[Gameboy Translation Project] Ninja Mission: Doman's Revenge (Ayakashi no Shiro)

Discussion in 'Other Handhelds' started by Nagato, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. Nagato
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    Nagato GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    [​IMG]

    Doman's Revenge (Ayakashi no Shiro)
    Genre: Old School Dungeon Crawler
    Release date: May 25, 1990

    summvs, the translator for Nanashi no Game (The Nameless Game), got in contact with me last week saying he wanted to work on another translation project together. In less than a week we've gone from "hey, would you be interested in working on this?" to having a full translation complete and ready for some play testing!

    So right now we're recruiting a few people who wouldn't mind playing through the game and give us a report on if anything is buggy or broken. If you're interested then please leave a comment here or send a message to me or summvs.

    This post will be updated at a later date to include download links when we're ready for a full release.

    Screenshots:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by Nagato, Nov 1, 2016
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  2. summvs

    summvs Advanced Member

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    Edit note 01 Nov 2016: updated some things about the English version's name.

    Thanks for starting the thread, Nagato!


    It's been great working on this with Nagato, who I also worked with a few years ago onThe Nameless Game (yikes, I just looked and it’s actually five years ago). If you remember that project and thread you'll know we knuckled down to the work of ROM-hacking and translation rather than posting updates constantly during the process, but I know people appreciate insight and progress reports too. So to that end I've written up a post about what we've done so far and what's left to do to make up for the fact that we didn’t say anything while the work so far was carried out. It's in question and answer format, just because.


    Why did you decide to fan-translate Ayakashi no Shiro, and why didn’t you recruit help from the community?


    summvs: I caught wind of the game through Jeremy Parish's essential YouTube series Game Boy World. It was never released outside Japan and therefore never translated into English. Jeremy mentions this in the video for this game and comments that it would take the work of a kindly fan translator to allow people to play this game in English. I took this as a challenge and as I’ll go into later, got in touch with Nagato, who was the programmer of the Nameless Game/Nanashi no Geemu fan translation which I did.


    As for recruiting help, this is my second fan translation and both times I chose a game that was small enough in terms of text volume for me to be able to do it myself as a labour of love. That’s just my personal style. For anything much bigger I would have been happy to share the work with a few other translators.


    So if the game never left Japan, where did the title Doman’s Revenge come from?

    summvs: My last fan translation was The Nameless Game, which had a pretty straightforward title that worked perfectly when translated literally, and it never crossed my mind to change it. I also think in general it’s probably a good idea to just call your fan translation the same thing as the original game. But for this one, it felt to me like if it did come out in English in 1990, as an RPG for the fledgling Game Boy hardware, the game’s name would likely not have been literally translated, as happened to many games for various reasons. With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to approach this as a simulation of what might have happened had I been working in the appropriate department of a studio who got the rights to publish this game in the West, and was told to retitle it for release in the West.


    To break down the Japanese title, ayakashi can mean suspicious or mysterious, and also refers to yōkai i.e. Japanese ghosts and mythical creatures. While this word is better known now in 2016, I felt it unlikely that this word would be used - maybe Yōkai Castle would be a viable name today but in any case I didn’t want to risk drawing undue attention or comparison to a certain other game using that word in its title. Oh, and shiro means castle. no is possessive, so you get either A’s B or (the) B of A as a basic formulation.


    Going literal, then, and skipping the yōkai angle, would give you something like Mysterious Castle, Monster Castle or the slightly cooler Castle of Horrors. But I figured if you had to make a game’s title a bit sexier in the time period it was released, i.e. the early nineties, you might have come up with something like Doman's Revenge. It's a little more exciting, intriguing and just makes the whole thing sound like the kind of title you’d expect to see when you compared the western and Japanese box art or whatever.


    Who are you to change the name? Just release it as Ayakashi no Shiro!

    summvs: The Japanese title isn’t going anywhere, so feel free to refer to it as that if you are offended by the renaming. I for one love the new title screen Nagato worked up, and I think our title helps encapsulate the storyline a bit better. Again, it feels like we achieved our goal of simulating what could have been had an actual game company released an English version of this game, not what mostly happens when super-respectful curators of gaming history do things.


    What kind of game is Doman’s Revenge aka Ayakashi no Shiro?

    summvs: The Game Boy World video for the original game is a great primer, but briefly, it’s a first-person faux-3D roleplaying game in which you play a ninja exploring castles filled with monsters.


    What’s the backstory?

    summvs: Here’s my translation of the story prologue as presented in the Japanese manual. There isn’t any prologue in the game itself so this is useful to read for context.


    Warning: Spoilers inside!


    Wait, Nobunaga? As in…?

    summvs: Yes, this is the same historical figure as featured in the Nobunaga’s Ambition series. The other people referenced are real historical figures, too. Magic and divination, however, are not real.


    What was the translation process like?

    summvs: Partly to make up for not being particularly communicative on The Nameless Game, and partly because I thought people might be interested, I went into this one fully intending to give you guys a nice detailed write-up. Settle in with a hot drink if this is the kind of thing you like reading about. Also spoiler tagged for length below. Spoilerception!


    Warning: Spoilers inside!


    Can I help?

    summvs: Yes! We would like a couple of people to playtest the prerelease English ROM and report bugs or issues to us. We haven’t yet confirmed each string on-screen in the game so quite apart from technical issues, some translations may not make sense in the context in which they appear in the game. The game is not big enough to warrant farming this out to dozens of people but a few volunteers via this thread would be great.


    Mini-FAQ below for testers - this is the kind of known issue that we don’t really need to have reported:

    The translation is very curt and lacks flavour! We know. This is what it took to fit it in without making a second job of this project for us.

    Those double-letter glyphs are ugly as hell! They're not ideal but they solved the issue of limited space well.

    I checked the Japanese game and it’s missing a lot of information from the original text! See above - however, if there is truly crucial information missing that makes the game unplayable, we do want to know about it so we can see what can be done. As noted earlier we are using literally every single byte of available space, so if anything is missing right now, even a single missing character or punctuation mark, then something else will have to be removed to make room for it. As we say in localisation, this is where the fun begins. Or was that Anakin Skywalker…

    You changed the move and items names from their evocative Japanese names and they’re super literal! You suck! You’re supposed to be a fan! This was simply what had to be done to make the text work. I would have loved to call the move that lets you float the Angel Robe like in the Japanese because it sounds nice, or the invisibility cloak the Straw Coat because it has cultural and historical contextual relevance but in the interests of making the game basically playable without running a guide next to you the whole time, these are now Float and Cloak. Once one or two of them went literal, it felt weird to have non-literal ones in the same list.


    I’m not really a game tester. Can I still help?

    summvs: I would like to have a catalogue of screenshots of every enemy so that I can make sure the names make sense for the images. If you’re willing to help to do this, let us know.


    That still sounds boring but I still want to help.

    summvs: If you are of an artistic bent, a fun project might be to Photoshop new box art for the game with the new title.


    When will it be finished?

    summvs: For now we want to see how much we can get out of some further testing. Once it seems like we’re running out of things to fix (which can be fixed within the scope of this project), we will probably just pick a point to draw a line under it, call it finished and release it.


    Seriously though, why change the title?

    summvs: Gaming history is littered with games given cheesy or sexed-up titles in the localisation process. If you are truly offended by this name, I apologise, but this is kind of what we’re going for. I hope a “realistic” Western name rather than a straight translation makes this a more interesting companion work to the original game.
     
    Last edited by summvs, Nov 1, 2016
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  3. Nagato
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    Nagato GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Don't mind me over here, I'm just screwing up the title of the game in the thread title.
     
  4. summvs

    summvs Advanced Member

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    Let's call it a realistic simulation of confusion arising over a game title due to prefinal screenshots being used in Nintendo Power? Or something…
     
  5. CHICAGO-lollie

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    Game Boy World is a great series, so it's awesome to see it inspire a translation like this. GBW's creator seems quite happy about this too. Looking forward to seeing how this translation turns out, the game looked like a neat novelty.
     
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  6. summvs

    summvs Advanced Member

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    Awesome!
     
  7. summvs

    summvs Advanced Member

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    After some consideration, we've shortened the title to Doman's Revenge. This had the advantage of being short enough that we actually gained a little free space in the build that we used to expand some text and make it more readable. It was fun to get some thoughts on that over on Twitter!
     
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  8. windwakr

    windwakr GBAtemp Fan

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    Is this still being worked on?
     
  9. summvs

    summvs Advanced Member

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    I was pretty busy the last few months but I think we are ready to release it. There's a bug still lurking in the game that crashes it after extended play but otherwise it's pretty ready.
     
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  10. Ziko

    Ziko GBAtemp Regular

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    I've forgotten all about this game. I'll play this when it's finished.
     
  11. summvs

    summvs Advanced Member

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    We are working up the final files for release now. Stay tuned. This was basically a half year hiatus, it was mostly done but Nagato and I didn't have time for the project for a while due to other commitments.
     
  12. summvs

    summvs Advanced Member

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  13. migles

    migles Mei the sexiest bae

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    my dad works for nintendo.
  14. Ziko

    Ziko GBAtemp Regular

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    Why don't you submit this to RHDN? I'm sure a lot more people will play this if you do.
     
  15. summvs

    summvs Advanced Member

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    I literally don't even know what that is. I just translate, Nagato usually handles the tech and submission stuff.
     
  16. Ziko

    Ziko GBAtemp Regular

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    It's Rom Hacking.net. They can host the patch there.
     
  17. summvs

    summvs Advanced Member

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    Oh OK. Can someone upload it there on our behalf?
     
  18. Ziko

    Ziko GBAtemp Regular

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    I can do it as I'm familiar with the site and it'll take time but it can be done.
     
  19. summvs

    summvs Advanced Member

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    Thanks!
     
  20. Ziko

    Ziko GBAtemp Regular

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    Actually, I can't as the patch and readme has to be hosted elsewhere and they don't accept Mediafire. It's really strict. I got everything else right but until that's settled, they won't take it.