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Nightcrawler's Translation Corporation - Established in 1997
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21 June 2015 6:00PM
Double Time? No, Triple Time!

Shortly after the last update, I was able to get back to major action! I made sure I was working double time to make up for last quarter’s lack of progress. No! That still wasn’t good enough! I had to make the push of a lifetime to make sure Heracles IV was going to get finished. I had to work triple time! The result was one of the most productive quarters in the past 10 years for TransCorp! Where do I even start? I’ll start with the punchline that all hacking is now complete and all currently known issues have been resolved!

Heracles IV

I had a big breakthrough with the many NMI overrun problems that plagued many menus. Recall that the original game already used 110% (it overran already at times) of vblank time in many instances. This meant I could transfer NOTHING at all, let alone what I needed to to make the menus work. It looked like an impossible feat to gain the necessary time back. I’ve spent the entire project with the mantra of making the impossible possible though. Persistence pays off and nothing is impossible. I forged on and continued to study the NMI routine for some way to cut it down so I would have some time to at least do SOMETHING! The solution finally came to me when I studied the usage of the CGRAM and OAM refresh DMA transfers that occurred each frame. With some very careful new NMI management, I could defer these transfers on certain key frames without visibly upsetting the on-screen graphics. Next, I cracked how the game was triggering refreshes of tiles and tilemaps in VRAM for loading areas, overworld etc. Coupled together, I was ultimately able to better distribute tasks across different frames and buy a little bit of time on some lesser action frames. I seized those frames to transfer a few bytes at time to make the menus work! It barely works, but it works nonetheless!

It was especially difficult for two reasons. First, the code needed to manage NMI cuts into the very cycles you’re trying to save by managing it. So, you have to strike a ratio where the cycles you’re saving outweigh the management code enough. Secondly, it was very difficult to decide how and when was safe to defer CGRAM, OAM, tile data, and tilemap refreshes. The NMI routine is called millions of times. It’s called on every frame of every screen for the entire game! Thankfully I was able to leverage some key memory locations to toggle this management when needed with limited side effects. This did not come without a price however. Some things are slower and some compromises were made. I have minimized the observable impact as best as possible. With the conclusion of the above issue, I was able to then finish all 200+ submenus and convert them to use the new 8×8 VWF engine!

On the translation front, Kay spent much time revising and formatting the letters, monster guide, and Plato’s journal. We came up with some great ideas to better fit English text onto those little book pages without it looking too cramped. We did have to do some cutting here to make it all work, but Kay did a great job at cutting words rather than content or meaning. I was closely involved in this process and have new found respect for how difficult it can be to do that effectively. It’s much easier to take the cheap way out and just cut some content to make it fit. I’m sure you will all appreciate the passion and effort Kay has put into his work to not allow that to happen. We spent a great deal of time going through all of the 8×8 text and finalizing items, monsters, equipment, battle text, places, and more.

Now that everything works and the game is fully playable again, we need to continue on with some polishing, editing, and revision. We are basically having a mini in-house beta test between myself and Kay. I do not expect any further major issues. After this phase of polishing, the project should be ready to assemble a team for full beta testing! These are good times folks! It’s all downhill coasting to the finish line from here! I’m anxious to rush the process, but I know we need to have due diligence and proper procedure to make sure the release does itself justice and properly reflects the passion and effort that has gone into it!


-Nightcrawler

04 April 2015 1:25PM
ROM hacking? What's that?

Things were moving along so well up to the end of last year. I was even convinced I was actually going to finish some of these long standing projects in the near future. What followed however, was a string of life events that resulted in no ROM hacking whatsoever for months. Deplorable, I know. So, here is a little recap of how time can go by without getting anything done when life throws more bricks in your face.

Soon after the last update, December became very busy with overtime at work, unexpected home repairs, family obligations, future planning, and holiday events. Almost immediately after the new year, I became ill with a nasty infection (or maybe multiple subsequent infections) lasting several weeks. This was easily in the top 3 for the longest and worst illnesses I’ve ever had in my life. Several days after I got better, the northeastern US got assaulted with one of our worst winters ever (which was depressing since last year was also a worst winter ever candidate). Shoveling became a way of life and nearly found a place in my daily life. Even when it wasn’t snowing, the relentless arctic winds typically drifted my driveway and walkways over at rates comparable with actual snow storms. Along all of this, at my job a major new product was being launched for a big industry show. I was critical to making the launch occur and I had to work more sustained long hours than I have ever had to before.

The only enjoyable thing I’ve done in months is play the Last of Us and Heavy Rain on my new PS3. Even that was somewhat painful due to my longstanding elbow issues, go figure. Life was really starting to get depressing. You’ve got to try to see that light at the end of the tunnel though, right? The Earth was still tilting me closer to the sun every day and the winter assault finally ended. The big product launch happened at work, and I have now scaled back a bit on hours. I am currently healthy (or at least at my ‘normal’ level these days). So, I’m hoping things will be able to get back on track in a forward direction soon.

It sure is frustrating when you are determined to get things done and life keeps defeating you over and over preventing you from doing so. I shall not update again until there is progress to report! Boy, those could infamous last words, huh? Let’s hope not! Don’t worry, I have been back on track this week with Heracles IV and some worthy progress will surely manifest itself soon!


-Nightcrawler

03 November 2014 8:12PM
Neverending Projects

Lots of things have been going on at TransCorp since the last update. And I bet you thought we were sitting around doing nothing, well… :P. I’m still working on clearing out the backlog of old overdue tasks, as well as continuing to move forward with current projects. Life has been especially difficult again in recent weeks, but I’ve still been able to keep a good pace going. Work is progressing much better than the past few years and that carrot of work completion is dangling within my sites! First, we’ll look at what’s new with the old projects.

Dual Orb 2, Wozz, Emerald Dragon, OH MY!

This has been a long time coming, but I have blown the dust off of all of the old projects to give them the tender love and care they deserve. All 3 have received new patch updates to take care of some long standing things that needed taking care of. Every now and then, I like to enhance or improve my old releases. I never truly abandon them and they are never truly done. In addition to the new patch content itself, I took this opportunity to also add xdelta patches to the distributions for superior patching to IPS (IPS is still included for cases where it is needed). The new patches are also now licensed under the Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Deed in an effort to standardize and legitimize the distribution as much as possible for this type of work.

It was brought to my attention some time ago that there were some issues on some flashcarts with the splash screen intros. This caused all kinda of havoc to figure out. Earlier versions of BSNES indicated no problems, and I had previously tested my translations on real hardware via a copier I had. So, it wasn’t until more recently that I was able to decipher the issues. First, there was a crazy issue with my sound driver. The way I was handling the FLG register, echo registers, and ordering/timing of the two caused varying problems on some hardware from distorted to no sound (even locking the game from starting). After running what seemed like billions of tests, I better understood the timing requirements of the DSP’s FLG, echo registers, and their associated functionality. I Just needed to reorder a few register writes, and add some proper delays and it was golden. Secondly, I have always tried to use a minimal initialization of the main system, but it has always gotten me into trouble. What is the minimal initialization? Well, without a real cart with immediate, direct virgin access to the hardware, it’s hard to say. All other devices (such as copiers and flash carts) influence the initialization process by running their BIOS or boot code first. I thought I had figured out the minimal answer for what I was doing, without owning a means for such access. However, it turned out I was still wrong. So, I abandoned the minimal idea and did it the right way, as I should have done years ago. Live and learn, right? Now, the splash intros are pristinly done and have been tested on a virgin cart just to be doubly sure. As an added bonus, I made the intros skippable! Now it can be properly preserved SNES software throughout the ages.

Dual Orb 2 saw an update that finally translated the monster weaknesses for the scan spell. That was something that was missed years ago. I never got to that in the last release either because it was too difficult of a fix to do years after the fact. This time I had a small breakthrough deciphering some of my ancient work that allowed me to more easily do it. I also fixed a small ‘blipping’ issue present while the 8×16 was printing. That one had annoyed me for years. It was a crazy minor tile mapping issue that I’m sure nobody ever noticed but me. I also addressed a few minor reported inconsistencies that I’ve collected since the last release. Every so often detail oriented players come along whom pay very close attention and find some new things no one else before them did. That’s a great feat all these years later after many, many people have looked at it! Congrats! The least I can do is address such issues as a reward. :)

Wozz had previously never gotten a follow-up patch. So, now it has received a new patch update that fixes all of the reported issues to date. Nothing major here, just the usual assortment of minor mistranslations, consistency fixes, etc. There was a pesky missed battle string from Vangas that has alluded me for years that I finally got. I had just a single screenshot of evidence someone sent long ago. I was never able to see this string myself nor find it via searches. At long last, I found it! It had some extra data bytes mixed in the string which hid it from all my previous searches. I never searched for the right combination. Could this be the string that would give new meaning to Vangas, Wozz, or even my life? The excitement from my conquest quickly turned to disappointment. The translation of the missed string was simply that of a generic battle cry… Boo.. Hiss… Oh well, at least the project is now at a status of no known issues. Since it seems I continue to work on my projects years and years after the fact, perhaps one day I’ll revoke the promise to myself of never touching the 8×8 again and do something nice for it. Never say never! Ha!

Emerald Dragon just got the splash intro hardware fix. There was nothing else that needed addressing. :)

http://transcorp.romhacking.net/downloads/

Heracles IV

Most of the past few months for Heracles has been spent continuing on with converting the remaining 100 submenus to 8×8 VWF. I have roughly completed all of them now. I say roughly because a handful of them cannot be finalized due to some serious problems. Basically, the conversion has been impossible on a few of these menus. I have been trying to make the impossible possible by utilizing every trick in the book, but I still need to go back to the drawing board on some of them. The biggest issue in this game is the original NMI routine exceeds all available vblank time in many instances. Actually, I believe the original game only works properly by the skin of its teeth because most of the registers written to (illegally) after vblank is over aren’t immediately visible and/or fixed in subsequent frames (with legal writes). What does this all mean? Well, it means there is absolutely NO time at all for me to load ANY tiles whatsoever, let alone the tiles I need for 8×8 VWF.

In some cases, I could wait for less busy frames. In other cases, I made some hacks to trim the original NMI routine with optimizations and throwing out things that wouldn’t have visible consequences. Even with that, there are parts in battle that run 20 scan lines over allowed vblank time EVERY frame. I have not been able to skin off enough time to get near that. Even for the frames where I have some time, I can’t get enough time to transfer any large amounts, which typically rules out pre-rendering much. These menus have no loading screen between them either, so I can’t load it during black screen or forced blank without visible consequence. These are some difficult situations to work out.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the second major problem is lack of available VRAM for tiles. I’ve even tried the painstaking hacks of rearranging where in VRAM tilemaps and tile data go. However, thanks to the heavy usage of HDMA, the game typically uses TWO tile maps and TWO tile address spaces for EACH background as it changes them mid-frame. There’s just not enough VRAM available when you have to do it like that. Even with some serious new management, the game rarely reloads tile data. It loads a bunch of tiles very early and expects it to be untouched even when not used. So, even if you have gobs of free unused tiles on the current screen, if you use them, when a later screen which needs those tiles comes, they aren’t loaded. What am I supposed to do? I can’t sit there and figure out every tile data load in the game and load it myself when it is needed. That’s just maddening!

Other than these handful of menus from hell which have no solution yet, the game would be once again ready for alpha level testing, which I usually do myself before doing a second round of beta level testing with others. So, if I can get these remaining menus working somehow, we will be ready to move into the testing phase at long last! So, let’s keep hoping I can come up with some kind of solution to these problems…


-Nightcrawler

16 July 2014 6:48PM
Big Fat Greek Translation

This has been an exceptional past few months for TransCorp! I’ve accomplished more than I have in a long time. Even though I neglected to make frequent news posts, work has been steadily ongoing the entire time since the last update! The majority of time has been spent on taking Heracles IV to new heights, however I have also spent quite a bit of time cleaning up loose ends that have been hanging around for a few years.

Heracles IV

As you can see from the screenshots, things have been progressing very well on Heracles IV. Let’s refresh: All of the dialog work is done and is ready for the testing/revision phase. We were about to go alpha, however I choose to do a monumental 8×8 VWF hack that broke every single menu in the game. So, I’ve been going through and hacking each and every one of them back to working glory! I’ve gone through about 100 so far. It just so happens this is one of the most menu heavy games I’ve ever seen on the SNES. There are still about 100 more to go!

They really are coming out beautifully though. It’s starting to look like a GBA/PSX level game now. Heracles IV is turning out to be my highest quality hacking work yet. As always though, the higher the quality, the larger the time investment. There is definitely been a huge price to pay time wise, and I was having second thoughts at one time. However, now that I have come so far along and it’s looking so great, I can’t imagine it any other way. I’ve gotten most of the main and battle menus all done, so the core game is becoming fully playable again. The remaining menus encompass the monster guide, shops, letters, diaries, and maps.

There have been constant hurdles along the way with VRAM management. This game uses multiple background layers for the menus, sometimes all simultaneously full of text. Text must remain there even if not visible on screen! This is due to the fancy HDMA effects which scroll in and out leaving other menus partially viewable, temporarily hidden, etc. Since the original was tile based, the game often shared tiles amongst layers too. This makes it even more of a hacking nightmare as there are instances where there is VRAM available, but it is inaccessible. It can’t be made accessible without a painstaking hack and relocation of all of the game’s existing loads and maps that used the old area. Ugh! These are the reasons I choose not to do this on my previous translations. It’s very tedious and time consuming. It’s probably not worth it if it can be otherwise done in an acceptable fashion (It can’t for Heracles IV).

It also deserves mention that FlashPV has been working on a nice looking title screen for Heracles IV, which you can see over at ROMhacking.net. We can now rest assured that the translation will have a nice English title screen to compliment the level of the rest of the project. FlasPV is amongst the best in the business when it comes to translated title screens, so I am happy!

I am setting a goal to try and be ready for beta testing by year’s end with Heracles IV. If there are no major life setbacks, I think I can do it. The end may be in sight after all!

Wozz, Emerald Dragon, Dual Orb 2

There will soon be updated releases for all of our existing translations. They were long overdue for a maintenance release to fix some minor lingering reported issues and address compatibility with some flash carts and SNES9x. I got a flashcart of my own which has been a big help. Also, BSNES/higan was fixed to match rather than give different results like it used to. So, I was able to work out some of the mysterious issues that were occurring with the sound driver, black screen, etc. As an added bonus, the intros can now be skipped. It was a bit annoying to not be able to do so previously.

WIP patches are available on the forum for regression testing before an official release is made.

TextAngel

I hadn’t updated on TextAngel in a long time, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been being developed. You can read about some of the more recent happenings over at the forum. I am trying to take care of the oldest backlogged TransCorp projects first, so a public release will come along after some other things are completed. In the meantime, it will continue to to be developed.


-Nightcrawler

04 February 2014 8:41PM
Throwing Bricks

It seems to be the norm these days that every time I build up substantial momentum, life throws bricks at my head to try and stop me! Not all bricks are bad though. One of them landed me a new job this past summer, in July. It was a good brick for my career, family, and wallet. However, it was a bad brick for ROM hacking! I was kept busy for half a year with increased responsibilities and establishing my worth at my new position. The next brick hit me right in the face and really hurt. In December, a family member went terminally ill and recently passed away. As much time as possible was spent getting the family through it all these past few months. Plenty of other little bricks such as relentless snow, and other unexpected tasks came up along the way, but that’s just life unless you’re in the upper 1%!

Despite all of life’s bricks, I am determined to persevere as I always do! There have still been some interesting progress happenings of interest over the past several months. I’m not even sure if that’s grammatically correct, but I like the sound of it anyway!

Heracles IV

Basically, this project was in the alpha stage and close to beta. However, it was deemed necessary go back a few steps and break everything in efforts of getting an 8×8 VWF (proportional font) in for as many menus and screens as possible. The quality of the translation would have really suffered without it. Normally I like to show nearly finished screenshots, but being that this is a large undertaking and things will be broken for awhile, I’ve shown some down and dirty work in progress screens.

As can be seen, much progress has been made. There is still much more to go. The 8×8 VWF conversion is very difficult in this game as the menus can sometimes span all three background layers at once. They utilize numerous HDMA tables, and are extremely cramped for VRAM space thanks to the game utilizing the same regions of VRAM for multiple backgrounds. The only way to make it all work is to go through each and every sub menu and manually address where it is going, and optimized it with the parent menus to fit nicely. The game is set up in such a way that there is simply no easy way to do it.

Work will continue onwards in getting the menus all back up and running with shiny new proportional rendering. There will probably then be a second pass for performance reasons where some things may need to be converted to static rendering. I am trying to set up all screens to use a universal 8×8 rendering engine, which leads me to the next area of progress…

nuVWF

I have been attempting to leverage and salvage my nuVWF project for Heracles IV. I had previously shoved it in the closet for a long while. I have taken this opportunity to redesign the project and make something worthwhile out of it besides a set of reusable routines. You can see an update and some details from the title link above (or simply go to the forums). I don’t know if this project will ever amount to anything worth releasing, but I haven’t given up just yet!


-Nightcrawler

23 April 2013 11:02AM
Plato Finally Speaks in English

As promised, this update comes equipped with some fresh new screenshots of progress! Plato’s philosophies are finally in English! Wait, on second thought it would appear he is confused and suffering from an identity crisis! Well, rest assured that whatever he has to say will now be entirely in English!

Glory of Heracles IV

After Kay completed the first draft translation in the last update, much time was spent importing the whole thing into TextAngel, and getting the whole script inserted into the game. The full script is indeed inserted and working well! I even got the gobs of misc. blocks inserted that I found post-dump some time ago, as well as most menu text.

So, now we pretty much have the entire game in rough English. It’s now time for the long road of fixing issues and polishing. Although the main dialog is fine, we have a multitude of issues to work out with letters, songs, diaries, menus, saving, shops, battle, missed control codes, and many other special dialogs. I am trying to get the rest of the game in a state where the translator can at least play through (numerous glitches, but no major crashes) with proper in-game context for a second round script revision. That way he can work in parallel while I continue through with many of the aforementioned issues.

You’ll notice there are no menu screenshots. We still have much work to do on the menus. Much expansion and polishing work is needed there. They are barely functional as-is. At least they are in glitchy English though, which is progress nonetheless!

So, Heracles IV is definitely getting there. It’s still a good ways off from ready for beta testing, but we are coming around that mountain. We’ll see if life is kind to me and I can keep the momentum going. Life can be the difference of just a few more months to go, to ‘make sure you remind your grand-kids to keep checking for Heracles updates’! Only time will tell. In the meantime, join in on that Purple Parade, marching to the beat of that ‘other’ drum we all hear, but generally ignore! ;)

Text Angel

Heracles IV was a good first test exercise for TextAngel’s insertion abilities. Some development work and improvements were done on TextAngel along the way with getting the Heracles IV script inserted. It’s finally shaping up into something I am happy with. I won’t have to sit in my fickle, circular redesign hell any longer. The dumping and insertion core is working, and the project interface and supportive building blocks are coming along well enough to work nicely for this project.

There is still much to do here, but I will finally not be going backwards too much in order to go forward. I am still looking to finish implementing the latest draft of the Table File Standard for it. Full implementation is a big task for me, and Heracles IV worked fine with the partial draft implemented. It was more fun to concentrate on other areas of the program with more fruitful results.

It’s also given me a better vision of what I want to see the program do now that I am actually using it on a full scale project. I expect continued slow and steady development along side my project needs. It’s more enjoyable to develop the tool alongside a real world project, rather than remain in the test case world for so long. However, that means only features needed for the project get the real work while other areas don’t see much advancement. Part time development so-to-speak.

Nonetheless, although it is a large undertaking, I am no stranger to such projects and carry forward. I’m sure it will see an end basked in irony. By the time I finish this utility, there will probably be no more games left that need it! It’s probably about 10 years too late. It could have been revolutionary last decade! Hah! It’s an enjoyable personal endeavor nonetheless and I will at least get use from it! There’s still a number of projects that I may pull out of the hat from all these new tools I’ve been developing. We’ll see if anybody else does them before I get to them!


-Nightcrawler

09 November 2012 2:25PM
Climbing the Stairway

I told you I’d have some news to report when next I updated and I do! I didn’t finish enough to provide some juicy new screenshots yet, but I promise that I will have some for you on the next update. First, the big news:

Glory of Heracles IV

We now have a translated script for Heracles IV! In a turn of events from out of nowhere, Kay from Heracles III translation fame, offered to translate the script. After a mounting number of previously failed translators for the project, my enthusiasm was waning. I had some initial skepticism on Kay, but he knocked it out of the park and got it done with a commanding knowledge of the Heracles universe. I’m definitely glad to have given Kay a whirl.

Now we have a completed script and I’m working on trying to get that inserted. I only had insertion bug free for 15-20% of the game from the previous translator’s efforts. TextAngel has changed quite a bit since then, so I am trying to import the new script back into the latest version in order to move forward with full insertion. This will allow me to use all the new features I have at my disposal in TextAngel. I am currently working on this and expect to continue with good progress.

While things are going great with the main dialog, neither DaMarsMan nor myself have tackled any of the menu HDMA mess. Honestly, I’ve been procrastinating this in favor of less tedious work. I’d rather finish the script insertion and work some more on TextAngel before I get into this. It is currently the elephant in the room that we need to get to sooner or later. If anybody reading this likes to untangle many HDMA tables and do limited VRAM 8×8 VWFs, I’m sure we’ll let you in on the fun if you contact us! :P

TextAngel and Tenshi No Uta

Funny how life goes. I was turning full attention to this task when Kay offered to get into Heracles IV, which I had shelved for awhile. I had to do an about face and shelve Tenshi and brush off Heracles again. My plans for TextAngel then changed as I had to begin working on the importing and insertion side rather than polishing and finishing the dumping and exporting side. So, now I’ve got a crude dumping and inserting side, but nothing is polished or finished! Doh! I will continue on with the momentum on Heracles insertion and when I’ve got it far enough to insert that script, then I’ll finally get to go back and finish the dumping side so we can get moving on the ‘newly’ (by new I mean not in the original dumps) remaining misc. text dumps in Tenshi.

Oh, what a web I’ve weaved working here and there, jumping back and forth, and gaining and losing traction. Throw in the ever nagging health issues and hurricanes, and life is pretty damn difficult sometimes. This year has been plagued with major time wasting setbacks. I will survive. I will carry on. I will deliver screenshots when I next update. I will finish these projects so long as I live! The universe cannot stop me!


-Nightcrawler

31 July 2012 12:01PM
Hey, Is This Thing On?
  • Tap* *Tap* Anybody here? I hope my dozens and dozens of TransCorpians have found their way OK to our new home here at http://transcorp.romhacking.net. It is here that we begin a new era. It is on this day we look back… Got ya! I bet you thought I was going to start with a speech. Nope, we’ll wrap up the old era quickly by shedding a small tear to say goodbye after so many years, then wipe up and move on. If you’re not the crying type, just bow your head and fold your hands then. :P
  • Since Koitsu was such an excellent administrator, it’s taken me a little while to get things up to compatible speed running TransCorp on this server. As a result, there’s not much news to report on any of my projects. All of my TransCorp time was devoted to the move, upgrades, and making sure we live on for many more years to come. I think that’s a worthy distraction from the meat and potatoes, right?

    Let me know if you experience any issues. There’s sure to be a growing pain or two. Also take note that we have a new contact form on the left navigation bar to get in touch with me, since my parodius e-mail is now defunct.

    I’ll be sure to, you know, do some actual work before the next update! March on with the purple parade, TransCorpians!


    -Nightcrawler

    01 May 2012 3:12PM
    Life is Never Boring

    As always, life is never boring around here. There’s always more to do than time to do it. Time flies by, new events occur that you didn’t expect, and you’re left spinning your wheels trying to catch up. Every time I think I’m just about there, life throws up a new road closure and I’ve got to make yet another detour. Let’s get started with the news round up!

    TransCorp Moving?

    Many of you have probably heard the news that our host, Parodius is shutting down after many years of great service. Three cheers for Koitsu, whom has given more than his fair share to our community over the years. As we know nothing lasts forever and all good things must come to an end.

    So what does this mean for TransCorp? Well, it means I’ll be tied up at times with data transfers, server configurations, coding, and host issues for awhile and progress will be slow. In other words, nothing out of the ordinary for TransCorp! We’ll likely be migrating to the same server as ROMhacking.net, which coincidentally is also due to for new hosting in a few short months.

    Rest assured, TransCorp has lived for near 15 years and will likely continue to live for another 15. Let’s all hope I’ve at least finished my current projects by then! Ha!

    Table File Standard

    A new draft of the Table File Standard has been released and it is now in the final review stage after nearly 2 years! For real this time, I mean it! Barring any omissions, edits, or formatting items, it’s complete. So, head on over the linked message board topic above to read about the latest changes.

    I’d love to have a nice looking PDF of the standard in addition to our plain text version. However, I’m not too great at that kind of thing and my time is too limited. If anybody reading this happens to be good at it and would like to pretty it up some, let me know. :)

    TextAngel and Tenshi No Uta

    TextAngel is going to be the next hot item here at TransCorp now that the Table File Standard is in final review. Dumping and insertion user interface logistics are being discussion in the linked forum topic. Things should roll right along now with development for this with the next goal being to get back into Tenshi No Uta’s misc. text for which this utility was started for way back! It’s been one heck of a detour getting into a more wide scale program and the whole table standard, but I’m coming back around full circle and getting back to where I need to be. No more detours!

    Heracles IV

    This project is officially stalled. We have lost all translation support. So long as it doesn’t have any translation support, I’m going to let it sit for awhile to better focus on TextAngel and Tenshi No Uta. It’s a shame as the project had gained so much momentum. Well, if anybody wants to offer their translation services let me know, and we’ll see about starting things back up.

    Final Words

    I’ve been lazy on main page updates, but the forum does get updated more often with new developments. I’m still slow as molasses mind you, but progress does actually occur sometimes! Honest! OK, quit teasing! Go on! Get out of here! :P


    -Nightcrawler

    15 November 2011 2:48PM
    Churning Like Molasses!

    Ramblings About Life and Molasses

    I bet you were expecting to see ‘butter’ up there in the headline because you know, molasses doesn’t churn very well! Unfortunately, that’s about how quickly things here at TransCorp have been churning in recent months. Real life has really been whipping me hard. I know you’ve all heard that one before, but it really piled up all at once. I think you might get some amusement from the tale.

    There was a string of natural disasters at my home to clean up from over the course of many weeks (my house is OK thankfully). Since spring there’s been a tornado, earthquake, and record winter storm causing mass tree destruction around my property (I have a wooded area and several very mature trees). That last one also caused a several day power outage. There was hospitalization of close family members, which was unfortunately followed by two deaths. Back on the work front, I had a several week spout of overtime putting out some hot fires at work.

    Now, right before all of that, I had started an insulation project at home and finished ripped out all the old stuff, and of course got derailed from the earlier mentioned misfortunes at the worst time. Now winter is fast approaching and I’m throwing heat away with no insulation! In addition to that, my wife and I had also started a room renovation project we were derailed from. Lastly, to top it all off I came down with a cold, that led to a sinus infection, that led to lower respiratory problems. That took a month to recover from. Did I mention my car failed to start the other day? No, I don’t believe I did. Well, it did. I’ve got car issues on my plate too.

    FINALLY, I have grieved my loved ones, gone back to a normal schedule at work, cleaned up my property, and am back to getting insulation in my house and finishing the room renovation! It’s been an absolutely insane past couple of months the likes of which I’ve never seen in my life. It’s unsustainable, right? It can’t continue like this, right? Think positive! Wait a minute. I’m on TransCorp and not blogspot? Oops! Let’s move on to TransCorp happenings over the past few months. There have been some developments.

    TextAngel

    Most of my time for TransCorp over the past few months has been spent developing TextAngel. It has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings and recently went in an entirely new direction. As the feature list became ever longer, it naturally evolved into a full project oriented utility.

    What that means is the utility uses a project and string oriented approach. Start a new project, add all the files you need. Then, add the necessary pointer tables, string blocks, etc. Now you can go to work and translate them right in the utility, or you can dump to full Atlas compliant text output, or even export to XML! It is now capable of handling many different types of text and pointer structures and can hopefully handle most needs for your entire project from the dialog to the item lists. Flexibility is achieved by allowing you to ‘build’ your script structures consisting of individual strings, blocks of strings, pointer tables, and pointer trees. When completed, it should be on of the most advanced dumpers on the market.

    To see early screenshots, the feature list, and more information, check out the link below!

    TextAngel

    Heracles IV

    Progress has been a roller coaster ride as translation support has come, gone, come, and possibly gone again. The momentum which led to insertion of some translated scripts from the last update have slowed down and stalled out. After declaring Heart permanently missing in action, we enlisted the services of another qualified translator named Rob. He started at the beginning and was going through Heracles III material and all item lists for Heracles IV for consistency and new translation efforts. However, it has now been a few months with no word and no response to my recent e-mails. So, we may have lost another. You’re guess is as good as mine. Let’s hope for the best!

    With the tedious HDMA menu system, DaMarsMan and myself being preoccupied with other life developments, and loss of translation support, the project has cooled down and will likely be on the back burner for a little while.

    Table File Standard

    A new draft was issued in June. In August, all remaining outstanding business was wrapped up and the standard should now be feature complete. Unfortunately, I have not yet had time to issue a new draft containing the final feature set. So, I would refrain from looking through the current draft as a number of items are now different.

    When I finish the next draft, it will be subject to editing changes only. I hope to have interested parties that contributed to it’s development sign off on it and give it a public release so anyone interested in using it can start doing so. So far, it will tentatively be used in a future version of Atlas, TableLib, Cartographer, and my own TextAngl utility. All combined we should have a nice little evolutionary step forward in translation tools. I look forward to the day!

    Follow the Table File Standard on the message board.


    -Nightcrawler

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