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Patch is up (v1.01 incoming) 
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
Artemio wrote:
And I know I don't have the knowledge needed right now (MIPS ASM).


MIPS ASM is the easy part, there's not that many instructions. They generally fall into load/store, jmp, branch, add/subtract/multiply/divide/and/or/shifts/etc. categories. There's nothing you really wouldn't understand with your C/C++ background, it would probably take less than a day to look over the instruction set. (Oh, there's no floating point arithmetic, that's done through the GTE.) The hard part is understanding the Playstation hardware.

The only things you should really need to look at to implement text is the COP0 (the system control processor, but even then you don't really need a lot of information on it), and the COP2 (the gpu, but you probably don't need to look at the GTE, not very many polygons or a need for matrix transformations with text).

You might need to know how DMA's and the TLB are set up (done through COP0).

I don't imagine you'd need anything sound/cdrom/IO port/MDEC related (information on the memory card might be handy).

(I think I mentioned all this before)

I don't think this takes very long. The significant part, the GPU, probably wouldn't take more than a week to understand (it actually wasn't too bad).

(all that's left is to look over the Policenauts' ASM, which could take months lol, but is a good way to get a feel for how things work)


Also, with DTE you don't have to store the character sequence directly in the frame buffer. You can just create a dictionary in main memory, and create a control code that encodes the "word", and use that control code in the text. Of course with more than two characters it wouldn't be called DUAL, and would be similar to some LZ type compression.



PS. It sounds like you don't know where the string addresses are. I wouldn't be surprised if they existed inside of some kind of script used to control game state.

I'm not sure if an address conversion table would be the best idea... if you had 50,000 strings with 4 bytes per address then you'd easily take up around 400kb with the table, even if you could get that down to 2 bytes, that's still 200kb (but I have no idea how much free space you'd have to work with, and you'd have to worry if something loaded over your table).

And I just want to make sure I've got this right, all text can fit into main memory (i.e. RAM) in some manner correctly? The problem is its not correctly aligned with the original Japanese text addresses?


Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:08 pm
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
Densetsu wrote:
I'm not sure if an address conversion table would be the best idea... if you had 50,000 strings with 4 bytes per address then you'd easily take up around 400kb with the table, even if you could get that down to 2 bytes, that's still 200kb (but I have no idea how much free space you'd have to work with, and you'd have to worry if something loaded over your table).

And I just want to make sure I've got this right, all text can fit into main memory (i.e. RAM) in some manner correctly? The problem is its not correctly aligned with the original Japanese text addresses?


From the newsletter:

Quote:
The last major remaining hurdle is making sure the in-game text all fits. The problem is that the English text files are larger than the original Japanese, taking up more memory than the original code allows for. So, our programmer needs to find a way around this by using other areas of memory to display the text that doesn't fit in the original location.


So the problem is fitting all the text into the RAM. However, I doubt that the entire script is loaded at once, because the 50.000 strings you speak of with an average of ten letters per string encoded in two bytes per letter would already take over the entire RAM the PSX offers (1MB).

No, I guess that it loads those strings per scene (maybe fifty at once) and the space reserved for the text is very tightly measured. Let's say the biggest scene is a very long briefing with just one person talking in horribly long sentences. Let it be a hundred strings. In Japanese we could imagine that this would result in an average of fifteen letters per string which amounts in 3KiB for this scene. This _might_ be the amount of memory the devs have reserved for the text. After that speech is over the space will be freed and another chunk of strings gets placed there. Maybe there's a few event commands in between, so let it be 5KB. Looks a little small to me. The same scene in English could easily take four times the space.

As I said, this issue could be _probably_ be solved easily by moving the strings into a portion of the memory we freed before: The tilemap. As I said numerous times we just need to eliminate 200 tiles in order to free 20KiB of memory and I guess it has already been done by converting the characters from Kanji to Latin. IIRC Kanji had 500 letters while the Latin alphabet had only 26. If you take into account small and capital letters it'll be 52. 500-52=448 which would net us 44KB of memory that could be used to store the strings. Wouldn't that be enough? It could be even more, since the game seems to use Kana as well (Judging from the picture you posted).

All this could be achieved with no ASM hacking at all. Just some fiddling with pointers and offsets. It might be enough to tweak your script inserter to store the script in a different location and to modify the reference table accordingly. Or, if the game has the start address hard-coded, to bend this one pointer to the new address. The tools are your authoritah, while I could do the ASM stuff. Once I find the time (probably late next week - after the paediatrics test ;)).


Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:33 am
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
The Playstation has 2MB of ram.

The 50,000 strings I gave was just an estimate based on the size of the script, which I imagine ranges from 1MB to 2MB. Its probably an overestimate, it might be somewhere between 500kB to 1MB, but this game is very text heavy.

Once its loaded into the framebuffer the tilemap is probably freed from main memory. You don't have direct access to the framebuffer. Storing text in there would require a lot of ASM hacking.

Re-read Artemio's last posts. He's implying that because each string takes up more space it offsets the positions of the other strings. It sounds like they don't know how/where the string pointers are stored, so when the string addresses change when their positions are changed they can't update the pointers to reflect the new positions. I was asking if that was exactly what he meant.

If the text was too small then this wouldn't be an issue. You could just pad the end of strings with terminating characters until the correct alignment was reached.

Also, I don't think the entire script is loaded at once either. But it might be, the game spans two discs, so cutting a 1MB script in half (ideal, I know) would easily allow the script to fit into main memory.


Fri Jul 18, 2008 4:53 am
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
I'm sorry for those mistakes. Now I get it. Somehow. Although I find it a little braindead to hard-code string-lengths into a game engine. So basically all strings get a defined length and the game is told by the script that it has to print string No. 35 which is hardcoded to start at address $03543F, while string No. 36 is hardcoded to begin at address $035451, so string No. 35 should end before that (and if it's much shorter, it'll probably contain a lot of emptiness). String No. 35 can of course have different text, depending on the part of the game you are at that very moment. Did I get it right this time? Sorry, I really thought that those references were loaded dynamically.

However, depending on the number of references we could alter these hard-coded addresses to meet our requirements. Someone could even change them to entirely different memory regions in case the memory originally designed for the strings runs out. This could all be done in a debugger, by the way.

It would require some time pinning all those addresses, but it might work.

By the way: With tilemap I actually meant something different (my fault). I was referring to the memory region where the game stores the character primitives that get copied into the framebuffer by the text printing routine. As I said, the conversion to English should have freed a lot of space there, so if we run out of space to fit text into we could extend it to that memory region.


Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:43 am
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
One game I would love translated is called dead of the brain on PC engine


Last edited by abhi on Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:50 am
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
Correct me if im wrong but isnt Brain dead 13 a dragons lair style game, and is in English, although i only played the playstation 1 version so i dont know.

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Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:56 am
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
Elijah Modnar wrote:
Correct me if im wrong but isnt Brain dead 13 a dragons lair style game, and is in English, although i only played the playstation 1 version so i dont know.


sorry I mean dead of the brain 1&2


Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:03 am
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
That's the cyberpunk horror game that was also made for the PC Engine, right? Looked ace.


Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:09 pm
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
Elijah Modnar wrote:
Correct me if im wrong but isnt Brain dead 13 a dragons lair style game, and is in English, although i only played the playstation 1 version so i dont know.

PC/PSX and maybe Sat.

Lost my PC copy years ago, but this interesting game had the honor of being Dragon's Lair/Space Ace without the glowy hints. I think you had unlimited lives because you died at least every 5 seconds just trying to memorize what to do.

Maybe that's why reviewers didn't like it very much.


Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:49 pm
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It does take the fun away the fun of the game having to memorize everything so i could see where they were coming from.

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Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:05 pm
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
I state again I am not the developer in charge right now, and I can't speak for him I am talking in general terms regarding the PN translation here. What is written in the newsletter is what the person in charge of it told Marc to write, I didn't write that (just to remove any confusion here). I am currently waiting for his reply in order to give you a factual response, so far all I have typed about the internal structure is true to my knowledge though.

Pizuz wrote:
Anyway, I know some C64 assembly - which is probably not suited very well here, but anyway, I know how to read stuff in a debugger and I have some ideas how to perhaps get this working. With some collective thinking we might be getting to something.


That is a good enough starting point, might be better than you think or make it sound.

Pizuz wrote:
There is one problem: I figured from what you said in that newsletter that the hack is basically finished and last remaining problem is fitting the text into the RAM. What you didn't tell us the whole time was how much space would be needed in the worst case and how much the game provides.


Again, the main problem is hacking it, not the how to. What I mean, it is best to get it started and not get ahead of ourselves here. It is more important to get someone working on it ful time or close to it, or a group of us doing it as close to full time as possible. But as mentioned above, if we hack the code it is way simpler to just append the data at the end of the file, with new addresses. Those addresses could be stored in the space the actual text is now, or whatever we choose.

As stated above, the program made to estimate the amount of text (which counts the bytes of each message and compares them) thew that only 30.24% of the lines fit into the current space.

I don't have the complete text dump here, but from just one of the data files the numbers are as follow; from 820 messages: 248 of them fit in the same or less space, 572 don't fit. The total byte size of text in English is 42.31KB (from just those 820 messages, barely what the Let's Play! Policenauts covers so far). So we can, very roughly as you might know, say that using DTE only 30% fits as it is.

Pizuz wrote:
As you mentioned in your newsletter, you thought about moving the text into a different memory location. My idea was to use a portion of the tilemap memory formerly filled with hundreds of Japanese letters. Taking into account that removing ten 10x10 tiles already frees 1 KiB of memory we might be able to fit a decent amount of text in there. The question is: How many letters does the game originally use? 500? 1000? I really don't know, but I'd like to.


The game uses around 5000 characters.

Densetsu wrote:
(all that's left is to look over the Policenauts' ASM, which could take months lol, but is a good way to get a feel for how things work)


Indeed, and that is precisely what I don't want. I explain myself, I don't know how much time I am going ti have in the future.. but from the look of things, not much. i don't want to dive into this and then leave, I can support and co-work on this though. We'll see what happens if there is people willing stay along the ride.

Densetsu wrote:
PS. It sounds like you don't know where the string addresses are. I wouldn't be surprised if they existed inside of some kind of script used to control game state.


I certainly don't, don't know either if the person who has worked on it does. I have had a pretty busy year installing and developing systems, and didn't have direct communication. We'll wait and see his reply, hopefully during the weekend.

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Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:58 pm
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
Pizuz wrote:
I'm sorry for those mistakes. Now I get it. Somehow. Although I find it a little braindead to hard-code string-lengths into a game engine. So basically all strings get a defined length and the game is told by the script that it has to print string No. 35 which is hardcoded to start at address $03543F, while string No. 36 is hardcoded to begin at address $035451, so string No. 35 should end before that (and if it's much shorter, it'll probably contain a lot of emptiness). String No. 35 can of course have different text, depending on the part of the game you are at that very moment. Did I get it right this time? Sorry, I really thought that those references were loaded dynamically.

However, depending on the number of references we could alter these hard-coded addresses to meet our requirements. Someone could even change them to entirely different memory regions in case the memory originally designed for the strings runs out. This could all be done in a debugger, by the way.

It would require some time pinning all those addresses, but it might work.

By the way: With tilemap I actually meant something different (my fault). I was referring to the memory region where the game stores the character primitives that get copied into the framebuffer by the text printing routine. As I said, the conversion to English should have freed a lot of space there, so if we run out of space to fit text into we could extend it to that memory region.



That's ok, only an ass would really chastise someone for a mistake.

Usually strings have a terminating character at the end of them. Its not displayed, but just tells the text routine that the string has ended, so they don't store the sizes. You've essentially got it. In your example, if String 35 was too long it would push String 36 forward in memory, plus all other strings after it, so that they are no longer in the addresses that the game thinks they're at. I think this was what Artemio was getting at.

(Also, using your example again, I can't say for certain if String 35 could be a different string at different parts of the game (like you said). It would certainly have a different address than the previous String 35. If all the game text is loaded into memory, and doesn't do swapping than this wouldn't be the case. But I have no idea, I haven't looked at the Policenauts assembly.)

The next problem seems to be that they don't know where the text addresses can be found. And like you said, once you know where the string addresses are they can be moved around if they needed to be. And yeah, it would take a lot of time to pin down the addresses by hand. That's why Artemio mentioned the address translation table, which would take the old addresses and convert them into the new addresses. A good idea, but if there's a lot of strings it might take up too much memory to be implemented :( (also, my estimate above was probably too much). You'd want to find what file stores the addresses, and change them using a program.

And yeah, I knew what you meant about the tilemap. What probably happens is the font is loaded into main memory, then it would be sent to the framebuffer (everything goes there, only a portion of the framebuffer is the actual display, the rest is used to store images, like textures). The space that it takes up in main memory would then be freed. All that the text routine would do is tell the GPU which letter to use, and where to place it on the screen. The font would always stay in the framebuffer. It was a good idea, but they probably wouldn't need the extra space anyway. And yeah, I'm betting there's a few blank spots in the font ;).

I hope this is all correct, or boy will I look like an ass.


Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:05 pm
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
Elijah Modnar wrote:
It does take the fun away the fun of the game having to memorize everything so i could see where they were coming from.


After posting that I remember I re-found it on a err...old game memorabilia site.

So, I took in 15-30 minutes of dying every 2-3 seconds, and that wasn't the worst part. Nope. Your guy is basically Poochie from The Simpsons. That aspect hasn't aged well since this game did it without any sense of irony or satire...

Death and revival montage
Just deaths


Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:06 pm
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Darn, so it isn't a cyberpunk huh?
Does anybody know any REALLY good multiplayer cyberpunk games for the pc? (the older the better-within reason of course)


Sat Jul 19, 2008 6:37 pm
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
^I think there's some confusion; game that abhi was talking about was "Dead Of The Brain", which was a cyberpunk title for the PC Engine, released only in Japan. It has a lot in common with Snatcher (just take a look at the front cover). It's gameplay is the same too; menu-based navigation.

The game the other chaps were mentioning was "Braindead 13" a popular Dragon's Lair-type game where you have to press the right button at the right time in order to survive. Essentially, a QTE game.


Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:12 pm
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Henry Spencer wrote:
^I think there's some confusion; game that abhi was talking about was "Dead Of The Brain", which was a cyberpunk title for the PC Engine, released only in Japan. It has a lot in common with Snatcher (just take a look at the front cover). It's gameplay is the same too; menu-based navigation.

The game the other chaps were mentioning was "Braindead 13" a popular Dragon's Lair-type game where you have to press the right button at the right time in order to survive. Essentially, a QTE game.


so dead of the brain was never realeased in English, not even fan based then, damn ?


Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:45 pm
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Afraid not. The game does have some funny moments of engrish in there though (as the title of the game itself suggests). It's quite a good game to just play through without any Japanese knowledge, you can pick up on most of what's going on and it's pretty easy to play on the whole. It seems to have a fairly simple plot, especially when you compare it to the likes of Snatcher. Having just completed it, since you mentioned it in this thread (a couple of hours ago) Don't go in expecting a game better than Snatcher, and you'll enjoy it for what it is; a good cyberpunk experience.


Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:46 pm
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If only I could figure out a way to emulate it on the psp, then it'd be perfect. Another one of the good adventure games for SCD is Space Adventure Cobra.


Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:43 pm
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
Densetsu really knows what he's talking about.

why can't we contact the guy in charge of the text-fitting and why can't we find someone to help?

People are still waiting. stop speaking for others and get to the source.

I'm not annoying, just straight to the point.

Advertise for help or something. This project is not some hobby anymore, it's actually gotten serious.

instead of making it a local thing, contact Kojima if you have to.

you're only limiting yourselves by not trying harder.


it's been a month and half since I posted, I think... so don't say I didn't stop.

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Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:00 pm
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
MetalGearAlex wrote:
Densetsu really knows what he's talking about.

why can't we contact the guy in charge of the text-fitting and why can't we find someone to help?

People are still waiting. stop speaking for others and get to the source.

I'm not annoying, just straight to the point.

Advertise for help or something. This project is not some hobby anymore, it's actually gotten serious.

instead of making it a local thing, contact Kojima if you have to.

you're only limiting yourselves by not trying harder.


it's been a month and half since I posted, I think... so don't say I didn't stop.


You certainly point out all the things that wouldn't come to our minds. Thanks for helping out, we'd be lost otherwise.

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Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:10 pm
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MetalGearAlex wrote:
This project is not some hobby anymore, it's actually gotten serious.


Are you kidding? Seriously. This has always been nothing more than a hobby to me.


Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:15 pm
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You actually got my joke?

Or is it that your sarcasm led to me thinking that you understood my joke when actually you were playing a joke on me thinking that I was being serious.

NO MATTER WHAT YOU GUYS DO. i know this project is in "eternity-phase" which means it will potentially never ever weewooweewooweeee never ever never never ever be done.

BUT... I'm still hoping you guys find a solution and or give up altogether.

I only jest and my jokes are lame... :(

I'll be checking this site every so often though.

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Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:25 pm
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Why do you keep coming back here? All you do is post the same thing every time. Repetition makes no difference.


Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:22 pm
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Post Re: Current Project Status (English Screenshots & Trailers)
It seems that MetalGearAlex is a contender for the "Most Deserved Ban" award. =D>

Seriously dude, you're pretty much insulting the people who have worked their asses off to bring you/us an amazing game free of charge. I dont know how old you are...but it couldn't hurt to grow up a tad bit more.

Yea, I own the pc version of Brain Dead 13, one of the coolest box I've ever had for a game...but it's so godamn hard.

I've also played some Dead of the Brain. It was awhile ago though and all I remember was a zombie cat jumping up at me and me shooting it...I think...maybe not.

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Modnar wrote:
It seems that MetalGearAlex is a contender for the "Most Deserved Ban" award. =D>


I second the motion. All in favor?


Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:15 pm
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