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Topics - FaustWolf

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ROM Hacking Discussion / Patching Strategies for CD-based games?
« on: April 05, 2015, 02:34:26 pm »
Hey all, I've got a little conundrum on my hands with the distribution of the Dragon Force II English translation. The end user has to rip from a CD, and it's been pointed out to me that different CD/DVD drives will produce slightly varying images if we have the user rip the whole CD to a .BIN/.CUE. My understanding is the variation has to do with the way the audio track on the CD is read by the particular drive. This is a bad thing for delta patching, because the user's original game image must be identical to the patch creator's original image in my experience.

Since the CD's audio track - a cute little message you get when you pop Dragon Force II (J) into a music CD player - appears to be the culprit, my first instinct is to have the user rip only the game data track to a .ISO file, and use that as the original image to patch. The hope is, if the user produces an image that excludes the audio track, the user and I can produce ISOs with identical checksums. I'm waiting on feedback from others who have Japanese CDs of Dragon Force II to test this idea. If that works, delta patching will still be viable for distributing the project; I just have to add some patches for that method and re-work the readme.

But if my Hail Mary pass doesn't work, I'm on the lookout for alternatives. I'm aware that the Shining Force III translation team made a custom patcher that basically rebuilds the Shining Force III ISOs from scratch, but I want to make sure I'm not overlooking non-custom solutions. The patching programs listed here at RHDN heavily favor delta patching; is anyone aware of tools that can patch a CD that conforms to the standard ISO format? Or inject files into the CD, over-writing the originals and adjusting the offset table to account for different file sizes?

Some insight on my current process: I use UltraISO to inject the English files into the original game image, but I've written this off as a viable method for distribution because I haven't found a way for that program to preserve a bootstrap loader that's necessary for emulators (and probably the Saturn itself) to read the disc. I have to manually add the bootstrap loader back in with a hex editor, and that result is what I use as the target image for the delta patch method.

Hey guys, I thought some of you might be interested in this:

I'm doing the Spanish-to-English translation for a very cool iPhone port that's near completion -- it's a 3D shoot 'em up similar to Wild Guns, with the silliest plot you've ever seen. If you're heavily into WiiWare titles you may have played the original release already. The developer is interested in fresh translations for the port but is having some difficulty finding native Italian, German, and French speakers for translating into those target languages. Strong familiarity with videogames is the developer's next concern after language skill. Well, let's see if we can't solve that!  ;)

The game has an 833-word script plus an App Store description. The source documents are all in Spanish (Castilian variety, shouldn't be too many worries there). Knowing Spanish in addition to the target language would of course be a major plus, but the script is simple enough that I should be able to provide a literal starting point in English. If you can write decent Spanish I can put you in touch with the developer directly, or I can serve as go-between otherwise. A strong sense of perfectionism is important, but I figure most who are active here have got that covered in spades.

Yes, payment in your favorite currency is definitely doable -- my guess is it'll probably be a Paypal arrangement. The studio isn't huge, but they're not operating out of their garage either, so you can use your best judgment here. The developer's hoping to have translations in place by Monday(!) but I'll see if they can't provide some more wiggle room if necessary. The guy who runs this studio has lots of connections with Japanese devs (he lived there and studied game design there for a decade), so this is an excellent contact to have IMO.

Please PM me if you're interested, or feel free to ask questions or provide leads here in the thread. I think I already have a good idea which fan translation houses I should approach for this, but a reminder can't hurt!

Newcomer's Board / Advice for patching CD images?
« on: July 03, 2011, 08:17:45 pm »
To make a long story short, I've been rebuilding the translated copy of Dragon Force II manually, ordering the files alphabetically like so:

Sega's original press, however, has a more complex custom ordering:

Ergo, LBAs are completely misaligned between the two, and it will probably come as no surprise when I report that an XDelta patch made with these as the modified and original images is as large as the disc image itself.  :D

If worse comes to worst, I suppose I can bite the bullet and have the end user rebuild their images manually before patching, in which case the end user's file ordering will match mine before the patch is applied. However, that process is complex enough that it's going to turn lots of folks off. My other option as I see it right now is to meticulously re-order my file build one by one so it matches the original. So I wanted to ask if there's some magic bullet I'm missing here -- have translation authors found a quick way of rebuilding their images so it matches the file ordering of the original CD?

Also, I should note that a few of the translated files are larger than the Japanese source files. This will become especially frequent when we move on to inserting storyline translation. When the file ordering matches, an XDelta patch ends up being 20MB with compression turned way up (I'm using SadNESCity's Delta patcher). This is still much, much larger than justified by the changes alone, and I suspect the patcher's trying to correct for the misalignment caused by differently sized files. So I'll toss that fact in and see what comments y'all would make on that.

Would any kind soul like to help me ID the symbols in these numbered phrases? I can offer a virtual cookie or beer smiley, and project credits, in return.  :D

Phrases #1~4
Phrases #5~12
Phrases #13~16

#2 and #14 look like they might be half-width Katakana now that I compare them to some of the English onscreen, but those should be the only ones.

Even one or two symbols per phrase will help me speed this along immensely. Unicode or Shift_JIS results are both fine for me too -- my Microsoft Excel Shift_JIS list seems to pick up on either as long as I have a symbol to copy/paste into a search. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out the actual meaning of the phrases in context, though I'd welcome any observations people would offer.

Keeping a running thread here at RHDN on the offchance we might attract some more translation help. Feedback of all kinds is welcome too! For a little background on the project, see our previous news post.

The project's going fast thanks to Magil's excellent utility coding, and with about 70% of the script translated first pass, we could have this baby out within a year's time, I think. If anyone's interested in getting some practice with Traditional Chinese to English translation, our project assignments/credits thread is here. We're really scraping around for help with the final push at this point, since there doesn't seem to be a central hub for volunteer Chinese to English translation talent. Hopefully that'll change as more projects like this roll into RHDN.

I'll keep the first post updated with new previews as we produce them. Chapter 6, Part 7 is a tad NSFW -- if you considered the bedroom scene with Ramsus and Miang in Xenogears NSFW, that is. Probably not even worth mentioning other than to see how the views on that one compare to the views on the other videos. :D

All videos are best viewed expanded to 640x480 by the way.

Latest Previews
*Chapter 5, Part 1
*Chapter 5, Part 2
*Chapter 5, Part 3

*Chapter 6, Part 1
*Chapter 6, Part 2
*Chapter 6, Part 3
*Chapter 6, Part 4
*Chapter 6, Part 5
*Chapter 6, Part 6
*Chapter 6, Part 7

Older Previews
*Older previews playlist

Personal Projects / The Dragon Force II Translation Project
« on: September 08, 2009, 03:54:51 am »

I recently caught up with two individuals who were on the forefront of Dragon Force II translation a couple years back and together we're resuming this project. Right now I'm working on collecting & decompressing cutscene dialogue while my colleagues are handling translation and reinsertion of uncompressed text.

If anyone wants to "byte" on this we're certainly in need of help -- especially for exploring our options on implementing new fonts, possibly NOP'ing the dictionary decompression routine used by the game engine, and maybe implementing a VWF font if needed. Experience in Saturn modding specifically isn't all that important; PSX and SNES game modding principles apply pretty well once you can get into a Big Endian mindset.

Rather than put out a Help Wanted ad for additional translators, I wanted to ask what major fan translation communities are out there right now? I'm just getting my feet wet in the translation scene with this project, and "Dejap" is still springing to mind...which shows you how outdated my knowledge is. Anyone know of bilingual RPG fans looking for a cool project to jump into, or of forums where these people tend to gather?

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