Nightcrawler's Translation Corporation - Established in 1997
TransCorp Dual Orb 2 patch Wozz patch Emerald Dragon patch Glory of Heracles IV patch

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07 December 2009 7:28PM
Blood is Still Pumping

Greetings TransCorpians! 2009 is drawing to a close and 2010 will soon open. I for one am looking forward to a fresh new year in hopes of improved conditions for myself and TransCorp! It’s been a very rough year for me on a personal level with some physical disabilities impeding progress. However, progress has been made nonetheless when conditions allowed. While life’s lemons have seen to it that I could not bring you a completed translation to stuff in your stockings, I can sprinkle a little news and eye candy your way!

Tenshi No Uta has seen much menu hacking progress. When we last left off, we needed a new thin font and many tile map text routines converted over to VWF, using my ‘Universal VWF’ system in development. Thanks to Gemini, we have ourselves a fitting thin font that will allow us to take maximum advantage of all available screen space. It’s definitely necessary as some screens are fully used with no room for any expansions. Though I don’t show it in the screenshots above (some text systems are still not converted), there are many screens that utilize near 100% of the screen, mostly when full item lists are given along with several complex menus on screen at the same time. A thin font was a necessity to ever hope to squeeze full English in there.

We’re now up to seven different text engines in the game that have been hacked to use my ‘Universal VWF’ system. Five of them were tile map based. As I mentioned in my forum post in November, the practicality of the universal routine is starting to hit some walls. To keep it at a high enough level to be flexible and game independent, there’s quite a bit of overhead that gets added. Then there’s the fact that there are just so many possibilities and ways games handle text printing in tile map based routines. Again, you go higher up on the abstraction ladder adding more flexible code. What’s the result? Something that ultimately gets slower and slower. This isn’t too bad except for cases such as item lists where up to a full screen’s worth of data must be dynamically redrawn quickly and interact with user input. That’s when the lag starts to really show. So, while my routine is doing the job I set out to do with it, it may be more practical in some instances where speed is important to use something more game specific. At least I can rip and reuse parts of my system for these instances.

I’ve still got a ways to go with it. There’s a few changes I know I can make that will help in the speed department and I still haven’t fully hacked Tenshi’s menus to have full multi-routine screens in place to really benchmark and optimize the system. So, we’ll see where it goes. Its usefulness for menus and items will likely be a bit limited, but for everything else, I believe it should be able to be applied to other games easily. It’s been a fun venture so far nonetheless. I can also examine such things as further modular breakdown and other ‘big picture’ items when I get Tenshi fully converted and working. I haven’t hacked the battle menus yet which will have 3 or 4 more text engines from what I have seen so far. So Tenshi No Uta really is a spectacular test subject having more individual text engines than I’ve seen in any game I’ve hacked before. The total when it’s all said and done will probably be 10-12 routines.

I will certainly push forward with Tenshi when I can. However, I will likely be unable to work for a few months while I recover from an upcoming surgery. However, I’ll be back at it whenever I can. This old dog isn’t dead yet and passion for the hobby is as strong as ever. It may be at a snail’s pace, but I continue to march forward. Thank you for your ongoing support. It definitely helps me get through these down times quicker! TransCorpians, you rock!


17 April 2009 11:48AM
In the Slow Lane

Things have been progressing even slower than usual. I’ve been in the slow lane for awhile now thanks to an injury I sustained last September that has caused me months of pain, months of therapy, and is still not better. I’ve been unable to play any games, and for many weeks was even unable to use the keyboard with two hands. This has been a real set back for me and has limited my hacking and related game playing time significantly amongst other things.

I was able to get some stuff done here and there. I continued on with menu hacking and the unified VWF core. Most recently, I added support for tile mapped text engines. The further I got into the menu hacking, the more routines I discovered that needed to be converted to VWF. It really is starting to get ridiculous. I have to assume this game was worked on simultaneously by different people who all wrote their own text engines for the pieces they were working on. I got some menus translated, but there’s still many to go.

As can be seen in the screen shot above, I am in the middle of working some things out. I have to find a new thinner font for the menus. What I have just isn’t going to work. I hate finding fonts. That’s why I have kind of kept the same few for all my projects. If anybody has any suggestions for a thinner font that might look good with Tenshi, let me know. I’ve asked around at RHDN and gotten on suggested font so far.

I am also running into speed problems. My unified VWF routine suffers from overhead as a result of being so flexible. I’ve got menu screens using 2 or 3 different text engines. Converting them all to VWF is showing some sluggish performance. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do about it yet.

If you’re interested in any other details, check out the forum. I’ve made several posts over the past few months updating on things along the way. Unfortunately, due to my current situation and continued doctor visits, I wouldn’t expect much output from me in the near future. The verdict is still out on whether or not this will be a permanent injury for me. I’m hoping some more time might help, or continued doctor visits will reveal something that can be fixed surgically or something. I haven’t quit, and will continue when I can. In the meantime, I’m going to go enjoy my soon to be new wife and subsequent honeymoon cruise to the Carribean!


07 December 2008 10:48AM
Holiday Treats

It’s that time of year again. It always seems to be a motivating time of year when it comes to ROM hacking. As you can see, I’ve been working on Tenshi No Uta in recent weeks and will continue to do so throughout the holiday season. I did a VWF hack for the game a long time ago, but as I picked this project back up I soon discovered there are at least 4 or more different text engines in the game that could use a VWF (Main dialog, cut scenes, menu, items, battle, etc.) It wasn’t going to be very fun hacking in several more VWFs, so I came up with an idea for ‘one hack to rule them all’ so to speak and spoof a line from Lord of the Rings.

After some conceptual discussion with byuu over at RHDN, I came up with a plan for a set of routines that will act as a ‘universal’ SNES VWF hack. By breaking down the VWF hack process into small enough pieces and setting up the various routines to use ’standard’ variables. They end up acting like macros. Low level and high level concepts meet. For each VWF hack, there are several lines of initialization code setting up locations of different items such as font, text, output, tile counters etc. and the routines work their magic from there using only those initialized parameters. Then, at the end, there’s a few lines of VWF specific code to handle special cases such as control codes, format conversions, or game variable updates. I’ve been successful so far with three VWFs working with this new code design. I’m hopeful with a bit more refinement, I can easily support the rest of the text engines in the game.

What’s even better is I’m planning on being able to use this set of routines and templates to ultimately be able to add a VWF hack to any SNES game with the least amount of work possible. That’s a little bit further down the line though. For now, it’s going great for Tenshi No Uta, and I hope to have some more screen shots showing several more text engines working soon!

In the mean time, I’m also continuing to work on menu hacking for the game and doing test insertions for English text as seen from the screenshots to really move this project forward. Hope to see you all around the forums during the holiday season! Be happy and be safe!


16 November 2008 5:01PM
Emerald Dragon Version 1.1 Released!

It’s a little late to the table, but I finally got around to fixing and addressing all reported bugs and issues to date. That includes all the ‘NO BG3FREE’ and battle corruption errors that were previously thought to be emulation bugs only. It turned out they were in fact caused by the patch, however would only show up under certain circumstances. Emerald Dragon uses a very dynamic game engine, so each time you load a menu, or show a dialog window, the VRAM and RAM locations used are different. Under certain conditions and certain long strings such as Bagin’s Letter, the errors would manifest themselves. Special thanks goes out to Novalia Spirit for providing the much needed missing information I needed to be able to cause some of these issues to occur. I was previously unable to get them to happen in my testing.

In addition to those two big issues, which really were caused by the same thing, several other items were fixed:

  • Minor Item name adjustments for accuracy.
  • Bug in Elder’s Letter description fixed.
  • Visiting the dragon shrine near Kildale triggering battle corruption and NOBG3FREE errors fixed.
  • Fixed choice boxes for Husulnum that didn’t display properly.
  • Fixed Forbidden Fruit choice boxes that didn’t display properly.
  • Minor dialog revision for a few sentences that were found to be inaccurate.
  • Fixed Zham Fortress soldier choices that were reversed.
  • Fixed a few typos.

This should conclude the bux fixing releases. I’m happy with where things are now to continue forward with the rest of my projects. I’ll be resuming work on Tenshi No Uta again now.

Download Emerald Dragon Version 1.1


29 September 2008 5:29PM
A Modest Update

Greetings TransCorp supporters! I am posting this update from my new house! As you may have guessed from that statement, that’s indeed the reason things have been quiet around here lately. Both the home buying process and moving itself have kept me very busy since the last update. As a result I never got to that Emerald Dragon bug fix release, however it is still on my radar to do. Instead, with the bit of hacking time I did have, I got sidetracked with some progress on Tenshi No Uta!

As you can see from the screen shot above, I’ve expanded and put in a VWF for the main menu and done quit a bit of additional hacking work on the menus in general. While I did dump the script and get it translated quite some time ago, I neglected to dump the non dialog text including weapons/items and menu text! I find dialog hacking much more fun and rewarding, so I have a bad habit of avoiding the menu and miscellaneous work! In any case, I’ve gone and dumped much of this and sent it off to be translated, but I’ve still got plenty left to do there.

I’ve also been investigating the battle text and cut scene dialog. It seems both use independent text routines and thus will probably require separate VWF hacks in addition to the ones I’ve already done for the main dialog and main menu. It also pained me to see a separate 8×16 routine built into the menus for item names, character names, and other misc text. This will also require a separate VWF hack most likely. I will have to do some serious thinking on how I may be able to reuse code and resources amongst the various routines to make life easier!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to recently as far as TransCorp is concerned. I’m probably going to try and get back to the Emerald Dragon bug fix release next, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see myself get side tracked again on Tenshi or even Herakles IV! So, it’s anybody’s guess where things will go next! Until then, how about some chat on the message board? I’m usually there often and like to hear from you all! With a little luck and motivation things can speed up around here and be a little more active! Catch you all later!


04 June 2008 7:11PM
Dual Orb 2 Version 1.5 Released!

Out of the blue comes a polished up and improved Dual Orb 2 Patch! Interesting little story here. After listening to byuu parade around Dual Orb 2 for years as an example of a translation patch not working properly on the SNES with the Yes/No bug, I decided to dust off Dual orb 2 and fix that issue so I could put an end to it! Coincidentally, a mere day after I got into fixing this, a guy named Deathlike2 contacted me out of nowhere with some bug reports on the Dual Orb 2 patch. One thing led to another, the timing was right, more bugs were reported, and out popped a much improved Dual Orb 2 patch!

Over 25 issues were addressed or fixed including:

  • Yes/No selections now display properly on copiers.
  • Cassius’ and Saladin’s names now print correctly everywhere and fit inside their battle windows.
  • Item and Magic descriptions were relocated and no longer overwrite the MP/Qty information.
  • Several misspellings and grammatical errors were addressed
  • Place Names were fixed up (2 were missing, 2 had display problems).
  • Several small issues were addressed in battle mode including Bargan’s ‘Sub’ command, item scrolling, and commands affecting all allies.
  • Some Magic descriptions were improved.
  • A few minor problems with some weapon/armor/item names were fixed up.
  • And more!

While a lot was done for this release, I’d call this more of a 1.5 release rather than a full second revision. I can no longer build the original project, so this was more of a hack of my hack. So I did everything I could baring items that would require doing a larger portion of the project over. The result is something I’m quite happy with to put away for another several years! So if you haven’t yet played Dual Orb 2, this is a great opportunity to give it a try. If you already have, it’s been a few years now since the original release, play it again!

I anticipate an Emerald Dragon bug fix release in the next few weeks as well that should address most reported bugs that aren’t emulator related. Until then, enjoy Dual Orb 2 better than ever before! ;)

Download Dual Orb 2 Version 1.5


02 February 2008 9:43AM
Emerald Dragon Released!

The time for talk is over and the time for deliverance is here! Ladies and gentlemen, after over 5 years of work (periodic), the English translation of Emerald Dragon is out! At last, for better or for worse, the world has been graced with an English version of this game! It will be denied to you no more! So, cancel your plans, spread the word, and tell your friends. It’s Emerald Dragon time!

This time around, I’ve included a custom patcher, ‘TransPatch’ (Windows only), that will only allow you to patch the correct copy of the game with the correct patch. It’s about as newbie friendly as it gets. It will patch headered or non-headered games. Don’t you dare create a topic in the forums or send me an e-mail on patching help unless you’ve given this utility a try! For everybody else, you can apply the patch soft or hard, however you please.

This patch has been tested on the real hardware, so copier players rejoice! As for emulators, I’d recommend BSNES as it’s the only emulator that gets the sound right. It works OK on SNES9x and ZSNES, however notes stick in the music and sometimes instruments can be off pitch in certain songs. Otherwise it plays OK.

Please, as a personal favor to me for all my (and others) hard work, read the readme. Besides containing some important information, it contains plenty of information on the project, some of which you might find interesting, or even entertaining!

With that said, enjoy! I’m probably going on ROMhacking vacation for awhile until I feel like returning to action on Tenshi No Uta, Heracles IV, or whatever other interesting projects I may have up my sleeve!

Download the v1.0 Patch Now!


26 December 2007 10:38PM
Emerald Dragon ETA

Just a small update. Things are progressing fine. I finished all of the previously pending work. These two screenshots are from the Casino text which was the last bit of hacking work that needed to be done on the game. It really was an entirely separate mini game and required all new hacking. The original routine used a tilemap based font. The control codes were really wicked to convert into something usable with a VWF. However, I got the job done and now we have left all that behind us.

Unfortunately, only one of the beta testers have finished the game so far. Others cited delays due to December end of semester exams in their schooling. I have fixed all discovered bugs reported so far, however I’d like to wait for additional testers to finish. A final test will also be conducted on the real hardware by a special tester.

This past week, I also added my traditional Easter egg of myself in the game. I made a new custom sprite that I’m pretty proud of. It’s amazing I could produce anything resembling a person to begin with let alone something that looks half decent! ;)

In the meantime, while I wait for testing to finish up, I’ll be tinkering around with some code for the intro and a new musical composition. I eventually have to also write the dreaded readme file, which I always put off way too long. I really don’t like writing them.

So, what is the ETA of Emerald Dragon? I’m shooting for a January release, but that’s going to depend on the testers and likelihood of any additional issues being discovered by them and on the real hardware.

Be patient. The work’s all done. We’re just testing it to make sure it’s in the best condition possible. :)


18 November 2007 8:16PM
Emerald Dragon Beta Testing

Here we are again with another update! Since the last update, all of the untranslated text including save game text, and ending text was translated and inserted. The Casino text was also dumped and translated, but I have yet to do the hacking work for the Casino games to handle English text. That certainly wasn’t worth holding up beta testing, so full beta testing began nearly three weeks ago.

I’d say we’re somewhere around 35% through beta testing. Beta testing has been going fairly smoothly for the most part. There have been a few significant issues reported, but otherwise reported issues have been minor ones such as text formatting issues, windows that needed expansion, and script errors. However, those issues have been enough to keep me busy.

At this point, I think I can definitely say I don’t think we’re going to make a Christmas release. I expect beta testing to last a few more weeks yet and there’s plenty of things left to do before a full public release. Everybody is working as quickly as possible, but as always, these things just take time and nothing will be rushed. I’d say a January release is probably more realistic right now. It will be worth the wait as the translation has come together nicely and I’m pretty happy with the way it has turned out.

If anybody has any artistic ability and wants to create an English title screen for the game, I will insert it into the final translation. Personally, I don’t have any artistic skills, so I can’t do it myself. If you’re interested, drop by the forum, or send me an e-mail.

With that said, I plan on updating again right around Christmas with the latest status of the project. See you all then!


14 October 2007 6:42PM
The Wheel of Time

The proverbial wheel of time turns here at TransCorp and the Emerald Dragon project slowly, but surely, rolls down the road to completion. Things are proceeding according to schedule.

Since the last update, the script was inserted 100%, and all the menus and battle work that used be done were fixed and touched up to work again. So, it’s looking better than ever. I was then able to start a personal beta test.

While I was pretty happy with what I found all in all, there were several issues discovered that need to be addressed. Some untranslated text was found that was not part of the original script dump. The first is save game title text, which has since been translated and reinserted, and is now waiting for touch up in instances where it won’t fit in the window. The second is the ending text. That has since been dumped and is awaiting translation and reinsertion. These two aren’t posing any problems, but the third part of untranslated text will…

That’s the casino text. The casino mini games are practically an entirely different game and share absolutely nothing in common with the rest of the game. I will need to make a new table, new dump, insert a new font, and do a new hack to make those routines suitable for English. This will be the most time consuming task of the rest of the project. I will be able to get started on this this week.

Beyond the untranslated text, some other minor issues were found that are being taken care of such as map text that doesn’t work correctly, item description formatting, text box expansion, treasure chest text fixes, etc. Most of these are minor and I expect to have them addressed within a week or two, while anything remaining after that will be addressed during beta testing.

So, what does all this mean? What’s the next step? I’ll probably take one or two more weeks to finish addressing all currently known issues (excluding Casino Text) and then start formal beta testing. I’ve reassembled the Wozz beta team, to do the beta testing for Emerald Dragon. They did a fabulous job on Wozz and I expect the same for Emerald Dragon. The final release should be in tip top shape.

The next update will come in a few weeks, hopefully with news that all known issues have been resolved (minus the Casino text which will most likely take longer) and formal beta testing has begun.

So, let the wheel of time turn and Emerald Dragon will arrive.


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