Heracles is Glorious!
For nearly 20 years I have helped shape and strengthen the spirit of the ROM hacking community. I fell into a unique community of peers and fans alike all those years ago. I was there to help get things started in mid 90’s. I’ve translated several games. I’ve built ROMHacking.net. I’ve turned hacking newbies into superstars. I have given more than my fair share, but yet the passion lives on. Today marks completion of one more chapter in that legacy, one more gift to my community, and one more SNES English fan translation. Today marks the release of Glory of Heracles IV: Gift from the Gods!
I’ve spent hundreds of hours on this project across a number of years to bring some of the best hacking work you’re going to see from a fan translation on the SNES platform. Often times the impossible was made possible, and I found myself unable to understand what force would drive me to continue on. Why would one do all of this for no reward? Some say the reward is in the work. I’m not too sure that’s true. ROM hacking projects like this can be very tedious. No, I think the reward is being able to make a small difference in the world, and touch the lives of many others whom will undoubtedly enjoy this work. I suppose one might compare ROM hacking to creating art! Ha! So yes, my sculpture is complete and is now on display for all to see!
I’ve written all of the long winded project details, speeches, and summaries in the readme file, so there is no sense repeating it again here. The project history, hacking trials and tribulations, as well as words from the translator are all there. I highly urge you to browse through it. The patch was tested on all major emulators as well as the real hardware. It should work without issue and the testers did a great job. However, with 100 ihabitable bodies that may affect dialog and battle, the possibilities are many. Feel free to stop on by the message board and share your opinions, thoughts, and any issues or suggestions you may have!
Go play it now! It is simply… Glorious!
Glory of Heracles IV Beta Testing
Although things have been quiet on the front page, we’ve been getting loud and working hard behind the scenes! The script editing phase was completed and I completed many hours of personal testing on the real hardware, having played through most of the game. Things are really looking good, and I don’t expect any significant show-stopping issues during testing. I believe the game to be fully playable and will probably complete my personal play through this week!
We have been working on assembling a team for beta testing and will begin formal testing any day now! So, now it is time to find those inconsistencies, silly mistakes, and additional script spots that only testing brings out.
We are still short a tester or two, so we are looking to find one or two people from the general public. We prefer someone with previous testing experience (and someone to vouch for them if possible). Being a TransCorp forum supporter and having experience playing the Glory of Heracles games are also pluses!
Rejoice! The final road to the release of Glory of Heracles IV in English has begun!
Things were speeding along way too well to be true there. It was about time for the universe to play another evil trick to try and foil me! Did someone die? Not this time. Historic natural disaster? Well, we did get 24″ of snow in one storm, which I haven’t seen here in about 20 years, but that’s not it either. Evil lung infection sickening you for months? *Ding*, we have a winner! I was healthy nearly all of last year, but it was time to pay my sick debt! At the end of November, I came down with a terrible lung infection. I was sick for about 2 months. Since that time, the infection has resolved itself, but I have been left with chronic lung inflammation ever since. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? *RIGHT*? RIGHT! I am not dead yet, so I must be getting very strong!
The good news is there hasn’t been much work for me to do on my translations projects, so they didn’t suffer much set back. The work is still currently offloaded to others. Here is the latest update:
Let’s recap; The game is fully translated, and all technical hacking is complete. The script was found to strongly need some editing. Myself and Kay (the translator) did some of the editing ourselves. However, it really needed someone above our skill level that would be dedicated to the task. So, we decided to call in the proverbial professional! Script editing was handed off to my favorite script editor, Misty. She’s done previous TransCorp script editing for Wozz.
Misty is intending to do two editing passes. The first pass will be the general editing pass. The second pass will be for characterization. The first pass has been progressing well, and she reports being about 90% complete! We have not yet decided if we will coordinate beginning beta testing and the second pass of editing around the same time, or do it in strict serial fashion. We will see how the time table ends up.
So, we have just editing, testing, and release remaining! Hurrah!
Tenshi No Uta
This project has been plagued with bouts of missed text since the very beginning. Other than the main script, many of the menus use isolated, hard coded strings. This means they have absolutely no organizational structure, and aren’t even grouped together. With no organizational structure, you can’t easily find and extract them (let alone all at once, together). I have employed pattern searching based on the code patterns used to call these strings. That caught many, however I have still been nickled and dimed with continued one-offs called in different fashions that I was unaware of. You simply don’t know of their existence until you see them in-game at times.
The main script was translated long ago, but now we have numerous bits of untranslated text from the above described scenarios. This has caused a big slow down for Liana (the translator). With so many years in between, she really needs to spend a good deal of time to come back up to speed with the game as a whole, in order to best translate the missed bits. She is working on doing so, but time is limited in her life as well. These are just some of the issues to deal with when projects span so many years.
On the technical front, I have done most of the major technical work, and inserted all translated text I have thus far! I am anxiously awaiting the next batch! Once all text is English in-game, I will begin a final technical pass. This pass will include working out finalized formatting, lengths, expansions, and any additional hacks necessary when everything is all there.
All in all, Tenshi No Uta is not too far behind Heracles. It is shaping up very nicely!
Dual Orb 2
As a bonus this month, we have another small update for Dual Orb 2! I pride myself in keeping my projects properly maintained and updated whenever I can, even many years later! This update was prompted by work done by mziab of mteam fame. He is the author of the Polish translation of Dual Orb 2. With his help, the last known issues from the readme were resolved, as well as a rearrangement of the naming screen. I can’t believe I never did anything about that ugly mess! A big thanks goes out to miziab for doing the grunt work. All I had to do was integrate it into the English patch, which went well.
With this release, Dual Orb 2 is back to golden status where all known and/or reported issues are resolved!
Bashing Blocks for Progress
I’m happy to say things have been continuing to cruise along at full speed. All projects are very active and very far along. What more could you ask for? Releases you say? Soon my friends… soon.
Glory of Heracles IV
I completed all of the technical work on the project and began play-testing on the real hardware. After play testing quite a few hours, I fixed all issues I was able to discover until I could discover no more! Technically, the project is in great standing and ready for group beta testing. However, the script is lagging behind at this point. Although complete, it really is not ready for prime time. After close review, it needs another edit. I logged numerous issues for our translator to review and he has since reviewed them all. He started another round of partial editing, but didn’t have time to do more. So, we decided to get a dedicated script editor to finish the job.
Currently, the script editor is ready to start editing. Upon completion of this round of script edits, we will finally be ready to start group beta testing! The next update you read here will most likely be that announcement! At this point, I have nothing left that I can to do on Heracles, and have been freed up for other projects!
Tenshi No Uta
After running out of technical work on Heracles, I turned my attention to Tenshi No Uta to keep the momentum going. As a result, Tenshi No Uta has seen tons of progress in the past few months! More so than it’s seen in years! This is thanks to all of the new tools I have been developing the past few years, that are now coming into fruition. I was able to use my NuVWF to convert all of the dialog, battle, and menus to VWF. This game will have a complete conversion just like Heracles IV. Few other projects have ever received such treatment.
I was able to use TextAngel to dump all of the remaining missed text, format the script, and insert the script in it’s entirety! The dialog is all ready for in-game review and editing. With the menus, I have English solutions hacked into place for all of them! This includes inserted English place-holder text until the missing parts of the script are translated. That concludes the bulk of the menu work. Only a finalization pass remains when the final translations have been completed! I have re-enlisted Liana (the original translator) to continue on with the remainder of the translation work. I await these translations so I can begin the finalization pass on the menus!
With this, I’d estimate Tenshi No Uta is now 80-85% complete!
NuVWF is a universal VWF engine/library that I’ve been working on for awhile. Now that I’ve gotten far enough, and have some real world application in both Heracles IV and Tenshi No Uta, I have finally updated the forum topics with some details of the implementation. Feel free to take a look if you have any interest in this endeavor. I plan on trying it out in some additional games when time permits.
I’ve posted the latest update on TextAngel in the forum. Basically, it’s in good shape dumping wise, but in design hell due to lack of a coherent insertion solution. Any ideas would be be appreciated. I’m trying to come up with something that works with the node building approach I’ve built for dumping. You can get an idea from the screenshots on the first page of that topic.