Thanks, everybody! This was technically one of my longest-running projects, with the initial abortive attempt dating back to over two years ago, so I'm glad it's ultimately managed to see the light of day. (Light of the moon, I guess?)
Wow, it is really impressive to see a PCE-CD translation with subtitled cut-scenes. I had always heard that this was next to impossible to hack into games on this hardware. Awesome work!
It totally depends on the game, but subtitles are rarely going to be easy. On a relatively primitive machine like this, you have to deal with the restrictions of limited video hardware; for more advanced machines, you have to figure out where in the gigantic haystack of code to put your needle to make things actually work.
This game was actually a softball in a lot of ways: almost everything in it runs off of a single big, orthogonal scripting system, and I made the vast majority of the changes simply by disassembling and reassembling the scripts. (Not that figuring out the scripting system was "easy", but it's far neater than your average PCECD game.) The code changes were mostly small tweaks. I didn't even have to implement my own variable-width font routines, because the game supports pixel-granular text drawing operations right out of the box! All I had to do was point it at the new font and tell it how much to space the characters. For the same reason, it took almost no effort to give the text box four lines instead of the original three.
This game spoiled me so much that I'll probably be in for a bad time if I ever find myself working on a less forgiving PCECD game
I'm curious as to how you accomplished the subtitles? I'm assuming sprites?
Btw, even though it's a fighting game, wouldn't it be fun to translate the 3D0 game?
It actually varies depending on the scene, mostly because I was still figuring out parts of the scripting system when I started working on the subtitles. The "in the name of the moon" speech was the first thing I did, and it uses background tiles, but all other scenes except the BIOS version error message use sprite overlays. For the credits, I had to implement a special space-optimized version of the sprite subtitles due to lack of free RAM (can't load data off the CD if you're playing CD audio!)
And while the idea of doing a 3DO translation kind of tickles me in theory, my understanding is that it's not a very good game. Plus I've just never been able to get into fighting games personally, so it's not the kind of thing I'd really spring for.
I've been playing for about 40 minutes now, and I must say, this translation is super impressive! It has my seal of approval. And I see that my complaints about Japanese terms and honorifics being left intact in the Genesis beat-'em-up were heard. :p
I think I've come across the first small issue.
Heh, I was hoping you'd enjoy this one
I figure pleasing everyone is a lost cause no matter what terminology I pick, but I can at least try to make things palatable for all the different breeds of Sailor Moon fan out there. I took a poll on the Sailor Moon Forum during editing that showed most people in favor of leaving honorifics out, but a few did want them, so I decided it wouldn't be too hard to just put out two different versions and hope people found at least one of them tolerable.
I'm really glad to have a hardcore Sailor Moon fan playing this who can pick up on these things -- I like the series, but I'm really only casually acquainted with it compared to the rest of the fandom. Thanks, and let me know if you run across anything similar so we can correct it for a later version.
And just an FYI in case you didn't see the note in the readme, because it'll certainly set off alarm bells for you: there's a scene in there where Ami refers to how the Senshi "used to live in the Crystal Palace on the Moon". That's a writing mistake in the original game, not a translation error. We double-checked just to be sure, and she really does specifically refer to the Crystal Palace, even though it doesn't exist at this point in the timeline. This game was developed in 1994 despite being set earlier in the series, so apparently the writer got the later plot developments mixed up with the earlier ones.