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Looking for Translators for Japanese Game Engine Documentation [and forming group and eventually some FanTL]


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Hello everyone! How are you all doing today?

This is a recruitment post for a project that is unlike anything you've seen before.

You've read it right, this is documentation translation, not a fan translation of a visual novel (though it kind of is if you're a "fan" of a game engine).

My skills:

I'm a fluent English speaker, and have a fairly good understanding of Programming and it's concepts.

Now I have been reading Japanese visual novels (all localized by NekoNyan) for almost two years now (with some interruptions in between), and I have seen that their VN engines are very fascinating, Compared to Ren'Py (or should I say, an overweight-walrus-that-reacts-to-anything-after-10 minutes-kinda-program), these run better and more efficiently, that I wanted to find out more about them, and perhaps create my own games out of them! (oh, by the way, I am a bit experienced in Programming.)
So that I've recently started to research and look into them, only to realize that most of them have no English documentation and others are proprietary :( , so I decided to undertake the monotonous task of very carefully using MTL to localize the Documentations to English (I started with KrKrZ), until I got tired and demotivated weeks after. Since then I have realized that I can't do this alone. I will need the help of other people to complete this exciting project and hopefully, create a game with it!

KrKrZ manuals can be found on Github as webpages, and can be translated by editing the HTML. After translating, I plan to open source it for anyone to make a game as well.

I would also like to create my own TL Group and even do FanTL for Visual Novels on the more non-romcom heavy-story, lore-based games as well eventually, but we'll see!

So if you're a tech geek like me interested in Japanese VN engines and you know Japanese, then feel free to hit the comments below and let me know!

Thanks for reading!

Edited by AKA Rabin Studio
added clarifications
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I'm a VN dev currently using Renpy but I'm interested in Kirikiri for years but never found good ressources in english. It would be really nice to have english documentations and tutorial for Kirikiri.

The basic documention is already translated but it'sjust for a very simple game. Link: http://kirikirikag.sourceforge.net/contents/index.html

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When I was younger (= 10 years ago) I had an interest in KiriKiri/KAG myself. But of course there was no KrKrZ and everyone used the old KiriKiri 2/KAG 3 by W.Dee.

13 hours ago, AKA Rabin Studio said:

I'm a fluent English speaker, and have a fairly good understanding of Programming and it's concepts.

I can’t say much about KrKrZ, but I understood a lot of the KAG markup system and TJS language spec, just through markup and programming language experience and by playing around with code examples. If you’re familiar with the concepts of HTML or XML and any modern C-like programming language (especially TypeScript or Java), you shouldn’t have a hard time understanding the syntax and principles just by playing around with the .ks and .tjs files, which you can find in the KiriKiri/KrKrZ SDK and in the KAG framework (https://github.com/krkrz/kag3). In my opinion you don't necessarily need to know Japanese. Just deepl over the tags and class/functions reference docs and test it out. Although having someone with fluent Japanese skills and at the same time a basic idea of programming languages would be an advantage.

13 hours ago, AKA Rabin Studio said:

Compared to Ren'Py (or should I say, an overweight-walrus-that-reacts-to-anything-after-10 minutes-kinda-program), these run better and more efficiently

But I would disagree that KiriKiri is a better choice than for example Ren’Py when it comes to western VN devs. Ren’Py was built as an easy to use, but still flexible Engine for western Indie devs whereas W.Dee and probably Takenori had the Japanese market in mind. As I said, I can't say much about KrKrZ, but at least 10 years ago, it was a terrible experience to make a non-Japanese VN with the public pre-built versions of KiriKiri/KAG and the official SDK and I can imagine it's the same case with the pre-built versions of KrKrZ.

Of course, that doesn't mean it wouldn't be possible to make a version that meets the needs of western devs. Like you mentioned: There are many Japanese games which are based on KiriKiri available in English. But if KiriKiri should be an attractive alternative for the western dev community, then there is more effort necessary than just translating the KAG/TJS docs.

 

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7 hours ago, Yume Creations said:

I'm a VN dev currently using Renpy but I'm interested in Kirikiri for years but never found good ressources in english. It would be really nice to have english documentations and tutorial for Kirikiri.

The basic documention is already translated but it'sjust for a very simple game. Link: http://kirikirikag.sourceforge.net/contents/index.html

I wish I could suggest it, but there are a couple of issues with this. One is that, obviously, its incomplete and the translator has disappeared. Secondly, and most important of all, is that there are two more components of kirikiri (TJS2, KAG3) that has not been touched in the translation.

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Just deepl over the tags and class/functions reference docs and test it out.

I had already attempted that in the case of TJS2, not only machine translations are often inaccurate, it is frowned upon and sort of inconvenient.

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But I would disagree that KiriKiri is a better choice than for example Ren’Py when it comes to western VN devs. Ren’Py was built as an easy to use, but still flexible Engine for western Indie devs whereas W.Dee and probably Takenori had the Japanese market in mind. As I said, I can't say much about KrKrZ, but at least 10 years ago, it was a terrible experience to make a non-Japanese VN with the public pre-built versions of KiriKiri/KAG and the official SDK and I can imagine it's the same case with the pre-built versions of KrKrZ.

The problem with Ren'py is that, it is slow and takes unnecessarily more memory than KrKrZ. But I would say that it has become popular in the west as a free VN framework is because this was the only free option out there, and you had a project manager and an readymade GUI and code where you can start immediately. KrKrZ does not have that, but that is what me (and hopefully, my team) will try to fix. We will create a Template project with a GUI and everything so that users can get started on scripting immediately. Also language barriers were another, as well.

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But if KiriKiri should be an attractive alternative for the western dev community, then there is more effort necessary than just translating the KAG/TJS docs.

I had this in mind as well. That is why, after we are completely done with the localization, I planned to create a game or games to demonstrate the abilities of KiriKiri, and hopefully they will eventually become, if not a bit, popular enough for people to take an interest in KiriKiri. Just take a look at Doki Doki Literature Club and what it has done to Ren'py! It has skyrocketed!

(PS. didnt know W Dee has a github so was kinda surprised...)

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11 hours ago, AKA Rabin Studio said:

(PS. didnt know W Dee has a github so was kinda surprised...)

Yeah, but he cares more about potatoes than KiriKiri these days.

11 hours ago, AKA Rabin Studio said:

The problem with Ren'py is that, it is slow and takes unnecessarily more memory than KrKrZ. But I would say that it has become popular in the west as a free VN framework is because this was the only free option out there, and you had a project manager and an readymade GUI and code where you can start immediately.

I mean sure, Python isn't the first language you would choose if you want to write a Game Engine (for this reason, they also wrote some critical parts in C and Cython, afaik). But I would argue that memory shortage isn't a major problem today as long as your target platform is not a Raspi Zero. Furthermore, I would say that a typical Visual Novel isn't something you would call "performance intensive" or "time critical". Of course, there are exceptions, but in many many cases you have just text boxes, character images, background images, transition effects and sound.

Because of this, I think many indie VN devs don't care much about stuff like "how much RAM consumes my Visual Novel". What they care about would be stuff like: Is the engine easy to use? Is the documentation good? Are there beginner tutorials and is there a big dev/support community? Can I target multiple platforms? Are there some useful key features like easy to use support for Live 2D?

11 hours ago, AKA Rabin Studio said:

KrKrZ does not have that

Funny thing: Actually there could already exist a commercial but easy to use version of KiriKiri for the western market: TyranoBuilder. Can't look in the source sode since its not OSS, but if you dig, you'll see that it uses the KAG framework under the hood (at least if you export to Windows). But of course, that's not what we understand when we talk about "Kirikiri" or "KrKrZ" and who knows how many changes they made.

11 hours ago, AKA Rabin Studio said:

We will create a Template project with a GUI and everything so that users can get started on scripting immediately. Also language barriers were another, as well.

In any case, I would recommend you to get in touch with Takenori at some point. If you do the work of translating everything and build some nice noob friendly tools and examples, it would be a shame to just treat it as an external "fan project". If you have something useful, it would be best to merge this in the official KrKrZ repo, if possible. But since he hasn't been very active lately, it may take a while before you get a reaction.


Also wanted to mention that there were some Japanese books about KiriKiri/KAG 10+ years ago. I don't know if they can help you, but you can still get them at some Japanese online markets:

https://www.kinokuniya.co.jp/f/dsg-01-9784798026527

https://www.kinokuniya.co.jp/f/dsg-01-9784798016597

https://www.kinokuniya.co.jp/f/dsg-01-9784844322641

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Because of this, I think many indie VN devs don't care much about stuff like "how much RAM consumes my Visual Novel". What they care about would be stuff like: Is the engine easy to use? Is the documentation good? Are there beginner tutorials and is there a big dev/support community? Can I target multiple platforms? Are there some useful key features like easy to use support for Live 2D?

We also plan to write guides and video tutorials after we have finished with the localizations, and hopefully we might have enough support for a at least small community, as well as writing plugins to expand the engine.

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Funny thing: Actually there could already exist a commercial but easy to use version of KiriKiri for the western market: TyranoBuilder. Can't look in the source sode since its not OSS, but if you dig, you'll see that it uses the KAG framework under the hood (at least if you export to Windows). But of course, that's not what we understand when we talk about "Kirikiri" or "KrKrZ" and who knows how many changes they made.

I see. Too bad its not free, or else I would have taken a look at it myself. But very interesting.

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In any case, I would recommend you to get in touch with Takenori at some point. If you do the work of translating everything and build some nice noob friendly tools and examples, it would be a shame to just treat it as an external "fan project". If you have something useful, it would be best to merge this in the official KrKrZ repo, if possible. But since he hasn't been very active lately, it may take a while before you get a reaction.

Unfortunately I don't speak Japanese, otherwise I would have established contact and have an 100% English supported KrKrZ ready. Also I wouldn't have created a recruitment post 😅     But I can try someday.

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Also wanted to mention that there were some Japanese books about KiriKiri/KAG 10+ years ago. I don't know if they can help you, but you can still get them at some Japanese online markets

Cool! Too bad those are probably out of stock or something like that(?)

In any case, it seems that you have been talking now. Have you considered joining the team? 😉

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7 hours ago, AKA Rabin Studio said:

Unfortunately I don't speak Japanese, otherwise I would have established contact and have an 100% English supported KrKrZ ready.

I would guess he speaks English too. At least a little. Well, I think it would be worth to try it at least, since such "fan projects" tend to get lost after a while. Making something official out of it would therefore not be the worst thing to do.

7 hours ago, AKA Rabin Studio said:

Cool! Too bad those are probably out of stock or something like that(?)

Well quite possible. These books are a decade old. But I guess you'll get some old copies on Japanese auction websites and can import them via proxy services, if you want to have one.

7 hours ago, AKA Rabin Studio said:

In any case, it seems that you have been talking now. Have you considered joining the team? 😉

Not necessary joining, since I don't think I've enough time to participate here as well. But of course, if I can help you guys with something I will see what I can do. After all, I'm a bit nostalgic about this topic.

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It's often said that one needs to decide whether they want to work on games, or on engine/tooling, because realistically one won't achieve both.
What you're proposing in this thread seems like an exceedingly lofty goal. While I was reversing KrkrZ and certain plugins and scripts for our current TL project, I considered translating and releasing just a small portion of the configs and docs, but dropped the idea after about five minutes as not worth the effort. There are maybe five people in the world who could appreciate it; all established OELVN makers are happily chipping away at Ren'Py and NaniNovel and finishing and releasing actual games.

It's not like I don't understand your fascination, though; I've waded around in its guts, and I do appreciate KrkrZ for what it is. It's a solid, lean and mean piece of code with a fantastic track record of running without issue on literal potatoes, and Japanese devs are still cranking out games for it - because that's what they know. It's convenient, for them.

But it's also a decade-old piece of nonportable code, and the environments in which those established Japanese developers finish projects are a hodgepodge of long-lost and proprietary plugins and tools, most notably the M.2 Scene format.

Ren'Py is free and NaniNovel costs $135. These are modern tools for modern developers, supported by an extremely active and enthusiastic community worldwide. It just doesn't make sense to try to make KiriKiri work for projects in the west - in my opinion, and seemingly that of existing OELVN developers.

Now, if you really do want to tinker with engines instead of games, I truly do wish the project godspeed. Krkrz is an interesting curiosity, and frankly machine translation and programmer's intuition can probably take you a long way in figuring it out. I can try to answer questions with my very limited existing knowledge, but most of the basics I've already jotted down here.

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