Sunday, July 30, 2017

Rebuild of State of the Project '17 Dragon's Den

of this headline.

Pictured: Namco Hometek's localization process
Hey there nemoheads, it's a beautiful day here at the Chapter 11 office complex and this year's report on the AC3 fan-translation is finally here, for good! Took a while, but I needed a good break after the last release and if you didn't read my last news post, I had a full report ready to publish months ago until it got FUBAR'd. So I rebuilt it, because we have the technology.

The whole shebang in fewer words than are in this sentence: project leader returns from vacation, shit gets real

The review: our AC3 fan-translation is about to get a whole lot better! Numerous changes and improvements to the script, translations for every single Search file, more menus translated plus the AppenDisc, and more! The core experience is finally accessible, now it's time to push it to the limit of the tools that members of Team NEMO created for the project plus... PLUS a more refined unpacker created by German developer Krishty that allows us here to edit and replace new material, resulting in us reaching new strides this year! All details below. ALL of them (I'm not kidding).

State of the Project 2017 Opening Theme Song
This song perfectly represents my current mood about the project.

DISCLAIMER: If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. You are now entering my kitchen.

This is the lines that's drawn ↓ Are you game?


You have just entered
the Dragon Zone.
Enjoy your stay.
*Japanese bow*
*Kabuki yo*


Fi, I need your strength.

You can do this!

No pain


No pain


No pain



Project on Fire


*Dragon enters office*

Captain D, how you doing? :D

Where the fuck you been, Dragon?

*hands file*

And what the fuck is this?

It's a progress report.

*starts reading*
W-what in hell you need 2 years for?

A little extra time... to work on the project...

Extra time? Well, let's see here...
2 years for a translation.
4 years for insertion.
A request for an additional translator.
I don't wanna see any more of these progress reports.
When am I gonna see some completion reports?

I know that you're getting upset and I know that you have reason to be upset, but let me tell you something, Chief, I am close.
I am so close now, I am closer than I've ever been and it's, it's making me crazy.
'Cause I can smell it, it's in the air, and I smell it.
I *sniffs* Do you smell it? 'Cause I smell it.

All I smell is your bullshit.
For 8 years I've been pouring time down a bottomless hole.
Where are the subs at the end of this rainbow?

Wait a second, look.
I just thought that if there was a problem...

Don't think, Dragon!
It makes my dick itch.
The truth is, this department's fronted you a lot of time.
And my ass is on the line.
I OK'd all this shit.
I must have been out of my fucking mind to keep letting you talk me into this shit.
But I can't pull out until I get some kind of closure or my career's finished.
But I promise you, I won't go down alone.
I'm gonna give you one year.
If I don't see some results by then, I'm gonna cover my own ass.
How do you like that arrangement?

If I only have one year to do this, I have to go deep into the translation.
I'm deep now. 
This is deep.
But I'm going deeper.
I don't want no more time, but I'm going deep, deep, deep into the translation.
So you sign that for me, and I'm going so deep, Sir, you'll not even know... where I...
People are gonna try to page me.
Ah, no answer, 'cause I'm gonna be deep into the translation.

I'm tired of your bullshit, Dragon.
You got one year.
If I don't see some results by then, I'm gonna grind your ass into dog meat.
You got that?

I'll have a dog-meat ass.
Now could you please sign my authorization for my extra time, please?

Extra time...
Just make sure nothing happens to those files, that's a 25 gigabyte folder, you know?

Oh, no, no.
That's a 38 gigabyte folder.
It's got everything.
From the game to the project, and like...

You just better make sure nothing happens to it.

Don't worry about a thing.
The folder is safe.
I'm using it.
No one else will use it but me, 24 hours a day I'll be at my computer, I will eat, sleep, drink, shit...

No, I ain't going to shit... hehehe 
You thought I was going to...
Well, I ain't gonna shit on my computer, alright, I ain't gonna shit.


*leaving Captain D's office*
Don't worry about a thing though.
I am on the job.
Don't worry about a thing.
I am on the job!
*shuts door*



- Look Erich, Team NEMO is back
- I thought they were dead...
Yeah, we've gotten that a lot over the years...

Re-Enter the Dragon

- You have my attention
The script: there are a number of changes that I'm making to it, most improvements have already been made all across the board. There's enough that I'm doing and that I'm still going to do that could make for a post longer than the whole report so, to keep it short, it could use a little more cowbell. Some changes will be noticeable improvements (especially if you know your stuff), others you won't notice... BUT YOUR BRAIN WILL!

Taking a break helped a lot and the translation is gonna be better than ever when it's out. I'm putting everything into question, taking nothing for granted and that's what's going to make the next version worthwhile. The good thing is a lot is gonna stay virtually the same, barring formats or very tiny details, because the work done for v2.0, the re-translations and checks, really paid off, top notch stuff. Better yet, as I type this the script side of things is done too! Which means I can dedicate more time to other parts of the game. But don't let that fool you, compared to some things this was the easiest part, and this wasn't easy to begin with.

Menus: this part is really cool too. If you play v2.0 you'll see Japanese subtitles until you start or load a game, giving the impression that there was some error in the patching of the game. Now, thanks to German developer Kristhy, our next patch release will have subtitles for all those blue menus up until you start a new game or load an old one (his model viewer, his thread, cool stuff for fans!). And the plane and weapon selection menus have been given a makeover too also thanks to his AC3 unpacker! The biggest improvement in that is going to be text that doesn't look horizontally stretched. And thanks to that, "Damage tolerance" is finally back in, having replaced my workaround "Armor", which never really made sense because aircraft aren't really armored in a traditional sense. Other improvements include better subtitles, better colors, better formatting and other graphical tweaks. You won't notice many of these things BUT YOUR BRAIN WILL!

Old hex edit I made, this screen is subbed now,
no more guessing whether to press O or X when starting a new game
Additionally, we now have the "International Edition" sub-title finally in-game in the title screen, allowing this project to finally join the ranks of fan-translations that have had some kind of fan localization made to their title screens. This is something I always like to see in fan-translations in general and now we have that too. And it's a pretty common thing to do, too, so we're getting with the program! But don't worry, I want our edit to be seamless so it's not going to say "By Team NEMO" or "If you paid for this, you got scammed!" (gets me every time), it's just the sub-title. With this, you'll finally be able to identify which version you're playing as soon as the game starts up.

And I'm adding it to the intro too, with the magic of jPSXdec!

not in-game but this is sort of how it would look
And those loading screens for each company and organization? Those have also been translated, based on graphic work by godrugaultimate (here's his deviantart, check. it. out!), before he or I even knew if it would ever be possible to implement it. I'm still tweaking it so I can't show it, but the square with Kanji inside it has been replaced with EN for English (duh!), and the text below is going to say "Data Swallow 40 starting up". This is completely new to AC3, any official or unofficial version, and if we can understand what the loading screen says, it's thanks to godrugaultimate, who took the time to transcribe incredibly low-res kanji and then made concept art for it in English.

Extra radio chatter lines or "The lines formerly known as random": In addition to the More Cowbell (tm), I've managed to transcribe the handful of lines that only play under certain circumstances during M44 Reality Distortion, so if you happened to see "---" in-game, know that I've got you covered, fam. M34 The Orientation is similar in this regard, where the text file has more lines than the Jp script source shows and the ones that I've seen play are already in English in v2.0 but I never bothered to find how to make these play, but I know they're not random at least.

By the way, and you're going to love this: M44 had six extra lines I transcribed and translated all of them thinking I'd see all of them play. Only three played, but thanks to the other three I discovered how Cynthia is able to rescue Rena with a single-seat fighter jet—a new Neucom-type Coffin cockpit had been made just for that occasion (sorry, nosebleeders!). I enjoyed this happy and unexpected discovery but nigh-indecipherable low-res kanji blobs really make it hard to justify the time and effort required when I got so much to work on already. Maybe one day, but not before the next release is finished. But hey, if somebody wants to take a stab at it, be my guest.

Enemies defeated:
-The noticeably darker text at the end of Keith's interview in M19 Soldier of Fortune finally has the right colors. Found out how to do it by mistake.Enemy down.
-The three Search files that say CLASSFIED, which is ass, have been seamlessly fixed, plus the rest of the text is also in English. Target destroyed.
-Sometimes the first letter will be cut-off by one pixel at the beginning of a sentence. This happens during some cut-scenes only. Fixed, bla-blee-bloo-bloo.
-Every bit of Japanese that I can edit and re-insert without crashing the game has been translated. Enemy down.
-All Search files, will all be accessible in-game next time at the cost of three titles which will remain unedited so the game won't crash. The best workaround was to choose three that had letters from the alphabet in them, so I chose these: ENSI規格 (システム, system), Rナンバー (R-numeral) and ITTC. Not losing any sleep over it, enemy down.
-I found the last few remaining typos. Enemy down.
-DSN news bulletins: all re-checked and re-done from scratch, better than ever. Enemy down.
-I'm cleaning up both discs and removing everything that's CD1-only from CD2 and vice-versa. The original discs have every subtitle everything on both discs but now I know they only ever use the stuff from their own disc and tell you to switch discs for the rest. We came this close to making disc 2 impossible to burn because we don't compress, and now it's gonna lose extra fat. Who cares? I do. Enemy down.

Assortment of things that have not changed since v2.0, it's here for the sake full disclosure so you know what's what and why that is. If you're one of those people who can't handle some bad news just jump to the next wall of text, idgaf. Everyone else, read on fams:
- the "Special Fighter" sub-title in the aircraft selection menu wont change and probably never will because that is caused by the Nipponese using the same word and texture for both Strato and Space (probably means high altitude or something, I don't know). The right descriptions can be still be found in English next to the airplane's model. This applies to Disc 2 only because that's where you get a Strato Fighter and a Space Fighter in the same campaign. The Blackbird from Disc 1 says Strato Fighter.
- the tiny data swallow text at the bottom of the screen that starts in English but reverts to its Japanese original won't change because we can only re-insert files uncompressed, same thing for the blue menus from a game already in progress like when the game asks you if you want to save the game between missions.
- In the options screen, only records is in English because that's how it is in the original (go figure, thank you Nippon?), and nothing else in there can be translated so key config, game config and save. I'm fine with this because while I was testing translations there I noticed how functionally useless the subtitles are for us English speakers as the Japanese isn't a fuller description of the interface it's an exact translation of the English that's already there. Lucky for us I guess.
- I might have talked about this in the past somewhere but anyway the above plus the three search titles that will go back to Japanese on the next release is caused by the replacement compressed TIM with uncompressed TIMs. Breaking something has always been a real danger ever since the first text replacement. All you need is one false step and the party's over, so all in all the balance leans heavily in our favor. You're still going to be seeing less Japanese than in v2.0.
-plus, I took a look at the game's cut-scenes and took the time to evaluate whether to translate the Japanese that is in those little videos. My final word on them is with current means not all of them can be edited and some text is too small too comprehend. I've seen it done in other fan-translations but it's not happening here. The Japanese version has a mix of Japanese and actual real English, some of which you can even read with a little effort. The devs seem to have gone for a bilingual Jp/En setting for USEA and I'm fine with leaving it that way. Another one to file under idgaf.
- in M06 Ghosts of the Past and M29 Betrayal, the audio that doesn't have in-game subtitles won't have them next time either, or ever, RTFM instead (the readme, it's not an optional btw).

Search files: dozens have already been transcribed. Thanks go to a user called momomeno, friend and collaborator of Greenrose, for having given me a boost by transcribing three of these entries, which were long-ish too. I'm lone-wolf'ing all the others, long medium short, that still need to be transcribed and the total number lies somewhere in the forties. I had an arrangement with the translator who helped me last year that after a break we would go start working on this part of the game but he seems to already have left the project. So I've made the decision to translate all of them myself and with me holding the reins, there's no more need to wait God knows how long for extra help. This is a new challenge for me and also a big boost to the project itself. I've always been one for languages, speaking five myself, so doing research and learning about what's really going on in this line or that line has actually been pretty cool, so ganbarimasu!

here's a bit of what I got so far from my rough translations, presented as is

General Resource Ltd.: after being formed thanks to a number of mergers and acquistions, they became so big and powerful that states became powerless and now there's a new world order where corporations have control over actual regions. (this can be seen on the USEA map from the guide books, each region is either controlled by GR, NC or UPEO).

General Resource's rise: GR has its hand in every industry. They've garnered media attention thanks to projects such as intercontinental roads and the Geofront underground city project, while at the same time receiving criticism by the Global Way (like Greenpeace). It is said that there isn't a single product without GR's logo on it.

Neucom's history: it used to be the EASA, which is like our NASA. It got privatized because it was losing money, and was then bought out by a major airline company. With this it became a leader in space development. It got a major boost after scientists from GR joined them, and started expanding its business by acquiring information and software companies. It is said that "Neucom makes the impossible, possible" but their emphasis on technology is seen as a disregard for mankind and the adoption of a military has earned them even more criticism.

Wars, this one is super cool because it talks about things that aren't explicitly said during the storyline: so after the rise of GR, wars between nations disappeared but smaller scale conflicts remained. As a result, their militaries shrunk because they weren't needed anymore at a national scale, and also became the monopoly of GR. After they took over, research and development ceased almost completely, military aircraft included and that's why we see so many preexisting aircraft in AC3, which by 2040 are super old. Like for example GR's Dision, who's on his way to becoming an old dog himself, can often be seen flying F15s, a fighter jet from the 70's (!).


- Get in my office, now
I want to be left alone on this one. 
I'm close to finishing the project.

Dragon, there's an official department policy regarding lone-wolves.
Now, lone-wolves represent a special priority, because any man crazy enough to lone-wolf is crazy enough to burn out, meaning a greater risk to a project.


In other words, we can't seem like we're in the solo business.


And we all know the truth's a little different.


Anything's bothering you besides losing your team mates?

Yea, it bothers me when fansubs go unfinished.
I don't like that.

Then you might be a little more of a team player and a little less of a hot dog on this one.

Hot dogging's been working real well so far.
Besides, I got results

You got to do things your own way?
Now, you nail this project, and make us all look good, but you better watch your ass, because everybody's watching on this one.
If you screw up, I can promise you, you're going down.

Boy, you know how to send a guy out with a real great attitude, boss.


End credits progress: after following the leads left by the two people who helped me wit this in the past, I managed to find the names from the credits scroll. One big problem remains though, the game won't boot at all with the credits translated. Anyway there's a glimmer of hope that shows that an in-game translation is possible. But before I think of doing that, I'm gonna have to correct a number of mistakes in my credits translation: at least one name is completely wrong due to a bad source (Production I.G's own website, of all places...), plus a dozen or dozens that I had to choose between one name or the other as Japanese has multiple readings for names sometimes, of which only two I had checked and confirmed as correct by pmt7ar. For example Tetsukazu Nakanishi could be TetsuICHI Nakanishi, you wouldn't know for sure unless he told you. Now, I CAN go and fix the names I need to fix, do the necessary research, but if it doesn't work, why bother? Anyway, here's my first OK test:

In-game shizzle that still fizzle for some rizzle

- ZZZZzzzzzzzzz
Cynthia... CYNTHIA!

AppenDisc: in my search for special features to add to our patch release, I decided to make a patch for this disc part of Team NEMO's next release. Movie player menu and Data swallow text: done, left to do: menus and the original movie. Regarding the movie, our very own pmt7ar transcribed what he could by ear eons ago. I've cleaned it up a little bit and have even been attempting some rough translations myself. I still think I'm going to need some help to fill in the gaps though. If the Original Movie doesn't reach a satisfactory level, then I'll still publish the next release for AC3 and the AppenDisc, except the subs for the movie.

Pop quiz: how many PSX games had discs dedicated to bonus stuff, and how many of those got translations? :-)
emulator screenshot: working in-game
First important question: when are the next patches going to be published?
One answer to rule them all: When It's Done.
Lesser second question: why ds?
Answer: eusian nanomachines man I ain't gotta splain shit.
___ ___ ___

Deleted scene: RAW video posted here, not a priority right now, but those interested in it, feel free to transcribe/translate, just post a comment on there and I'll add captions via YouTube.

Staff interviews: Namco Official Guide Book interview transcribed and ready for translation, only there's no one who can translate it that will agree to actually do it.  Me and Fabian AKA The AC3 Scholar were considering a paid translation via crowdfunding as every fan-translator I've met avoids this stuff like the plague (it's really hard) but, after a year of trying on my own, no translator has answered my requests for quotes until now so there's that, and Google Translate is, obviously, a complete disaster (DUH!). Regardless I'm thinking of publish the raw material once it's complete but I know from past experience that it's gonna be useless, just like the Relay Essay....

Dragon became self-aware at 
3:01PM, Eastern Time, July 30th 2017

Other interviews: would like 2 transcribe the interviews from Mission & World View and the Relay Essay/Developer Diaries still needs a translation. I'm practicing my translation skills on the Relay Essay entry n.2, depending on how things go I might do the rest but I wouldn't hold my breath for it and if someone wants to translate them instead, all you need can be found here! *mothball rolls across the screen*

Preview of my format

Surprise: there's something I'm working on that's part of this new stage I've entered as now I'm thinking more in terms of "legacy" we're going to leave to the community at large, as opposed to "dream" which was the driving force until the release of v2.0. This thing I'm cooking is gonna be the most significant result of this paradigm shift in the project. I'll announce this when it's ready, it's gonna kick ass.

Another step in that direction of legacy, here are all the tools Team NEMO made or uses, in some cases I had to re-upload them myself because the original links are dead. Tools: link.

Blog: Top 5 visitors->US, Russia, Brazil, Germany, UK. Important observation: if we leave US and UK out, that leaves three countries that when I think about it, have no reason to wait anymore: fully playable translations for AC3E can now be made, and if you don't have translators who can do JP-to-Ru/Pt-Br (THIS IS BRAZIU!)/De/InsertLanguageHere, you can even use our script as a starting point. I linked the tools we use above, all neatly in one post. The hard part is taken care of, now it's all up to you, me I can't wait to see them happen.

Especially our comrades from Russia, you guys were ahead of us for years unbeknownst to me as proven by this real demonstration video (, made by a group called RGR Studios (What happened?!). Our tools will definitely help those of you who've been waiting for a fully playable, two-disc, patch release. That group even managed to dub (!!) the voices and I know you guys have that one-guy-voicing-everybody dub style going on over there. Anyhow, good luck to those of you who'll find the time and willpower to do it, if there's one game that deserves that it's AC3.

Hackers of the world, unite!
Here's a nice little recap of this project, just to put things in perspective:

Just getting this English fan-translation project off the ground was a minor miracle. Nobody'd ever done it.
That's one hurdle.

And finding someone capable and willing to translate the script, 52 missions selflessly transcribed by the Japanese, long as all hell...
That's a big damn hurdle.

And when that was done, knowing how the game's text files are stored and how to edit them, that's a goddamn hurdle.

And here comes the hard part.
Inserting the translation into the game, risking to break the game at the slightest misstep, while keeping compromises to a bare minimum...

Do you realize what we set out to do here?

And more importantly, do you realize how much shit you won't have to deal with?
Just piggyback and you're gold.

And by smallest, I'm not kidding: if I alter just ONE pixel by myself in a specific part of the ISO that I've been trying to translate, the game won't start. At all. It's "Produced by Namco" and then... nothing. That's a reality check if I ever saw one.

also incredibly happy to see how some of the posts I'm the proudest of are also proving useful as a way to inform people about AC3E. It's a nice feeling to see people sifting through your detritus in order to find something of value, however marginal it may be. Most viewed, in no particular order: AC3 localization post-mortem, emulation options (which I'm still going to update), AC3 part of UGSF, X-49 model pictures, Mission Zero review, Voices of NAMCO Sound Team (read: sound gods), Unlocking the X-49 Night Raven, Developer Diaries translation 1, the various findings of our Resident AC3 Scholar, and to a lesser extent the super old Realistic Sci-Fi series of posts which I'd love to continue and lastly my Cityscapes/Military of USEA visual posts (phew).

It's really rewarding guys, thank you, and like this I'll keep coming back from time to time with new content for the blog. Some things have changed since I started this blog but I still find the same sense of enjoyment I had in the beginning. I hope you'll enjoy this year's posts as much as I did writing them.
___ ___ ___

This isn't the end of Project NEMO, because actually...

of the end.

Alright, time to wrap this up. It's all weal. I felt like doing it differently this time, even adding some  movie stuff to spice things up, references from movies I like all of which are absolute kino, like AC3E. Feel free to play Catch-the-Movie-Reference, I claim no ownership to anyone's bullshit other than my own.

"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour - his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious." - Vince Lombardi (1913-1970)

As far as individual human beans, I would like to dedicate this project to the news anchor from EAPN and the true unsung hero of AC3. Real interviews where she asks the hard questions, not a false news broadcast unless it was covered up by the assholes who did it, never a studio-mandated commercial break, and no bullshit fear-mongering. Intelligent, informative, reliable, beautiful and always truthful. Not just a waifu, THE waifu. Consider her claimed.

This was a special episode of "Big Dragon doin' thangz 1n teh Sph3r3", provided by yours truly AKA Voice of Team NEMO AKA officially the last active team member. Stay safe and remember: beware of second-hand information and people talking shit about us, the truth is always here all spelled out for everyone to see, all da fax. This is the last SotP btw, going out with a bang!
Now you must excuse me, because it's time for me to drop the mic and sign off.


What about my special appearance?!?!

Dragon! Dragooooooon!


This one's for you, Renaaaaaaaaa!
State of the Project 2017 Ending Theme Song

You have exited the Dragon Zone
Thanks for stopping by
*Japanese bow*
*Chinese cymbal sound*