Considering Rune Worth fan-translation -- anyone interested?

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By wyrdwad

Champion (472)

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11-09-2017, 03:25

I think I've gone a bit mental to even be considering this, what with the sheer amount of text in that game, but... this whole A Life M36 Planet fan-translation thing has given me fan-translation fever, I think, and I'm now considering translating T&E Soft's "Rune Worth: The Young Noble In Black" -- the only other MSX game I've ever gotten obsessed enough with to write a walkthrough for (which you can find here: https://www.cheatmsx.com/en/browsetitle/1039/t-esoft-1989-ru... ).

If you're not familiar with Rune Worth, it's kind of like T&E Soft's answer to Ys (which was, itself, arguably Falcom's answer to T&E Soft's Hydlide). Some Japanese fans even think of it as an unofficial Hydlide 4, apparently, though it's so different from Hydlide that I think that's an unfair comparison. The game is technically really impressive, with fairly quick and consistently smooth block-scrolling regardless of the number of enemies on the screen, pretty detailed graphics, great music that can be played in both OPLL/MSX-music and PSG, dungeon designs that are quite varied and incorporate a pretty wide variety of traps, and a fairly lengthy quest with a pretty decent narrative. It has a few unique features it boasts, too, including a complete lack of experience (levels are gained by using items which are found in treasure chests, so you level-up through exploration rather than grinding) and a day/night system that has a LOT of effect on gameplay (certain places are open only at night, certain places are open only during the day, certain events only occur at night, and bandits will sometimes randomly ambush and attack you if you travel from one town to another during the night, whereas you can always travel safely during the day).

You can see a Japanese store demo of Rune Worth for MSX here, which shows off a little bit of each part of the game:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4gQVXXIgp8

It's also quite well-written, with very lengthy story scenes featuring flowery, descriptive language throughout. Which brings up the biggest hurdle to fan-translating it: text limits.

Because A Life M36 Planet is a 128 KB rom, there were some hard text limits we had to work with -- for every letter we added to the translation, we had to remove a letter somewhere else. This meant that the embellished translations I featured in my walkthrough all had to be simplified and cut down for the patch, since there was no way we could fit THAT MUCH TEXT in such a tiny rom. We even had to "cannibalize" certain scenes, removing extraneous text in order to allow ourselves to add an extra word or two somewhere else.

For Rune Worth, the amount of text is daunting enough to begin with, yet it's very likely I'd need to go well beyond the amount of Japanese text in that game in order to give it the translation it deserves. Fortunately, since Rune Worth is a multi-disk game, as opposed to a single cartridge game, there *should* be space to spare for some extra text. I'd be surprised if any of the disks for that game were anywhere near full, since the game features considerably fewer art stills than other similarly positioned RPGs of the era.

I'd also need a smaller font used, though, or else players would have to advance their text windows pretty much CONSTANTLY, which I could see getting really annoying.

Ideally, I'd like to give this game a REALLY GOOD fan-translation -- I work as a translator and editor professionally, and I'd like to give this game the same attention I give the games I'm paid to work on every day -- so what I'm looking for here is someone who'd be capable of giving this a coding overhaul on par with, say, Melancholia's SD Snatcher translation. Like, not just a simple text replacement, but some wholesale restructuring of the way the game handles text output and such, to ensure that I can really make this text as interesting and detailed as I want to, and it'll look really presentable to players in the finished product.

I don't think I'm quite ready to start on this right this minute or anything, but I wanted to create a topic just to see if anyone here thinks they'd be able and willing to provide coding services of this sort for a long-term MSX project (because, let's be real, this is a full-length RPG, and I'm a fickle man with a full-time translation and editing job, so this will definitely NOT get done quickly on my end). Hubz, whom we worked with for A Life M36 Planet, might potentially be able to offer his help somewhere down the line, but it sounds like he's more interested in working on other projects at the moment, which is totally fair -- but if someone else thinks this sounds cool, or especially if someone else REALLY thinks it sounds cool and is willing to get started on dissecting the game's code and playing around with it a bit just to see how plausible a task this really is, that would be amazing, and might give me the push I need to really get started on this myself.

In the meantime, here are more Rune Worth-related videos to help grab someone's interest:

Intro
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1HL9ulka-4

Bonus soundtrack disk (which I'd also be looking to translate!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0ZyzAi6seM

Thanks for reading. ;)

-Tom

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By MP83

Master (132)

MP83's picture

11-09-2017, 03:46

Yikes. This is quite a task, I'll have to say. Hopefully you'll find someone to restructure the way the game handles text output and such. I, for one, would love to play this game in English. Smile Good luck!

By mesiasmsx

Prophet (3038)

mesiasmsx's picture

11-09-2017, 04:00

All my support!

By wyrdwad

Champion (472)

wyrdwad's picture

11-09-2017, 04:15

Oh, yeah, I was also reminded a moment ago that this game was released on multiple platforms -- at least PC-88 and X68000, and I think eventually PC-98 as well, with the PC-88 version being the original (I believe). The only reason I'm interested in translating the MSX2 version over any of those is because it's the only version I own, and the only version I've played -- but by all appearances, the other versions are more or less the exact same game (this is one of the few examples I can think of where the MSX2 version was kept largely on par with its brethren on other, more powerful systems), so it might even be possible to do a multi-platform fan-translation, if I can find a coder who's up for that. Wink

Might also be easier to work with the text from one of the other versions, honestly, since one of the few notable differences between the MSX2 version and other versions is in the text: the MSX2 version uses mostly hiragana and katakana writing, whereas other versions seem to use a considerable amount more kanji as well. For translation purposes, kanji is actually really useful, as it helps distinguish between possible homonyms, making it clearer what characters are talking about in certain scenes.

If a coder is willing to go all-in on this project, though, but will only do it for the MSX2, that's A-OK by me, since -- again -- that's the only version I've played, and thus the only version I know. And is the one I'm most interested in seeing translated, so that all you beautiful people on MSX.org can enjoy this game in all its glory. Wink

-Tom

By max_iwamoto

Champion (365)

max_iwamoto's picture

11-09-2017, 06:21

wyrdwad wrote:

Because A Life M36 Planet is a 128 KB rom, there were some hard text limits we had to work with -- for every letter we added to the translation, we had to remove a letter somewhere else. This meant that the embellished translations I featured in my walkthrough all had to be simplified and cut down for the patch, since there was no way we could fit THAT MUCH TEXT in such a tiny rom. We even had to "cannibalize" certain scenes, removing extraneous text in order to allow ourselves to add an extra word or two somewhere else.

There is always space, even in 128KB ROM. You can use compression or find unused space to fit full version of the texts. It's very sad that you had to "cannibalize" full text and use shorter versions for the M36 game.

wyrdwad wrote:

Ideally, I'd like to give this game a REALLY GOOD fan-translation -- I work as a translator and editor professionally, and I'd like to give this game the same attention I give the games I'm paid to work on every day -- so what I'm looking for here is someone who'd be capable of giving this a coding overhaul on par with, say, Melancholia's SD Snatcher translation. Like, not just a simple text replacement, but some wholesale restructuring of the way the game handles text output and such, to ensure that I can really make this text as interesting and detailed as I want to, and it'll look really presentable to players in the finished product.
-Tom

To edit game code and make it similar to Melancholia's SD Snatcher translation, someone will need to dedicate 2-3 years of their life for the game size of Rune Worth. And it is not an easy commitment. Because many of the things will need to be recoded from scratch. And debugging the game of this size/length will also take some time.

By wyrdwad

Champion (472)

wyrdwad's picture

11-09-2017, 06:36

max_iwamoto wrote:

There is always space, even in 128KB ROM. You can use compression or find unused space to fit full version of the texts. It's very sad that you had to "cannibalize" full text and use shorter versions for the M36 game.

Don't be too sad: we actually improved things by doing so, eliminating unnecessary text (like the text that says "/name/ used /item/" after you select to use an item -- it's pretty obvious you used an item, and doesn't need to be reiterated, and by removing that line, item usage occurs more quickly).

I'm aware that with a bit more work, things could've been rearranged, but this was the very first MSX project for Hubz, so it was kind of a learning experience for him, and I think the tradeoffs he made to get the patch finished were totally reasonable.

Quote:

To edit game code and make it similar to Melancholia's SD Snatcher translation, someone will need to dedicate 2-3 years of their life for the game size of Rune Worth. And it is not an easy commitment. Because many of the things will need to be recoded from scratch. And debugging the game of this size/length will also take some time.

Oh, I'm well aware. That's why I posted this topic -- to see if there would be any interest whatsoever in undertaking something so monstrously huge. Every project's gotta start somewhere, after all, and what better starting place than simply gauging interest? If no one really cares about this game all that much, then that's just as much an answer as finding out that there's somebody willing to put in the excess of time required to get it done.

-Tom

By wyrdwad

Champion (472)

wyrdwad's picture

11-09-2017, 08:15

Given what you mentioned, actually, I was thinking about it, and you're probably right that it's unrealistic of me to even hope that someone would be willing to dedicate this kind of time and effort to coding for Rune Worth. But what about just regular hacking and text replacement? There should be plenty of space to work with, like I said, meaning we could probably expand existing text scrolls to go on longer than they currently do without too much trouble. Even with the text being huge and requiring a lot more text advancement from players, the game would still be playable and enjoyable in English, so I think it would still be worth it. Shrinking the font into something like we saw in Melancholia's SD Snatcher would be ideal, but as long as it would be possible to translate without being super-duper restricted by space constraints, I still think there'd be some merit to a project like this.

Besides which, once the text is translated, hackers can always continue working on the game and maybe shrink the text size for a future patch if there's demand for it. The biggest hurdle is just getting the text translated and inserted into the game in the first place!

-Tom

By Randam

Paladin (771)

Randam's picture

11-09-2017, 10:48

Rune Worth as a translation project is a very worthy game to be translated. The story is great, the music is great and the game is very nice. It's one of the hidden gems on MSX and I hope it will be translated + implemented. But I do hope that you would strive towards the REALLY GOOD option you mentioned earlier. This game is too good to make just direct text replacements.

Rune Worth is indeed also on PC-98 including 2 sequels to it, which were made in quick succession (part 3 is from 1991). It might be interesting/ useful to compare these versions script wise to see if there are differences/ omissions.

Rikusu at one point was making a translation of (the script of) Rune Worth. Perhaps it's a good idea to contact him about Rune Worth.

I think there is a risk that once a translation is done, it won't soon be improved upon seeing it's already "done". And if it's redone, most of the original implementation work will be for naught. That's probably one of the reasons games like Xak 2 or the Ys saga haven't been reimplemented yet, no matter how much improvement there will be in those full scripts. So I personally hope you will strive for full or near full implementation.

I for one would love to see a translated version of Rune Worth, but unfortunately I don't have the coding skills to implement it.

By wyrdwad

Champion (472)

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11-09-2017, 11:02

Hmm. I can't recall seeing posts by a user named Rikusu on here before. Does this person still post on MRC?

-Tom

By The_Engineer

Master (142)

The_Engineer's picture

11-09-2017, 11:05

As I have been asking for a Rune Worth translation for a long time, I should put my money where my mouth is and am more than glad to help Tom integrate the translation into the game.
If Max would open source his text routine (which I personally think is the best for displaying English language on MSX2) that would be a great help Wink
Tom, do you have the full script extracted from the game already?

By wyrdwad

Champion (472)

wyrdwad's picture

11-09-2017, 11:08

No, I don't. That would actually be the first thing I'd need, as I couldn't possibly translate anything without a text dump -- there's just too much text in too many places, and since the game occasionally allows you to choose multiple paths through the story, there's no way to see it all in one playthrough anyway.

-Tom

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