Alka Translations Monthly Status Report: June 2021

Hello hello! Saito here, back again with your June status update. This one’s probably gonna be a bit shorter than usual since I was working doubletime today to get Pocket wrapped up before the update goes out, and ran a bit shorter on time than I intended.

[TL Note: the very first reaction I got when I posted this update’s draft in our staff discord was, I quote, ‘oh god its so long’. So never mind! I guess!!!]

Anyway, let’s jump into it!

First off, I kinda already spoiled this one, but TL smoothing on the Pocket route has concluded! This means that only the end of Kamome and the Tsumugi route are left. We’re getting close, though I’d like to emphasize that Tsumugi’s really long and that’s still a darn hefty chunk of content to work through. Still, though, the progress is feeling more and more tangible as time goes by!

On a more personal note, the end of our work on Pocket also marks the end of my personal work on RB’s script files. That doesn’t mean that I’m totally done with the project, though, which transitions well into the next section of this update: what else has to get done before the patch will be ready for release? We’ve gone over this in some capacity a few times before, but this feels like a good opportunity to dive back in and take a more detailed look at the remaining steps.

First off, on the ‘what will Saito do next’ front: subbing the videos! We have five to deal with in total, those being the two OPs and three of the EDs. All of these will have to be freshly subbed—even the ones that were present in the original SP (because of changes in the video, changes in the lyrics, or me being anal about text references in the game matching their associated Alka Tale lyrics. It’s important, I swear). As with the original SP, a couple of the EDs will unfortunately be impossible for us to sub since they aren’t technically videos at all and we lack the ability to put subtitles in-game wherever and whenever we want to.

Videos aside, testing will also have to wrap up before the patch is out! Team Test is proceeding at a nice clip, and have played through most of the content that’s currently ready for them. The roadblocks, of course, are Shimamon and Shimapong, which are both absolute testing nightmares that’ll take a lot of doing to get solid. The Other files will take a good bit of work, as well—they’re a lot more variable than the route files, with scenes changing pretty wildly depending on what you have and haven’t seen and done up until the point you get to them, and they’re just generally harder to keep track of than the linear character bits. Long story short, the testers are doing great and the parts of the game that aren’t marked as ‘tested’ on our ‘things to do’ spreadsheet are largely that way because we could be testing them for years and still probably not feel totally confident we’ve seen it all.

We won’t, don’t worry, that was a joke.

Aside from that, there’s basically just bits and pieces to put together! We’ll need to make the actual patcher .exe, but that’ll take all of thirty minutes, we’ve pretty much got it down to a science. We’ll be writing up a guide, as well—it’s not a ‘difficult’ game by any means but people always want them, so we figure we might as well head that request off and offer one that uses all of our choice terminology.

Oh, and the silliest and stupidest item on the check list is fixing the achievements screen! We’ve recently discovered that while the version of that screen in the Extras menu works perfectly fine all the time, the one you can pull up during gameplay breaks in hilarious and horrifying ways if you try to make it display more than 5119 characters’ worth of text. Yes, it was a nightmare to figure out that specific figure. In other words, the screen’ll look perfectly normal right up until you unlock enough achievements to push you past 5119 displayed characters, at which point it suddenly ends up looking something like this:


Anyway, thankfully this is a pretty easy fix since for some reason I cannot fathom the two screens actually pull their text from different lines in the script file. As such, we can leave the extras one as-is and cut down the descriptions in the gameplay one to come out at less than 5119 characters total once 100% are unlocked. This one’s definitely going into the Siglus Bug Hall of Fame.

And, that’s about it! Lots of exciting stuff going on over in Alka Emerald, but I’ll let them speak for themselves in the mid-month update since A: not my field, and B: I haven’t been paying incredibly close attention to their plans and don’t actually know what they’re up to beyond vague, excited murmurings. Oh, and on the Kud front, I’ve been doing a bit of tinkering in my free time to work out a script that’ll let me automatically copy over all the identical lines from the AA scripts to the 18+ ones! If I can get that functional it’ll save a boatload of time on wrapping that project up. I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about what order I’ll be finishing the rest of that game’s files in, but I’ve already changed my mind on all that several times so I’ll save those ramblings for when I’ve actually started putting them into practice.

That’s all for June—see you in a month!

5 thoughts on “Alka Translations Monthly Status Report: June 2021

  1. Dianavi says:

    That achievements screen bug also happens in the Steam version, but only during the transition. As a developer, I’m really curious as to what causes it.

    • Translator the Saitou says:

      Ooooh, interesting! Never got far enough into the official version to trigger it. The number 5119 (Or rather, the number 5120) is definitely attention grabbing, since it’d work out to exactly five kilobytes assuming one byte per character—I assume there’s some sort of bizzaro overflow going on? That’s wild conjecture, though, the unfortunate truth of the matter’s that I have NO clue how that screen looks behind the scenes. The weirdest part’s that it’s based on the total characters on the screen, with how they’re split up not mattering in the slightest. You can put all 5119 characters in the same achievement and it won’t break (excepting he inevitable text-breaking-out-of-the-box factor), but evenly distribute 5120 characters throughout all of them and it craps out instantly

      • dianavi says:

        Actually, that’s what an overflow in the GPU looks like. I developed my own VN engine, and I had a bug once where I was sending data to a shader (a program that runs on the graphics card) before enabling it, modifying memory it shouldn’t in the GPU, and it messed up the textures in a similar way.
        But 5120 is a weird number, if the problem was the number of textures or something like that, I would expect it to break with 4096 characters or less.

        We will never know without the source code, but I like speculating about this kind of things.

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