Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Welcome Insert Credit Readers

Well, I just noticed (thanks to some new reader comments) that Brandon at posted an article about this blog. Thanks Brandon!

Announcement: Lost Church officially renamed Rooster Church
Calden, the translator, has notified me that the church in CFC2 is actually called "Rooster Church." While this seems a bit odd, it's not much more odd than it being "Lost." I mean, it's right there on the East side of town. You can't miss it. I can only assume that "Rooster" is some insider reference to something Capcom, maybe? If you know or have any ideas, why don't you leave a comment to let us know. Oh, and if you want to see the original Japanese screenshot, you can see a picture of the church from the official site.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

2 Weeks, 250 Strings

Well, there are approximately 535 strings of storyline left to translate. This means that, in about 2 weeks, the translator has knocked out about 250 strings. That's great progress, and if we can keep up that pace, it might be done by Christmas time. There's no deadline or release date set, but that might be a nice goal for another test release.

This progress is great, but we're running out of room in the game for all the English letters, because the English takes up more space than the Japanese. At the moment, it looks like the origin/flavoring text that shows up (as the second page) on the cards might get axed to make some more room. This text is often a quote from the card's character or some tidbit about the character. I think it's nice stuff to have around, but it's not an essential part of the game. It's removal will create needed space, and it will also mean that there's less text that needs translating. If you have a strong reaction to the removal of this, let me know.

We're getting low on topics to blog about. We need some more comments and questions so that we know what interests you and can have something new to blab on about.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Introducing the Stars of CFC2

This is another real quick update. I wanted to upload this picture of the characters in the game. They can also be found (with Japanese descriptions) on the original CFC2 page archived from the old site. This isn't really translation news, but it might help pique some interest and it helps us keep track of the characters. If you click on the image, you should get a larger (higher quality) view of it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Teaser Video

I don't really have time to describe this, but it doesn't need much explanation. It's just a quick video I made of the current build of CFC2 English. If you care, I made it with Growler Guncam. I know the guy that makes the software, so I figured I ought to try it out. It's very slick. My tiny video doesn't do it justice.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

New Poll, Emulation Talk, and a Bit On Strings

First of all, I wanted to mention that I put up a poll. You should see it over there on the right side of the page. Let me know how you'd like to play CFC2 English. Keep in mind that for some of the systems mentioned, you would need some way to play "homebrew" games on the system. For systems like NGPC, DS, and PSP, that might mean a flash cart or a modified BIOS or something. I don't think you'll ever see CFC2 English available at your local game shop. Wouldn't that be cool, though?

I've been putting some effort into getting it to run on the Nintendo DS. I'd say at this point, it's playable, but it's not full speed. It is, however, much faster than it was even a week ago. I have found some hacks that I can do so that specific sections of code don't get emulated. Since I have figured out what that part of code is doing, I can just build in the same functionality. Like, instead of emulating the NGPC CPU doing instructions that set a bunch of memory to 0, I can just do a memset(mem,0,count) and skip the code that would have been emulated.

Guys call this technique "static recompilation," but they take it to a whole other level. Some of them write code that turns a binary from an old arcade machine (or whatever) into C source code. Then, they can compile that C code into an executable to run on the PC (or wherever). I haven't done anything near that, but I've taken some pointers from their techniques and added in special cases for specific events that occur frequently.

I've also been doing some more hand optimizing of the emulation core. I am mainly doing this using inline assembly code for ARM processors like NDS, GP2X, etc. This gets a little extra speed out of the emulation because it's more efficient than the C code.

I know that none of this is actual translation news, but I feel that it relates to the project. I am anticipating that people will want to play this on some other handheld console (besides NGPC), and therefore the emulation of it is important.

I plan to get back to the actual translation work in the next couple days. I need to go through the new strings of text and make sure that they fit on the screen properly. I have created a tool that will notify me when strings are too long to fit on the screen. It spits out a list of strings that need to be fixed, and then I have to manually go and re-word the text to make it shorter or to fit in multiple lines. It's not very difficult, but it is a bit tedious.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Brief Progress Update

I just thought that it'd be a good time for a status update. Today I received the latest translation data from the translator. You can see a sample of it on the left. Well, the news is that there is only about 785 strings of dialog left to translate. That doesn't count everything that's still in Japanese, but it also counts some trivial things that don't really need any translation. I'd say it's a fair estimate.

To me, though, it means progress. Things are still moving along, and that's what matters. I have no idea how long it will take to translate the rest of this, but I do know that it's getting done.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Tiles, Flash Carts, Emulators

So, last time I briefly discussed the change of font tiles from Japanese to English. Here's a little view of what has been done. On the left is a table of tiles that are used in the original CFC2. Actually, there are 3 of these tables, but this is the only interesting one

On the right is the new English version of the table. Now, we are free to use English text (both upper-case and lower-case) in the game. Also, as you may notice, the upper-case letters have been made skinnier. That allows us to put more text on the screen than with the full 8-pixel wide tiles. All the Japanese tiles are 8-pixels wide, but they can say more with one tile than the English alphabet allows. I have also added some 8-pixel letters that may (or may not) be used in the final version.

Somebody left a comment yesterday asking about the need for flash carts. The quick answer is that you can either use a flash cart or an emulator. Here's the news on each of those.

Years ago, a company called Bung made a cartridge for the NGPC that would allow you to upload a game to the cart and play it on your NGPC. If you have one of these, you're all set to play CFC2 English on your NGPC. If you don't, then there are a couple of other options.

1) Hope that someone else creates a new flash cart for the NGPC. I know that this sounds a bit wishful, but I actually have been in contact with at least 4 different individuals that had plans to do this. In fact, one of them made a working prototype cart, but never made the "linker" device that uploads from the PC to the cart. As far as I know, the first 3 people that desired to take on this project this have either given up or shelved the project indefinitely. I am, however, in contact with one guy that we can call our "final hope" that is currently working on the project. He wants to make a flash cart that will hook up to the PC via USB. He also intends to make it hold multiple games and be able to switch among them.

2) Run it on an emulator. Well, you might think that it's silly to play a portable game like CFC2 on an emulator. I mean, who wants to play a handheld game on their PC, right? Well, as it turns out, I also work on a NGPC emulator called RACE! (Rather A Cardfighter Emulator!). RACE! runs on the PC, but it also runs on other systems such as GP32, GP2X, Gizmondo, DreamCast, and NintendoDS. It runs CFC2 at full-speed on all those platforms except NintendoDS. Lately, I've been doing some work on the NintendoDS version to try to speed it up. I really haven't gotten it to run all that much faster, but I'll continue to tweak it here and there. CFC2 doesn't really need to run at full-speed, anyway since it's all turn-based. If I could get it to about two-thirds speed, I think that would be good for portable CFC2 English on the DS. The other option would be to run RACE! on the PSP, but I don't own a PSP and I don't know much about the development scene there. It should be a simple thing to port to PSP, though.

Well, that's it for today's update. If you're interested in this project or have any questions, please leave a comment. I think you can do it easily without logging in or anything. As you can see, I'll try to answer and expand on the topic. It's also good for me to get an idea about what sorts of things people are interested in.