Sunday, August 19, 2012

Next of kin.

This blog is moving, I'm officially ditching Google as much as I can.

Don't be afraid if it gives you a feeling of deja-vu, I'm still moving the posts. ;)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Now you see me, now you don't (part 1)

Ever told you I like to put random shit in here?

Splinter Cell. Assassin's Creed. Metal Gear Solid. Hitman.

All those series are universally lauded. All of them have a fuckton of "stealth" stickers all around them.

Guess what? Time to set a few things on fire. Hell yeah, baby.

But first things first. As I said, I wanted to write a little something about The Dark Mod.

Fact is, I didn't exactly want to write a piece about the game per se. I like to strip down games, tear them up, leave them with only their mechanics on, then look at them pole-dancing and ponder what could and/or should be better.

Sometimes there's nothing wrong. It's a rare occurence though, so I'm often left bitching and thinking.

Anyway. Every time I see one of them called a "stealth game", I have this weird reaction of grabbing a knife and thinking what it could do to an eye or two. Or more.

And even more so as time goes by.

Just like horror should never entitle you with weapons, lest it becomes a gunfest (why hellooooo there, Resident Evil), Stealth shouldn't either. Or with great consequence.

Maybe this calls for a bit of background. I LOVE the genre and its mechanics. I've been mucking around with them since Castle Wolfenstein came out (and that's THE Castle Wolfenstein, not RTCW - a bit later, actually, but that was still the first I played). I've played Splinter Cell, Assassin's Creed, Metal Gear Solid, Hitman, Stolen, Thief, Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Arkham Asylum, ... - let's just say I have sort of a looooooooooong crush, 'mkay?

The moment you throw guns into the mix, things get ugly. It's as fucking easy as that.

Totally stealthy. The launcher, that is. Errr.....
The reward of stealth lies within the wait, the learning, the anticipation, the silent count to appraise the length of a guard's patrol, the evaluation of enemy forces, the cunning required to bypass any and all kind of security system/force.

Stealth is not, has never been, shouldn't be an easy genre. When Thief came out, the difficulty levels for it were chosen as such: Normal, Hard, Expert. Nowhere to be seen was the word Easy. As the word "choice" implies, the naming was entirely intended, and lived up to it.

Or did it?

What Thief did well was entice you to jump into the fray half-naked. Once you had tiptoed into its waters, there was no turning back - as long as you liked the game, at least.

The very instant you completed your first mission in Normal, you realized something was wrong. You had probably checked the objectives for all the difficulty settings, finished your joint with just a few ruffled feathers... And you instantly knew you could be better than that.

You now knew the place, had your wits about you, your mouse had become the extension of your arm again, and in you went again - same place, same time, clicking on Hard.

And you probably got yourself into a nasty mess, because guard placement and restrictions on who you were allowed to kill had changed.

I'm fairly sure I wasn't the only one who said "fuck it. You want it, you got it. This is war" and started again on Expert.

Once you got there, you started an experience you wouldn't soon forget, that would leave you craving, shaking, marveling at just what the fuck you got yourself into, and wondering how the hell you actually made it.

Thief stripped its newcomers of all power. The guards were far too easy to spook, the blackjack was pretty much useless, and you were in huge trouble. Making it all the way in - then out - was an engrossing adventure. It took time and a good bit of dedication.

THAT, people, is what STEALTH is about.

Heck. That simple demo was longer than a good chunk of the current triple A fuckups.

It's something that is very, very hard to emulate, and even more so to attain.

Where most games fail is just in that: you have the power. You are actually fairly safe, unless you force yourself into insane challenges for which the game wasn't made, ruining a good bit of said game along the way.

I'm not saying Thief is the perfect experience either. As a matter of fact, the game is fairly broken, though to a much lesser extent than all the series mentioned hereabove.

When shock and awe subsided, you'd go in again, because you thought that it would be neat to find all the loot. Then you just wanted another go, and learned how to blackjack guards. And that's when everything broke.

That little club all Thief fans have come to love is probably the worst trick of the game. You may almost universally blackjack everyone on your path, and once you find how to do that, you're once again a killing machine.

Yeah, yeah, right, okay. Not a killing machine. A blackjacking machine. The difference is thin, to say the least.

Once you get there, it becomes obvious how the "stealth" claim in the above series is, in one very light word, ridiculous.

Once used to the controls, you need about as much stealth as Kratos. And no, I'm not making an obscure reference here. THAT Kratos. And that's when the game doesn't squarely put you in a position when there is no need, no use, and even no possibility of sneaking through. When you want to say your game is all about stealth, what's it called already? Bad design? Is that it?


BULLSHIT. That's what it's called. Your game is a pile of steaming horse dung. There's no other way to put it.

Ezio is stealthy. Fo shizzle, mah nizzle.

But back to our case. The only place where the stealth genre shines true is summarized in one word: extreme.

It takes an extremely hostile environment to see the diamond in the rough. FM missions such as Cauchemars clearly show that. It will take you to new heights, instill the thrill and fear associated with your first game of Thief. But it comes at a very, very high price. The missions are damn nigh impossible. Such is the price to pay. It takes a lot of dedication, training and love to even reach the playstyle it takes to take on the campaign. It keeps you on your toes from start to end, in a mind-bending, teeth-clenching display of utmost violence. Put a beginner in front of it, and you'll probably find him prostrated in a corner of the room.

It's harsh, unpredictable, and insanely good if you have the skills to take it.

Why do we have to go to such ends to get back that original thrill? The blackjack. You can't kill, so normal and fire arrows are useless unless you want to create a diversion (but why would you? You're able to bypass anything and anyone without raising any kind of suspicion). Water arrows are still pretty cool, though they lost their edge a long, long time ago. Gas arrows? C'mon, you know they're so cheap you wouldn't go ANYWHERE near them. Rope arrows are still your standard equipment, along with vine arrows - all non-lethal tools only useful to reach otherwise unreachable places.

Beware the Defiler of Souls, the Devourer of Worlds, the almighty blackjack!

The problem is in there: the more you play, the more professional you become. You are - quite literally - becoming a master thief. A virtual one, but still a master of your art. Only in constantly crazier challenges is one able to find any kind of thrill. The genre is thus made, and broken from the start. The more you play, the more extreme the odds, the environment, the enemies have to be to match your skills.

... 'mkay, that was supposed to be a brief intro... So I guess I'll be back. ;p

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pros and cons of solo gameplay

tl;wr - Translation is a game. And even multiplayer must be solo. Yeah, I know it doesn't make sense. But at least now you're wondering, so maybe you'll read. Gotcha. HAH! :D

I originally intended to write some kind of post-mortem thingie about the translation of The Journey Down. It was after all a first - never had I translated an adventure game before, and the constraints were easily compensated by the possibilities the game gave me - but I guess it'll have to wait a bit. The localized version isn't out yet, anyway, so there's still time for that.

I also had this idea of writing about The Dark Mod, a long-time (well, not so long, but it is so delicately embroidered unto the fabric of the stealth genre in general, and the victorian steampunk stealth genre in particular - that's Thief for the stealth-impaired among you) favorite of mine that's so widely overlooked I thought I might as well promote it a bit at my humble level.

Instead, I'm stuck with yet another rant. One that may be of further interest to any indie dev looking around for translation options.

I've talked about it before (clicky): having your game translated is a mess to begin with. For every good translation, AAA and indie alike, I can name a good dozen bad ones. If not a hundred.

I already said it isn't easy to find someone fit for the job, I already said I can't promise anything perfect but CAN say what I release is as good as I can make it - and technically speaking that's very, very good.

Anyway. As I said, I wanted to write a li'l sumthin' about TDM. So I went and reinstalled the Mod. Dismay, rage and facekeyboard ensued.

See I translated the thing back in 2009 or something, long before they even considered localization. Which meant it was functional but hacky. No accents, hardcoded strings, yaddayadda. Ugly shit, but I went with it and did my best to ensure that it was at least readable - which is hard when some fonts are hardly readable in French, with the problem aggravated by - once again - the lack of proper accent marks.

Long story short, the release of that translation was an uphill battle. It was ugly, time-consuming, exhausting. To give you a rough idea, I'm not quite sure The Dark Mod is heavier (written material wise) than The Journey Down. The latter took me three days of laid-back work. TDM, on the other hand, took me roughly a month and a half of seriously hardcore grunt work. Amongst others, because I really wanted to get the accent marks. And it was nigh impossible for a layman such as myself. I came quite close to getting it to work for the main GUI font, but by the time I had the font painted, I was so severely burnt out I gave up, released as is, and went away for a long, long while.

A good while later, I was poked by another translator who had picked up the torch on the french community. Went back to TDM, picked up on it again - and by the gods I swear those guys are as close to heroes as it gets: full localization support was on the way. It's still a work in progress to this day, but at least it is now possible to release a good translation without having to sweep through the minefield that is source code you know nothing about.

I went back to work, and instantly spit my coffee. Again. It's a habit I should try to drop, but quite frankly... it's rather hard when you're surrounded by monkeys and incompetent fools.

Basically: the guy had changed my translation into a trainwreck of epic proportions. Stuff that should never be translated had been (think "Bloom", yeah, the thing that came before HDR. Bloom is bloom, there's no point in using a translation that's so stupid you have to add (bloom) right after it so it makes sense. On/off had been translated verbatim, as in "light on, light off", not "switch on, switch off" - and I mean it literally: every switchable option was now a lightbulb. That's EXACTLY how it read.

He never, ever tested his translation in-game, something that is one of the most basic requirements of this job. As I said in my previous post, there is no safety net here. If you want to translate, you better make damn sure you're a translator, a proofreader, a tester and a QA team all by yourself. No one's going to help you, and no one's going to save you. That's not to say that his translations weren't correct (well, as a matter of fact, some were, and that was UGLY, the "light switches" above are but the tip of the iceberg). It's just that...


"Queued". If you want a nice, sleek translation, you'll go for "En file d'attente" or, even better, "Placé en file d'attente".

That's what he did.

Chaos ensued.

For all that appeared on screen was "d'attente".

You don't exactly need more proof that he didn't check his work in game: that's one of the things you'll see when you want to download a mission. Which will probably happen within the first hour for your average player, as the choice of missions included in the mod is quite limited. And if you're translating the game, it's rather safe to assume that you played it to some extent, right? RIGHT?

'parently not.

So I spent a few more hours salvaging what could be salvaged before the next update. Heck, I'd been their translator, my reputation was on the line. I updated the FUCK out of it, until it met my standards again.

Guess what: it's been almost 8 months. And anyone who downloads the mod, to this very day, still gets the same shitty pseudo-translation the fool made. And, goes without saying: said fool vanished without a trace. Guess who's left.

Worst part is, I didn't reinstall the mod until very recently, I thought everything was sorted out. Turns out I was wrong, as the reinstall I had to do after my hard disk crash taught me.

Even worse? There's an update. It could - and should - have been included in the nifty updater they coded. Fact is... It still isn't. It's only available on this very blog. It's all I can do (and I'm not even sure if it's the latest version anymore, to add insult to injury - have I told you I have a goldfish memory?) and... that particular post has been read a whopping...

Wait for it...

19 times. So AT MOST 19 players have MY translation, and have a GOOD translation. Hint: The Dark Mod has MUCH more than 19 downloads on the counter. And it's safe to say MANY French players have downloaded it and now have a "fair" idea of what I can do - and that is: SHIT.

Which has me thinking... How are you supposed to cope with a team of freelance nuts who are supposedly fit for the job?

TDM is quite the exception - feedback will probably never come to the official forums. It's a niche game, and the french community is even more of a niche - as a matter of fact, I've seldom seen the Thief games discussed outside the Ariane community. You find a thread on every once in a while, but that's as valuable a community as /b/ is close to a philosophy forum. To put it bluntly: it's populated by morons. And this time, I'm using the word very, very seriously.

TDM would also be a great platform for experimentation: the GUI is but one component, and every FM can be taken separately.

What leads to the current blunder is the fact two people have been working on the same component, and one has been laying muddy footprints in the other's clean lounge. The lines have been blurred, and nobody could tell whodunnit, apart from me.

I can see why you would need several people working on your game/mod/whatever. Once the content reaches critical mass, it becomes impossible for one individual to cope with everything. It takes time to translate, even when you have the kind of experience I have accumulated. Even more so as I'm doing it in my spare time, get barely paid (if at all) for my work, and usually fly solo - exactly for the reasons stated above. Then things must be checked, played through, and that takes even more time.

Your best bet is to cleave the work. Literally. And, should one of your translator give up, make sure you keep its latest version in the fridge.

Why? Consider it a savestate. It's a game. If his successor fucks it up, you can always make a rollback to the lastest savestate - at least for the work the original translator has done. Then see if one your other translators can pick up the torch.

Have responsibilities determined. If anyone points you to a mistake in the localized version, take it seriously. Not so seriously that you'll immediately fire the guy. But find WHO did it. Ask him WHY he did it, ask him if it REALLY is a mistake. Ask him PROOF if he says it isn't.

Proof is easy to find. It may be a small world - and you damn want it to remain that way so you CAN point fingers when the need arises. But it is a HUGE web, too. And that's if your other translators can't answer your question for sure.

It's something that takes time to understand as a translator too. Something that may not be taken very seriously by your team/translator.

But I've been trying to always have a way for developers I've worked for to reach me. Twitter greatly facilitates that, and my switch to gmail helped a bit too. I only regret having used several mailboxes for my registration on your average community forum. It almost cost TDM its translation, as I wouldn't have received the notification if it hadn't been for the Ariane community. Since then, I activated notification mails everywhere I could.

My work is my responsibility. And while that may seem like Captain Obvious's motto, you could soon discover that things aren't exactly that easy. You'll probably want as many ways to reach your translator(s) as you can.

You want to keep track of them.

And you want to do what indies do best: be a huuuuuge family. Spread the word. About wheat AND about chaff. You want your translators to take their responsibilities, and you want the best for everyone. Unless you're a dick, but that is MY lawn, OK? Get off that, kid.

Point is: all of it is still uncharted territory. I've talked with some people about how there probably is no market for people such as myself, but I'll keep that for later.

What's most astonishing is how people don't seem to know how to react when they meet me. I'm very... talkative about my work. There's nothing I dislike more than leaving my patrons in the dark. I always try to explain what hurdles I'm confronted with, which choices I had to make, which limitations may appear, what I didn't understand, what I had to circumvent and how... And all too often it looks as if nothing was obvious. It's both amusing and unnerving. Amusing, because it's a discovery for everyone. And - hopefully - it helps weave a healthy business relationship (my working for free doesn't mean I'll deliver a subpar work). I mean, sometimes I think I'm sending too many mails. But do I have a choice? I'm serious about what I'm doing and I'm forgetful. So when i try to explain what my business - which is also my patrons' business, when all is said and done - is, why does it look so strange to communicate about the odds and ends of - to say it very roughly - the remaking of their game? Because that is what it's about: the core mechanics are the same, but the coat of paint is very different at times. And unnerving, because a translation should be transparent. It shouldn't be seen, heard or felt. People should be able to touch the core of the game without feeling any kind of resistance. It there's resistance, if suspension of disbelief is torn down, if anything happens, you can be sure most people won't just go after the translation, but also after the game. And many people seem to never even have thought of that. As if translation was a minor part. Protip: if you want it, it's not THAT minor.

For now, all I can do is keep a journal of my discoveries, write it down a second time, attach it to a carrier pigeon, and send it back to civilization, while praying the feathered messenger sees a fair and safe voyage, and my message goes into the right hands, hands that will spread it further, along with my name. Because I want to keep seeing new sights, meeting new people, and making a few new friends. Not that I'm optimistic enough to think it will happen, but whatever.

Thursday, July 19, 2012



Okay. Someone isn't afraid of ridicule. Indie has been besmirched. This besmirchment shall not stand.

I've ranted about how the word "indie" has outlived its usefulness before. And... Well, it looks like I was right. I can't see how this $@#! up there would have said "yeah, we totally make Shareware games and stuff here".

But more than that. What itches me most about the ridiculous statements that guy is making?

“I see ourselves as a group of indies trying to be progressive. I don’t see why there needs to be any divide.”

Yeah. Right. Because getting the erm...

* Assassin's Creed
* Assassin's Creed II
* Assassin's Creed Brotherhood
* Assassin's Creed Revelations
* Assassin's Creed III

... fifth game out is totally not milking an IP and customers. It's totally progressive and shit. Especially when even the core concept of the game - that would be stealth, for those who have been living under a rock for the past five decades - is so totally progressive it's absolutely not part of much older classics such as System Shock 2 or Thief.

Getting so many editions of your games no one (and I bet that includes yourselves) even understands what you're trying to do is totally progressive.

Being completely sold to the worst, customer-insulting, company is totally progressive and indie.

Having an always-on DRM is totally progressive.

Overpricing your shit (which will be about as innovative as Call of Honor Warfare Ops Battlefield 23, btw) is totally progressive.

Nah really. You're absolutely not ridiculous there. Seriously. Protip, pal: buy some pineapples and rubber chicken and figure something out. You'll make more sense. And that will be totally progressive. I guess.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Love/Hate Satellite 2 - An Intro: The Journey Down

The Journey Down (Chapter 1) is pure, raw, beautiful Love/Hate Satellite material (and you sure may want to check what that is about before I go on to dismantle, rape, utterly destroy the game just because it shouldn't be allowed to be that great).

As you'd expect, thus, I loved The Journey Down.

So why the intro? L/HS doesn't need an intro, right? True enough. Fact is, I promised I'd explain to @theowaern why I didn't intend to buy the game in the first place, got it when it all too conveniently appeared in the bundle, and why I am quite ashamed for those very reasons.

See, I'm an old player. I've been through a lot of adventure games, both new and old school, and that means I've seen pretty much any and all variations on the genre.

I've done King's Quest. I've done Monkey Island. I've done Police Quest. I've done Quest for Glory. I've done those nifty Tierra remakes (AGD those days? Right? Damn goldfish memory), I've done American McGee's Grimm (yeah, those fit the genre if you ask me), I've done the Tales of Monkey Island, the first Back to the Future episodes, quite a few amateur games, and I'm still waiting for a decent cyberpunk adventure game. But that's a bit off-topic, isn't it?

To be short and fair, I don't expect much from the genre anymore. It's something I've loved, liked, and today it's something I mostly don't give a hoot about. At least less than other genres.

That's the first reason.

The second reason is a consequence of that.  If you want me to buy an adventure game these days, you better have a PR machine the size of an overgrown Godzilla, a list of arguments long as an essay on each and every article of your local laws, and a precise, witful and knowledgeable description of what I am to expect from the game.

None of which TJD had.

See, you can basically break "adventure games" down to two major trends: old school bang-your-head-on-the-wall-insane-hardcore shit, and new school laid-back-too-short-too-easy shit.

And I didn't know which one to expect with it. To be entirely fair, I guess "Chapter 1" could be seen as a clue. But as a matter of fact, you could also see it as "The Journey Down", and chapter 2 would then be "The Journey Down 2". The line is blurred here, and given the game had been in development for years, it didn't help either.

What did I know about the game? Easy: adventure. African masks. Jamaican atmosphere. Looks good. Sounds good.

And that's about it. Had the game been any other genre, I'd probably have taken chances and flipped through my usual channels to see what the fuss was about, get more info and have the usual spoiler rubbed all over my face, and I'd have given a second thought about buying the game.

Or not. See, it's the fine year 2012. And adventure games have a mighty 800 pound gorilla kind of contender.


The Journey Down was quite expensive, originally (well, not exactly, but more on that later). It was out, for sure, it looked cool, for sure. But so was that nifty Quest for Glory collection on GOG.

And if I had been given a choice, I'd have gone with QfG. Every single time. Quite simply, because Quest for Glory was - and still is, much to my dismay - the epitome of the adventure genre. It's beautiful. Long. Witful. Inventive. Perfectly balanced - and I'm not one to throw that word around lightly. Read that again: Quest for Glory is the perfect adventure game series. It has everything: humor, balance, length, setting, writing, you name it.

So yeah, price was the second hurdle. See I'm not against paying more than five bucks for a game (on the contrary, I preordered Trine 2 and I don't give a damn that it went down in price since then). But I want bang for my buck. The Journey Down couldn't prove me I would get it. And, to be frank and honest, it didn't for its original price. Had I bought it then, I'd have felt screwed (well... not entirely. Read on).

It may seem blunt, harsh, unfair. But that's fact. Or at least, that's fact for old players such as myself: you're going head to head with the full shebang of old-school magic on GOG these days. And that's a mean, tough opponent. Your price point's above theirs, Roberta and Ken Williams better be your bitches.

On the other hand, it may be wrong for younger or less... knowledgeable players. I mean it looks good, the score's great, the setting may grip you right off the bat just with the teaser trailer. And it's no more expensive than other new school games such as the aforementioned BttF games.

Then there's the last reason. Jamaica isn't exactly in Africa. And that Jamaican/African paradigm just had me go "WTF is wrong with the geographic skills of those guys?"

I know, I know, it's a game dumbfuck, yaddayadda. Still, it didn't exactly help me take a step forward and a chance, and buy the game.

Now that I've bought it, played it, finished it, loved it, know what to expect, do I have any regret in not doing so before? Certainly. But there's a catch.

The game was originally around 12€. Would I have shelled out 12€? Not sure. It was a bit overpriced, just as it is underpriced today, if you really want to know it all. Had the game been around 8 or 10€ back then or now, I would have, or would, jump on the opportunity without giving it a second thought - if not for GOG.

In a friendly context, I'd probably have gotten those extra 2€ out of my pocket. But then again... 10€ for The Journey Down, or 10€ for the whole Quest for Glory love?

Man, history's a harsh mistress. I really, really can't say for sure.

tl;dr - I don't give a fuck if you love adventure games or not. At this point, TJD is a must buy. It's too short, too easy, too cheap, the second chapter will take too long to come out. But it's still totally worth the trip.

So yeah, I am ashamed. I should have bought it before, I do regret not doing so. But I have reasons.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lost in transla... Oh wait, I almost did it again, didn't I?

Crap. And here I thought I wouldn't actually have to type this post.

Ah well, here we go then, in case someone would give a rat's tail about what I did translate, will possibly translate, certainly not when I did; as well as what to expect and not to expect from me.

I started translation back in a time when quite a few people reading this post weren't even born. As a matter of fact, I couldn't remember when I started to save my poor hide.

I'll usually say I'm a language nerd. Fact is, I learned to read and write French while in the kindergarten. Or so I've been told, and I probably won't go against that version, given I later browsed through the books that were used in the process at a later point in time (Tinou & Nanou... Holy crap, my goldfish memory actually retained that).

The second language I learned, still by myself, was English. With good reason given, as any nerd of those times of yore, I had a C64, and nothing was translated. So I took a Harrap's Shorter and ground away at the thing until I dropped. Or rather, until I didn't need it anymore.

As an amusing side note, I also tried to learn pronounciation that way, which left me with quite a few flaws on that side of things for a long, long while. And I'm still correcting those as we sp... as you read.

The third one was Dutch, though I never gave much of a damn about it. Uninteresting. Fugly. Inconsistent. I can't exactly remember who said "Dutch is the bastard son of English and German. Worst problem with it is, it only inherited the flaws of its parents". I couldn't phrase it any better.

So, what would one little nerd do with an  english-only computer, time to spare and an unhealthy taste for words?

Why, modify games and translate them (kind of) of course. And learn the full Trivial Pursuit question blocks by heart, but that's another story entirely.

Later went on with games and the irritating inability to translate them on consoles.

And a long, long while later, came back to the roots, for reasons I do not wish to expose here. Suffice to say that I have as unhealthy a hatred for so-called pros who couldn't tell word gender or spell their own name as I have the same love for words I always had.

'twas the fine year 1996.

I can't say I've been hyperactive, or that I've released much. What I can say, on the other hand, is that I usually proofread my work to the point it is as flawless as I can make it, one-man army style. Which is, flawed. But readable. And with hardly a spelling or grammar error in it.

On to my list of works, succinctly and in no particular order given I have a hard time remembering when I did what.

The only exceptions would be:
* 2006 - POV (Half-Life mod) under the nickname NightWolf
* 2011 - Conquest: Divide & Conquer by Proxy Studios (there should be a post about it on this very blog)
* 2011 - Monster RPG 2 by Nooskewl (same thing)
* 2012 - Rijn the Specpyre in Manor of the Damned by Hideout Games

Apart from those, here's a quick and fugly list:
* The Dark Mod, v1.0 back in... 2009 or 2010, then v1.6 or 1.7, can't remember, around 2011 IIRC. That's the core mod, as well as a few missions (which lack accented characters as they were done in the time of v1.0, which was more of a hack than a full-fledged translation)
* A LOT of Thief I, Thief II and Thief: Deadly Shadows fan missions, complete with audio and video editing, map editing, subtitling, audio/video syncing, video redubbing, discovery and documentation of the tools needed (FWIW, before I did it, the only tool usually used was EDIT.COM. Yes, that EDIT.COM.)
* Cytadela (which was, and probably still is, more of a draft than a complete translation. Still, it's usable, which is a start, and the project is FOSS.)
* Correction of Terminus Traductions' latest version of the French translation of Final Fantasy VI (and I dare say it must be the only translation by them which isn't mind-numbingly ridden with mistakes, unfortunately)
* A bunch of unreleased work, from a re-translation of Darwinia (which was done before and WAS more accurate than the official one, much to my (all too usual) dismay) to a POC translation of Farland Story 1 on PC-98; along with a translation of Ardentryst (never released due to the author never answering my request for authorization), correction of Metagolf (actually released, but it's fairly minor, not going to bulletpoint that one :)) , translation of Star Traders RPG for Android (discontinued given the author never answered after the core translation was done), and probably a bit more.
* Possible future translations: DROD. Yes, that DROD.
* Confirmed future translations: more Dark Mod missions. The Journey Down: Chapter 1.

It's only since 2011 that I've been willing to go public with this... business. One may ask why. Short answer: I'm not one of those goofballs pretenders. I may not have a diploma, but I've been honing my skills for around 20 years now, and honing my skills on "current-gen" videogames and mods for 6 years. I loathe the official translation business. I hate with every last drop of my blood to see translations scorched, fucked up, miserably failed. Be it for AAA games or for indie games. I've been grinding at words for countless hours, tracking down mistakes for hours on end, learning to copycat the original styles, making sure my work was as perfect as the original deserved. Picking works of a progressively difficult and grand scope.

After The Dark Mod, I felt I was about ready. After Conquest, Monster RPG 2 and Manor of the Damned, I *know* I am ready. I *know* I am better than most pros taken individually. I *know* I can be better than a full pro team.

Just like I know where my limits are. The Dark Mod taught me that. I am able to grind. To learn. To hack. Modify. Edit. Gimp. Play around with stuff. But my limits are the same ones I always had, and probably always will be: I may be a hacker. But I'm no coder. And code wears me down very, very quickly.

Just like I know a fraud when I see one. Which, in this business, is very, very, VERY often. Just like I'll go to any lengths to provide as good a work as I can. Just like I'll update until everything is readable by my kids.

Just like I now know when to call it quits. Just like I know I have to release early, release often.

Long story short, I'm as indie as your average dev out there, if in a different field. My work may not be perfect or grand, but I may take pride in calling it mine. In calling it a labour of love.

I may or may not be the man for the job. But remember this: any translation that isn't mine, I'm usually able to catch a dozen mistakes in under an hour, if not under a quarter, of playing your game (and that includes some quite lauded ones, e.g. Amnesia: The Dark Descent).

And you'll wish I was joking right there. You'll seriously damn wish.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Yo bitch!

The video women against trope games kickstarter is over, and shit keeps flowing on the tubes.

And I don't think it healthy to care. Either way.

First things first. I never heard of Anita Sarkeesian before. And truth be told, now that I've taken the temperature of the water, I think I would have been better off if I hadn't.

I've read the constructive criticism, seen the usual 4chan style trolling, read about the threats, saw the quite good Flash game (offended? Yeah, well take a seat and stfu until I explain it a bit later), yaddayadda.

I'm not sure whether I should laugh or cry, actually.

Because I'm a down-to-earth kind of guy, an idiot, a rationalist, a dreamer and, dare I say, a passive feminist.

And I find both sides as ridiculous as they come.

See, I find more actual feminism in Dys4ia than in this bullshit kickstarter project. On the other hand I play games to have fun, and quite frankly, Terra or Aya Brea have left much more of an impression on me than Samus, Peach or I-dont-even-know-her-name pseudo-she-hero of Bayonetta.

It's moronic, offensive, childish and insensitive from the usual cunts (yup, I'm gonna throw a few bad jokes in here, as usual, and I'll be as crude and offensive as ever - told you: I'm stupid) to throw memes based on Sarkeesian, it's moronic and plain wrong to make a bash her up game about her (though the execution is actually quite good for a bashing game, just look at the other ones to see what I mean... Say the one with Backstreet Boys or Bush, who happen to be men. Oh the irony. If I were cynical I'd almost say that's a form of respect).

It's equally moronic, offensive, childish and insensitive from Sarkeesian to even come up with these videos. Basically, you're declaring war on the whole industry (and for fuck's sake do I hate using this word) for... for what exactly?

She cannot possibly think it will change a thing. It won't. That's the way things go. See the target audience, like it or not, is teenagers who don't give a fuck and want to see boobs, mainly.

She cannot possibly make anyone believe that her views aren't biased, sexist and plain wrong (and yes, I actually called a "feminist" sexist, which will probably result in me being seen as a sexist cunt - brb, making a bash him up game about myself). Nor can she possibly believe herself that her views aren't biased, sexist and play wrong. Or she's very, very delusional.

She cannot possibly think she'll be doing anything more than stating the obvious. Or that people will learn something while watching that.

What's left? Feeding the trolls. Trolls are hits. Hits are ad viewers. Ads are money.

See, I don't think it necessary to make these videos. It's just as much of a "preach to the choir and look like the lunatic you are" as those feminists who'd like to abolish the legal status "Miss" because... Well, let's keep it short, I'd much rather you read Odieux Connard's views on the matter. It sums up the whole stuff pretty well.

Women taking a stand for women usually ends up drowned in sexism. Any way you look at it, there's no other word. I will not deny that there IS a systemic problem, and that women are treated as inferior all too often. I'm saying barking won't get you anywhere. Opening your claptrap for trivial matters just makes you look like morons, ladies (betcha there's some fringe feminists who'll take that "ladies" as an offense. Have I ever told you that I'm the cynical type?)

I'll take a stand for women anytime I see something wrong. But certainly not for hysterical self-delusional cunts (and I use that word liberally, mind you. A cunt is a cunt, regardless of age, sex, religion and skin color. And yes, I'm one. But at least I take pride in that). If I see a woman talked down, I will. Being barred from getting a job based on her gender, I will. Beaten, I will. Shown with huge b00bs and used as a plot device? Gimme a break. 

While you may revel in your pretty illusions of grandeur that almost half of the total gaming population are women, the fact remains: you have your stats wrong. Or, more accurately, you're biasing them, as any propaganda pro does. Of those 50%, I'd be pleasantly surprised if 50% were interested in more than casual games. And unless you want to start a debate about the gender of diamonds and playing cards, those don't count here. Bringing us down to 25%.

Of those 25%, I'd be pleasantly surprised in 50% were playing on the consoles sporting most of the offending material - i.e. playing so-called "serious" games. Bringing us down to 12.5%. And again, on the male side, many are teenagers or young, all too often poorly educated adults. And all of them want b00bs.

So yeah... Not exactly as relevant as you'd like that to be.

I'll see what those videos have to say, but I have this weird feeling it's gonna be about as interesting and enlightening as your average reality show. Hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised, but even then, it doesn't change a thing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT saying women shouldn't have a bigger, grander place in games and the gaming world and industry as a whole - from development to journalism, and the respect that should come with them.

I'm just saying that while you're screaming about how your tap water tastes bad, the ocean waters don't give a fuck.

PS - And no, I won't take sides on this petty internet quarrel. Much as some would like to depict it as harrasment on a woman, it's your average troll, and many men have suffered it before. Why should I take more pity on a woman? That's condescendence. Not feminism. Not support. Take it like a (wo)man. i.e. a proud, strong human being.