May 21, 2007 - SEKAS: Better Than the Rest
As those of you who have been following along these past few months know, I've been working off and on on an xkas-style 68000 assembler so I could continue work on Bare Knuckle 3, and I stand (sit really) before you today to say I'm almost there. The entire instruction set for the 68000 has been implemented, tested, and is working exactly as it should be. Now there are a few things left to implement, but that shouldn't take more than a couple hours to do. For the curious amongst you I still need to allow the various commands that xkas has and allow for alternative operand syntax so that both ($10,PC) and $10(PC) are encoded the same.
SEKAS (Sixty Eight K ASsembler) will be released either alongside Bare Knuckle 3 or alongside a secret Genesis project I want to break SEKAS in on. If however, I reach a point where both projects are going to be in development hell for an extend period of time, I will release the assembler on its own. By waiting until I've used it extensively, I'm hoping to avoid the need to release bug fixes the day or week after the initial release. Then, once both of those games are out the door, I have at least three other Genesis games I'm interested in translating. And no, not Surging Aura. The games I have in mind aren't necessarily RPGs, but at the same time they might be. Who knows? Stay tuned to find out!
May 19, 2007 - A Month in the Life
This is just a brief update to let you guys know where things stand. I've spent the last couple of weeks wrestling with a very difficult problem concerning branches and my assembler. If you want to know more about that, I suggest you read this, and please, if you have an idea that you think will work, I'd love to hear from you. (I'm not being sarcastic, I'd really like to know what you think.)
As you can see at the bottom of those notes, the best solution I've been able to come up with is require the size of a branch be specified before hand. I would really rather it be decided on the fly, but I guess I'm not going to get that. It's not that big a deal, it's just that I'm not a big fan of being "defeated". But there's a few things left I discovered that I need to implement, and going this route will probably make those last minute changes a lot easier to make.
In other news, I've started working on Z Gundam again now that I have a potential translator lined up. The scripts I had dumped a couple years back would've been hell for both me and the translator to work with. I've spent the last week or so trying to determine exactly how much crack these guys were smoking when they coded this game. Stay tuned for the latest as this story develops.
April 29, 2007 - A Release...Kinda
So April has almost come and gone without an update, and almost 6 months have passed since the last release. Now, what I've got for you guys today isn't really a release, nor is it a re-release. Instead, due to popular demand, I've gone through and created IPS patches for the three games that were NINJA exclusive: V Gundam, DBZ3 and DBZ Gaiden. You can get the patches from each game's respective page in the Projects section of the site. It's not much, I know, but it should allow more people to play the translations without all the hassle of dealing with NINJA and .NET.
In other news, this month has been interesting to say the least. I spent most of the month helping out a couple of of other people with their projects (more on those at a later date) and didn't really get to put as much time into debugging the assembler as I wanted to. But I did get a bit more accomplished; in the last couple of days I've gotten all but about 10 instructions tested and those 10 are going to be "fun". Why? Well, if you've been following the story since December you'll know that the major issue with the first incarnation of the program was relative branching. Guess what those last 10 instructions are? That's right, branches! I think the code I've got in place now should handle it though.
That's the rundown for this month's activities. This is usually the point in the update where I tell you what to expect in the next month, but not this time. The last few times I've done that I've promised more than I was able to deliver, which frustrates and annoys me as much as it does you. Instead I'll just say that for May I'll keep chipping away at all of my projects. I hope to have something ready for release in time for the site's 2 year anniversary at the end of June, but I can't guarantee it. The only thing that could potentially be released that soon is Spider-man and that still has quite a ways to go before I'm completely happy with it. We'll so though.
March 30, 2007 - 22 of 71 Down!
As you might've noticed, yet another month has almost past without a release or an update. That's mostly because I've been lazy (at least in regard to my own projects) this month and there hasn't been anything substantial to report until this week. I've buckled down and begun testing the assembler and things are going pretty good so far. Of the 71 supported opcodes 22 have been tested and are working perfectly. The plan is to test each opcode out and then test it out with actual code from trace logs and openly available source code. Then from there it should just be a matter of writing the documentation and releasing it. I'm not entirely sure how long that will take exactly, but I can't imagine more than a month or so at the most.
In the meantime, I plan on doing a little work around the site. With the next update I make, the bulk of the 2 years worth of old news below will be moved to a separate page to cut down on load times. I also plan on going through and rewriting the various project descriptions. Most of them were written in haste and among other things, are riddled with grammatical errors that should be fixed. Another thing I wouldn't mind adding is a reflection on each of my completed projects; what I learned, the challenges each project held, and so on. Lastly, I'm considering setting up a blog or something to get a little interaction going with those of you who check the site.
April Game Plan: Finish testing ARES. Once that's done progress with BK3 (and that unannounced Genny game I'm working on) should snowball. Then I should finally be able to get that teaser of the secret project out I've been promising.
March 8, 2007 - Bring Back Streets of Rage
Check out Sega of America's official site and vote for Streets of Rage!
February 24, 2007 - Testing Begins...Sort Of
What do you know, I finally make good on my word! Things with the assembler are finally at a point that I can start doing some serious testing. I probably won't really get into testing until this week sometime, though. I'm just a tiny bit burned out at the moment from staring at a screen of alphabet soup, so I'm gonna take a day or two off and let my brain rest. As for how long testing will actually take, it'll probably be at least a couple of weeks. There's a lot of stuff that needs to be tested out and I want to make sure all the xkas commands, macros, defines, and, especially, the branch and jump calculation are all working properly.
February 18, 2007 - Don't Bring Me Down ~ Groos
Little update for those who care. I've logged about 20 hours or better on the 68000 assembler in the past day or so and it's just about ready for testing. I know I've said that before, but this time I'm almost 100% it'll be ready by week's end for the rigorous testing I plan to put it through. You might be saying, "You said that this time last month, RC!" To which I'd say, "But this is different - better, even!"
How's that? Well, the build I spoke of last month was 100% my own creation, meaning I wrote all of it from scratch. Having never written an assembler or dealt with any of the problems that entails, the design and code was a mess, making the addition of any features unnecessarily difficult. My original idea was an xkas-style 68000 assembler, and the RC original, while a fairly decent assembler, it fell short of that original vision.
So I went and broke xkas apart and now I'm using byuu's wonderful string library and adapting xkas's core to my needs. What's that mean for you? Defines, macros, and all the other super sexy features xkas has but tailored to meet your Mega Drive programming needs! The define system works flawlessly and I'm 90% certain the macros will work fine now that I've modified xkas to account for the variable lengths of 68k instructions. Not only that, but it's fully compatible with SNES assembly code. I'm not sure whether I'll enable this in the public build or not, since it could potentially detract people from recognizing byuu's stellar work, which I do not want to do.
And that's the update for this month. I'm shooting for an April-May release for Bare Knuckle 3, but that's subject to change. In the meantime, there's another Genesis project I'm working on that I intend to break the assembler in on. If things go well, you'll be seeing a patch release alongside the public release of the assembler. Also of note, the secret project is still going strong. Once things calm down, I'll get back into that and get that teaser out for you guys.
February 2, 2007 - Whack A Mole
I'm just popping in to let everyone know where all my projects stand. The last few weeks (more like the past month actually) I've been focusing most of my energy on the secret project I've mentioned before and it is really coming along nicely. If things go right, I should have a little teaser up for you to gawk at. Believe me, you'll like it since it's a semi-popular game and it's sort of related to some of the other stuff I'm working on. In a way this update is merely to hype this project up; I'm shameless, I know.
Since it's now official that Dracula X: Rondo of Blood is going to be coming to the PSP, it's pretty safe to say that it'll finally see American shores. As such, I'm officially dropping the translation of the PC Engine CD version until further notice. I haven't touched the game in months anyway, so I don't feel too bad about lost time spent on it. If, however, the English release does fall through...we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there. So, support Konami, buy Dracula X if/when it's released in English.
January 16, 2007 - Back on Track
I managed to figure out what I needed and the 68000 assembler is back on track. I've got a few more instructions to add (mainly JMP and JSR, since I want to add a little optimization to how they're calculated), and then I should be ready to start fully testing this bad boy. I'm actually really proud of this, despite not being on par with something like xkas, but you never know about future versions. I have to say, this project gave me a chance to utilize a lot of programming techniques, like function pointers, for instance, that I never would have probably used otherwise. It seems with every large project I take on, I learn more from it, and that's never a bad thing.
January 9, 2007 - Witty Update Title
As some of you may know, New Year's Day came and went without a release. That's because things have stalled slightly around the shop. For one thing, I've been focusing on a secret project the past couple of weeks and haven't spent my time on any other project. What could it be? You'll like it. I know you will.
The second thing, as far as Spidey's concerned, is that I've been reading Spider-Man comics (mostly The Amazing Spider-Man series, at the moment) so that I can make sure the writing for Lethal Foes is top notch. What I'm really wanting, at least for the narration boxes, is I want you to actual hear Stan Lee in your head talking, and each character to sound like their comic book counter-part. We've already kind of got that with Venom's dialog, but I want more. As such, the screenshots in the previous update do not reflect the final patch in anyway (not that they ever did, but I got more of a response to those than I was expecting).
The last thing that's stalled visible progress concerns Bare Knuckle 3. I've hit a bit of a snag with the assembler, so I'm taking a break to actually research compiler/assembler construction; I did pretty good without having read anything, if I do say so myself, though. The more I've thought about the game and the way it draws its text, the more I've thought about how easy it would be to implement a variable-width font. Once I get my assembler up and running, that's gonna be on the top of my list. The extra screen space the VWF would allow will make the translation so much better, and that's really all that matters. I still need to pick up a flash cart to test things on a real system.
In conclusion the tentative schedule for 2007 looks something like this: Spider-Man: Lethal Foes Released; Bare Knuckle 3 Released; 68000 Assembler Released; Project Nite-Bright (hopefully) Announced/Released; and possibly Gundam F91 Released. Of course, I'll make updates in between the actual releases to keep you guys apprised of the situation.
December 20, 2006 - Swing Time
Ryusui finished up Spider-man last week and between his and Kitsune Sniper revisions, the script's ready for insertion, which I've been working on. I was kind of hoping to have this ready for a Christmas release, but I don't think I'll make it. I'm gonna let a couple of comic book fans (no, not you) play through the game to make sure the writing's consistent with the establish characters. And since I've just started really inserting the script, it'll probably take at least a day or two to do that. To tide you over though, below are a couple screenshots of the first couple of lines.
I know I mentioned a couple of times before that I was hoping to have Bare Knuckle 3 out by Christmas, but I think it'll be at least another month before that's ready for release. I just about have the assembler coded and, while not my greatest work, it's actually quite handy. I do plan on releasing it when I'm finished. It doesn't feature macros, though, since I never use them and I'm too lazy to code that particular functionality at the moment. I was really hoping for an xkas-style assembler, but that may come with any future updates. Right now I just want to get BK3 finished up.
To recap, no Christmas release; possibly a New Year's release; and an unannounced project that you won't know about until it's almost ready for release.
December 6, 2006 - 19XX
I think my last update actually did the trick; I found a translator for Spider-man: Lethal Foes! Ryusui of Watercrown Productions (and V Gundam's title screen) fame has signed on to help. So expect more in the future from this one.
Also of interest is Gundam F91, which I've also snagged a translator for. I've got "VWF for F91" on my official to-do list now so that I can just drop the English script (barring revision and polishing of course) into the rom.
Finally, I've made some progress with Bare Knuckle 3. Below is a screenshot of one of the first few strings of text. I had to rewrite a couple of the game's font and name table routines and I still need to do a little more work so line breaks work correctly (which is why this is the only legible screenshot up right now). To do that, I'm working on an assembler to hopefully make my life easier. Anything's better than having to hand assemble 68000 codes and I'm becoming more familiar and confident with the 68000 in the process. Hell, I might just do another (oh god ninjas) translation in the future.
December 2, 2006 - CHANGE PETER PARKER
I sat down last night and worked through Spider-man: Lethal Foes and figured out how the control codes are handled so I could get a cleaner dump. So, now I'm looking for a translator (again). Please let me know if you're interested by emailing me at redcomet@SPAMDEATH.rpgclassics.com or rpgcredcomet@KILLSPAM.gmail.com (remove the capital messages). The script is a mere 33kb and I'd wager 25 to 50 percent of that is control codes.
In other news, I'm slowly starting to get a little work done. At the moment on working on a couple tools for Bare Knuckle 3, so I can get that started. I probably won't be releasing this by Christmas, as I'm hoping to pick up a flashcart from Tototek to test the translation out on the real hardware, and the script probably has a couple more revisions to go through before it's ready.
In the coming days, I'm hoping to throw together a new script dumper that'll be able to dump Z Gundam's script, so let me know if you're interested in that. I'm also planning on adding a VWF (see V Gundam for an example of what it'll look like) to both Zeta and F91 (let me know if you're interested in translating either of these by emailing me at the above address). I also need to sit down and figure out the remainder of DBZ2's text engine so I can get a proper script dump. DDS (of DBZ3 and Gaiden fame) is on board whenever I get the script dumped.
As for Dracula X, you might've noticed I haven't mentioned it in a couple months; it's still being worked on. In fact, I have the majority of the VWF routine written for the intro subtitles. I still need to go through the game and figure out how I'm gonna add subtitles to the other parts. This is probably gonna simmer on the back burner for a little bit while I see if it's brought to the Wii's virtual console or not. I doubt it will, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.
I also went through the site today and cleaned up some of the pages to remove false information. That's about it for today. Hopefully things will pick up a little in the next little bit.
November 22, 2006 - Turkey Day
Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the States (Foreign mileage may vary), I thought I'd take the time to give a blanket thank you to everyone who has either helped, supported, or played Twilight Translations games: THANK YOU!
Now for the site update, I haven't done any work in nearly a month and I can't give a clear estimate when I can expect to start again. At the moment, I have a rough english script from Anton Berglin for Bare Knuckle 3, but it's been about 6 months since I looked at the game, so it'll take some time to get back into it. Other than that, there's really no progress to report. I did however fix a few errors (I had accidently marked Z Gundam as Completed instead of V Gundam on the projects page) and added a link to the Text Routine tutorial in the documents section. That's it for now. See you at Christmas.
October 30, 2006 - Dragonball Z Gaiden: Plan to Eliminate the Saiyans - Released!
Well, we've done it again. Another DBZ game has been completely translated. Instead of waiting a few days to release the source, I'm releasing it alongside the patch. Get them both here.
I may or may not be around over the next couple of weeks (or longer). So don't freak out if you email me and I don't respond. Anyway, enjoy the patch, enjoy the code, and don't give any one candy corn! Happy Halloween!
October 29, 2006 - Collect Some Balls to Shine for You
Just a brief update to let you know that it looks like I might make the Halloween release for Gaiden afterall. My testers hit a game-stopping bug, but I got that fixed just now (freakin' typos...). I'm gonna fix the reported problems and then play through one final time to double-check everything.
Also, you ASM newbies should check out the recent addition to our library and let me know how it goes. If it helps or if it doesn't, I need feedback to improve it!
October 25, 2006 - V Gundam - Source Code Released
Mosey on over to the V Gundam page and download the source code for the modifications I made. Also included is a working decompressor (plus the decompression routine used by the game with comments) and (unoptimized) recompressor. I hope this helps people wanting implement a VWF in their hacks. This is the first VWF I'd done and I've since done 2 more within about a weeks time. It's the same code in the patch, so you know it works.
October 22, 2006 - V Gundam - Released!
That's right, we're moving the completed project counter up to 3 today. Grab it here. While you're at it, check out Suzaku's site.
In other news, Gaiden is just about ready for release. Originally, I had intended to have a Halloween double-header with V Gundam and Gaiden, but I'm not sure I'll have Gaiden ready for then. So to avoid squirming in my chair a like a tot with a full bladder, I'm going ahead with V Gundam's release.
Gaiden has a few bugs that'll require a bit of ASM reworking to fix. Fortunately, I learned my lesson with DBZ3 and I know what not to do. Oh, one other thing I wanted to mention. There'll be two versions of the patch released. Both will be identical with the exception of Vegeta. In the Japanese version he is CPU controlled throughout. One patch will retain this, while the other will give the player control over him. I might crack DBZ3 open in the coming days and do the same there. It pisses me off that Bandai takes a fan favorite and then doesn't even let you play as him. I want to Final Flash someone (hehe)!
October 16, 2006 - 0-7-2
A new version of Insert ASM is out. It now supports the ability to insert raw hex in addition to binary files.
October 15, 2006 - DBZ Gaiden: The Black Magic Woman Saga
I've made some decent progress with Gaiden and I felt like sharing. There's a small bug in my private build of WordCount that I need to fix before I can continue, but so far everything's going surprisingly well.
If you'll notice in the below screenshots, all occurences of a character's name (Goku is JHC; a friend and I have since determined Goku was really Jesus H[owitzer] Christ) are gibberish. That's because I need about $200 bytes more space for the original dictionary of names than what I have. I even considered moving the dictionary to another bank, but the damn rom's filled to the brim all over. I'll get that straightened out, though. It's not that high on the ol' priority list, so it may be a couple weeks before you see any sexy, sexy screenshots with legible names.
October 13, 2006 - DBZ 1: Revisted and More
Like I said in my last post, I'm trying to release the source code for all of my stuff, and up for grabs today is the source for Dragonball Z: Assault of the Saiyans. While I'm almost certain there are a few changes that are undocumented, this bundle of source code is easily the most well-commented source I have written. While some of the code could probably be revised for improved performance and size, I feel this is the best example of beginner-oriented code I've got. Hope it helps.
I'm releasing today Insert ASM. I needed something to make revising and inserting ASM into DBZ Gaiden, since I use x816 still for all my NES needs, and this accomplishes that task perfectly. When combined with x816 in a batch file, this is a pretty nifty and time-saving program. I've really enjoyed it. In fact, it's helped me to pick Gaiden back up, which brings me to the next point of interest.
I've started working on Gaiden yet again. Hopefully this time I'll make some progress. Everything is working now (turns out someone forgot to add the code to initialize the huffman decompression...) and there are only a few minor bugs I need to work out of the dictionary system I added. I had to go through all of the scripts and remove all instances of a line break before a end of string control code (which worked out to about 700 line breaks more than needed). Now I just need to shave 2 bytes worth of data off of the smallest script in the game and we'll be that much closer to getting this into testing.
Speaking of testing, Suzaku and I are going to sit down this weekend and go through the script for V Gundam together and do a quality-check. While the script leaves a lot to be desired (it makes the DBZ games excessively descriptive by comparison), we want this to be the best it can be. After that, the patch will go into beta testing and, if no bugs are found, we'll get the Gundam thing out the door (horrible pun, hehe). Until next time, hello.
October 8, 2006 - Release of Sorts
If you point your browser to the Dragonball Z 3 page, you'll see that I've released the source code for all of the assembly level modifications I made to the game for the English patch (which you should pick up, if you haven't already). Hopefully this will be helpful for people just learning assembly.
In the future, I'll be releasing the source code for all of my projects. I'd release the source I have for Dragonball Z: Assault of the Saiyans today, but there's about 3 different revisions of the same code and I don't know which one is the revision that made it into the final patch. I'm not sure if I'll release it without checking it.
Other things are going good. There's a few more things holding V Gundam back from release (mainly a final polish for the script), but they're getting done. Also of note is that I found enough space in Dracula X for the new font and code for the VWF. While I was originally planning to work hard this month on finishing up Dracula X in time for a Halloween release, I'm not going to be in town on Halloween. As such, I haven't done much more on the game.
The game plan for the remainder of the year is as follows: V Gundam by month's end; Dracula X, DBZ Gaiden, and possibly Bare Knuckle 3 by year's end. After that, I'm taking a nap.
October 1, 2006 - New Release Coming Soon
A lot has happened over the course of the past week; Suzaku finished translating V Gundam's script, I implmented a VWF in V Gundam, and got the sexy title ready for use in-game. I have been by-passing the compression altogether to avoid the headache of debugging my recompressor, but I might have to crack open a can of bug spray afterall.
The problem is if I alter the routine that reads in the uncompressed tilemap for the title screen, the graphics later on get messed up and the screen ends up looking like an extra from Thriller. It seems there are two viable solutions: get the recompressor in working order or expand the rom and decompress all of the graphics and write a custom routine to handle them. I'm not sure which I'll do. It's 5:20 in the morning and I've been working on and off on this since 8:30AM yesterday, so I'm probably not seeing the magic piece that completes the puzzle right now. Anyway, expect a release (maybe two depending on how hard I push myself) by the end of the month.
September 13, 2006 - Far Beyond the Sun Down
You can just disregard that last update as drama. I've been depressed lately and it just came out wrong. Anyway, the intro text for Dracula X has been successfully shrunk down to use the 8x8 font. It's pretty horrendous looking, as you can see from the below screenshot. I'd like to have a font, which has been determined to bear more than just a few passing similarities to Apple Chancery, similar to the one seen in the first part of Symphony of the Night. I'm gonna work on adding that. Getting the larger font to display properly won't be a problem. I just need to figure out how and where to get the font and, ideally, VWF routine from the CD and into RAM where I can use it. I'll keep you posted.
September 9, 2006 - A Project Put on the Table and Kicked Out the Door
You know that secret project I've been talking about? Well, guess what, it was this:
Yes, that's right. Dracula X, the badass daddy of Symphony of the Night. Anyway, I was looking at my projects page last night and I don't have the time, energy, or inclination to commit to any more projects. So in the interest in hopefully seeing the game one day completed, here is what I managed to figure out.
Nearly all of the text routine for the subtitles in the beginning is complete and tested. I also threw in the preliminary traces I had made of the other text in the game. My plans were to implement a subtitle system for the other cutscenes later in the game (and maybe even for the places in-game such as Death's dialogue in Stage 0) using the same sprite-based system used in the beginning, but I'm not up for that.
With any luck this should prove useful to someone interested in translating the game and giving it something more than jsut a botchy half-assed T E R R A N I G M A translation. Between Mednafen and Hu-Go Tracer, it's more than possible if the right person gets wind of it. Anyway, good luck.
P.S. The major bugs with Gaiden concerning the bank swapping have been fixed. Look for more in the coming weeks
September 7, 2006 - How I saved Christmas - Part 1
Forget Santa Claus, forget the Grinch, forget that one gay reindeer who insisted on taking one for the team. It was all me - I single handedly fought communism and oppression and saved Christmas from those dastardly bastards you know and love: the NFL. That's right.
In other news, Gaiden is slowly coming along. I got sidetracked last week on another project, but for now I'm burned out on it, so I'm working on Gaiden. It's a slow up hill battle from here on in. Right now I'm debugging all the code, which ordinarily wouldn't be much a problem, but since I had to do a lot of bank swapping since there was just no room whatsoever for the code and huffman table, there's a lot more that can, will, and already has gone wrong. The good news is after I added another layer of dictionary compression to the game (177 additional words are now encoded to a mere 2 byte code), the scripts fit. Well, there's one that overflowed by 4 bytes, but that's nothing compared to all 7 blocks overflowing by some 300 bytes before the aforementioned dictionary compression.
Anyway, this should be done by Christmas. That's the theory anyway.
August 29, 2006 - Space Runaway Sylvanian Summer Blowout Sale
First up is the release of our first ROM hacking oriented program, WordCount. Hopefully this will be of use to those of you adding dictionary compression and needing a way to compile a list of words for the dictionary. Get it in the Programs section. Thanks go out to D for posting the PHP routine on RHDN that got the cogs turning in my noggin.
Since Bandai's evil team of writers and programmers filled Gaiden to the rim with text, I'm adding some additional dictionary compression to it. Now that I've finished WordCount, I'll start working on Gaiden again and see how much more stuff I'll need to add to it.
I've cracked the compression for V Gundam's title, and just have a small issue with the recompresser to work out before I can insert the sexy new title screen below. In the interest of helping others, once the project is completed, I think I'll release the source code for the decompressor and the recompressor so people interested in cracking LZSS compression will have an example to go by.
Kitsune Sniper of Vice Translations is responsible for the design, and Ryusui of Watercrown Productions is responsible for the superb recreation of the original color scheme.
As for everything else on my plate, Spider-Man is in fact still being translated; I'm thinking about adding a VWF to this for practice and have more space for the strings. A custom dumper really needs to be written for DBZ2 so the strings are actually in the order they are in-game. I also made a little headway on a secret project (not gonna reveal it for a while, unless it escalates beyond the just-tinkering-with-it stge) and I've got a couple games for the GBA and one more for the SNES I'd like to do, maybe.
Also, I'd just like to say I wish the Chinese pirates would spend as much time on gameplay as they do on graphics. Some of you might've noticed your favorite rom hunt stocking a Chinese-made NES game called Dragonball Z 5. I got curious and downloaded it and the opening sequence makes you say "holy shit, this is gonna be awesome", but then does a complete 180 and gives you a card board beat'em up that makes even V Gundam's gameplay fluid by comparison. I was expecting a hacked-to-death version of one of the RPGs that concluded the Cell series, but no, a craptastic beat'em up. I looked through the game in a tile editor, and Cell is actually in there, but god help you if you hate yourself enough to actually play it long enough to get that far.
That's about it for this month...longest update I've made in a while.
August 10, 2006 - Dragonball Z 3: Killer Androids - Released!
Could it be? Do I finally put my money where mouth is and deliver an actual patch for DBZ3? It is! That's right, it's been over a year since this project first started and it's finally complete! I hope you're as excited about this as I am! Anyway, go grab the patch and get to playing!
And if that wasn't enough I've got more! All the work I did on DBZ3 (inserter, asm mods, etc) have already been adapted to work with Gaiden and most of the ASM work for DBZ2 is done. If that's not enough, I've made a little headway with Spider-Man: Lethal Foes! With any luck, you'll be seeing quite a few things getting done and (hopefully) released, but for now I leave you with this:
August 6, 2006 - Release Imminent
Just a small update. Beta testing of DBZ3 is underway and should be completed by mid-August. After that, a few things will be fixed and then the patch will be released to the public!
I got around to adding Bare Knuckle 3 to the Projects page, which you can access from the menu up top. In my usual Saturday night boredom last night, I took a quick look at DBZ2 and DBZ Gaiden to see how difficult they would be to implement the same compression scheme seen in DBZ1 and DBZ3. Well, DBZ2 is pretty simple (and after playing DBZ3, it really shows its age), and Gaiden is pretty much byte-for-byte the same as DBZ3. So, a little tweaking of my insertion tools should facilitate easy insertion of the scripts for both games. I don't foresee either game causing many problems, especially since I'll be on the look out for the same bugs that made DBZ3 hell.
As for the other games over on the list, V Gundam is still being worked on by Suzaku, Gundam F91 by Shadow, and Spider-Man...I think. I need to get a progress report from these guys just for my own benefit. In conclusion, Dragonball Z 3: Killer Androids (hopefully) by months end and Bare Knuckle 3 and maybe Dragonball Z Gaiden: Plan to Eliminate the Saiyans by year end! Once those are down, I'll see about expanding my empire into a few other systems...
July 28, 2006 - Alpha Testing Ends
At this point, I think my testers have reported all bugs that have been found in the Alpha series of patches, as such, I've been busting my butt fixing them. Aside from a few places where a string needs a linebreak, there's only one game play bug left that needs to be fixed. That is, unless you guys WANT Krillin to be a god and deal out 999 damage a pop. Really shouldn't be anything to difficult to fix, since I was lucky enough to have the foresight to document every minute change I made along the way.
In other news, Bare Knuckle 3's script has been dumped and, barring one minor string, is in the very capable hands of Anton Berglin. I'll try to throw together a page in the next couple of days to show off the game. Expect to hear more out of this in the fall months.
July 20, 2006 - Alpha Testing Begins
Just a small update to let you guys know that DBZ3 has officially entered Alpha testing. I had more people volunteer for testing than I anticipated and unfortunately didn't have a place for everyone. If you didn't get a response, I'm sorry. If you did, then let the good times roll.
Also worth noting is that I'm about 50% complete with the custom dumper I'm writing for Bare Knuckle 3. I think I'll try to take care of that in the next couple of days. Check back often for updates on this and more.
July 17, 2006 - Keep on Truckin'
Like I said in a previous update, once the compressor was done, DBZ3 would start to pick up speed. Well, what started as a simple compressor turned into a full blown inserter and, man, it KICKS ASS! I finished it up late last week and it's amazing, if I do say so myself. It compresses and inserts as many files as I specify, inserts the huffman look-up table, compresses any string of bytes I specify, calculates pointers, washes my car, and writes a new rom without altering the old one. In addition to this, I've finished up all the asm hacks I plan on doing this weekend and fixed most of the bugs I found during the first 10 minutes or so of play. The save menu's a little wonkey at the moment, though, but only FWNES actually supports Mapper 16 saves, as far as I know. As such, it's not high on my priority list. It'll be fixed, don't get me wrong. It'll probably be the last thing I fix.
I'd really like to have a couple people help me out with play testing this, so we can get the script just right and check for as many bugs as possible before releasing it. So, if you're interested, email me at redcomet at rpgclassics dot com. Please, only email if you're serious and have a firm grasp of English. Experience is prefered, as well as my actually having heard of you before. If I get an email "that sp34ks li3k tolly engrish", don't expect an email back. Also, if I don't feel I can trust you with the beta, I'll turn you down, too. I've invested more than a year of my life in this and I don't want it being released until it's exactly as I want it. Any way, enough of my yappin'. Here's some screenshots:
June 30, 2006 - New Sections
I was bored, so I decided to fix the broken link up top to the Documents section and added a Programs section. Nothing really worthwile in the latter, except a few save state editors, but the documents might be worth checking out for you technical types.
June 24, 2006 - Small Update
As I mentioned in a previous update, there were two things slowing progress on DBZ3 down: a bug in the battle engine and the compression tools needing to overhauled. A week or so ago, I stumbled onto the cause of the aforementioned bug and fixed it! That rekindled my interest in the project and I've been working hard on revamping my tools. Previously only one file at a time could be compressed, now up to 10 files can be compressed into 10 separate files with the pointers calculated and everything. Before, I would have to have run the same program 10 times for each file (which I actually did with DBZ1's 3 files). I'm working on a solution to write the pointers in the pointer table without having to output to a text file, which is then parsed by another program, like previously. Once I get that done, finishing the script insertion will be cake. Chocolate cake.
June 11, 2006 - Sega: More evil than Bandai? Magic 8 Ball says yes!
Seriously, though. Since I last reported, I've managed to shrink the font in Bare Knuckle 3 down to an 8x16 font in 3 of the (known) 5 routines. Sega did some really weird stuff with the nametable data that, while not ineffective, is retarded. That's just one routine. The intro text (y'know, the one Sega cut out of Streets of Rage 3) had fixed length text with the lengths hardcoded into the nametable loading routine, but I've found all of those. The other routine was for another chunk of text that was cut (the green "rakushin" warning text before the bomb countdown before Round 1) and it only required modifying one instruction to shrink the font. So I'm pretty happy about that. I also managed to get a hold of Anton Berglin, who translated the game screen-by-screen. If all goes well, he said he might be able and willing to go through a script dump and polish the text for this patch. If he isn't available, well, we'll have to see. If you're a translator and are interested in translating this, let me know at redcomet at rpgclassics dot com.
Also, point your browsers over to Romhacking.net and check out the post title "Genesis: A New Beginning" and then get started hacking a Genesis game!
One last thing before I stop for the night, I started reworking my compression/insertion tools for DBZ3 a couple weeks ago (before I got side tracked with Bare Knuckle 3) and I'm making steady progress. Starting tomorrow, I'll be playing a game I like to call "RedComet needs a freakin' job", some of you may have played this game before. As such, updates and progress may or may not become less frequent. We'll just have to see. Until next time, raise a glass and be merry.
May 16, 2006 - Grand Upper
As you might've noticed, I like to update at least once a month to keep everyone informed. But for this month I don't have much to say. DBZ3 is still being worked on, but there's a huge bug to fix in the battle engine. I really need to recode my compression tools so they're easier to work with. For that reason, progress is going to be slow on the other NES games (DBZ2 & DBZ Gaiden). My main work computer's harddrive is pretty much fried (didn't lose any data though), so there's another cause for delay.
This month isn't all bad news, however. I've got one more project in the works: Bare Knuckle 3. Everything has been found (pointers, font, script, etc), so once I build a .tbl for it, I can dump it and you grubby kids can do your part and translate it. ;) I've just about figured out how to shrink the font down to an 8x16 font, too! Man, the 68000 is awesome. A huge shout out goes out to g8z et al for their help on this one - they truly rock in so many ways it's not funny. Until next time, keep on keepin' on.
April 5, 2006 - Gundam F91 - Announced
You read right, Gundam F91 is being worked on and I've made some decent progress thus far. If you're interested in translating the 30kb script, see the aforementioned page and email me.
You've also probably noticed a number below the Twilight Translations logo up top; I was curious if anyone actually visited the page, so I decided to find out! Turns out people are interested in Gundam and DBZ games (or maybe it's Spider-Man bringing in all traffic...)!
March 28, 2006 - V Gundam - Progress At Last
Time for the monthly update, folks. I've got some pretty good news this time, too! First up, mosey on over the V Gundam page for a look at some brand new, English screens. Suzaku has signed on to help with the translation and is making great progress so far!
Next we've got some DBZ3 news. No screenies, but all the asm hacks have been implemented and necessary tools created. I've started inserting the scripts, but I can already tell it'll be a couple weeks on this. There's a few bugs that will probably require a little more asm hacking to fix. Expect to hear more from this one in the coming weeks (if all goes well, I'll update again soon with some screenshots).
February 20, 2006 - Z Gundam - Tee Hee
After a day of looking, searching, and studying AGTP's patch for Gundam Cross Dimension 0079, I have succeeded in shrinking the font in Z Gundam: Away to the Newtype. Below is a screenshot for you to enjoy. I might add a DTE routine or something else to save a little space, but, for now, Z Gundam's ready for the scripts. Speaking of, they were being worked on last I heard, so that's good. I've been working the past month on a script dumper to dump those last 2 chapters worth of text so they can be translated. I'm also fixing a few things in DBZ3 to save space, so no more on it for today. That's it for now, boys and girls. Until next time!
January 25, 2006 - Dragonball V: A Progress Report
Alright folks, how y'all been? I've got some pretty good news for you guys. First up is Dragonball Z 3. If you'll scuttle on over here, you'll notice some brand-new English screenshots. All of the ASM mods (minus fixing any bugs that I haven't found yet) have been implemented and are working right. The script, however, needs to be looked over again to accomodate the new window constraints (basically, I need to add a couple of line breaks so the character portraits aren't overwritten by text). Expect to hear more from this in the next month or two.
Next up is V Gundam. I've got a translator on board and the script is almost translated. The font's already shrunk, so once I get that script back in she goes! Until next time, cheers!
November 20, 2005 - Dragonball Z: Assault of the Saiyans - Final
You know where the page is. This patch fixes and implements everything that was either busted or I wanted to add. Enjoy. As for me, I'm gonna be slowly trying to clean some of these other games off of my plate.
October 07, 2005 - Dragonball Z: Assault of the Saiyans - Released!
Hot off the presses, kiddies! Head over to its project page and get the bloody thing! This patc is the culmination of well over a year's worth of work, so enjoy it you ungrateful pirates. ;)
As for the other projects, the only thing that is almost-but-not-quite-ready-for release is Dragonball Z 3. Everything else is, fortunately, being worked on (or I'm told they're being worked on, whichever). This doesn't mean you should be expecting me to fire DBZ3 off at you guys in the next couple of months. I'm gonna take some time off from computer related things and deal with some more pressing offline issues. So, until next time, cheers!
September 18, 2005 - Witty Dragonball Z Related Comment Goes Here
It's Sunday night, I have a paper to write for English tomorrow and finish up the remainder of this bullshit project, and since I don't want to actually, y'know, do it, I figured I'd take this time to procrastinate and inform you guys in cyber space what's crackin' with DBZ1. All of the known bugs have been fixed now. I stumbled onto a bug that resulted in all KI attacks causing instant death during my first run through, but now that's fixed. I'm working on fixing a few formatting issues with the mini-game text right now before I reinsert everything and give it another run through to check everything. This shouldn't take too terribly long, though. It looks like we may indeed see this patch getting released (again) before Christmas. Shocking, ain't it?
August 24, 2005 - RedComet 1, Bandai
Well, I fixed the major bug that was causing issues in the battle text for Assault of the Saiyans (turns out I had made a typo...), and I decided to take some screen shots and keep you guys up to date on things. There are two, maybe three, bugs left to fix which shouldn't take too long considering that they're no where near as complicated as the other 100-something bugs...I hope.
Also, Crotanks isn't exactly plowing through the scripts (formatting, etc), but it's getting done. So, once I get the kinks out of AotS, I can start working on adapting the code to DBZ3 and Gaiden and get those down.
Finally, I emailed Lavonne about Spider-man: Lethal Foes (sorry guys, no link, I'm lazy tonight, you know where it is anyway) a couple of times over the past 2 months and she has yet to respond. I can only hope for the best. Lavonne, if you see this email. Same deal with the cat that was working on V Gundam--he's disappeared. So, if you guys see this, email me. Until next time, make damn sure you keep it imaginary and fight the machine, turkeys.
August 06, 2005 - The Tale of Two Compression Schemes...
Scuttle on over the Assault of the Saiyans page for some sexy, sexy new screenshots. Originally I was using a simple Dual-Tile Encoding scheme, but even with that the revised script was going to need to be cut down some to fit, so I began researching various compression schemes and, well, let's just say I want to bear Dr. Huffman's babies. :p
Luckily, DodgyAussie hadn't gotten too much of the script edited when I finally got my encoders and what-nots working, but he said he's cool with my not using his work (check out his Anime Fan-Subs, guys). Also, a huge shout out to the great SnowBro who released a *lot* of source code back in January that I used as a basis for my work.
With any luck DBZ1 will be ready for play-testing by the middle of the month, so expect a patch sometime before...Christmas, and stay tuned for more updates!
July 10, 2005 - Progress Report
I'll just tackle this one game at a time.
Dragonball Z: Assault of the Saiyans - My man Dodgy's working on getting rid of some of the fluff so that the entire script will fit. Here's a look of things to come:
Dragonball Z II: Lord Freeza's Fury - The english title screen and menu graphics have been inserted, and the scripts are being finished up by Shivalva.
Dragonball Z III: Killer Androids - Pretty much the same as DBZ2. The english title screen's been inserted, and all the scripts are translated and are currently being edited/formatted. Check out the project page for a look at the title screen.
Dragonball Z Gaiden: Plan to Eliminate the Saiyans - All the scripts are translated. I still need to do the ASM mods for this one, but it's behind DBZ2 in the queue. I believe the only thing Crotanks has left to do is format (and possibly rewrite and/or edit) the scripts. Sorry, no screenshots.
Spider-man: Lethal Foes - I spoke to Lavonne about mid-June or so. She's working on it slowly but surely.
V Gundam - The script is being translated, and I've shrunk the font down from a 16x16 font to an 8x16 font! Here's a screenshot:
Z Gundam: Away to the Newtype - Mukimuki (of DBZ1 fame) has stepped up to the plate for this mini-monster. I plan on shrinking the font down to an 8x16, but I haven't done much more than a few preliminary traces.
I think that just about covers everything. If anyone has any questions feel free to contact me at redcomet at rpgclassics dot com (no mailto link, I get enough spam as it is). Until next time. Cheers.
June 22, 2005 - Grand Opening!!
That's right folks, we're open for business. There isn't much up at the moment aside from the various project pages, but Crotanks and myself hope to change that in the future. For now though, stroll on over the Projects page and check out all the stuff we have in store for you.