ROM Hack [Translation] THE [email protected] Dearly Stars

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Intro
[email protected] is a Japanese multimedia franchise that started in arcades in 2005. There are multiple games, spin-offs, various manga/anime series and all sorts of other media related to the franchise. Dearly Stars is one of these spin-offs. The game deviates from previous entries in the series in the respect that the player takes the role of an idol, rather than the role of a producer like in previous games. Namco Bandai Games has classified the genre of THE [email protected] Dearly Stars as being Top Idol Adventure.

Progress
So far, most of all of the game's text has been dumped. Most all of the game's assets are stored within a collection of files named F_*.BIN, and each of these files is accompanied by an F_*.IDX which lists the offsets of the files within the bins. F_SCN.BIN contains the text for the game's scenes, and is divided into individual, proprietary BBQ files. These were decompressed using Crystal Tile 2's LZ77/Huffman compression search with the Step set to 8. I would post this collection here, but I presume that it would be against the rules because they would contain copyrighted data, correct? The text was stripped from each of the dumped bbq files, and the collection can be found at:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vh8bjL2XNYu2fF37Sz93freO8l-8dyMYTMOUdNguxIw/edit?usp=sharing

(It is set to comment only to prevent defilement. Please note that there are a bunch of blank files and duplicated text, along with a couple garbage files. Please consider helping to translate!)


The translated text can be edited back into each of the BBQ files manually, and each file can be re-encoded using the lz10 encoding option (lzss.exe -> -evn) of https://gbatemp.net/threads/nintendo-ds-gba-compressors.313278/ . This could probably also be accomplished using DSDecmp, but that never seemed to work for me. These re-encoded BBQ files then can replace the original Japanese BBQ files within the .BIN, but one must be aware to fix the .IDX file if the BBQ's file size has changed at all.

Deterrents (aka HELP WANTED)
The biggest deterrent to the continuation of this project is the limitation of characters per line. I am unsure of what causes it, but sometimes when the text in a BBQ is edited, it will cause the lines to be thrown off and become incomprehensible. At first I believed that it is due to the game only supporting up to 22 characters per line, but I no longer believe this to be the case. The game's real text never exceeds more than 20 characters per line, if that accounts for anything. But anyway, without this limit changed, it is difficult to have a good, accurate translation of the text.

Another thing that needs to be figured out, although it is maybe not so vital, is how to dump, edit and reinsert the images of the game stored within the .BINs . Most of the Japanese in the game is in the text (this game could be considered a Visual Novel), so this is not so much of an issue.

One inconvenience is fixing the .IDX file after editing the .BIN . If an edited BBQ is small than the original, one can fill the space difference with null values to push BBQ files after it into place again. But if the edited BBQ file is larger than the original (this is likely), one must manually rewrite the offsets of all the following BBQ files in the .IDX . There is a work around for this though, as the developers did pad some space between each of the BBQ files. One can delete these as they come up so that it is not necessary to rewrite every offset value, but one would still have to rewrite usually about 50 before everything is in its correct position.

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Nikokaro

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I'm afraid that, with regard to this project, you will have to resign yourself. :(
Instead, to all the fans of this genre and visual novels in general: remember that for DS/DSi is available Kira Kira, a quite similar title about the birth and vicissitudes of a young rock band, through the VNDS software, as well as other numerous, compelling classic titles ported from PC. :wink:
 
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