Friday, August 5, 2016

State of the Project 2016

"It looks like the coming age will be on our side."

The 2016 edition of SotP is finally here!


This past year

The project resumed this year after a break of about four months for all members currently involved in the project. In January esperknight extracted the text files from Disc 2.

His patching utility refused to work with those files and because he was unavailable to troubleshoot this, I scrambled to look for some kind of workaround and, in a stroke of luck, I managed to find one by using text files from Disc 1. Early text replacements and play-tests for every single mission in both "campaign" and Mission Simulator modes took place the same month, and soon I deemed this shortcut to be workable so the project could move forward.

A couple of months later the UPEO path would receive its first, almost complete draft (save for a handful of tricky lines). Editing on the Neucom path began soon after and all missions up to the first decision point received first, but nowhere near final, drafts in the month of May. Meanwhile, Disc 1 has also been another important focus, with many improvements already made to every single mission, such as proper grammar and better translations.

In the meantime, I posted a topic and a Help Wanted ad on RHDN that lasted for about 3 months but with limited success, which in the grand scope of things meant slower progress and a few dozen lines that still haven't been checked or that are still in need of complete re-translations.

The translator who gracefully volunteered to translate the character biographies and organization descriptions, that I luckily remembered to exist in text form on the internet, said last year he was going to take a look at the other Search files, for which there is no known text available on the internet, but I never heard from him again. A fact that didn't surprise me one bit because the text images (TIM) are very low-res and transcribing is an arduous and time-consuming task even in favorable conditions. With the way things are, I believe that's as far as we can go in that direction. Never say never but without a translator, they sure won't translate themselves.


A major milestone is just around the corner and that is initial editing. Only less than a dozen missions left for me to take a look at! As of this posting the missions from Cynthia and Fiona branches (after the decision point) are the only ones left and most of those don't have as much text as earlier missions, which is pretty nice and a sign that, in at least one way, we're entering our final stretch. I had to slow down recently but I should be back on it by fall.

Unfortunately the one who translated the whole script back in 2009 and 2010 never returned to the project as he said he would (and I know wanted to as well) when the project was resurrected in 2014 and our other translator who picked up the slack isn't a native English speaker, and that is what the project needs right now if we are to achieve the best possible final release for both discs.

We haven't had a translator to deal with the workload for almost two years but I'll keep looking for one who can help correct mis-translations and refine the lines that sound awkward or that could use some rewording. It's gotta be someone who knows some good Japanese, because I sure as hell don't. That'll be the most important thing this and the coming year, bar none.

So right now with regard to the lines I still have to look at, my editing SOP is simple: pack 'em, stack 'em and rack 'em, until a translator can check and correct them where necessary. As project coordinator, all I need is find a translator who knows his stuff and we're hot.

The question is when. Translators are relatively short in supply but not inexistent, so only time will tell. Worst case scenario happens, the project goes on hold until somebody shows up. Our Disc 1-only release last year was fine for what it was but editing by myself with barely any linguistic help and without someone who can QC release candidates won't cut it this time around.

The future

Other than editing, the last programmer who is still active on the project, Dashman, let me know that he'll look into making the credits scroll translatable as soon as he finds some time to work on it as he has been busy with real life and his own fan-translation project for Super Robot Taisen GC. Early reports from him were promising and positive that it can be done. The groundwork for that was laid by Mike, developer of jPSXdec and member of the fan-translation team who's worked on Serial Experiments Lain.

Another thing on the wish list was finding, after some brainstorming on our main topic on RHDN, a way to display text during the two stretches of unsubbed dialogue, both of which on Disc 1, through a plugin but it remains to be seen if we can find a person who can do that. Two years have passed since that, if nothing changes on this front by the time we have a final script revision, then we'll provide the same notepad file like in our first release. I can and will give this my attention but there's bigger fish to fry right now.

Closing words

And there's all there is to say about the project, top to bottom. So the project is facing difficulties, what else is new. Team NEMO is still in the game and we're playing for keeps.