The Return of Talking Time

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  #1  
Old 08-01-2012, 08:27 PM
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Default The Talking Time Translation Group Recruitment Drive

So, for those of you who do not frequent or have not visited the Let's Play forums, we got the idea recently upon being exposed to the rather excellent Final Fantasy V: The Ancient Cave (ongoing LP thread) that Talking Time might just be a good place to assemble a translation group for ROMhacking projects. We've got a lot of talented people here, and there's a lot of great games (and ROMhacks) out there in need of an English version.

Our plan right now is to start with translating FF5:AC into English, and see where things go from there with other projects. So far, here's who we've got on board:

Sky Render - Translation
Nich - Proofreading/Testing
Kishi - Proofreading/Testing
Elfir - Proofreading/Testing
Droewyn - Proofreading/Testing

What we need at this point above all else is someone who's versed in SNES ROMhacking. In particular for this project, we need someone who can hack an already-modified FF5j ROM to add in a variable-width dialogue font, fixed-width menu font, and also be able to extract and re-insert all of the text that needs to be translated.

EDIT: For convenience's sake, I'll link the FF5:AC rough-cut translation patch here. This will always point to the latest version.

Last edited by Sky Render; 08-04-2012 at 05:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2012, 08:44 PM
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It feels a little unnecessary now that there are so many willing proofreaders/testers, but I can help with that too. I've actually beaten the thing, so maybe that'll help.

It might also be a good idea to mention this over in one of the Final Fantasy threads in the general videogames section. It wouldn't really surprise me if someone with the necessary skills doesn't really check the LP board or the creative board very often.

EDIT:
Latest patch is here.

Translation spreadsheet is here

Last edited by SpoonyGundam; 08-14-2012 at 02:59 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-02-2012, 12:57 AM
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It might be worth it to post a Help Wanted Ad on ROMhacking.net. You might have a larger chance of someone with SNES hacking knowledge noticing than when posting only here.
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  #4  
Old 08-02-2012, 01:11 AM
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Well you've got me interested! I can contribute:

Basic Translation: The stuff so far in the LP is just about right. I'd probably fail hard at any complex dialogue. But it looks like you've already got this covered.

Romhacking: I have no experience here but I'm willing to give it the old college try if no one else wants to step forward.

I did a little bit of looking around and found byte code for the text in the unhacked version, which will be helpful for anyone who wants to begin hacking. The first chart is for menus, the other three are for dialogue. There's also a ROM map and information about how the game engine handles scripted events that might come in handy.

The bad news is that it looks like the font is fixed width so whoever wants to do the hacking would probably have to write their own variable-width processing subroutine(or copy someone else's). But the good news is we at least have a way to start looking for the text data in the rom.
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  #5  
Old 08-02-2012, 01:33 AM
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I can't program or hack, and it looks like testing is covered, but if the gruntwork can be boiled down to something where I just have to follow some simple instructions I'd be happy to help. I have a lot of empty time at the office that I wouldn't mind putting to good use.
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  #6  
Old 08-02-2012, 01:58 AM
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Hm. I'm interested, and I have a little snes hacking knowledge. I'll give it a look over.
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  #7  
Old 08-02-2012, 07:33 AM
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This place might be helpful as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxon View Post
I did a little bit of looking around and found byte code for the text in the unhacked version, which will be helpful for anyone who wants to begin hacking. The first chart is for menus, the other three are for dialogue. There's also a ROM map and information about how the game engine handles scripted events that might come in handy.
That's pretty much what I was trying to find last night, and failed. All I could find were tables and such for the English version. Awesome!

Now, am I right in thinking we could use this information to assemble a table, which we could then use to analyze the hex code in Japanese humanspeak?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxon View Post
The bad news is that it looks like the font is fixed width so whoever wants to do the hacking would probably have to write their own variable-width processing subroutine(or copy someone else's). But the good news is we at least have a way to start looking for the text data in the rom.
Yeah, and there's no full English font within the game, looks like I'd be fine with a crappy fixed-width "translation" that merely made the game playable, but it looks like either way we're stuck with hacking a font in.

Anyone have recommendations on learning this hacking stuff? Everything I could find recommended a lot of DOS tools which my computer won't run.
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  #8  
Old 08-02-2012, 07:55 AM
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I'd like to echo Brick and say that while I have no hacking experience I'd like to throw my hat in, if there's anything I can do.
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  #9  
Old 08-02-2012, 08:15 AM
Jaxon Jaxon is offline
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I guess there's a small community at romhacking.net where you can browse the forums and download hex editors and such.

There's a SNES9x Debugger that will probably be invaluable for anyone doing hacking. You may need to install some visual C++ stuff to get it to work.

And here's a wiki with useful technical information and tutorials.

By the way, at least at first, I'm all for releasing something ugly, but playable, rather than trying to get the fonts perfect and failing to release at all because we attempted to tackle something beyond our abilities. I have a feeling that displaying "J o b [ D N C R ] G e t !" and a menu with "FGHT SKIL SPEL ITEM" will be a lot easier to get working than "You found the Dancer job class!" We might be able to use the experience from a simple hack like that to make progressively more refined versions until we get a result that matches our original vision.

I guess our first job is to get some text out for our translators to work on. My idea is to put it in a Google spreadsheet and let anyone who wants to work on a line or two have a crack at it. I took a quick look at the hacked rom this morning and found a small block of text from 35a000 to 35a26f that looks like it was added in, and probably contains the beginning shopkeeper dialogue. Maybe in a day or two I can have a program to convert the hex into a human-readable(Japanese) format, and maybe stick it all in a CSV and upload it to Google.

We definitely don't need to translate the entire thing, probably just monsters, items, commands, menu text, and whatever the hack developer added in like his shopkeeper dialogue at the beginning.

Last edited by Jaxon; 08-02-2012 at 08:27 AM.
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  #10  
Old 08-02-2012, 08:27 AM
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If it comes down to truncating all the names into four letters, I nominate Brickroad. He will be good at it, I promise.

I used science to determine that.

Here's how it would look if anyone else did it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishi View Post
<Vaeran> Fellatio, Fellatiara, Fellatiaga
<spineshark> FLT GIFLT NAFLT
<TKFlash> Blow1 Blow2 and Blow3 in the SNES version
<TKFlash> (BLO1, BLO2, SUCK in the NES version)
<TKFlash> (SUCK is bugged and does nothing)
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  #11  
Old 08-02-2012, 09:19 AM
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Default AHAHAHAH I HiT EDIT TO WRITE THAT DUMB LIST THING AND THEN FORGOT ABOUT IT

I nominate myself for testing because you need at least one guy willing to test it live in a stream while talking to Smiler about I'm da bes.

Or talking to Fanboymaster about Sonic 2006.
Or talking to Gahitsu about Nerdcore.
Or talking to Nukular about Trolling.
Or talking to Phat about Society.
Or talking to Tefari about Politics.
Or talking to Kayin about Philosophy/Unusual Porno.

Last edited by BEAT; 08-02-2012 at 10:32 AM. Reason: ONLY TO COME BACK TO THE BROWSER HOURS LATER AND GO OH YEAH I NEVER HIT SUBMIT WHOOPS
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  #12  
Old 08-02-2012, 09:43 AM
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Here's the new interested recruits and their suggested roles as I understood them so far.

SpoonyGundam - Testing
Jaxon - Testing and Tool-Finding
Brickroad - Testing and Name Condensation
madhair60 - Testing
BEAT - Tester and Comedic Relief
Austin - ROMhacking

Any corrections, make 'em now before I add 'em to the list. And as for the testing angle, I can tell you from experience that more testers equals faster beta-to-release cycles. The only way we can have too many testers is if every regular on Talking Time decides they want to be a tester.
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  #13  
Old 08-02-2012, 09:45 AM
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Well hell, sign me up for being a tester too. I was worried I wouldn't have anything to contribute to this project, but if I can do that much then sure.
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  #14  
Old 08-02-2012, 10:48 AM
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Probably not necessary since the amount of text is so small and there's so much precedent to refer to that it's mostly just a data-entry task, but if this gets off the ground I can help with translation if there's a logical and efficient way for you to delegate the work. Or if you want someone to double check any translations once they're done.

If delegating is more trouble than its worth and it's easier just to do it yourself (which I suspect might be the case), never mind!
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  #15  
Old 08-02-2012, 11:10 AM
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Well, if you can't have too many testers, count me in.

I'm not the best FF5 player in the world, but I love the game very much.
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  #16  
Old 08-02-2012, 11:52 AM
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This thread psychically hurts me, since I'd really like to help out with the technical programmer-stuff, but there is no way I can commit the time.

Luckily, if you are just going to try to compress the text to fit (rather than expand the ROM), you seem to have most of what you need. If I might propose a first-pass way to approach things:
  • Somebody needs to find the tile graphics that represent the various characters, and figure out how to get a bare-bones English alphabet in there. They might as well stick with the ASCII encoding, just to make everybody's life easier.
  • Given the encoding table that Jaxon posted, it should be possible for some of the testers to pick various strings from in the game, encode them into hex, and search for those hex strings in the ROM to get their offsets. We'll need to compile a database of these [offset][JP text][hex bytes][full translation][condensed translation][ASCII bytes of condensed translation] tuples. A wiki might be the easiest way to organize this, so that each person can work on the part of the task they are suited to.
  • Once somebody has patched in the English character graphics (for an ASCII encoding), it should be possible to take the condensed encodings off of the wiki and start patching them into the ROM with a raw hex editor.
Obviously there are probably tools out there that the dedicated translation teams use to make this all faster, but it seems to me like you could make a fair bit of headway just with the ad-hoc approach I've outlined there.
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  #17  
Old 08-02-2012, 12:14 PM
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The most rom hacking experience I have is changing START to POOP in Mega Man 5. So I can't really help but I'll be interested in seeing how this goes.

And in addition to romhacking.net, you might also want to consider posting a help wanted thread at GBATEMP.net

Last edited by Donny; 08-02-2012 at 11:18 PM.
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  #18  
Old 08-02-2012, 12:15 PM
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I can't really contribute anything to this project (aside from moral support GO TEAM!), but I do promise to play the resulting hack no matter how ugly and broken the English winds up being. If I can understand it, I will play it!
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  #19  
Old 08-02-2012, 12:20 PM
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I've started a "quick-and-dirty" hack of the ROM. It's not pretty, but it's kinda functional. If nothing else, I can get the menus to be intelligible this way. Here's what I have so far:



You can see why it's called a quick-and-dirty hack, I'm sure.
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  #20  
Old 08-02-2012, 12:37 PM
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I've never done ROM hacking, so I'm not going to volunteer for that, but if you need some general programming done, send it my way.
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  #21  
Old 08-02-2012, 12:42 PM
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That looks pretty great, Sky Render. I guess you found an English font? What tools are you using?
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprite View Post
That looks pretty great, Sky Render. I guess you found an English font? What tools are you using?
Seriously, that's a great start (for less than a day's work!). As long as the item, spell and ability names are translated, the game will be playable for most folks. It's not that hard to memorize a few menu headers, since you use them over and over again. And the enemy names aren't such a great priority, since you can just look at them and have a pretty good idea what you're dealing with.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:27 PM
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Menu work is dead easy when you're not trying to expand anything. I used Tile Layer Pro to replace the Japanese font with an English one (just a hand-done on-the-fly rendition, which is why it looks so rough-cut), and I'm using Windhex32 to edit the menu text.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky Render View Post
Menu work is dead easy when you're not trying to expand anything. I used Tile Layer Pro to replace the Japanese font with an English one (just a hand-done on-the-fly rendition, which is why it looks so rough-cut), and I'm using Windhex32 to edit the menu text.
So would skills, magic and job names all be this easy to hack? 'Cause if so, it looks like you could have a playable version of this thing ready by this weekend! Can't help but feel like I'm missing something that would make it harder to do, though.
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  #25  
Old 08-02-2012, 01:57 PM
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Awesome, Sky render got me off the hook. Change me to tester!
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  #26  
Old 08-02-2012, 02:09 PM
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Any way I could help with the grunt work there? I still don't really understand this stuff but if you assigned me a chunk of the file and some table reference I might be able to figure it out.
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Old 08-02-2012, 02:23 PM
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Alright, it's about as rough-cut as you can possibly get, but here is the unofficial 0.1 FF5:Ancient Cave translation patch. Apply it to an already-patched copy of FF5: The Ancient Cave and it will automagically swap all of the menus into (very compressed) English. Enemy names and anything in the "big font" are unaffected by this patch, and in fact it will be a detriment to anyone familiar with Japanese since all item, spell, Job, etc. names are now gibberish when opening chests.
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  #28  
Old 08-02-2012, 02:27 PM
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Wow, so I guess "this weekend" was a bit of an overestimation? Nice work, Sky.
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  #29  
Old 08-02-2012, 02:28 PM
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How limited is the character space if you just alter the big font like you did for the other one? Is that even an option?

Most of it is just for some various settings in the starting tavern or item messages in chests, so I doubt anyone would really complain if the messages need heavy compression and aren't remotely grammatically correct. As long as people can tell that this barrel and that jar removes XP/AP or whatever, it's fine.
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Old 08-02-2012, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoonyGundam View Post
How limited is the character space if you just alter the big font like you did for the other one? Is that even an option?

Most of it is just for some various settings in the starting tavern or item messages in chests, so I doubt anyone would really complain if the messages need heavy compression and aren't remotely grammatically correct. As long as people can tell that this barrel and that jar removes XP/AP or whatever, it's fine.
I can alter the big font (it's a bit of a pain since few tile editors support 12x12 1BPP) and probably even do a slipshod bit of translation work on the affected text. But that's kinda an 80/20 effect there (ie. it'd take me as long or longer to do that work as it has taken me to do what I've done so far). I will be doing another patch soonish that does affect that, but for now you'll have to be happy with what I've done so far. At least you can read the menus now, right?
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