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Author Topic: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation  (Read 26125 times)

granz

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SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« on: October 04, 2012, 12:49:56 pm »
I'm actively working on a re-translation of SaGa 3, or "Final Fantasy Legend III" abroad. When the game was localized, a number of changes were made to the script, character names, enemy graphics and menu layouts. The scope of this project is to give players a "full" experience by providing an English version of the original Japanese ROM.

Specific differences between the two versions include:

 - Changes to enemy graphics. (two of which are pictured below) The reasons for these changes may have been mild censorship on behalf of some of the more frightening foes. The drummer was possibly changed because it's a reference to a Japanese advertising mascot, and simply wouldn't be understood by Western audiences.

 - Multiple columns in the item and magic inventories. Obviously, these were changed to fit more characters in item and magic strings. In the Japanese version, item strings are limited to 7 characters, (6 for potions) and 4 for magic spells. The magic inventory (not pictured) has three columns, and each row is numbered. It's very similar to the magic inventory in Final Fantasy I, where magic existed in various levels of power. In the English version, there's only one column, and there game disregards any notion of magic levels.

 - In the Japanese version, the inventory allowed the party to hold 9 (or is it 8 ?) instances of most items, but 99 instances of potions. In the English version, the 9 (or 8 ) restriction applies to every single item.

 - Many of the character names were changed. "Arthur" is actually named "Dune," for instance. A lot of the characters have French given names, or names based on French words. This was probably changed because the references weren't very familiar to Western audiences at the time.

Screenshots of progress so far: (plus a couple of random game play shots)



Things to do:

 - Need to expand the character limit on some strings. This might require reworking entire menus. DONE

 - Find the rest of the dialog. It looks like it might be compressed. I've never worked with anything like that, so I'm not sure what sort of logic is involved. I did post a help-wanted ad earlier. Maybe someone who is familiar with compression or GB ASM can lend their expertise. DONE

 - Finish translating and inserting the remainder of the dialog.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2012, 03:53:43 pm by granz »
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Nightcrawler

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 01:27:09 pm »
Are you saying you're reverting BACK to item strings limited to 7 characters, 6 for potions and 4 for magic spells? That doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
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granz

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2012, 03:24:52 pm »
Are you saying you're reverting BACK to item strings limited to 7 characters, 6 for potions and 4 for magic spells? That doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

That's correct; but bear in mind that I am trying to expand them. The English ROM had an 8-character limit for items and a 6-character limit for spells. (I think) The 7-character limit in the Japanese ROM has been gracious enough for the item strings, but I had to take some liberties and approximate a few things. (but not nearly as much as the English ROM did) Magic is a whole other story. That menu will need to be expanded to at least 5 characters, lest we end up with FFI-style abbreviations.

To compensate for the restrictions, I have implemented the usual squishy tiles, such as II, LI, IL, TI, etc. When I can find a way to expand the magic inventory, I still have room to add more tiles that could be worked into more specific strings. That's not necessarily saying you'll see really squished strings like "Curaga" crammed into such a small amount of space, though.
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Pennywise

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 06:07:56 pm »
I've been toying with the idea of doing retranslations of the first three SaGa games on the GB. In fact, I used to own the US release and played quite a bit of it back on my GBC back in the day. Needless to say I quite liked it. Anyway, my estimated time frame when I'd be able to bring the idea to fruition would be about a year from now.

KingMike

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 07:57:59 pm »
Dune is at level 89? Is that normal in the Japanese version? I could swear the English version had a level cap around 35 or 40.
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granz

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2012, 08:44:39 pm »
I've been toying with the idea of doing retranslations of the first three SaGa games on the GB. In fact, I used to own the US release and played quite a bit of it back on my GBC back in the day. Needless to say I quite liked it. Anyway, my estimated time frame when I'd be able to bring the idea to fruition would be about a year from now.

By any chance, would you be interested in helping me with this project? I could certainly use it.

Dune is at level 89? Is that normal in the Japanese version? I could swear the English version had a level cap around 35 or 40.

The level cap is 99 in both versions. The reason you might have thought otherwise is because character HP / MP usually hits 999 around the time you reach level 40. In actuality, HP can be increased to 65535 - anything above 999 just won't be indicated to the player. Major attributes similarly display a value as great as 99, even though they may be as high as 255.

Reaching level 99 takes about 20 hours of grinding. :)
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Pennywise

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2012, 01:27:17 pm »
I'd be willing to help you in about a year.

granz

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2012, 06:32:15 pm »
A slight progress update. Sara of Tower Reversed has been helping me expand the menus. Earlier, some of the strings that appeared during battle were restricted to only 3 or 4 characters. This was problematic for long strings like "Weapon." Thankfully, she found a way to take space from other areas of the ROM and use it to expand these strings.



I'm still working out some of the logic for the magic menu. All I have at the moment is a rather poor concept.



I know some of these look awful, but I'm still working on a way to expand this menu so that each column supports 5 characters. If not, I may find a way to get extremely creative with the squishy tiles. Either way, it will most definitely not look like this.

October 08, 2012, 03:36:42 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Another minor update. Sorry for the double post.

I finished the spell menus for the time being, bearing in mind current technical limitations within the ROM. I plan to expand them if possible, so these translations are place-holders for now. If technical limitations prove insurmountable, then the finished product may look something like this. At least now I don't have tiles encroaching upon one another.



(EDIT: fixed broken images)

If I can expand these to 5 characters per column, then I'd like to use the extra space to implement icons (i.e. to indicate black, white or neutral magic types) and retain these translations. If there is a strong enough opposition to that, then I can always consider ditching icons and simply trying to fit more accurate translations in that space.

Frankly, literal accuracy would be difficult to achieve with the scope of restrictions here. At best, I might be able to pull off an RPGe FFV-esque translation of the game. I guess that begs the question of why I would want to re-translate it in the first place. I do intend to ensure that major characters and plot elements reflect their Japanese counterparts are strongly as possible; otherwise, the only benefit is that the player gets to play around with a different style of menus from that of the English version. It might be an empty gesture, but I'm going for it anyway.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 11:36:36 am by granz »
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Bregalad

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2012, 03:00:47 pm »
Sorry if I'm late but wouldn't it be the best to implement a VWF so you would be limited by pixels (instead of tiles) ?
I think the original Gameboy has enough VRAM to handle arbitrary tiles on it's entiere screen : 20 * 18 = 360 tiles, Gameboy has VRAM for 3*128 = 384 simultaneous tiles, even if normally only 256 of them are accessible at a time, by IRQ it's possible to use all of them.

KingMike

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2012, 04:10:53 pm »
As I understand, it's 128 BG-only, 128 sprite-only and 128 shared. It could be a bit of a pain in the ass for scrolling menus, as you'd have to redraw the tiles every time you scrolled.
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Bregalad

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2012, 04:16:11 pm »
Quote
As I understand, it's 128 BG-only, 128 sprite-only and 128 shared.
But can't the BG be changed to use the sprite bank as well ? Doing this mid-frame (with an interrupt) then reverting to the normal configuation in VBlank would allow to use all 384 tiles. Even if this can't be done, with 256 tiles you could still draw arbitary text for a large part of the screen, leaving the blank areas, icons and borders as normal tiles (then you'll have to be aligned with normal tiles, but is still better than using fixed-width letters mixed up with graphical letters squeezed in unaligned tiles).

Quote
It could be a bit of a pain in the ass for scrolling menus, as you'd have to redraw the tiles every time you scrolled.
Not really, only the map have to be fully updated (which is always the case even if you use a Fixed Width Font), but the tiles for the new row only have to be updated.

granz

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2012, 04:18:40 pm »
A VWF would be awesome, if I could find someone to implement it. That's beyond my expertise. Could you volunteer, Bregalad?
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Bregalad

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2012, 04:57:40 pm »
If this was a NES game I would without a doubt answer yes, but my knownledge of the GB platform, especially the GB-Z80 assembly language is extremely limited :(

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2012, 05:36:31 pm »
The GB is not a Z80 platform ,its a Toshiba microcontroller emulating a Z80 but is missing registers and has differences in the instruction set.But its documented.

Bregalad

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2012, 05:54:12 pm »
This is why I said GB-Z80 and not Z80.

It might be doccumented, but I'm not familiar with it.

(did you read my post ?)

granz

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2012, 06:47:47 pm »
Well, no worries. Sara may have found a way to expand the magic strings, and possibly a few other problem areas. A VWF would certainly be nice, but we should be able to get along without one.

Assuming we do expand a few more strings, that just leaves the actual game script. It's mostly a matter of figuring out how to decompress it.

October 24, 2012, 03:17:28 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Good news! Sara managed to expand the magic inventory. Now spell strings display their respective icons, like the English version:



We've also been working on the translation of strings related to shops, miscellaneous menus and interactions with the Steslos cockpit:



The expansion of the magic inventory introduced a few bugs, but those should be addressed soon. After we finish that and insert everything with the exception of the game script itself, I may consider releasing a preliminary patch. Locating and decompressing the main dialog might take some time.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 03:17:28 pm by granz »
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granz

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2012, 11:48:35 am »
A preliminary patch is now available here. This just translates all the menus, inventories, names and menu-related items.

This puts the project at about 50% completion. The only thing left to do now is find, decompress and translate the main dialog.

A quick note: The early SaGa games (and possibly some of the later additions to the series) use an odd form of currency called "Kero." Hence, you see the underlined K in place of the English GP. I'm not sure what the reference is, if any. I'd appreciate if anyone could elaborate on it though.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 12:04:14 pm by granz »
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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2012, 10:54:05 am »
Awesome! Final Fantasy Legend 3 is one of my very favorite GameBoy games. Any idea on when this might be released?

granz

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2012, 11:48:44 am »
Any idea on when this might be released?

sara (who is responsible for the technical work) has recently expressed an interest in returning to some of her other projects. This might put SaGa 3 on a hiatus, at least until I can find someone else to decompress the remainder of dialog. It's really weird how the game stores it. It looks like parts of it are broken up into something similar to a DTE table, with each entry in the table pertaining to a common phrase. (like "Okay" or "All right") We have found entire conversations, though.

My help-wanted ad is still up, so I'm hoping someone will respond in the near future. If not, I may have to abandon the project and set aside the current assets for anyone who wants to take over. My ROM-hacking skills are too limited to decompress the remaining dialog. The only thing I can do at this point is translate.
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Pennywise

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Re: SaGa 3: Champions of Time & Space (GB) re-translation
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2012, 12:54:41 am »
The game uses a combination of one and two-byte dictionary compression with a little RLE thrown in for good measure. Intro script starts at 25FBE.

On an unrelated note, BGB is telling me that VRAM is being written to when it shouldn't. Not the first game this has happened to and I wouldn't be surprised if the game was shoddily programmed.