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The Code Zone Bargain Basement Blog

Chinese games and localization hints

  Posted by , 28 September 2010 - - - - - - · 198 views
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Been spending the last few days localizing, as Mochimedia (now owned by a Chinese company) offered free localization services for any customers who wanted to release their games in China.



I'm not sure exactly when my games will start popping up on Chinese sites. But until then, you can check 'em out.



BaffleBees

ChessCards

Ballistic Balloon Baboon Bounce

Brain Bones

ConFusebox

ConFusebox 2

Countdown Dice

Double Twelve

Head On Collision

Meltdown

Olive War

Poker Patience

Pop Pies

Pop Pies 2

Pop Pies 3

Shi Sen

Think Tank

Voracity

Worm Sojourn

Zombie Kitten Attack!

Now here's some tips on translating your games. This is my third or fourth time translating a whole pile of games into another language, and here are a few things I've learned.

1. Don't overengineer the process. Chances are, your text is going to be passed along to an entry-level writer, so don't make the process needlessly complicated.

At one company I worked at, they built a whole Java-based database of their text, with every string tagged with a language, and then a nightly process would convert the database into a series of source files that the game could read. They then gave their translators access to the database with the thinking it would make everything easy and automated. The job got done, but it wasn't easy for the translators.

When it came time for my project, I asked if I could just paste all of my in-game text into an Excel spreadsheet and email it to 'em, and they were THRILLED.

2. Plan to make a couple of passes at it. Inevitably, something won't sound quite right in practice, and you'll need to make another pass or two with the translator until everything looks right.

3. If you have something poetic or idiomatic or something else that just won't translate well, offer a more "literal" phrase that will translate better. For example, in my game "Brain Bones", the big button to roll the dice says "Roll The Bones". While the phrase "Roll The Bones" can be readily translated into another language, it's likely does not still mean "throw the dice" in that language. In such a case, provide alternate text that's free of nuance. . .like "throw the dice".

In the case of my game text spreadsheet, I had two columns of text. One contained the actual in-game text, and the next column contained alternative text if I felt the in-game text wouldn't translate well.

Ditto for alliterative text. While "Ballistic Balloon Baboon Bounce" can be translated literally, it will sound horribly stilted in another language. So I offered "Bouncing Balloon Game" in the alternative-text column. Between the actual and the alternative text, hopefully your translator will be able to come up with something reasonable.

4. It's monkey-work, so take it slowly and methodically. Translating is mostly just cut-n-paste, so take some time and be careful about it.

5. Test everything to make sure it all fits once you're done. This was a much bigger problem with German than anything else, as Germans will happily construct a single word out of several words to create a 30+ letter monstrosity that'll fall off the edges of your dialog boxes. Look over everything and make sure it all fits.

6. Make everything clear to your translator. Hopefully your translator is a native speaker of the target language. If so, that means that they're NOT a native speaker of your language and they might trip up on stuff that sounds fine to you (like "PRESS THE A KEY") but doesn't parse in their "not thinking in your language" brains. Make it clear to 'em that you're available and you're happy to provide more literal text if they need it.

7. Don't get married to your fonts. The "Baby Kruffy" font I used in Ballistic Balloon Baboon Bounce doesn't have Asian characters. Heck, it doesn't even have lowercase! In fact, you'll notice that all of the Chinese characters in my games are the same font, Microsoft YaHei. It's a boring font (it's Arial with a full Asian character set), but it is a "safe" font that's guaranteed to look right on all of the computers the games will use.

8. Account for time zones. My afternoon is China's middle of the night and vice-versa, so I wasn't in a hurry.https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5927544581291786949-3452010750793854605?l=thecodezone.blogspot.com

Source


Chinese games and localization hints

Posted by , 28 September 2010 - - - - - - · 464 views
localization
Been spending the last few days localizing, as Mochimedia (now owned by a Chinese company) offered free localization services for any customers who wanted to release their games in China.

I'm not sure exactly when my games will start popping up on Chinese sites. But until then, you can check 'em out.

BaffleBees
ChessCards
Ballistic Balloon Baboon Bounce
Brain Bones
ConFusebox
ConFusebox 2
Countdown Dice
Double Twelve
Head On Collision
Meltdown
Olive War
Poker Patience
Pop Pies
Pop Pies 2
Pop Pies 3
Shi Sen
Think Tank
Voracity
Worm Sojourn
Zombie Kitten Attack!


Now here's some tips on translating your games. This is my third or fourth time translating a whole pile of games into another language, and here are a few things I've learned.

1. Don't overengineer the process. Chances are, your text is going to be passed along to an entry-level writer, so don't make the process needlessly complicated.

At one company I worked at, they built a whole Java-based database of their text, with every string tagged with a language, and then a nightly process would convert the database into a series of source files that the game could read. They then gave their translators access to the database with the thinking it would make everything easy and automated. The job got done, but it wasn't easy for the translators.

When it came time for my project, I asked if I could just paste all of my in-game text into an Excel spreadsheet and email it to 'em, and they were THRILLED.

2. Plan to make a couple of passes at it. Inevitably, something won't sound quite right in practice, and you'll need to make another pass or two with the translator until everything looks right.

3. If you have something poetic or idiomatic or something else that just won't translate well, offer a more "literal" phrase that will translate better. For example, in my game "Brain Bones", the big button to roll the dice says "Roll The Bones". While the phrase "Roll The Bones" can be readily translated into another language, it's likely does not still mean "throw the dice" in that language. In such a case, provide alternate text that's free of nuance. . .like "throw the dice".

In the case of my game text spreadsheet, I had two columns of text. One contained the actual in-game text, and the next column contained alternative text if I felt the in-game text wouldn't translate well.

Ditto for alliterative text. While "Ballistic Balloon Baboon Bounce" can be translated literally, it will sound horribly stilted in another language. So I offered "Bouncing Balloon Game" in the alternative-text column. Between the actual and the alternative text, hopefully your translator will be able to come up with something reasonable.

4. It's monkey-work, so take it slowly and methodically. Translating is mostly just cut-n-paste, so take some time and be careful about it.

5. Test everything to make sure it all fits once you're done. This was a much bigger problem with German than anything else, as Germans will happily construct a single word out of several words to create a 30+ letter monstrosity that'll fall off the edges of your dialog boxes. Look over everything and make sure it all fits.

6. Make everything clear to your translator. Hopefully your translator is a native speaker of the target language. If so, that means that they're NOT a native speaker of your language and they might trip up on stuff that sounds fine to you (like "PRESS THE A KEY") but doesn't parse in their "not thinking in your language" brains. Make it clear to 'em that you're available and you're happy to provide more literal text if they need it.

7. Don't get married to your fonts. The "Baby Kruffy" font I used in Ballistic Balloon Baboon Bounce doesn't have Asian characters. Heck, it doesn't even have lowercase! In fact, you'll notice that all of the Chinese characters in my games are the same font, Microsoft YaHei. It's a boring font (it's Arial with a full Asian character set), but it is a "safe" font that's guaranteed to look right on all of the computers the games will use.

8. Account for time zones. My afternoon is China's middle of the night and vice-versa, so I wasn't in a hurry.


How to make a game design document

  Posted by , 17 September 2010 - - - - - - · 1,494 views
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I just noticed that President Obama endorsed a game design contest aimed at kids, so I thought I'd post my kid's game design document that she drew up about a year ago.



Just to get her brain working, I asked her to design me a game, and she went a bit overboard. I just gave her one word to get her started, "merponycorn". That is, of course, an ad-hoc neologism describing a unicorn pony that lives under the sea. . .



A little while later she returned with the main layout of "Ponytopia", showing all the main locations, like the Candy Kingdom, the Beach, the Resort, the Apartment Building, the Fun House, and the Young Club. The Apartment Building is where all the merponycorns live, and when you sign up you get a room you can customize.



Posted Image






Here are the five races of merponycorns, specifically the Pop Star Merponycorn, the Princess Merponycorn, the Fairy Merponycorn, the Magic Merponycorn, and the Rainbow Merponycorn. Each race of merponycorn has different attributes and powers.



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Finally, here's some miscellaneous notes regarding how to get points and spend them as well as the merponycorn dress-up application. She went quite far describing the economics of Ponytopia, as economics are a big cornerstone of every virtual world. Apparently you play games to get Ponycoins which you can then use to buy seeds and plant flowers in your virtual garden. Some flowers will sprout into pets that will follow you around and you can care for.



Here's her page of miscellaneous notes.



Posted Image






Oddly I think she's on to something here. Unfortunately, it's quite a bit bigger than a one-person project (as I feel I'll end up doing all the code), and even if I did go with an off-the-shelf solution like Electroserver for much of the underpinnings, there's still a lot there.



So I thought I'd share it as an example of what you get when you tell a little kid to design a game based on a single word. I was really hoping more for "make your merponycorn jump on bubbles to win points" than a whole friggin MMORPG.https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5927544581291786949-7114759913806538370?l=thecodezone.blogspot.com

Source


How to make a game design document

Posted by , 17 September 2010 - - - - - - · 1,075 views

I just noticed that President Obama endorsed a game design contest aimed at kids, so I thought I'd post my kid's game design document that she drew up about a year ago.

Just to get her brain working, I asked her to design me a game, and she went a bit overboard. I just gave her one word to get her started, "merponycorn". That is, of course, an ad-hoc neologism describing a unicorn pony that lives under the sea. . .

A little while later she returned with the main layout of "Ponytopia", showing all the main locations, like the Candy Kingdom, the Beach, the Resort, the Apartment Building, the Fun House, and the Young Club. The Apartment Building is where all the merponycorns live, and when you sign up you get a room you can customize.



Here are the five races of merponycorns, specifically the Pop Star Merponycorn, the Princess Merponycorn, the Fairy Merponycorn, the Magic Merponycorn, and the Rainbow Merponycorn. Each race of merponycorn has different attributes and powers.



Finally, here's some miscellaneous notes regarding how to get points and spend them as well as the merponycorn dress-up application. She went quite far describing the economics of Ponytopia, as economics are a big cornerstone of every virtual world. Apparently you play games to get Ponycoins which you can then use to buy seeds and plant flowers in your virtual garden. Some flowers will sprout into pets that will follow you around and you can care for.

Here's her page of miscellaneous notes.



Oddly I think she's on to something here. Unfortunately, it's quite a bit bigger than a one-person project (as I feel I'll end up doing all the code), and even if I did go with an off-the-shelf solution like Electroserver for much of the underpinnings, there's still a lot there.

So I thought I'd share it as an example of what you get when you tell a little kid to design a game based on a single word. I was really hoping more for "make your merponycorn jump on bubbles to win points" than a whole friggin MMORPG.