Tay reacted to Emi for a blog entry, Old times Fuwa: Private eye victoria
So i continue with wasting peoples times with old abandoned things found on my hdd.
Once upon a time there used to be an attempt by some of fuwans to create a VN called Private eye victoria.
and we had one of the worst temporary names in the history. Bread works united
sadly i dont remember everyone who was in the group. but @solidbatman & @Katatsumuri was part of writing plots and routes.
So i could barely even explain what it was about, Basicly a historic detective mystery vn.
i was mainly drawing the concepts for characters.
Wich i was too slow at.
Here we have 3 of the main girls, Libby , Charlotte & Victoria
I was mostly focusing on charlotte and victoria at first. tried to make expression sheet.
As slow as i was Libby didnt get as much attention in expressions and so on. but she was the first one i colored "properly", i was pretty bad at it at the time.
And libby became something i started joking around with, Making "fancy libby"
wich i had fun with for awhile.
With my lack of self motivation i started testing other things. like making the logo and ingame ui and things.
But with mostly lack of work from me the project slowly died. now theres alot of old concepts and plot and routes that never will be used.
things shifted focus and we did other things instead, me working on other art and mostly having fun talking instead.
Rip worstnamegroup, you will be missed.
Tay reacted to InvertMouse for a blog entry, The Last Birdling: Soundtrack process and preview
Hey everyone! I have uploaded The Last Birdling’s soundtrack onto Steam. This soundtrack will be released on September 1st alongside the core game. There are 19 tracks in total, but since some of their names may contain spoilers, let’s leave it at that for now.
The Last Birdling’s composer is Efe Tozan. Efe and I have worked together since Cursed Sight, and he is also the composer for Without Within 1 and Without Within 2. Every time we catch up for a new project, I can tell Efe has improved. This guy is passionate about music, and The Last Birdling is easily his best performance yet. Today, I would like to talk about how these tracks were put together.
We often begin with the character themes. First, I will send my character profile documents over to Efe, and along with that, I also suggest what type of feeling we should convey with each track. A picture tells a thousand words, and you know, a track also tells a thousand words, so the best way to communicate mood is via an example. Once I find a list of suitable tracks that fit our criteria, I will pass those YouTube links over to Efe.
At this stage, we have our tracks list, mood references along with relevant documents such as character profiles and early drafts. With these materials in place, we let the expert do his thing. Once Efe submits his samples, we improvise from there. Sometimes, it turns out a track is a poor fit for situation A, but it matches situation B perfectly. In that case, we simply swap the filenames around.
We must also take context into account. Some tracks sound great as standalones, but they have beats that distract players in a game context. In those instances, we would balance the volume, change instruments, whatever it takes. Also, no track exists alone in a game. With stories, we have the “emotional rollercoaster” cliché. The same concept applies to our music, so we must ensure these tracks cover a broad range of emotions.
Once the soundtrack is complete, I do my best to serve as a “second ear”. When you are close to a piece of work, even obvious mistakes will become hidden. I promise you, I have read through The Last Birdling many, many times. Despite this, the first test reader still managed to spot three spelling errors. The closer you are, the more blind you become.
And music is the same way. We can have a stunning five-minute track, but if we catch a single glitch in the audio, our experience is ruined. Whenever the track plays in-game, your ears will anticipate that dreaded pop. When you listen to the same track over and over, these flaws can become even harder to spot. It is my responsibility to listen for those unwanted spikes.
The last point is volume balance. When one track sounds louder or softer than the rest, that too can lead to a poor experience. As someone with no musical talent, I used to just compare the waveforms, but I soon learned that would not suffice. You must listen to each track with your ears to truly know. Whenever Efe completes a soundtrack, I would put it on my phone and listen to it on loop for several days. On top of this, we also listen to the tracks on different devices, since that too can have an effect.
To finish up, with kind permission from Efe, here is The Last Birdling’s main theme:
You will find some of these beats being repeated throughout other tracks in the game. This is one of the techniques we use to tie the soundtrack into a coherent package. Humans have a natural love for patterns, and when you catch a certain beat being replayed with a different instrument? We all know a thing or two about those goose bumps.
As usual, I hope you may consider wishlisting and/or joining our Steam community:
Just one week to go my friends. Thank you !
Tay reacted to InvertMouse for a blog entry, The Last Birdling: Background development process
Backgrounds are sometimes overlooked when we play visual novels. I for one am guilty of this, so today I would like to, well, I guess you can say repent.
When you have multiple illustrators, there is always a chance your art styles will clash. The easiest solution, of course, would be to feature a single artist in your project. In reality, however, other concerns come into play. Schedules, motivation, workload—there are many factors to juggle.
In The Last Birdling, I have opted for a relatively safe route. That is, to feature different artists for the backgrounds and characters. Since these elements are quite separate, it makes clashes less likely.
Tooaya is The Last Birdling’s artist, while Juliestorybored is our background illustrator. As the assets trickled in, we first put together a test to make sure the elements fit:
Lighting changes based on the time of day, so we must have all our bases covered:
Once the test is complete, we can proceed with production:
I prefer not to use language like “my team” or “my artist”. Once someone joins the team, we are in this together. When it was time to design Tayo’s village, Julia took the lead and did a great job:
The Last Birdling has been in production for two years. During that time, I often study other visual novels for inspiration. The Starcraft VN caught my interest back when it first released. I was particularly awestruck by the city nightscape that animated into place:
My previous project, Cursed Sight, featured backgrounds painted by the talented Tooaya. However, none of them animated during the game:
As I learn from other creators, I apply those lessons into future projects. In The Last Birdling, I have coded CGs and backgrounds that contain parallax animations, which work especially well for long distance shots:
Sometimes I am tempted to say my ideas are my own. If I ever claim that in the future, you can call me out for being a liar. I am a fan as much as anyone, so I will always be a student first.
Thank you for reading!
Tay reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Karenai Sekai to Owaru Hana and VN of the Month Announcement
... I'm going to be blunt about this... I can't believe this was written by the same guy who wrote Nekopara, Sakura Bitmap, and Strawberry Nauts. This VN has an overwhelming degree of impact compared to his other works, to the point where I'm even willing to consider it a kamige. Music, music-usage, story, presentation, art, and art usage are all at their highest levels, combining to create a nakige whose impact is far out of proportion to its length (which is only about seven hours, for me).
I honestly wasn't expecting the emotional impact of this VN. In terms of this quality, it approaches Houkago no Futekikakusha, without being an utsuge... I literally cried throughout the entire game, to the point where my sinuses are swollen and my eyes bloodshot. From the very beginning, this game makes no pretense at being anything other than what it is... a cathartic trip full of love, despair, sorrow, and loss with a drop of hope.
I won't spoil you as to the central concept, even though it is tempting. Based on the fact that no details of the setting other than the characters are revealed in any detail on either the official website or the Getchu page, in addition to my own experience, I can say straight out that this is a VN best enjoyed without someone giving you details to the setting or situation. I will say that it is a fantasy setting, based in a world that has early nineteenth-century tech (no guns that I saw though), based on the presence of an ice box and ice sellers in the game. This is also based on the fact that matches exist but electric lights apparently don't, since the characters are using candles and oil lamps.
This game is pretty short, mostly due to its structure, where heroine 'paths' only come into existence after the main story is over, as epilogues for each of the four individual heroines (Haru, Yuki, Kotose, and Ren). There is no 'true' heroine in this game, for those are wondering. All the heroines are quite literally equal, though the protagonist is a bit more intimate with Ren and Haru, which is probably more of a reflection of the writer's preferences than anything else.
This game is 100% 'business', including the slice-of-life scenes. Not one scene in this VN is wasted on something other than portraying the characters' suffering and joy or progressing the story. To be blunt, if this game weren't so perfectly designed, I'd probably be calling it 'bare-bones' in that aspect. That lack of wasted time is actually of immense help, as it prevents the phenomenon of 'contempt due to familiarity' that tends to occur when a VN has an excess of 'meaningless' slice-of-life scenes.
This VN isn't humor-centric, so don't expect a lot of laughs out of it. The heroines have serious issues, and even in everyday life, those issues peek out from beneath the surface on a regular basis. As a result, humorous situations are relatively limited after the setting's central issue gets introduced to you and you come to understand the protagonist's objective.
Unfortunately, there is little more I can say about this VN without ruining it for you. I can say it is a first-class nakige, and I can say it is a cry-fest designed to suck the tears out of you with a virtual vacuum cleaner. However, that is just a repeat of what I said above. I do advise that anyone who goes into this VN should do so without excessive prior knowledge, as it is a VN that is best enjoyed with a 'clean slate' the first time around.
VN of the month November 2016
Karenai Sekai to Owaru Hana
Tay reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Busy and a preview of July's releases
... exactly how many times have I mentioned that I'm busy lately...? Seriously. I'm in the middle of VN withdrawal for the first time in over three years... and I'm realizing how addicted I am. I'd be perfectly happy to play a kusoge for the second time, at the moment... if I had the time. The best I can do these days is drop in for a few minutes and maybe a quick post or two.
Considering that I originally started this style of work because it made me enough money in a short enough period of time to both support me and my habits (gaming, anime, books, and importing VNs) while leaving me time to actually enjoy them... Unfortunately, my choice seems to be backfiring for the second time in five years. If anything, this time is worse, because I actually failed to deliver for the first time in the last decade.
Anyway, enough complaints...
While I have the time, I'm going to list up the VNs I plan to read from July's releases, when they are released:
Tsumikui (maybe, and only maybe because it is an otomege, and good otomege are rarer than kamige charage)
Ojousama no Hanbun wa Ren'ai de Dekiteimasu
Senren Banka (obviously)
Muramasa: Shokuzai Hen (new Muramasa content? Whoohoo!)
Floral Flowlove (Saga Planets' games since Hatsuyuki Sakura have been much weaker... but I'll probably still give it a chance)
Amatsutsumi (Purple Software has been on a roll with most of their releases in recent years... so I'm definitely playing this one)
Kimi to Yumemishi (new company... hopefully it will be interesting)
Tay reacted to Aizen-Sama for a blog entry, Witch's Garden Revival (Luna Translations)
Hello guys. This is going to be some long ass post because there are several things that I need to inform everyone who follows both our current project (Majo Koi Nikki) and the people who follow the Witch’s Garden project.
First of all, the people who follow the latter know that Witch’s Garden suffered a major setback some time ago, meaning that they would stall the project. Well, not anymore because we’re taking over. From now on Luna Translations will work on two projects at the same time, the second one being Witch’s Garden, we basically merged with the last team working on it and we’ll oversee the operations from now on.
Now, I’ll brief everyone regarding what will happen from now on and how will we handle this project:
1. First and foremost, what we noticed before we agreed to help here is that their main problem was TLC progress. This means that ALL of our focus will go into TLC primarily. The translator who was in charge before us had a line fail rate of around 20% , so heavy TLC will be needed.
2. Progress and updates will be given WEEKLY, just like we do with Majo Koi Nikki.
3. The editing done so far in their project won’t be used by us, since we believe it doesn’t possess the quality standards we want, so we’ll scrape it off. Our editing progress will be steadier and faster than the last team.
4. This one might get some people salty, but we intend to take down the prologue patch that the old team released. The quality of the translation in it is poor as well as the editing. In exchange, we’ll be releasing a longer partial patch, which will contain Prologue + Common or part of the common route+ translated interface, that’ll be decided later though.
5. I’m still setting up the team to work on it, although we will start fairly soon once we set up the scripts correctly. If anyone is interested to help all positions except editors are open (QC, Proofreading, Translation and TLC).
6. Expect a very high quality end result.
Anyways, I’ll present the current team roster:
Porygon (Interface/ Hacker)
*This is NOT the final team and we’re still recruiting people.
Anyways, I think that’s a quick brief for now. If you guys have any questions just post a comment below and I’ll try to answer all of them.
Have a nice day.
Tay reacted to Fred the Barber for a blog entry, Writing more powerful sentences
Last time I talked about trade-offs in editing and high-level motifs; macro-scale stuff. This time, I want to talk about a micro-scale topic: how to make an individual line better. As before, I'll be demonstrating this with examples drawn from recent editing experience. Before writing this post, I went around looking for other people talking about similar things, and I found this reference: http://kristensguide.com/Writing/powerful_sentences.asp. Frankly, it's great; probably better than what I have, especially in terms of breadth of topics. Give it a read and get your editing learning on. For this post, I'm going to deep dive into one single topic mentioned there, though, for which I've been saving up examples: putting the first and last words of your sentence to good use.
The first and last words of a sentence are powerful. They're memorable. Forgetting the middle of a sentence is natural, so put a word at the end of a sentence when you really, really want that one word to be remembered.
Okay, so what did you get from that last paragraph. I hope it was "first", "powerful", "memorable", "forgetting", and "remembered", because that's the point of this blog post.
Anyway, let's look at some examples from my recent edits to Majo Koi Nikki, some to the prologue patch we're about to release, and some later. I'll point out other things that I changed as well and why, but this one point is going to be the running theme.
Looking in the mirror, she pondered for a second and answered with a shy smile on her face.
- "on her face" is extraneous
- that extraneous phrase is squatting on valuable real estate at the end of the sentence.
Looking in the mirror, she pondered for a second, and then she answered with a shy smile.
- drop "on her face" (for both reasons above - it's less verbose, and now I get "smile" as the last word in the sentence, which is great)
- the comma after "she ponders for a second" is intended to give the reader that same mental pause as "she" has, to better set up the last part
- "then she" somehow pushes you out of that mental pause and into the most important part: that shy smile, lingering at the end of the sentence.
Tokeizaka-san irritatedly flips through the book, but her hand stops suddenly.
- With the benefit of spell-check, "irritatedly" => irritably
- "suddenly" is often overused
I actually really like the original; if you left it alone, aside from the spell-check correction, I wouldn't fault you for it. The verbs are great, "irritably" is a good use of a modifier, and the sentence communicates multiple events very concisely. But there's always room for improvement.
Irritated, Tokeizaka-san flips through the book, until her hand suddenly stops.
- Drop "suddenly." "Stops" is strong enough to carry that feeling of suddenness on its own, so "suddenly" is only making things weaker. I've also noticed a tendency for raw JP translations to overuse "suddenly", which makes me especially biased to remove it. It's the typical problem of overuse: if everything is happening suddenly, it might as well all be happening normally.
- Move those good words, "irritably" and "stops" to the memorable points of the sentence. "Stops" we got for free, "irritably" requires a small bit of juggling. Unfortunately, Tokeizaka-san's family name is a bit unwieldy at best; better to bury it in the middle of the sentence and let the nice, emotive words take pride of place.
- Swapping "but" for "until" made for a clearer plot to the sentence, I thought.
- The colorful beauty article are displayed neatly.
- Passive voice
- Not flashy enough
- Iridescent beauty products dot the shelves, arranged with flawless precision.
On that last potential problem: normally my style is pretty spare. My typical goal is to drop adjectives and adverbs, and make verbs and nouns stronger to carry the weight of description, without going overboard on vocabulary. More often than not, I'm trying to make long sentences shorter and punchier.
I didn't do that here.
For context on why, it would help for you to hear the ridiculously high-brow BGM accompanying this scene and see the gorgeous background art. So, here:
Equally important for context, you need to know about the surrounding narration: basically, the narrator is currently marveling at just how amazing this beauty parlor is.
One of the benefits of generally being spare with your adjectives and adverbs is that they then work a lot better when you actually do pull them out. A good mental model is that you have a budget: don't spend your nice words if you don't need to. Only pull them out when you're going for the razzle dazzle. The analogy breaks down fast, but basically, if you're constantly using flowery language and overdecorating the ordinary scenes, nobody's going to be impressed when something extraordinary happens, just like the overuse of "suddenly" I mentioned earlier. Since this actually is an extraordinary moment for our narrator, I'm spending a few nice words now.
And again, I want to call attention to the first and last words of the sentence. Those are strong places in a sentence (or, especially in the case of a VN, a line). Previously there were pretty weak words there ("The colorful" and "neatly"); now we've got "iridescent" and "precision". Good words in good places.
One last thing to mention. I wrote each of these up in the middle of editing, and then later edited that up into a blog post. I made changes to the edited line itself in the process of writing all this stuff up, which made it better. In fact, I even noticed a problem while writing up this blog post and further refined the line. You'll never know what it was (probably). The point being, simply spending time reflecting on an edit, and especially writing down your observations and motivations for certain choices, will help you do better work. You don't have to be this thorough all the time (I certainly am not), but every time you do an exercise like that, you'll learn from it, and then you can write up your own blog post and teach me something.
Tay reacted to Dergonu for a blog entry, Tsui Yuri translation project - 50% translated!
We just hit 50% translation! Yaay!
I just wrapped up the translation of Futaba's good ending last night, (fought through some H-scenes... ) And here we are!
So with this, we are officially halfway there. It's a pretty good feeling. Although the actual line count hasn't changed that much since last week, just seeing the "50%" makes me feel awesome
I wanted to do something a bit special for the halfway mark, so I'm going to talk a bit about the game first, then I'll be answering some random questions some people might have/ just in general talk a bit about the project and how things are progressing on our end. Let's begin with some info about the game:
Many people might not really know that much about this small, fairly new yurige by a fairly unknown company. In Tsui Yuri, you follow the twin sisters Futaba and Ichika, who get along very well. So well in fact, that their mother thinks it is a bit too much, and she asks them to spend some time apart. Seeing as they live in the same house, go to the same school and pretty much always do everything together, this is a bit hard, and their relationship is strained. The story is told from both girls' perspectives, and there is 2 routes, with 4 endings total.
During the common route, you will make several choices that will impact the story and the girls' relationship. The "status" meter in game will show you how strongly each character cares for the other at any given time, and each choice will change this meter to a varying degree. One choice might bump Ichika's feelings a lot, where as some might make her care less and less for Futaba, and so on.
Currently not translated, as the image editing is not done by me. It is in the works, but not done yet.
What really interested me about this game was the choice and route system. There is no real set combination of choices that will lead to a route; you can freely play with the status meter, making different choices to see how it changes their feelings. To get a character's route, that character's feelings has to be stronger than the other one. (Meaning if Futaba has about 60% and Ichika has 40%, you enter Futaba's route.) But, if you manage to completely push it all the way to one side, (so now Ichika doesn't care about Futaba at all,) then you will get a bad ending. Meaning, which ending you get is decided by your choices in the common route, and not during the actual character route itself. This is really cool, because that means you actually get a "bad route" and not just a bad ending. (The line count in the bad routes are actually just a tiny bit shorter than the good ones. If you like bad endings with a bit of meat to them, these are actually pretty good. Also, yandere fans, look out.)
In addition, some of the choices you make in the common route will give you different variations of each scene, some which includes unique CGs, so saving and testing out new stuff is actually pretty much required. (Though, seeing as the game is quite short, it's a neat feature, not something that makes you sigh because you have read something similar before.)
Story wise, it is a very light game with no real "plot" other than two sisters growing more and more fond of each other. It deals with them moving from the line of "sisters" to "lovers" and things like that. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but for yuri fans it's a really solid title. Also, like I mentioned, the bad endings are actually pretty dark, so for the twisted fellas out there, this one might be a bit interesting for you if you can stomach some adorableness first.
Let us take a quick look at the characters:
Ichika is the smart, cool and collected sister. She speaks politely, has a very calm air to her, is a perfect honor student and is also the vice-president on the student council. She is a bit too soft on Futaba, always helping her out with anything Futaba needs. Although she is very smart, she isn't the brightest when it comes to relationships in general - she simply isn't that used to interacting with people.
Futaba (God I love her pout.)
Futaba is the energy bomb of the two. She loves Ichika more than anything in the world, and always follows her sister around. She is way too spoiled, and doesn't do much on her own; she wants her sister to help her out with it. She isn't the smartest kid around, but she is very good at sports, and is a member of the tennis club. She is also way too adorable.
The sisters' childhood friend and Ichika's classmate. Yuri is a bit of a joker who tends to put ideas in the girls' heads. She speaks her mind, even if what she has to say isn't the most appropriate, which makes for some hilarious situations.
But although she tends to joke around a lot, she has a bit of an adult-like feel to her and is a very mature person when she needs to be.
The sisters' second childhood friend and Futaba's classmate. She is a bit different from Yuri, and is a lot more polite and in many ways, similar to Ichika. Saki is a very gentle and sweet person, and wants to help the sisters out whenever they are feeling down. One big difference between Ichika and Saki is that Saki gets what people are thinking a lot easier, making her a bit less of an "airhead" when it comes to relationships and people's feelings.
Moving over to some questions and answers.
Question... (kind of): When I started the project, I felt that there was a few people who weren't quite sure whether or not I could do this. I think the quality of the final translation was their main concern. Basically, am I a complete scrub, or do I actually have some skills?
Answer: Well, a few things to keep in mind. 1, this game is very fluffy and very simple. It is also quite short. That does not mean it's something to underestimate of course, but I would never have started the project if I wasn't ready. There is a reason I aimed for a short, fluffy title without any intricate plot lines that would be hard to follow for a new translator.
In addition, the second I felt a bit overwhelmed, I stopped the project for a bit, as I knew that wasn't the way things should be. I am completely comfortable with this project now, and although I know my translation will not be a top tier piece of work, I can assure you at the very least, it won't be wrong. Like, I won't translate peppers to peas. (Isn't that right Kriririri )
Anyways, I know I am new to this, I know I will make some tiny mistakes here and there, I know the quality will be a bit lower than what some of the very skilled individuals out there manages, but overall I am happy with the way things are going. I'm learning a lot, I'm improving, and this is just the beginning of my translation career. (Even if that makes some people more angry than happy )
Question: Will there be a prologue patch/ partial patch released?
Answer: We still have a few issues with the engine, (which is stupid and retarded,) so a potential patch now would have a few annoying bugs and errors which would just be distracting. The scripts also aren't really polished quite yet, as it's only been me and an editor working on it as of right now so... I'm going to say, no. It just wouldn't be a pleasant read in its current state, and seeing as the game is so short, it's pretty much pointless either way.
Question: Do you have an ETA for the patch?
Answer: It's hard to say. I could give you a rough estimate, but I would rather not. The thing is, the amount of time I have to work on this is a bit limited. I absolutely love working on it, and I have a blast the entire time I do, (except for when the damn H-scenes suck the life out of me.)
The thing is, this is my first translation. I have never translated anything before, and the work is very tasking. Sounds silly, I mean, all I do is look at something in Japanese, then write it in English, right? Well, there is a lot more to it, and honestly, it's very mentally draining. Even just a simple one hour session can leave me exhausted. Not because I get bored, but simply because I have to think a lot, and I'm not used to that. Wait...
Because of the fairly limited amount of time I have each week, there is only so much I can get done on a weekly basis without overworking myself. This is a very new thing to me, and I want to make sure I move forward at a comfortable pace. Seeing as I have no deadline or anything, I can take it exactly at the pace I personally feel is right, even though that might be a bit frustrating to others.
Basically, I can say that it will be released in 2016 for sure, but I can't say anything more specific than that.
A bit of progress on how things are going on our end.
The translation and editing is going fine, and is moving around the same speed. The reason the editing is lagging a tiny bit behind me right now, is because the translation I work on every week isn't made available on the GIT for the editor until I upload it on Thursday nights. That means he literally has to edit it all during that night to get it ready for the Friday update, which ... well, if he was doing that I'd be a bit worried.
We have met a few problems in the game which the hacker has to take a look at. This is something I can't do anything about, as I barely know what a computer is, so without Porygon on this project, this whole thing would not have been possible. (Thank you so much.)
Image editing will be done so that the entire menu and UI is in English. There is no ETA on this, and all I can say is that it will be done at some point. An individual approached me without me asking for their help, which made me extremely happy. As of right now, I don't know if they want to be mentioned or not, so I'll wait until I know that for sure before I talk about that any more. Point is, it will be done at some point.
To finish up this post, I'll just put out there that we are working hard and that the patch will be finished. I know a decent amount of new teams tend to suddenly just die out and vanish. That will not be the case with this project. Like I said before, I'm having a blast translating this. Although it might not seem like I'm getting a lot done, it's simply because I'm making sure I don't rush through things. Also keep in mind that real life is a thing, and that sometimes it takes priority over the translation.
Thanks for sticking with me and the team, and I hope you are looking forward to the patch.
See you in next week's update.
Tay reacted to Darbury for a blog entry, Other Oddball Punctuation in VNs: A Final Roundup
It's sad but true: we've finally come to the end of our tour of Japanese punctuation for VN editors. But before we bid adieu, there are a few more types we have yet to cover. None merit full blog posts, however, so I offer them up here in a bit of a punctuation grab bag. Reach in if you dare.
The placeholder: 〇
The 〇 is typically used to censor offensive language by replacing one of the characters in a word. It's the equivalent of writing "f*ck" or "sh-t" or in English. Everyone knows what's being said, but we can all pretend we didn't say it. Kumbaya, amirite? Cursing really isn't a thing in Japanese, of course, so these marks get used either for our naughtiest bits — think "cock" and "dick," or "pussy" and "cunt" — or certain other socially offensive terms. You might be surprised to see censoring in the middle of an H-scene that, in all other respects, has spared no detail or volume of liquid, but there you go. Just think of them as pixel mosaics for written text.
As for editing these bad boys, you should almost always just go with uncensored English. Fuck yeah. The one situation where you might want to consider doing otherwise is when a VN also bleeps these words in the VO. In that case, you'd also be justified in using the censored English equivalent with either *, -, or _ replacing vowels as needed. Pick only one wildcard and be consistent in its use.
Another use for these characters in Japanese is to mask portions of real-life names or places — e.g., Bu〇er King. This is done both out of a sense of propriety and to avoid the wrath of real-life lawyers. You'll conceivably see the names of celebrities, bands, games, movies, etc. all masked in this fashion. Thankfully, there's a long tradition of this in Western literature as well, most notably in the Victorian era — "I sent my butler out to the renowned psychic, Madame G—, to seek her advice on the matter." Our best course of action during editing is to mimic the Japanese, but do so in the English tradition, replacing the omitted portion with an em-dash — two if the excised text is particularly long.
Sometimes, rather than use 〇 for masking, a VN writer will choose to come up with soundalike parody names for the person, place, or thing being referenced. And so you'll end up with people talking about anime like Wagonball Z and Tailor Moon. If the VN chooses this option, then so should you. Do your best to come up with witty replacements in English.
More rarely, you'll see a double 〇〇 all by its lonesome. This just stands for "word goes here." It's a literal placeholder. If you encounter it in narration, you can usually replace it with a few underscores, like _________. If it appears in voiced dialogue, possible options include "blahblah," "yada yada," "blankity-blank," or whatever else you can think up.
Parentheses: ( )
In VNs, these typically indicate a line should be read as internal monologue, or in some cases, a stage whisper.
The meaning is clear in both languages, so best to keep these as they are. Unless, of course, your text engine is one of those rare snowflakes that can output English italics. In that case, use those.
Okay, they're not actually called "bedazzlers," but it's a good a name as any. You know what I'm talking about, right? That big ol' box of typographical Lucky Charms that gets dumped right onto VN text to provide some wacky flavor to the proceedings. Hearts, stars, flowers, snowflakes, music notes, Zodiac signs, etc.
Some common uses include:
- A music note at the end of a line to show it's being sung. ("Fly me to the moon♪")
- A heart somewhere in a line to indicate puppy love at its most disgusting. ("He's so dreeeamy❤")
- A name or term being bracketed by stars to show that it's extrasupervery OMGmagical. ("Aha! I've transformed into ☆Magical Girl Bertha☆")
- A tiny gun so we can commit suicide after enduring all the above.
These little pretties are self-explanatory enough that I tend to leave them as is. Japan's gotta Japan, right? But use your best judgement; if you feel like they're getting in the way of the of the English narrative, go ahead and prune them back — or omit them entirely.
Not the punctuation; the whole series of punctuation articles. We're done. If I think of any more oddball Japanese punctuation marks worth discussing, I'll add them to the end of this post. But otherwise: happy f〇cking editing!
Tay reacted to Darbury for a blog entry, Gone Home is a visual novel. Deal with it.
This past weekend marked the unofficial start of summer here in the States, and to celebrate, dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster threw down the gauntlet in a major way. The hot dog, it declared, is a sandwich. It consists of bread (the bun) holding some filling (a plump, juicy hot dog). It meets the textbook definition of a sandwich. Therefore, it’s a sandwich.
The reaction from Team Hot Dog was swift. “Nooo! That’s not true!” they Luke Skywalkered across the Twiterverse. “Hot dogs are hot dogs! Shuttuuuuuhp!” Whereas Team Sandwich raised nary a peep. “Cool,” they said. “We like sandwiches. Welcome to the club.”
And why was that? Maybe a look at similar sort of statement can help us try to figure it out:
Gone Home is a visual novel.
Nooo! That’s not true! Gone Home isn’t a VN! Shuttuuuuhp!
Very light spoilers to follow.
If you don’t know, Gone Home is a game that came out in 2013, created by a handful of former BioShock devs. In it, you assume the role of an American college student who comes home from a year abroad only to find her parents’ house deserted, a cryptic note from her sister taped to the front door. The rest of the game is spent finding out just what happened.
Except it’s not a “game” as such. And you don’t really “play.” You simply wander the house using FPS controls, going from room to room and reading/hearing scattered bits of documentary evidence – letters, journal entries, crumpled-up notes, etc. – that help you unravel the mystery. That’s it. Some gamers have dismissively called it a “walking simulator,” but there’s clearly more to it than that. Gone Home is a digital experience that exists primarily to convey an authored text, one that shares structural similarities with traditional novels/short stories. That text is then given strong support by on-screen visual elements to form a cohesive whole.
While there’s no hard and fast definition of “visual novel” that I’m aware of, the above seems to do the job pretty well. And by that definition, Gone Home is a visual novel.
Nooo! It’s not a VN! It doesn’t take the form of a written novel!
Sure it does – an epistolary novel, to be specific. Here, I’ll even save you the trip to Wikipedia:
Some well-known entries in this genre include Frankenstein, Dracula, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and World War Z. In Gone Home’s case, the main narrative thread is told via your sister’s journal entries, which are penned as letters in absentia to you. Additional plot is introduced via other letters, newspaper clippings, and historical documents. Sound familiar? Yup. In fact, if you printed the collected documents of Gone Home in paperback, it would hold up extremely well as an example of the epistolary form.
Gone Home is a visual novel. Deal with it.
Nooo! It’s not a VN! You walk around in a 3D environment!
So what? Macbeth is a play; we can all agree on that. Sleep No More is a highly regarded re-contextualizing of that play as performance spaces meant to be walked through and experienced. The fact that you sit on your ass through one and physically traverse the other doesn’t change the fact that both are plays. They both have actors, scenes, and staging.
And besides, several other VN titles use the exploration of 3D environments to frame their textual elements – Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, Danganronpa, etc.
Gone Home is a visual novel. Deal with it.
Nooo! It’s not a VN! It’s a game that just happens to have text!
There’s almost zero “gameplay” in Gone Home. Seriously. Most of one’s time in so-called “narrative-driven” games like BioShock or Final Fantasy [n] or Persona is spent doing non-narrative things – fighting, more often than not. In Gone Home, if you’re not reading/listening to documents, you’re usually (a) walking, (b) turning on lamps, or (c) opening cupboards and looking at cans of soup. The “game,” such as it is, exists solely to deliver the narrative.
Baldr Sky, Aselia, the Rance VNs – all have far more gameplay than Gone Home could ever dream of.
Gone Home is a visual novel. Deal with it.
Nooo! It’s not a VN! You can finish the game without reading most of it!
While Gone Home definitely gives you a great deal of leeway in what you choose to read, and in what order, there are still certain key documents that act as plot gateways. These help ensure there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end with an identifiable narrative arc in between.
Anyway, I can also “finish” a more traditional VN without reading most of it. Maybe I get an early bad ending. Or I can read one route to completion and decide to stop, missing most of the content.
Gone Home is a visual novel. Deal with it.
Nooo! It’s not a VN! If it is, then any game can claim the same!
Nope. Slippery slope denied. Just because Gone Home can be considered a VN, that doesn’t mean Tetris or Call of Duty: Jackalope can; it’s still a fairly high bar. Take The Walking Dead series by Telltale, for example. A number of people have argued that these games could (and should) be considered VNs, but I’d disagree. That could be a whole blog post by itself, but suffice to say their narrative form is much closer to that of a TV script than a novel or story.
All kings are men, but not all men are kings. Just because VNs prioritize narrative doesn’t mean all games that prioritize narrative are VNs.
Nooo! It’s not a VN! It doesn’t have sprites against a background!
So what? Go tell that to Narcissu.
Nooo! It’s not a VN! It doesn’t have hand-drawn art!
So what? Go tell that to any recent VN using 3D character models/backdrops.
Nooo! It’s not a VN! It doesn’t have routes! And heroines!
Are we seriously having this conversation?
Nooo! It’s not a VN! Its creators don’t even call it that!
So what? Authorial intent means nothing. All the audience can judge is what’s on the page/screen. And what’s there is a visual novel. (For the record, the devs call it a "story exploration" game.)
Okay, class. What have we learned?
Our Gone Home experiment, interestingly enough, is the reverse of the hot dog situation. Visual novel fans (a.k.a., Team Sandwich) tend to be the ones arguing against Gone Home (a.k.a., Team Hot Dog) being considered part of the genre, rather than the other way around. Larger resists smaller, rather than smaller resisting larger. And why is that?
For Team Hot Dog, the object of its affection is more than a tube-shaped piece of meat on a bun. It’s the whole emotional experience surrounding the idea of “hot dog” – the childhood ballgames, the smell of charcoal in the backyard grill. There’s a good reason I can watch the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on TV next month, but not the Boar’s Head Ham and Cheese on Rye Eating Contest. To admit that a hot dog is just a sandwich is to risk making it less special somehow, to blur the lines of its magic.
And for members of Team VN, a “visual novel” is more than just any old game that combines textual narrative with computer graphics. It’s also the emotional experience of all the VNs they’ve played until now – experiences that are often colored by very specific art styles and narrative conceits. To admit that a “game” like Gone Home can be a visual novel is to risk making the genre seem less special somehow, to blur the lines of its magic.
In both cases, the emotional experience of a thing proves to be just as true and just as powerful as the dictionary definition of that thing. And unless your name happens to be Merriam or Webster, there’s very little to be done about the latter. But the former is a matter of personal interpretation; personal interpretation remains a hill that one can choose to defend and, indeed, die upon.
In other words, it’s possible for the statements “Gone Home is a visual novel,” and “I don’t consider Gone Home to be a visual novel,” to both be true simultaneously. But if you put ketchup on your hot dog sandwich, you’re just a bloody idiot.
Update #1: Now watch as I argue that Gone Home really isn't a visual novel. Proof you can have your cake and piss on it too.
Tay reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Some explanations about my current state
Some people here already know that I hurt my knee falling down the stairs a while ago... what most of you don't know is that the stuff they have me on (non-narcotic pain drugs, sleep pills, and antibiotics) in combination make me a zombie for most of the day... I sleep around twelve hours a day, am fuzzy for two to three hours more, have to do rehab exercises for another two hours, and I spend around four hours of what is remaining working.
Needless to say, this doesn't leave much time for anything else... which is why VN of the Month is so far behind. Normally, by this point I would have played through at least four or five of the month's VNs, and I would probably be considering which one - if any - was worth the VN of the month rating... as it is, it has taken me a little over seventeen days to finish just two VNs from April's releases.
I'm basically venting my frustration right now... since I lose money with every day I can't work at full capacity and I go a little more stir crazy with every day I can't go out and get some fresh air without using crutches. For the first time in almost nine years, I actually had to use up my entire pay for a month for bills and food (the medical bills being the highest, obviously).
Needless to say, I'm in a sour mood.
If I seem harsh toward the remaining VNs this month, please forgive me. It is really, really hard to concentrate outside of work right now... and I'm actually having to reconsider a lot of my plans for the rest of the year based on the costs I project for the rest of the next few months. Nothing pisses me off more than being unable to rectify everyday money problems (which is why I work so much normally)....
Anyway, that's enough moaning from me for now. The two key points are that the above are the reasons VN of the Month is so far behind and I so rarely post, despite the fact that I'm technically 'online' (I rarely if ever shut down the fuwanovel tab, lol) all the time. If I'm slow to respond, it is because I'm not myself, not because I'm not interested in doing so.
Tay reacted to littleshogun for a blog entry, Hanbei on Girl's Lap Review
Visual Novel Translation Status (04/09/2016)
To be honest the title for this week was quite cheesy and for the header image this time it was quite hard to find the fitting title. Anyway, the man on MC's lap (Yes the header image was from otome game) was Hanbei Takenaka from just recently released Destiny Princess. Anyway, this is another my review on VNTS here, and from now on I'll commented based on each segment just like last week. For my opening comment, this week was quite plain to be honest. And if Tay interested in otome game, I'm not by the way.
Well, not much to be honest other than KARAKARA managed to reach the progress at 77.22% and Maitetsu at 6.39%. Both of those was more interesting because of the seiyuu to be honest, and also factoring the opening video (Or maybe I'm far more interested in those 2 production value). For Korean VN, the progress was at 1.29%. Lucid9, the girl's sprite quite good looking, although I must questioning why Sekai released only prologue here and if you allow me to speculate maybe they want try to repeat Katawa Shoujo success which start from releasing the common route first, and then waiting for 4 years to finally released the full version. The production value was quite high with voice acting there, and well let's just hope Lucid9 take time to made the character route worthwhile unlike No One But You which is rushed according to the review here.
One last note, as for Root Double (And in response to Decay musing), I'd still suspect Regista or Yeti was behind the delay instead of Sekai, but I think if somehow the Japanese company managed to force Sekai to delay it more in this month, well there's still May to speculate I guess (Or in another word I'm willing to wait for 51 days more).
Astral Air this time managed to pick up again at 0.69% compared to last week which is only at 0.2%, and interestingly apparently Chuee (or Supreme Tentacle) also pick up on Corona's route this week. Sakusaku, I think I already made the comment on my thread, but let's wait until May 2nd for more update here once again. Irotoridori, well this one had history in regard of the translation and good luck akerou (Oh the progress now was at 8%). Monster Girl Quest Paradox, I knew the original had interesting story but maybe this game set in alternate history (Also will the artist update the H-Scene drawing so we'll more willing to lost instead of encourage us to winning indirectly because of bad drawing) and to be honest I didn't know much about this.
I think this time we had some interesting news from community member here. For Ittaku, congratulations to find one more editor for To Hearts 2 and by the way for anyone else who read this will some of you interested to editing twin route at To Heart 2 (Not mine since I didn't had confidence enough in English editing). As for Bishoujo Mangekyou, congratulations for reaching 50.5% for the progress, Arcadeotic and if you ask me the VN was quite interesting with the score apparently quite high at VNDB for something labeled nukige (The again so does Monster Girl Quest), the premise was like teacher and vampire thing, and according to VNDB Ringorin was voicing white haired girl. Good luck Arcadeotic. We also had new translation project from dergonu (Maybe will be added on VNTS project in coming weeks) here, and by the way if you expected it was yuri VN, the answer was correct. Good luck Dergonu, and as for the progress right now it was at 3.1%. Oh, and about Tokyo Necro, I think I just wait and see for this since there's a wall with name JAST USA there, and recently I saw the CG from there and it was very scary (Some of these involving brain iirc).
Oh, congratulation for the establishment of 'Dracu Riot Completion Translation' project, although to be honest there's still not much news and progress this week, other than good luck Decay in your new position. But seeing fiddle's habit when they submit the progress when each route is finished back at Noble Noodle Works translation project, I think that's understandable. And for the untranslated script in Miu's route, the line count was comparable to some short VN (Around 5000 lines) so maybe the progress still take a while. Well, let me said thanks to one of 'Elite Four of Fuwanovel' Nosebleed here for establishing this project once again.
As for my closing comment, for Sharin localization announcement, no much comment needed. Also I'm waiting for Dangan Ronpa 2 if only because of the involvement many famous seiyuu there. For Fata Morgana house, not interested but maybe there was some user here who interested with that kind of graphic.
I think that's all for this week.
Tay reacted to Palas for a blog entry, The Ultimate Analysis of Katawa Shoujo
Ladies and gentlemen whose first experience with a visual novel was Katawa Shoujo, please raise your right hands. Very good. Very good, ladies and gentlemen. Now, those of you who have never played it, please raise your left hand. No, m'Lady, watching a Let's Play can't possibly count as a playthrough. I beg your pardon? Why, yes, it's completely different. But this is for another time, is it not? Well, then. To those who failed to raise either hand when prompted, be it because you were already a seasoned visual novel player when it was released or you just happened to come across it when you were just starting out, I apologize. I'm afraid this won't be a very interesting read to you. It wouldn't be for me.
I say so as I belong to the last group I mentioned. I'll keep both my hands in my pocket, thanks. To be honest, I don't really share the nostalgia of those who spent hours reading an Emotional Narrative Clickable Slideshow (this is what "visual novel" means in Japanese) for the first time with Katawa Shoujo, nor do I share the perplex skepticism of those who have watched the hurricane of hype from a safe distance. Unfortunately for you who are reading right now, no distance is safe enough.
I hope that, by the end of this humble piece, you are all able to mutter "so this is what Katawa Shoujo is all about!", yes, even you who raised the right hand. Especially you. Because you see, it has been four years since the most popular non-Japanese visual novel was launched. Your views on it may have changed now, but can you reflect on what about the game roped you in? It could have been both your first and your last visual novel, but it wasn't. What, then, can you tell to your fellow readers who have yet to play Katawa Shoujo?
Let's start with where most of the stories take place. We have probably all been to Yamaku High. It's Oblivious Garden's homonymous setting. it's Everlasting Summer's Sovyonok, as well as Ever17's LeMU. These aren't worlds or cities - rather, these are smaller places you end up knowing all too well, places you could get tired of. What is special in such settings is that they are a monument to the character - it represents a fundamental flaw or condition of the protagonist, one he cannot fight against and, because of that, will always mirror the way he deals with said flaw or condition. After all, he's there because of that condition, in one way or another. So it's one giant mirror for a character's development, a characteristic that enhances storytelling by keeping one element intact but changing everything else. Yamaku tells a story not through flow, but through contrast. Now, there is a very particular institution in real life that has this effect on us, that has us looking directly at the changes in us when we look at the changes in the place or how we deal with the surroundings.
Home is a place you know all too well. It's a place you could get tired of and that always embodies a certain aspect in you - childhood, a particular struggle, a series of fortunate events. Thus, this type of setting is capable of emulating both stability - inexorability even - and change and this is why it's so powerful. It's both a hurricane and a mountain and, as such, it's capable of condensing a multitude of feelings that the story can extract and use for its own benefit.
Consider here that Yamaku encompasses its student body, too. Sorry, sir? Oh, how could I forget? I'm not usually this careless... probably. I'm verry sorry. I'll explain what Yamaku is. It's a school for students with special needs, ranging from the hearing-impaired to amputees to those with a chronic and dangerous diseases, the latter being Hisao's case.
You could expect transferring into a new school to be difficult, but transferring into a school like this is even more difficult - and not comfortable, as not any disability you may have keeps you from connecting with the fictional world - and so doesn't Hisao's. But more on that later. Case in point, you are an outsider and have no idea how to deal with your new current life. Now this is, of course, a pretty relatable and common situation. However, Katawa Shoujo very cleverly turns that which is internal to external, plain to see difficulties. It is hard to communicate with and reach common grounds with a figure of authority you barely know. Shizune, as president of the student council, is no different. However, because she's deaf, even those who normally have no difficulty in dealing with this kind of thing are forced to concede and are caught wondering whether it's right to look at her while she's talking or to look at the interpreter, Misha.
Likewise, it's hard enough to approach a shy person and make friends with them. But even if you think you're good at this, at "getting people out of their shell" (could you be any sillier?), Hanako is a challenge. Her shyness is made visible and physical by her burn scars. I don't mean to say the girls' disabilities are metaphors. They are what they are, but they have a very practical effect of forcefully reducing most players to Hisao, beating their feet to fit in his shoes. It's very hard for someone to think ahead of Hisao in his situation, because he struggles as much as the player to behave normally in front of all the people he wants to talk to, but doesn't know how.
Therefore, a certain magic occurs: daily life becomes a challenge. A simple shared meal is a novelty and a puzzle; ordering in the cafeteria is as complicated at first as choosing from a French menu (given you aren't French, I suppose); the most trivial smalltalk can become a sequence of faux pas. However, it's unavoidable - it's daily life, after all. The sun will rise every day (or as Super Mega Comics so brilliantly put, there is one day every day), you want it or not. As we wanted to demonstrate, a hurricane and a mountain, all at once. And since we're at it, I'd like to think we all took school life pretty seriously when we were there. The person we admired but who didn't think much of us was a big deal; being too ashamed to talk to a classmate for the first time even if it's been three years since you started studying in the same class was a thing; wanting to bury your head in the sand for the slightest mistake was normal.
Katawa Shoujo emulates the seriousness of daily life artificially, by giving you small, but quite difficult problems, one at a time. In this scenario, slice of life narrative gains value, gains stakes. Thus, in the player's head, few moments are useless - they all become a part of learning how to live as Hisao.
This is how the game drags you in its universe, which is mostly self-sufficient, since it's you who makes of it what you will. Hisao's disability, a heart condition that nearly killed him and had him imprisoned in a hospital for four months, was carefully chosen - it doesn't impede Hisao from doing mostly anything, but it's perfectly possible to relate, because it entails feeling like you don't know what's going on within yourself - a feeling we all know, have felt at some point and which scared the hell away of us even if it wasn't life-threatening at all.
But it isn't easy to make a fictional setting feel like home, even if it works in the narrative. The allure is not in the mechanism itself but in how you experience it. Therefore, the feeling of familiarity with the setting, and by corollary with the visual novel as a whole, is built through small repetitions here and there in different contexts. By doing this, each and every aspect of life in Yamaku becomes unique, but paramount. You could say these are the smaller reflections that make up the "hurricane, but mountain" approach.
Now, Katawa Shoujo's soundtrack gained a lot of praise and I will be the first to declare myself a fan of NicolArmarfi and Blue123's work, but I'd like to argue that much of its effectiveness in conveying feelings comes from the music direction. For instance - and I know this technique is common in visual novels, but humour me nevertheless - not all late afternoon scenes are accompanied by the song Afternoon, but this song will only play in late afternoon scenes. This being the case, the reference for "afternoon time" becomes special in Yamaku. Everyone has to go through afternoons every day, but afternoons in Yamaku feel like something special due to the music that slowly collects your memories and throws them back at you every time it plays. That's the role of a leitmotif and there are plenty of them. The same happens to the heroines' themes - and it is very clear, due to clear presentation of each girl from the start, whose theme is each song.
A series of nods and shared themes help weaving a complex net of fond memories in the game, each scene being important at least in the atmosphere if not exactly in the narrative. Wiosna - the title theme -, Hokabi and Stride, for example, play in completely different scenes and have specific moods, but the shared theme connects them and makes Katawa Shoujo feel more focused, as if walking towards something. The absolute commitment to the color beige and a few symbols like the heart patched with bandages somewhat helps countering the full jarring effect the conflicting art styles would otherwise have, too.
So Yamaku is presented at first as the complete impossibility of dealing with our shortcomings. It's how it feels for Hisao, it's how it feels for us. Having forced to play his role, we are kept mulling over the smallest issues - would pushing ourselves a little further do us any good? How do we want to cope? You can fight against it and keep in shape or simply give up on everything that having a weak heart makes a little harder. This is our common route. It has a theme and all choices are supposed to reflect how much you want to distance yourself or dive in this new world and your newfound circumstances. And all of the heroines are better than you - they deal with their own selves much better than you do and know their way around whatever difficulty their disabilities might impose. Of course they have their troubles, but you are not there to help them out. Isn't there someone you should be taking care of before starting to think you can take care of other people? That is, of course, yourself? There is a certain virtue they show that you must learn to access their route. And there's a virtue you already have that they could use.
This creates five different Hisao guys and you slowly shape yourself to be one of these. In each case, there is a virtue you as a person (or as a player following a walkthrough) possess and something you could work on. Take Lilly. The choices that lead to her route - and the second to the last one, especially - are all about how honest you are with others regarding your limitations and specialties. All that surrounds Lilly, thus, is a big question of "can you respect yourself enough to rely on others?". Being aware of your weak heart doesn't mean you accept it as an integral part of yourself. Lilly, however, with all flaws she may have, for she is a human being after all, is who she is not in spite of her blindness, but because of it.
This is the conclusion Hisao reaches in, if I'm not mistaken, every route: if it wasn't for the heart attack, his life wouldn't have changed. If it wasn't for the heart attack, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to like the people he comes to like across the routes and to do the things he does, with all the trouble his heart causes. If it wasn't for the heart attack, he wouldn't be able to thank the heart attack for everything it catalysed. But he reaches this conclusion through five different means and having faced five different challenges regarding how to deal with people, how to love himself and others. And it's only like this that he can finally deposit his feelings again in the endless stream of day-by-day.
The emotion carried out doesn't derive from them. It derives from you. Through the heroines, the story changes Yamaku. Through Yamaku, the story changes Hisao. Through Hisao, the story changes you. It's a spell that only works because all five routes follow the same principle and work under a single logic, which is to include the extraordinary in the ordinary and vice-versa, changing your perceptions of both of them. By blurring the line, it allows you to draw your own line again, almost from scratch, and making you feel like you've learned something.
This is why, ladies and gentlemen who raised the left hand, the game is still very much adored. It is something, a well-crafted gear with a specific intent and effect. Its production values are not high, especially not compared with Japanese commercial visual novels. However, Katawa Shoujo squeezes the assets they have until the very last drop and blend them in the most specific way in order to create a remarkable experience above all things. I hope I have clarified to you who raised your right hand, or even you who kept your hands in your pockets like I did, what remarkable experience is this. It is not on a technical level, but it's built through very much technical means. Few visual novels are so focused - but also so broad in its themes.
And like this, I would like to end this piece in a positive tone, a message that the game itself conveys. Please let these words guide your actions, if not in times of pressure, in the small troubles you come across everyday and that brought you here just as much as your merits. At the very least, it's a tip to be successful when playing Katawa Shoujo for the first time: you are not alone, and you are not strange. You are you, and everyone has damage. Be the better person.
Have a safe trip home, wherever that may be.
Tay reacted to Darbury for a blog entry, Save the Visual Novels! Eat the Whales!
How do you eat an entire whale? One bite at a time. Preferably with Cholula.
How do you edit/translate/whatever a visual novel? One line at a time. Preferably with bourbon.
Whether you’re a fan of the final product or not, one of the things that impresses me most about MDZ’s fan translation of Koisuru Natsu no Last Resort is that it got released, period. As in, if you were so inclined, you could download the installer right now, patch the original Japanese game, and go play the thing on your new-fangled Windows Pee-Cee. No demos, no one-route partial patches. The whole damned VN in English, finished on schedule and out there in the world.
The project didn’t stall. It didn’t wind up in no-updates-in-six-months-but-we-think-they’re-still-working-on-it hell. It didn’t climb into that white panel van with Little Busters EX, never to be heard from again. The nice man was lying to you, Little Busters EX — there were no cute little puppies in the back. What were you thinking?!
The KoiRizo team did nothing particularly special to make this happen. We just ate the whale one bite at a time.
The rhythm method
By his own account, MDZ worked very methodically on the project, spending an average of 30 minutes every day translating scripts into English. Not when he felt like it. Not when inspiration struck. Not when enough people harassed him with all-caps emails asking why the HELL hadn’t there been any progress updates on the KoiRizo tracker lately. He made it an expected part of his routine, like brushing his teeth or eating dinner. He scheduled regular translation sessions between classes or before heading out in the morning.
He did a little bit. Every. Single. Day.
There’s a word for that: consistency. That’s what gets things done in the real world, not 48-hour marathons every random.randint(1,6) weekends fueled by Red Bull, Hot Pockets, and intense self-loathing. Consistency keeps you from getting burned out. Consistency lets you make reasonable schedules and estimates, then stick to them. Consistency is like goddamned black magic.
Over the course of the project, MDZ had consistency in spades. If he can maintain that approach to life, I have a feeling he’ll be successful at whatever he puts his mind to after college.
When I came on board as an editor, I kept a somewhat similar schedule. I resolved to set aside my commuting time each workday for editing. And so for 40 minutes in the morning and 40 minutes in the evening, Monday through Friday, I’d park my butt in a train seat, break out my laptop, and just edit.
Weekdays were reserved for my family. If you’re married with kids, you know there is no such thing as free time on weekends. If you’re not married and don’t have kids, please tell me what the outside world is like. I hear they came out with a PlayStation 2? That’s gotta be pretty awesome.
Anyway, that’s what I ended up doing. Edit every single workday. For six months. Until it was done.
(Six months? That long to edit a medium-length visual novel? Yeah, that long. KoiRizo weighs in at 36,000+ lines. Over six months, that works out to about 1,400 lines a week, or 210 lines per hour. That’s an edited line every 17 seconds or so, with most of the lines needing substantial polishing/rewriting. I have no idea what pace other VN editors work at, but I felt like this was one I could maintain over the long haul. Call it the distance runner’s lope.)
Special topics in calamity physics
So why all this rambling about whales and consistency? Because I just got back from vacation a few days ago and I’ve been surprised at how long it’s taken me to get my head back into the various projects I’ve been working on (or even writing this blog). And then I got to wondering how often something small like that snowballs into a stalled or even failed project. A missed day turns into a skipped week turns into a skipped month turns into a dead translation.
Which then got me thinking about the coefficient of friction.
It’s basic physics, which I excelled at (failing repeatedly). In layman’s terms, it’s a ratio (μ) that gives you a sense how much force two surfaces exert on each other and, therefore, how much force you need to exert to get something moving from a dead stop. Wooden block on ice? Low coefficient of friction. Wooden block on shag carpet? High coefficient of friction ... and a senseless crime against tasteful décor. Once you overcome that initial friction, it takes comparatively little force to keep an object in motion.
I can easily imagine there’s a coefficient of friction between us and our work, some quantifiable level of resistance that needs be overcome before we get our asses in gear and be productive. And unlike the one in Physics 101, which is constant for any two materials, this one is different every single day. It depends on a bunch of different factors: how interested we are in our projects, how appreciated we feel, what other projects we’ve got going on at the same time, how much sleep we’ve gotten, what else is going on in our lives, whether or not the Mets are currently in the World Series, etc.
Let’s call it the coefficient of slackitude.
Once we get started on a project and make it part of our everyday routine, we can largely ignore this number. We’ve overcome the initial slackitude and, with moderate effort, can keep things rolling along fairly smoothly. But each time we let things coast to a stop, even for a few days, we’ve got to overcome the slackitude all over again. And since that value is variable, it might be much harder the second time around. In fact, it probably will be.
Eventually, we’ll fail to do so. And our project will die.
So other than the fact that I had no business being anywhere near a physics classroom, what can we take away from my incoherent ramblings? A couple things:
The easiest way to make sure your project gets finished is to stick to a regular schedule. Eat the whale a little at a time — every day if you can. Minimize the gaps. Avoid having to face off against that nasty coefficient of slackitude more than once. The easiest way to make sure your project gets started at all is to pick a time when that coefficient of slackitude is low — when you’re excited by the prospect, when you’re well-rested, when you have relatively few competing interests. When you can focus. Use that time to build your momentum, so when your interest wanes or real life intrudes — it always does and it always will — the project is so embedded in your routine that you can just ride it out. We need more finished translations in the world. So pull up a chair and eat your whale. Do it for your team. Do it for yourself. Do it for poor Little Busters EX, drugged and ball-gagged in a basement somewhere, forever wondering when it’ll finally get to see the puppies.
Tay reacted to Black Sands Entertainment for a blog entry, Black Sands Cast Completely Overhauled
Genres: Visual Novel, History, Mythology, Dark Fantasy, Educational
Origins is about a time before the great wars of Kemet that took place in a dimension called "The Rift." This fourth dimension was created when Nun's ship crashed into Earth two millennia before the birth of Rah.
In the Rift, you learn about the strongest Gods in the ancient world and their struggles to control the powers bestowed upon them.
But things start to get complicated eighteen years after Rah's birth. Most of the Gods have realized their powers, but have yet to master them. Nun decides to end their training and cast them off to live their own lives in a pass-or-fail scenario where failure means death. We then learn exactly what happened after Nun's departure - secret relationships, jealousy, drama, and death in this tale of ancient kings.
In the game, you play as Rah, the Dark Pharaoh. You navigate his early life as you lead a group of demigods in their pursuit for ancient knowledge and potential power. You suffer from Dementia and have a relationship with a young woman. Will you be able to control your mind, maintain your relation, and lead your people or will you fall into darkness?
In Black Sands, you play as Rah. Rah is a complicated character and for those who enjoy a fully vetted story, there is a true path mode that allows players to play without choices. For those that wish to have choices, there are systems in place to make the game more immersive and ultimately change the way things go. We will begin with the Standings System. The Standings System This system involves Rah’s personal standing with Gilgamekh, Apedemak, and Bydos. Each character has their own personal beliefs and your decisions throughout the game will affect how they interact with you. Examples would be you hearing a rumor that Gilgamekh broke into Nun’s chambers to find out more about the ancients OR Gilgamekh recruits you to join him break in. Depending on how he thinks of you determines the outcome. The Relationship System Rah’ love interest is Amesemi. They have a complicated relationship because it isn’t known by the others and Rah suffers from Dimentia. As a result, he tends to be cold and distant at times. Amesemi judges Rah in three ways. Love – Her love for him. This makes her more passionate and reckless around him and overprotective. Suspicion – This makes her investigate his actions more and question him. Respect – This is where Amesemi holds her tongue and allows Rah to do what he must. Rah’s actions and that of Amesemi’s are intertwined so this aspect of the game can be very dynamic and completely change the scope of the story. Mental Control There are decisions in the game that have two elements to them. One is either standings or relationship. The other is Mental Control. Since Rah suffers from Dementia, he struggles his entire life to distance himself from his emotions so he doesn’t lose control. This is where things get interesting. This is one of the only stats that alter the choices to automatic choices. If you are too far gone off the rocker, you won’t make a logical decision no matter how badly you want to. Be careful when following your passions as the Dark Pharaoh.
Multiple Protagonists Psychological Thriller Love Triangles Comic-style Artwork Multiple Mini-Sagas Aliens Mythological Gods and Monsters Dark Humor Education The Book of Thoth
The Book of Thoth is a lore database which allows players to learn the real history behind the ideas in Black Sands with sourced and quoted material. It will be split into three sections per entry.
Fantasy - The way the person, place, thing is in the Black Sands Universe.
History - The actual historical/mythological information about the person, place, or thing.
Theory - The theory we use to make the historical figure into what we use in Black Sands.
Examples would be like if you saw a vision through "The Eye of Oblivion" and saw giants in Canaan, you would unlock a new lore entry in game saying "Knowledge has been acquired." Then you would have two lore entries when you checked the Book of Thoth. One for the historical context of the Nephilim and one for Canaan. It should be a great experience for the knowledge seekers in the world.
CLICK ON CHARACTERS TO READ THEIR PROFILES
Rah, The Dark Pharaoh
Nun, The Watcher
Amesemi, The Soul Whisperer
Apedemak, The Pride of the Pack
Gilgamekh, The Whisperer
Our next update will be our developer blog on our feature demo with all the new assets. It will be over the course of the next 3 weeks so expect plenty of updates.
Tay reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Some thoughts and an update
I'm guessing some of those that follow my blog are wondering why I haven't started up any random VNs this month... there are a number of reasons.
1) I'm busy. I have my work, with an addition of university, which takes up about 80% of my time, save for a few days like today when I have time to rest and relax.
2) I simply don't have an appreciation for anything in my backlog right now. I cleared out most of the most interesting stuff over the last two years, and I'm keeping what little is left for a truly rainy day, when I'm not busy and I don't have anything better to do.
3) This has been a very dry quarter. July, August, and September were mostly dry of interesting releases, and I'm saving up energy for Kenseiki Alpha Ride, which I promised certain people I would play early on, rather than waiting until a later date as I commonly do with most gameplay-VNs.
4) This has been a particularly bad month irl. I've been helping my brother get ready to move his family into our place for a few months while their old place is on the market and they are closing on their new place, I've been applying for a graduate program, and I got several major commissions that have kept me locked down a lot more than I would have liked.
5) I promised myself I wouldn't play any more moege/charage until I've played Kenseiki or the new Fortissimo.
Now for my thoughts... Today's post is going to be focused on what makes a good chuunige.
I should probably define the origins of chuuni as opposed to what a chuunige is. First of all, if any of you have seen Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, you have at least a vague idea of what chuunibyou is like. Basically, take your average D&D nut or cosplayer and add some delusions of glory to him, and you have a chuunibyou patient. That's simplifying matters somewhat, but it is also fairly accurate for a good portion of them, though.
Chuuni, on the other hand, is literature, games, anime, etc. that feels like it comes out of the mind of a chuunibyou patient. Drama on a large scale, often in somewhat familiar settings, is probably the easiest and most obvious way to tell if something is chuuni. In addition, in a good chuuni-anything, the protagonist is never a self-insert carbon copy of your average harem-building protagonist. I say this because it is the easiest way to tell when something isn't a chuunige, as chuuni protagonists are supposed to experience and/or be something that is beyond what you can experience in your life, whether it is psychologically or physically.
Most chuunige have action of some sort, but not all of them do. A famous chuunige that isn't mostly action - that a lot of you will have played - is G-senjou no Maou. In a way, Sharin no Kuni can also be considered a chuunige, for a similar reason.
The more 'standard' type of chuunige is the 'gakuen battle' type. The most obvious translated examples of this are Tsukihime, FSN, and Comyu. In this type, a schoolkid somehow gets mixed up in a horrible situation that should kill him right off the bat, but he somehow survives to become central to 'the conflict'.
A rarer type is the 'mature protagonist taking on the world' type. This is easily my favorite type, as protagonists in these VNs tend to have more solid philosophies and are less... idiotic. I think most people will agree that Shirou from FSN is a bit immature, though he had mature aspects. However, protagonists in these are adults, whether they are grown up fully or not. An example of this type that is translated would be Sharin no Kuni's protagonist. For untranslated, Hello, Lady and Vermillion Bind of Blood (Toshiro from Vermillion reminds me of Auron from FF X, hahaha) come to mind. Generally speaking, the themes of these VNs will be a lot larger in scale than you usually see in the gakuen battle types. This is because the themes are generally written to keep pace with the protagonists, lol.
The last type is the 'poetic' type, where a writer is obviously masturbating with his keyboard. Masada's works are the most obvious examples of this (Dies Irae, Paradise Lost, Kajiri Kamui Kagura), though Light's 'other' chuuni-crew also writes similar VNs, and Devils Devel Concept and Bradyon Veda by Akatsuki Works both fall into this category. In this type of chuunige, the action, the story, and the visuals all exist as an excuse for the writer to try to blow you away. Currently, the only one of this type in translation is Tokyo Babel, whose release is sometime off... though I'm tempted to include Sekien no Inganock in this crew. For someone who loves complex, deep prose, these VNs are pure crack... but in exchange, they are also incredibly difficult to read for someone not native to the language.
Overall, reading chuunige is all about having fun. It isn't about being moe-ed to death or being awed by the pretty pastel colors... it is about enjoying the part of you that never quite gave up that desire to be or see something more...
Tay reacted to Darbury for a blog entry, I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today
I’m on a much-needed vacation deep in the woods. There’s running water, crappy mobile service, something that could generously be described as “heat,” and not much else. Also, I’m fairly sure an owlbear rummaged through our garbage last night. This means you have a whole week free from my inane ramblings. It also means that on a scale from “wearing underwear today” to “not wearing underwear today,” I’m not wearing underwear today. It's vacation and I don't wannuh. Deal with it. Then discuss.
Tay reacted to Darbury for a blog entry, VN Image Editing: The Skinny on Vertical Type
You know how you can translate Japanese far too literally and end up with stilted and nonsensical prose? It’s also possible reinterpret Japanese graphics far too literally and up with an illegible mess. Case in point: vertical type.
Japanese text is typically typeset one of two ways: the traditional tategaki style (characters arranged in vertical columns, read from right to left), or the more modern yokogaki style (characters arranged in horizontal rows, read left to right, as in English). When editing images for visual novels, you’ll usually be dealing with a lot of tategaki, but it’s possible you’ll encounter some yokogaki as well. Unless you just bought a pamphlet from that crazy guy hanging out beneath the subway stairs — Happy Birthday to Gravy! I’m Made of Bees! — you will literally never see English typeset this way. So how do you handle it when you do?
Typically, as long as you have the room, you’d set it the same as you would any other English text: horizontal, left to right, for maximum legibility. But what if you don’t have room? Particularly when dealing with UI elements, you might only have enough real estate for a single vertical column of characters. What then?
Grab it by the spine
Thankfully, generations of English-language typesetters have already solved this problem for us. Just walk over to your media shelf and look for yourself. See all those books, DVDs, video games you’ve got lined up there? Not only did you spend an obscene amount of money on those — seriously, how are you ever going to pay off your student loans this way? — but their spines all display titles the exact same way: horizontal type, rotated 90 degrees clockwise so that it reads from top to bottom. Any designer worth his or her salt will tell you that’s how it’s done.
So there’s your answer. Do that. You’re welcome.
But now you face a much bigger challenge: convincing non-designers that this is, in fact, the best approach.
The vertical smile frown
This came up once on a project where almost the entire UI was arranged in vertical lines of Japanese calligraphy. I’d painstakingly set hundreds of text elements in the correct bookspine-style, only to get a note back from the project lead asking that everything be re-typeset in the exact manner of the original Japanese, character stacked atop character.
I’ve been a professional designer for enough years that, honestly, I forget not everyone gives much thought to why you don’t set type like this. So in that sense, the request didn’t annoy me; I understood the motivation behind it. But I did end up having to write a fairly lengthy defense of bookspine-style type as a result. Since I’m not the first person to face this problem, and I know I won’t be the last, I thought it might be useful to summarize a few of those points here.
If you’re an image editor, maybe it’ll give you ammunition to back up your case one day. If you’re working with an image editor, maybe it’ll provide some insight into the thought he or she puts into typesetting. If you’re my mom, maybe you’ll finally believe I learned something in college.
The End of the World as We Know It
Seeing is believing, so let’s try all the options and see for ourselves what works and what doesn’t. I’ve cropped in on a small slice from a hypothetical UI sprite sheet for our discussion. I’ve also simplified it, hiding all the various hover and active states, so all we’re dealing with is the vanilla text.
Here’s the original edited version:
For this project, we need a script/calligraphic type that will remain legible even at very small sizes. (I do all my VN reading on an 8” tablet, so I use that as my small-screen baseline.) We land on this font here, a clean Western script that still feels right at home among traditional Eastern design elements. And since you can see that some of the UI text runs very long — these are chapter titles, I imagine — compactness is also a consideration. This typeface handles that quite nicely.
Let’s see what happens if, rather than bookspine-style, we run these lines vertically:
What’s wrong here? More like, what isn’t?
It doesn’t fit: Unlike squarish Japanese characters, English letters tend to be taller than they are wide. This means if you stack them vertically, you’ll end up with something that eats up almost twice as much space as horizontal type. You’ll need to reduce the point size to make everything fit. Or worse yet, squish the letters vertically to compensate. Yuck.
It fights against the letterforms: This is a script face, so it slants rightward, one letter leading the eye into the next. Moreover, lowercase letters set in script often physically join to one another, as if written in a smooth, flowing hand. A vertical stack is antithetical to both of these: there is no “next” letter to lead the eye into, nor is there any adjoining character to connect to.
It looks like a gap-toothed palooka: Notice how some of the letter pairs almost overlap, while others have relatively large spaces between them. This is another reason English type wasn’t meant to stack vertically. Even though there’s exactly the same amount of space between the baseline of each letter, some have descenders (e.g., the “tails” of the letters y or q), some have ascenders (e.g., the “flagstaff” of the letters b or d), and some have neither (e.g., x or o). This gives the vertical type a drunken stagger-step of sorts, an ungainly visual gait that we’d like to avoid at all costs.
It doesn’t handle punctuation well: There’s no graceful way to handle periods, colons, and so forth in vertical type. You could center it below the last letter, as in the original Japanese, but that looks confusing in English. And how would you handle a possessive, like “Darbury’s cat”? Stacked vertically, it would look more like “Darbury, scat.” (Fine. See ya, ingrate.)
It’s borderline illegible: There’s been lots and lots of research into the science of how people read — how we recognize letters, words, and sentences. There’s a lot of pattern recognition going on in our brains and, for native speakers of Western languages, those patterns almost always work horizontally. Setting type vertically can literally slow down reading and comprehension speed by an order of magnitude.
So let’s be clear: this sucks. But there are a few things we can do to slightly minimize the suckage. First, let’s set everything in all caps. Like this
That eliminates our gap-tooth problem; uppercase letters don’t have ascenders or descenders, so all the letters now appear evenly spaced. But we’ve had to reduce the point size even further to make everything fit. (We started out at 20pt. We’re now at 12pt.) Also, our calligraphic type still slants to the right, making each letter feel like a drunk who leans against a wall only to find it isn’t there. We want a handwritten feel to the type, however, so we try switching to an upright block letter font instead:
This is pretty much as good as it’ll get ... and it’s still not great. It’s still hard to read, and we’ve had to sacrifice the elegance of a script typeface. But wait — it gets worse. Right now, these lines have lots of padding left and right, since I’ve hidden all the other elements on this sprite sheet. What happens when they sit closer together, as they probably will in-game. You get this:
I don’t know about you, but my brain wants to start reading horizontally adjacent words as sentences: “It birds and eye listen” Huh? It’s like trying to drive an SUV where the steering is constantly pulling to the right. It’s not what we’re looking for in a car, and it’s not what we’re looking for in our typesetting.
In short, vertically set text is a god-awful mess. Don’t use it. (Obligatory waffling: Okay, maybe if there’s one or two vertical buttons in the whole game. And maybe if they were really, really short — you know, like “SAVE” and “QUIT”? Maybe then you could get away with it. But otherwise, nononono a thousand times no.)
Introducing my backup singers
I’m not the only one preaching this gospel. These fine folks agree:
So the next time someone asks you to set vertical type, just say no. Then link to this blog post and tell ‘em Darbury told ya so.
Tay reacted to Darbury for a blog entry, Oh, The Jokes I Have Broke (Part 1 of ∞)
As any translator can probably tell you, Japanese jokes are a huge pain to capture in English. There are unfamiliar memes, cultural references, wordplay, riffs on kanji characters — none of which are particularly easy to convey to Western audiences. If you get lucky, a few nips and tucks in editing are all you need to make one of these unwieldy beasts work in English. If you get unlucky, however, you end up having to grab the rib spreader and do some major linguistic surgery.
Sometimes the patients pull through. Sometimes they die on the operating table. These are their stories.
Joke 1: Pearls before swine
In this scene from KoiRizo, Soutarou has just finished giving one of the girls a bit of helpful advice passed down to him by his grandfather. The raw translation is below:
Soutarou: “... That's the motto that they followed back then, I think. Well you know, according to my grandfather.”
Riho: “Your grandfather's ball bag?”
Soutarou: “A-Although I think that he got it from my grandmother...”
Riho: “Ha ...?!”
Riho: “I just said a really strange thing ―!”
Get it? Get it? No, of course you don’t. KoiRizo was intended as a literal translation, and read literally, this makes zero sense. At this point in my editing, the only choice I had was to go back to the original script, break out the Japanese > English dictionaries, and see if I could figure out what the hell was going on here.
As near as I could figure, Riho meant to use the word “chiebukuro” — literally, “sack of wisdom.” She intended to say something about Soutarou’s pop-pop being a pretty smart guy, chock full of good advice. Instead, she uses “tamafukuro” — literally, “ball sack.” You can understand Soutarou’s confusion when Riho starts talking about his grandfather’s wrinkly old nuts. Nice guy that he is, however, Souatrou tries to give her a graceful out, suggesting it was actually his grandmother who provided the advice. Riho realizes her error and is appropriately mortified.
Great. We’ve puzzled it out ... but at this point, the joke still doesn’t work in translation. “Sack of wisdom” isn’t a common English phrase, so the reader won’t catch the intended meaning behind Riho’s mistake. It just sounds like a plain old non sequitur right now. So our next task is to change her line to something that (1) works as a Freudian slip, (2) comes out of the blue, and (3) is sexually shocking enough to catch Soutarou off guard.
The version I eventually settled on ran something like this:
Soutarou: “... That was the common advice back then, I think. Well, you know, according to my grandfather.”
Riho: “Your grandfather must have really liked giving you pearl necklaces, huh?”
Soutarou: “A-Actually, it might have been my grandmother who liked giving out pearls of wisdom ...”
Riho: “Ha ...?!”
Riho: “I can’t believe I just said that ―!”
Here, we’ve keep the same basic structure, but rather than “sack of wisdom,” Riho tries (and fails) to say “pearls of wisdom,” a much more common English idiom. And now, rather than Grandpa’s gnarly ballsack, we have the even more shocking image of the old guy giving his grandson pearl necklaces on a regular basis. Soutarou still gets to save the day by pivoting to his grandmother, and then the rest of the joke plays out pretty much as originally written.
Does it work? I hope so, but one could just as easily argue that I broke it. It’s a different gag; there’s no doubting that. But at the end of the day, I’d rather have a joke that works and maintains the original’s spirit than one that’s accurate to a fault.
Joke 2: Deflowering the girls
Here’s a joke I know I broke during editing. Smashed it to the ground and danced on the pieces. In my defense, it was looking at me funny.
In the raw translation of this scene, resort manager Nagisa has just asked the staff to gather in their swimsuits for a big announcement:
Nagisa: “I have a reason for calling you all here like this today.”
Nagisa: “I'd like everyone to become the 'detergent' of the facilities.”
Sango: “Detergent? Us?”
Nagisa: “Oh, sorry. By detergent, I was referring more to advertising material.... In other words, I need you guys to photograph for an advertisement.”
Again, another joke that makes no sense when read literally. And the only TL note I had to go on said, “This translation won't work in English.” Agreed. So I hauled out the J>E dictionary again, but had much less luck this time. At best, I came away with a wisp of a shred of a guess. My hunch was that Nagisa was using one very specific meaning of the word “senzai”— the foremost part of a garden, the loveliest flowers intended to set the stage and entice visitors in deeper — and Sango interpreted it as another more common meaning of “senzai” — namely, detergent. Nagisa clarifies her meaning, everyone has a chuckle, and the scene continues.
I wasn’t sure if I was right — I’m an editor, not a translator — but lacking any better options, I decided to go with it. And I promptly flailed about like a clown being drowned in a bathtub. Right off the bat, I knew there weren’t any good English sound-alikes that would work here. So instead, I wrote about a dozen variations on garden and flower puns, but none of them managed to weave plausible misunderstanding with Nagisa’s actual meaning. Worse yet, they just weren’t funny.
Next, I tried a few bawdier versions, but quickly abandoned those as well. This scene is going to get more risqué in a minute, but throwing in a sex joke right now would be tipping our hand too soon. (In one draft, I had Nagisa say she wants the girls to be the hook that lures visitors to the island. Sango replies, “What?! You want us to hook for you?” — i.e., she thought her boss wanted to pimp them out as resort hookers.)
Having hit brick wall after brick wall, I decided to strip the joke down to its essence. What’s the basic structure here? Nagisa says she wants to use the girls to help sell the resort. Sango suffers a comic misunderstanding. Nagisa corrects her. The end. So that’s what I wrote:
Nagisa: “There’s a reason why I’ve called everyone here like this today.”
Nagisa: “I've decided to sell you.”
Sango: “Sell us? Is that even legal?”
Nagisa: “Oh, sorry. By ‘sell,’ I meant using you to help advertise the resort ... In layman’s terms, I need you guys to model for some publicity photos.”
We lose the poeticism of the original — that image of the girls as flowers drawing visitors in — but in exchange, we get something that actually works as wordplay in English while still delivering the necessary plot info (Nagisa’s marketing brainstorm). It’s still not a particularly hilarious gag, but then again, neither was the original.
In both examples, I ended up completely rewriting large chunks of each joke. And while I'm not entirely satisfied — I wish I could have kept more of the original language — I'm okay with the result. Editing is a balancing act. You want to remain as faithful to the original text as possible while maintaining the audience’s immersion in the work. If the reader suddenly comes across a joke that clearly doesn’t parse in English, that immersion is broken. They stop. They scroll back and re-read it a few times, trying to make sense of it. They wonder if they’re missing something, or if the TL team just messed it up. BAM. They’re now completely out of the world of the visual novel. The magic is broken.
Because magic is only magic until you notice the strings. Or that dead clown in the bathtub.
Tay reacted to astro for a blog entry, taypls 6
*** astro has shared contact details with Joe. ***
Joe: Hi astro, I'm wondering can u pls translate Aiyoku no Eustia?
Me: sorry I really don't have time to take on more projects right now
Joe: But it's a rly good game
Me: I'm sure it is. look, I hope that you're not asking me to do it for free at the very least - I don't even know who the heck you are
Joe: Well how long will it take u to do it? I can pay u $2000 at most depending on how long it takes
Me: ...Do you have any idea how long the game is?
Joe: No idk japanese so I've never played it before
Well, this isn't really Tay's fault, but my rule of thumb is to always blame Tay. taypls
Tay reacted to Clephas for a blog entry, Clephas' basic advice to untranslated beginners
Since I get asked questions constantly on this subject, I'll go ahead and list a few pieces of advice I felt apply to most beginners.
1) Use translation aggregator and a text hooker, even if you feel like you should be getting out your kanji dictionary, out of a sense of self-reliance. I'll be blunt, it is hard to enjoy something if you have to refer to a kanji dictionary for every other non-particle word. I am sometimes stunned at people bragging about spending 100 hours on an 8 hour moege because they chose not to use a text hooker. That is not an efficient way of using your time, even if you want to learn kanji. It is actually more efficient time-wise to do kanji exercises separately and read your VNs with a text hooker (you'll still be done with both in half the time it would have taken for you to read it using a kanji dictionary).
2) There are two methods you can choose to start your untranslated career... you can start off easy and work your way up, or you can smash your head into the walls of text of the harder VNs out there. I chose the latter, and most people choose the former. The walls of text method has the advantage of jump-starting your learning... but in exchange, you'll probably end up sleeping more to let you process all the new information you've gathered and you'll get frustrated more often. If you want to use the former method, I made a list here sometime ago ( http://forums.fuwanovel.net/topic/3493-for-love-of-vns-for-beginners/ ).
3) jparser in Translation aggregator isn't perfect, nor is Mecab. They are tools to give you a chance to parse the kanji faster, rather than a translation tool. However, there is a good side-benefit to the frequently weird choices of furigana they make... and that is that you'll naturally learn the path to understanding kanji puns without having to look them up later, and it will become ever more easy to dissect more difficult words even without the tools later on.
4) In the end, mastering reading untranslated VNs is an uphill battle for most people. Don't expect yourself or everything you use to be perfect from the beginning, as the very idea is absurd. You'll run into stumbling blocks constantly, and you'll worry endlessly about whether you really understood that last line for most of your first hundred VNs or so.
5) If you read slowly in your native language, you will also read slowly in Japanese. Reading is reading, and it is a skill honed by a simple process of practice, practice, practice that never ends. Yes, learning to read fast in your own language will help you learn to read fast in Japanese once you've gotten to a certain level. If you are barely competent in your own language, I'll be frank in saying that this isn't for you, not to be mean but because it is the same skill, regardless of the details.
6) Last of all, I'd suggest hitting a wide variety of genres early on, not just your favorite ones. Why? Because that sense of wonder and love for VNs is only going to last through your first twenty-five to forty VNs, and once you've gotten past that point, it is going to be harder and harder to grow beyond your limits on your own.
Tay reacted to Darbury for a blog entry, Ojousamas for All! (AKA, The First Reference Rule)
Pop quiz, hotshot.
There’s an untranslated (i.e, romaji) word sitting there in the script you're editing, staring right up at you. It’s been left like that because the TL team figured people ought to know what it means. But will they really? And what are the ramifications if they don’t? You’re running out of time, and patch release day is breathing down your neck. What do you do?
WHAT DO YOU DO?
In the case of KoiRizo, I ended up relying on a journalistic standard commonly called “the first reference rule.” Here’s how it works.
Visual novels for all!
Let’s say you’re a journalist writing an article about efforts to improve educational standards in underdeveloped nations. At some point, you might find yourself needing to refer to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, aka UNESCO. But if just you dropped the acronym “UNESCO” in there, most people wouldn’t know what the bloody hell you were talking about. And if you went with “The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization” every time, your prose would be about as ungainly as me at my prom. So a compromise gets struck: you explain the term on your first reference to it, then use the shorter form thereafter.
An example first reference:
“The director-general of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), pledged to make visual novels part of the global curriculum by 2025.”
“The director-general of UNESCO, the UN agency focused on international education efforts, pledged to make visual novels part of the global curriculum by 2025.”
At this point, you’d be free to use “UNESCO” in any future references, since you’ve already explained the term. Everyone wins: the reader understands what you’re talking about, and you only have to use one word instead of eight.
Ojousamas for all!
The same holds true for visual novels. Let’s say an untranslated term like “ojousama” shows up in your script. if the reader has consumed a fair number of anime/manga/VNs, they might know this describes a young woman of certain means and refinement. It’s a common VN archetype, after all. But a relative newcomer to these genres would have no way of knowing that. They’d be lost if you just started dropping O-bombs out of the blue.
So the first thing to do is determine context. Is this a one-off reference? If so, you can probably just fully translate the line and be done with it. (“She takes a limo to school? She must be an ojousama” becomes, “She takes a limo to school? She must come from money.”)
In the case of KoiRizo, however, the word “ojousama” is used several dozen times. In fact, a character’s ojousama-ness becomes the focal point of an entire route. It would be a fool’s errand to try and excise it, particularly when there’s no one English word to replace it. So we apply the first reference rule.
The initial mention in the translated KoiRizo script reads:
“Because she's an ojousama, it'd be a given that she wouldn't worry about matters like money.”
It hints at the meaning, but doesn't quite go far enough. So applying our rule, we update it to:
“She's a proper young lady of means — an ojousama — so you'd expect her not to worry about things like money.”
We’ve now defined the word “ojousama” in context and set the stage for its future use. This will make the rest of the VN flow much more smoothly for both new readers and purists who prefer their tropey terms untranslated. If several hours go by without us using the word again, it’s common courtesy to provide a reminder of its definition, but otherwise we should be good to go.
All for gruel!
You can even apply the rule in reverse. Here, two characters are about to spend 50 or so lines talking about a certain home-cooked dish. Original translation below:
A: “Okay ... What's in the pot?”
B: “Rice gruel with egg broth.”
We don’t want to spend the next 50 lines saying “Rice gruel with egg broth.” Nor do we want to just say “gruel,” which sounds like something ladled out in a Depression-era orphanage. In fact, this is a steaming bowl of Japanese comfort food deliciousness. So we apply the rule in reverse, and bring back the untranslated term from the original script:
A: “Okay ... What's in the pot?”
B: “Ojiya — rice end egg porridge.”
Now we can safely use the term “ojiya” for the next 50 lines. This ends up working better on several levels: it makes the dish sound more traditionally Japanese, it strikes the right emotional tone, and it helps us shave extra words from our lines.
P.S. - If anyone knows where I can get a really good bowl of ojiya in New York City, I’m all ears.
Tay reacted to ExtraMana for a blog entry, Doom II Mod is finished!- Download it here
The alpha of my Doom II mod is now ready to download.
Hope you enjoy, any feedback on what needs to be changed for the final build of the map is highly appreciated (^-^).
Tay reacted to Rose for a blog entry, Threads you should check out - Week #20
The following list only contains threads made from July 25 to August 01, any older thread will be placed under the "Updated" banner if new relevant content is added to it.
If you don't know how the list works, please check the project
Visual Novel Discussion
Console/Handheld Reception for Visual Novels (Link)
VN Reading Club- August Chuunibyou Extravaganza (Voting) (Link)
Kouki Yoshimune's (Muv-Luv Creator) Message to the World (Link)
Poll: Which classes of sites or organizations have done the most to promote VNs in the West? (Link)
The First Yuri Otomege (Link)
Image of new Narcissu story (Link)
Mangagamer climbing Navel's ladder (Link)
Sekai Project and Winged Cloud are proud to announce the next epic game in the Sakura saga (Link)
How much does your VN folder weigh? (Link)
VNs with characters designed by different artists - Yes or no (Link)
Upscaling vns (Link)
Denpasoft Info & Announcements (Link)
SoniComi english trailer (Link)
Boku to Koi Suru Ponkotsu Akuma OP movie (Link)
Kara no Shoujo 2 demo is out (Link)
Life is Strange - Another take on choices (Link)
Most memorable emotional moments in VN's (Link)
Weekly VN Poll (Week 1) (Link)
Courting the Seasons (Link)
Akihabara Guide: 2015 [Official Status Thread] (Link)
Tsuki ni Yorisou Otome no Sahou + Append Disc (Link)
An artirst searching a colaboration or information. (Link)
Random Thoughts (Link)
Board Game Online (Link)
Akihabara: 2015 Guidebook Request (Link)
Grandia 2 HD on Steam and GOG (Link)
Heartbleed-Level Vulnerability Found In 950 Million Android Devices, Thanks To DRM (Link)
What are the most badass skills that a person can have. (Link)
Rondo duo - Mixed feelings (Link)
Japanese Ghosts, spirits, oni, etc: A bit of a crash course (Link)
Crowdfunding visual novel localization: The perspective of an eroge enthusiast (Link)