Grisaia no Kajitsu Released!

Grisaia-no-Kajitsu-v2

It’s been a long time coming, but Grisaia no Kajitsu is finally out! Koestl gives it an amazing translation, and everyone on the team came together to make it a great release.  Head on over to TLWiki to grab a the patch. You’ll need the game installed prior to installing the patch, it doesn’t matter which version you have installed.

Edit: We’ve released version 1.1 of the patch, which fixes reported issues with the first release. Be sure to grab the latest version!

Edit2: The patch is no longer available now that the official release has been announced. Thanks to everyone who supported us!

Mad Haxing, and Other Busy Work

Sorry about the lack of recent updates, I’ve found myself in a situation where I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate all at once.  I figured I’d take a moment to show off all the fun and interesting things I’ve been working on.

Mangagamer Titles

I did testing for this game, Harukoi Otome. It’s cute, but like Koihime, holy sh*t is it long. Too long for my poor attention span.

I wrote a post over at the Mangagamer blog when I was first getting started, but I’ve been doing a variety of work for Mangagamer recently, including testing and more interestingly, programming and script work.  I’ve been working on all the titles that have been coming down from Softhouse Seal, doing engine localization and text insertion.  It’s pretty grunt level work but I can automate a lot of the text stuff and focus more on engine details.  So far ‘Sexy Demon Transformation’ and ‘Boob Wars’ have been released (If you encountered the crash bug in the original release, that was my mistake), and I’ve mostly finished up on SSSS – Super Secret Sexy Spy.  There’s more in the pipeline I’m sure, but I haven’t started working on any of the newer titles.

Mangagamer’s decision to go with the Softhouse Seal titles is interesting.  I’ll be the first to say that they aren’t exactly masterpiece games, but they are relatively fun for what they are (which is a attractive looking – compared to say magical teacher- sexy romp with a lighthearted story and a wide variety of sexual scenarios).  I actually liked Sexy Demon in particular, since it had some pretty creative scenes. While I’d rather see higher quality titles get translated, these titles are fairly quick to localize and sell pretty decently.  I don’t think these nukige are replacing the big name titles that MG does, they’re just filling in some of the gaps between releases.  They don’t sell as much as those flagship type plot focused titles, but they do require only a fraction of the translation muscle to localize.  I hear Boob Wars is actually selling fairly well, at least well by normal sales standards.

I’m also working on a separate title, one that’s been requested fairly frequently by MG’s fans.  I’m not allowed to give it away, but it’s being given quite the treatment.  I’ve been tasked with completely porting the game from it’s original game engine over to the Kirikiri game engine, the same one that runs the seal games, Kara no Shoujo, Jast’s Girlfriend is the President, and a whole bunch of other titles (it’s a very common free open-source game engine).  I must admit, my experience with the game engine before hand was quite limited, but I’ve gotten pretty good at using it.  It really is a quite advanced engine, and you can do a lot of things with it, but damn, it can be a little fickle at times.

Doing a full port is really quite interesting, but there’s a lot of work to do it.  Like, a LOT of work.  It’s a bit strange, since the original game engine wasn’t too bad for English text, but the company doesn’t have any staff available to support us since they’re all busy working on their new title, so porting seemed the best option in order to make the project feasible.  Relying on the Japanese companies to do a lot of the technical work can be difficult sometimes since they often don’t have dedicated staff to handle our concerns (and often it wouldn’t be economical to do so).  Doing things on our own gives us a bit of leeway and speeds up the process a lot. Anyways I’ve gotten kind of attached to the game, having put in so much time working on rebuilding it from the ground up.  It’s a big undertaking, and I will probably write a bit about the process once they actually announce the title.

On another note, I’ve also been doing some testing for Mangagamer.  I’ve worked on the re-edit for Koihime for the voice patch (which arguably made the game’s text bearable), and Harukoi Otome.  They’re both decent games, but holy cow they are long.  I do have a spare free game coupon that I don’t really need, maybe I’ll just drop it on the /vg/ VN thread or something.

Trample On Shatten!!

Probably the first time I’m mentioning this one, I’ve gotten involved with Moogy and Makoto over at JAST to do work on their recent acquisition, Trample On Schatten.  The original game engine is a spectacular train wreck when it comes to English text, so I will be porting this game as well to the Kirikiri game engine.

Schatten is a fairly action heavy game, as opposed to the Mangagamer title and there’s a lot of fancy on screen effects, movement and transitions, which complicates the porting process a lot.  Effectively what I did is I built a tool that compiles the original game scripts into equivalent Kirikiri scripts, and then work in all the functionality into Kirikiri that the original game requires to run.  If that sounds like it’s hard work, you would be right.

Progress is pretty good so far.  At the moment the entire first chapter plays (more or less) correctly in the new game engine.  There’s a lot of features that are missing, important things such as save/loading, message history, the gallery, and the scene select system thingy the game has… but it’s coming along well.  Moogy’s plodding along with the translation too, so hopefully we can work this one out before dragging it into JAST TIME.

Honestly it is a little weird to be working for both players in the English VN market, and I’ve heard a couple of joking ‘working with the enemy’ comments too.  But both of them are pretty cool though and I’m actually pretty happy to be working with both of them.  The differences in process between the ways each works is intriguing, although I guess I have to be careful about what I say and who I say it to.

Grisaia no Kajitsu

Koestl has been making steady progress on the game’s translation, having completed Amane’s route, and nearing completion on Sachi’s route.  That’ll put the entire project’s translation progress at about 60%.  I’ve not been doing much work personally on this lately, since the tools are all pretty solid and no major technical issues remain.  There’s still some interface translation work and some work in entering modified images, but at the moment there’s not much that needs my immediate attention.  Koestl’s the real hero for his work on translation, it’s amazing that he can keep dedicated and continue steady progress after all this time.

Other Fan Projects

I created this glorious piece of art while attempting to get duel savior to load new images. It took a lot of wrangling to get it to this point, but it worked.

I’ve gotten asked to help out on a few other random projects.  I helped Pun-kun with some text insertion tools for his Majikoi S project, although it was a relatively minor contribution. I helped Aroduc with his duel savior project, wrangling with the massive nightmare that is giga’s game engine. I didn’t do the hard stuff, but I did do a bunch of exe hacking, which was fun.  I also had to reverse engineer the ps2 version of the game to get all the voice files out (shout out to the people who worked on the Tomoyo PS2 project since I was able to re-use the decryption routine with Duel Savior).  I couldn’t decrypt the image data though, so I think Aroduc actually ran through the ps2 version in an emulator and captured all the cg directly.  Crazy.  Working with Duel Savior was a huge pain since the game engine hates everything, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a huge number of issues still present.  I heard CG unlocks were still broken for destiny route… but there’s not much I can do.

There are a few other random projects I’ve done work on, although not much I can talk about. One of them had maids in it though.  Mmm, maids.  At some point they’ll probably get announced,  or may not.   The unfortunate thing about doing technical work for games is that a lot of the time the work is very front loaded on a project.  Translation on the other hand is often the opposite, and drags on a very very long time.  I’ve only been doing this for a little bit and have already run into doing work for projects that effectively go nowhere, but I’ve put in a whole bunch of hours on.  I can see why the VN scene loses hackers at a steady rate, since they probably get burned by failed projects a few too many times.

I’m lucky in this regard, working with JAST and Mangagamer at the moment, as it’s unlikely I’ll really run into the issue of projects getting canned or abandoned.  Working with Koestl and co as my first project has really been a great experience, and while Duel Savior was frustrating to work on, working with Aroduc was cool. I’m certain he somehow has more hours in a day than I do cause he somehow gets a huge amount of work done in a short period of time. The reception seems to have been quite positive, despite some of the remaining bugs.

Here’s hoping future projects will go as smoothly.

Grisaia Demo Released

Just a heads up, the demo for Grisaia no Kajitsu is released, which covers roughly the first 1/3rd of the common route. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think!

TL Wiki Page
Demo Installer (Mirror)
Subtitled Opening Video

If you encounter any issues, typos, technical problems, be sure to let us know on the TL Wiki Error Report page for Grisaia.

Note: If you have an issue with the old installer where the text does not show up properly, manually downloading and installing the font (here) should fix it.

The Demo Plan

I’ve mentioned in a few places around the net that we plan on releasing a demo for Grisaia, so I figured I’d take a minute to explain what exactly that means.

Originally, we planned on providing an English version of the original Grisaia no Kajitsu demo, with the same selection of scenes. The Japanese demo was a bit strange though, and was played through a scene select screen where you could individually view individual scenes spread semi-randomly across the common route, as well as an H-Scene with Amane, and the first day of the ‘Angelic Howl’ story, a key scene in Amane’s route. The Japanese demo is clearly laid out to show off key scenes and sell the characters and actors, but it provides a rather disjointed experience. The inclusion of Angelic Howl and the H-Scene is there to sell the more serious side of the game, but it is really a huge spoiler in terms of her story.

So the team discussed it thoroughly and decided we wanted to provide a different experience from the original demo. What we’re doing is providing a linear chunk of the game, starting from the beginning, amounting to a bit more than a third of the game’s common route.  In terms of length the demo is roughly the same length as the original game demo.  To give an idea how how long that actually is, at my count the demo is in English about 70k words in length.  It’s not super long, compared to the game itself anyways, but it should give you an idea of what the game has to offer.  While we can’t really show you the more serious stuff later on yet, I hope that you won’t be dissapointed.

The main reason we decided to provide a demo is because we don’t plan on doing partial patches for individual character routes or the common route. I don’t think there’s any one specific reasoning behind it, but if I had to say, it’s simply that we’d rather provide a complete experience rather than a disjointed one.  Releasing a translated demo also allows us to provide a complete standalone package that people can enjoy without relying on the original game. While our changes to the demo content does make that a little grey, we’re hoping that the limited scope of what we’re providing will allow us to avoid any issues.

We plan on having as polished of a demo as we possibly can, and are working hard on making sure it’s as good as we can make it.  The demo is more or less in a working shape and we’re finalizing the editing and finishing up on some of the art. I don’t have a firm release date, but we’ll probably have it out before the end of the month. Stay tuned!

Hacking the Grisaia

So recently the translator Koestl contacted me for some help with the hacking for ‘Grisaia no Kajitsu’ (or ‘Fruit of the Grisaia’), since the game uses the CatSystem2 game Engine.  CatSystem2 was used by Kamikaze Explorer, which I released tools for before.  The tools didn’t work very well with Grisaia however, so some work was needed to get things playing smoothly. In the end I volunteered to help out making the game run well in English.

I should keep in mind that Koestl is the one doing the bulk of the heavy lifting, since translating the game, and it’s a huge ass game, is all his work.  I’m just working on the technical parts.  His translation is great and he does a really good job making it work in English.  He must keep an editor in his pocket because his translation comes out quite polished.  Look forward to playing it in English way (waaaay) down the road.  At the moment, the translation is 10.5% complete.

So anyways, that out of the way, onto the hacking stuff! Read more of this post

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.

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.