding with SEGA's 60th anniversary, 2020 has seen the release of major retranslations/QOL improvements to PS1, PS3, and PS4 already. Revised editions of the Playstation 2 "Generations" remakes are in production, as well.

RHDN Project Page

Relevant Link

GhaleonUnlimited

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In case anyone is interested, here's the PS links I mentioned:

Phantasy Star 1 SMS 2.0 (May 2020)
Phantasy Star III's newest retranslation is not officially out yet, being beta tested. I'm assuming they'll put it here: [url]https://www.romhacking.net/translations/3549/]https://www.smspower.org/Translations/PhantasyStar-SMS-EN/url]
Phantasy Star III's newest retranslation is not officially out yet, being beta tested. I'm assuming they'll put it here: [url]https://www.romhacking.net/translations/3549/

PSIV Relocalization and PS Podcast: PSIV.GamesDoneLegit.com

Join us at the PS Cave discord if you enjoy PS (classic and modern)! PM me for an invite, or I'll just post an evergreen link later on.

We're updating work on the Gen 1 & 2 remakes on the discord. Thankssss

Red Soul

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This will be a very good way to play this. Thanks.
The screenshots seem to imply Lyla is still called "Alys" though, and I wish that changed, since
the intent of one of the patches is to approximate it from the proper Japanese script.

SmashManiac

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Does this hack make menu text more accessible for newcomers, such as clarifying what "comd", "macr", "foi", "res" or "gra" mean, or what's the difference between "tech" and "skill"? Doesn't look like it, but I'm not entirely sure based on the provided description and screenshots.

For reference, when I tried playing the Wii Virtual Console version of Phantasy Star IV recently, I couldn't finish the first dungeon because I was unable to figure out nor remember what menu commands actually do without constantly referencing the manual or a fan-made cheat sheet. It was as if I was playing the game in a completely foreign language, which was too inconvenient for me.

Spooniest

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Stop wasting time, there's nothing here!

Neat. I'm always up for some PS4 action, and yeah, the script could definitely use a few touches. I'll have to give this a go eventually.
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galneon

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I hope NO JOKE v4.6 is less jokey than NO JOKE v4.41.

https://imgur.com/a/bzU5TLp

Context: Kids hiding in a basement after their village was wiped out.

GhaleonUnlimited

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I hope NO JOKE v4.6 is less jokey than NO JOKE v4.41.

https://imgur.com/a/bzU5TLp

Context: Kids hiding in a basement after their village was wiped out.

If you were sitting on these complaints and screenshots, why not just let me know? I incorporated a lot of feedback into these, as we all have different preferences, and I wanted to make something to enjoy the game better.

when you're going through 43 dialog files, and it's a line like that without context, there's no way to know where in the game it is, so yeah, it would be great to have that feedback.

Yes, that line so old I don't even remember writing it, and I probably wouldn't include it in the NO JOKE if I had known it was in.

June 02, 2020, 08:29:46 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
This will be a very good way to play this. Thanks.
The screenshots seem to imply Lyla is still called "Alys" though, and I wish that changed, since
the intent of one of the patches is to approximate it from the proper Japanese script.

The names are really just personal preference. If you'd like a custom patch, just let me know. It only takes a few minutes. PM me!

I actually read it as "Lyra", haha, which I like, but I just think of her as Alys, and I like the rest of the American names (which were made by the Japanese team).

June 02, 2020, 08:43:41 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Does this hack make menu text more accessible for newcomers, such as clarifying what "comd", "macr", "foi", "res" or "gra" mean, or what's the difference between "tech" and "skill"? Doesn't look like it, but I'm not entirely sure based on the provided description and screenshots.

For reference, when I tried playing the Wii Virtual Console version of Phantasy Star IV recently, I couldn't finish the first dungeon because I was unable to figure out nor remember what menu commands actually do without constantly referencing the manual or a fan-made cheat sheet. It was as if I was playing the game in a completely foreign language, which was too inconvenient for me.

Thanks for asking.

Long story short, we (royal we) HAVE figured out how to make the word boxes longer for commands and techs, but it was figured out after I did the bulk of my work. So when the coder is able to work with me on that I'll implement it.

There's no in-menu way to tell you what techs do, but truthfully, if you use a tech once (battle and regular ones), for almost all them, you get an in-game explanation of what it did, and I did rewrite the explanations to improve clarity.

The techs are actually German in origin and not well localized, so that's why they're basically gibberish :/

The good news is that PSIV is pretty easy, and if you want, I can give you a short "Here's the best skills/tech to use for each character and here's what they do". It'd be very short cos there's no much you need to learn. PSIV is an extremely beginner-friendly RPG besides those names.

Also, the SMS-CLASSIC version has some skills that match the EN Master System version, and they're normal-sounding spells ("Fire" "Thunder" "Wall") etc.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 08:43:41 pm by GhaleonUnlimited »

galneon

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If you were sitting on these complaints and screenshots, why not just let me know? I incorporated a lot of feedback into these, as we all have different preferences, and I wanted to make something to enjoy the game better.

when you're going through 43 dialog files, and it's a line like that without context, there's no way to know where in the game it is, so yeah, it would be great to have that feedback.

Yes, that line so old I don't even remember writing it, and I probably wouldn't include it in the NO JOKE if I had known it was in.

You've had a lot of final/finalish versions of this patch. I upped the screenshots last fall between "final" versions and decided not to bother posting them, assuming you'd either catch the error on your next pass (if there was to be one), or that, due to the other jokes in NO JOKE, the inclusion was deliberate and that v4.41 was truly final. I didn't realize NO JOKE had received only a day's effort from its introduction until now considering the jokes have been the most common complaint about your relocalization (from your PM, included here for context: 'I did the "no joke" in a day and just cut a bunch of dialog, so it's natural that I'd miss a bunch. If you'd like to help make it better, feel free to let me know your thoughts!'). There were other mood-souring jokes I didn't record up until what's in the screenshots, but that example was particularly jarring. I'll get back to my playthrough at some point, but by that time, you'll likely have done a full pass over the NO JOKE script. Assuming that happens at some point, I don't think I'd have a hard time recommending your relocalization.

Anyway, I've reported it now. If it were me and I were still doing revisions, I would appreciate that someone bothered as apparently none of the other feedback received covered the lines in question.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 09:42:33 pm by galneon »

GhaleonUnlimited

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Well, I understand having a negative reaction to some of my oversights, and it bums me out. Please try to understand me, too, though -- this is thousands of lines of code and dialog, and I'm doing this for free, as is everyone who's helped me out. I'm not saying that to be indignant, it's just that I miss a lot when I look at my own writing (I have ADHD) so I really appreciate help, so I can fix the issue.

This is actually my first patch, too, so I really have no idea how you're supposed to decide something is "final" or not, haha.

I put my heart into this, so I'll never leave it at a place where it's just "good enough", but as perfect as I can reasonably make it, so people like you can have a positive experience with it :)

I would love any other instances in the "no joke" you thought were inappropriate! It'd be a huge help, and I'm happy to make the changes since I don't play that version of the patch myself. Thanks very much!

So after I work on it more, I hope you enjoy it. PS means a lot to me, and it really kills me if people miss out on the translation accuracy and story expansion because of some jokes I wrote while punch-drunk at 3 a.m.

Please send me any help you can so I can make the "no joke" what it's meant to be. I already took out the NPC dialog you mentioned in that patch because that's how my brain works, lol. And actually I'm modifying it in the regular one too because I had no context when I apparently wrote it. Thanks!

Thanks for replying! I can't do better if I don't know what people prefer, so I really do appreciate it. I'm sure others will appreciate the results of your feedback, too.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 10:23:01 pm by GhaleonUnlimited »

galneon

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I appreciate your efforts and sympathized in an earlier news thread. I actually have fond memories of WD localizations given they were all I (or anyone else who didn't read Japanese) knew as kids of the '90s. I find the near-universal hate they now receive rather sad--particularly given the fact that they were publishing JRPGs, an unpopular genre for the most part, which other companies wouldn't bother touching. It's a little different for me in the case of the PS series given I grew up on the official translations which were less humorous, so I found the NO JOKE version more to my taste. I wish I had screen-capped other instances, but I didn't, and life has been rough since then so I can't give you any specific examples of jokes that slipped through as they are quite far from my mind. I will be more thorough when I get back to it, though, whichever "final" version I may be playing at that time. ;)

From a pragmatic standpoint, the version of your patch you next devote a playthrough to should probably be the NO JOKE version. I have a feeling more people downloading the patches today are opting for that version than you may realize. Again, it's mostly a question of what the audience is used to, and the improved localization still provided by the less editorialized version is probably going to sit better with most of us with nostalgia--I'm used to '90s WD localizations with jokes, but similar in PSIV? Not so much.

GhaleonUnlimited

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OK, thanks. I felt like PSIV's script as-is gave me the leeway to expand upon NPC and random dialog in that style. But I understand if it's not to everyone's liking, and one just one review led me to create this version.

Thank you for the feedback and not just leaving a review bomb and then not responding to a PM on how I can improve, as my first reviewer did, haha.

I'm happy to peruse the "no joke" script again in more detail.

It's cool if you don't have any other examples, but if you do, please send them my way.

Would you want to take a look at some/all of "no joke" script after I give it another once-over? I appreciate all feedback.

Thanks!

SmashManiac

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Long story short, we (royal we) HAVE figured out how to make the word boxes longer for commands and techs, but it was figured out after I did the bulk of my work. So when the coder is able to work with me on that I'll implement it.

There's no in-menu way to tell you what techs do, but truthfully, if you use a tech once (battle and regular ones), for almost all them, you get an in-game explanation of what it did, and I did rewrite the explanations to improve clarity.

The techs are actually German in origin and not well localized, so that's why they're basically gibberish :/
That would be awesome! Post-use information boxes are nice, but they don't really help me memorize related commands. And... uh... I'm not sure I want to learn German just for that. ;)

If you could find and implement a way to make it work, you would have a new fan. :woot!:

The good news is that PSIV is pretty easy, and if you want, I can give you a short "Here's the best skills/tech to use for each character and here's what they do". It'd be very short cos there's no much you need to learn. PSIV is an extremely beginner-friendly RPG besides those names.
Thanks, but not thanks - half of the fun in a JRPG is to master the combat system. That would be cheating! :)

Also, the SMS-CLASSIC version has some skills that match the EN Master System version, and they're normal-sounding spells ("Fire" "Thunder" "Wall") etc.
Uhhh... considering Phantasy Star IV is a Genesis game and not a Master System game, I have no idea what you're talking about here...

GhaleonUnlimited

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If you could find and implement a way to make it work, you would have a new fan. :woot!:
Thanks, but not thanks - half of the fun in a JRPG is to master the combat system. That would be cheating! :)
Uhhh... considering Phantasy Star IV is a Genesis game and not a Master System game, I have no idea what you're talking about here...

PSIV has a lot of callbacks to PSI on SMS (magic, items, etc.).
But all the PS games in EN were localized inconsistently, so some people prefer the SMS way of naming characters and skills.

"Command" lets you tell each individual character what to do sequentially for each round of battle. And the battle options are all icons, a la Shining Force, so you shouldn't have trouble knowing what is what.

"Macro" lets you program battle actions for characters in a certain order so either battles are quicker or you want to use team-up attacks (ex: "Grand Cross" is when one character uses "Crosscut" and another uses "Efess"). Put your highest-agility characters first, then so on. Like at the beginning dungeon, on Macro 1, I'd set: 1. Alys attack 2. Rudy attack 3. Hahn defend.

If you've played console RPGs before, you'll have no trouble with the game systems once you get into it.

VicVergil

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Congratulations for your patch release!

I have a few suggestions, that have to do with the retranslation discussion, which I hope can work towards regaining trust and making more people willing to try out this patch or improve it further, with feedback or their own addendum takes on the script.

First of all, you're labeling your work as a relocalization.
Are you aware that a lot of script rewrites by people who have zero Japanese skills, just "spicing up" the existing official localization or fan translation, are calling themselves "relocalizations" on this very romhack database?
If what you did is indeed a retranslation based on the Japanese text (the easiest telltale is a few lines completely cut from the official English version, you couldn't have overlooked them if the effort was genuine) that you, misguidedly in my opinion, gave the Working Designs treatment then backtracked, offering the actual retranslation as an optional edit of the main "jokey" patch (is Phantasy Star VI a comedy routine game that some anti-comedy assholes are offended about? It strikes me instead as a regular JRPG that takes itself semi-seriously with some sparse comedy moments.)

If you did actually work toward fixing some inaccuracies and problems in the original localization with this retranslation, I think the label, which is perhaps because the "jokes" were the priority, wasn't the best idea to market it, at all.
You're at least kind enough to try and offer an alternative, and value that many players want to experience the game mainly, instead of the localizer's comedy writing. This is a respectful show of good-will that inspires respect in return. After all, some such romhacks like the Breath of Fire 2 retranslation are rife with similar issues and didn't disclose the heavy editorializing that happened, but also implemented measures against changing their romhack.
You are nowhere near as much of a control freak, nor are you totally dismissing the idea translations should be true to the original meaning.

Which brings me to my second question.
Screenshots of scenes taken out of context, some might be even jokes in the original game, with no Japanese equivalent provided to check, and we're supposed to take the critics word, because your label, and the way this translation project was hijacked to void its intent (reverting innaccuracies and jarring writing... but introducing even more... a story as old as the fan translation scene, with Final Fantasy IV's retranslation that ended up more inaccurate than the official american versio because of mistakes introduced by the editors) This will happen again and again with no actual way to disprove it, and the trust eroded further and further.

Can you share your complete translation notes, if any? The Japanese text and its early rough translation and the final localized text, in other terms. Or as much of it as possible. It will help a lot restore some of that trust and weed out the worst of the misinformation. It can be a valuable tool for language learners, or critics who have their own take on some lines. It can shed light on any oversights overlooked from the "no jokes" edit. I really hope you consider this idea.

GhaleonUnlimited

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Thanks for the interest!

I was actually maintaining an annotated script (original script with strikethrough/underline/bold for my additions) but I was already editing multiple versions of the script in the code, so I haven't updated it in awhile. I mean if people really would like to see that, I can update it. I was including the old annotated script with the zip actually until this release.

I mean writing jokes wasn't a priority, the story was. The writing is just my style and preference and I was just expanding upon what's here. The project goal was just to make PSIV the best version of itself for EN speakers. So if I didn't achieve that for some people, yeah, I'm happy to further refine this "no joke" version so they can enjoy the meat of it: story, dialog, and series references.

The game itself is not exactly Lunar-y, but I didn't really think people would focus so much on NPC humor vs. the more accurate and grammatically sound dialog. Some NPC dialog in classic RPGs is rather pointless, so my intent was just giving more point and world-building to their dialog.

I'm not sure I understand your 1st question through, exactly. Let me know if I've answered it:

#1. I'm very happy to be as transparent as I can with this. I've tried to make it so people can see for themselves what my sources are.

The Cutting Room Floor has an AMAZING comparison of 2-3 prototype scripts + final script (with notes featuring and explaining the original Japanese for lines that need it). The proto scripts often are pretty literal to the Japanese, so between these sources, I wrote what seemed to be closest to the Japanese intent.

I don't feel right calling it a retranslation (even though it basically is from a story angle) because I didn't retranslate it myself, plus I went a bit deeper with the story and dialog than what's on the surface.

For example, when their shuttle is crashing, Rune says "Relax."
Why does he say that? Is it to tell Rudy he's being annoying? Is it that he should let go and embrace fate? From knowing the character and context, I had him say, "Relax. What will be, will be." or something.

That kind of stuff falls under the "relocalization" banner to me, at least. Is there another word for that in the ROMhacking community? This is my first so I have no idea what people's expectations might be.

#2: Sorry, I'm trying to understand you -- are you saying that I accompany screenshots of the patch next to the screenshots from the original game?  If so I'm happy to do that.

I started this project as simply something that I wanted to play, and after an editor volunteered to help me, I gradually realized that I would just like people to appreciate PSIV more, so I should put something out that caters to other people, too.

I think honestly, anytime you create something and people respond negatively, it hurts your feelings some, but I think you just gotta put your ego on the shelf and decide if what you're doing can be improved. So I like constructive feedback from you guys! I never gave the "no joke" a serious comb-over besides like an eight-hour day of editing, so I'm happy to do that and release it within the week. I need shit to do right now, the world is so depressing, haha.

VicVergil

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Thanks a lot for the favorable response.

Just an excel file or something will be fine, no need for images. You can take inspiration from the model used in the translation notes for Project Naga's Fire Emblem Genealogy of the Holy War, or the Chrono Trigger fan retranslation.
It's disheartening you didn't even do a full script dump of the Japanese game even for reference, considering those prototype translations were, besides being "literal", "flawed". And I mean that in the sense of the translator not making sense of the text or how to convey it. It's still a worthwhile stepping stone towards accuracy. I'd like myself to see something that combines the best of what Shining Force 1/2's scripts have between all prototypes, released US version, and the Japanese text... My other nitpick here is just omitting referencing the original text.

galneon

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Would you want to take a look at some/all of "no joke" script after I give it another once-over? I appreciate all feedback.

At this point, the only way I am likely to get back to PSIV in order to finish it one more time is if I'm as story-naive as someone who has already beaten it (long ago) can possibly be. ;) Seeing how receptive you are to feedback, I will absolutely provide it in specificity when or if I get back to it.

Regarding removing joke lines outright, it does seem within the spirit of your project to include additional lore-friendly text in their place--I haven't compared directly, but hope NO JOKE isn't just a stripped-down version of the main relocalization with fewer lines of dialogue. Others will disagree, but such is the nature of what, as you surely know by now, is a polarizing type of project. Ultimately, it is yours, and I hope your own pride in the project is sufficient to view it in retrospect some year as an overall positive experience, regardless of purists' and nostalgists' criticism--I probably fall into the latter camp. Critics tend to be the loudest, and you already have many fans you will never hear from.

GhaleonUnlimited

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At this point, the only way I am likely to get back to PSIV in order to finish it one more time is if I'm as story-naive as someone who has already beaten it (long ago) can possibly be. ;) Seeing how receptive you are to feedback, I will absolutely provide it in specificity when or if I get back to it.

Regarding removing joke lines outright, it does seem within the spirit of your project to include additional lore-friendly text in their place--I haven't compared directly, but hope NO JOKE isn't just a stripped-down version of the main relocalization with fewer lines of dialogue. Others will disagree, but such is the nature of what, as you surely know by now, is a polarizing type of project. Ultimately, it is yours, and I hope your own pride in the project is sufficient to view it in retrospect some year as an overall positive experience, regardless of purists' and nostalgists' criticism--I probably fall into the latter camp. Critics tend to be the loudest, and you already have many fans you will never hear from.

Thanks very much! It's really tough for me and my editor to figure out what's "too editorial", so I just looked at it more critically from a purist perspective.

I did have positive outreach as well as the negative, so even 1 or 2 people saying they enjoyed it feels validating. A dude even called me on the phone to say thanks, haha, so that's pretty cool.

Most of the story and added lore is intact, because it didn't need to be written with extra color or levity, just with more depth. So things like Seed explaining more about Rika's origins, justifying one character's decision-making in the ending, and small translation corrections like "portal" vs. "dimension" talk at the end -- those didn't need to change.

Hahn has a line in the JP (which I kept) that's like "It will be my life's pride that I did battle with you," which I found very fitting and touching, so that's kind of sums up my feelings about the project. So I'm very committed to helping people who enjoy RPGs differently than I do get the most out of this if they choose to try it.

Thanks very much for the kind words and encouragement. If you ever want a custom version of the patch, as well, just let me know. (I'm surprised it took till this week to get a request for all JP names!)

I uploaded 5.0 today and I renamed the project patches as "Working Designs" and "Purist" versions. I think that should best prepare players for what they'll find in each. Thanks for the ideas!

June 04, 2020, 03:05:52 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Thanks a lot for the favorable response.

Just an excel file or something will be fine, no need for images. You can take inspiration from the model used in the translation notes for Project Naga's Fire Emblem Genealogy of the Holy War, or the Chrono Trigger fan retranslation.
It's disheartening you didn't even do a full script dump of the Japanese game even for reference, considering those prototype translations were, besides being "literal", "flawed". And I mean that in the sense of the translator not making sense of the text or how to convey it. It's still a worthwhile stepping stone towards accuracy. I'd like myself to see something that combines the best of what Shining Force 1/2's scripts have between all prototypes, released US version, and the Japanese text... My other nitpick here is just omitting referencing the original text.

Oh man, I had a whole big long reply to you and galneon, but accidentally deleted mine to you!

Thanks again first off for the ideas! I'll look into populating a sheet for the differences. We're doing this idea right now for the PS Gen 2 script revision.

Please understand. A retranslation of PSIV (which I tried to be careful not to bill this as) would require A: A willing translator, and B: Potentially hundreds of further hours of writing and editing, for both me and the translator.

I can do B (which I did, haha), but not A. Also, I trust the TCRF dialog translation notes on their PSIV page, and there's nothing left in the script that I feel unsure of what the intent of the dialog or character motivation is.

For the story, I was going for pinpoint accuracy when the original English left out or changed something that I felt was key to the directors' intent, and thankfully, TCRF lays this out in detail when needed of how each English version missed the mark on what the original Japanese text was. For other parts, the more literal, early versions paint the roadmap to what the Japanese was expressing and how to best say that in English.

If you'd like, please check out my RHDN page when the 5.0 upload and let me know if you can suggest anything I could do to better communicate to the player what exactly this project is. My project page http://PSIV.GamesDoneLegit.com explicitly lays out the references and materials I used for the patch, as well, and it's just a bit long for a RHDN page.

I get that at the end of the day we're all fans, and fans are passionate in their beliefs :) I know I am. I do think it's important to note that there is not one right way to go about a retranslation, game enhancement, or relocalization. If we can have Ninja Turtles running around in Streets of Rage, I don't find it strange or troubling for anyone to rewrite dialog for any game, as long as they're upfront about what they're doing and they properly inform players (which I thought I was doing, but I've made corrections as I've gotten that feedback).

My goal was to make PSIV even more enjoyable, so I hope now that I've refined the "Purist" patch, it might help a few more people to do so.

I'll work on a spreadsheet eventually because I think it's a great idea, but I can't say when that would happen because it takes soooo much time. And we're all doing this for fun, not a paycheck :) I know not everyone has time to run through an RPG to see what's different, but I do hope the most curious souls will find time to DL this and start it off to see it for themselves.

Did you have any other ideas for me? Thanks very much, I appreciate it!
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 03:05:52 pm by GhaleonUnlimited »

Stifu

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I have not played this relocalization, but would still like to give my opinion: I prefer when translators make strong choices and release a single well-rounded patch, rather than make me choose between multiple patches. A single patch that could pass as a high-quality official translation, with no weird or over-the-top alterations to the original script. On top of that, GhaleonUnlimited, you highlighted how time-consuming this project is. Maintaining a single patch would be less work for you, and would probably drive the quality up.

saldite

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So at this point, what's the general recommended patches for the OG, non-remake versions of the games? Something like:
  • SMSPower for 1
  • vivify93's Improvement for 2
  • peaches patch for 3
  • This patch for 4 (looks really good BTW)?
I'm sure this has probably been asked before, so I apologize in advance. I know GhaleonUnlimited mentioned some of the above in the second post, but I'm not super familiar with the Phantasy Star fan-scene with regards to recommendations as I'm one of the ones who started this series at PSO.