If Ryusui has somehow disappeared, I would be more than willing to pick up where he left off. I love the original Breath of Fire to death. I've probably played through it a million times.
Those look like modified versions of the ones Ryusui/d4s used in the BoF2 retranslation patch.
I was the one who lost interest, but I haven't talked to Ryusui in a while. The way in which I worded a message above made it sound like he was the one who quit - sorry, it was me who did.
Ryusui took his BoF2 icons and colorized them for me. =)
How all this works is that all those strings are prerendered inside the ROM. The ROM is double in size and most of the new data is uncompressed text renders.
There is not enough CPU time to render that much text at runtime. There isn't even enough vblank time to upload all that text to VRAM! So what I did was take advantage of the existing window opening animation - on each frame of the window opening, I upload a bit of the prerendered text to VRAM, and by the time the window is fully open, everything is uploaded. The game doesn't draw text in a window until it's fully open, which made that hack a lot
The game actually doesn't use all that much VRAM in the menu screen, which allowed me to take 28k of it for the 16-grayscale background. The blue color is done using fixed-color add, with HDMA changing the fixed color every few scanlines. There was no way for me to make the 28k bitmap contiguous in VRAM, so HDMA also changes the bitmap offsets at targeted scanlines.
The background is uploaded during the existing black screen which switching from field view to the menu system. Also, that is when I runtime-render the character names, because they can be changed in the underwater city.
The numbers on the screen are tile-width, but that doesn't look too bad at all. Dialogue is rendered one letter per frame, so runtime rendering doesn't run out of CPU time. A big prerendered table of all letters' bitmaps shifted by each shift of 0 to 7 pixels is in the ROM to greatly improve rendering performance. Slightly better performance could have been achieved by having the prerendered bitmaps be pregenerated chunks of 65816 code, but I didn't bother for that level of complexity.
I took a big piece of byuu's advice: We as modern developers/hackers for old consoles are not subject to the same cost constraints as the original developers. Doubling the ROM size of a cartridge is quite expensive per unit - but this does not matter to us with our terabyte hard drives and multi-gigabyte flash drives attached to our cartridge emulators (for those of us who play hacks on real hardware).