Posted by & filed under Translation, Tutorial, Videogame.

I have been researching how to translate this classic game by Sierra. Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places) dates back to 1988 and uses Sierra’s Creative Interpreter (SCI) engine. Being a conversational, adventure game, there are two basic things to take into account: there will be dialogues and message boxes to translate, and an interpreter for verbal interaction. In this post, I will focus on how to translate the text files, as I have not gone into the interpreter yet. Disclaimer: mind that I am not a programmer, so pardon me if I say anything wrong.

lsl2_es

Keep in mind some things were already translated in LSL1

The first thing I looked up was the engine: what engine does this game use? You have a lot of information on the Internet, for instance, in Wikipedia’s page about Sierra’s Creative Interpreter. You can see there are different versions of the engine, and it depends on the game; LSL2 uses SCI0. Here is a more detailed list of SCI games, if you want to pick a different game; maybe, this guide can help you translate it, but I cannot guarantee that.

The Internet also offers us information about how to translate SCI games. In fact, Sierra itself has a website for SCI tools, and that can be more reliable than any other page. I figured there should be a way to dump the text files or edit them, I just had to find the right tool. The first problem I ran into was that some of those tools on the list do not work properly on certain operating systems; my PC runs on Windows 7 64-bit, just so you know why I had to discard some of them. Additionally, some tools cannot open certain versions of SCI. For example, the first tool I tried was “Endroz’s SCI Tools”, which contains “SCI Resource Dumper” and “Views Viewer 2″, but LSL2 was not on the list of compatible games. I noticed there is a difference in how the game resources are compiled: LSL2 has RESOURCE.MAP and RESOURCE.CFG, but no RESOURCE.000, MESSAGE.MAP, or RESOURCE.MSG. I then tried “SCI Decoder VGA” in Windows XP Mode, but it freezes when I try to dump the data. Finally, “SCI Studio 3” worked perfectly and was more user-friendly than “SCI Decoder VGA”. In order to dump the text files, just go to the section labeled “Text” and click on “Extract” in the menu.

Once I made sure those files were translatable text, I went on to find a CAT tool that could come in handy, and TRADOS was a winner. When I tried to open the text files with word processors and CAT tools, lines merged into one despite there being LF (line feed) and CR (carriage return) tokens, and I wanted a tool that could keep LF tokens in their positions and separate lines correctly1. Now, the files have different extensions that consist of a number: Text.001, Text.002, and so on. In order to parse them, go to Project Config > File Types > Text, then in expression write “Text.*” only; in Structure patterns, open pattern is “^” and closing pattern is “\0”, and Multiline should be marked. That should do the trick.

After having finished translating, there is one more thing to do before compiling, regarding languages with accent-marked letters and other special characters. When I tried to play the game after translating a sample, I found that special characters were missing, and there were long gaps instead. The reason for this is that, at least in the US version of the game, the fonts the game uses do not have special characters. I have been told the French version does, but I have not looked for it. The “cheapest” way to solve this is to edit the font files, and replace unused symbols with special characters. For example, here is the list I did for Spanish:

* = Á { = É # = Í @ = Ó = = Ú
[ = á ] = é ^ = í _ = ó } = ú
~ = ñ | = ¿ + = ¡

This way, you can run replacements in all text files; I would recommend doing this after having translated the whole game.

Lastly, go to “SCI Studio 3″ and open the game, clear source text files, then click on Resource > Add resource and select the translated files. Click on “Rebuild” and you are good to go!

Big thanks to SkaZZ for helping me out with the font problem!

1If you do not do that, you may find that lines divided by LF are separated into different segments, which may seem right at first, but when you save the output file, compile and such, you will see that dialogues only contain the first line. For example, “[CR]Hello[LF]my name is[LF]Larry.[CR]”, would show “Hello” in the game. I figured then that CR tokens separated message boxes and LF tokens were line jumps inside one message box. In order to insert a LF token, use Shift+Enter.

Posted by & filed under Videogame.

That’s it. I’ve found it. After all these years, it has been right before of my eyes. I googled it to check if it had already been discovered, but I couldn’t find any reference to this. I’ll explain.

First of all, do you know Eternam?

EternamE

I played this game a long, long time ago until recently. I didn’t even remember the story. It was published in 1992, two years after Monkey Island. The story is about Don Jonz, an officer who is on vacation in a planet called Eternam. The planet is just an amusement park about different historical periods: Middle Age, Ancient Egypt, the future… When he arrives on the planet, he learns that the planet has been taken over.

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How much do your parents like games? I have always wondered how it is in other families. It is hard to find parents who play games, or have ever played games in their lives. Maybe it is because many grownups have heard the classic “games are bad for your kids” a lot, as it has been for any trending invention. My parents would always buy the games we wanted, and although they alarmed a little bit with the gory ones or any Leisure Suit Larry, I think I have never been forbidden to play any particular games (just the amount of time playing them).

Gamer parents? Aliens

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Posted by & filed under Translation, Tutorial, Videogame.

I started this project a year ago. I wanted to do something in my time off that could benefit my experience as a translator. I did a thorough research with help from a couple of friends, and learned a few things about reverse engineering. I posted my struggle in my previous blog, but I had to give up the project because I had no time for it. Finally, I was able to re-take it about a week ago, and realized I had forgotten half of the steps. So I made a walkthrough for me, and thought about sharing it here.

The videogame is called Fate stay/night (FSN). It is a Japanese visual novel (they dig that a lot there) for adults, you get the picture. I knew Fate stay/night as the anime, and other works based on the same universe. I was told nobody had translated this game into Spanish (Tsukihime was my first option, but it was already done), so I gave it a go. Later on, I discovered somebody was translating it already, and they were a team, so their translation might come up first. But I love translating, I come from the fansub scene where there is a lot more competition; I didn’t mind. After all that research, to give up was a silly thing!

I will start with a patched version of the game, the main reason being I would like to finish translating it while I am alive, and it is easier to identify which files you have to edit! There is an English patch out (thank you, mirror moon guys), or maybe you want to work with other languages, in which case I have no idea. I will assume you have the game, and you have patched it…

It is desirable that you do your previous research first in order to know what you are doing. Get familiar with Kirikiri Script, visual novel games, and such; let me skip the introduction and details, everything is written in the Web. You can find readme files in the Web and inside tools, namely XP3 tools. Feel free to ask me anything and I will add my answer to this post. Also, mind that this is oriented to FSN only. I do not know if it applies to other visual novels.

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Welcome to my blog. My name is Concha and I play videogames. Incidentally, I am a professional videogame translator, too. The purpose of this blog is to tell my thoughts, experiences and rants about what I do.

Feel free to send me any suggestions about games that I should play, funny translations, and interesting news. And please comment! I’ll try to write as much as I can, no promises, though.