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Author Topic: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project  (Read 5645 times)

ManaRedux

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Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« on: June 02, 2020, 02:13:32 am »
With Queue's blessing, I am creating a dedicated thread for the SAP.

The purpose of the SAP is a thorough relocalization of Seiken Densetsu 2 AKA Secret of Mana.  In the 27 years since the game's release, there has been a desire for a more satisfying realization of the script. The 2018 remake followed Ted Woolsey's original English translation more than most realize, and left out a host of nuances that were present in the original. 

I want to stress that we are trying to create the best script possible while centering the original, so this is not a "pure" translation per se.  First, there are some aspects of existing translations, such as Woolsey's, that provide additions or interpretations of the original that are memorable and work well, and a few will be retained.  Additionally, there are a few places where the original was unclear or comes off rather awkward when translated into English.  The characters also speak in different dialects and styles, and decisions were made that provided each character with an effective voice.

The "augmentation" part comes from some additional lines and possibly small events that will flesh out the text.  The philosophy is "less is more" here.  Whatever is used should blend in smoothly.  Certain guides in the Japanese language have some additional lore on the characters, and there are also the inn conversations from the remake, as well as the deleted prologues and side quests.  Some of this material is superfluous, repetitive, and frankly uninspiring (probably why so much went unused).  But a line here and there, some extra humor, some extra info on a character, story development, etc., may find its way into the script.

The project was divided into four phases: lining up existing translations, creating a "base" retranslation, identifying places for augmentation, and then inserting the text.

Phase 1 amounted to data entry.  The Japanese text was aligned with Woolsey's, the 2018 remake, Reverend Cheddar's spirited partial retranslation from the lparchive.org, and kwhazit's partial retranslation from kwhazit's Oddities. 

Phase 2: the initial step was creating a first baseline draft based on the sources above, and dictionaries and translators (I don't speak Japanese).  When I had questions, kwhazit was kind of enough to lend time, as well as Zeal, a friend of mine who teaches English in Japan. 

After this, we were joined by Taosenai, an East Asian Studies professor with a PhD in Japanese history.  He's not only fluent in the language, but is educated on historic and cultural contexts of Japanese texts.  (He's also a huge fan of the game).  Taosenai and myself are going line by line, creating commentary along the way and are currently about 60% of the way through the script.  He is contributing as he can, so it may be a few more weeks before all ~43000 Japanese characters are examined.  Soon after, we should have an almost final draft.

Phase 3: Almost all the places for additions have been identified.  I'm still waiting on a few guides to arrive from Japan after months of waiting, but I will have a proposal to Queue shortly, and we can figure out what we can and can't do.

Phase 4: A script importation program has already been written, and Queue and myself are working on the logistics.  I have already playtested a portion of the first draft.

As of now, we are sticking with the original wide font, which works better than you might think.  We'll decide if this needs to be changed later. 

The largest translation problem at the moment are what pronouns (if any) to use for Popoie.  This has turned into a lengthy discussion, so I will write more on that later.




June 06, 2020, 11:46:24 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Some comparison screenshots of what we have so far:





Each cannon travel man has a unique laugh.  The second two lines will be moved to the next box.  GP will still be capitalized; we just have to fix the place it's called from. 



The original erroneously gave this line to a guard, not Jema.  The 2018 remake changed "king" to "chancellor", which seemed baffling until we found another line that translates as "the Republic's king."  Even though this fellow is wearing a crown and robes, the whole point of a Republic is that there's no king anywhere.  It makes sense that the Empire has an emperor, Pandora has a king, and Tasnica has a chancellor. 
« Last Edit: June 06, 2020, 11:46:24 pm by reconstructingmana »

Queue

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2020, 02:31:09 pm »
Oh whoops, the lowercase "gp" was my fault when transcribing. Since the first draft was complete I had it importing automatically, but the second draft still has some holes in it so I had set the event text for it up by hand.

There are quite a few more good examples between the original English and Script Augmentation Project's Retranslation that I'll get comparison screenshots prepared for.

azidahaka

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2020, 02:54:12 pm »
Been talking about this project for year along with reconstructingmana  :thumbsup:

Great stuff, can't wait to help with the extra stuff and i keep rooting for a VWF that would be a great gift for the worldwide fans that wish to translate the game to their own languages. :angel:

DragonArk

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2020, 08:31:39 pm »
Looking forward to it! If you need an extra set of eyes to go through the script and make any suggestions I'm happy to.

Vanya

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2020, 10:57:29 pm »
"I'm interested in this."

Really like the attention to detail here.
And especially intrigued by the expanded lore and character information.

Thanatos-Zero

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2020, 12:43:35 pm »
It seems RedScorpion and I helped to inspire this project.
I sort of wish we succeeded in the first place and in time.
But you know what? You will do a far more better job, than we did.

By the way, are there any plans to make foreshadowing towards Anise the witch?
It is said, that she herself, always grows strong whenever Mana grows weak.
According to Dawn of Mana and Trials of Mana, she seeks to flood all worlds with the Dark Echoes of Mavolia, destroying them the process.

Thirteen 1355

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2020, 03:12:58 pm »
Meh. Think it'd be much better to just write what they were actually trying to write (at which they already failed horribly originally), instead of adding in stuff from later games. It'd be good to add stuff confirmed missing or unused but planned back in, though.
Helicoptering about till I find some ROM hacking treasure.

ManaRedux

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2020, 06:41:41 pm »
It seems RedScorpion and I helped to inspire this project.
I sort of wish we succeeded in the first place and in time.
But you know what? You will do a far more better job, than we did.

By the way, are there any plans to make foreshadowing towards Anise the witch?
It is said, that she herself, always grows strong whenever Mana grows weak.
According to Dawn of Mana and Trials of Mana, she seeks to flood all worlds with the Dark Echoes of Mavolia, destroying them the process.

IIRC, you were part of the many GameFAQs discussions back in the day on the game's development.  I was a lurker on those threads, but it was part of the inspiration for my site, which indirectly led to this project.

I am hopelessly ignorant about the rest of the Mana series.  My philosophy is more in line with Thirteen 1355, especially since the Mana games are only loosely based on each other.

Meh. Think it'd be much better to just write what they were actually trying to write (at which they already failed horribly originally), instead of adding in stuff from later games. It'd be good to add stuff confirmed missing or unused but planned back in, though.

Yes, but only from books and the remake, sadly.  Despite years of exhaustive research, I have never found any prerelease elements that can be realized, unless you count dummied animations/items.  A significant portion of one prerelease area can be reconstructed by joining screenshots, but it's still incomplete and we don't know where it fit in.  I think it was a test map.

There is evidence that you were supposed to be able to start with the girl or sprite instead of the boy, similar to Trials of Mana. 

From prerelease maps, we know what areas looked like in development, but have no idea what was actually there.

Some have suggested that I "run wild" and expand the scenario based on what I know, but I'm sure you can imagine the complexities of such a problem are insurmountable, and the final product would be at best, depressingly arbitrary.

Thanatos-Zero

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2020, 06:19:52 am »
IIRC, you were part of the many GameFAQs discussions back in the day on the game's development.  I was a lurker on those threads, but it was part of the inspiration for my site, which indirectly led to this project.
I am interrested to take a read of those topics. If you do not mind, can you provide a link?

I am hopelessly ignorant about the rest of the Mana series.  My philosophy is more in line with Thirteen 1355, especially since the Mana games are only loosely based on each other.
Partially yes, partially no. Legend of Mana for example references both Seiken Densetsu 2 and 3, as it serves as a sort of mainhub, which connects all the worlds.
It is good, that dedicated fans brought the script to the web.
https://legendofmana.info/encyclopedias/world-history/

But the general gist is, that a portion of the games have their own universes.
SD1 and it's remakes is one such universe.
Dawn of Mana and Children of Mana form one, as well as Heroes of Mana and Trials of Mana.
However there is the implication that those four games belong to one universe.

In any case Secret of Mana is his own universe, but in any case we shouldn't ignore the connections.

Yes, but only from books and the remake, sadly.  Despite years of exhaustive research, I have never found any prerelease elements that can be realized, unless you count dummied animations/items.  A significant portion of one prerelease area can be reconstructed by joining screenshots, but it's still incomplete and we don't know where it fit in.  I think it was a test map.
I believe many unused elements can be found in the future games. Trials of Mana, Legend of Mana, Dawn of Mana... We only need to keep our eyes and ears open.

There is evidence that you were supposed to be able to start with the girl or sprite instead of the boy, similar to Trials of Mana.
IIRC Moppleton/Moppo's SoM Randomiser as of now allows to start the game with one of the three.

From prerelease maps, we know what areas looked like in development, but have no idea what was actually there.
We can only guess. But we reach the points through constant questioning.

Some have suggested that I "run wild" and expand the scenario based on what I know, but I'm sure you can imagine the complexities of such a problem are insurmountable, and the final product would be at best, depressingly arbitrary.
This can be done last, after everything else has been finished down the line.

Thirteen 1355

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2020, 06:40:07 am »
My current issue with Secret of Mana is not just the writing, but also the story being quite incoherent (didn't I read that on Redux? The seeds sealed/unsealed and needing to be sealed/unsealed). I don't know how much would need to be changed to make the story at least work, but maybe it's possible to aim for that? The Mana series' stories confuse me, if anything.
Helicoptering about till I find some ROM hacking treasure.

Thanatos-Zero

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2020, 06:52:01 am »
My current issue with Secret of Mana is not just the writing, but also the story being quite incoherent (didn't I read that on Redux? The seeds sealed/unsealed and needing to be sealed/unsealed). I don't know how much would need to be changed to make the story at least work, but maybe it's possible to aim for that? The Mana series' stories confuse me, if anything.
That is one of the things I love to see resolved in a proper fashion.
Also, there is this burning question I have for a while.
Why does our heroic trio go to the empire in the first place?

At this point in the game, we as the player lack a proper motivation in-universe to go there.

In Trials of Mana for example, we were always pointed towards the locations of the mana stones for to gather the mana spirits.

ManaRedux

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2020, 03:11:09 pm »
@Queue, my Japanese books finally arrived today!  Took me almost two months to procure them.  Some really great material in here. 

I am interrested to take a read of those topics. If you do not mind, can you provide a link?

See my signature 8)

My current issue with Secret of Mana is not just the writing, but also the story being quite incoherent (didn't I read that on Redux? The seeds sealed/unsealed and needing to be sealed/unsealed). I don't know how much would need to be changed to make the story at least work, but maybe it's possible to aim for that? The Mana series' stories confuse me, if anything.

That article needs some work when I launch the website, but the basic idea holds.  In fact, while retranslating the script, it makes it clear that significant battles are happening "off camera", and perhaps there was some unsealing going on.  Maybe if I reread the whole thing carefully, I can figure it out. 

Heaven Piercing Man

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2020, 04:28:17 am »
What is the money called in Japanese?

Thanatos-Zero

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2020, 10:10:47 am »
What is the money called in Japanese?
I do not know, what the money was called in Seiken Densetsu 2, but in future games the currency is called Lucre.
Neither do I know, if it is a localised name or of the japanese original.

Queue

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2020, 03:03:33 pm »
Quote from: ManaRedux
@Queue, my Japanese books finally arrived today!  Took me almost two months to procure them.  Some really great material in here.
Neat! And a that's a relief.

I've been working on the next pass at the integration script, to have it better handle how it decides to split up text between boxes, etc. and how it handles mismatches in how some text is laid out by row in the spreadsheet. My goal is still to need as little specialized markup as possible.

For testing I was try to make it use the second draft text, then fall back on the first draft text where the second draft wasn't done, but that was proving to be needlessly complex and ultimately a waste as the second draft gets finished and the next draft (or whatever) is worked on. So that was sort've a frustrating waste of effort. -_-

ManaRedux

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2020, 03:36:36 pm »
Neat! And a that's a relief.

I've been working on the next pass at the integration script, to have it better handle how it decides to split up text between boxes, etc. and how it handles mismatches in how some text is laid out by row in the spreadsheet. My goal is still to need as little specialized markup as possible.

For testing I was try to make it use the second draft text, then fall back on the first draft text where the second draft wasn't done, but that was proving to be needlessly complex and ultimately a waste as the second draft gets finished and the next draft (or whatever) is worked on. So that was sort've a frustrating waste of effort. -_-

Much appreciated!  I've started going through and am moving text around so it fits within the confines of each box.  Hopefully, that will reduce confusion and make the process more uniform. 


I do not know, what the money was called in Seiken Densetsu 2, but in future games the currency is called Lucre.
Neither do I know, if it is a localised name or of the japanese original.

In our notes, we have it as "Luc." 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 03:41:40 pm by ManaRedux »

BobNewbie

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2020, 10:58:50 pm »
I wanted to give my thumbs up and support for the team. I'm Currently Learning Japanese(tm) with the personal goal of playing Secret of Mana (せいけんでんせつ2) in its native language. Personally, I always kicked around the idea of doing a new translation myself. I even thought about the logistics, such as how to expand the ROM to support a [longer] English script. Until recently, it just seemed like Secret of Mana was a forgotten gem, but, now, the franchise has found new life. I've been a fan of your blog, ManaRedux, and I definitely think you have passion for the game. Thank you, SAP Team, for undertaking this project.

azidahaka

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2020, 05:25:23 pm »
That is one of the things I love to see resolved in a proper fashion.
Also, there is this burning question I have for a while.
Why does our heroic trio go to the empire in the first place?

At this point in the game, we as the player lack a proper motivation in-universe to go there.

In Trials of Mana for example, we were always pointed towards the locations of the mana stones for to gather the mana spirits.
My current issue with Secret of Mana is not just the writing, but also the story being quite incoherent (didn't I read that on Redux? The seeds sealed/unsealed and needing to be sealed/unsealed). I don't know how much would need to be changed to make the story at least work, but maybe it's possible to aim for that? The Mana series' stories confuse me, if anything.

I had lots of talks and conjectures about the whole sealing/unsealing situation with Manaredux, and my personal idea is that the mana fortress is a kind of mana battery that needs to be charged to reactivate. Breaking the seals causes it to syphon mana energy until it has enough charge to reactivate itself. Also the mana seeds seems to have to be in their shrines for the process to happen; else the empire could just steal off the seeds instead of breaking the seals and leaving them where they are, right?

Last musing is that it's very strategic from the empire to be so stubbornly going for the water seed since tasnica republic is a maritime power and the stormy weathers that the weakining of the water seeds produces certainly made the country weaker.

ManaRedux

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2020, 05:56:33 am »
@Queue, I reformatted all text in the second draft so far.  It now lines up exactly as it should appear in the game, and speakers are designated again.  I used RANDIX and PURIMX for the boy and girl to account for the extra possible byte.  I don't think there's a need to switch to the wide font after all.  Even if we did, we'd still have to break some sentences up.  In my entire run through, I only had to remove two words (a clarification that wasn't in the original script) to make things fit better.

Because the lines are in memory order, I'm not always sure which were spoken by the girl before you name her.  The script has GIRL regardless.  I guess we'll find out during playtesting if we have a gogogogogogogogogogogogo... situation on our hands.  ;D

One problem to solve is the prologue.  I believe the original prologue has six text boxes (not counting "But time flows...).  The retranslated prologue has fourteen, as some of the lines have been spaced our for dramatic effect.  From a coding standpoint, I don't know what the easiest route is, but we could start out with a black screen, and then have the graphics come in at the correct point.  We could also insert extra scenes into the prologue and/or change the timing.  It has to line up perfectly to sync with the music with the flyover.  When I played the first draft version, it was comical waiting for the text to finish, just running endlessly...

Another problem is the correct formatting of decisions, like (Yes No).  How much space between the choices can be constant if everything fits on one line, but with the expanded translation, oftentimes, we need two.  The way Google Sheets works, getting extra spaces to show up correctly is difficult. 

Sometimes, both the Japanese script and Woolsey (more often in Woolsey) saved space by having a box with one word that starts multiple sentences.  For example, there's one box with Salamando, and then other boxes with sentences that continue after that.  In many cases, the original Japanese did not have this cutoff, but I don't think it will be an issue.

There are some lines that are unique to the Japanese script or Woolsey.  Luckily, they seem to come after the previous lines, and are not randomly spaced in the list.  This is also true for lines we're adding.

Also, when analyzing enemies/orbs for magic, Woolsey's version had this:

Gnome
Undine
Sylphid
Salamando
Lumina
Shade
Luna
Dryad
s magic
will work

The Japanese simply has, "Responded to X's magic."  Some workaround there will be needed.

Taosenai informed me that he was grading papers last week, and plans on resuming work this week.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 01:01:07 am by ManaRedux »

Queue

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Re: Secret of Mana: Script Augmentation Project
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2020, 02:38:19 pm »
For the prologue... hm... one option is shorter pauses between text boxes. The player will have less time to read, but this would be a way to fit more text to avoid desyncing the audio. Inserting more scenes wouldn't help as the audio is what limits us: the prologue sound is all one long track that just plays, and the text and visuals are timed to it. Showing text before starting up the audio is an option, though I'd think that would need to be done sparingly to not be ugly.



The decision text things have to all fit on one line. The game's mechanism for highlighting the current selection simply can't span lines. The parenthesis aren't required, they were used as an indicator to clarify you had a choice to select (though an ending parenthesis is the only character that can terminate the highlighting on a final choice).

Additionally, I have to have the decision options split to multiple rows in the spreadsheet:
look at rows 148 / 149
Code: [Select]
Do you want to save?
(Yes No)
Those and the matching Woolsey lines must be split up into at least 2 rows, but ideally 4; so either:
Code: [Select]
Do you want to save?
(Yes
No)
...or even better:
Code: [Select]
Do you want to save?
(
Yes
No
)
There's no other way for me to automatically match up the old and new text for the options because some options contain multiple words. Pick either the layout where the parenthesis get their own rows, or where they're attached to the first and last choice and stick to it, and I'll program the integration script to match.

For example, row 180:
Code: [Select]
(Hand it over    Run Away)I can't tell if that's 5 options or fewer; the wide space in the middle is inadequate.

For reference, internally, a 2 choice decision is broken up into 3 chunks:
Code: [Select]
(
One
Two )

I can compensate for the orphaned opening parenthesis, but there's no way for me to break up the choice words when some options are multiple words.

Additionally, if you want specialized spacing, use underscores in place of spaces. In the row 180 example, if you want 4 spaces between the choices, I think the following would be the most reasonable way to format it:
Code: [Select]
(Hand it over
___Run Away)
Note it's 3 underscores for 4 spaces. One space is currently always inserted between decision choices (this can be changed, but only if the spaces are explicitly defined in the spreadsheet). The extra spaces are attached to the following decision to ensure option highlighting seams occur in the space.



The events trying to share text to save space isn't too tough to work around, and we don't have the space constraint that necessitates them (technically neither did Woolsey; there was actually a fairly healthy amount of free space left). There aren't actually too many of these: the Sage-is-out stuff uses it, but adjustments are already in place for those; the little hint girl in Kakkara's lines will need accommodations in the integration script, but that shouldn't be too tough.



The spell orb stuff can either be handled the same way as Woolsey, where it's just the elemental name, followed by a suffix event that adds the rest, or if you want custom text per element, the suffix can be detached and you just write what you want per elemental. Either works for me.

So if you want it to be "Responded to ???'s magic!" put that in place of each elemental name, and put some sort of note like "UNUSED" in place of the separate "'s magic will work!" text.



I still intend to set up (many) more example screenshots but unfortunately found myself short on time this past week+, sorry!