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Posts by Horikawa Otane
Horikawa Otane's Profile - Posts by Horikawa Otane
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So, umm....

Some of you may know this at this point, but I'm the translator of the VIP series over at raocow's talkhaus (

I've already translated VIP 1 and released it there, but I think I may need some ASM hacking stuff for VIP 2...

Basically, as some of you may be aware, VIP 2's final boss uses attacks based on FFV's final boss and they're displayed in these message box things...

So anyway, I'd LIKE to translate them if possible. I have the translations for them ready, I'm just wondering how I'd have to go about doing a translation for the attacks if it's even remotely possible.

Here's an example:

Thanks so much!
Originally posted by LHB
To edit it extract the ExGFX from the ROM with #lm{extexgfx}.
Go to the new ExGFX folder in the ROM's folder, look for the file F4, since that is the file the graphics for the messages are stored in.
Open it with this, and then you have the graphics there to edit.

Oh thanks! This is super helpful!

Would anyone here know how to import the character set from VIP 1 into VIP 2? I have a version with the English characters and that's been working fine, but now I have to edit in smilie faces. The base VIP 2 character set has no English characters at all, so someone on the talkhaus made me one with English characters, but it unfortunately misses the custom ones VIP 1 used for smilies.

In the VIP 1 ROM it has the ideal character set, so is there a way I can open that in Lunar Magic and take that set and bring it into my VIP 2 ROM?

Originally posted by LHB
If you want the exact same character set as in the VIP 1 file you have, hit #lm{extgfx}.
Extract the Graphics from VIP 2 using the same button.
Go to the new Graphics folder, the game's text files are 2A and 2B.
Replace files 2A and 2B in VIP 2 with files 2A and 2B that were in VIP 1 and you should have the same character set as in your VIP 1.

Sorry if it is worded confusingly, I suck at explaining things to people.

Yay! I got the text into VIP 2, so now I can get all those smilies over! =D. Thanks a lot!

Now in terms of the exgfx thing... I may be doing it wrong. I opened file EXGFXF4.bin in yychr and all I got were these brown box things.

Here's what it looks like:

Help? ;_;

Originally posted by LHB

Also thank you for freeing us of Oyster's terrible text file translations. It is going to be awesome to experience the VIP's in fuller understanding than ever!

Thanks! I've made some errors (misinterpreting a meme or two, mostly. Only one legitimate error in translation so far), but they've been fixed as we go along. I've also had to clarify a thing or too - not having a script editor hurt the product (something that made sense to me doesn't to other people, etc). I'm hoping the current product is fully happy and fun, but at the very least - by the end of raocow's playthrough we'll have a shining, finished product. Also, VIP 2 doesn't appear to have any broken levels! We had to reconstruct a screen or two in VIP 1 (by we I mean morsel/morceau) and that was super annoying. Regardless, it's basically 95% there and it's definitely better than Oyster's 'translations.'
Originally posted by yoshicookiezeus
For most graphics to display correctly, you need to set the display mode (top left dropdown box) to 4bpp SNES.

Got it! Thanks! Now they're all translated~.

Hey guys, Horikawa again.

I was wondering if someone could step me through the basics of editing custom sprites. The sprites in the VIP series use kana, etc in their attacks and such. I want to translate them as best as possible.

For example the squirrel/bone-throwing-things say 「カワイソス」 or "Aww, poor guy" basically. I want to translate that as "Aww" or something. I'll explore it.

I'm a SUPER beginner at this Lunar Magic stuff, so... ?_?
Originally posted by yoshicookiezeus
You mean "sprite editing" as in editing the graphics of the sprites, or as in editing their actual to make them use different tiles? The first one is done the same way as you did when you translated the attack descriptions of the VIP2 final boss (find correct graphics file through Lunar Magic, edit in YY-CHR), but the second one is quite a bit more complicated and requires ASM knowledge.

Umm, so the enemies, when they are attacking, throw projectiles. Those projectiles are Japanese characters.

I'd like to change those to English characters. If that makes sense x.x. So I suppose the first one? Is that in exgfx or...?
Originally posted by yoshicookiezeus
Although you will also need to check which graphics file is used in SP4 for all levels that use the Dry Bones, as there will probably be several ExGFX files that also contain the bone tiles.

I swear I tried googling around for this, but what is SP4?
Thanks! I got it working!
So if I open YYCHR, is there a way I can one-button press to go to the next file?

I would like to be able to parse through a bunch of files to translate a bunch of the sprites, but like 90% of my time is spent going "Open", "replace last letter with the next letter/number", "press enter." It's super annoying.

Is there a way to just have YYCHR open a whole directory of .bin files so I can just one-click scroll through them?
Originally posted by Alcaro
As far as I know, not through normal means.

But you can use non-normal methods. If you've got 7-Zip installed, put all the files in a .TAR archive (no other format will work, because they're compressed, checksummed, or both), then open that file in YY-CHR. When you're done, pull the files back out.

If you don't have 7-Zip, you can put the graphics files in your favourite archive format (zip or something) and I'll tar it up for you. WinRAR seems able to unpack (but not create) TAR files, if you've got that; otherwise I can turn them back into a zip for you when you're done.

That worked great, thanks! Even for ExGFX <3.
Okay, so I've translated most of VIP 3 at this point, but I'm having a problem.

When I try to change a level in Lunar Magic, for example to add an additional textbox, it breaks the entire game upon saving. It doesn't even make it to the title screen, though the music plays. Any chance someone can look at this for me?

This is the pre-broken version. So just open it, put a dialogue box in a level, save, and then open it in zsnes and see what happens.

You can get the ips here.
Originally posted by yogui
What version of lunar magic are you using to edit the messagebox?

I remember that brutal mario use some heavy asm that makes it impossible to edit with the new versions of lunar magic because of adress conflict. Maybe it's the same here. Try with lunar magic 1.64 and see if the game still crash.
The older versions of lunar magic can be found here.

That did it! You guys are great!

Is there a way to see, for example, where all the message boxes are in a level quickly and easily (or a way to make sure all message boxes are placed SOMEWHERE)? That'd be helpful too, if you know how.
Err, as someone who translates professionally... Here's the thing. Both sides here are correct.

Translation exists on a SPECTRUM. Which means that there is a range of area in-between the word-literal translation and what we call in the Japanese community the 「意味」 or "meaning" literal translation.

First, before we go any forward, we should discuss what these two terms mean.

Word-literal does not mean dictionary-literal. Dictionaries are context free and, while useful resources, do ultimately represent translation decisions themselves and are thus equally valid (if not less) to a skilled interpreter of the language. Word-literal means that every word is represented in some fashion. This does not mean that every word is represent on a per-word basis, but is represented IN SOME WAY. For example, two possible word-literal translations of the level 「びっくりするほどいやらしい」are "Nasty to the point of Surprise" and "Horribly Surprising." Both are equally valid and both represent each word used in the source and are thus word-literal. This is what most translators do for their job, including myself. I translate patents and engineering documentation, so... word-literal is more important for me than most, but even professional translators for Atlus, XSeed, and others do word-literal. It is then the script-editor (who ideally doesn't speak the source language) and the translation-editor's job to catch dumb mistakes and pretty up the language for production, should it need prettying up (or should it be appropriate for the project).

Now translating meaning, or what people called earlier, intent, is a much more exciting prospect. Intent is often better recognised as localisation, rather than 'translation.' The goal is not to simply bring the language over, it is to bring the source's language to language similar to the target language in such a way as it sounds natural coming from the target.

If that was difficult to understand - think of it this way. Meaning or intent translation represents itself in many ways. It can range from changing names from "Yamada" to "Smith," to changing the names of pop star references (Perhaps the protagonist buys a ticket to a "Destiny's Child" rather than "AKB48," particularly if the concert itself is never shown), to ignoring some scenes entirely to adapt them for a more western (or wherever) audience. Some famous examples of this range from the well-executed (FFVI) to the extremely-ridiculed ("Jelly Doughnuts" in Pokemon). It is a difficult end of the spectrum to pull off and, as a translator, it is simultaneously liberating, horrifying, and incredible fun to exist in it.

Each product is, of course, different, however. One must specify where they are on the spectrum with care each time. In fact, no one really wants you to be all the way one way or another. For translating games, it is often useful to be more on the side of the 「意味」 or thoughts/intent, rather than the word-literal. However, word-literal can also be appropriate depending on the game and the audience. If you're translating for a bunch of annoying fanboys who'll complain about "OMG U SAID IT WAZ YOLO WHEN THE ORIGINAL CLEARLY SAYS DO SOMETHING PASSIONATELY TILL YOU DIE. GEEZ," you may want to protect yourself by being more word-literal. That is totally valid. I initially predicted this for my VIP Mario 1 translation, but the community was much more accepting of less word-literal translations and I have made many changes to it since. VIP 3, and the current versions of VIP 1 and 2, show a nice evolution that of my change in perspective from the more word-literal mindset to leaning more heavily into the 「意味」end of the spectrum.

So no, there is no right answer - and anyone who tells you there is does not know what they're talking about because they likely haven't translated in any sort of a serious context. Pick how you want to translate on that spectrum with respect to the medium of what you're translating and the audience you are translating it for. Personally, I would try to keep word-play and rhymes in there by ignoring the exact meaning of the words used and going for the fun wordplay (while getting near the word-literal), but ultimately it is your project and your decision. Just take the audience and the fact that it is a game into consideration.

Just as another random example... So there's a level in DKC2 that is called "Hot Dome Appetizer" in the original Japanese. However, the version released in the west called the level "Fiery Furnace." The reason for this is that it just makes more sense in English and it gets the same basic gist. It loses both word-literal and meaning, but it localises it and gets in the same ballpark, while sounding nice and interesting in English. My suggestion would be to aim for localisations like this. Get the gist of the original and use that as an inspiration, rather than focusing on the exact language used.
So I'm translating Sui Mario in my free time when I get tired of the VIPs. I plan to do the entire series there (there's only the three).

However, I cannot for the life of me find an emulator where the music works consistently in the first game (even using the one suggested!). Is there any way I could find to fix what is likely a bad patch or something? Since other people have commented about how good the music is and only complaining about the title screen being weird, it might just be me. Can someone take a look and instruct?

The patch can be found here (
It breaks in all emulators I was able to try it in... SNES9x, BSNES (Higan), ZSNES, and the one they recommend in the txt file.
Well, I don't know if this will help anyone, but...

It turns out this was an issue with my drivers! Apparently my sound-card was set to interact with 5.1 surround sound, which I didn't have! And zsnes, somehow, was trying to put certain sounds in the 5.1 speakers, which didn't exist.

After switching the setting to 2/2.1, it now works just fine. Weird!
Hey guys! I know it's something of a faux-paus to post something for an outside level contest, but you guys have been extremely awesome to the Talkhaus in the past, so it's at least somewhat relevant =).

Basically, we're doing a Level Contest with a gimmick where I (the contest lead) generate level names based on a series of mad lib formulas I've got. I generate five of them, then give you the list. You pick one and make a level off of it.

People have been proven to be more creative when put under limitations and this should (theoretically) enable the contestants to be restricted enough to be creative while having full creative control over the content of the level itself.

And it's a gimmick you can just ignore completely if you don't mind losing 10 points off the final score.

So take a look over at the Talkhaus - you don't have to be a member to join in! Just pop on over, see what things are about, and send me an email, post in this thread (or the Talkhaus thread), or send me a PM (here or at the Talkhaus) with the generator difficulty you want to consider =).

All levels will be LP'd by Raocow =).

Here's the contest rules! Please take a look! =D
Levels were due the first minute of March 9th EST


First place - 20 dollars on Steam, GoG, etc. Plus a neat red username on the talkhaus!
Second place - 10 dollars on Steam, GoG, etc.
Third place - 5 dollars on Steam, GoG, etc.
This thread is where you sign up.

Official "I've Received Your Level" list

So, here's the official thread for the 2014 Make a Good Level Contest - X! Judged by myself, Quill, and Sturg! I'm starting the sign-up thread a bit early this year!

The contest will run until Midnight, March 8th (the first minute of March 9th). That is more than a full month to make your level if you sign up early! You can sign up all the way until the deadline.


*Please welcome Sturg as the third judge! Also please welcome Willhart, who will be leading the design of the hub. And Blivsey who will be assisting him!
*If you are a new user (less than 5 posts or so), your PM may be flagged as spam. Please email ([email protected]) instead to be safe. Or do both.
*A casual reminder that the deadline of March 7th is when you must have your levels in to me by. It isn't the sign-up deadline (there is none)
*Level name difficulty does not equate to the difficulty of the level itself.
Basically, the way this contest will work is as follows:

The theme of this one will be Madlib Level Names! I will generate a level name for you, you will then use that level name as an inspiration for your level. The level content is entirely yours to decide, but the level name will be generated.

HOWEVER, unlike last year, there's another little caveat. You'll also be handed random characters. You can ONLY use characters provided in your list, in your level. Meaning if you are handed "Mario and Peach," you can either use Mario, Peach, or both, but CANNOT use Luigi or any others. Fitlers will be placed in the hub. You can include characters not on your list as NPCs.

This will be using the A2XT engine with the SMBX graphical, sound, music, etc. resources and the LunaLua 0.5.2 Beta (with SDL). Please code around that, should you want to use lunadll resources.
However, if you're not using lunadll or anything hackish, please feel free to develop in A2XT, vanilla SMBX, etc.

Here are the relevant downloads:

*SMBX (unless you want to develop using something else or use Lunalua/lunadll)
*Wohl's Much Better SMBX Editor


*Semi-official MaGL X2 Devkit (required for lunalua stuff. Lunalua may trigger Chrome's virus scans)
*New SMBX Custom Graphics Pack by Squishy Rex
*Squishy Rex's Custom Graphics Pack V1.7
*SMBX Custom Graphics Pack v3.1-Final
*Mudkips Graphic Pack
*Fan of SMBX's Graphics Pack V1.2.4.1
*Horikawa Otane's Fake Exit Star Graphic
*Please suggest any other graphics packs and I'll include them here!

The rules are as follows:

*One or more exits using the SMB3 exit star. A secondary secret alternative star is also acceptable (this secondary star will not be required for advancing in the collaborative tower)
*Be smart with your music choices. Since this will be LP'd by raocow at some point and YouTube uses some smart algorithms to detect certain vocal music tracks, just be sure you're aware of that and choose songs accordingly. Basically, avoid the latest Beyoncé hit singles, etc.
*You CAN use any gimmicks you like, including LunaLua stuff should you see fit and can get it to work consistently

To Participate

*Make a comment here, send me a PM, or, alternatively, send me an email at [email protected] with your request for an Easy, Medium, or Hard level name.
*Wait for your list of five generated level names and two characters.
*Pick the level name you want to make from the list
*Design a level around that name and at least one of the characters you provided. You cannot include characters you were not given (as playable characters. NPCs are fine), but you may use both of the characters you were provided if you like.
*Make sure your level name is in the format Username-Level Name.lvl (spaces are fine)
*Host your finished level on Mediafire, Mega, or any other file hosting service. Make sure the level is zipped up with the required custom resources like music and graphics that you use.
*Send me the link via email or PM
If you are a new user (less than 5 posts or so), your PM may be flagged as spam. Please email instead to be safe. Or do both.

Level Name Difficulty Difference
Level name difficulty will have a small impact on score. Easy levels will be an additional +0 to final score, Medium will be an additional +1, and Hard will be an additional +2. Difficulty is based on how hard the target level will be to create based on the generated level name. Generally speaking, the harder the level name, the longer and more complex the generated name. However, the difficulty difference is severe and you will find the harder levels will have much more difficult levels to make than the easier ones. If this is your first time, take an Easy level name and you'll still have an excellent chance to win. The point difference is primarily to differentiate between ties.

Judging Criteria (out of 100 points)

Uniqueness: 20 points
Fun Factor: 40 points
Personal Fun Factor: 20 points
How much fun you think someone else will have with this level: 20 points
Music: 10 points
Graphical Choices: 10 points
Use of Character: 10 points
Adherence to the Level Name: 10 points


*SMBX Level Editor Tutorial
*Collection of various tutorials for the engine


*Don't use mother brain unless you're sure you have a way for her to be fun. 99% of the time she isn't.
*If you feel the need to implement a Luna Tower-style midpoint, or the use of artificial multiple midpoints, chances are your level is too long and will be penalised for it. It is best to keep the midpoints at one. Only have a long level if you can keep it fun throughout and remove the feeling of "dragging"
*Really, avoid the Touhou music. It's almost never used well.
*Avoid "flat" landscape unless it makes sense (for example, a house). If you must use it, fake texture with objects like statues, etc.
*Avoid spamming enemies.
*Custom graphics are important. I'd say the default would be to use them. Only use vanilla graphics if you have a reason to do so (level name, theme, etc).

FAQ (Mulligan information here)

*Yes, but I will penalise your final score for each mulligan. You can mulligan one (either name or character set) for a -3 penalty or both for a -5 penalty. This is about forcing you to be creative. I will be culling lists by hand when they are generated to remove entirely unfair lists, should they arise. This shouldn't come up.
*You may sacrifice 3 points to guarantee you will not get a single character. You can do this multiple times - so, if you sacrifice 12 points, you can guarantee getting a specific character.
*Nope! Feel free to use your own. Just be aware, you'll lose out on the 10 points for adhering to it. Also, some judges may take issue with you flouting the rules and let that impact how fun they view your level, how the composition was, and how creative they felt you were. Feel free to ignore it, but I can basically guarantee you won't win. Think about it like losing a full letter grade on an assignment.
*YES! Just make sure you tell me who was involved in the submitted level so I can credit all of you!
*There will a switch placed in the hub to turn off the filters. This may be an end-game bonus, however, to ensure the levels are played as-intended.
*All the other MaGL contests have been, even the bad levels. So I'd assume so.
*Give it a try! SMBX is super-easy to use and even if you fail, I guarantee you'll learn. We're an accepting, loving community and we embrace failures just as much as successes!
*Yes, but if it isn't used well, you may be penalised under the "fun" categories.
*Cash Monies, entry in a custom user group (on the talkhaus), and special username colour (on the talkhaus). WOAAAAAAAH!
*Of course!
*As custom as you like - please, go nuts!
*Certainly not. Hardly anyone can use it. And besides, it will likely only ever get you points in uniqueness. If your level is more fun, you'll beat them out. And if it's super-creative, you could beat a Lunalua designer out who is less creative. I wouldn't worry about this.
*...It's allowed, but be aware it's rarely used well. Nothing's banned here. Use it if you think it's appropriate for your level.

Level Design Tutorials
Thanks to Shemp for the links =).
To the Right, Hold on Tight: An analysis of SMB's 1-1 and how to make a tutorial that doesn't look like one. For some reason the author has a fear of capital letters though.
Super Mario Bros 3 Level Design Lessons: Part 1 is analyses of all of World 1, showing how to construct a difficulty curve and make tutorials that don't look like tutorials.
Part 2 of the above: Brief analyses of some levels of Worlds 2-8, showing more advanced design elements.
Learning From The Masters: Level Design in The Legend of Zelda: Essentially this argues that good non-linearity is really not non-linear at all, just linearity that uses tricks to appear non-linear: keeping a linear core prevents the player from being too lost, while a non-linear shell prevents the player from feeling railroaded. This is adaptable to Mario design: some SMB3 levels, as mentioned in Part 2 of the Level Design Lessons, use similar design aspects with flying.
The Most Misunderstood Game of All Time: While this is largely a discussion of the intricacies of Doom and why people fail to "get it", it makes one very relevant point for Mario: in a game where the enemies have only an extremely rudimentary AI - which definitely applies to Mario's "walk left" enemies - placement and combination of these enemies are everything. One enemy in the right place can be far more of a challenge than loads and loads of them placed randomly.
Lessons in Color Theory for Spyro the Dragon: Insomniac Games artist John Fioritio discusses how Spyro uses colour to create emotions, make key parts of the level stand out both from the background of the level and from each other, and prevent the player from being lost (which is much more relevant to 3D platformers than 2D, but is an interesting read anyway).
Originally posted by Sokobansolver
Might as well take an easy level name as well since it's recommended for first timers. I've never made a SMBX level before and I am not yet familiar with the process, so there's no guarantee I'll finish.
Do I need to make a Talkhaus account as well?

Nope! I'll be checking here too, so please feel free to do the whole competition (submission, signing up, communications, etc) here if it's more convenient to you!
I apologise, but after filling out 311 of these, I'm a bit tired out. SMWC (and Wohl's forum and email peeps) will get their level names on 02/02.

Feel free to keep signing up until the deadline though!
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Horikawa Otane's Profile - Posts by Horikawa Otane

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