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Author Topic: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation  (Read 21566 times)

Psyklax

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Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« on: May 01, 2016, 05:57:38 pm »
Hey guys, I'm back! :)

I've been out of action for a while for various reasons: I drifted off my translation of the second Detective Conan game for the GBC as I needed some simple programs for text insertion and never got round to having them done. I've received a couple of messages about Hyper Iria, but anyone who wants to know why I abandoned that need only look at the thread.

Anyway, I became interested in Battle Robot Retsuden for the SNES, and even translated the intro and the first scene, along with all the menus, just for fun. A while later I looked again at it and thought "hmm, wonder if I can translate this properly?" I'd never managed to get a SNES translation right, with Hyper Iria being the closest I came to success. This time, however, everything seemed to be in my favour, as I'll explain later.

First, check out my "proof of concept" (ie getting it to a workable state, and proving that I can do a full translation given more time).

https://youtu.be/ahiczRf-ejs

(does the forum support embedding YouTube vids? Couldn't find any info)

I'll try to be brief in explaining everything about the project, but feel free to ignore all of this and just give me feedback. :D

First, before you ask, I know the menu looks bad. "Bridge", plus three two-letter abbreviations. It's ugly, but this is the one area that I'm struggling with, because I don't fully understand what's going on. I'll explain later.

So I checked the ROM and it's HiROM, 24Mbit, so tons of room in there. The main font is 16x16, but the last four horizontal pixels are ignored, resulting in 12x16 for each character. This would be a good moment to introduce variable width font (VWF) but I can't code, and I've not found much luck in the RHDN forum on implementing a typical routine for VWF. However, the video shows a very thin font, giving me lots of screen space to play with.

That's because each 12x16 character tile is now two alphabet characters.

Yes, it sounds crazy, but there's a good reason for this: the ROM includes lots of kanji. There are four "banks" (not quite corresponding to true SNES banks) with 255 characters in each (plus the control code 00). This means 1020 characters used purely for text - and they use every single space. I did the maths and worked out I could do every single combination I could possibly need (a to z in both positions, punctuation, capital letters when required), and still have plenty of room left over. Perhaps a weird way of getting a nice thin font onscreen, but as you can see, it works like a charm.

At every turn during research for this hack, everything went right. I found the pointers and routed some dialogue text to a different bank, meaning I'll never run out of ROM space (as there's a ton of empty space on the cart, plus using digraphs means I use half as many bytes anyway). Almost everything is now pretty clear to me, and I'm confident that the only thing stopping me from a complete translation is my free time, which is quite limited at the moment I'm afraid.

Now to the one problem: the menus. Most of the menus are just a problem because there's no screen space: I can only use two tiles (ie 24x16) and that's that, so my choice of words is limited as you see. Not much I can do about it without going deeper. The bigger problem is the main menu, and I'll need to explain why.

They're a special case in that they have two characters, but after the first character there's a bunch of code before the second character (which seems to introduce a space) and if I ignore it the space disappears - but the selection highlight introduces an ugly block in the space to the right of the second character. If I just use three characters instead, it doesn't quite fit in the space, and graphically affects the menu. I'll post screenshots if anyone's interested.

A similar problem occurs on the start menu at the beginning. I used "kill" (two tiles) because I couldn't use "delete" (three). The reason is the selection: the game is clearly expecting two tiles and glitches elsewhere on the screen when you throw in three. This wouldn't be a problem if the text just displayed passively, but my guess is the code for highlighting it is done differently than the code for displaying the text unhighlighted. If anyone has experience of this, please get in touch, as it's the one issue I need to crack before I can deliver a full translation.

So, I could talk all day about it, but I'll let my work thus far speak for itself. Being an 'action' game, my plan is to make the game totally playable first: menus, weapons, unit names and so on. The actual story will be the last thing to do, since most people will probably skip through it anyway.

Looking forward to your comments! :D

VicVergil

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2016, 08:25:02 pm »
If you're looking for good 6x16 fonts, check out Dragon Quest 3 SFC (English fan-translation) or either of the Summon Night Swordcraft Story games on the GBA. The one you have doesn't have ideal kerning.

As for the menus,I think Nintendo ran into a similar problem to yours on Advance Wars, and instead of redoing the programming they just used pre-baked tiles with the whole word fitting in, they also used a different extra-narrow font to fit in more than what they normally could. So did the brazilian version of that Yu Yu Hakusho game on the Megadrive. So you add pre-baked tiles with "Erase" "Move" ... using a different font that can fit the word in under 24 px.

The translation video looks charming :D I also eagerly anticipate more Detective Conan goodness, just in case you ever felt like returning to those.

Psyklax

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2016, 09:08:28 am »
Thanks for the feedback!

I knew someone would talk about the font choice immediately. :D I searched online for 8x16 fonts (then 6x16 when I discovered how the game worked) and found this one here: http://uzebox.org/wiki/index.php?title=Font_Bitmaps (then I learnt of the existence of the Uzebox) It looks pretty good to me: simple, readable, nothing fancy (as I would prefer for a game like this. Not sure what you mean by kerning: don't think there's much I can do about the distance between letters.

I'll take your advice on using a different font for the menus - and by 'different' I mean the 4x16 version of what I already have. I would use the vertical space to make two lines but I don't think it would help since I mostly need one word rather than two. I already did as you said regarding "pre-baked" tiles: notice the "evade" and "heart" text at 2m30s is much closer together. Using a different font would make that easier, though.

EDIT: regarding Conan, I think I'll leave that until I'm done with BRR. :) There's probably a lot less text in BRR being as it's a strategy game.

vincent_vincent

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2016, 03:37:28 am »
Is this a serious project, Don't play with my heart buddy.

Psyklax

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2016, 06:35:46 pm »
Is this a serious project, Don't play with my heart buddy.
Ha, I found your post saying this was your favourite game. :)
Did you watch the video? Look serious enough to you? :) The game is actually really straightforward to hack, thankfully. Let me know if you have comments, especially as a fan of the game!

zonk47

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2016, 08:09:46 pm »
You know if you bring this over it might mean more real robot anime dubs.
A good slave does not realize he is one; the best slave will not accept that he has become one.

Bonesy

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2016, 02:02:47 am »
oh man I haven't played Battle Robot Retsuden in years lol

Psyklax

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2016, 07:26:12 am »
You know if you bring this over it might mean more real robot anime dubs.

You think people are going to pay attention to a translation of an old SNES game? It'd be nice to think I'm so influential, but... :)

Nice to see some interest in the project though! This is a positive-post-powered project! :D

EDIT: I took on GHANMI's advice and changed the 6x16 font to a 4x16 font, just for the menu items. For consistency I used it for all items, including ones that didn't need it. Check it out:

Better? :)
« Last Edit: May 04, 2016, 04:20:42 pm by Psyklax »

vincent_vincent

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2016, 05:29:29 pm »
Ha, I found your post saying this was your favourite game. :)
Did you watch the video? Look serious enough to you? :) The game is actually really straightforward to hack, thankfully. Let me know if you have comments, especially as a fan of the game!

Yeah, just saw it, looks very promising, I LOVE YOU BTW.
A little thing i noticed and thought its good to point it out while we are still at the beginning of the project, The pilot name is Amuro Ray (instead of Rey).

Hope it will be a smooth and not so tiresome ride buddy.

VicVergil

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2016, 07:25:31 pm »

Better? :)

These pics feel just like an early birthday present :P

The "m" looks cramped, but it was all right in the DS SDK font in use so it doesn't matter much.
However, you perhaps should look into pairing the greek nu with the hyphen (that's my very subjective opinion though), and replacing the fixed width Latin font (for the MV) with one that has the same x-height, etc.. as the new 6x16 / 4x16 fonts. In your image it looks lower than the new font.

Well, the main nitpick with translating JP games with 12x16 monospaced fonts would be how some letter combinations are forbidden (all caps for example - but this is a weak argument since you could just add the combinations needed for those rare occasions, like "AA" "AR" "GH" "H!") and how modifying the text (either to fix typos, mod the game, or retranslate it to another language) would be a hellish task. Another big one would be games where you choose your name (the results would be ugly).

But personally as long as it looks pleasing I'd take it. If it means experiencing those PS1/SFC JP-only JRPGs I'd even take a Terranigma-style hack (there are slightly better ways to make a 12x16 font look better than tons of spacing).

Psyklax

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2016, 02:51:33 am »
The "m" looks cramped, but it was all right in the DS SDK font in use so it doesn't matter much.
However, you perhaps should look into pairing the greek nu with the hyphen (that's my very subjective opinion though), and replacing the fixed width Latin font (for the MV) with one that has the same x-height, etc.. as the new 6x16 / 4x16 fonts. In your image it looks lower than the new font.

Well, good luck getting an 'm' in 4 pixels! :D

Is that a Greek nu? I assumed it was shorthand for Valkyrie, since I think that's the kind of Gundam unit it is (correct me if I'm wrong, guys). It was in the original game and I knew it looked bad, especially the hyphen, but I thought I'd get some feedback before changing it.

The same for the 'MV': only reason it's like this here is because it's like that on the main menu, and as I said in my main post, I don't know how to fix what they did there.

Well, the main nitpick with translating JP games with 12x16 monospaced fonts would be how some letter combinations are forbidden (all caps for example - but this is a weak argument since you could just add the combinations needed for those rare occasions, like "AA" "AR" "GH" "H!") and how modifying the text (either to fix typos, mod the game, or retranslate it to another language) would be a hellish task. Another big one would be games where you choose your name (the results would be ugly).

You're right about all that, especially the thing about writing your name - don't really know how that would work with digraphs, but fortunately this game doesn't require you to type anything in. One advantage of this method is that it saves ROM space as well as screen space: two letters takes up one byte. However, that's not the whole story, since it uses four banks of characters, but instead of just using two bytes per character (as games on later systems usually would), it spends two bytes telling you which bank to look in, then uses one character per byte.

An example: the numbers, Latin alphabet and kana are all in the first bank (labelled by the game as 0C). So a string would begin with 00 0C (00 to say "here comes a control code, not a character", then 0C for the bank) and start writing text. If a kanji is needed from another bank, they need another two bytes, say 00 0D, then the character in question. Most of the menu options need six bytes for just two kanji, as they're located in different banks. This means I can save space of course. :)

It's really straightforward, thankfully, and as I said in the main post, there are 1020 spaces for characters. I've done the maths, and I can easily fit anything I want - and yes, you're right that I would make capital letters only where necessary. It may be a bit of a pain, but not that big of a deal, really.

May 05, 2016, 02:54:45 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
A little thing i noticed and thought its good to point it out while we are still at the beginning of the project, The pilot name is Amuro Ray (instead of Rey).

That's exactly the kind of info I need, thanks! I also translated the name of one of the units as "Highzack", but a quick Google suggests the correct interpretation is "Hi-zack", so I'll have to change it.
Basically, if you or anyone else is a fan of the series and knows how these things are supposed to be, please get in touch! I want to make sure it's consistent with other Gundam things.

AWJ

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2016, 02:54:56 am »
Is that a Greek nu? I assumed it was shorthand for Valkyrie, since I think that's the kind of Gundam unit it is (correct me if I'm wrong, guys). It was in the original game and I knew it looked bad, especially the hyphen, but I thought I'd get some feedback before changing it.

http://gundam.wikia.com/wiki/RX-93_%CE%BD_Gundam

Psyklax

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2016, 06:39:12 am »
http://gundam.wikia.com/wiki/RX-93_%CE%BD_Gundam

Dude, that wiki will be very useful indeed! Seems the game has all of the weapons you expect!
Worth pointing out that while hacking the names of the weapons I was able to hack the weapon stats too: action points, range, damage... Quite fun to make his Beam Saber cause OVER 9000 damage from 3 squares away. :)

Gideon Zhi

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2016, 04:48:33 pm »
Dude, that wiki will be very useful indeed! Seems the game has all of the weapons you expect!

Give me a few days and I'll dig out the relevant information from my disorganized pile of documents that masquerades as a suparobo translation memory. iirc BRR features Z Gudam and Char's Counterattack, Aura Battler Dunbine, and Xabungle. Screenshots on GIS also showing Zambot 3 and Daitarn 3. Box art shows L-Gaim as well. Can you confirm any further shows?

Corvo

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2016, 05:49:09 pm »
Give me a few days and I'll dig out the relevant information from my disorganized pile of documents that masquerades as a suparobo translation memory. iirc BRR features Z Gudam and Char's Counterattack, Aura Battler Dunbine, and Xabungle. Screenshots on GIS also showing Zambot 3 and Daitarn 3. Box art shows L-Gaim as well. Can you confirm any further shows?
There aren't any other shows. The Big Zam from Gundam 0079 appears in it.
There are also three original characters, but quite weirdly, they're all battleship staff.

Psyklax

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2016, 04:39:51 pm »
Would it help you guys if I gave you a dump of all the names of characters, units and weapons, and you tell me how they should be Romanised? :) Because it wouldn't take me much.

I've actually put the project on a temporary hold while I gather feedback from you guys about how to proceed. Seems like there's no real opposition to the font, which was my main concern. :D

Corvo

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2016, 07:39:37 pm »
I don't see why not, although the final decision should always be yours. This is sort of a rant, but romanization/translating names is the part of a project where everyone appears and wants to have some input, just to vanish whenever the real work starts. But seeing as you're doing this on your own, I don't see any problem.

Just keep in mind some romanizations are mostly educated guesses (specially with L-Gaim and Dunbine stuff).

Zynk

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2016, 09:03:53 pm »
I don't see why not, although the final decision should always be yours. This is sort of a rant, but romanization/translating names is the part of a project where everyone appears and wants to have some input, just to vanish whenever the real work starts. But seeing as you're doing this on your own, I don't see any problem.

Just keep in mind some romanizations are mostly educated guesses (specially with L-Gaim and Dunbine stuff).
But the author might expect backlash from the fanbase if a simple misspelling would arise. Someone here might provide helpful data around those namings.

Psyklax

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2016, 01:52:11 am »
But the author might expect backlash from the fanbase if a simple misspelling would arise. Someone here might provide helpful data around those namings.

This guy's got it. :D I imagine there's a fandom out there who've been spelling it a certain way for some time, and would be irritated by little' misspellings', even if it was then making educated guesses in the first place. So I just want to make sure that if I do it, it's consistent with the 'canon'.

I'll make a dump soon and you can all chip in. ;)

vincent_vincent

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Re: Battle Robot Retsuden: English translation
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2016, 02:53:24 am »
Would it help you guys if I gave you a dump of all the names of characters, units and weapons, and you tell me how they should be Romanised? :) Because it wouldn't take me much.

I've actually put the project on a temporary hold while I gather feedback from you guys about how to proceed. Seems like there's no real opposition to the font, which was my main concern. :D

Dump them ALL here buddy:
http://www.srwg-w.org/showthread.php?tid=59