Thanks all! I hope people enjoy the game (which is excellent) and the translation (which I hope is ok). This is my first ROMhack and I don’t speak Japanese so I may have made some errors, but so far as I can tell everything works as it should and the translation is fairly accurate. I know of a few things that were kind of subtle that I almost didn’t pick up on, so I’m sure there were others that I missed.
Originally I was just going to translate the main menu to make it more convenient to navigate. I got that done within an hour or so of trying it, but by then I had the idea that maybe I could do the whole thing. It was an interesting exercise.
I did most of the work in the hex editor XVI, though I also used windhex and translhextion. I also used notepad and notepad++ a lot. For the actual translation I used google translate, deepl, jisho.org, and just searching for the Japanese text and seeing what turned up. There’s not a huge amount of text in the game, fortunately for me. I tried to edit the raw translations so that they worked in English while staying true to the original text. The hardest part was figuring out the pointers for the item list. I read a bunch of documents about pointers on romhacking.net and other sites, but most related to specific consoles and I couldn’t figure out how to convert that knowledge to the MSX. Eventually I realised that if I had a bunch of items whose starting point in the image file I knew, I could search for the least significant bytes of each address separated by wildcard bytes and it might get me the pointers. Probably a pretty elementary idea for experienced rom hackers, but I was pretty pleased with myself when I got it. I edited pointers for two sections of text: the item list accessed from the menu (which has 256 items - fortunately I was able to semi-automate generating the pointers), and the in-game dialogue of the last two levels. Otherwise I was able to fit things within the existing phrase lengths. I wish I’d been able to find the pointers for the main menu - initially I had to abbreviate the menu list so that ITEMS was ITEM and CONFIG was CONFG. I realised that the next bit of text in the hex after SAVE was SAVING…, the message that pops up when you save, so I just expanded all the menu text until SAVE was in the same place where SAVING… had been. Not perfect, but not too bad, I think.
I think my biggest error that I caught before publishing (aside from when I somehow inverted the colours of the ending) was part of the stage 5 boss’s dialogue. The boss summons another boss, and after you defeat the other boss the main one casts a confusion spell. In the original the spell is called APPETOPPE. It took me a little while to figure out that this is a word used when something is confusing. Once I had that, I misunderstood what the boss was trying to say because of a coincidence in how I’d played the game - I used a recording of me playing the game to help find the dialogue, and in my recording the boss cast the spell but then immediately died and started its death dialogue, which made me think it was attempting to cast the spell and failing because it was beaten. So my initial translation of the line was “cast: …huh?” because I thought appetoppe meant the boss was confused. Further play testing revealed my error, I figured out that appetoppe referred to the boss confusing the player, and I changed the text appropriately.
Not sure if this thread was the right place to talk about my process, I’m sure it seems pretty basic to people who know what they’re doing. Once again, I hope people enjoy the hack. The game is a lot of fun, whether you can understand the text or not.
One other thing I kind of wish I’d mentioned in the hack description or the news post: this is not an eroge. The name, according to a message in the hex, comes from M-KAI’s two favourite shmups at the time: Radiant Silvergun (by Treasure), and Steam Hearts (which is an eroge).