Author Archive

The Legend of Operation Decoded

April 2, 2015

Today, I thought I’d like to give some insight on some aspects of this translation and a bit of history, because it all seems probably confusing to people who weren’t following us on GBATemp.  SuperSwordGaming asked us in the comments the other day who is actually leading this project, and we’ve had requests for a post about the group’s history before. I first started writing this as a comment to SSG, but it became long enough that it seemed like it should be a blog post. This also might clear things up those of you who are wondering why we’re not done yet, or “WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG?!”

The Legend of Operation Decoded

I started the translation project way back in November 2012. Back then, we had lots of different group members, some of whom, I regret to say it, were not trustworthy. One person in particular volunteered as a translator, but he kept using Google Translate, which made his contributions useless. A different person from that early group decided to leak the patch well before it was anything like ready for release, which resulted in the horrible, horrible patch that is still floating around in the internet today. While that patch is technically to our group, I assure you none of my translations are in it, and none of the current group members is associated in any way with it.

After this happened I was really disheartened, I trusted guys and they betrayed my trust. With no trustworthy translators besides myself, and editors who were leaking internal builds, I was unsure how to continue this project. Enter Onkeikun, a very nice and very skilled native Japanese speaker approached me on GBATemp; she shares credit for translation with me on this project. She did an awesome job of translation crucial things like the e-mails and other things, where a native speaker was very much needed. Together, we translated this whole huge game.

However, there were problems on the technical side. Roxas75, our programmer back then had trouble understanding the format. It involved a stupid textlimit, which I was sure was nonexistent, but which I couldn’t solve back then. I kept researching, and Roxas75 kept disappearing. This whole process dragged on for 6 months By the ends of that time, we still had no usable tools for inserting our translated text, and I was really unhappy with many of the translations we were making, as I had to cut many lines due to that “textlimit.” Meanwhile, I was so busy with university that I had barely time to translate and research the data format. I couldn’t do both at once, and we ended up losing an addition 3 months, meaning that for almost nine months, very little progress was made.

Finally, I made a breakthrough with the help of my friend of StorMyu. We got the main format of the text files basically lined out, but there was still a problem. We had no one who was able to implement our discovery, Roxas75 wasn’t up to the task. Several coders approached me, but none of them seemed to be able to solve the problem.

At that time, people were somewhat understandably pissed off. It seemed like we were dead; progress hadn’t been made for months, but please guys, I hope now you can see why. Since that leak, I had dismissed almost everyone from the original group because I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone, and I was unhappy with the quality of the translations that original group was creating. With no coder around, and no one who could truly deliver what I envisioned for this project, it seemed like this project was doomed to be canceled.

Fortunately, CompCom came along. He said he didn’t give a crap about the drama, and really only wants us to continue. He fixed the problem that Roxas hadn’t been able to solve in 6 months in 6 minutes. Literally.

The project seemed back on track, but I am not a native speaker, and we had basically no team. I didn’t want to repeat the same mistakes that happened the first time. I was determined to choose members were carefully this time. Enters Sporky. Sporky’s way of expressing himself really caught my eye, and he said that he had some Japanese skills, which were helpful for Translation checking. He volunteered as an editor, and I really liked what he delivered; plus, he seemed like a really nice guy. We bonded over lots of things, he has a knack for organization which I simply don’t. At some point Sporky asked if I’d mind him co-leading the team. I said I essentially regarded him as Co-Leader already by that point. Because I was so busy, he often acted as the spokesman for the group. Now we were CompCom, StorMyu, Sporky and I. StorMyu said that he had some editor friends that would like to help.

That’s how Kalker became part of the group. Sporky and Kalker had worked together on the, sadly canceled, SAO: Infinity Moment translation project. So Sporky and Kalker became permanent main editors, with Sporky eventually starting to write Progress Reports to you guys. That’s when the project really started to make progress again. We tried out some other Editors, but none of them ended up sticking around for long. We were fine with that,what he had a group that worked, and it still does.

All in all we now have a group of 3-5 people, on good days. Despite delays, we’re nearly done, and all the main members of our group plan on continuing on to work on Decode. There’s more to it, but that may be a story for another time. I’m sorry this ended up running so long, but we’ve had a number of requests for a post like this.

PS: As Sporky has mentioned in the comments section of the last post, I am working with a good friend of mine on a Digimon World 1 hacking project. If you guys are interested in seeing how that goes, what kind of progress we make, please write that in the comment section below, and if there is enough interest, I might post stuff about that too.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Progress report: 01.03.2015

March 1, 2015

Hello everyone, it’s been a while since I had the pleasure to post a blog post, simply due to lack of time with my studies. Now I seem to have some time. As you might have noticed we got a new banner. We were thinking long about any motives we might use, but we thought given our group name, the things that we do, and taking  everything into account, that this motive actually suits us. And it looks kinda cool too, don’t you think? :)
We don’t know what other projects than Redigitize or Decode we might end up doing, so we wanted to have a banner we could possibly use for other projects. You’ll see how when the time arrives.

As for Redigitize: It’s taking longer than anticipated, it should’ve been out by now, but I’m sorry, that it’s not. Real life is really a bitch sometimes. There is a certain irony in the fact whenever Sporky got time I’m busy and it’s just the other way around. It’s really hard to coordinate. But we really try our best.

The Colosseum stuff is in the process of editing, and we are happy to announce that one of our Editors, Kalker is back which will speed up this mess a lot and hopefully and FINALLY bring to you this release.
Believe me at this point, I want it as badly as anyone of you, it’s sooo close it almost hurts :D

Please bear with us a little longer.

Merry Christmas!!!

December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas everyone!

While I’m sure many of our readers were disappointed by my last post, I’m very grateful for the way you guys have shown support for us despite the delay. So we want to show you that your support is appreciated, and that we haven’t forgotten about our loyal fans out there, still waiting for the Re:Digitize patch, and since it’s Christmas, we thought that today calls for a present.

And we got you one ;) Without any further adieu, I hereby announce our next project, which we will start work on immediately following Re:Digitize. It is none other than its worthy successor for the 3DS: Digimon World Re:Digitize Decode.

This project was on our minds the second Decode was announced, and I’m glad to inform you everyone that now we have the means to actually bring you the translation for this wonderful game.

Please take a look at the following video:

High Resolution Download

Now obviously this is to be considered as a first draft, with things subject to change, but I hope this is a sufficient proof of concept demonstration to show that a translation of a 3DS game is indeed possible. I also hope that the video is sufficient proof that this is definitely real and not a fake. Please also take this as a sign that we’re really close to the finish line with Re:Digitize.

There are certain things worth noticing about this video. First, we have been able to successfully insert edited images, as you can see in the battle menus and such. But moreover, and most importantly, we successfully ported over our Re:Digitize translation to Decode (only the strings that are a 100% match with the original), which means that a substantial amount of work is done already. However, please understand that Decode is HUGE and not a simple port. Decode is at least twice the length of the PSP game, and as such will definitely take some time to translate.

Enjoy, and have a merry Christmas, everyone!

Progress Report: December 17th, 2014

December 17, 2014

Hello everyone.

After hoping for weeks and trying to work as hard as our lives allow us there’s no helping it:

We probably won’t make a 2014 release.

Let’s back up a little bit:

While almost all NPCs are done, and the Emails as well, there’s nothing that can be done

about the fact that there’s still the Colosseum and some other ares that just need checking.

Now due to unfortunate events some people of our stuff are occupied which led to slowdowns in events.

This also includes me, I’m afraid My education currently occupies me stronger than I could’ve foreseen.
And as our staff is currently smaller than we also could’ve foreseen, this leads to a postponing in the release.

Maybe, just maybe a miracle might occur and we might make it after all.

But guys I just don’t want you to get your hopes up to be disappointed then. But just to be clear:

We are talking merely of WEEKS that the release might be postponed.

I’m sorry for everyone who was hoping to be able to play this on Christmas, but don’t be guys.
As for the future, we might have a card up our sleeve that might be exiting as well ;)

Thanks for your continuous support.

Special Progress report 10.08.2014

August 10, 2014

Hey guys, it’s been a while since the last progress report.

But no progress report doesn’t mean no progress ;)

Newcomers:

We got new members! Darian and Raitei volunteered to help us with the Editing and their work is marvelous!

With their help this is how it looks like right now.

Story:
The second story Edit is halfway done. 51% to be exact. The speed this is going at is awesome.

Translation: 100%

First Edit: 100%

Second Edit: 51%

Darian really helped to speed up this process.

NPCs:
Translation: 100%

First Edit:  20%

Second Edit: 20%

With the help of Raitei and Kalker this area is being taken care off and it’s only a matter of time now ;)

ASM:

100%, no bugs discovered, so far.

 

And last but not least, we have a surprise for you guys :)

This video covers the whole Forest Area, including all the NPCs. So you can see a complete area fully done. Things are not final and subject to change,
but I hope you’ll enjoy the video nevertheless.

Progress report 23.06.2014

June 23, 2014

Hey guys.

It’s been a bit more than a month since my last progress reports. If you followed up the comments section you know where we are standing.
But for those of you who don’t:

Story:
The first edit of the story is in, the story is completely in English, I played through it and found it myself quite enjoyable. We’re going through the second round of edits to make sure everything sounds all right and find potential errors.

Translation: 100%

First Edit: 100%

Second Edit: WIP

NPCs:
This is a work in progress where Editing is still in process while simultaneously I insert things. NPC is a wide and chaoticfield but it’s totally getting there so patience.

Translation: 100%

First Edit: WIP

Second Edit: WIP

ASM:
ASM work is basically done and it looks just beautiful. There are still some bugs we discovered which we’re on fixing. But in general it looks great and our hacks give the game a totally different feel and look (While still staying true to the original).

Menus+Misc: 100%

Currently: Debugging

 

So at this point, Screenshots and Video make barely any sense because guys it’s getting there and will be soon..

The game is in Alpha process right now, where we’re testing how everything looks while the NPC stuff is still in progress

 

Progress report 09.05.2014 – About ASM Hacks

May 9, 2014

Hey guys.
I keep getting the question: What exactly are the ASM hacks, why you guys do them in the first place and are they even necessary? I hope with this post I might clear things up and actually give you some progress report, because those hacks  actually are were achieved in a timespan of two days (that is yesterday and today).

Let’s start with the most obvious question:

What are ASM hacks?

First of all ASM is an abbrevation we commonly use to describe Assembly language. Assembly language is in essence, machine code. Stuff your computer understands without additional operations. Now when it comes to Games, every machine uses a specific processor. This specific processor was designed for one of those specific languages. In games, that is usually MIPS.  Now when a game gets localized, obviously things can’t always stay the same. English Text needs more space,

sometimes it needs less space. We need to enlarge those boxes ore move them around in order to fit stuff. A practical example:
Often, when we hack a game we encounter a common issue: There is no variable width font avaible. But here you might ask: What is that, why do we need it in the first place? Well, for Japanese characters you don’t need it, because they all have the same Width and as such the font usually avaible is MONOSPACED

What is wrong with that you might ask? I’d like to illustrate that with a picture:

monospaced

 

See? Not only it takes up a lot of space, it is just very hard to read. And especially in games where we have textboxes, it is just an issue, because it limits on how much you can squeeze in.  So what do we do? We certainly don’t want a game that has monospace text.

This is where ASM comes in. When the programmers coded the game it was written in a non-machine language, like c++, c# or other modern languages.
However we don’t have the pleasure to own the source code of the game. What a Romhacker usually ends up with is the completely compiled game. Usually an ISO or a ROM. Now an ASM hacker, has the ability to read assembly language and actually backtrack things ingame and figure out how things like this:

addiu  a0,a3,0x1

This corresponds to a box, text or anything similar in the game. And they adjust the values to what they need to make it work with the localized version.
This is what an ASM hacker essentially do (Or well that’s the short version of it)

Next point:

Normally ASM Hacks are tedious work

Why? Because programmers are lazy. Or let’s say most of those who program games in the industry are.  So they just toss all the stuff their game uses in one big archive and even they won’t have a clue what the hell is where.  Because they neither care or intend you to hack their games (naturally). But if routines that belong together just fly around, and things are just tossed together, how can you know where to look for the thing you need? That’s the thing: You can’t.

There are some approaches though of course.
– You analyze the files and figure out what corresponds to what. Essentially you read Hex files. This approach is rarely succesful

– You Debug by making Ram Dumps, using Breakpoints, and finding values. -> The way to go. There’s just one catch. Even if we find a value,
we found it only in the RAM (Random Access Memory). As soon as you enter a new room, reset the game or anything similar, all your changes will be gone.
So once you found a value in the RAM you have to backtrack it to its root, otherwise you can’t change it. That’s why it’s hard.

Another issue is, that depending on what console you work on, there might be only a few next to no tools to actually debug a game.
Especially when it comes to a “new” (in terms of Romhacking) console like the PSP, the tools we have for ASM debugging and hacking are still very limited.

Whether we’re succesful to backtrack a value or land on a value that just happens to use the same instruction, is to a certain degree luck based.
You seed add a0,a2(0x42C3) or add a0,a2(0x42C3) can occur more than once, even more than twice (up to 100000 and more). Whether you’re able to backtrack it to the right value is somehow a hit and miss thing. But usually, once you found one routine, you’ll find the others, because they like to stay close.

Ok so at the end of this post many people might feel just as confused as before (or even more confused). It wasn’t intented as an tutorial neither do I think I’m qualified to make one. I just tried to give you a very short and limited outview on ASM.
And now I just wanna show you how this whole jabbing looks in practice. Enjoy SOME ASM Hacks from Re:Digitize (Screens show work in progress and are subject to change)

 

Screens show:

Before and AFTER an ASM hack was applied.

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Progress report 07.05.2014

May 7, 2014

Hey guys, sorry it’s been a while since the last update.

The issue was that Sporky, our Editor’s computer broke down and ever since then our Editing process was stalling.
But oh lucky day, since yesterday he got his new computer which means the Editing process will finally continue.

Don’t worry, we weren’t sitting around doing nothing in the meantime. The NPC insertion process is still ongoing but I’d say for now it’s at about 90%.
So while I have no screenshots ( I just couldn’t come up with what to show you), I’ll just randomly toss some numbers at you guys:

Story Translation : 99.9 %
That is just a placeholder in case I messed up something.  It’s basically done.

Story Insertion:  99.9 %
That is just a placeholder in case I messed up something.  It’s basically done.

Story Editing (1st Edit) : 70% . Ongoing

Story Editing (2nd Edit): Not started yet, since 1st Edit isn’t finished yet.

NPC Translation+Insertion: 90%
I need to test things here. Bear with me.

ASM Process: 30%
There’s still a huge assload to do and the game is not exactly on our side with this.
Any ASM hackers out there? I guess StorMyu could use a helping hand, it would speed up that process.

Quality Checking/Betatesting: 20% (?) Don’t know, currently I just test out randomly stuff. There’s barely a point since the 2nd Edit isn’t even in place yet.

So the bottomline: Editing continues, and I should be able to give you a more detailed progress report soon.

Progress report 11.04.2014

April 11, 2014

Hey guys,  I thought I might fill you in what’s new.

Story:
99% is translated+inserted(oh yeah :D), the 1% is something that the game probably doesn’t even use but we gotta be sure.
70% of the Story is edited.

NPCs:

90% is translated (Remaining 10% are all at the Colosseum and basically super unimportant but we will translate them anyways)

80% is inserted

~20% is edited

ASM:
I’m afraid nothing new to report here. But patience, StorMyu is the man for this job and I know he can do what needs to be done.

Release Date: 2014
There you go, I gave it to you, a release date :P

Some new, super unimportant screenshots but showing that stuff is happening anyways:

Slideshow

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Previous Gallery Format (You can comment on single pictures as well!)

Progress report 23.03.2014

March 23, 2014

So while I totally understand the impatience that is growing on people because we’re getting closer and closer to the finish line, I totally can’t stand reading comments like this:

  1. Greg Says:
    March 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm hurrrryy uppppp >.>

I’m just saying, what exactly is going on in people?  Sometimes I wonder if people even know that we’re doing this for free and just out of good will. Because the attitude of some people really sucks.

Anyway that’s not what this post is about. As I said I’d give you some progress report, and here we go:

– Story is now to 97% inserted and the remaining parts are such which I haven’t encountered ingame yet (Will have to check on this)

– NPCs are at steady 80%, not much to be said about that.

– Editing process is now going on and Sporky our Editor is at full speed working on that. I’d estimate roughly 40% of the Story are edited by now.

– No changes for the rest so far. (PATIENCE!)

Below you’ll see some UNEDITED Screenshots from SOME of the NPCs that underwent insertion.

So yeah that’s about it for now.  But I honestly wish people would stop pushing me with such comments as the forementioned. They do no good and don’t help at all.Oh and please stop asking me for a release date. I won’t give you one.  Not because I’m mean but because this is additional stress and creates a deadline, from which I have absolutely nothing to gain.


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