Go for it, Goemon! Depose the Odd Shōgun McGuinness!
September 7, 2020
Screenshots Legacy bug fixes
- All text, signage, and HUD elements localized from Japanese to English.
- Expanded speech bubbles, menu windows, and cutscene text display areas.
- Greater variation of typefaces.
- Legacy bug fixes.
- Completion of post-clear dialogue.
Most of the bugs that this game shipped with are graphical in nature, however there are some gameplay bugs as well. I am slowly working through fixes for all of them. Some of the more superficial issues are fixed in this Beta release.
For example, during Act 3, the dragon on the Map of Japan was obscured by the HUD: Post-clear dialogue
The game's code makes it obvious that post-clear dialogue was intended for all NPCs, but the designers either ran out of time, or space, since only a handful of them have something new to say after the game has been cleared.
I struggled with how this could be completed without "making stuff up", and finally settled on having NPCs discuss the historical Japanese artwork featured throughout the game, as well as share information about the local geography. This allowed me to keep the content within the bounds of the original game, building on the game's celebration of Japanese culture while enriching the player's knowledge, rather than inventing dialogue wholesale. It was a great opportunity to educate English speaking players about content that native Japanese players would have been quite familiar with.
After adding this post-clear dialogue, the Data Bank designated for in-game text was nearly full, but I'm thinking about utilizing the remaining space by adding post-clear dialogue for the Konami characters that make cameos in the game. It might be cool to have them briefly discuss the history of their respective franchises.Personal notes
More than 20 years after the joining The Scene, I have finally released my first project! In so doing I have at once completed my first attempt at video game graphics, published my first translation, and tackled my first ASM hack!
On January 1st of this year I stopped drinking, began learning Assembly Language and reverse engineering the game, and started sleeping just three and a half to four hours per night.
After six months of work, I am 30 pounds lighter and have become an advanced ASM hacker, but most importantly, have stuck it out and brought my project to completion. Over the years, many people have dropped by the forum to show their support for my work, give their opinions about the effort, and express excitement about its eventual release. I was incredibly grateful, wanted to make this a reality and was determined to come through for everyone that had anticipated playing my translation of this game.
One thing that I feel is crucial to mention here, however, is that although I have great personal fondness for this game, I finished this project mostly out of a desire to demonstrate several things to others. I really want to encourage members of The Scene, as well as my own children, friends, and family, by proving through my own actions that anything is possible -- that anyone can do anything -- and that if one is determined, patient, and persistent, and most of all, truly believes in themself and what they are doing, that whatever the goal is, it will be realized.
I knew absolutely nothing about Assembly Language before this. I'd attempted to study some trace logs from one of the Romancing SaGa games several years ago and at a glance the data meant nothing to me and had me feeling totally out of my depth. But now I get it. It's a matter of solving a puzzle. The pieces are there, and it's up to you to make sense of them. Anyone who remains observant through the initial confusion and refuses to abandon hope will make sense of the puzzle and find multiple ways to solve it.
Pixel art was another foreign subject to me before working on this game, but there was no way around it considering the plethora of in-game signs, HUD elements, and typefaces that the game contains. In order to do justice to the original artwork, which all appears as though hand-drawn, carved from wood, woven into tapestries, etc., I had to challenge myself time and time again, and be very critical of my own work, one revision after another. I refused to implement anything that didn't closely resemble its original counterpart both visually and stylistically. Working with pixels was just as intimidating as picking up ASM, but in both cases, a refusal to give up or lose hope gave way to continual improvement.
I see many posts from people who want to modify title screens or take on translations, and they are often told to simply "learn ASM", but I would say, more specifically, you merely need to learn how the game does what it does in that specific instance, then learn how to modify that portion using creativity and strategy. Of course ASM is going to be involved, it's how these games are modified. But you only need to know enough to tackle the immediate goal. As you take on more and go deeper, you will learn more Assembly Language by default, almost automatically, one step at a time. That's how anything happens, right?
The bottom line is that you've got to get your hands dirty, but achieving your goals is a matter of hard work while continually resisting the opposition, be it internal, external, or both. Often it will be both, and will come in droves!
At the beginning of the year, I didn't know what ASM was, but I put the effort in to study it, and now I'm in a position to release all of the many games that I've translated and graphically localized. You can place yourself in a similar position by enduring what I now refer to as 16-bit Misogi. You will suddenly find yourself hollering "Yo!" with a bottle of saké in hand while celebrating having made extensive modifications to pre-existing software from Japan. Dreams come true if you care about them enough.
This project has taken so many strange twists and turns. But I'm very tired out so rather than write the backstory down today, I'll come back for an update in the future. Meanwhile, I'll allow my work to speak for itself!
Enjoy the game!