April 1st, 2008
Why do I feel like I need a drink?
Alright, it’s not actually the blog’s birthday… and the domain’s birthday is the 24th, but April 1st is the day of the earliest remaining entry after I went on my mass-deletion rampage of old/nonsensical posts. I kind of like the idea of the blog sharing a birthday with Watanuki and Sakura though, so let’s run with it.
Here’s to you, Seiha.org. 1 year old, you silly dumping grounds for two other forums, backup files and assorted other things I like to play with. May you have plenty more to come. Now on to the fun stuff. It wasn’t really meant to be a secret, but somebody decided to poke at 4chan and annoy them with it, so it’s a bit less surprising to some I’m sure.
This is not an April Fool’s joke. I don’t mind them, but I consider the process of saying "XYZ… NOT!" To be a form of humor slightly below the whoopie cushion and maybe above bloodletting depending on the depth of the wound. Deceiving and then insulting your audience is a joke that I honestly consider crass at best.
After some poking around, I found out that the internal files for Battle Moon Wars are amazingly easy to open up and muss around with. Long story short, it was made by heavily using a freeware scripting engine that stores everything in basic, run of the mill XMLs. Like a fool, I thought "hey, time to put those interface design classes and SRW love to good use and I could have this thing churned out in a month. It’s not like I’ve got much to cover during the week for the Winter."
Actually, things more or less went as planned except for a few significant details, mostly revolving around finding others to help out. I managed to churn through all the image files in a couple weeks and started translating the battle text. I finished most of that up, and realized that I probably should have kept a closer reign on the people I asked to help translate the story. Long story short there too… this has basically been a one man project for the last two and a half months. I will give a shout out to Matt for tracking down the original unpacking tools, RabidKimba and Selkirk for TLCing Act 1 and ViruX and RadicalR of NDT for doing some string insertion on the .exe that was outside of my abilities. ChaosTangent also deserves some props for trying, even if everything he tried ultimately ended up futile and I’ve bugged Spoonsubs quite a bit for minor editing and translating help.
Otherwise, so far this has been a long and relatively lonely journey, teaching me the value of the people who translate everything else out there. Especially ones that do it quickly… and have an attention span longer than a week. I have also learned the value of good dialogue writing, because if Werk had their way, every other sentence would begin with an interjection.
Anyway, I’ve got a significant portion finished, so I thought that I may as well release a patch covering Act 1 and see if anybody else wants to help out on any of the translation fronts.
Visit http://bmw.seiha.org for the most recent patch updates. This one is out of date as of 5/1/08
Just drop the patch in BMW’s directory, run it and voila.
If you downloaded the patch on April 1st or 2nd, it mis-sets one variable in data1. Replace your data1 with this: http://bmw.seiha.org/data1.dat
I replaced the patch on April 3rd with one that doesn’t do that.
Note that this patch requires you to have all three Acts installed and be completely up to date on the official patches or it’ll just think that you’re insane. It will probably also hang for a moment (unless you’ve got $Texas RAM) since it’s not particularly well optimized and it’s trying to edit a 500+ mb file. Just as an FYI. *shrug* The interfaces and whatnot get redone with each Act anyway. All the interfaces and battle stuff is pretty much completely finished, so you could easily play through it. You’d just be missing out on the story for anything past stage 6. You’ll still have to run it in AppLocale (or with Japanese settings enabled) at the moment or the game will get cranky, use the wrong subset of fonts and then produce a series of sort of strange textual corruptions. Nothing major, but the linebreaks are hardcoded, so there’ll be issues with them, plus the textboxes will be the wrong size for the text, which will mean sentences will sometimes end prematu
Everything but the story has been looked at in some form or another. Well, and the Config.exe. I forgot it existed until I started writing this post. Oopsies. There are only two options anyway, Full Screen/Windowed and Color Depth. I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out which is which without too many issues.
Annnnyway… Act 1 (stages 1-6) is 100% complete, though I’m sure a few parts could use minor changes. All the important battle and gameplay text for the entire game has been translated, though I haven’t really double checked Act 2 or 3’s battle quotes so some are probably a biiiit off and/or in need of editing or differently placed line breaks, especially the parts I did especially late at night when I was getting testy. Admittedly, some parts I did throw up my hands, declare stupid and did my own thing. For example, one of Saber’s quotes is about 9 syllables (IIRC, her IAC – "I’ll bet it all on this one attack!") that gets displayed for a third of a second. Let’s just make that not-stupid, eh, Werk? The Noble Phantasms are all their own breed of battle quote lunacy, somehow featuring shouted parentheticals.
Act 2’s (stages 7-21) story has been completely translated, but hasn’t been checked/edited/inserted at all (my TLC folks got lazy), and I’m only a couple of stages into Act 3 since I’ve been splitting my attention lately (blame Beat Blades Haruka, the spring season preview, and Otome Crisis). If you’re interested in helping out, I’d love to have another hand or fifteen. It’d certainly speed things up. All of Act 2 looks something like this:
<msg side="LEFT" chara="RIN" face="HUUN">
You’re sure Haruna can’t come along?
<wait kind="INPUT" />
<msg side="RIGHT" chara="TAKUMI" face="FUU">
Absolutely. Let’s go before her majesty tries to follow.
<wait kind="INPUT" />
<msg side="LEFT" chara="HARUNA" face="UGU">
Y-you jerk. When you get back, I’ll show you…
<wait kind="INPUT" />
And Act 3 is… well… about 800kb of untranslated text (Act 1 and 2 combined are about 900kb). Not that excessive, but still daunting to me, especially since I’ll be busy next week with the glut of new shows… and frequent visitors will know that my Japanese occasionally veers off when the conversations get difficult to follow… and Type-Moon fanwork is the epitome of weird. I’d still have no problems releasing the arcs as they finish (every 6-7 stages is a story arc culminating with a boss fight, more or less), or hell… even individual stages. The data files where the text is stored are tiny (~1 mb) compared to the data files that are packed with all the sprite sheets, interfaces, music etc etc etc. The remaining story text is in the data5 and data7 files, and I’d have no problems publically releasing them as things finish since they’re freely available on Werk’s site anyway.
Anyway, if you’re interested in helping out, I chill out in NDT’s channel (#ndt on irc.ppirc.net) or you can just drop me a line via e-mail. Alternately, I set up a little forum at http://bmw.seiha.org where I’ve been dumping all my TL notes from time to time and other assorted thoughts that you can feel free to abuse as you see fit. With concentrated effort from multiple people, this thing could be done in a week or two. Or at least, a few stages could be finished a day, minus all the joy of editing and insertion.
And now, your moment of zen from one of the long nights I was up working on this and my sanity started to slip.
Again, the patch is sitting here. Enjoy.
Thank you, and I hope to post about this being finished in the near future.