Monday, July 23, 2018

"I Want My AC3!" Progress Report, Help Wanted

It's been a year since the last SotP and Team NEMO, or at least what's left of it, has been hard at work. A lot has been accomplished since then, thanks in no small part to help that I got from the community. This post is exclusively about the fan-translation for the game itself, things such as translations efforts for the AppenDisc, guidebooks and other merchandise will be covered in another post. With that said, find all info on v3.0 after the jump!

Progress Report

Translation: I had finished a new revision of our translation for all 52 missions this January but just as I was ready to start working on translating the entirety of the Search menu, a proofreading pass by someone who's been helping me changed everything. As described by him, my editing and translation style was that of someone "trying to serve two masters at the same time." The feedback I got then opened my eyes to some of my most glaring shortcomings and has led me to start over once again, and my, has the script improved by leaps and bounds this time! We've been using new fonts, down to two from v2.0's three (one for menus and one for gameplay and FMVs). Right now I'm 14 out of 52 missions in for the main script, 3 out of 61 for the Search. I don't have the same amount of free time I did back in 2009 or 2014 but at the current pace, it should take me two or three months to finish Mission and Search. Archive has also received some improvements here and there and Options will finally be translated for the first time once the others components are done. Smaller menu elements have also received a makeover, with aspect ratios being corrected, text cleaner and easier to read and a couple of adjustments to the translation, including translations for logos such as the one for Teletext, which now has a T instead of kanji.

Compression: while I was unsuccessful in finding a programmer who could do this for us and join our team, the AC3 Italian Fan-Translation Team came to the rescue and openly shared their compression and decompression tool. Many thanks to all those who had a hand in making it, it has certainly brought us closer to our target allowing a lot more text to be translated, and without those pesky crashes in the Search menu that still plague v2.0. Loading times are also faster as a result, closer or better than the original game's!

End credits: we can finally translate them thanks to contributions by jPSXdec, Dashman and weissvulf. The text was stored RAW instead of in TIM files like most of the game's text because the latter doesn't allow for scrolling text (it uses fixed x/y coordinates). ID'ing and translating staff names is already finished, as shown on a youtube video that I've since deleted. I had to reduce the text size for several titles/names because of limited writing space, making some of them lopsided and nigh-unreadable as a result, which brings me to my next point...

Help Wanted

In order to get our fan-translation to the finish line, I need help with the following things:

End credits: for this section to look professional the draw area for some names, that is the rectangle with text in it (names/title) that's displayed by the game, needs to be expanded so that I can increase the size of the font used for the names and tiles in English. From what I've seen there's enough space to write in the actual textures, it's just that the devs chose to display only the area that's occupied by text and some names are really hard to make English translations readable with that little space (ones with just two or three kanji are the worst offenders).

Music fixes: this goes not just for M29 Betrayal like I used to think for many years, but also goes for M27 Claustrophobia. Poor Keith just can't catch a break... For some reason the devs left Mind Flow as the BGM for both these missions even though the Direct Audio and NTSC-U/PAL versions confirm The Execution and Defiled, respectively, as the intended tracks. Given the evidence, I now see this music change as a must rather than just a tentative bonus fix if we're to have a final release. I don't have much technical information at this point but music tracks in this game are in XA2 format, and the unused music tracks are already in the disc image.

If you'd like to help me with these two points, the best place for contact would be the Romhacking.net forums. You can either post on the project thread here, http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=17658.340 or send me a PM (DragonSpikeXIII), whichever way you prefer.

And to the guy/group who tried using a fake account to spy on me and my team's work, don't even bother. We only deal with honest and respectful people here, the kind who don't resort to childish acts. Seriously, smh.

Poll

As far as the release date, this is still When It's Done but given the nature of romhacking, it's impossible to know if or when the help I need will come, and since a 99% build is now possible I thought I'd make a poll to let YOU, the fan, the casual, the "how did I end up here?", decide if you'd like to wait for a 100% build or not. Let me know what YOU think.

Would you like to wait for me to find the help we need to completely finish our fan-translation or would you like us release it faster, missing only a few small fixes to the text and music?

DECIDE