Aselia has Arrived!

So I finally got my copy of Aselia the Eternal (Eien Aselia) in the mail.  Between JAST sending it out two weeks after release even though I pre-ordered, and Canada customs being dinks, it took a good while, but it’s here!

Unfortunately, I have a bunch of other games currently on the go so I don’t think I’ll be able to dive into it right away, but hopefully soon!

Shuffle and Soul Link Font Patches

So over the Halloween sale I picked up Soul Link from MG, and also at the same time decided to grab Shuffle too. Both games default to my least favorite second least favorite font in the known universe (behind Comic Sans), Courier New, so I quickly fixed up a font patch for both games.

Shuffle! Font Patch

Soul Link Font Patch

I’ve also set up a Game Patches section on the site which has a collection of all the patches I’ve released, so you don’t have to go looking around for them later.

Customs Declarations?

So I finally got my latest swag in from Japan.  This time I ordered from J-List since they had a good deal on a game I wanted to play from a looong time ago.  Customs didn’t open my package though, so I took a look at the declaration.  ‘See other invoice’ as a description of contents.  Are they even allowed to do that? I have a feeling that you aren’t. 😛

The other invoice itself is located below enough tape that it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that it would be actually easier to open the box rather than actually extract the invoice from the envelope.  But anyways, lets look at the invoice.

I’ve seen a lot of unique invoice declarations, but this one is new to me.  I’m sure there’s a joke to make here, but it’s too much of a stretch.  I’m not really sure what to think about it. J-List isn’t unique here, everyone I’ve imported from has tried to play down the contents, including Amazon Japan.  It seems pretty standard practice, but this one is still unique.  It’s funny though, if absolutely everyone lies to the government about what they’re importing, I wonder what the point of it is?

The ‘glue’ in question.  Yeah, I’m like… 6 years behind the times, but it’s a game I’ve been meaning to play and the time may be right!

Well, they must have done something right though since customs didn’t open it.  They always open my games, Canada customs is pretty paranoid that way. It’s like they just presume that everything from Japan is immoral and need subjugation by the censorship cops.  I’m kind of amazed you can get away with declaring goods in that way though. Maybe if they catch you lying you’ll get in trouble, I don’t really know!

Launch Mangagamer Titles In Steam

For a while now, I’ve been trying to get my Mangagamer games to launch from steam’s game library as a non-steam application. Unfortunately, the DRM that is built in with Mangagamer releases crashes because of how Steam hooks into the games. Downloading a cracked version is of course one option, but it’s kind of a pain and I have quite a few games.

Luckily, it turns out there’s an easy solution.  All you need to do is enable compatibility mode for the game executable in question, and it will launch properly in steam.  I’m unsure exactly why it works, it doesn’t require you to set any OS compatibility in particular, just that it’s enabled.  Either way, now I can launch my games from Steam and creep my friends out by having it show when I’m playing an Eroge!

Why Oh Why

I just want to go on the record and say: sometimes this game (Koihime Musou) scares me.  The fact that… it… is voiced by Norio Wakamoto just makes it weirder!

Da Capo Dialog Update Released!

Alright, it’s done! As I mentioned in detail in my last post, Kotori Love ExP contains the shared route story and Kotori’s route for Da Capo Plus Communication, which is an improved/expanded version of the original Da Capo. It also gives the game a much needed editing pass over the original release (back when Mangagamer’s releases weren’t as high quality) to make the game much more readable. The original translation wasn’t so much bad, but it was in desperate need of an editing pass to make it flow properly.

So what I’ve done is taken all of the matching dialog from Kotori Love ExP and ported it back to the original Da Capo. Things don’t line up exactly, so not everything is updated, and the individual character routes will use their original translation since they aren’t in Kotori Love ExP. Obviously updated content from Plus Communication doesn’t make an appearance, just lines that were the same in both versions.  That said, there’s still a huge amount of text that was updated, with approximately 260 of the games 600 script files receiving updated text.  Maybe I’ll give a full count sometime, but it makes up about ~40% of the game dialog.

They're both the same lines from the game's opening scene. The bottom screenshot is the updated translation.

Porting it has been kind of an adventure of it’s own.  Normally I would attempt to automate the process, but the scripts from the two versions are different enough that that’s not really possible.  So what it came down to was manual comparison and text insertion.

It's kind of embarrassing some of the strange things that made it in the translation...

After a bit I realized that just manually copying over lines was going to take ages.  There’s thousands of lines that are in need of updating, and just the act of copy/pasting that much makes me a sad man.  Eventually I wrote some tools that rips the dialog from each of the game scripts and puts them into a comparable format.  I used Beyond Compare to compare the two, because out of all the diff/compare tools I looked at it was the only one that allowed (effective) comparison of entire folders. After that it was just a matter of going through the slow process of merging lines that made sense to merge, skipping lines when the story diverged, and making small tweaks to lines where it’s needed.

The actual comparison process. Boring right? At least one click to merge a line makes it go quick.

The whole project gave me an interesting glimpse at exactly what was changed for the Plus Communication version.  It’s not just the new characters, but a lot in general was updated.  Some particularly awkward scenes and development have been outright replaced, some scenes are extended to make them flow better, and characters are added to other scenes which increases the amount of time the characters are interacting with each other.  Oh, obviously also new CG, new character stand art, and improved ‘gameplay’ aspects.  It’s a real shame that they aren’t planning on bringing this over, because it gives Da Capo a rather impressive face lift.

So yeah, that’s about all there is to say about it.  You can download it below, it’ll work with both the download version and package versions of the game.  It also includes the font fix.  I hope at least someone out there finds it useful!  If you don’t already have a copy of Da Capo, you can pick it up over at Mangagamer.com.

Download the Da Capo Dialog Update Patch

 

Da Capo Translation Update?

So I’ve been playing Da Capo recently, which is one of Mangagamer’s earlier titles. It came out roughly around the time where their translations are kind of sketchy. They’re good translation wise, but there’s no… flow. Maybe they just didn’t have an editor back then, who knows!

This was more of a stand out issue in Da Capo than it was in Suika I think because Da Capo has more humor and just general randomness, which doesn’t come across very well in a stiff translation. I think Suika’s story came across a lot better (despite it was probably the same translator) probably just because the script works better with a direct translation.

But! Mangagamer released one of the Da Capo fandisks, “Kotori Love ExP”. The fan disc contains Kotori’s stories from Da Capo Plus Communication (the updated version of Da Capo with new characters and content), Da Capo Innocent Finale (an all ages retelling of the DC story), the other fan discs White Season, After Seasons, Christmas Days, as well as a new scenario featuring Kotori.

The key here is Plus Communication, the Kotori Love ExP version is the main game except it won’t let you continue on any story other than Kotori’s. That means that the entire common route for Plus Communication is actually already translated. Most of the games content is the same as the original though, just with extra scenes with the new characters. Since I’m just playing Da Capo for the first time, and I happened to already own a copy of Kotori Love ExP, I decided that when playing Kotori’s route I should play through the updated version of the game instead. Why not?

I wasn’t sure if Mangagamer would re-translate the content that was already translated for Da Capo, but it seems they did actually do that. It looks like they did a full re-translation, or at least a serious re-editing, of all the game content, which is quite obvious when you play the two side by side.

Well, even though Mangagamer won’t fix the translation of their old games, and likely won’t release Plus Communication fully in English, we do have a re-translation available for all of the game’s shared content (scenes that appear before the routes branch off). It’s only the first half of the game, but it’s still better than nothing right?

So what I’ve started doing is actually port the translation back from the new translation in Kotori Love ExP back to the original Da Capo where the scenarios actually overlap. I’ve got the first two days done, and while it’s kind of tiring, boring work, it’s not really that hard. And, hopefully when it’s done it can be used to provide a more enjoyable experience for the common route, and maybe even Kotori’s route if it’s not too different in the Plus Communication version.

Conquering the Queen – Review

This is a title that is definitely outside of my comfort zone, as ‘surprise sex’ is not usually on my list of favorite things. Liquid games are widely known for their mastery of the non-consensual, which is definitely a put-off. But you know, they say a wise man once said “Don’t knock it till you try it”. I’m not sure this phrase was intended for sexual assault, but what can I say. When Kouryuu of Mangagamer announced that “Rape is now on sale! Get your rape now!”, I knew that I had to at least give it a shot.

(For the record, I do feel some guilt for playing and reviewing this game!)

Title Conquering the Queen
Original Title: 魔将の贄 (Mashou no Nie / Sacrifice to the Demon General)
Original Release November 2004
English Release October 2011
Studio Liquid (Nexton)
Localization Mangagamer
Genre Visual Novel (Dark Fantasy Rape Adventure)
Rating Adult Only (18+)
Availability Download Version @ Mangagamer € 19.95 ($28 USD Approx)

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Playing Kara no Shoujo

To be fair, I didn’t actually expect it to be a happy game, but this is pretty rough!

More Kamikaze Explorer

Kamikaze Explorer takes place in the not so distant future, where the oceans have risen and changed the way of life. Our protagonist Hayase Keiji transfers into a school for people with special abilities, because like the real future, kids start getting all kinds of special powers.  Keiji hooks up with a group of local students and joins Argonaut, a club with the purpose of solving problems and helping people. The special abilities thing feels like the TV show Heroes if the show was instead a Japanese high school love adventure. Like Heroes, character abilities range from passively useless to hugely overpowered, and again like the show the main character discovers his ability to gain and use the abilities of others.

But of course, the plot is really just an excuse to have a lot of really cute girls come together and interact with each other, which is what the game does best. The characters are all kinds of awesome and cute, and they play off each other in an enjoyable way. The game has the nickname ‘oppai explorer’ for a good reason, but what I didn’t expect was that the… soft (for lack of a better term) look to the characters was enough to make even a battle hardened lolicon a fan of the game. I’m not admitting anything there, I’m just saying. But yeah, the game is beautiful, from the character stand animations, the interface, and the HD resolution. A very good looking game.

And a good game in general, but for me it also ended up being a random target for hacking.  I was looking for something to do so I messed around with the idea of being able to modify the in game text of the game.  My Japanese still isn’t very good (I haven’t taken JLPT but I’m not at the level where I could do JLPT3), and while understanding ~50% of what’s going on is better than nothing, translation requires you to know 100%.  And hopefully, makes me better at the language in the process.

Don’t take that as a sign that I plan to translate the game or create a patch.  I just said that my Japanese knowledge is too weak to create an accurate translation, and whatever I do I probably won’t end up releasing publicly.  Mangagamer has mentioned Clochette is in talks with interest in coming to the English market, so with luck we’ll see it in English without the requirement of a fan translation.  On the other hand, maybe having experience with the game and game engine might prove useful for such an official project.

The Technical Stuff

I don’t plan on releasing a patch myself, and if I did, it would be just the demo.  And would probably be translated poorly, oh so poorly.  It can’t be any worse than the result when I fed the entire script through google translator, you really really don’t want that version of the game. 😛  But, I do have tools and stuff that might be useful if someone else wanted to work on it, or probably more importantly, other games that runs off of Windmill’s CatSystem2.

CatSystem2 has some limitations for running in English.  For one, it doesn’t seem to work in English language mode, you need to run in Japanese or use Applocale.  I THINK this has to do with font and configuration stuff, but I’m not smart enough to fix it.  The tools also compensate for a few engine limitations.  It will automatically add line-wrap to English sentences, it will change apostrophe’s to backquotes (because the engine will attempt to close quotes automatically, breaking things), and in the case of options, where spaces can’t be used it will automatically convert spaces to fullwidth ones that work.

Well, it should be simple enough to figure out, but there’s a readme with additional details in it.  You’ll need to install PHP to run from the command line with the multi-byte string (mbstring) module enabled.

Download the Tools

It so annoying to make the 100 of these needed for the full game...

CatSystem2 uses images for character name tags, so any attempt to translate the game will require you to create a new set of nametags and convert them to CS2’s HG3 image format.  The tools to do this are on the CatSystem2 homepage, which is here, there should be a tool WGC.exe which can convert a specially prepared Photoshop PSD file to HG3.  There’s directions on the CS2 site for this, but I created a full set of nametags for the Kamikaze Explorer demo.

Download the PSD/HG3

If you drop that into the Kamikaze Explorer\image directory, it should be automatically picked up.  The PSD file has layer names which correspond to the character ID’s in the name_table.csv inside of the config.int file.  It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out if you needed to make any changes.

And just to be completely random, I have a mirror of the demo here, since my friend is way too lazy to find it himself.