Monday, June 16, 2014

State of the Project 2014

Here is a full report of the project so far. It'll be the only update of its kind this year, as the name implies, providing a look at what has transpired, what's going on right now and also a look ahead.

And so, without further ado...

"My fellow useans..."

Past 

After a year of complete inactivity in 2013, the project entered its 5th year with no sign of improvement. For the last couple of years the project wasn't alive as much as it was on life-support.

And after a little bit of thinking, I thought of asking for help for the first time in years (ed.note: one last attempt). I finally had some time to dedicate to this project so I contacted a few fan-translators and posted about the project on a couple of boards.

In a stroke of luck, two knowledgeable gentlemen came forward and thanks to them the project was successfully revived. This crucial moment can be seen on our thread over at romhacking.net.

The first few weeks saw us working at a breakneck pace. It was mostly me and Dashman trying to figure out how the text images work in AC3 and making the tools that we needed to properly edit them. esperknight was also extremely important to the proceedings as he's the one who managed to extract all the TIMs from the game and decompress them for editing. The first milestones reached were the first successful translation of a cut-scene on March 8 and an almost complete translation of an actual mission on March 30.

Present

As of the publishing of this post, I'm working on the second half of Disc 1. I'm very satisfied with the way the English version is turning out so far, all things considered. What I'm doing is take the English script that we released back in 2010, cram in as much as possible, edit parts where necessary and then insert each block of lines (TIM) in the game.

While I'm not in charge of translating the game as I've never studied Japanese, I have done some translation work in the past, so I'm a little familiar with the way translations work and things that must be taken into consideration: space limitations, fixed timing, formal and informal ways of speaking with some technical and political terms thrown in as well. It's a serious undertaking that requires time, patience, care and a little bit of passion too. So while there's bound to be some trial and error, our standards are high and we won't settle for anything less than that. Anyone interested in seeing what we're doing is invited to watch the aforementioned demonstration videos on my channel. Comments, criticism and corrections are all welcome.

One thing worth pointing out is that Team NEMO is pretty much a skeleton crew. So if, for any reason, someone had to take some time off the project, like real-life concerns, then work on the game would be seriously hampered. In that regard we're a pretty small team considering the task at hand. It's worth keeping that in mind if you're following this project.

Future

High on our priority list is to find and decompress the TIM (text images) files for the radio chatter and communications that play during the missions themselves. Vis-à-vis all cut-scenes, both in-game and not.

The same goes for the "Search" files, critical not only to understanding the world of AC3 (terms, things) but they also provide back-story to the characters and give an overall better picture of the story. These files were not included in the source we used for the script so they still have to be translated. Some were translated by a fan named Jerng in 1999 but his translation is sometimes exceedingly inaccurate.

It's also worth pointing out that a few parts never had subtitles to begin with, such as dialogue that plays for most of M06, the first minute of M29 and the final lines of the hidden "true" ending, just to cite a few examples. I've already inquired about how to handle these and one solution would be to make an emulator plugin that would render soft-subtitles for the sections where there's Japanese dialogue but no box for subtitles to display in like the rest of the game.

And we haven't forgotten about the staff interviews, books and other material but right now we just don't have the manpower to tackle them. And since we rarely find people skilled in Japanese to help out, such material will probably remain un-translated for a good while. There's nothing we can do about it other than hope for someone to volunteer or for another group to work on them.

Also, to anyone who wishes to translate the game from English into their own language, keep in mind that this project's goal has always been to translate AC3 into English, and that's it. So, please, no more comments such as "If you need a *notEnglish* translator, I can help you!" or "I can help you guys translate it into *notEnglish*!" I'm all for it but I recommend contacting me only after we're done translating the game. My enthusiasm for a translation that uses English as its starting point would be severely diminished. I could give extensive support to any one who would translate the game from Japanese to, say, Italian, Portuguese and French in those languages and to a lesser extent German and Spanish.

Closing statement

One important thing: do not ask for updates on the project because that kind of query will remain unanswered. Rest assured that I will keep you all posted for as long as the project is going, just as I've done in the past, so that you're all up-to-date. My recommendation is to follow this project with caution as we haven't cracked the whole game open yet and there are some important things that are still unreachable as of June 2014.

Last but not least, there is no set release date, no ETA and no forecast for a translation patch and any kind of public patch release is still far off. This is still very much a work in progress and there's still a lot of work to be done. We will do everything in our reach to give this game a high-quality translation. Thank you all for following our project.

"...and God bless the United States of Euro-Asia!"