Friday, November 13, 2009

A Blades of the Rose Cross Update

Hello, everyone.

As many of you already know, [erka:es] released Version 1.06a of Rosenkreuzstilette, which corrects a variety of bugs and allows the game to run on Vista and Windows 7. The staff of Darkside Translations and Schwer and Schwer Alike intend to release an update to our localization to incorporate these bugfixes into the English executable.

We'd like to take the opportunity to address any issues with our original release that we previously overlooked or ignored. To that end, if you have any suggestions or comments about our release, we ask you to send them our way, either by posting them as a comment to this blog update or by emailing us. We've received next to no constructive feedback on the quality of our localization, so we're wondering which aspects of our work need improvement.

As of this writing, there are three issues we intend to address:

1) The Start Menu shortcut to the RKS Online Manual currently points to the project page and not the English translation of the manual. The updated release will include a shortcut pointing to the proper URL.

2) Two Germans strings in our initial release were deliberately left untranslated. Namely, we left the "Die Zeit vergeht schnell..." ("My, how time flies...") in the Replay Mode fast-forward screen and the "Waffenenergie" ("Weapon Energy") on the Status subscreen as they originally were.

Because of its layout, it would be impossible to add an English translation to the Replay Mode text -- we'd have to remove the all-important timer or replace the German text with its English equivalent. From the outset of this project, we had no intention of removing any of the German text, so this line will remain unchanged.

As for the Status screen, we weren't able to come up with a translation layout that we felt looked good with both a full and empty inventory, so we decided to scratch adding the English translation altogether. If you check our proof-of-concept screenshots in the comments sections of an earlier blog post, you might find a shot of one of our attempts. In any event, we intend to experiment with the layout some more and see if we can come up with an attractive way of integrating an English translation.

3) As Kilgamayan pointed out in his Let's Play videos, we chose to translate the English name for Zeppelin Stage III as "Xanatos". This was my own idea. I didn't want to repeat "Thanatos" twice on the same screen, so I decided to use a variant of the name to convey the same reference (like using Kerberos instead of Cerberus). Other alternatives for the name included "Death" and "The Grim Reaper", both of which undermine the "subtlety" of the Castlevania shout-out.

In retrospect, the order in which the names appeared should have been reversed. "Thanatos" is the official nickname of the stage's boss, whereas "Xanatos" is just a variant. We intend to reverse the names in the updated release.

That said, please let us know what you think of our work. If you didn't like how we worded a line, didn't like the fonts we used, or thought that a graphic should have been nudged just one tiny pixel over, point it out and we'll give the matter some thought. We can't fix anything if we don't know it's broken, so fill us in!

Oh, and those of you who recognized Xanatos as the last name of Jonathan Frakes' character in Gargoyles: good job!


  1. Well starters, there's no config.exe in English localization of the game, though I can assume that an English-translated config.exe wasn't necessary since the Options screen in the game is good enough without it.

    I also thought that a few of the lines in games could use a little tweaking. For example, one of Grolla's lines before fighting Luste, Grolla used "don't" in one of her lines (if I can correctly) when normally Grolla avoids using contractions such "can't" or "shouldn't". I can't say too much on the English script since I've haven't played Rosenkreuzstilette in a while and I'm not a literal pro when it comes to writing. But I'm sure there's someone else who can help on that department.

    I'm not sure how some people got problems running the game on Windows Vista, because the only computer that I'll ever have access to at home at this point is a Windows Vista computer and it works just fine, but again its a good thing they've addressed that problem.

    There's nothing I can say about the fonts used in the English translation is good in my opinion, but I guess it won't hurt to experiment which would be better.

    And as for names used in Zeppelin Stage 3, was it a reference to the show? Because I've haven't watch it in a LONG time.

  2. Let's go over these one at a time:

    Unless [erka:es] provides us with the source code for the configuration utility, there's no way for us to create an English version of it. The executable uses Unicode instead of Shift-JIS, so the only way we can fit English translations of each of the labels is to use a ridiculous amount of shorthand. Since you can configure everything in-game, why waste the effort on something that's pretty much guaranteed to look half-assed?

    Though our characterizations differ somewhat, both Letty's script and my own had Grolla using contractions from time to time. These are more frequent when she's angry. The only character who consciously avoids using them is Sichte, which is her way of rejecting her poor upbringing.

    On a related note, Iris is supposed to sound like a prim and proper rich girl (many of her lines ended in "desu wa" in the original). However, retaining this mannerism while at the same time preserving the nods to Light Yagami was a little difficult, so our version has Iris becoming more candid / motormouthed as she loses her grip on her sanity insane.

    To my knowledge, the biggest problem with Vista is the permissions for saving replay & configuration files. I'm curious myself as to how [erka:es] managed to work around it.

    The font we used in-game is a custom variant of MS Gothic, the game's original font. For some reason, the Chinese localization of the game uses MS Mincho, which I think looks terrible. That was the font used in the very first demo version, so I'll let that slide.

    My comment was more geared toward the fonts used in the graphics, though. For instance, the font used in the new Super Mario Bros. HUD. I wanted to use the one from the Bowser levels in Super Paper Mario, but it seems that's a custom-made Nintendo font, as far as I can tell. In any case, many of the font choices were deliberate references themselves; the opening stage uses the Commodore 64 system font to underscore the Murder on the Mississippi reference.

    Yep, Machiavellian millionaire David Xanatos gets a nod in RKS. On that note, so does Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Since the original script uses plenty of quotes, I decided to work a few references in myself - provided they didn't change the meaning of what was actually said (we're not Working Designs, you know). We didn't shoehorn anything in, I can assure you.

    I know that there are a few Megaman Zero quotes in the script, but I haven't yet played the games, so it's entirely possible that I overlooked a reference or two.

  3. Well the initial translation patch was quite flawless to me... I may have overlooked some details too, but nothing shocked me at all. That was a pretty good work from the start.

    MM-Zero references, yes I remember a few things... The most obvious is Graf's transformation into his "Dracula full form".
    "I'm the Devil", wareha akuma da, it is Veil's line when he fuses with Ragnarok in MMZ4... One of my favourite lines, with an awesome BGM in this battle.

  4. I know this is unrelated, but has anyone here gotten the glitch where, in Sichte's stage in RKS Freudenstachel, the little clock hand doesn't appear? I've gotten it twice already.

  5. Though I wouldn't call it a flawless localization (I already pointed out a few issues that we could have handled better), I'm glad you think so highly of our work. We made a point of giving the game a professional-quality localization; the perfectionist in me wouldn't have been satisfied with anything less. Granted, I had to abandon another project I was working on at the time to do it (ef -the fairy tale of the two-) - a sacrifice I still haven't totally forgiven myself for making.

    In the off-chance that Rockin' Android decides to license RKS, you can bet that I'll be scrutinizing their localization. My instincts tell me that, if they actually intend to release it, they'll probably create a compilation with Freudenstachel like they're doing for Suguri and Gundemonium.

    Shiva, I've come across that bug a few times myself. Since the clock hands are manipulated in real-time (as opposed to being pre-rendered like the other sprites), I'm guessing that there are still a few bugs in the 3D portion of the game engine.

  6. I recognized the name, but mainly because TV Tropes has ruined my life.

  7. I'd suggest to those who don't have much in the way of willpower to stay away from TV Tropes - it's a very efficient way of killing lots of time and a procrastinator's best friend / worst enemy. Personally, I try to stay away from the Examples sections since I often inadvertently spoil a lot of titles for myself just by knowing a particular trope applies to it.

    Well, I'm glad we got a hat-tip on the RKS page...

  8. Speaking as a regular contributor to the page in question, I think it'd be a crime NOT to mention you guys' work there.

  9. Hey,

    I just--sorry--downloaded this game a little while ago, and made sure I updated to the 1.06a patch, but I can't get the English patch to work. It starts to read the game's directory for a bit, then tells me there's an error reading the directory. Am I doing something wrong?

  10. "Unfortunately, there's a new issue. I haven't been able to test this completely yet, but the original RKS's 1.05c->1.06a patch does not work on the rks_e.exe file within the English "Rosenkreuzstilette ~Blades of the Rose Cross~" folder, and I don't know if the English patch will work on a 1.06a version of the game. Due to these developments, we will get to working on an update patch or something for the English version, which may very well require an entirely new installer."

    Posted a few entries ago.

  11. Aww, are you serious? I looked through the blog, too...missed it completely.

    Sorry. :<

  12. Couldn't you have used "Death Bringer" instead of Xanatos?

  13. Sorry, must of slipped my mind...

    But don't get me wrong, though. Even I thought the English patch is practically perfect on the first run. I just want this to be the best it could be with the next version. I've must of been over-thinking things from what said in my previous comment. One of my own flaws...

    On an un-related note, how's that lost puppy, TDOMMX?

  14. That makes two of us, Viper. I'd like the next version of the patch to be flawless as well. I've asked two acquaintances to go over the script when they have the chance and suggest improvements as they go along. Considering what I've been shown thus far, I think our scripts are in the right hands. I told them to take their time and do a proper job, so I'd expect to receive the proofread scripts in late December. With the Freudenstachel delay, there isn't really a reason to rush.

    In the meantime, I've made a single correction to the staff roll: the voice credits to have been updated to reflect the proper romanizations of the names as opposed to the "preferred" versions. Junka Amaoto refers to herself as "JUNCA", Hazumi Homura calls herself "HAZZMI", and Eruru Takeda goes by "ERULOO". Note that all three of their names are spelled in kanji (hiragana in the furigana), making those romanizations erroneous. Our patch used "Junca Amaoto" to follow along with [erka:es]'s correction, but after discussing the matter with Mint, I've decided to prioritize accuracy over preference. The nicknames can still be found in the English manual, and since Aigon's real name is never mentioned, he remains "Aigon" in the credits.

    Unfortunately, though the puppy had a collar, he didn't have a tag on it, so I have no idea what his name was or where he was from. He was an adorable little Shih Tzu, and I enjoyed taking care of the cute little fluffball. Too bad we were legally obliged to hand him over to Canine Patrol when they came to pick him up. I hope he eventually found his way home.

    After doing some additional research, it seems Xanatos is indeed an accepted variant of Thanatos. "Death Bringer" doesn't quite encompass the Greek personification of death, so I'd have to dismiss that suggestion. Death Bringer is also the name of an old Amiga / C64 / TurboGrafx game, so that might cause a few people to confuse the reference.

    Another thing I'd like to bring up: the kanji for Zeppelin Stage I can be read as both "The Demon's Lair" and "Pandemonium", the latter being the name for the capital city of Hell. The former is also the name of a tabletop RPG, so it could be an deliberate reference. Should I switch the name to The Demon's Lair, or should I leave it as Pandemonium?

  15. awe december? T_T oh well my fault for not taking the time to read update to the wrong version. but i guess its cool gives e time o practice i suck at this game. >.>

  16. Well I'm not sure of myself that either about "The Demon's Lair" or "Pandemonium" should be used in the updated English translation. "The Demon's Lair" to me sounds like its referring to to the fact that you're entering the demon's lair, Count Zeppelin being the demon and the castle as his lair.

    While on the subject of stage names, should Zeppelin Stage 2's name be changed to "The Goddess Who Cries Bloody Tears" or be left as "Bloody Tears"?

  17. Viper, that's the reason I considered reverting the name. I initially had it written in as "The Demon's Lair", but I backed up the PSD layer and changed it to "Pandemonium" when I realized that the location uses those exact kanji. Considering WOMI's passion for board games, I think I botched an intentional reference there.

    As for Chi no Namida, no, I will not be changing the stage title to match the German. This is one of the rare instances in the game where the Japanese and German do not say the same thing (another would be "The Golden Palace" / "The Castle of Gold"). I had intended to point out these differences in the translation notes, but I've been sidetracked with other stuff and haven't gotten around to finalizing & uploading them. I expect that'll be done before I hear back from DekuKirby and Ryusui.

  18. Beyond the last names, is there any evidence that WOMI has a "passion for board games"?

  19. By as how he gets the last names for the characters, I'm assuming yes.

  20. Beyond the last names, is there any evidence that WOMI has a "passion for board games"?

    Whoops. Mind fart. I meant to say Isemiya, not WOMI. Still, I'd say the fact that he notes it in his personal profile doesn't leave much room for debate. I'm localizing both of their profiles for the "About the Authors" page:

    The resident programmer and general mastermind behind [erka:es]. A diehard fan of old-school video games, tactical RPGs, visual novels, and board games; the influences of these media can clearly be seen throughout Rosenkreuzstilette. Loves Miruku Ichigo, a Japanese adult video actress.

    - "Poached"

    Favorite Anime:
    - The works of Junichi Sato (Magical Doremi, Princess Tutu, Kaleido Star, etc.), Macross 7, Aria, Mushi-Shi, Magical Pokaan, and many, many others.

    Favorite Games:
    - Megaman (the original six, X through X4, Zero, and Legends), Project Shrine Maiden (better known as Touhou), MegaMari, SaGa (a.k.a. Final Fantasy Legend), and S.O.S. (originally released as Septentrion).

    Favorite Visual Novels:
    - Anything from Type-Moon, Nitro+, Littlewitch, and Kero Q, as well as Family Project, Negaposi, Aoiro Rinne, Suzukuri Dragon, Artificial Girl 2, and Tsuyokiss.

  21. ...And I botched another one. 「่‹บใฟใ‚‹ใ」 also refers to Ichigo Milk, the now-discontinued release label of an obscure adult game developer.

    Note to self: just because Google spits out tons of hits for it doesn't mean it's the only thing with that name. Figures that an asian porn star would get the top twenty-some-odd results...