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Before yesterdayThe Geofront – Zero no Kiseki Fan TL Hub

Trails of Zeroing in on Zero: Imminent Release is All But Azured

By: Ribose5

Hello, soon-to-be detectives! Ribose here. It’s time for an update! It’s been a while, but things have NOT calmed down here. In fact, they have ramped up as we ready for a release, soon.

On My Way, Listen You Have to Obey, Magic Is Mine to Command, I’m The…

Now that it’s time for a new update, it’s time for us to say what has happened since the last one. The first reveal is that our friend, Sorcerian, is the one editing graphics for us! While omgfloofy did some graphics such as the location intro text, chapter title cards, and quartz/arts notebook pages, Sorcerian has filled in to give us the rest!

This includes a long checklist of notebook help pages, battle status and AT icon redraws, and 40+ textures of signs that needed to be adjusted for one reason or another. Addaberry, who provided the cursors, also edited a few sign textures.

Here are a few of the beautiful notebook help pages that Sorcerian has made for us.

And here are a few shots of various parts of the game. If you’re familiar with the game, see if you can spot all of the small adjustments.

Advancing Bravery

In past installments, we have revealed our Options replacement menu and Save List replacement menu, I’d like to show off how they look now with a bit of polish and iteration.

A shout out is due, once again, to the almighty Dear ImGui library powering these user interfaces. By simulating the game’s behavior with text shadow and a background made out of the game engine’s window backgrounds, it should convincingly feel like part of the game! Mouse, keyboard, and controller support is, of course, still present, and should be better than before.

Now, it’s time to show off three core features of our patch that I may or may not have said were impossible in the past. These all rely on the incredible Dear ImGui library in some part.

#1: Individualizing Your Soundtrack

The first feature is one that was brewing for probably years now. We used a little-known (and not very great) UI library for a short time before finding and switching to ImGui for our UI needs. This “OST switch” existed as a (non-functioning) dropdown menu on THAT interface. So that pins it down to at least a year and a half ago.

With my work on replacing SOUNDARC with an emulation thread (a story for another day…) and JoseJL’s continuing work disassembling and finding out more about the game’s systems, and specifically its “t_bgm” table, JoseJL was able to complete this feature. I provided some much-needed UI work to make the selector easy to use and work with our Options overlay.

I also gave it one last touch: each item can be played on the fly! So, with that addition, this became more of a combination Sound Test and OST selection popup. The game will return to the track for the area you are in when the popup is closed.

I also edited the English translations of the song titles to align with our edited project. For song titles that were already in English, such as the famous Get Over the Barrier!, no change was made. If you want the original song titles (the mix of Japanese and English titles found on the official track list), then please check out our release in Japanese display mode.

#2: Button Prompt Icons For Everyone

If you look back at the notebook help pages I posted first, you may notice something. In fact, early experiments of this idea have been going on for at least a year. Old updates posted to this website contained button prompt icons hidden in them.

Now, this feature could require an explanation that could hog one or a few full-length blog posts! So for now, I’ll just state what it is, and leave the how it works for another day…

Button prompt icons are the icons that appear in the top left of the screen during battle and certain menus, as well as the “L” and “R” icons displayed on tabs, and, unique to our release, embedded in the scenario, non-scenario text, and on top of notebook help pages that need them.

Why are they so special? Well, on PSP, PS Vita, PS4, and practically any console out there, button prompts are hardcoded (technically, PS Vita and PS4 let you remap at the OS level, but games frequently do not even change to accommodate this remapping). By hardcoded, I mean that you only have one set of icons and their meaning is exactly what it shows. For example, the Circle button on the PSP was hardcoded to always mean “Accept” and this is irrefutable in that version of this game. It also always would use the Circle glyph and that was fine.

Then, Joyoland ported Zero no Kiseki to the PC platform and did absolutely the bare minimum to work with the platform. They changed the icons to generic DirectInput icons, but the icons did not change when rebound.

We can finally unveil that in this patch, we have fully-rebindable button prompt icons! Under Options > Display, you can choose an icon set (Xbox, DualShock, Switch Pro, and Default). Then you can rebind to your heart’s content! By default, the patch is configured to expect the default layout for each of the three controllers listed.

The other part to this feature is keyboard button prompt icons.

This feature will be expanded upon in a future deep-dive blog post. For now, know that you can select your icon set in the Display tab, and select your binding preset (or set your own) in the Controller, Keyboard, and Mouse tabs, and the game should display sane icons for most regular configurations. This should also provide parity with the existing Trails of Cold Steel PC ports!

#3: The Message Log

And for the final big feature reveal, let’s compare this game to the newest English release in the series, Trails of Cold Steel III. One day while that release was hot on our minds, Arvin asked the impossible question: I had an idea. How about a backlog for text? JoseJL looked into it, and ended up making it possible! He came up with the proof-of-concept, and then we refined it. I provided some UI programming work and improved the scenario parsing to include everything from color to embedded icons. Now introducing: the message log.

This message log of course saves text far into the past just as the game displays it, supports Japanese or English text (depending on your display mode), and displays text with full color and any icons. It also lets you replay scenario voices, if they are installed, and shows the speaker title and speaker portrait if present. It is also saved and loaded with the save file (in a JSON file stored in the save’s folder).

Is That All?

Of course not! There’s always more to this amazing project and it has been an absolute blast to work with the other Geofront team members as we continually make the impossible possible on this game that has become so important to us.

So what’s more? Well, a few shout outs first.

Shout out to all of our amazing testers! They are the real heroes, finding typos, finding strange bugs with the default input sensitivity of the Switch Pro controller in DirectInput mode, finding connections to things we missed from Trails in the Sky FC through Trails of Cold Steel III that they’ll never let us live down for missing, and just generally being collectively comprehensive and thorough like our limited number of eyes could never be. They will be fully listed in our credits on the project’s release day.

Shout out to the previous team’s translation work (that is, translators Guren and Yangxu and others). While we can say with absolute certainty that this project needed an editing pass, and we can also say that we have probably checked the original Japanese on literally thousands of lines, terms, and names, we wouldn’t be here without their first step.

And obligatory shout out to Nihon Falcom for such an incredible game. The story told in this game must be told to you guys. It’s worth the wait to see the humor, the intensity, the characters, the machinations…

Please, just wait about one month longer, for we hope to get this patch in your hands soon. Remember, it’s done when it’s done. We have a few bugs to sort out, but at the rate things are being completed, testing is progressing, and issues are being resolved, I don’t expect it to take much longer. We’ll have you know, we will probably be hard at work on this until that very last moment. There are so many parts to the project, it’s kind of unbelievable that a finish line is in sight.

Supplemental Material

We would like to remind you once more of the treasure chest messages form. Since that will be implemented into the game last, I expect to close that form in a couple weeks. Do get your submissions in!

We will be opening a channel on the Falcom Discord specifically for the discussion of our patch called #trails-from-zero-geofront.

We have a few other supplemental projects to detail and provide related to the game. Please look forward to them!

Now I would like to hand this over to Arvin.

Hello!

Hey guys, Arvin here. I haven’t had the opportunity to write in one of these yet, so I wanted to start by saying hello. So… Hello…

Cool. It’s been about five months since I first started working on this project, and I have to say, whew, it’s been a heck of a ride. I dove into the game with almost no experience in any form of editing, so it was a bit of a struggle at first. However, I’m pleased to say that I’m in my comfort zone at this point, and any of my older, awkward writing was completely banished during the second pass.

On the topic of passes: The first pass essentially served as a means of rearranging the original script into more legible English. The second pass was initially meant to be our proofreading phase, but I felt that all of the writing could have used a bit of an upgrade. I spent a solid two months giving every single NPC a voice, so that they sounded like an actual ‘character,’ as opposed to just a translation. There were a few NPCs I had a ton of fun with, especially in Neinvalli Exchange, Guillaume Factory, and the Fisherman’s Guild. Part of me thinks I was actually born to write fishermen dialog. I also spent time getting down the voices of all the SSS characters, and I think I’ve done a great job of matching Zerker’s writing style to help give everyone a seamless experience. I am especially fond of Randy, if my avatar hadn’t already made it obvious.

P.S. Give me full credit for all of the funny lines, and blame Zerk for any bad lines!

P.P.S. Ouch! I’m funny sometimes! – Zerker

Beta Testing Phase

As you may have seen on Twitter or Discord a few times, we are now more than a month into the beta testing phase! What does that entail, exactly? Well, KillScottKill, Addabery, Zerker, Cata, and myself have been hard at work cleaning up the script. Scott and Adda are currently playing the game and combing through every single piece of dialog to find any spelling mistake, punctuation error, poorly written line, or anything that reeks of a mistranslation and/or inconsistency. Zerk and myself are correcting any mistakes, or rewriting any lines that call for it, while Cata retranslates any lines that seem off. It’d be safe to say the game’s script wouldn’t be nearly as good without Scott and Adda’s efforts, so thank you!

Often times, our discussions can revolve around a single snippet of text, sending us down a massive rabbit hole to confirm its accuracy. One of our more recent examples includes this line:

Could there really be just one Bracer Guild branch in all of Remiferia? Scott found that hard to believe, so we dove into every available script on trailsinthedatabase.com, as well as tried to reference Akatsuki (we know it’s not canon, don’t worry!) After painstaking research, we were able to determine that there are, in fact, at least two branches in Remiferia. Given that Arios is in contact with the Prince of Remiferia fairly often, it was safe to make the assumption that the Ardent branch of Remiferia was contacting them, as it is their capital city. Ardent is also mentioned by name later in Azure. The line now reads: “You see, I was just contacted by the Ardent branch in Remiferia.” You can imagine how easily this can become a time sink when it happens on multiple occasions.

So again, thank you to our testers and the rest of the team for putting in so much work to ensure this localization becomes one worthy of comparison to the official releases. I see measurable improvements to the script every single day, and I have full confidence it will be spectacular by the end. 

I plan to play the game in its entirety once Scott and Adda have finished their current playthrough. I probably won’t adjust much, but I hope to add better quips. I’ve actually gone back and added in a few these last couple of weeks.

And Sign Off

Zerker here. It’s been a hell of a ride, but one I’ll never forget. We’re all extremely proud of the work we’ve done, and we hope you enjoy playing it as much as we’ve enjoyed working on it. You don’t have too much longer to go. Thank you for sticking with us. Thank you for everything.

The post Trails of Zeroing in on Zero: Imminent Release is All But Azured appeared first on The Geofront.

Trails from Zero: 100%

Well, we made it. For a while, I wasn’t sure if we would—yet here we are. The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero’s first editing pass has been completed. It’s still a little weird to say. After sinking so much of my life into this project for over two years, it’s numbing to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Putting sentimentality aside for now, I suppose you’re asking what happens now? I’ll try to answer that.

The Plan

From here, we are going to run a proofreading/minor editing pass over the areas in the script that need it. This should take a fraction of the time that it took to edit the script, so worry not. Towards the end of proofreading, the testing phase is planned to start. Truth be told, I’m not 100% sure how long that will take, so Ribose will talk about that below! Either way, things are progressing at a rapid pace.

Testing Phase

Hello, Ribose here! The way testing will work is players will be given access to the patch (obviously), as well as a channel to talk to us with, and the issue tracker to report any and every issue found. The issue tracker also contains a wiki containing all of my technical notes for reference, such as a list of all of the quests (and notable optional interactions within them), the NPCs, the documentation of all debug functions (that we’ve found), and the things people are recommended to test.

Any and all terminology is being synchronized with Kiseki Wiki, such that an inconsistency between what the wiki says and what the game says is also considered a bug. Technical bugs, graphical bugs, scenario script bugs (typos, context, etc), inconsistencies, and anything else reported will be looked into and the team will attempt to fix it. Of course, the testers will be able to see reported issues and be able to talk with us and get feedback. Testing will begin soon and will be by invite. We hope it’ll only be a few months until release!

A Special Thanks

Zerker back. Before anything else, I have to thank our friend, Arvin. He has been an immensely huge help in finishing the first editing pass, and has grown to be an invaluable member of the team. Genuinely, I don’t know if we could have finished it (har, har) without your dedication.

Surprises?

On top of the patch, we also have a few mini-projects in the works—related to Zero, of course! Imagine it as the extra toppings on the pizza. Not necessary, but they’re nice to have! One is planned to be released before the patch, and the other concurrently with Trails from Zero.

The post Trails from Zero: 100% appeared first on The Geofront.

Trails from Zero: 90%

10% to go. Looking back, it’s amazing that we got this far to begin with. When I first joined the project, I don’t think I understood just how massive of an undertaking this was going to be. And yet, here we are. 10% until all of the dialogue has undergone edits. Wild.

I suppose that I should clear the air. For the past 7-ish months, I hardly touched the project. I could probably count the number of times I opened the spreadsheet on one hand. Why, you may ask? Well, a lot of burnout. A lot of life happenings. A lot of me shirking my responsibilities, too, I guess. I got engaged to the love of my life, and I’m also trying to get into law school. But, honestly, I think I’ve used those as excuses to push the project to the side. Without Ribose, Cata, and Jose always working on it, I don’t know what would have happened. You don’t need to worry, though. Trails from Zero is coming out, and it’s going to be damn good. With an extra set of hands and renewed energy, we’ve done nearly 10% in about a month. No, we aren’t rushing. We just want to deliver on what we promised. I want to.

Within the next month or so, we want to hit 100%. Unfortunately, that does not mean the patch is ready for release. We will have to go over everything, clean things up, and get ready for QA. Luckily, that should take a fraction of the time. Just be excited, okay? I’ll hand the mic over to Ribose now.

A Small Technical Update

While things may have been slow on the editing front, Jose and I (Ribose) continued to fix things in the background. There were a number of issues affecting the build, from issues running on Windows 7 (now fixed), and issues with the build configuration (we hope is fixed). Also, strange memory leaks and annoying crashes that generally had to do with our modifications to the texture loading, which we also hope are fixed.

We also took the time to implement what wasn’t implemented into our mod, so now we can show off one little thing that was hinted at in the last technical update.

Options Menu

In the previous update, I mentioned this at the start of the save menu replacement section:

A while back, Jose switched the UI library he was using in order to improve the options menu and expose them to players.

Here is how our options menu looks!

Jose and I have worked to make this options menu functional with mouse, keyboard, or controller input. I’ve gone so far as to make it respect keyboard/controller/mouse bindings as the game’s input system sees them. This means if you unbind the accept button, you might need another input method to bind it again…

The menu itself provides all of the options that the external config.exe tool did, but in both Japanese and English, and while the game is running! We chose to do it this way to avoid having to hack a second executable just for English strings, and to have a non-redundant location to easily add additional settings to. While the external tool may still work to a degree, it will not be patched and may not function well with a non-Japanese locale (or due to numerous observed bugs in the original, such as with rebinding). We recommend that players not use the external tool, and just select “OPTION” in the game, as you normally expect from a modern game. The startup process of the game has been adjusted to launch the game at your current default monitor’s resolution in borderless window mode, if the config.ini file (where settings are stored) could not be found.

Once more, this uses the amazing Dear ImGui library, which is a graphical user interface overlay system featured in other mods such as Special K. Mind you, ImGui itself doesn’t add any of the features of other mods using Special K, as it just provides the interface.

Other Technical Updates

We have also improved a lot of tiny details about the overall project in important ways. Please look forward to the completed patch containing:

  • XInput controller support (complete):  If you use Steam Input (that is, you add the game as a “non-Steam game” shortcut with Steam’s controller support enabled), a real Xbox 360, Xbox One, or Steam Virtual Controller (a.k.a. Steam Link), the game will detect it as XInput and will label the button names in the options menu appropriately. It’ll also work as other XInput-enabled games on Steam currently do (such as Trails in the Sky and Trails of Cold Steel). I recommend pairing it with the “Xbox/XInput” preset for a reasonable default button mapping. It will actually use this preset automatically if config.ini cannot be found and XInput is detected.
  • Controller button prompt replacement (working):  Currently, the game will replace the generic numbered button icons with those found on the Xbox, DualShock, or Switch Pro icon sheet (part of the included textures). This is a setting you can select from.
  • Xbox prompts on the state map.
  • DualShock prompts on the quartz menu.
  • Switch Pro prompts on the cooking menu.
  • Alphabetized Crossbell City Library material (awaiting editing):  One minor detail about the library was that the Japanese release categorized and sorted their entries about the lore in Japanese kana order. That is, the first category is “A~Z”, the second is “ア行” (meaning the “A line” of the Japanese alphabet, which includes words starting with ア, イ, ウ, エ, or オ– a, i, u, e, or o, in that order), and the third continues along that alphabet. This makes a lot of sense for Japanese, but almost none in English, when words are also translated into those with different starting sounds, or with English’s tendency to have deviations from spelling to pronunciation. Our solution was to reorder the menus entirely in this section, sorting it in English alphabetical order, and fixing the resulting haphazard letter-splitting that then occurs. So for example, the page containing 5 “カ行” items (“K” line, sorted ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, of course) was changed to contain 4 “E-F” items, as shown below. Do note that the most difficult part of this was changing the number of items in each menu.
  • If you know the game, then you’d be aware what it means when I say the Information Terminals are implemented properly now.
  • You’ll be able to press “1”, “2”, “3”, and “4” on your keyboard as quick-access to the S-Break feature, as well as to the four notebooks outside of battle.
  • Here’s a closing image of the save menu from the previous update, with minor updates and the functioning button to “Show in folder”. With keyboard or controller, you’ll be able to access those two options from the “Slot” menu on top (press the CAMP binding to toggle between the menu and the save items).

The Barrier

Listen: If you’ve played the old patch, that’s fine. If you played on the initial spreadsheet, that’s fine. If you can read Japanese, that’s fine. Hell, if you’ve waited all this time for us, that’s fine, too. (Also, you rock.) All I ask is that you look forward to experiencing the fan localization of Zero no Kiseki.

I cannot thank you enough for standing by us—a group of Falcom fans—all this time. We won’t let you down.

We’ll get over the barrier.

The post Trails from Zero: 90% appeared first on The Geofront.

[Admin] Website Refresh

If you haven’t noticed yet, the website itself has gone through a complete overhaul. Here are some details on the site refresh!

As I have promised transparency with the site and what’s being done with it, I would like to relay to you how the site works and what happened.

The Geofront operates using WordPress, a pretty commonly used blog content management system that you can find throughout the internet. Due to being open source, it is very robust with a large community adding to it. However, this also means that it is also a very common target for bots and hackers- mostly with the intention to install more bots and keep their ‘spam virus’ going across the internet.

o hai dere wordpress

So the theme has been switched from Graphene to Lekh, another theme that seemed to have a much ligher footprint for the server. With a couple of additional plugins to allow me to make further changes to the site, some custom cosmetic CSS, I think I’ve gotten to the point where I like this new setup just a bit. (And it does have parallax, which I’ve been wanting to use on a site for guilty-pleasure reasons. So that’s a win.)

I believe the issue with the old theme was that it suddenly had issues connecting with the Gravatar system that WordPress uses. And since we also needed a theme that would be a lot more friendly for mobile users… well… here we are. It was good timing, as it was something I was planning to do anyway.

This refresh doesn’t necessarily mean news is on the horizon, but I’ve been working with Ribose on something to whet your appetites a bit while you wait. However, what it does mean is that the site remains secure and safe for you to browse, which is extremely important for any site on WordPress.

And while the site is open, this doesn’t mean that the changes are done. There will constantly be little things on the back end that I feel need to be tweaked and updated. Plugins updated, changed, removed, and so forth. Many posts for this refresh, for example, had to be updated to function along with it.

As always, if you run across any jankiness or oddities with colors or other things not displaying properly, let me know. You can always do that here via comments, or to me on twitter.

The post [Admin] Website Refresh appeared first on The Geofront.

Trails from Zero: 80%

Hey there, prospective detectives! Zerker and the Geofront gang are here to provide you with another Trails from Zero update! It’s been a minute, but we have plenty to show off this time around!

Scenario update

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m still working my way through Crossbell City dialogue. I just finished up Ignis and Imelda Antique Shop, and am now working on Hotel Millennium! One reason this update took so long is because I would often get stuck re-editing lines from the very beginning, but now my plan is to focus on wrapping up the first pass before going back to fix up the older stuff. Now, I’ll hand the mic to Ribose to explain what all is being added!

Technical update

Hi, this is Ribose typing. This update should be more general and informative compared to the last one, which was the numerical breakdown of the text. We’ve implemented a lot of features to the Japanese PC release over the last two years! We will ensure that the Japanese PSP release still functions with a minimal scenario and non-scenario text patch. But the PC release definitely needed a lot of work to make it a quality version that people don’t have to hassle with to play.

Features

You may have heard that three of us (omgfloofy, Zerker, and Ribose) were on the Falcom fan panel at MAGFest 2019! We met several fans there, including both a Lloyd and a Rean cosplayer, as well as many enthusiastic people like us. We, of course, showed off a little demo of the project’s progress, after using the first part of panel to talk about Falcom in general. Fear not, we are also waiting for them to post the recording of this panel.

But you said features!

Patience! The first thing we showed off was our newly edited opening video, edited by Cullen (@DrCullenPHD) and Elizabeth (@_seaPancake)! It is attached below:

You’ll notice three things have been replaced by their English equivalent: the logo, the “Developed by Falcom” text at the end, and an easily-missed blue line saying “FIND ME”. We are excited to have this in!

This opening will come with the game and be played if you choose to play with English text. We are working to be sure that when this game is installed on a clean Windows install, you will still be able to run the game and play the videos.

By the way, it isn’t shown in the video, but you can optionally turn on English or Japanese subtitles in the mod and it will display those over the video.

The other feature: the save menu

While it was rushed through during the panel itself, we did show another amazing technical addition: the save menu. If you played this game on PSP (or any of the Sky trilogy on PSP), you would have recognized the original save & load menu that the Japanese game had. It had a column of large thumbnails on the left that you would scroll through and select your save slot from with details on the right. We tried a few things to try to fix that menu to have more slots or to handle encoding better but kept meeting challenges, mostly with the user interface itself.

A while back, Jose switched the UI library he was using in order to improve the options menu and expose them to players. Then he had the crazy idea of replacing save & load as well. With it, we could do much more than we could before, and we could build it to be more PC-oriented. We are making sure that keyboard, mouse, and controller support all stay strong in the custom interfaces.

  • A normal save page
  • The autosave page
  • Some Japanese-created saves
  • Page 99?!

Here’s a quick list of the functionality this interface implements for us:

  • Save and load over 1000 slots (SAV0001-1000 are normal saves, SAV1001-2000 are clear saves).
  • Load autosaves.
  • Mouse interaction support (the original was very much a port of the PSP menu and didn’t actually use the mouse’s position. While it did technically honor left click, right click, and scroll wheel, you might as well have used a keyboard or controller).
  • Better parity with the Trails in the Sky games which have an interface similarly designed for PC first.
  • Viewing and saving of save metadata regardless of your system’s locale. That is, all created saves are made in Japanese encoding (English text is a subset).
  • Viewing and loading of saves of a slightly different source. That is, saves created by the Chinese version of the game or by the Japanese PSP version (requires decoding), then copied intosavedata/, will be read and loaded as if they are this game’s. Saving will only be in the Japanese format with English or Japanese metadata, depending on which language mode you’re in.

Shoutout to the amazing Dear ImGui library that this uses. It’s a pretty powerful little immediate-mode GUI overlay system that could be embedded in our DLL. There’s definitely more you can do with the library than shown. That is the default dark color scheme, after all.

Did you say autosaves?

Yes! Let’s move on to things not mentioned in our panel. Team members may have mentioned these things in passing in the last two years, but it sure would be nice to have one place with all the major improvements listed.

Things we can confirm or re-confirm support for are as follows:

  • Japanese & English: You can play the game with our improvements in either text language (of course, voices are staying in Japanese). The setting for this affects all graphics and text which we’ve patched for English. Yes, even the English text in the executable, debug room, and created when you save the game will revert to the Japanese original when you switch this. Also, this works everywhere regardless of your system locale so locale emulation will not be required.
  • Autosaves: When you enter a new map, an autosave is created in the oldest of the ten autosave slots. They can be loaded from just like any normal save from our new interface, by going back one page from the first page.
  • Anisotropic filtering: The Sky games have this where textures at oblique angles from the camera appear clearer. Take a close look at the sidewalk up the stairs when comparing the two images below.

  • Anisotropic filtering (AF): 1× (linear)

  • Anisotropic filtering (AF): 16×
  • Anti-aliasing: This was implemented several months ago, and I admit I thought it was broken. It turns out there had just been a crash bug in the options menu all along (to do with listing the modes that the GPU supports), which I’ve since fixed. We have Multisample Anti-Aliasing! This is tricky to show in a screenshot, but our videos should show it from now on.
  • 60 FPS: One of the first things Jose implemented two years ago. You can choose to play at 30 FPS, if you want.
  • Borderless window mode: The game can be played this way without the use of an external program or additional mods.
  • HD, variable-width font: The English font file can be any TrueType font, though we are optimizing the system text for the font we will provide. For other glyphs and Japanese support, the original Japanese font will be used. It is also a TrueType font (it always was) and can be replaced if a select few of you would like.
  • Extended NPC draw distance: NPCs no longer “pop in” at a relatively close distance from the player. Does not affect the visibility of monsters in the field.
  • Turbo mode: Like the other five Trails games on PC, we’ve implemented turbo mode. Hold a button on your keyboard or controller and the game will speed up by a certain factor. This factor can be between 2× and 6× for both battle and non-battle. Optionally, use the analog pressure sensitivity of your controller triggers to have a turbo speed that you vary in the range between 1× and the set factor. For example, hold it down halfway with a factor of 4× set in the options, and the game will run at 2.5× speed.
  • Custom cursor: The game already supported the mouse. To augment this, we’ve made a custom cursor that only appears when keyboard and mouse is used, and disappears (and is ignored for the battle system targeting) when a controller is used. Also, the cursor appears as the arrow icon from the Sky games for visual feedback when moving on the field using the mouse button. Thanks to Adda (@addaberry) for creating and editing cursors for us. We may have more to reveal about this in the future.
What? Is that a tonfa?!

That’s a lot

Yes, it is! There have been other technical changes, too, such as the numerous bugfixes:

  • The game no longer has extreme slowdowns from a common graphical effect during Aerial, other arts, map fadeouts, and numerous other instances.
  • The game no longer inexplicably flickers every so often.
  • The game no longer runs poorly if you play without a controller attached.
  • Text no longer shakes when scrolling in.
  • Character art for portraits, menu art, and any other place is no longer of a muted coloration compared to the PSP and Vita versions (and all three versions of the sequel).
  • Numerous other small fixes to make the game function with English text, alignment, rendering, and more!
  • How the Combat Notebook looks today
  • How it looked in a screenshot from 2017

Website update

Hello! Quick interruption by Floofy about a small update on the website.

There had been a minor tracking injection made to the header of the website and I have since cleared it out. No data for the site has been compromised, so don’t worry about that, at least.

I do want to thank TonRL from Reddit for notifying me of this issue. Remember, if you run into any other issues of this sort, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Reddit and I’ll look into it for you. Thanks!

That’s it for now, folks!

That’s all we got for this update! If you check our YouTube, you’ll find two more videos showing off turbo mode…

…and the new save menu and custom cursor support!

As always, we appreciate the support and patience! See ya, guys.

The post Trails from Zero: 80% appeared first on The Geofront.

Trails from Zero: Scenario, Text, and Treasure

By: Ribose5

Hello bracers, priests, nuns, students, and soon-to-be detectives!

This post is going to be different from a progress report this time around. Today it’s Ribose here instead to talk about the game’s text in great detail. I also have a fun little thing to unveil, so if you like treasure and don’t like technical details, skip to the end!

Breakdown of Text

In the 15% milestone, Gu4n discussed the general breakdown of the scenario and touched on the non-scenario text briefly. Here, I’m going to go into more depth, just so I can show off some quick little charts at the end.

Here is the breakdown of various parts of the game’s text

  • scena refers to the stuff in the “scena” folder, and includes dialogue with NPCs (talk) and main story and side quest dialogue (event). In Trails in the Sky through Trails to Azure, talk and event functions occur in every scenario file, though it’s conveniently sorted and in reverse chronological order. Starting in Trails of Cold Steel, and in several modern Falcom games such as Tokyo Xanadu, talk and event functions are split into separate locations (sometimes seen as “tk” and “ev”). Each scenario file represents a single location in the game (a “map”), organized very neatly in files named with the form X###Y.bin. “X” is the region, one of “C” (Crossbell City), “E” (Events), “M” (Dungeons), “R” (Roads), and “T” (Towns). The three numbers specify a hierarchy of locations in each region, with the general rule of thumb that each sub-region is specified by the first two numbers. “Y” is either “0” for normal, “b” for night, or “c” for festival variants (“e” is used once in the game for an event in the morning for that map).
  • text refers to the stuff in the “text” folder, and includes all “data tables”. Incidentally, several of the tables have no text and specify things such as how orbments are laid out and item statistics. But, of course, the rest of the tables do have Japanese strings in them that were translated and are in the process of being edited. The following is the breakdown of data table text:
    • t_cook, t_fish, t_memo: Cooking Notebook descriptions, Fishing Notebook descriptions, and Detective Notebook tab text.
    • t_ittxt, t_ittxt2: Item names and descriptions.
    • t_magic: Skill (arts, crafts) names and descriptions.
    • t_town: Location names. This is used in all sorts of places such as the state map, quick travel, area map, save file text, Combat Notebook locations, fishing locations, when you enter a new area, and possibly more.
    • t_shop: Names of shops (item, food, quartz, hotels, medal shops all included).
    • t_record: Achievement/record names and descriptions.
    • t_mgame: Minigame explanation dialogue.
    • t_quest: Quest names, request text, and progress bullet-pointed text.
    • t_book00 through t_book05: Books. As in readable ones. You’d think this would be the largest portion, but t_quest actually has more text than all of the books combined!
  • monsnote refers the stuff in the “monsnote” folder, which includes the monster guide, which can be found in your Combat Notebook in Trails from Zero this time around.
    • MS structures: Technically, there is the file “data/monsnote/monsnote.dt2” which contains a sequence of every MS structure in the game. “MS structure” is my name for these as they show up in files named “ms#####.dat” in “data/battle/dat/” as well. The data in MS structures is highly detailed and contains all of a unit’s stats inside of battle, including a reference to their sprites, statistics, immunities, efficacies, some AI parameters, and a table of their skills. They also contain strings: their name, their description, and their skills’ names. The reason it appears in both “monsnote” and “battle” appears to be that the game uses “monsnote” for the Combat Notebook only, and “battle” for, well, in-battle analysis and behavior. You could end up with these differing, where it would appear and act different in battle from what your Combat Notebook claims! Of course, we don’t want that so we’ll be using the same MS structures in both locations, and I only count these once in my charts.
    • AS files: “data/battle/dat/” contains additional files other than the MS structures, specifically AS files. These appear in files named “as#####.dat” with corresponding unit IDs to all other locations, and they specify how units and skills behave. They also happen to occasionally hold text! There are only 14 strings translated in here, all of which are “over the head” callouts during battle.
  • exe/eboot are strings in ED_ZERO.exe and the PSP EBOOT respectively. This is all of the game’s non-sceanrio text which doesn’t classify as needing to go in some kind of table to function. Good examples are the descriptions in the menu, the options menu, some tutorial text, and numerous parts of the user interface. JoseJL has made a way to edit any exe string and very quickly iterate in the PC version! The PSP version has already been hacked and we’ll use the same tools to insert the eboot strings. There is a similar number of lines in the exe and eboot, so only the exe strings are counted in my charts.
  • In the PC version only, the debug features are preserved. As strings, it appears a little in the exe (but we’ve left this alone), and as a set of several scenario files (the debug rooms) with the region of “A”. With JoseJL’s help, I’ve translated that and we have an English-language debug room for the use of quickly testing many parts of the game! There are several other debug functions such as the F8 menu, jumping (to unstuck yourself), and free camera rotation, which we’ve been using to test many parts of the game.

And here is how they stack up to each other

The numbers are all the number of Japanese characters in all charts. The spreadsheets now track this number directly (as well as the number of English words in the final edit, which should be interesting to see when the project concludes), and it should be as accurate as I possibly could make it.

From the start of the project, we’ve actually been using a more arbitrary “line” count to calculate the overall percentage, which differs between our edit, the base translation, and the Japanese. To understand why, consider a two-line dialogue box in Japanese. In the edit, that could become three lines or one line. We still use this to calculate the overall percentage, but I’ve corrected the way it functioned so now it properly should use the contents of the spreadsheet and not hardcoded numbers.

As for these graphs, the Japanese character count includes all Japanese and ASCII characters in scenario column E (ultimately using the Google Sheets functions SUM() over the LEN() over every row in the project, which counts characters, as opposed to bytes).

  • The count excludes all “control codes” which specify, among other things, item display by ID, text color changes, and page breaks.
  • The count excludes all “function codes” which specify, among other things, character portraits, text size changes, and various other text properties, including furigana.
  • The count includes the content of furigana (text above other text, usually indicating how Japanese text should be read or for emphasis).
  • The count excludes line breaks, as I believe if you’re counting the number of Japanese characters, it doesn’t make sense to count the line breaks along with the text. If I wanted to count English characters, I would want to count the line breaks because reconstructing it as a single sentence would require you to place space characters in those places. Of course, I think it’s not very useful to anyone to count English characters and not English words, where the definition is more clear regarding line breaks once again. Line breaks aren’t words.

More on Text

As some previous posts have noted, more than Zerker are working on this project. There are two people directly editing/proofreading what Zerker has already edited (mostly to fix consistency and style from editing done over a year ago on this same enormous body of text!). Gu4n is working on various parts that can be related to the Kiseki Wikia project, specifically the books Back Alley Doctor Glenn and Crossbell Times. I (Ribose) am working mostly on non-scenario text and scenario consistency. This includes the now completed arts, crafts, and quartz text and soon-to-be completed item text.

Treasure Chests

Okay, so that was interesting and all, but here’s why I made this post. I catalogued the location (in files and in game) and contents of every chest in the game.

We are revealing a submission form here for treasure chest messages, sometimes called chest quotes. To celebrate the fans of this game, we’re opening a form to allow people to submit their own treasure chest messages for the game. There are 230 chests. The form allows you to specify a specific part of the game if you have one in mind (like “near the start” or a specific map like “West Crossbell Highway”), but for the most part, this shouldn’t matter. Please try to make sure that it is reasonably interesting, funny, or silly, and not offensive. Abstract and bizarre is absolutely acceptable! It can be referential humor, but the best chest messages work without any context, as I’m sure many of you have seen from the existing ones in Trails in the Sky FC, Trails in the Sky SC, and Trails in the Sky the 3rd, out on Steam, GOG, and Humble Store for Windows PC.

The treasure chest message says "Please look forward to Trails from Zero."

Please give us your submissions here: https://goo.gl/forms/kM61lGFMhvWB36ow1

The post Trails from Zero: Scenario, Text, and Treasure appeared first on The Geofront.

Trails from Zero: 70%

Post Music:

Hey, everyone! As you’re well aware, this marks another ten percent done in the first editing pass of Trails from Zero. However, this progress report is a bit more special than the others. Zero’s script is split up into four spreadsheets, and, now, we’ve managed to complete three out of the four. That’s pretty insane. Everything outside of Crossbell City has been edited, which just blows my mind.

 

I guess there’s not too much to fill you guys in on with this update. Ribose has started to look into non-dialogue text, such as NPC names, map labels, arts, crafts, and everything else under the sun. Jose was quickly able to insert that text into the game, and it looks fantastic so far!

Now that we’ve started this part of the patch, we decided to throw something together for you fine folks. Here’s a little demo video of Trails from Zero, showing the Special Support Section’s journey to Armorica Village!

Remember, things are still prone to change! This is more of a, “Hey! Look at all this good English text in game!”

Until next time, everyone!

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Trails from Zero: One Year Later

POST MUSIC:

Well, that’s one year gone by since I joined the project. It’s hard to believe, really. When I sent the fateful message to Gu4n on Discord, I genuinely didn’t expect anything to come of it. But, on 6/4/2017, I was pinged from a channel in the Falcom Discord I wasn’t familiar with, and the rest is history.

Working on this project continues to be one of the best experiences of my life. I couldn’t ask for a better team, and I know that we all want people to be able to play, enjoy, and love Zero as much as we do. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but this game really is something special. The cast, the story, the soundtrack – everything is perfect.

In the past year, we’ve made considerable progress on the project and I couldn’t be happier. Sure, there have been little bumps in the road, but the project is still chugging along at a solid pace. Namely, I experienced some burnout the past two months, but I’m past it. On the bright side, it’s clear that my writing has drastically improved compared to when I started. Us at the Geofront are determined to bring you Trails from Zero in all its glory.

I just wanted to talk about the project for a little bit, and considering it’s been a year, why not? I’ll throw in a few screenshots for you guys, but follow my Twitter or something to find out when the next progress report comes out.

Should be soonish. See ya.

Aw, it’s empty. This is so sad.

The post Trails from Zero: One Year Later appeared first on The Geofront.

[Admin] One More Privacy Policy Post, About Us, & More

Yes, I may have actually edited the in-game image for a stupid featured image for one post.

As much of the internet has since realized and meme’d to hell and back, there was a major disturbance in tubes in the form of the EU’s GDPR- a new privacy regulation that is changing how websites are to operate across the net.

While for sites like Geofront, this is not a massive change, it is a change that I’ve been eyeing carefully for quite some time now, as this is my real life work, too. So in an effort for my websites on esterior.net to maintain a particular ‘professionalism’ to them, I’ve not only drafted up a privacy policy for it, but I’ve sought out methods to ensure all four sites hosted on it are GDPR compliant, much like other commercial sites that are required to do so.

This has also driven in a bit of an overhaul of the backend of the website, on top of some new additions- especially one that had been in the works since the day the site opened and never finished: a page about the team as a whole, revealing everyone who is involved and has been involved in the game’s translation. You might have noticed this being added and something missing from the menu.

So without further ado, jump into the cut to see the details of changes that have happened to the page in the past few weeks.

esterior.net Privacy Policy

As stated at the start, there has been a privacy policy put into affect onto all of the sites located on esterior.net. You can find this policy linked both in the header, the footer, and in anything that the socializer plugin that’s used deems necessary. This is part of a necessity to make the site GDPR compliant.

I feel that it is my responsibility to identify one area that is on the line of being compliant or not, and that is the usage of a WordPress plugin known as ‘Shortcodes Ultimate.’ This plugin draws in assets from FontAwesome, which does toe the line of compliancy with GDPR, since certain methods can involve FontAwesome getting some of your data, such as your IP address.

If you’re not interested in the work to go to the menu and find the link, you can read the Privacy Policy here.

That About Us Page

As stated, the draft for the About Us page had been in the works, but never finalized. Zerker finally settled in and finished the page like the writing beast that he is. There are additional items to add to it, but for the time being, we’re good with it as is. You can finally see the names of everyone involved on the project, and not just those of us who are chatty on here or other forms of social media.

bbPress Deactivation

Yes, there was a forum on this site. No, you probably didn’t know about it. I mean, even we kept forgetting about it.

As a result, I’ve deactivated them and removed them from the site entirely. My reasons for this are threefold.

  1. The forums are a potential security risk, as bots can attack them in an attempt to inject links to the site.
  2. To add to this, the developers behind bbPress, the plugin used for the forums, have not updated it in about a year. Which contributes to the former reason.
  3. Because they’ve not done any updates, this has also made the plugin not compliant with GDPR requirements.

It’s common practice to remove unused plugins to a WordPress installation to help prevent bot breaches of the site, and to ensure the smooth operation of it as a whole. For these reasons, I’ve made the decision to remove them from the site entirely.

But don’t worry. You are still able to comment on posts. We’ve not removed that avenue, nor do we intend to.

WordFence Security

With the removal of bbPress, I’ve also installed a piece of software that I run on my other WordPress sites: WordFence. I’ve used this for the better part of two years for Endless History and Delicious Crack no Kiseki. As such, as I’ve shut down some other rarely used plugins that were security related, and also super outdated, I’ve installed and activated WordFence to the site.

For the first week or so, WordFence remains in ‘learning mode’ where it can learn the activities and natures of the visitors of the site. Its primary use is to prevent spam bots and malicious attacks on the site to keep it secure so that it remains secure and safe to use.

WordFence can sometimes be a little overbearing and sometimes gets upset with surprising locales and other things- if you run into an issue with the suite being overbearing, please let me know via email, contact form (you can even use Endless History’s if you can’t access Geofront), or twitter, and I’ll do what I can to clear up any issues with it on the back end.

(You can also find more on its GDPR compliance via the privacy policy)

Other Miscellaneous WordPress Updates

I mentioned that another plugin was removed. As a few others are slated for removal as well. I’ve also performed some backend work on things, and I have finally linked this site to Google Analytics, which is something I also intended to do when the site opened. There are also some tiny little CSS changes here and there to make the site look better. You might not notice them, but I certainly do.

Regardless of all of this, there will be an actual translation update coming soon from Zerker, so you don’t want to miss out on that!

Happy browsing, and thank you all for keeping up with us and supporting us.

The post [Admin] One More Privacy Policy Post, About Us, & More appeared first on The Geofront.

[Admin] General Website Update

Hey, guys!

Just letting you know that I’ve been doing some work on the backend of the site today. I’ve had a socializer login for awhile running on the website, where you can utilize your social media accounts to create an account on the site.

That went down for a bit in the past week or so, because Facebook made an update to their API that changed my requirements and it broke the Facebook size of the social login system. In the process of repairing it, I discovered that Google made some changes as well to make the setup for a G+ login more restrictive than the past, so I removed that entirely.

You can still use Facebook and Twitter from the old setup.

However, to make up for the loss of G+, I have also integrated Steam and Twitch login systems to the site as well.

And as always, you can read up on the site’s privacy policy here. I won’t be using your info for ulterior motives or selling it, etc etc. The usual legalese for something of this sort.

Additionally, I have plans to allow you to use multiple commenting systems in the future. Currently, you can use the WordPress comments and Facebook- but I am exploring options to include Disqus in the list.

Feel free to respond here, or ping me on twitter if you have questions or run into issues with the site since this change.

EDIT: I’ve been doing more CSS tweaks around the site. These are mostly small cosmetic details that you may not notice. Please let me know if something looks janky or broken.

The post [Admin] General Website Update appeared first on The Geofront.

Trails from Zero: 60%

Hello, everyone! Once again, I’m here with news of another 10% done on the editing of Trails from Zero. Quite a lot of things have been going on behind the scenes aside from the editing, but don’t worry, I’ll get into that in a bit.

Editing Progress

Personally, I continue to become happier and happier with my edits. My recent work consisted of finishing up Armorica Village, Mainz, and moving on to St. Ursula Medical College and the border gates. Man, you would not believe how big St. Ursula really is. I finished up everything there except the hospital and decided to switch things up and try my hand at the gates. It’s going to be crazy when all that’s left is to edit the rest of Crossbell City. All in all, I’m proud of how I’ve improved as an editor (and I most certainly plan to fix my early stuff during QA!)

Behind the Scenes

The others that are working on programming and pseudo-QA right now really don’t get enough credit. Jose, our programmer, is always ready to help and has made some amazing improvements to Zero’s PC version. On the other side of the coin, Ribose never fails to give me a helping hand and keep the script consistent. I owe a lot to my teammates and they haven’t let me down. In the meantime, we’ve managed to translate and get crisp versions of the battle UI, menu names, and even the font we’re using. On top of that, Jose has been able to figure out how colored text spacing worked and Ribose was able to translate the debug menu, which helps our testing of the game immensely. Keep this under wraps, but we might be contemplating inserting portraits into the game for the primary two characters that don’t have them in Zero.

Video Shenanigans

While talking to one of my friends, DrCullenPHD, the topic of video editing popped up. One thing led to another, and a few hours later, we had proof that it would be possible to replace the Japanese logo and text within the opening and editing with our own logo and translations. I, for one, was pretty blown away by it, so I hope you guys can look forward to that in the future. Who knows, perhaps a trailer for Trails from Zero might happen at some point…?

Gameplan

From here on out, I intend to edit Bellguard Gate and Tangram Gate before swinging back around to finish St. Ursula Medical College.  Like I mentioned before, I was really caught off guard by just how large the script is there. As of now, I’ve finished the exterior, Research Ward, and the cafeteria and dormitories. The hospital section is certainly the largest, but I’m excited to go back to it later down the line. I’m thinking that we might try to do something special for 75% and April Fools’ Day. We’ll see what happens.

In some ways, I feel like I got stuck in a bit of a rut after hitting 50%. A barrier, if you will. Anyways, I don’t intend to stay stuck in it and I want to continue to make solid progress on editing while maintaining the quality I believe I’ve been hitting. As always, thanks to my girlfriend, teammates, and friends who have never stopped encouraging me and the team. Here’s to you!

The post Trails from Zero: 60% appeared first on The Geofront.

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