Commander Keen translation project

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nanomekia
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Commander Keen translation project

Post by nanomekia » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:29

I noticed a seriously old post to this effect while prodding these fine forums, but you people aren't fond of thread necromancy (threadcromancy, if you will).

I'll make this quick and easy. I can do Japanese, and I have interest in translating the Keen games into it. Why Keen? Well, they're actually pretty light on the text (except for help files and cheat sheets and whatnot) and they're pretty simple stuff. I've already started noting down some things which I can post tomorrow for the interested, I'm about to get to bed where I ought to have been about an hour ago.

What do I need from the community to do this? Well, basically, I need the text that's to be translated. How does that work anyway - can it be dumped into a text file or something for me to prod at? That would be ideal. We can probably work with other options, though, do let me know what's doable.

As for fonts, I think I've also got some Japanese pixel fonts that might be alterable. I'll have a look. If not, maybe I can take a crack at drawing one.

Most important question, really: would this actually have anyone's interest? Or am I just a nutball with too much of a fondness for other languages? Actually...don't answer that. I know I am. :P
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Post by Nospike » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:58

I'm a weeby casual Japanese learner. If you're proficient enough to translate a game like Keen, then I'd love to play and read through it. :)

For the technical part, this will be very different for Vorticons and Galaxy. I'm not quite sure exactly how text modding in Galaxy works, but our dear friend Szemi has created a Hungarian translation of those games, so it has to be possible, but with Vorticons it's not that complicated. What you'd need to do is: A) edit the bitmap with the fonts (8x8 pixels per character, might be difficult to fit the characters in) and somehow cram all the hiragana and the necessary katakana in there (which admittedly does sound very difficult), and B) edit the text itself. That's done through patching and sadly only a minor amount of actual text editing. I can't really go into much detail here as I don't know everything and it'd be a long list, but most of those patches you will find here: http://www.shikadi.net/keenwiki/Category:Patches

Check out some of the tutorials on Keen:Modding to see how patches work and possibly more info on the text to be translated.

Good luck :)
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Post by Nisaba » Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:52

Nifty, nifty!
I'm not about to say that this project is totally impossible, but it is going to be darn hard... if I remember this right, Japanese is a Phonotactic Syllable language. Having more characters than the latin alphabeth makes it pretty difficult to implement those needed. But if anybody has an idea of solving this prop, I'm delighted to help implementing the texts! (althouth Szemigi is the right person to ask first)
Anyone ans ideas?
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Post by Keening_Product » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:53

Nice plan. I assume you will be leaving the SGA in English?
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Post by szemi » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:49

When I translated Keen to hungarian, I translated the SGA signs as well.
Yeah, piece of cake!

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Post by Nospike » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:58

You can't have Japanese SGA though, as it's basically just a differently written Latin alphabet. You'd have to invent about 30 completely new characters.

Unless you want to write romaji in SGA, which would probably be too long and cumbersome.
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Post by Roobar » Mon Sep 26, 2016 14:56

I don't know a single Japanese person playing Commander Keen. I doubt it they even heard of it. DOS games were never popular in Japan and probably apogee games were barely if never distributed to them. So why on Earth do you want to translate it to Japanese?

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Post by nanomekia » Mon Sep 26, 2016 17:13

wiivn wrote:I don't know a single Japanese person playing Commander Keen. I doubt it they even heard of it. DOS games were never popular in Japan and probably apogee games were barely if never distributed to them. So why on Earth do you want to translate it to Japanese?
Why not? :)

As for questions, concerns, whathaveyou...

- I'd be leaving the SGA in English, yes - I'd probably write up some sort of help file-type explanation for it.
- I've got an all new appreciation for how this really would be a hell of a project in terms of the patching, the finagling...basically everything but the actual act of translating. That in mind, I'm not easily dissuaded - it sounds like, despite the difficulty, this would be a really fun thing to prod at. (And even though I want to be, I can't say I'm surprised the text would be mostly patches and not actually straightforward editing - bah!)
- Of course Galaxy would be more difficult - and that's my favorite so that's what I wanted to start with...I never make anything easy on myself, clearly.

I'll have a look at some of the patches (and try to make sense of them) and once I'm back from errands I'll post some of the translation notes I've already made, if anyone's interested!
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Post by Keening_Product » Mon Sep 26, 2016 18:04

One benefit of the patching is once you have figured it out once, it's done. Versions in all difficult-to-implement languages will be easier once the procedure has been worked out.

Nospike: yep, that's why I was assuming SGA messages would be left untouched. There's a benefit of this though, in a way: English in a Japanese game could quite literally be an alien language.
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Post by nanomekia » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:12

Aaaaand, my notes!

Completely unedited. Welcome to my slightly zany thought processes, complete with overexplaining because I ran this past a friend who has never played the Keen games. Shame on him.

***

Code: Select all

Commander Keen/Billy Blaze - キーン指揮官(しきかん)/ビリー・ブレイズ
Mortimer McMire - モーティマー・マクマイアー
Grand Intellect - 大理知 (だいりち)
Gannalech - ダァリヒ (This one was fun. "Gannalech" is a bit of a slurred pronounciation of "Grand Intellect", hence this "slurred" version of the above.)
Molly McMire - モリー・マクマイアー
Vorticon - ヴォーティコン人(じん) ("Vorticon-resident"; remove the last bit and append 惑星(わくせい)) to beginning for planet name)
Vortikid - ヴォーティコドモ (literally Vorti + kid, how much better can you get)
Shikadi - シカーディ人 ("Shikadi-resident"; don't think their planet's referred to but see above if it is)
Gnosticene - グノスティクス人 (literally "Gnosticus-resident", since planet is Gnosticus IV)
Gnosticus IV - 惑星グノスティクスIV
Oracle - 御告  (おつげ)
Council Member - 参事会部員 (さんじかいぶいん)
Photachyon Transceiver - 光速無線機 (こうそくむせんき)
Omnispeak - 国際語 (こくさいご) (literally "universal language" - fun fact, I thought I was going to have to basically make my own compound term (splicing together words for "universal" and "language") but there is actually a full term, ahaha...best part is that it just implies a *spoken* language, since Omnispeak is not written at all)

Yorp - ヨープ
Garg - ガーグ
Meep - ミープ

Pyramid of Shadows - 影の角錐 (かげのかくすい)
Pyramid of the Moons - 月(つき)のかくすい
Pyramid of the Gnosticene Ancients - グノスティクス老(ろう)の角錐 (literally "pyramid of the Gnosticus elders" really - works, imo)
Pyramid of the Forbidden - 開かず(あかず)の角錐 ("pyramid of the unopened" - what, it also means forbidden, hoosh you)
Last edited by nanomekia on Thu Nov 09, 2017 19:22, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by lemm » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:02

You're only allowed 256 characters, and some of those are reserved for control codes in the Keen Galaxy help files.

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Post by Nospike » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:20

VÃ…Â￾tikodomo is pure genius. I love it! :p Wordplays and fun stuff like this is exactly why I'm rooting for this translation so much.
It just might be done someday. The chance is always there.

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Post by nanomekia » Tue Sep 27, 2016 14:40


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Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Tue Sep 27, 2016 15:31

nanomekia wrote:
lemm wrote:You're only allowed 256 characters, and some of those are reserved for control codes in the Keen Galaxy help files.
Is that per text box, or in the font file period? (And if you mean my additions to explain SGA, that would be a separate text file, not in the game itself.)
That is 256 characters per font file. You can probably use about 240 of them for Japanese letters (or whatever they are called), the rest (like line breaks, spaces, tabs, decimal digits, ^, ...) may have special meanings in the text files, so you cannot just replace them with foreign symbols.
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Post by nanomekia » Tue Sep 27, 2016 17:16

K1n9_Duk3 wrote:
nanomekia wrote:
lemm wrote:You're only allowed 256 characters, and some of those are reserved for control codes in the Keen Galaxy help files.
Is that per text box, or in the font file period? (And if you mean my additions to explain SGA, that would be a separate text file, not in the game itself.)
That is 256 characters per font file. You can probably use about 240 of them for Japanese letters (or whatever they are called), the rest (like line breaks, spaces, tabs, decimal digits, ^, ...) may have special meanings in the text files, so you cannot just replace them with foreign symbols.
Got it, thanks. I shouldn't think the entire file would be filled - in Japanese, games meant for children don't have kanji, so I think I'd actually just use hiragana and katakana. While that's two separate alphabets, it's not quite as large as you might be thinking. 46 symbols per alphabet, plus 25 accented symbols per alphabet - comes to 142 total if I'm not mistaken in my maths. Then there's the five small vowels which one uses in katakana to approximate foreign words, so say ~150? Leaves us some wiggle room in the font file, it does.
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