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Author Topic: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!  (Read 2043 times)

KANDORI9998

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Let's have a talk, I could use some advice.

disclamer: i'm not here to ask people to work for me/with me/join my project, all i want is *EXPERIENCED* people to share their experience with me and that's all.

My Discord: KANDORI9998#2476

Jorpho

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2018, 09:54:38 pm »
Wouldn't it be better for the *EXPERIENCED* people to post here, so that all will benefit from their knowledge..?
This depresses me. I feel like a goldfish right now...

mz

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2018, 10:46:23 pm »
I've translated quite a few games myself... And I thought about (and tried) mentoring people on Discord. It was a total waste of time: people were only interested in me doing everything for them, even just googling for them...

I had set my own Discord server for this, and once people finished doing what they were interested in, they stopped talking completely and after a while just left the server in silence. :D

In any case, I plan to eventually translate the entire PSX Japan-only library by myself and release everything I do as open source, writing many articles along the way. I believe that's the only way to really help people who are truthfully interested in this hobby.
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KANDORI9998

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2018, 11:45:53 pm »
Wouldn't it be better for the *EXPERIENCED* people to post here, so that all will benefit from their knowledge..?

Tomahto tomayto.

I've translated quite a few games myself... And I thought about (and tried) mentoring people on Discord. It was a total waste of time: people were only interested in me doing everything for them, even just googling for them...

I had set my own Discord server for this, and once people finished doing what they were interested in, they stopped talking completely and after a while just left the server in silence. :D

In any case, I plan to eventually translate the entire PSX Japan-only library by myself and release everything I do as open source, writing many articles along the way. I believe that's the only way to really help people who are truthfully interested in this hobby.

In any case, please reach me if possible. Let's just be friends, then. Working on separate projects, definetly NOT doing any handwork/mentoring for each other, just sharing a few tips n' tricks.  :thumbsup:

Choppasmith

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2018, 01:25:50 am »
I've translated quite a few games myself... And I thought about (and tried) mentoring people on Discord. It was a total waste of time: people were only interested in me doing everything for them, even just googling for them...

I had set my own Discord server for this, and once people finished doing what they were interested in, they stopped talking completely and after a while just left the server in silence. :D

In any case, I plan to eventually translate the entire PSX Japan-only library by myself and release everything I do as open source, writing many articles along the way. I believe that's the only way to really help people who are truthfully interested in this hobby.

I like to think you can strike a balance. As someone who’s working a job, I really appreciate the help from someone knowledgeable. It’s a HUGE time sink trying to learn and figure out the more complicated stuff. It can feel like you’re going no where. I learned a lot from hacking Dragon Warrior and getting help from abw for the more complicated stuff. It wouldn’t have gone nearly as smoothly otherwise. Of course something said in my thread was, “Being passionate about the game can be a real factor.” From what you say, it sound like we should be interested in the hacking first, but I disagree, it should be about the game. They can always be interested in a new game down the line and utilize what they’ve learned.

Good luck to your PSX hacking though, definitely know a couple of games I’d like to see:)

KingMike

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2018, 01:58:16 am »
In any case, I plan to eventually translate the entire PSX Japan-only library by myself and release everything I do as open source, writing many articles along the way. I believe that's the only way to really help people who are truthfully interested in this hobby.
That's sounds like either a joke or insanity. :D
That's gotta be hundreds (I don't think it quite his thousands, but the PS2 library maybe) and I can't imagine one person being able to hold interest enough in EVERY one of them to do all the grueling work to complete it.
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mz

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2018, 08:13:50 am »
That's sounds like either a joke or insanity. :D
Both of those options sound good enough to me. :D

The long story is that there are hundreds of people in the r/emulation subreddit hoping (and/or paying real money) to add automatic "OCR and Google Translate"-ed text of Japanese games while they're playing them on RetroArch. It makes me feel really sad to know that in a few weeks there will be thousands of people playing some of my favorite games of all time like this.

Just try feeding Google Translate any fragment of text currently printed on screen. Not the full paragraph or text block, not even the entire sentence in most Game Boy games. No context of any kind. Add to that the shitty state of the best open source OCR engines and how shitty is Google Translate with Japanese in general... And you may get an idea.

So, I thought I could at least make something better than that. Plus, if I share everything as openly as I possibly can, maybe that will inspire better hackers/translators to improve upon my work on any game.

The last PSX JRPG I translated (Medarot R) only took me about 10 days to finish (only the text; the hacking took me almost 3 months and still counting!) So if I can translate a full JRPG with 5000 list items (and the shittiest programming possible) in that amount of time, I'm hoping I can do more than a few games per year. I certainly will hack a lot faster (thanks to my experience with Medarot R) now that I got all this knowledge and I have all these tools and notes I've made along the way.

Also, you'll never see me stuck on a single line or word for months, waiting for opinions, making amazing graphics, or doing anything decent like those things. I try to finish translations in less than one or two months and quickly move on to the next one (unless I'm getting paid for it, as in Medarot R's case).

At any rate, the entire library is just the final goal. I don't really mind if I die or get bored after the second game and the entire project fails in the most horrible way. I've already wasted most of my life chasing money and popularity (and got nothing in return), so now it's time to just chase insanity and see what happens. :P

In any case, please reach me if possible. Let's just be friends, then. Working on separate projects, definetly NOT doing any handwork/mentoring for each other, just sharing a few tips n' tricks.  :thumbsup:
If you're really interested, please feel free to post more information about your projects here (and showing what you've done so far.) It will take at least some of that to get the bad taste out of my mouth from previous experiences. :D
« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 12:47:39 pm by mz »
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KANDORI9998

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2018, 11:19:58 am »
If you're really interested, please feel free to post more information about your projects here (and showing what you've done so far.) It will take at least some of that to get the bad taste out of my mouth from previous experiences. :D

Alright! I'm working since yesterday on a game called "Megami Ibunroku Perusona"(PS1). My objective is to insert as much as possible of "Shin Megami Tensei:Persona"(PSP)'s script on it. In case you don't know, the PSP is the US version of the game, but for another system (obviously). That's not the only difference tho, certain gameplay aspects and specially the soundtrack are different between games, so that's what motivated me into starting this project. This is my very first project as I have never EVER messed with romhacking/programming or anything like that in my entire life.

Since I'm working alone, I'm still creating a table file for this game (it does NOT use Shift JIS, which GREATLY slows down the progress). This game uses an proprietary table from Atlus JPN, so my current job is to look at the FONT.BIN file to check on the table (I've already done tests and the font file indeed displays the fonts in the same order of the hexadecimal codes they represent).

This is what my current task looks like: http://prntscr.com/lgp5xv

Yep, that's exactly what it appears to be. I have a quite limited kanji repertoire in my brain (though i already mastered kana and a few words), so i'm using an app to learn how to write each kanji in the font file in order to add them in the table file. And there's no less than 4000 kanji in there, so... Yeah.

Until I finish this... I dunno. This game includes fonts for english characters, so I'll just translate the game using them, removing the need to edit the fonts. As I said, I'm learning on the fly, so I don't have a good idea of "what to do next", i'll just discover what to do and how... on the go.

mz

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2018, 12:40:59 pm »
In other words, you're trying to re-translate "Revelations: Persona"?

In that case, my advice would be this:
* Stop doing the kanji thing.
* Reuse the English version. They've already done all the hacking and programming for you.
* Just fix the text with your PSP's version text and/or graphics.

If I got it wrong and you're actually translating a game that doesn't have an English version yet on the PSX, this would be my advice:
* Stop doing the kanji thing for now.
* Create a table for all the kana, search for a kana-only string in the game and find it inside the ISO file (first possible issue: beating encryption / compression).
* Modify it, see if English gets printed correctly, see if you can modify the string length, see if the text isn't hardcoded inside a custom scripting bytecode, etc. If any of these items don't work correctly and present any issue, see if you can solve them before you waste any more time creating that big table.

It's 99.999999999999% likely that if you've never programmed before [1] you won't be able to handle the last item (modifying text harcoded inside bytecode), and the other items may suppose a similar challenge, depending on how good you're interested in having it look and read. If you need to crack a custom compression and then write a compressor for it, I'd say you can forget about the whole thing too. :P

[1] Based on what I've seen elsewhere. Most famously, that "Summon Night Craft Sword Monogatari: Hajimari no Ishi" translation where they've had the text ready for at least 10 years, but they don't have the programming/hacking skills needed to insert it.
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KANDORI9998

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2018, 01:49:33 pm »
In other words, you're trying to re-translate "Revelations: Persona"?

In that case, my advice would be this:
* Stop doing the kanji thing.
* Reuse the English version. They've already done all the hacking and programming for you.
* Just fix the text with your PSP's version text and/or graphics.


Actually, I don't think you quite get it. There would be extra work required if I'd work with the US version. Namely:
* Finding out how to "unblock" the trigger to the Snow Queen Quest (when you enter the room required to begin the quest, a message appears saying "nothing here...", then your character automatically goes back to the previous room).
* Finding out how to work around the gibberish characters in the Snow Queen Quest (the speech boxes on the quest are not blank, they are filled with glitched fonts)
* Finding out how to change the "dollar" back to "yen" (I don't mean just the symbol, how much 1 money unit is worth is also different in those games, i'd have to change how much money every monster in the game gives you, plus how much items cost, etcetera etcetera)
* Finding out how to change the encounter rates back to their japanese originals
* Finding out how to change the EXP rates back to their japanese originals
* Finding out how to change the character graphics back to their japanese originals (me honestly i love Black Mark, but almost the entire fanbase doesn't)
* Finding out how to change the character voices back to their japanese originals (which i also love, but again... See previous item)
* Finding out how to change the scenario graphics back to their japanese originals (US version has grafitti n' other stuff while the japanese version has other stuff from jap culture)

Not to mention playing that quest in the US version involves lots of glitches, including one where the game eventually freezes and another one where the characters appear in the same space while battling.


I'm guessing you get the picture already...? Notice how I always said "finding out how", cause i don't know how. I'd have to find out how to do these stuff first.

In the other hand, all i need to do regarding the JPN version is:
* Edit the text from the speech boxes/menus/etcetera

See? It's easier to do the japanese one. I just need to figure out the stuff you mentioned about compression. Of course i don't intend on making it work in one single day, i'll look for tutorials about the matter.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 04:02:24 pm by KANDORI9998 »

mz

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2018, 01:32:22 am »
all i need to do regarding the JPN version is:
* Edit the text from the speech boxes/menus/etcetera

See? It's easier to do the japanese one.
Oh, you're right! That's definitely the easiest part!

Just kidding. All the other things are usually (like 99% of times) much easier. That's why you see hundreds of graphic restorations, undubs, difficulty hacks, etc. done in a week or so and translations take months or years, if they're ever actually done.

Even the person I consider to be the best hacker/programmer among us right now did something like this to a dozen or so games for several different systems: http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=23436 (That is, restoring the original Japanese stuff into the US versions, instead of inserting the English text into the original Japanese versions.)

But you definitely can hit the jackpot and have your game's text be easily editable and ready to show English in a nice manner. I would definitely not bet on it and I personally would start by trying to do the other much simpler [1] stuff first, but I guess you can't know for sure until you try.

(Also, if you think you'll find a tutorial that might be helpful for writing a compressor for some obscure PS1 game's custom algorithm or how to translate a game with its text hardcoded inside bytecode, you're in for a big surprise. :D)

[1] Not always, of course.
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KANDORI9998

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2018, 10:21:33 am »
Oh, you're right! That's definitely the easiest part!

Just kidding. All the other things are usually (like 99% of times) much easier. That's why you see hundreds of graphic restorations, undubs, difficulty hacks, etc. done in a week or so and translations take months or years, if they're ever actually done.

Even the person I consider to be the best hacker/programmer among us right now did something like this to a dozen or so games for several different systems: http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=23436 (That is, restoring the original Japanese stuff into the US versions, instead of inserting the English text into the original Japanese versions.)

But you definitely can hit the jackpot and have your game's text be easily editable and ready to show English in a nice manner. I would definitely not bet on it and I personally would start by trying to do the other much simpler [1] stuff first, but I guess you can't know for sure until you try.

(Also, if you think you'll find a tutorial that might be helpful for writing a compressor for some obscure PS1 game's custom algorithm or how to translate a game with its text hardcoded inside bytecode, you're in for a big surprise. :D)

[1] Not always, of course.

OK, you're right. I admit that I'm not in a position to argue against your experience, and that I could edit the US version's text much easier than the JP version's text (even though i knew where the text was stored, even trying to edit it from a savestate gave me no results). So, do you really promise me that doing the tasks related to the US version is an easier job than doing what's needed to do with the JP version? If that's really the case, I'll change versions without question. But... Would you mind adding me on discord, please?  ;) ;) ;)

mz

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2018, 12:01:09 pm »
So, do you really promise me that doing the tasks related to the US version is an easier job than doing what's needed to do with the JP version?
No one can promise something like that without taking a look at this particular game first. :D

It's just that, in general, translating a PSX game needs way more (difficult) things to be done than the other things you listed...

You can add me on Discord if you want (I'm mz#9923), but I'm very busy these days and I can't use it very much! (Or at all...) You'll have more luck with your projects if you keep posting publicly in the forums like this (or in the RHDN Discord).
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KANDORI9998

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2018, 02:18:06 pm »
No one can promise something like that without taking a look at this particular game first. :D

It's just that, in general, translating a PSX game needs way more (difficult) things to be done than the other things you listed...

You can add me on Discord if you want (I'm mz#9923), but I'm very busy these days and I can't use it very much! (Or at all...) You'll have more luck with your projects if you keep posting publicly in the forums like this (or in the RHDN Discord).

Alright, I've sent you a friend request. Look, I've been googling a bit and I found a gameshark code that does exactly what I want: Disables the "block" that prevents you from entering the room where the quest I want to translate commences. If only I could discover a way to pre-patch the gameshark code into the .ISO itself so it's there even if you don't own a cheating device, then we might be looking at some progress here.

mz

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2018, 09:55:40 pm »
If only I could discover a way to pre-patch the gameshark code into the .ISO
That's a very common question around these forums.

The short answer is:

* If it is a complex GameShark code, you may need to learn their syntax and how these types of cheats work.
* You need to find if the cheat modifies a variable RAM address or a fixed piece of code.
* If it's a fixed piece of code, you can insert it into an executable file by modifying the same bytes it does on RAM. (Provided it isn't compressed.)
* You'll need to learn how to modify a PSX ISO file to insert your changes.
* If the cheat isn't modifying a fixed piece of code, you'll need to reverse-engineer the game's code to learn what's modifying the cheat's RAM address and then modify the game's code by yourself.

For that last item:
* You'll need to learn MIPS assembly language.
* You'll need to learn how to use a PSX emulator with a debugger.

I'm probably forgetting something, but that should get you started.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2018, 05:06:21 pm by mz »
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KANDORI9998

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Re: Have you translated a JAPANESE PS1 GAME before? If so, come here!
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2018, 07:32:08 pm »

* If the cheat isn't modifying a fixed piece of code, you'll need to reverse-engineer the game's code to learn what's modifying the cheat's RAM address and then modify the game's code by yourself.

For that last item:
* You'll need to learn MIPS assembly language.
* You'll need to learn how to use a PSX emulator with a debugger.


Damn, you're spot on. Like you said, the code modifies a variable, meaning it makes you enter the quest even though you don't have done the required steps yet. That's tough... I'll have to find a way to make the code only work if you have done the steps to enter the quest...