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Romhacking => Newcomer's Board => Topic started by: Marin on October 20, 2016, 01:34:12 am

Title: Madou Monogatari [Genesis] Translation
Post by: Marin on October 20, 2016, 01:34:12 am
Greetings! I'm brand new to the ROM hacking scene and am interested in learning the mechanical aspect of translating a game. (I'll be pulling help from the local community for the actual language translation)

The game in question is extreme abandonware, with the parent company having since dissolved. (RIP) It has a small but loyal English fanbase and I'd love to give something back to them. I was a little intimidated at the idea of learning this on my own, but I figured maybe if I could get past the initial learning curve the rest might not be so difficult. (I decided to give it a try, anyway.)

I have a basic understanding of how to read binary and hex numerals. Tables I'm still trying to get a grasp on. However, I've set up a work area and downloaded Monkey Moore, Tabular and Translhextion, JWPce and Tile Layer Pro as my tools for working with. I was unable to find some of the tools mentioned in the Getting Started section and picked these up as equivalent replacements.

Personally, I think I'm the type of person that learns best using a hands-on approach. I'm eager to jump right into the ROM and start trying to tweak things. However, I have a couple of questions.

Do I have to disassemble/decompile the ROM to work on it? I was under the impression I did, but I don't remember seeing this mentioned so the concept of how exactly you open and work on the ROM is lost on me at the moment.

Any recommendations on a good emulator for testing builds of the hack? I'm assuming that some emulators are better for testing than others.

Lastly, if you have any advice for an absolute beginner looking to get started I'd love to hear it. I'll be honest and say  I still feel a little overwhelmed after reading some of the guides in the Getting Started section.
Title: Re: Madou Monogatari [Genesis] Translation
Post by: Lance on October 20, 2016, 02:13:25 am
Jumping in is really the best way to understand the contents and data structure of the ROM.

No, you don't have to disassemble the ROM in order to make changes. Sure, a disassembly, especially if one has already been commented on, will provide great insight to how the game works, but it's not absolutely necessary. Later if you're thinking about inserting some fancy script to better display the language, like VWF, then you'd want to take a look at the disassembly.

If there are no specific tools already created, you'll want to open the ROM in a Hex file editor. Translhextion will do just fine.

Specific versions of emulators that have debugging features will be what you're looking for. I don't know of any for the genesis, but I'm sure there is one out there on the Internet. The debugging emulator will help narrow down your search to a specific part of the ROM file involved with the process most of the time.

Unless you have previous experience with reverse engineering or working with these data sets, then you will surely find yourself lost. Read as much as you can to get an idea of what you can do and feel free to ask questions. We won't do your work for you, but there are others with experience who can help. There's been a lot of people who have worked with the genesis/mega drive before.
Title: Re: Madou Monogatari [Genesis] Translation
Post by: BlackDog61 on October 20, 2016, 11:13:56 am
Just to agree with Lance: disassembly, unless you're familiar with these, is a more daunting task that doesn't prove useful for some time. Even when you may want to code in a Variable-Width Font, you probably will want to focus on using a debugger and understanding a very, very small portion of the assembly directly.
Disassembly of code generally yields a crap ton of hard to read code. It's best to see it in action in a debugger to understand what it does.
Again, that's unless you're fluent with ASM.

Also, just a good luck wish for your project! You haven't told us much :) but you've already told us it's on Saturn, which means it's on one of the hardest old consoles. If you're indeed a beginner, I really have to ask if you wouldn't want to try a game on an easier console to start with? (A sequel to that game you want to tackle, for instance?)
Choice is yours and I wish you luck again no matter your path.
Title: Re: Madou Monogatari [Genesis] Translation
Post by: Marin on October 20, 2016, 09:08:21 pm
Variable Width Font sounds like something I might want to look into. The fact that it has it's own acronym makes me wonder if it's common enough across platforms and games to have it's own documentation somewhere on the site. =o

And in that case, it looks like I'm set to start exploring! ...Right after I sniff around for that emulator. I don't plan on cramming assembly while I'm at it, so that'll be important. I'll probably do that in our handy dandy IRC chat, assuming that works out. |D

Oh! And to clarify... While there is a game of the same title on the Saturn, I happen to be focusing on the Genesis/Mega Drive game.

Edit: Oh right! If there's anything else I can tell you, do let me know. I wasn't really sure what to say, honestly, so I may have jumped to the point.
Title: Re: Madou Monogatari [Genesis] Translation
Post by: cccmar on October 28, 2016, 12:12:35 pm
Variable Width Font sounds like something I might want to look into. The fact that it has it's own acronym makes me wonder if it's common enough across platforms and games to have it's own documentation somewhere on the site. =o

And in that case, it looks like I'm set to start exploring! ...Right after I sniff around for that emulator. I don't plan on cramming assembly while I'm at it, so that'll be important. I'll probably do that in our handy dandy IRC chat, assuming that works out. |D

Oh! And to clarify... While there is a game of the same title on the Saturn, I happen to be focusing on the Genesis/Mega Drive game.

Edit: Oh right! If there's anything else I can tell you, do let me know. I wasn't really sure what to say, honestly, so I may have jumped to the point.

The most interesting version is possibly the PC-98 one, which has multiple characters to choose from and the best soundtrack (IMO), but it's obviously quite obscure, because of the platform it came out on. SMD version is alright as far as I remember, will be cool to see the final official SMD game translated. Good luck with your project. :thumbsup: