Hello! With apologies to Filler for getting distracted from his projects
I present a new project inspired by a post in the Hack Ideas thread. See, sometimes the prayers of those posting there do get answered.
This is all I have to show thus far, but I can say that I don't expect any real problems going forward. So Super Bomberman 1 and 2 got US releases, SB3 got a European release, and SB4 was already translated into English a decade ago, but this one has eluded everyone. Basically, the thing that stopped this game being done was probably the graphics compression, but as I discovered, it's really not that complicated. Time for a quick explanation for those who like to learn about these things...
By following the process of how bytes get from the ROM to the VRAM, I discovered all the routines that concern the compression format, and they're very straightforward. The game uses a bunch of headers where the first nybble is the type of compression (eight different types) and the second one says how many times to repeat (so one less than the actual amount of bytes to process). Here's the compression types:
0 no compression
2 copy from 1 byte back plus 1 ($201 copies from $200+1)
4 copy from 1 byte back ($201 copies from $200)
6 copy from 2 bytes back ($202 copies from $200)
8 copy from 4 bytes back ($204 copies from $200)
A copy from 10 bytes back ($200 copies from $2F0)
C copy from 20 bytes back ($200 copies from $2E0)
E copy from 40 bytes back ($200 copies from $2C0)
As you can see, it's just a bunch of copying, not quite as sophisticated as the one I encountered on Crayon Shin-Chan on Game Gear. So to do the screenshot you see there, I made a new font with only the letters I needed, and pasted it without compression (using the 0F header) in the space used by the graphics for that menu (the different menus use different sets of compressed graphics). Then it was a simple case of changing the tilemap which is sitting nice and simple in the ROM. Now I just need to do the same thing with all the other menus.
Of course, there's still the title bar which says "Normal Mode", and which requires dedicated graphics with quite a funky look. That'll take me a bit more work to do in GIMP, but again, not really a big challenge. As far as I can tell, the only Japanese in the game is in the menus, so this really doesn't look like the most difficult project to undertake - and being my first SNES translation, I'll be happy to get it done.
Oh, and I'm aware that there's a Gold Cartridge with more Battle Mode maps (although a byte comparison suggests there are a lot of little differences here and there). I suppose I can try to do patches for both ROMs since they do look superficially similar (almost identical in fact). I doubt I can make one patch for both given the extra battle stages will have their own titles to translate, but you never know - TCRF says you can still access them with an Action Replay code in the original game.
So that's it for now, but I'll be updating pretty soon, I think.