Interview with a Walrus

As we’ve been busy working on 99 Spirits and suddenly realized we haven’t posted anything on the blog this week, today we decided to bring you an interview with one of our own: Tony Blomqvist, the coder, proofreader, infamous walrus lover.

Jakke: Can you tell us a little about yourself, Tony?

Tony: I code stuff and it either works or doesn’t, I like music and anything Jakke doesn’t like.

Jakke: That’s a good start, what about…

Tony: and I believe all monkeys should be set free.

Jakke: Quite so, quite so. Now for the thousand dollar question: what is it you actually do around here, Tony?

Tony: Well, dearest Jakke McFlammy Flemington, a lot of different incoherent things. My main participation is in creating scripts and programs that help Fruitbat Factory’s localization projects, as well as proofreading the text. With War of the Human Tanks, I made the installer and launcher, developed scripts for managing the project’s text files, and edited the game’s source code to improve some text positions and gameplay mechanics.

Jakke: Oh, yeah, I think that rings a bell. What would you say was the hardest aspect in working on War of the Human Tanks?

Tony: Studying the game’s code with no prior C/C++ experience! As someone who has only recently started programming (mainly with Python), there was a lot to learn. The engine War of the Human Tanks runs on, System 4.0, allows games to be coded with C-like abstraction, but it was all new to everyone on the team, and all the documentation, of course, was in Japanese. Though frustratingly difficult at times, it was also a very educational process, and taught me a lot about C and code structuring. When I eventually could comfortably alter the code of bigger segments such as changing pre-battle tank repositioning to work on-the-fly, it felt very rewarding.


Jakke: What about your strange, unnatural love for walruses?

Tony: My love for walruses. Now that’s a tough one. I have no idea. I guess the Finnish word for a walrus sounds cute? Yeah.

Oh, there’s that Beatles song about walruses. That’s pretty trippy. Maybe that has affected me too.  Its name is, unsurprisingly, “I am the walrus”. John Lennon wrote the song after he had heard that there’s a study group that likes to analyze the meaning of his lyrics. He made the lyrics totally nonsensical and thought “let the fuckers figure that out”. At least so Wikipedia or some other documentary claimed. That’s my most trusted source, I have to admit I wasn’t there.

Jakke: Thank you very much for the insightful commentary on the state of modern localization work.

War Report #2

So last week we said we have great news. Indeed, as I am happy to say that translation & editing for War of the Human Tanks is now FINISHED! That’s definite cause for celebration (and a few beers). Big kudos to Yoshifumi who finished translating the last scenarios in record time. The whole staff has had a blast playing them and most of us are now at 100% completion rate.

I don’t think we’ve specifically mentioned it anywhere, but the game has 2 main routes and 4 different endings, and completing a route unlocks new challenges for you. There are a total of 29 different battles (edit: 31 now) to unlock and fight through as you play the different routes. So there’s quite a bit more to the game than just playing through it once. It took us some 20 to 30 hours to reach completion, depending on the person. It was interesting to see how each of us approached the gameplay with their own philosophy.

So where does that leave us? We already announced earlier that we’ll be releasing the game this fall. We’re well on schedule for that. There are some things still left to do, however:

*Finish replacing the battle maps.
*Fine tune the system files.
*Playtest, playtest, playtest.

So this is mainly what we’ll be doing over the next few weeks, after sobering up from the celebration.

Look forward to the game this fall!

War Report #1

The scenario translation for War of the Human Tanks is proceeding at a great speed ever since we concluded our work on the game’s rather extensive battle logic. 7 of the game’s 13 chapters have now passed through editing. While initially preparing the hand drawn maps was being delayed by the script translation since we wanted them to reflect the battlefields as accurately as possible, the maps have now trouble keeping up. This doesn’t affect our release schedule, since there are a lot of other steps to go through even after translation is complete.

We wouldn’t want anyone to get bored while waiting, so we opened up three more sections of the War of the Humans homepage and updated the screenshot gallery. By browsing the System Tab and its sub pages you can learn about many aspects of our game and how to play it. These pages double as the game’s online manual. Have fun checking them out.

As a special thanks for the thousands of people who watched our first teaser trailer this week, here is a clear sketch from one of the scenes in War of the Human Tanks:

A work in progress

When you first start up War of the Human Tanks fully in Japanese, the sight can be a bit overwhelming from a translation point of view. I’m referring to this:

It doesn’t exactly help the task that the gameplay script is split into perhaps a few hundred separate scripts, and the strings that need translating (perhaps as long as 1 character in size!) are hidden among the other game logic.

Well, our resident helper and tech genius Tony Blomqvist wrote some marvelous filters to help us deal with this issue. I’ve been chipping away at them from various angles for a while now with Yoshifumi‘s support, and the gameplay is… getting there. There are still a few bigger scripts to tackle (including unit infos, which are reflected pretty much everywhere), but it’s getting easier and easier to figure out what goes on in the game in English.

Of course, the initial translation is just half the story. After inserting the changes you go fiddle with the menus to figure out exactly where that one word was supposed to appear in and just how badly you screwed it up. Then tune and tinker.

But as you can see here, progress is definitely being made, and it’s quite fun to see the screens one by one turn into something understandable:

(Note that the images shown in the screenshots are also a work-in-progress.)