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Author Topic: Which game brands are easiest to translate?  (Read 4712 times)

kringlur

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Which game brands are easiest to translate?
« on: August 23, 2012, 12:18:19 pm »
Sorry if I'm posting in the wrong place or if this isn't allowed. I have seen a lot of games that were translated, and I wanted to translate one too, but I don't want to have to spend a year learning other things just so we know how to edit the game enough to make the translation. My question is, what types of games are easiest to edit for translating? I have seen a lot of translated SNES games which makes me guess those are easier, but that might just be because they're older or are shorter so they have less text. I've also seen people say that games from modern systems are easier to edit. It looks like all the translation groups translating to Swedish have disbanded, so we can't simply ask to join one of them. I really just want to translate at least one game.

While we could learn a lot of editing stuff, it's just not what we want to focus on, it seem frustrating and disheartening to have to learn a lot of unrelated things when all you actually want to do is translate. I would ask if groups exist that would rip out the original text/put in the translated text for us, but I really doubt anyone would be that nice when we're not even translating to English. So instead I am hoping for a game type that is really easy to do text with.

FAST6191

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Re: Which game brands are easiest to translate?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2012, 04:33:32 am »
If you peg yourself as a translator and wish to remain as such that is fine and a good translator from anything to anything is a valued addition to any ROM hacking community although realistically Japanese to something and English to something are the big two categories with Korean to something probably being the next to rise up. There are probably a few things you can do to make the lives of your technical people easier (the same applies to them in reverse as well) like appreciating many games have fairly harsh word limits both overall, a paragraph level and at line length level and if you can handle having a few flags/instances of markup in the script that works too.

Conceptually most systems are pretty similar with the main issues being lack of space on older systems and the resulting memory handling. However I have seen games on newer systems like the DS use plain text or close to it* (see something like Zombie Daisuki on the DS) so I probably should note that. The short version is no one system, no one developer (for the most part) and no one genre of game is universally any easier or harder from a technical standpoint but translating a 6 meg script for an 80 hour epic RPG type game full of nuanced language, humour and translated references to a multitude of philosophies and legends will probably see it dropped vs a fighting game with a bit of a story along the way.

*close to it =
Code: [Select]
01=Some text
02=Some more text
03=Yet more text
Leave the variable names alone and translated the remainder and you are good.

As for getting someone else to insert it for you the first step is poke around the utilities/tools section as many groups will make tools to allow their translation people to edit the ROM and subsequently release it, an example of one might be http://www.romhacking.net/utilities/296/ (CAT tools they might not be but it can get it done) and there are also things like http://www.romhacking.net/?page=utilities&category=9&platform=23&game=&author=&os=&level=&perpage=20&title=&desc=&utilsearch=Go . Likewise if you want to attach to an existing project you will probably have to pass a quick test or something but with the exception of having to add to the font, which probably will be edited anyway, it is probably not a great technical strain so it is quite possible for many groups and the ability to say "oh we also have a version of the game in Swedish" will not be passed up lightly (this may also be possible for a recently finished translation). Beyond that if you rock up with a translated script and it is not a complete technical nightmare (the person extracting it in the first place will probably have a good idea if it is) you will probably be surprised how much help will be forthcoming and if it is a nightmare it might also attract people for the challenge of it;  http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php/topic,12953 was not a terribly interesting game and moreover it was already in English but pulling apart the near scripting language the thing used (for it to happen at that level in a game is a rare occurrence) was great fun and I will certainly wager most of my fellow hackers also appreciate a technical challenge.
Another and perhaps the main problem with simple script translation though is games often also use plain graphics to hold text (this is especially true of puzzle games) which may also want editing although looking at the game specific tools again many there are pretty good.

In short if you can reasonably demonstrate you are going to end up with something to show for it thus meaning the time someone spent pulling a game apart will not be wasted help will probably happen. First I would try with the premade tools as there are a few and they are usually released with the hope that people such as yourself can get something done with them. Likewise get something done there and then post saying I have this game mostly translated but need someone to add å, ä and ö as well as their capital equivalents and it will probably happen.

I sense I am rambling so I will end it here for now after saying do ignore any of those that would claim Swedish as a native language that say "but I speak English fine and don't need a translation".
« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 07:59:54 am by FAST6191 »

kringlur

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Re: Which game brands are easiest to translate?
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2012, 03:24:59 pm »
Thank you very much for your kind and detailed reply! I didn't know they were all so similar.

I looked at the tools available and it seems Chrono Trigger has a very nice tool for text editing that needs no skills. So we've started working on translating that from English to Swedish. My aim for translations is not necessarily because Swedes want them, rather I think about all the people learning Swedish as a second language who have few fun things to practice with (whether they be immigrants, Finns learning Swedish in school, etc.) and I think it's disappointing so few "actually playable" (not for toddlers and not incredibly short) games exist in Swedish. Better still, if a lot of people can get interested from fan translations, maybe real companies will decide to translate games like Pokemon and such to Swedish!

Chrono Trigger seems to be the easiest to edit text in, probably by the end at least one of us will know a little more and be more able to work on other games that aren't as spoon-fed (or someone will have made the same tool for another game). Although I already ran into a small problem, at least for now it doesn't actually interrupt the translation process: http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php/topic,14962.msg218391.html

Thanks again! I didn't expect such a nice reply.

LostTemplar

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Re: Which game brands are easiest to translate?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2012, 03:50:32 pm »
My aim for translations is not necessarily because Swedes want them, rather I think about all the people learning Swedish as a second language who have few fun things to practice with (whether they be immigrants, Finns learning Swedish in school, etc.) and I think it's disappointing so few "actually playable" (not for toddlers and not incredibly short) games exist in Swedish. Better still, if a lot of people can get interested from fan translations, maybe real companies will decide to translate games like Pokemon and such to Swedish!

That's actually a very admirable goal!

Spikeman

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Re: Which game brands are easiest to translate?
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2012, 04:42:59 pm »
When it comes to tools and documentation SNES is probably the best. But IMO the GBA is by far the easiest system to hack. There is no bank switching, which can complicate things on older systems, and there are built in compression functions in the BIOS, so if any data is compressed, it's usually using the system's built in LZ77 compression. Also, if you run out of space, expanding the ROM is literally as simple as making the ROM file bigger. For assembly work, No$GBA is an awesome debugger (not free, but it's only 15 bucks) and you can use IDA for disassembly (although IDA costs a lot of money). NDS is fairly similar, with a few added complexities.
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henke37

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Re: Which game brands are easiest to translate?
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2012, 05:33:53 pm »
I disagree, the DS is easier than the GBA, if only because it has a built in file system and some stock file formats. Otherwise it is pretty much the same.