October 26, 2011
Filed under Eroge / Visual Novels
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.