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History

The first attempt at translating Game Center CX: Arino no Chousenjou 2 was made in 2011 by a group led by XVirus, acting under the monicker of Orenji Translations. The project caused some stir upon announcement, but its progress was marred by a a series of incidents all too common in the fan translation scene, culminating in a harddrive failure that put the final nail in its coffin. Time passed, and most fans had given up hope on seeing a release of the game in English, when Aaron Tokunaga-Chmielowiec announced in the GBATemp forums in August 2013 that he had intentions to tackle the project by himself, despite not having much prior experience with ROM hacking.

The main menu and introduction crawl were extracted with some early help from Nagato, and after they made more advances with the hacking, the original team offered their translated files for the dialogue between the player and young Arino, the floating head Arino, and the phone conversations. This was of great help initially in that the hackers now had sample content to test the text conversion tools that were in development at the time.

Those tools were used to extract the text from both Adventure games and the RPG; a stumbling point that stymied past translation efforts. This was a period of concentration, in which thousands of files were analyzed and painstakingly converted line by line, with most of them being located out of reading order. This process alone took several months, and Kikuchiyo was the only person avaible to provide some help with the translation of the RPG text, since althought others had offered their services, most gave up upon learning about the large amount of raw text that had to be done. Also, there was not only the question of translating the piles of text, but it was also importat to get them to appear correctly on screen in English.

A community then started forming around Aaron's efforts, and work progressed quickly throughout the first semester of 2014, with volunteers helping out in different tasks, and overall coming together to collaborate in creating the patch everyone wanted to play in the first place. Metagames started to be finalized, with the Adventure game followed by the RPG, when SubnetPie, Mars_x and Pix3l began tackling graphics editing, and there was much work to be done on that front, as the game has an amount of image content that is well above normal.

An informal alpha release of the project entered testing under the care of Sora de Eclaune, who brought bugs and incomplete sections to light in the proccess. A beta team was then assembled, composed of Celice, Freqman and Taik. Development entered full speed at this point, with momentum building and the game starting to get into playable shape. MarkDarkness then joined the team to create the project's website and help promote it, after spending months following development. joek0 then added his expertise in the game to the team in the last moment.

Due to the sheer size and number of files presented by this game, it took a Herculean effort to carry the translation forward, which would have been impossible without the cooperation and assistance of everyone involved in it. This project is the result of the aspirations of this ad-hoc team and Aaron's persistence, in what we hope is a competent interpretation of a fabulous game. Development continued after release, with a series of fixes being issued so that the translation could be brought as close to perfection as possible.

You can check out the videos that were prepared during the translation process at the following links:

Tools

Trivia

In order to change the Text of the game, including all the mini-games, changes had to be made to:

3990 LBS files ... Dialogue and user interaction, Daily Challenges, Adventure/RPG Text, Chats/Phone Conversations
305 DAT files ... Magazines, Manuals, Item/Magic/Skill/Guadia descriptions in the RPG
10 OVERLAY files ... Fixed strings hardcoded into parts of the ROM. Adventure user options, Challenge text, etc.
ARM9.BIN ... The main binary file. Contained a few strings related to the game.

And for the graphics: 1,340 graphics files ranging from image swaps to tile-remapping to raw hex editing.



The most annoying parts of the project to do/fix:
  • In the RPG, there was a character added after then number of enemies attacking you: . It is just a suffix counter in Japanese but it is not needed in English. After struggling to figure out whether it was a graphic image or text, We finally figured out a completely unrelated character in the font was remapped to be that specific character despite there already being one elsewhere in the font. Nulling it out got rid of the character.
  • In Triotos and Triotos DX in particular, the text displayed on screen is not "text", but rather each individual character is mapped as its own image in each window. Every single character has to be added in as it's own image. To put it in English, I needed to add the roman alphabet to the source image file and then map each character to its own place on each message window as I needed them.
  • The RPG text is broken down into over a thousand tiny files. Each dialogue snipped is in it's own file and each of those don't contain the nouns and other items/spells needed in the conversation; those are in separate files. There was no way to know how it would look on screen until it was played in-game.
  • The Adventure games share the same folder and base files. Although broken up into several files, the dialogue snippets per room were at least in the same file.
  • There is more text in the Adventure games than the rest of the entire game combined. Translating that alone took months.
  • For that matter, there is more text in this whole game than a handful of old-school (NES-era) RPGs combined. Yes, there really is that much text!
  • Although there are technically more files in the RPG than any other mini-game here, many are very brief phrases or one word only. This still took a long time to translate mostly due to the sheer number of files. Consistancy of item, spell and skill names was more an issue than the amount of text involved.
  • Intro text for Super Demon Returns, Cosmic Gate, various warning screens and the ending credits are plain hex tables in which each value refers to a position in a separate source image.

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