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Author Topic: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project  (Read 4199 times)

FNTM

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Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« on: July 24, 2019, 02:57:48 pm »
Hello, everyone. I've recently become involved in a project to translate Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir (FDS, 1988) into English. Nintendo's fascinating yet little-known foray into the graphical adventure genre, Famicom Detective Club was part of an early wave of detective-themed adventure games (including Animal Land Murder Case and the original 1988 version of Snatcher) released in wake of the runaway success of Yuji Horii's Portopia Serial Murder Case. Its story was written by Yoshio Sakamoto, of Metroid fame.

This project was started by Ren (Twitter: @Brento_Bento), who is doing the actual translating. I, meanwhile, am in charge of the first step: performing a full text dump. As part of this, we've been trying to reverse-engineer how the game stores and handles text, and how it functions in general. At present, we've managed a partial text dump, including 29 files across two disks. Other files will be added to this as we piece together how they're laid out.

Included is an example of our work. Note the Xs and numbers peppered throughout: As this was made from an as-of-yet incomplete understanding of the game's code, certain byte values whose functions are not understood are marked by the program and passed over. We're pulling out what we can find, as we find it.

https://syslbnth.neocities.org/fdc_translate/example.txt

Our group is as follows:

FNTM - Text Extraction/Insertion
Ren - Translation
Infinity - Owner of our shared Discord server

Our ultimate goal is to release an IPS patch compatible with an FDS file. Any progress we make will be added to this thread as an update. Stay tuned.

Pennywise

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2019, 05:21:35 pm »
Good luck with your project.

One of the things you will find out or already know is that the space restrictions on the FDS are generally pretty severe. I believe I've looked at this game a bit in the past and recall that holding true for it as well. What this means is that you'll have to fit the translated script back into the original space. You'll have to spill your blood and guts for a programming solution or take some short cuts and heavily pare down the script to fit back in.

Psyklax

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2019, 12:26:33 am »
One of the things you will find out or already know is that the space restrictions on the FDS are generally pretty severe.

Not necessarily: the space on the disk was one of the big selling points at the time over cartridge. The disk has a maximum size so you can use all the space available. The main difference with a ROM is that there's no free space just sitting there in banks, because each file on the disk is as big as it needs to be. Once you figure out how to modify the size of the files, there's a lot of freedom there.

Of course I've never looked at this particular game, so it may be that you're absolutely right and that this game fills the disk already. But due to the fact of increasing disk sizes, you should NOT use IPS for the patch, because moving one byte means the patch will include everything after it. BPS isn't good either, because it insists on having a CRC match, which you're unlikely to get with FDS files.

In my experience, xDelta is the way to go, as it doesn't have the disadvantages of the other two. So good luck with it, and if you need help with increasing the file sizes on the disk, let us know. ;)

filler

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2019, 10:13:29 am »
Once you figure out how to modify the size of the files, there's a lot of freedom there.

You don't wanna work some of this magic on Nakayama Miho's Tokimeki High School do you? :D

Psyklax

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2019, 11:16:08 am »
You don't wanna work some of this magic on Nakayama Miho's Tokimeki High School do you? :D

Now then Filler, you know very well that I'm not to be relied upon to provide something quickly these days. :D I'm still trying to finish this damn Bomberman game, and one day I may even finish Zoids.

Having said that, if it's just a little technical help that's needed, I'd be happy to lend a hand. I did a bunch of simple FDS translations so I know how to mess with the FDS disks and make them work. Let me know if you need anything on that.

And that goes for the OP, too. :D

filler

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2019, 12:32:19 pm »
Now then Filler, you know very well that I'm not to be relied upon to provide something quickly these days. :D I'm still trying to finish this damn Bomberman game, and one day I may even finish Zoids.

Having said that, if it's just a little technical help that's needed, I'd be happy to lend a hand. I did a bunch of simple FDS translations so I know how to mess with the FDS disks and make them work. Let me know if you need anything on that.

And that goes for the OP, too. :D

Heh, well, I don't know if it's only a little help or not, but the project has a fully translated script and an edited title screen. FCandChill and Spinner8 (among others) were helping me to get the script inserted, but we were using compression and even still had to cut the script down to the bone to get it in. I was nearly there with most of the script files and probably would have finished, but the inserter FCandChill put together was still missing a block I think.

At any rate, I'd love it if you have a chance to look at it. This is the current package: (minus the insertion tools we were trying)
http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=23856.0

So as not to hijack this thread, I'd recommend making any further comments about the project in this thread which also has some context for the project. http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=23856.0

FNTM

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2019, 04:29:23 pm »
Thanks for the heads-up regarding xDelta, Psyklax! And I'm happy to report that there's plenty of extra space on each side of each disk. The real challenge will be that each file appears to contain numerous references to addresses pointing back to other parts of itself, which will need to be identified and updated if and when the file's size is expanded.

KingMike

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2019, 06:54:32 pm »
Extra disk space doesn't really matter much (and in fact, there may not even be as much actual free space on the disk as there appears to be. Reportedly people have played a translation, I think it was Body Conquest... on a real FDS and said it doesn't work. Reportedly actual disks have gaps in the data storage, and too much (even on an emulated disk) crashes it, it would seem.

RAM space is the issue. How is it going to be useful to expand the files if you don't have room in the RAM to store them (without overwriting other loaded files)?
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Psyklax

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2019, 04:48:35 am »
RAM space is the issue. How is it going to be useful to expand the files if you don't have room in the RAM to store them (without overwriting other loaded files)?

I get that, RAM is tight, but there's usually still some scope for expansion. I've no idea if they're using some kind of text compression in their translation, but that in addition to some expansion should help. I remember adding data for my Knight Lore hack, and it overwrote other data in the RAM, but I realised that that data was from a previous level, so it was getting overwritten anyway. You just have to take care and see what's happening as you do your hacking.

VicVergil

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2019, 11:26:14 am »
Disassembling the entire game and converting it to regular NES mappers with bankswitching might be a tall ordeal, but worth exploring. That's how official localizations were handled after all. The main issue is the missing FM sound :/

KingMike

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2019, 10:20:52 pm »
Disassembling a game is not a simple task. It can take months or years of dedication which is why only really popular games have had it done.
"My watch says 30 chickens" Google, 2018

moritasan2040

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2019, 09:09:01 pm »
A translation of the first Famicom Detective Club!? It's a dream come true!! Thank you, FNTM and team!

noneother

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2019, 12:52:43 pm »
I really enjoyed the SNES version of the second game, so I'm glad someone is working on this. Good luck!

GeBeCluck23

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Re: Famicom Detective Club Translation Project
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2020, 03:18:26 pm »
Is this still going on? I've played the very well made SNES translation of the second game, but I've always wanted to play the first one as well! I actually attempted making an English translation of this game awhile ago through very simple ROM hacking, but I came upon a few roadblocks. Out of curiosity, have you looked at doing a ROM hack of the GBA rerelease? That one might be more beneficial overall. Plus, it obviously solves the issue of load times between screens.