♫ Night is Day and Twilight’s Gone Away ♫

February 27th, 2019


I wish your swan song hadn't been a really weird RPG, AQLoop.

Last time on this series:
Battle Moon Wars SDK
Galaxy Angel/Moonlit Lovers SDK
Daibanchou – Big Bang Age SDK
Eternal Lovers SDK
Kamidori SDK

TWilight INSanity/TWilight refrAIN/Alternative Sphere Tools and Scripts

Of all the things I've translated, these two are easily the ones I feel most undeservedly flew under the radar. Yeah, they may be kind of budget Touhou, but I think there's an elegance to their simplicity that the mainline Touhou games left behind. Also, the stories and characters were surprisingly fun. It's not like they were short either, clocking in at ~10-12k lines, which is on par with MDKB and Bunny Black. Great music too. I still absolutely adore everything about TWINS stage 7, music, direction, and writing. It's just such a perfect culmination of the game. I just wish that I had realized the text there was about 4 letters too long before release. I know I tested it, but it must've gotten something in editing that messed it up and I didn't notice in time. If you ever want to get on my good side though, track down the now-defunct creator circle and get this series the exposure it deserved but never got.


But anyway, the scripts. The awful, awful, XML scripts. Well, not that awful. They're nice in that like Battle Moon Wars, they're a full decompilation of virtually everything, not to mention pretty human readable. Where they're kind of annoying is because it splits between NVL (freeform) presentation and traditional ADV (text box). The NVL stuff in particular ends up looking like this in the scripts ("**" is a linebreak):

<setString><string>**************Near the end of the 21st century, the human**race created a computerized virtual world.**                        Ill-net.</string></setString>
        <actionRef label="text_wait_action"></actionRef>    
<setString><string>********Instead of using indirect data, like words**and images, Ill-net directly interfaced with**the human brain.****In other words, those logged into Ill-net**experienced the virtual world as if it was**real and could seamlessly communicate with**other users.</string></setString>
        <actionRef label="text_wait_action"></actionRef>
<setString><string>It was restricted to researchers at first but**opened to the public 11 years ago. Many**people regularly use it now.******In addition to the communal usage,**development and applications of artificial**intelligences greatly advanced in the virtual**world. ******Artificial Human Circuits (AHCs) allowed AIs**to think and feel just like real humans. The**Artificial Humanoids (AHs) built with these**AHCs acted as the guides and protectors for**the residents of Ill-net.</string></setString>
        <actionRef label="text_wait_action"></actionRef>
<setString><string>************Humans created an entirely new world.****They now enjoy using it every day as its**creators and masters.</string></setString>
        <actionRef label="text_wait_action"></actionRef>

ADV looks like:

            <global name="global_character_kaiwa">300</global>
<setString><string>…Code 403: Authentication Failure.**Target will be deleted…</string></setString>
            <actionRef label="text_wait_action"></actionRef>

With all the different display types and formats, not to mention the aforementioned text-display-as-visual-direction stuff in stage 7, linebreaking and even display speed/text length became a huge pain in the ass. I honestly don't even remember how I did it. I think mostly by eye, judging by how a lot of this seems a little inconsistent and haphazard, but I honestly don't remember. Everything worked the same for TWINS and TWAIN, and I believe for AltSphere too, but while I originally meant to do it, there were some additional technical issues (that I think were eventually resolved and included) and I was arm deep in other things at the time and didn't like the shield gimmick of AS much anyway. Probably a little discouraged that the first two went mostly ignored and unplayed, even by my own team, at that point as well, but c'est la vie.

There's not a ton else to say about them given how readable they are. A more ambitious person could probably do some real modding and upgrading work with them. I do remember some of the minor images had to be blanked rather than translated because they were tiny kanji and no way was found to expand the sprite sizes, but I'm not sure how much effort was expended trying to figure that out. So it goes for personal passion projects. I'm still glad I worked on these two though. Maybe someone can finish the trilogy with the AltSphere tools someday. Shame the doujin group closed up shop. Would've liked to keep hearing hearing Gate Keeper remixes if nothing else.

Next week, Duel Savior/Xross Scramble. Excessively complicated, and yet also very much not.

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