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Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:22 am
by Ms. Tea
As I mentioned in my other thread, I've been working on translating Magical School Lunar! for Saturn. I've also been working on translating Silver Star Story! I'm planning on using the original translation from the PS1 version, including WD's English dub; I'll also be providing an option to play with Xseed's dub. I'll be releasing patches for both the original release and the MPEG version.

Progress has been very good so far! Here's where I'm at:

  • 95% of both English dubs have been retimed to the FMVs for both the releases.
  • I've written a tool to redub the FMVs from the original release.
  • Script format is partially reverse-engineered; I'm able to insert new text, and understand most of the control codes.
  • In-game voice format is understood, and I'm able to insert new voices.
  • New font, created by a friend; it updates the English PS1 font with the higher-quality shading the Saturn version uses for its text.

Here's a sample screenshot of where I'm at! The punctuation is currently wrong, but it gives you a good idea of where things are at.

Image

And here's a video showing the original release's FMVs dubbed in English (with no in-game text or voices):



Here's an incomplete TODO list:

  • Finish writing my font-generation tool.
  • Adjust the spacing between letters in dialogue to match the English version; the Japanese version uses wider spacing.
  • Identify and translate the menu text and graphics.
  • Decide what to do with the few FMVs which have issues with the WD dub.
  • Come up with a workflow to insert the full script in both games' maps.

FAQ:

Q: Why bother when the PS1 version is in English?
A: A few reasons!

  • The MPEG version has much better FMVs!
  • The graphics are better in a few places.
  • The music is different.
  • I'm a Saturn fangirl, and I want to be able to play all three Lunar games in English on the same system!

Q: Will you translate the VCD version?
A: YES! I'm planning on releasing patches for both versions, so the six other people with VCD cards have something to look forward to.

Q: Will anything in this patch be different from the PS1 version?
A: A few things, mostly technical:

  • A few FMVs, including the opening song and Luna's boat theme, will have better-quality music than they did in the PS1 version. I'm using the soundtrack CD as a source, so those scenes can have stereo, CD-quality music.
  • The in-game voices will be slightly lower quality.
  • I plan on restoring the hints to the Vane dungeon puzzle, which Working Designs removed, and using the fancy special characters that exist in the font for it.
  • I won't be using any of the gameplay changes Working Designs made. All of the gameplay, including the difficulty level and chest placement, will be the same as in the Japanese versions.
  • I won't be using the visual edits Working Designs made to the FMVs. This means that the flashback cutscenes late in the game won't be sepia-toned.

Q: Will anything in this patch be different from the normal, unpatched Saturn version?
A: Aside from text, I might be able to improve the quality of the audio in the FMVs in the original release. There will be extra room on the disc, and there's room within the bitrate budget for higher-quality audio.

Q: Wait, what's this about problematic FMVs?
A: Working Designs altered the lengths of several cutscenes. In some cases they repeated shots over again to add room for more dialogue; in one scene they actually slowed down the entire FMV by about 10 or 15% to increase the length and add room for more dialogue. I'm not sure how I'll handle this yet; I don't want to trim down dialogue if I don't have to, but reediting and reencoding the cutscenes might be hard.

There's also one cutscene where the audio lines up, but a shot was zoomed in to mask the fact that the voice acting doesn't match up well with the lip movements. Not sure how I'll handle that either.

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 4:27 pm
by Shiva Indis
This is an excellent project! I wish you luck with this, and with Magic School.

Ms. Tea wrote:Q: Will you translate the VCD version?
A: YES! I'm planning on releasing patches for both versions, so the six other people with VCD cards have something to look forward to.
After all this time, a second reason to own an MPEG card. Is it less impressive if I say there are two reasons I bought the thing instead of just one?

Ms. Tea wrote:Q: Wait, what's this about problematic FMVs?
Q: Working Designs altered the lengths of several cutscenes. In some cases they repeated shots over again to add room for more dialogue; in one scene they actually slowed down the entire FMV by about 10 or 15% to increase the length and add room for more dialogue.

I know I noticed that WD altered the opening sequence, since I watched the Saturn version enough to commit it to memory, (effects of years of anticipation and being a teenager I guess, :D) but I never noticed other alterations! I would love to know more about them if you have a chance.

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:17 pm
by ShugoHanasaki
Looking forward to it ^^

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:00 pm
by Shinto-Cetra
Don't forget for the PS vs Saturn part of the FAQ: so Segata Sanshiro won't beat you (or any of us) up! (Mine is on right now as a type.)
Well, I'll be buying an MPEG card soon.

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:12 pm
by Ms. Tea
Shiva Indis wrote:I know I noticed that WD altered the opening sequence, since I watched the Saturn version enough to commit it to memory, (effects of years of anticipation and being a teenager I guess, :D) but I never noticed other alterations! I would love to know more about them if you have a chance.


Here's a list of what I can remember:

  • AN004, the party meeting Quark - The final two shots of Quark speaking were repeated in order to fit in more dialogue.
  • AN011, the party meeting Royce - The entire video was slowed down in order to fit in more dialogue.
  • AN014, Ghaleon speaking in his office - Ghaleon's lip flaps from 0:16 onward were looped an extra eight seconds in order to fit in more dialogue. In addition, the intro was given a creepy distorted clock ticking sound; the original scene didn't have a creepy ambiance.
  • AN019, Lemia speaking - Lemia's lip flaps from 0:19 onward were looped an extra three seconds in order to fit in more dialogue.
  • AN021, Magic Emperor Ghaleon intro - Ghaleon's mask's glowing is extended by an extra six seconds in order to fit in more dialogue.
  • AN031, Alex's nightmare - The audio track is completely different. It stays longer at a black screen at the beginning, before the fade-in, in order to accommodate the different intro. I handled this one by fading into the audio a bit later.
  • AN040 and another scene I can't remember right now, flashbacks of Dyne and Althena: Fully sepia-toned in the WD dub, with no colour. In the Japanese and Xseed versions, these are sepia-tinted with desaturated colours to obtain a nostalgic look without fully removing all colour.
  • AN049, Alex rescuing Luna - The second half of one shot of Luna was turned into a new shot by zooming in further so that Luna's mouth can't be seen. This hides the fact that the English dub doesn't match the lip movements.
  • The audio for most of the party member bromides is different, since the Japanese versions were based on character omake songs that weren't dubbed. The biggest change is that Luna's bromides are clips from the boat song, while WD's dub uses simpler clips of Luna singing.

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:50 pm
by Alunissage
Wow, this is totally cool. And I also have the MPEG card. ^_^ I keep meaning to play this game with it, but I haven't gotten around to it yet other than verifying it works.

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:03 pm
by Shiva Indis
These are pretty pervasive! I feel like I should have noticed that the WD version has full-on sepia, but nope, didn't catch it. I do remember the some of the audio stuff - never could quite decide how I felt about Ghaleon's ticking clock. (Is it too on-the-nose, or is it just the accent that scene needed? ) Your workaround for the changes in the nightmare scene sounds like a good solution.

Many of the changes seem minor, but clearly headache-inducing for the project. Especially when the extended part isn't at the end of the video! Speaking of which, I have an idea for AN021. Maybe it's too drastic... If the looped frames are in all that silence that WD filled with Ghaleon monologing, maybe just cut the voice out of that part?

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:09 am
by Ms. Tea
Shiva Indis wrote:I feel like I should have noticed that the WD version has full-on sepia, but nope, didn't catch it.


I didn't notice it myself until I was working on retiming the audio! Pretty obvious when I was looking at the two of them side-by-side though. Here's what they both look like:

Image

Many of the changes seem minor, but clearly headache-inducing for the project. Especially when the extended part isn't at the end of the video! Speaking of which, I have an idea for AN021. Maybe it's too drastic... If the looped frames are in all that silence that WD filled with Ghaleon monologing, maybe just cut the voice out of that part?


Yeah, at this point I basically have two options, both of which are a bit painful:

  • Trim some dialogue from the WD dub so it matches the timing of the Japanese video.
  • Find a way to reencode video for both versions of the game so that I can create new video with timing that matches the dialogue.

With the second option, at least I can use the PC version's FMVs to have have a high enough quality to work from - but coming up with the tooling to reencode compatible FMVs for both versions of the game would be a total pain.

Shinto-Cetra wrote:Don't forget for the PS vs Saturn part of the FAQ: so Segata Sanshiro won't beat you (or any of us) up! (Mine is on right now as a type.)


I'm working on a set of blog posts about the translation stuff, and one post is going to be an in-depth comparison between the Saturn and PS1 versions of both SSS and EB.

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:02 pm
by Alunissage
I can't wait to read those blog posts. Trying to think if I have any resources that could help in any way... probably not, but I'll watch this space.

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:07 am
by Sonic#
It's funny how much is noticeable only once one sits down to edit the material. Don't have much to say except that all this sounds awesome. Oh:

I won't be using any of the gameplay changes Working Designs made. All of the gameplay, including the difficulty level and chest placement, will be the same as in the Japanese versions.


That sounds interesting and would make me want to replay it yet again. (All those qualifiers.)

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:44 am
by Shiva Indis
Didn't the changes to the bromide and item placement have some changes to the text to go along with them? I guess that will require a few lines worth of translation from the original text.

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:20 pm
by AkagisWhiteComet
This is extraordinary. There's a lot of dedication going on here. I always knew there were a good chunk of technical changes in relation to the PS1 release but it's good to see them explained and how you'll work around them.

Are you planning on any work outside of LUNAR for the Sega Saturn? I'm not super obsessive with the Saturn but years and years ago around the turn of the 21st century I discovered imports and since then I've been importing Saturn titles periodically when I find them cheap. I've amassed a small collection of mostly visual novels (Sakura Taisen, El Hazard, TokiMemo, those sorts of things) that were released during that time. I don't think a lot of people realize it but Japan got many MANY more Saturn titles released domestically than were released in the United States. It'd be fantastic to see someone finally translate something like Tokemeki Memorial or some of the other obscure shovel-ware visual novels into English considering the Saturn did these sort of titles fairly well for the time. I remember back in the day for TokiMemo in particular I had a notebook I had to piece together to actually play the game as I wasn't able to read Japanese that well.

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:54 am
by Ms. Tea
AkagisWhiteComet wrote:Are you planning on any work outside of LUNAR for the Sega Saturn?


The Saturn is my favourite game console! Any other translations I work on will probably be Saturn games. :D

No promises, but there are a few things I've been thinking about doing/looking at after I finish the three Lunar games:

  • Wachenröder - A strategy/RPG, and a late release by Westone (Wonder Boy/Monster World, Willy Wombat). There's already a dialogue translation out there but I'm not aware of anyone having done any hacking work on this game.
  • Grandia - I'm not the first person to look at this one, and I've been told it's a total pain technically, so I might not have any luck. The text has a superficial similarity to MSL - it uses the same font as MSL and Lunar: EB for Sega CD, which makes me wonder if there are internal similarities.
  • Willy Wombat - This already has full English spoken dialogue, so I think translating the menus and subtitles would be a lot faster than most games I could work on.
  • Clockwork Knight - There's apparently some small amounts of text which was left out of the official English translation, and I've been offered a translation of it to work from.

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:39 pm
by Shinto-Cetra
Ms. Tea wrote:
AkagisWhiteComet wrote:Are you planning on any work outside of LUNAR for the Sega Saturn?


The Saturn is my favourite game console! Any other translations I work on will probably be Saturn games. :D

No promises, but there are a few things I've been thinking about doing/looking at after I finish the three Lunar games:

  • Wachenröder - A strategy/RPG, and a late release by Westone (Wonder Boy/Monster World, Willy Wombat). There's already a dialogue translation out there but I'm not aware of anyone having done any hacking work on this game.
  • Grandia - I'm not the first person to look at this one, and I've been told it's a total pain technically, so I might not have any luck. The text has a superficial similarity to MSL - it uses the same font as MSL and Lunar: EB for Sega CD, which makes me wonder if there are internal similarities.
  • Willy Wombat - This already has full English spoken dialogue, so I think translating the menus and subtitles would be a lot faster than most games I could work on.
  • Clockwork Knight - There's apparently some small amounts of text which was left out of the official English translation, and I've been offered a translation of it to work from.


Yes Wachenröder, great SRPG! Glad to see you looked into it. I never saw Westone mentioned in the credits, only SEGA and ADX.

Re: Saturn translation [in progress!]

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:06 am
by Ms. Tea
Shinto-Cetra wrote:Yes Wachenröder, great SRPG! Glad to see you looked into it. I never saw Westone mentioned in the credits, only SEGA and ADX.


Looks like this is one of those misunderstandings that makes its way around the internet! It's credited to Westone frequently, but looks like it's not them. GDRI lists it as being by TNS: http://gdri.smspower.org/wiki/index.php/TNS They're a ninja developer who have done some other work with Sega (Blue Seed, 1995, also uncredited). GDRI lists Westone has having contributed to graphics, and I assume that was misinterpreted as meaning they developed the entire game.