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Author Topic: Nostalgia 1907 (Mega-CD) (JP to ENG Translation)  (Read 1828 times)

starlight_world

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Nostalgia 1907 (Mega-CD) (JP to ENG Translation)
« on: March 23, 2020, 12:30:24 am »
Hey all,

I'm starlight_world. I want to get into ROM hacking, but I was never sure exactly what I wanted to do. But I decided on something after hearing about an obscure game called Nostalgia 1907. It came out in December 1991 for the Mega-CD, PC-9801, FM Towns Marty, and Sharp X68000. For simplicity, the Mega-CD version is the one I want to focus on.

It's a graphic text adventure game akin to a Snatcher interface. You play as a passenger aboard the luxury cruise liner called the Nostalgia in the year 1907 (hence the name of the game). A bomb is found and diffused, and the perpetrator reveals himself and requests that he be given an artifact known as the Russian Mist that is located somewhere on the ship, or he will detonate a second bomb that will kill everybody on board. The game is mostly text and audio with still images, but the game has a very interesting presentation with a sepia tone and an effort to keep an historically accurate aesthetic, something very rare and I wish more games did.




This game, as can be easily inferred, never left Japan. It was created by Takeru, also known as Sur de Wave, who also made Little Samson and publish Cocoron. It was designed by Kouichi Yotsui, the designer of Strider, and did work for various Capcom games like Bionic Commando and Ghouls n' Ghosts. This game, despite its ambition, was a huge flop and likely bankrupted the company (I can't find much info, but this game and Little Samson seem to be their only two games).

In spite of all of this, the game has a small cult following in Japan, and is one of the main inspirations for Hideo Kojima. While Snatcher came first, Hideo Kojima has all but admitted he stole the bomb defusal puzzle from this game to place into Policenauts. I feel this game is a somewhat important but forgotten part of video game history. It swung and missed, but Edwardian-era fiction, especially in this kind of presentation, feels like something made specifically for my tastes.

And because of all of this, I am surprised more people don't talk about this game. Information on the Internet is rather sparse other than the information I have already mentioned. This is a game I feel should be preserved and talked about outside its very small fanbase.

Which is why as my first project, I want to translate the Mega-CD of this game into English. Nobody else on the Internet has even attempted this. The only real discussion about it on a message board was from 2007(!), and it led to minimal curiosity.

Now, I am not naive. I know game translation is not an easy task, especially since I do not speak Japanese (I was planning to hire someone once I got a hold of what was necessary), and even the ones that do speak it need to put a lot of work into it. I am possibly biting off a lot more than I can chew here. But since the game is mostly text and not having to do with gameplay and level design changes, I felt this would be an interesting project.

The problem is, not only do people not talk much about this game, but they do not talk much about hacking or translating of ANY Sega CD games at all, on this website or anywhere. There are absolutely no utilities pertaining to the Sega-CD on this website, and information on the Internet is scarce.

I already have the appropriate files in my possession, and I can confirm the game is a functional ROM (also it's on a CD, so BIN/CUE is more appropriate). I went into the files and found that the text are in LZ files, and the audio is in PCM files. Opening PCM files in Audacity does not work properly, and LZ files are not easily decompressed in the way that is necessary here.

While the completion of this project is a LONG way away obviously, I would like to know if anyone here has any Sega-CD hacking utilities, or can point me to ways to properly convert PCM files into a usable format, or uncompress LZ files. Obviously, this is just the first step...placing translations INTO the games is a long way away, but I first need to figure out to access the text TO be translated.

Please, anyone, let me know if you have any tools or ideas on how to do this. And if this is too ambitious for a first project, at least let me know how I can possibly tinker with other Sega-CD games.

Pennywise

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Re: Nostalgia 1907 (Mega-CD) (JP to ENG Translation)
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2020, 01:55:25 pm »
I hate to be that guy, but you are still kinda naive when it comes to fan translations.

No one really hires anyone to translate for them or to reprogram/hack a game for that matter. We're a community of volunteers essentially that work to our own interests. If you were pay someone to translate a script for you, it would only be fair to treat them on a professional level and most people don't have the money for that. We're probably talking at least several thousand dollars for this game in particular. Now, let's say you manage to solve all the hacking issues etc, it may well be that you find no one capable of translating the script and the project goes into limbo. Such is the nature of our hobby.

Anyhow, the reason why there's hardly anyone (no one) working on Sega CD translations etc is because the tools and info just aren't as abundant as the NES/SNES. A solid debugging emulator for the Sega CD might not exist or pales in comparison to the ones for the NES/SNES for example. Anyhow, this all boils down to the fact that the Sega systems were not as popular as the Nintendo stuff and this trend has continued in the community.

Now that doesn't mean that translating Sega CD games is impossible, but you need to know your stuff to get anywhere. That means a thorough understanding of the hardware including 68K assembly and knowledge of high-level programming language like C etc to code your tools.

Lastly, it'd probably be easier to translate the 68K version simply because the Sharp X68000 has a pretty solid debugging emulator.

goldenband

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Re: Nostalgia 1907 (Mega-CD) (JP to ENG Translation)
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2020, 03:06:20 pm »
Now that doesn't mean that translating Sega CD games is impossible, but you need to know your stuff to get anywhere. That means a thorough understanding of the hardware including 68K assembly and knowledge of high-level programming language like C etc to code your tools.

There are exceptions to this. Cosmic Fantasy Stories stores its script in plaintext Shift-JIS and even supports one-byte ASCII. I was able to redo the opening menus with no knowledge of 68K assembly or C --



-- and it would be relatively easy to do a fairly amateurish, late 1990s-quality translation of the game.

(Some folks at Sega-16 worked on it and got a ways into the project including a full script dump etc., but as of now there's no finished patch.)

I think we sometimes overestimate the amount of knowledge required to get anywhere with a game. To do a good job requires real skill of some kind, but if you're willing to do a half-assed job, a lot of the problem is just knowing where to start. Once that's solved, you can begin to make headway -- or at least that's been my experience: once the first piece falls into place, the rest is more a matter of persistence than brilliance.

Since we have basically nothing for Sega CD, even a machine-translated, dialogue-truncated hack job is better than nothing.

Badseed

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Re: Nostalgia 1907 (Mega-CD) (JP to ENG Translation)
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2020, 06:40:44 pm »
I seem to remember a utility used to extract and convert PCM to more easily usable WAV file, I believe it was called PCM2WAV. Don't know if I can link here, so just Google it and you should get information.
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FlashPV

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Re: Nostalgia 1907 (Mega-CD) (JP to ENG Translation)
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2020, 10:06:34 am »

TimeCop

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Re: Nostalgia 1907 (Mega-CD) (JP to ENG Translation)
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2020, 01:12:15 pm »
Just heads up the game is really bad and it was a massive financial bomb that sunk the developer Takeru (who also did Cocoron, Little Samson).