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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:49 pm 
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Hello skilled hackers! I need a tiny bit of assistance.

Recently I discovered the outstanding Rockman 4 Minus Infinity hack, easily the most impressive NES hack of all time. The least build even adds a language option to convert the entire script to English. Unfortunately, almost every line is broken Engrish. Of course, I realize that the skilled hacker is Japanese and English is very different than Japanese in many ways.

the patch can be found here: (apply to Rockman 4, not Megaman 4)
http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/910/

If needed, pm me and I'll email you the prepatched 1MB rom.

Although the hack is simply amazing, it is filled with Engrish. In this capacity, I'd like to help.

With only some minor changes, the english could be so much better, and still stay within the character limits.

Although I have no rom hacking skills myself, I'd like to fix the grammar mistakes through visual mockups of every string of English text in the game.

Here's what I've finished thus far. Left is the original Engrish, right are my edits.

Image
Image
Image

The exact wording of the text isn't finalized by any means. Right now, this is all just a proof of concept.

If there are any skilled rom hackers reading this, it would GREATLY help if someone could take a look at the newest version of the hack in a disassembler or such and could produce for me some sort of image file to tell me exactly what English characters the game can produce.

Is it as limited as the Megaman 2 font? This is Megaman 2's font:

Image

Or is it expanded like the Rockman/Mega Man 9 and 10 font?

Mega Man 9 font:

Image

If it's as limited as the Rockman 2 font, could anyone possibly add in additional characters? If just the lowercase a-z letters were added, it would add greatly. Typing all in caps, even in an 8-bit game, feels like everyone's always shouting. I guess that works for the time period, but I think it would be better overall if I could add lower case characters.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:53 pm 
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Just look at the PPU viewer in FCEUX. If they're there, you probably know the data format, so just use the lowercase data for the characters.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:57 pm 
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I have absolutely no knowledge of rom hacking myself. I am a sprite artist and 8-bit gaming enthusiast but the technical challenges are beyond me.

As well, I use a mac. PC based emulators are completely useless to me.

If you're able to do that though, please help me out.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:22 pm 
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I can't, I'm on Linux, but since you can afford a Mac you should buy a real computer, too...even a cheap $25 tower.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:31 pm 
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FCEUX's windows build and NO$NES work fine under wine, so they should work acceptably under the OS X port of wine.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:15 pm 
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Usually, I'd find it unlikely that lowercase letters would be available. Since there are only 256 tiles for the whole background (unless there's mid-screen bankswitching involved), there's very little reason to waste 26 of them on letters that are already available in uppercase form... But since this game can switch between Japanese and English, and Japanese needs more characters, there might be some free space for the extra English characters.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:21 pm 
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To further expand on tokumaru's point, here's a screenshot of the font I tend to use when doing development. It consists of both English (uppercase only) and Japanese (hiragana and katakana), along with all the "preferred" Japanese symbols and diacritics (tenten and maru) plus some others (arrows, etc.). It's a combination of fonts from two commercial games (Wizardry: The Knight of Diamonds and Megami Tensei 2) with some adjustments.

This should give you some idea how little pattern table space you have left over for actual game graphics. Specifically: you're left with 77 tiles free in pattern table #0, and 256 in pattern table #1.

If you want the font itself (i.e. .CHR file), let me know -- it's not like I designed/drew the tiles.

I also included a screenshot to give you some idea of what it looks like visually when used.

Using compression of any kind doesn't help -- this is is a shot of what ends up in PPU RAM, i.e. the memory used to represent a tile on-screen. Compression would only help decrease used ROM size/space.

Other solutions:

a) Release multiple romhacks of the game, one for each language (I wouldn't bother trying Chinese),

b) Offer a single ROM and allow the player to choose which language they want -- but if they pick Japanese the language still ends up taking roughly half an entire pattern table, which means some languages might offer "more graphics" than others (this would be considered a very extensive/very complex romhack, FYI -- and whoever is doing your programming/assembly will hate you),

c) Use a mapper that uses CHR-ROM (not CHR-RAM), then swap in/out the CHR-ROM page between scanlines. There are commercial games which do this; it requires accurate/precise timing and some way (in the text engine) of inducing that swap in/out (you won't have enough time during HBlank to do this with CHR-RAM),

d) Consider MMC5, which offers expansion RAM for the PPU (specifically, each tile has its own 4KByte CHR-ROM page associated with it, as well as its own individual palette -- I'm referring to background tiles, not sprites, by the way),

e) Scrap the idea of lowercase letters -- this has my vote, just FYI. Stick with the original style that the game offered. Nothing pisses me off more than when I try a translation romhack where the author(s) decided they'd replace the font and entire text with a bunch of crap that looks awful. Stay true to the roots of the game at all costs.

P.S. -- Some English/translation clean-up:

  • "soler" should be "solar"; Japanese (sometimes even today) often have no idea how to spell the word they're looking to use in English. Surely you've seen "CONGRATURATIONS!" more than once. Also, I highly recommend you change that first paragraph into this: "Rockman's main weapon, powered by solar energy; infinite ammunition.". You could use the word "light" instead of "solar energy", but people like Tepples would throw a fit. Same goes for "ammo" instead of "ammunition".
  • "Electrically charged" is a hyphenated word.
  • "Lightbulbs" is two words; use the term "light bulb" once, then subsequently use the term "bulb".
  • "... to the barrel" should be "... into the barrel".
  • "Press Up and B" should read "Hold Up and B".
  • I haven't played the game, but "wave" might actually be better translated as "field" given the context. In the same sentence, you might also change the word "that" into "which".


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:47 pm 
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That's very interesting information koitsu. Since you obviously have the technical knowledge I'm seeking, I would like very much if you could take a look at the Rockman 4 Minus Infinity hack and tell me what's it's situation with it's font is. The game offers a language selection on the titlescreen for Japanese or English so it's text data must be similar to your wizardry + megami tensei font.

Although I'm not not a romhacker, I've played hundreds of romhacks for the NES/Famicom and again quite readily willing to say that Rockman 4 MI is easily the most advanced, complicated and impressive Famicom romhack in existence.

Although originally based on Rockman 4 (TGROM, MMC3-B (mapper 4) with a 512K combined PRG/CHR, 8K CHR-RAM and a password progress save system) this hack throws that all out the window with a mapper change and general overhaul to MMC5 (specifically, ETROM MMC5 (mapper 5) with 1 MB combined PRG/CHR, 8K Main Work RAM, and 8K Battery-based Work RAM. And yes, the hack USES the MMC5 to create effects you'd normally expect from 16 bit games. Even Gimmick isn't as impressive!)

Given all that it is, I would please ask you to take a detailed look at it's character bank to tell me first of all what characters are available, and the feasibility of adding the English lowercase characters to it.

I don't want the font changed, I want the font expanded.

Again take a look at the Rockman 9 Wiiware font. This is the SAME font as the one created for Rockman 2, 3 ,4, 5 and 6 but expanded with more characters.

If they're not there, the only ones that would need to be added are the lower case English letters.
Image

Thank you!

Hmmm there doesn't seem to be a pm system on nesdev, or else I'd just email you the rom. I'll breifly host the rom until you can get it.

http://www.mediafire.com/download/afy22 ... atoshi.zip
PASSWORD: famicom


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:47 pm 
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Here's what the patterns look like (GIF switches between JAP and ENG):

Image

Notice how some of the Japanese characters are still there when English is selected, so, in theory, the code can be modified to overlap the remaining Japanese characters with the extra symbols you need. Now, this is effectively hacking a hack (well, it already was when you decided to change the text), so it requires some reverse engineering of the routines that write the characters to CHR-RAM.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:54 pm 
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Awesome, but that seems somewhat garbled. I see some characters on the left that are different from the ones on the right.

Can you edit that together into a visual still image of all characters into the game? Just clearly mark the characters that are only present in Japanese mode and the ones only present in English.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:26 am 
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SatoshiMatrix wrote:
Awesome, but that seems somewhat garbled.

This is not my fault, it's the hacker's! =) The way tiles are organized in the pattern tables doesn't matter, as long as the correct tiles are used in the correct places. For some reason, the hacker left a gap between F and G. If you're willing to rewrite ALL the text, you can probably reorganize the pattern tables as you wish.

Quote:
I see some characters on the left that are different from the ones on the right.

Apparently the right side is the one used for those long text screens, but further analysis is required to completely understand which characters are used where. The numbers on the left are probably used for the score or something.

Quote:
Can you edit that together into a visual still image of all characters into the game? Just clearly mark the characters that are only present in Japanese mode and the ones only present in English.

That's more than I can do at the moment. I suck at playing Mega Man so I don't have easy access to many text screens, and I really don't have the time to organize tiles right now. Hopefully someone passionate about Mega Man can help you with this task.

EDIT: I'm not sure I understood your last request... the GIF I posted is a capture of the pattern tables at the same point in the game, one frame showing how the tables look when English is selected and the other when Japanese is selected. I animated it like that exactly to make it easy to see what changes from one language to the other.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:51 am 
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tokumaru wrote:
For some reason, the hacker left a gap between F and G. If you're willing to rewrite ALL the text, you can probably reorganize the pattern tables as you wish.


Indeed I am planning on rewriting all of the text in the game - but I'll need a skilled hacker to actually implement my revised script when I'm done. Before I do though, I need to know if it is possible and more to the point feasible to add in lowercase characters. If not, there's no point in creating mock-ups in anything but the capslock the Engrish text of the existing hack is in.


tokumaru wrote:
Apparently the right side is the one used for those long text screens, but further analysis is required to completely understand which characters are used where. The numbers on the left are probably used for the score or something.


Can you explain this in more detail? The game DOES keep a score and tells you how well you did at the very end, but it uses the standard 0-9 seen in the Rockman 2 font and along the right. I don't ever recall seeing the x 2 divided by 2 characters anywhere at all. Maybe they exist in Japanese text strings.

tokumaru wrote:
I suck at playing Mega Man so I don't have easy access to many text screens, and I really don't have the time to organize tiles right now. Hopefully someone passionate about Mega Man can help you with this task.


It also doesn't help that Minus Infinity makes an absolute joke of the difficulty in the original Mega Man 4. If it helps, I can post every single text string in the game I'm going to edit. But my question here is what characters does the game have as possible programmed in. Beyond both upper and lowercase a-z, there aren't many special characters that I'd want added. All I can think of are these:

. ! ? ' , - : + # & " (left and right)
All of these special characters are found within the Rockmamn 9 font.


tokumaru wrote:
EDIT: I'm not sure I understood your last request... the GIF I posted is a capture of the pattern tables at the same point in the game, one frame showing how the tables look when English is selected and the other when Japanese is selected. I animated it like that exactly to make it easy to see what changes from one language to the other.
[/quote][/quote]

Does that mean that what's visual there are ALL of the characters present in the game? There's zero chance you missed anything?

Image
Edit: Take a look here. From this screenshot I took, you can clearly see there are both left and right brackets in the font, but I don't see them in the image you posted. There must be more characters somewhere else! Please take a look and see if you can find ALL of them.


Last edited by SatoshiMatrix on Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:13 am 
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Here's what I'm up against. Here's an example of the text in the original.

Image

and this one too.

Image


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:04 am 
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koitsu wrote:
I highly recommend you change that first paragraph into this: "Rockman's main weapon, powered by solar energy; infinite ammunition.". You could use the word "light" instead of "solar energy", but people like Tepples would throw a fit.

I'd go with "powered by the sun".

That bit about a "signal" reminds me of another game notorious for its Engrish. "All your Mega Man and Bass are belong to us"?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:57 am 
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R: W...WHAT YOU SAID!?


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