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Author Topic: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)  (Read 152151 times)

Lentfilms

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In more recent memory in terms of official releases, I know there were people upset about Gaijinworks' rewritten dialogue in Summon Night 5. There was that screen cap floating around the internet where a character just saying "Whoa!" in Japanese was changed to a small sentence, "They're loud Buggers, whatever they are.", or how other lines were spiced up to be goofier than they were originally. None of the changes in SM5 took me out of the experience while I was playing it and even the changes that were pointed out online didn't seem that game-changing to me personally but I completely understand the opinion that dialogue shouldn't be rewritten as a general rule. As an example of rewrites that did ruin a game for me: 8-4 also made a lot of infamous changes to Tales of Heart R where a lot of characters' personalities were sometimes totally different and the dialogue often bared no resemblance to the original writing.

Back to being positive, I would like to thank you Supper for specifically making the Popful Mail re-balance patch. I had tried several times to play that game but always got frustrated with the unfair difficulty but now I may finally be able to finish it.

mz

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I think the German translator for Nintendo in the nineties mentioned he thought of tons of sexual jokes while translating Secret of Evermore
Eh, I think that's really common... I think of sexual jokes and pop-culture references 90% of the time I'm translating a game, but in the end you have to think in the majority of the users. Do you want to ruin their experience with some shitty joke that probably won't even be funny to most of them?

In Star Ocean: Blue Sphere there's an untranslatable pun/riddle about beetles and, of course, I first inserted a reference to The Beatles there while translating it... It wasn't until I tested that part that I realized how it took me out of the game completely. (In fact, planet Earth exists in this game, but the planet where this scene happens in could have never heard of The Beatles before...)

So, in my experience, inserting this kind of crap is really alluring when you're the translator, but holy shit it sucks when you're the player...
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Reiska

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Ohhhhhh my god I had no idea about any of this! I knew about the plot change to Phantasy Star Gaiden of course, but... Obamacare?!

Is it bad that this just makes me want to play them more? (And maybe rehack them?) :)

No, not really.  I mean, I appreciate lively-but-unfaithful localization more than most people around this thread, I suspect, but I tend not to like it when a localizer inserts their politics into a script where they don't belong (regardless of which way they lean politically - conservative or liberal).  It's one thing if the game itself is going there (e.g. Shin Megami Tensei has a less-than-flattering portrayal of the US which is central to its plot), but the majority of JRPGs aren't set in anything remotely resembling modern real-world Earth where people would even have a concept of liberal or conservative politics. :P  Even then, some bits of subtle political humor can work (e.g. Disgaea's reference to George W. Bush choking on a pretzel, which references only the event and does not namedrop, works well).

When it comes to strict translation vs. localization, I like to bring up FF4: The After Years as an example.  The majority of the game is largely translated in the very terse, literal style typical of most of S-E's low budget titles; see also Final Fantasy Dimensions for another example, which was done by the same team I'm pretty sure.  However, there are a few scenes which are explicitly flashbacks to events in the original FF4, and these scenes quote the DS script.  The difference in writing quality sticks out like a sore thumb.

VicVergil

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When it comes to strict translation vs. localization, I like to bring up FF4: The After Years as an example.  The majority of the game is largely translated in the very terse, literal style typical of most of S-E's low budget titles; see also Final Fantasy Dimensions for another example, which was done by the same team I'm pretty sure.  However, there are a few scenes which are explicitly flashbacks to events in the original FF4, and these scenes quote the DS script.  The difference in writing quality sticks out like a sore thumb.

Thing is, the DS version of Final Fantasy IV was faithful. It's a really good example of how a localisation should be like, because the editing passes to make it more "natural sounding" actually compliment the original script and go with harmony with it, rather than clashing with it and attempting to replace it. Having an enjoyable nicely written English script that sounds like the game was designed around it, is not mutually exclusive with keeping as much as possible of the text intact within what grammar and regulations allow for.

Nothing made up, no characterization changed for no reason, little to no real life references or anything being the translator going "I'm here, notice me", and most importantly no disdain to the original work and attempts to "fix its horrible writing" with "MY writing that's probably better than this bland shit (my scriptwriter qualifications? those moving pixels following the bad writing? unimportant details!)".

It's funny you're praising Slattery's translations (in fact, it's refreshing, considering I really enjoyed them) considering how they were called "bland" and "overly literal" compared to their Woolsey's rushed counterparts. Yes, that elaborate prose was a "literal", word-by-word translation of a Japanese Super Famicom game's script, if some are to be believed. It almost feels like "blandness" isn't the concern, but staying close to the original is a net negative that warrants offense.

Real_Character

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Yet for some reason, Nintendo of Europe, Atlus, P-Cube and Level-5 still manage to have their translations very close to the original meaning without conflicting with it, replacing it with subpar writing, or making stuff up against the intentions of the original writers.

This seems like a mix of speculation, subjective opinion and some truth. But the point is that the difficulty of making something good out of a localization, while still staying "accurate", is going to vary greatly depending on the content.

People make a big deal out of Breath of Fire 2 as an example of fixing a localization, but I've heard of plenty of people that don't like the re-working. You can't please everyone. On top of that Bof2 is not even an example of "changing stuff around", just poor writing.

I don't know much about everything WD localized, so I won't comment on that, but I've yet to see something they did which I hated. Even Parasol Stars on TG16 was great. But the example I would go back to is Popful Mail on Sega CD, since it was in the OP. It's a goofy game no matter how you sllice it. Just look at it. Never mind any of the dialogue. I try to imagine a more "accurate" localization and it seems worse than what was done. I imagine the "accurate" version as literally a story for small children, but too corny for anyone else, except characters are wearing typical anime fantasy battle lingerie, for some reason. And if you'd argue you know better, that's an impossible claim to prove.

The bigger point is that you can't please everyone, and you will usually fail when you try.

February 03, 2017, 04:02:54 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
I'd imagine that was abusable. From what I had read of stores' return policies on receipts as a kid (yes, I was a bored kid) certain items such as games were only returnable if defective, and then only for replacement.
Return a used game as "defective" to get a new copy and then return the new copy.
Although I'm sure stores have gotten wise to that, such as I think Target does track returns.

From what I can tell, it varied a lot from store to store. I remember some place called Kay-B Toys around here, which is the first store I remember selling games like hot cakes. They took returns of opened games only for a few days. That name is relevant because that's how vgames were sold in those days. They were toys for kids, as far as commerce was concerned. Kids are not savvy by default, and the amount of adults trying to scam stores was not bad enough to affect them, I guess.

Later, I also heard stories from friends of games being returned to Toys-R-Us. But, yes, abuse of returns is probably what transitioned store policies to be more strict with game sales, to the point where they only took back unopened games, or opened games only on the day of purchase after some haggling by an adult with the clerk.

I never returned a game to a store as a kid. I would have been too embarrassed. And neither of my parents would have humored a request that they return a game for me that I didn't like. I think I only ever returned one game rental, because it was the wrong game. So, speaking of game rentals, that was the real threat, since stores nipped the return gimmick in the bud pretty quickly.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 04:02:54 pm by Real_Character »

Recapnation

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The bigger point is that you can't please everyone, and you will usually fail when you try.

Then, stay faithful? You don't need to justify that. Do Americans localize [cult] movies and novels too? (Honest question!)

Supper

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Things have gotten a bit livelier in here than I expected. I'm not complaining, since what constitutes "appropriate localization" is still a major issue with video games and I think it's well worth discussing. Especially when some fan translators (or rather, fan editors) are still taking "inspiration" from the Working Designs "style". Before I started on this little project, I honestly thought these kinds of practices would be universally condemned, but I suppose that was naive.

Anyway, I've started working on Alundra. In fact, I may be finished with Alundra, because it seems like all the difficulty changes are contained in a single file that I can simply copy over from the Japanese version to restore everything. Even if that's the case, it'll be at least a few days before I can release it since I need to complete runs through both the JP and fixed US versions to make sure I didn't miss or break anything.

I haven't forgotten about Silver Star, so for anyone waiting on that, please be patient.

Reiska

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Thing is, the DS version of Final Fantasy IV was faithful. It's a really good example of how a localisation should be like, because the editing passes to make it more "natural sounding" actually compliment the original script and go with harmony with it, rather than clashing with it and attempting to replace it. Having an enjoyable nicely written English script that sounds like the game was designed around it, is not mutually exclusive with keeping as much as possible of the text intact within what grammar and regulations allow for.

Nothing made up, no characterization changed for no reason, little to no real life references or anything being the translator going "I'm here, notice me", and most importantly no disdain to the original work and attempts to "fix its horrible writing" with "MY writing that's probably better than this bland shit (my scriptwriter qualifications? those moving pixels following the bad writing? unimportant details!)".

It's funny you're praising Slattery's translations (in fact, it's refreshing, considering I really enjoyed them) considering how they were called "bland" and "overly literal" compared to their Woolsey's rushed counterparts. Yes, that elaborate prose was a "literal", word-by-word translation of a Japanese Super Famicom game's script, if some are to be believed. It almost feels like "blandness" isn't the concern, but staying close to the original is a net negative that warrants offense.

I'm a big fan of Slattery's translations in general, yeah, though they vary somewhat in faithfulness (FF4 and FF6 were both very faithful from what I can tell; FF5 took more liberties, probably because the base material is somewhat bland itself).  Woolsey, for his part, did a very good job considering how little he had to work with and the poor conditions he worked under.

tc

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Overall I'm not so convinced translators are in the wrong AS much as the internet makes them out to be. Not knowing Japanese, who am I to say a line wasn't already bland, poorly characterized, or otherwise in the original work?

Midna

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Final Fantasy V is also a more lighthearted game than IV or VI, so it makes sense it'd have a slightly looser translation. I'm not a huge fan of the DS script for IV because it's got this sort of "archaic fantasy" tone that permeates everything and gets to be kind of distracting (though it was like that in Japanese too), but it's probably the most faithful translation of the game out there at the moment.

Spooniest

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Some of my favorite non-jokes I did in my first romhack (one of FF6, you'll find it on here if you look).

- Gau's return speech is shortened to a single line, which he says and then rejoins you. Enough is enough, Gau is time consuming as it is.

- Cyan's line about Leo being the Empire's "finest soldier" and that it was "a waste" for Kefka to kill him is somewhat devoid of...er...passion, for a warrior. I just whipped out "He was one of the few honorable men left in the Empire" because I thought it was more what a Samurai would say. ... o_o Idk

- A Soldier from Maranda quotes a poem I read once. It's called "Dulce Et Decorum Est," and I suggest you read it. It's by some medical trooper who passed away in WWI, and left it behind in his belongings.

- The name of the song "Johnny C. Bad" is used to describe the record Lola wishes her lover to send her. The name of the book "Final Fantasy" is used to describe the book Lola wishes her lover to send her. I thought these were appropriate and cute. "Johnny C. Bad," for reference, plays in the pub in Albrook and Dragon's Neck Coliseum's lobby.

- Not only are all the character intros 5-7-5 haikus (and yes just so you can call me a weaboo and laugh at me, be my guest), but Cyan's reintroduction text before you get him back on Mount Zozo is as well. Thank you I'm here all week. Try the veal.

Mostly I avoided making up jokes that were not already being told by the game. The best one is where Cyan is afraid that the switch on the caboose of the Phantom Train is going to do something terrible.

Spoiler:

<EOP> = End of page
<D> = Delay of about a second and a half.
Underlines produce monospace ellipses.
The names are usually just a two-character alphanumeric value that represents the name that is given to the character. I've replaced them with the most well-known ones.

[caption #666]
<Sabin>
 What's this?
 Let me just give it a_

[caption #667]
<Cyan>
 Sir <Sabin>! Perhaps we shouldn't
 fumble with that!

[caption #668]
<Sabin>
 <Cyan>_are you scared of
 machines?

[caption #669]
<Sabin>
 & I hit it, just like that-! & (music notes - ed.)

[caption #670]
<Cyan>
 How could you_

[caption #671]
<Cyan>
 How can you_?!

[caption #672]
<Cyan>
 How_dare you?!<EOP>
<Cyan>
 Listen, we can't just go hitting
 switches and activating machines,
 who knows what'll happen, and_ <EOP>
<Cyan>
 Anyway, it's not_ <D>polite__

[caption #673]
<Sabin>
 <Cyan>_you are terrified of
 machines.

[caption #674]
<Cyan>
 SILENCE_! I am not!

Working Designs' humor, then is really kind of flat and sort of mildly irritating because it chooses to favor what is popular at the time in its target market (an easy way to get a temporary laugh that will not last into the future, and become an eyesore), instead of just highlighting what is funny about the situation being presented itself (which takes brain power but can be done).
I never wanted to work in a pet shop, you know. I wanted to be...a lumberjack.

ricardioheartguy

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I signed up for these forums just to thank you, Supper.  It's great that we can experience these classics closer to their original vision while still experiencing what it was like when released. I play retro games to experience the past, and I understand Japanese enough to play the originals if I wanted the unadulterated vision, but the thing keeping me from enjoying these games was always the punishing difficulty that studios like Konami added to their games to combat the rental market. I'll finally get to beat that wood golem in Popful Mail  :thumbsup:

I'm not going to defend WD's work because standards change with time, but probably like many gamers in the early 90s they were my first experience with anime style. Millions played Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest but WD didn't rebrand the art or soften the image for a Western audience. I look a them like Turner Entertainment in the 80s when they were recolorizing old movies. It's not the ideal way to watch those classics, but for millions it was their first experience. We've moved on and do better but I like revisiting the past to see the foundation everything was built on.


Recapnation

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Really cool, that Alundra may be coming next. Are you taking suggestions for non-WD stuff too? Monster World III got similar changes regarding difficulty when it was ported as Wonder Boy in Monster World:

https://tcrf.net/Wonder_Boy_in_Monster_World#Japan_to_US.2FPAL

It's one of MD/GEN best pieces yet not many people complain, but the changes, even if more reasonable, were not really for the best, as usual.

(Forgive me for taking the liberty!)

VicVergil

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Really cool, that Alundra may be coming next. Are you taking suggestions for non-WD stuff too? Monster World III got similar changes regarding difficulty when it was ported as Wonder Boy in Monster World:

https://tcrf.net/Wonder_Boy_in_Monster_World#Japan_to_US.2FPAL

It's one of MD/GEN best pieces yet not many people complain, but the changes, even if more reasonable, were not really for the best, as usual.

(Forgive me for taking the liberty!)

Having tried both the JP and English Mega Drive versions, the difficulty increase is definitely an improvement in MW3's case. Otherwise, death is trivial, and the final boss is basically the easiest boss in the game despite all the dramatic sacrifices before it. And I think no boss became a damage sponge or weapons got nerfed / more expensive.

But if you really want a version with the English script AND none of the difficulty changes, try the English TurboGrafx-16 (PCE) version, called Dynastic Hero (but with redrawn sprites).
« Last Edit: February 07, 2017, 05:21:50 am by GHANMI »

Recapnation

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Yeah, I tried both too. Found WB in MW's final boss more than annoying. It was easy, now it's a tedium thanks to the system changes. I think everybody should experience the games as they were conceived by their authors as much as possible no matter how "flawed" they may be and that that's this thread's author ultimate point, hence my suggestion about MW3 -- it's a very special game and the changes were quite drastic. Dynastic Hero's sprites are too ugly compared to the original art to be a proper substitute, I'm afraid.

VicVergil

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I'm of the opinion they were the developers applying a last-minute layer of polish to unfinished parts of the game, rather than arbitrary decisions by publishers and translation censors editors more divorced from the development process.

Think changes from the same type as Savage Labyrinth in Twilight Princess having a Heart Piece (US/PAL) rather than a measly 10 rupees (JP) rather than ones like NoE changing Red Armor's price in Terranigma from 6666 (JP) to 6800 (EU), or worse, WD ones.

Anyways, about undoing Monster World 3's changes:

For the Game Over screen instead of teleporting you back to an inn keeping your progress and newly unlocked events, it undoes much of the game's challenge but also has the potential to bug the event flags. Restoring it with assembly could be possible, but a more sane alternative would be keeping the overseas change but adding more Return spells.

As for the final boss, changing room layout data to use the regular floor instead of the conveyor belt could be the solution, so if anyone publishes data for restoring the off-screen doors you could make use of it for that room. The chainsaws could have their programming modified to no longer call the damage routine, and they could be made invisible with graphical editing with the graphical decompressor already available for those games (but it might prove they were actually intended from the start for the JP game)

I'd love some more Working Designs to be restored before that though (despite that I have my own wishlist of games mangled in their balancing by their localizations I'd love to see fixed, like Thousand Arms, Brain Lord, Spike McFang, even the first Monster Land game...)

Recapnation

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I'm of the opinion they were the developers applying a last-minute layer of polish to unfinished parts of the game, rather than arbitrary decisions by publishers and translation censors editors more divorced from the development process.

Thanks for the suggestions. To be honest, I also believe the changes for WB in MW were made by the game developers themselves, though I'm more of the opinion they're mostly asked by Sega for the foreign versions. Though the final boss felt kind of unfinished; I agree.



Quote
NoE changing Red Armor's price in Terranigma from 6666 (JP) to 6800 (EU)

Didn't know about that one. Did someone try to restore that?



Quote
I'd love some more Working Designs to be restored before that though (despite that I have my own wishlist of games mangled in their balancing by their localizations I'd love to see fixed, like Thousand Arms, Brain Lord, Spike McFang

Sure, why not. Which are the changes on Chou Makai Taisen! Dora-botchan/Spike Mc Fang, exactly? They're apparently not present here: https://tcrf.net/Category:Games_with_regional_differences



Quote
even the first Monster Land game...)

Do you mean the Mark III port? The arcade game was not officially released outside Japan back in the day, and up until the X360/PS3 emulations by M-2, the English adaptation was pretty much lost (the ones you could find out there were bootlegs, and therefore, very bad versions). A really nice project indeed would be to get the official English version from X360/PS3's Sega Ages Online working as regular MAME ROMs. I guess if we don't have it yet it's because most think it's already in MAME or it's just a not-popular-enough fact -- the games use ROM and emulation much like the latter.

Supper

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Still working on Alundra. I didn't realize this game was so long, but I've managed to blast through the Japanese version and, after picking through the main data file a bit, turned up a handful of additional changes. One of these is actually mentioned in the manual (the timing for a switch puzzle was made more forgiving -- not sure why, because it wasn't that hard to begin with), but two other scripts were also slightly modified and I haven't yet figured out what those alterations affect. One is something to do with the "overworld" area of Meia's dream, the other I'm not even sure what map it's on -- all I can tell you is that something changed from 160 to 64 (EDIT: figured this out, it's just changing which buttons confirm your choice on the Game Over screen). Changing these back isn't difficult, but verifying that that won't break the game is trickier.

I signed up for these forums just to thank you, Supper.  It's great that we can experience these classics closer to their original vision while still experiencing what it was like when released. I play retro games to experience the past, and I understand Japanese enough to play the originals if I wanted the unadulterated vision, but the thing keeping me from enjoying these games was always the punishing difficulty that studios like Konami added to their games to combat the rental market. I'll finally get to beat that wood golem in Popful Mail  :thumbsup:

I'm not going to defend WD's work because standards change with time, but probably like many gamers in the early 90s they were my first experience with anime style. Millions played Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest but WD didn't rebrand the art or soften the image for a Western audience. I look a them like Turner Entertainment in the 80s when they were recolorizing old movies. It's not the ideal way to watch those classics, but for millions it was their first experience. We've moved on and do better but I like revisiting the past to see the foundation everything was built on.

Thank you. I tend to approach old games as "history" in a similar way, which is one of the reasons it's frustrating to me when the only version of the game I can readily understand has been heavily tampered with. I'd be pretty upset if I bought a translation of some Greek play and discovered the translator had filled it with made-up jokes, and I see no reason to treat video games differently.

That said, I'm aware Working Designs was breaking new ground and that their releases are products of their time, to an extent. I really do respect everyone involved for the massive effort it took to license these games and bring them to the West, year after year. I just wish they'd shown some respect of their own for the effort that went into the original material.

Really cool, that Alundra may be coming next. Are you taking suggestions for non-WD stuff too? Monster World III got similar changes regarding difficulty when it was ported as Wonder Boy in Monster World:

https://tcrf.net/Wonder_Boy_in_Monster_World#Japan_to_US.2FPAL

It's one of MD/GEN best pieces yet not many people complain, but the changes, even if more reasonable, were not really for the best, as usual.

(Forgive me for taking the liberty!)

Well, I'll be sticking to WD's product line for now, but I might branch out if I get tired of that or if something catches my eye. These kinds of hacks are usually pretty interesting to work on.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2017, 05:51:07 pm by Supper »

thainferno305

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I'm at the bar and the game froze when Ronfar is trying to bet me at a game of dice in ur lunar eternal blue patch

Supper

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I'm at the bar and the game froze when Ronfar is trying to bet me at a game of dice in ur lunar eternal blue patch

You're using an old version of the patch -- that problem's been fixed. Download the latest version here: http://www.mediafire.com/file/608j7yj80950ly5/Lunar+Eternal+Blue+SCD+Un-Worked+Design+v2.zip

Sorry for the trouble. You'll also notice there are some blank dialogue options that pop up in that same conversation with Ronfar; I've fixed those, but haven't released a new version of the patch yet. Just ignore them for now.