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Watercrown Productions DevBlog
Wednesday, 22 March 2006
The Genius Madmen Strike Back.
Topic: Watercrown News
I was wondering why a couple of the text blocks seemed to have a distinct lack of pointers. Now I know why.

The pointers are embedded in the text blocks.

I haven't quit, I promise, but I've gotten sidetracked after discovering this new stumbling block. Oddly enough, Atlas seems to be having problems inserting the type of embedded pointer I need, and it might be due in no small part to my tweaks...

Posted by Ryusui at 10:23 PM PST
Thursday, 16 March 2006
Even More VWF News (But No Screenshots!)
Topic: Watercrown News
The author(s) of the bgb emulator should take pride in the fact that they've managed to hold up my entire project.

My VWF code was running smoothly until it hit upon the ugly bits of reality emulated by bgb. See, it's wholly possible for code to run absolutely perfect on an emu, but not work on an actual console. I'd explain the details, but the short version is, bgb emulates one "feature" of a real Game Boy that no other emulator I've seen has: you can't read from or write to VRAM (a.k.a. video memory) except during a VBlank (a.k.a. "vertical blanking interval", that brief pause where the screen is refreshed; imperceptible to the human eye but quite significant in the magical nano-timescale world of graphics programming). So I've taken the effort to fix up my code (nothing major, really) so that it only reads to or writes from VRAM during a VBlank. GBC mode works perfectly now, but GB mode is still a touch buggy. A little more work and it should be perfect in both...

On the brighter side, if bgb hadn't shown me up, it would've happened after I released my translation to the waiting public, and then I'd be known as the guy who released the Sylvanian Families VWF translation that didn't work on an actual Game Boy. So thanks, author(s) of bgb, and thanks to evo for introducing me to it.

I'm still amazed how much screen space my VWF affords me. I can cram text onto one page that would've taken me two or three before. My translation looks much more professional when I can fit more than one sentence on screen at a time...

Posted by Ryusui at 11:24 PM PST
Saturday, 11 March 2006
The Good News And The Bad News.
Topic: Watercrown News
The good news is, the VWF works glitch-free in a lot more places now.

The bad news is...it seems that there are still some bugs to iron out in places I overlooked.

The bugs will not go unsquashed for long, though. You can count on that. ^_^

Posted by Ryusui at 10:15 PM PST
Friday, 10 March 2006
And Then There Was VWF.
Topic: Watercrown News
It's done.

There are still some bugs, but this breakthrough was made scant hours after my last post.

I can't believe it's working. This is my first-ever attempt at a real VWF, and it not only works, it looks great. Just look at the Items screen! Gone are the clunky abbreviations! I can fit more text than I ever dreamed onto a single line!

I haven't fixed up the script to take advantage of all the extra space except in the places you see...now I need a custom tool to help me figure out just how much text can fit on a line. ^_^

Ladies and gentlemen, your patience will be rewarded. 'Till next update!

Posted by Ryusui at 5:49 PM PST
Thursday, 9 March 2006
Topic: Watercrown News
My VWF is excruciatingly close to working...right now, it's held together with some kludgy hacks, and as a result it's glitchy as heck: gaps inexplicably appear in the middle of lines (probably due to the aforementioned hacks), tiles display in the wrong place, etc.

So I've got a long way to go before this will work. Hunt down some more routines and figure out how to take over from them...

But the darnedest thing is, I got it to work, even if only in limited, ugly-looking capacity. I've never done anything remotely VWF-like before, not successfully at least. What it does print properly looks surprisingly good (possibly due to the FF4A font; thanks again, Dragonsbrethren), and with a fair bit more kicking and screaming, my VWF will come roaring to life.

Phew...translator and romhacker. All I need now is to perfect my pixel art skills, and I'll be unstoppable! ^_^

Posted by Ryusui at 6:45 PM PST
Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006 5:49 PM PST
Sunday, 5 March 2006
The Future?
Topic: Watercrown News
Sorry about the lack of updates recently. I've been trying to make some decisions regarding my project...

Amazing what a change in font can do. It's probably a little too medieval-ish, but Dragonsbrethren of Romhacking.net provided a nice 8x8 based on the font from Final Fantasy IV Advance...the text looks 200% better with it.

But I'm still not quite satisfied, and I'm honestly entertaining the idea of taking a crack at implementing a VWF - that's "variable-width font", for those not in the know. The more text I can fit into a page, the better: a page break is about four bytes, and they can really add up, especially if a sentence needs to be broken up between multiple pages to fit.

My brain seems to crave tedium...ah, well. It'll all be worth it as long as I myself feel happy with the end result.

Posted by Ryusui at 3:08 PM PST
Wednesday, 1 March 2006
The Items Menu Is Open For Business!
Topic: Watercrown News

I've been wanting to do this for the longest. I'm not sure how I managed to ignore the opcodes that were key to this until now, but it's done: the items screen is now rearranged and fully debugged. Now I can rectify the abbreviations with full item names given in the description box. ^_^

(Apologies for the other inconsistencies between screenshots. I used an old test patch to get the English names in the original Japanese version menu.)

I'm still making plans to change the font...I just need to find the right one. The one for Link's Awakening looked really nice when I inserted it, but it's not a full ASCII charset, and it bumps up against the top of some of the text boxes (including this one)...

Posted by Ryusui at 8:52 PM PST
Monday, 27 February 2006
A Little Bit Of Graphics Magic.
Topic: Watercrown News
Finally replaced the Japanese text on the Items screen. Still working on rearranging the thing altogether, but here's a consolation prize:

'Course, when I found that "diary" fit into the picture better than "journal", I swapped it around in the game as well. I guess it'd be more appropriate for the character to have a "diary" than a "journal" anyway.

Next: the bait box, the photo album and the book of flower meanings, all of which feature Japanese text. ^_^;

Posted by Ryusui at 10:10 PM PST
Sunday, 26 February 2006
And Another Bug Bites The Dust.
Topic: Watercrown News
It is done: the pesky bouncing heart of doom has been relocated a full eight pixels to the right, averting what could have been a very messy disaster.

No screenshots this time, but I'd like to add that I encountered another bug related to the dialogue box resizing: the selection arrow for choosing a topic of conversation was also inconveniently overlapping text. This, after far more scouring than it took to fix the next page icon, has been fixed...and, incidentally, will never trouble me again.

Every bug I squash in this fashion brings me one step further in the direction of total mastery over this twisted mishmesh of bytecode calling itself the game's script. One thing I really, really want to do is completely rearrange the items screen: bad enough the abbreviations I'm forced to use make the screen look like it took a wrong turn through one of the early Megaman games, but any descriptions I give have to fit into a little eight-by-three box.

They do
not look

Posted by Ryusui at 9:15 PM PST
Friday, 24 February 2006
Wider Is Better!
Topic: Watercrown News
I finally did it: I widened the dialogue box.

Amazing the difference an extra two characters per line can make. ^_^

Of course, I'll need to figure out some way to move the "next page" icon so it doesn't overlap the text, but the formatting looks much nicer now, pesky little bouncing heart aside.

I've gone back over practically all the text I've translated thus far and modified it to take advantage of the new dialogue box. I even discovered and weeded out a bug I didn't even realize was there until about five minutes ago. This translation is probably going to need a lot of testing before I even consider releasing it...

Posted by Ryusui at 7:40 PM PST

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