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Last updated on Oct-18-2019 Download

Internationalization

Internationalization
by on (#60908)
I've been thinking about the text in my game, and I'd like to be prepared to be able to translate it into other languages. Other latin alphabet languages shouldn't be too bad, just need support for some extra accented characters. And my understanding of japanese is I just need to support hiragana and katakana, on the order of a 100 or so characters.

Being able to support chinese seems much harder. My understanding is there's no basic minimum set of characters; what characters I'll need will depend on the translated text. Also, is it possible to represent the han characters in a 8x8 font, or is 16x16 required? How do chinese NES games handle these problems?

I don't know much about Arabic based languages, but they seem very difficult to support. That said, there are clearly some games out there that do it, any idea how they do it?

by on (#60910)
I think all NES games in chinese use CHR-RAM, and the characters are copied from PRG-ROM (where you can have a much wider character set) as necessary for each phrase/text. I don't think there is a way to do it with CHR-ROM.

by on (#60912)
tokumaru wrote:
I don't think there is a way to do it with CHR-ROM.

If you don't have a text heavy game, something like Mario, you could just "hard code" all the messages over several banks. :) But yeah, I can't imagine trying to do it character based like latin languages.

by on (#60917)
Sure, many games in Chinese use either the Faxanadu solution (reserve a big block of CHR RAM) or a clone of TQROM, but ideographs in CHR ROM are possible. If each message is 11 characters long, that's 44 tiles. Then use a palette trick (alternate characters in plane 0 and plane 1) to shrink that by a factor of 2, and you can fit about 3 messages in each CHR bank. I seem to remember some Pinocchio game in Chinese called "Pi Nuo Cao De Fu Su", which I wish were translated into English.

by on (#60947)
Well looking around some more, it seems most people think it's impossible to do a 8x8 han font (the smallest I found was 11 pixels tall), so it seems you'd have to do 16x16. Which means if you want your game to be translatable to chinese, you'd have to make sure everywhere you use text you leave a blank line underneath, so that's there's space when it's translated. That's probably not a huge problem for dialogue boxes and the like, but it could be a deal breaker for some menus. Like the spell menu at the bottom of the screen in GemVenture, I wouldn't have space for each spell to take up two lines.

Also, for anyone who's been involved in translating a game, is there anything you wish the original developers would have done to make things easier?

by on (#60949)
I think you'll get better replies if you tell us what kind of game it is, what mapper you're using and whether you're using CHR-RAM or CHR-ROM. All of that should have an impact on what you're trying to do.

by on (#60951)
Well I'm actually trying to think of a system that will be usable for any future game I make. Of course RPGs or any game with dialogue are the most affected by translations issues, so that's what I've been considering the most.

I want my games to be on a cartridge someday, so right now that pretty much leaves me with MMC1 or UxROM, and I generally prefer CHR-RAM over CHR-ROM.