"A Life M36 Planet" fan-translation now available!

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By wyrdwad

Champion (472)

wyrdwad's picture

10-09-2017, 01:53

A while back, some of you may recall me posting an English-language walkthrough and translation guide for the MSX1 game "A Life M36 Planet: MotherBrain has been aliving" by Pixel. When I first heard about this game, I knew I had to try it out, as the Engrish title was just SO STUPID... but to my surprise, the game wound up being really neat! I was expecting a Metroid clone from the short videos I could find online, but what I wound up getting was something much more ambitious and atmospheric -- kind of like a sci-fi equivalent to the NES classic "Faxanadu," or an improved take on the MSX1 game "Cross Blaim" with much more story.

Well, to my surprise, within just a couple weeks of me posting my walkthrough, a project to fan-translate the game rom using my text popped up (fronted by MP83 and a hacker who calls himself Hubz), and that project has now completed! And it wound up ballooning into something bigger than I ever could've predicted, too. Not only is there a fan-translation patch, but it includes fixes to some rather major bugs that plagued the original Japanese release (thank you Guillian!), plus there are now patches allowing for invincibility and superjump on top of that (thank you Larsthe18th!). Guillian also created a Java-based password generator for the game, and MP83 (who helped immensely in proofing and beta-testing the English fan-translation this whole time) created a trailer to advertise the patch, and is working on a full game map now.

Here's his trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9iLo2T6z4g

In the process of fan-translating this game, we also learned a lot more about it, including what some of the previously unidentified items actually do, as well as certain programming quirks that can be exploited by players. I've updated my walkthrough with all of this information, along with warnings about some of the bugs we've discovered (which can be mostly ignored if you're playing with the bug-fix version of the fan-translation patch, but it's still good to know about them just in case!).

Then my IRL friend Brandi got involved, adapting the updated version of my original walkthrough into a snazzy html site!

So... I figured I'd share that all here -- in the form of the above trailer link, as well as the html version of my walkthrough, since that includes links to all the aforementioned things (aside from the full game map, which isn't QUITE done yet, but will be added when it is).

Here it is:

http://forgottenkings.tripod.com/m36.html

Check it out, watch the trailer, and if it looks like something you might enjoy, I'd urge you to give it a try! It's glitchy and flickery, but has three things in spades: ambition, atmosphere, and charm. And those three things more than make up for any of its shortcomings IMHO.

Hope you guys end up enjoying it!

-Tom

P.S. Before anyone asks, we left the Engrish title and the Engrish confirmation prompt "ARE YOU OK? YES/NO" intact on purpose, because they're both super-charming. ;) Everything else has been fully translated into quite natural-sounding English, however, so no worries -- this should be a really smooth English-language experience for you! (Though you might still want to follow along in my walkthrough, as the game can get pretty obtuse at times...)

P.P.S. I'll be submitting an updated PDF version of my walkthrough to CheatMSX soon. I just want to make sure all the links are up-to-date first.

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By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2597)

sd_snatcher's picture

10-09-2017, 02:06

Nice! A big thank you for everyone involved in the project! Smile

By MP83

Master (132)

MP83's picture

10-09-2017, 02:08

Hopefully you guys will enjoy this translation. This was a hella fun game to work on. All of this wouldn't have happened if it weren't for Wyrdwad's initial efforts. He created a snowball effect. Wink

By the way, if you're playing this game on an emulator, I'd recommend switching off the sprite limit. This removes the flickering from sprites in the game.

By fernando.collazo.5682

Master (201)

fernando.collazo.5682's picture

10-09-2017, 03:11

Wow, this game is awesome, thank you!

By tfh

Paragon (1540)

tfh's picture

10-09-2017, 10:13

WoW... You guys have really put A LOT of work in this. The information on the website is really astonishing! I'm gonna have a go at this game as well.
I hope you don't mind that I have added your translation to my site: http://www.file-hunter.com/MSX/ALifeM36Planet.html, of course with Credits and a link to your amazing site.
Good work guys!

/edit/
Hmmm, running in some problems already. I get weird characters in the translation....

By wyrdwad

Champion (472)

wyrdwad's picture

10-09-2017, 10:17

Oh, by all means, spread the word (and the files!). That's the point of doing this, after all!

Hope you have a good time with the game!

EDIT: Oh, the emulation on FileHunter seems kind of off -- there's a lot of text corruption, particularly with spaces appearing as the letter "a" with an accent over it. This doesn't happen when we test the game on actual hardware or with an emulator on our side.

Is anyone else seeing this, or is it just some kind of weird configuration error with FileHunter on my end?

EDIT2: Ah, there we go. When I changed my system to MSX2+ (Japan) instead of MSX2+ (America), it started playing near-perfectly, with the only noticeable issue being a tiny bit of distortion in the music (something that's kind of to be expected with emulation in general). So if anyone plays this on FileHunter, please be sure to pick a Japanese machine as your emulation system!

-Tom

By tfh

Paragon (1540)

tfh's picture

10-09-2017, 10:21

wyrdwad wrote:

Oh, by all means, spread the word (and the files!). That's the point of doing this, after all!

Hope you have a good time with the game!

EDIT: Oh, the emulation on FileHunter seems kind of off -- there's a lot of text corruption, particularly with spaces appearing as the letter "a" with an accent over it. This doesn't happen when we test the game on actual hardware or with an emulator on our side.

Is anyone else seeing this, or is it just some kind of weird configuration error with FileHunter on my end?

EDIT2: Ah, there we go. When I changed my system to MSX2+ (Japan) instead of MSX2+ (America), it started playing near-perfectly, with the only noticeable issue being a tiny bit of distortion in the music (something that's kind of to be expected with emulation in general). So if anyone plays this on FileHunter, please be sure to pick a Japanese machine as your emulation system!

-Tom

Yup, I also noticed it. It seems that WebMSX doesn't run the file as it should.
Could you do me a favour, can you test it with your .ROM image? Just select the cartridge logo in the WebMSX emulator and you can select your local .ROM file. Maybe I have just patched another(/wrong?) version of the .ROM

By tfh

Paragon (1540)

tfh's picture

10-09-2017, 10:26

wyrdwad wrote:

EDIT2: Ah, there we go. When I changed my system to MSX2+ (Japan) instead of MSX2+ (America), it started playing near-perfectly, with the only noticeable issue being a tiny bit of distortion in the music (something that's kind of to be expected with emulation in general). So if anyone plays this on FileHunter, please be sure to pick a Japanese machine as your emulation system!

-Tom

Aha, I have changed the configuration for the game to 2+ Japanese as standard now, so people don't have to change it themselves Smile

Are the Password Generators available somewhere?

By wyrdwad

Champion (472)

wyrdwad's picture

10-09-2017, 10:33

Exact same behavior. But I also tried just putting in the Japanese rom, and that one's even more messed up -- the Japanese text just shows as pure gibberish! So I think it's an issue with the rom in general. I know that MP83 was having some issues with that himself during testing, where he had to tell his emulator that it was an ASCII 8K rom, since the emulator wasn't able to determine that on its own for some reason, and wasn't loading the rom properly until he manually specified as such. (I didn't have this problem with OPFX, which I used to load the rom onto my megaflashrom cartridge without issue.)

For now, I'd say just put a notice on the page advising players to open settings, choose "Select Machine," and select either "MSX2+ Japan (NTSC)" or "MSX2 Japan (NTSC)" (for some reason, selecting "MSX Japan (NTSC)" crashes the emulator, so it has to be MSX2 or MSX2+).

As long as the machine emulation is set to one of those, the game plays more or less perfectly. Like I said, the only noticeable issue is that the audio sounds a little off, but that's something I've noticed with other WebMSX games as well -- I think it's purely an emulation vs. real hardware thing.

-Tom

By wyrdwad

Champion (472)

wyrdwad's picture

10-09-2017, 10:37

Oh, and yes, the password generator is linked in my walkthrough, but it's kind of buried in text. Wink Here you go:

http://www.msxcartridgeshop.com/bin/M36Password.jar

Larsthe18th's patches are linked from my walkthrough as well, but they're strictly for debug (they literally break the game, by intent), and I'm not 100% sure they work with the English-patched rom (that hasn't been tested), so it's probably best to ignore those for now -- or, if anything, put them up separately.

BTW, you used the bugfix version of the patch at the WebMSX link, right?

-Tom

By tfh

Paragon (1540)

tfh's picture

10-09-2017, 10:41

wyrdwad wrote:

Oh, and yes, the password generator is linked in my walkthrough, but it's kind of buried in text. Wink Here you go:

http://www.msxcartridgeshop.com/bin/M36Password.jar

Thanks

Quote:

Larsthe18th's patches are linked from my walkthrough as well, but they're strictly for debug (they literally break the game, by intent), and I'm not 100% sure they work with the English-patched rom (that hasn't been tested), so it's probably best to ignore those for now -- or, if anything, put them up separately.

BTW, you used the bugfix version of the patch at the WebMSX link, right?

Of course...

Thanks again! :)

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