Greetings fellow samplers of fine art! We’re Kakugo Translations, a newly started up VN fanTL group formed by a passionate trio who aims to dig up hidden gems others have overlooked and give them a chance to shine!
…Okay, so that’s actually just sales talk. We work on whatever the hell we feel like, but don’t tell that to the manager 🙂
Hm? What’s that? Oh, you’re wondering what we’re going to announce for our first project. Well, here’s something that may be surprising, but… we don’t intend to announce our projects until they are completely done! Yes, you read that right. You won’t see any announcements on what we are working on until the day we release said projects. We may occasionally share progress reports, hints, or snippets from our works, but the titles we work on will be a closely guarded secret until the day they get released. We just think it’s better to do things this way, and not have awkward hype around something that’s still in the oven and then disappoint fans if/when the project never sees the light of day. There are also some other benefits to this approach, but we’ll let you guess what those may be.
And to show you how serious we are about this secretive style of handling projects, allow us to announce our before-first project! Call it our zeroth project if you will. Yes, we have a finished fanTL that we want to share with you today! It was never announced, but it’s something we were working on for the last couple of months in secret. It’s not exactly a gem, but it’s a title that has helped us measure our capabilities, as well as get us in the groove of things. It’s essentially a project we picked up to build experience, but it’s nonetheless a project we all enjoyed working on (more or less).
It’s a nice little VN by the name of Knot Fiction. Don’t ask us how we chose this title in particular. It was really a random draw, and looking back on it now, we could’ve certainly picked up an easier short VN to work on. What we mean by that is not that the VN was hard to translate or anything. The problem was the shitty engine that greatly limited what we could do with it. Our “techie”, Infernoplex, will tell you more in a moment what we had to deal with, but overall, just know that it’s not a VN that has left us a lot of room to do whatever we wanted with it (unlike our first real project we’re working on now).
Anyway, without further ado, let’s get to the commentary from the staff:
Hi, mina-sama. Infernoplex speaking for the group now. I’m one of the three founding members of Kakugo Translations. You may already know me from some other projects I helped bring to life. Anyway, here at Kakugo Translations I’m responsible for the tech side of things… well, kinda. It’s more like I’m helping with everything, as a true jack of all trades would. I just happen to have the most experience fiddling with VN tools among the trio, so that’s why I’m the one who’s helping with the tech. However, in reality, my tech skills are practically non-existent, so I rely on actual techies to help me solve problems I myself can’t. For our first real VN project, most of the tech stuff has been solved by now, but for Knot Fiction… Sigh, I wish there were better tools available for it… ;(
WARNING! AN INSANELY LONG TECH RANT INCOMING!
Namely, the problem with Knot Fiction is that it uses some garbage engine by the name of SystemC that no one but a select few has ever heard of. It seems to be a budget engine used by some eroge developers who clearly didn’t know any better than to use this for their games. Well, it’s what it is. I can’t exactly complain since I myself signed up for it when I said, “Yeah, let’s go with Knot Fiction. Seems like it’s something we could work on.” Oh boy, how wrong I was back then. Turns out the only available tools for it are kinda inconvenient, and they are nowhere near as good as what I am used to with other VN engines like Kirikiri, AdvHD, etc. To show you what we used for Knot Fiction, here’s the link to the Github repo of the tool.
If you look closely there, you’ll see this piece of info near the bottom:
“You can’t add or remove lines in the exported “_Dump.txt” file, to this you use those syntaxes…”
What Marcus, the writer of that tool, meant here is that you can’t just randomly add or remove lines in the dumped text script file as you see fit. You have to MANUALLY add/remove lines in the original text script file that you used to get the dumped script from, and only then you can add/remove that line in the dumped script file. Yes, there are two different script files that you’re forced to deal with here, making things messy. Just for clarity’s sake, what I mean by “lines” here isn’t “one-click worth of text” (the text you see on screen at once at any given point while you play). No, I’m not talking those lines. What I am talking about is better described as “rows of text on screen”. Let me show you what I mean.
Suppose you have a line in JP that goes something like this:
This “line” would be worth 2 rows of text. Now, suppose your translation needed three rows of text. Or, suppose you could fit the whole thing into one row of text… You couldn’t do this in a simple manner. Every time you’d want to do this, you’d have to manually add that line in the original JP script, and then get the dumped text script file of that edited JP script with the new lines removed/added using Marcus’s tool, and then translate the line. Doing this now and then wouldn’t be a big deal. However, doing this all the time with a VN like Knot Fiction that has between 5k and 6k of “real lines of text” (those that you see on screen at once at any given point while you play), the necessary work we’d have to put in would be TOO MUCH ;( And there’s no way to automate this! Or at least I am too dumb to figure out how ;(
Since we didn’t feel like doing this annoying thing all the time for every single line that needed this (and trust me, there’s quite a few lines where we needed this freedom), we opted to not complicate our lives more than necessary, and we went with the option of just never adding or removing the rows of text we were given to work with. In other words, we always kept the translated text in the same amount of space that the original JP script gave us. YES, DON’T ASK ME HOW WE WERE ABLE TO WORK WITH THIS LIMITATION! Only God knows ;( Well, I say “we”, but I mostly speak in Sath and Force‘s names here since they were the ones who had to bear with this problem the most. Had I been a better techie, I could’ve probably found them a better solution, but alas, I’m powerless when it comes to SystemC’s shittiness. The way this engine handles script files is a real pain in the ass, and from what I’ve looked up, there don’t seem to be any publicly available good solutions on how to handle this engine’s script files.
MarcusSacanna is a good hacker and a friend, but his tools aren’t always necessarily convenient to use. And that’s okay, he doesn’t code them to make things easy for anyone. He shares his code to inspire others to improve on his work or to motivate them to learn coding, etc. That’s by his own admission. I am grateful to him for even writing this tool in the first place, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to do Knot Fiction at all. To my knowledge, only 2 other projects had to deal with VNs where this engine was used. One was NTRanon‘s project for Tsuushinbo’s bonus disk translation and the other one was the dropped fanTL of Tenkiame. I have no idea what tools the Tenkiame guys used, but I know that NTRanon used the same tool for his project. In hindsight, I could’ve probably asked the Tenkiame guys if they were still holding onto their tools for Tenkiame, but there’s no guarantee they too didn’t have to deal with this shitty problem with the script files.
Just keep this in mind if/when you decide to read Knot Fiction. The translation of it is not exactly in our best vision, but we made the best out of the situation we were given.
You’re likely to see lines that could’ve fit in 1 row of text instead of 2, or lines where 3 rows of text were needed, but the text was shortened to fit into 2. (12/26/2020 Update — The word wrap has been fixed, courtesy of Kebab_Jesus, truly the most heavenly combination.)
As for the images… Ugh, yeah. The engine has its own proprietary format/container for the image files. GARBro knows how to extract those image files, but there were no tools for converting the edited image files back to the VN’s image format. So, I had to ask for help here. The credits for solving this problem go to Danshi from Alka Translations and AtomCrafty from Rabu Rabu Translations. Without these two, we’d have no edited images for our Knot Fiction release. So props to them ^^ What can I say? I can’t even code a tool that reverses one function into the opposite direction. So much for my Computer Science studies ;(
Now onto the tech matters we’ve never solved…
- The VN refuses to close when you press “X” — No idea why this happens. It’s a bug with the original JP release. The only way to exit the game without “hard-shutting down” the process is to load a scene from the VN (or start a new game), then go back to Title Screen, and then press “Quit”. Otherwise, it doesn’t work. Also, pressing “Quit” right after you launch the VN doesn’t work. Seems to be a coding bug with the original JP release. (12/26/2020 Update — The issue only affects some systems. I still don’t know what causes it, but the “Quit” button works fine on some systems.)
The font is a piece of shit — Yes, I was powerless here too. If anyone knows how we can make that font look less shitty, please let me know. We kinda had to settle with what we were given there. Luckily, our other projects likely won’t have this shitty font problem.(12/26/2020 Update — As of v1.1 patch release, the issue is fixed, courtesy of a kind anon.)
- Selecting “Fullscreen” for display in the config screen can cause the game to crash — It seems to happen randomly. Just use “Borderless” instead. I never had the game crash on me using that option.
- The text display speed is kinda weird — Yes, another thing I couldn’t fix. Blame this on SystemC. For some reason, it tends to ignore the text display speed you set in the config menu for the 2nd and 3rd row of text, and instead just instantly displays those no matter what text display speed you set. My advice is to set it to almost instant speed or completely instant to make your experience reading it less annoying. I was kinda bothered with how bugged it was, so I just set it to almost instant. If it wasn’t obvious by now, yes, this engine is the worst VN engine on the planet right now (or among the worst at least).
That’s about all the negative things I can say about the engine. The VN itself, however, is decent. Not for everyone, but it’s a fine VN if you’re looking to get some steam off. There’s no drama, and it’s pretty much a light-hearted vanilla nukige. Also, sitting around at just some 5 to 6k lines of text, it’s short enough to not take too much of your time. The thing I liked the most about it is the gorgeous art. I know it’s subjective, but I really liked the CGs in this VN. I’m not an art connoisseur, but there was enough eye candy for me in this VN to consider it one of the better decent-looking short budget VNs out there. Also, the main star of the show, Chisa, is an all right Onee-san type of heroine. I’m not sure she passes well enough as a wife of the MC, but as an Onee-san archetype, I liked her. Haven’t read any works recently with that archetype, and that’s one of the main reasons why I signed up for it back in the day when I didn’t know about the engine issues we would have. The VN looked gorgeous and simple enough to me. Here’s hoping you guys’ll like it just as much as I did ^^
And that’s all from me. Sorry for the long rant. Infernoplex signing out! 🙂
Hey, guys! My name’s Sathelys, but most people just call me Sath. I’m the translator of Knot Fiction, and one of the other two founders of Kakugo Translations. I’ll start by saying that, while it was something we sort of randomly picked up (seriously, there was almost no thought put into it before we started other than “Hey, this art looks nice” and “This is short enough to test out our skills”), Knot Fiction quickly became something of a passion project for me, and it’s something I think I’ll always be proud of considering the limitations we had with the engine. Despite those challenges, I still had a blast working on this game. The characters are freaking adorable, Chisa is an absolute legend of a girl, and the art is way too good for a game of this length. Also, the music will make you think you’ve been teleported to the Bahamas. So, if you’re looking for a chill time with some cute married couple vibes, and lots of lewds with a smug onee-san/wife, then I hope you’ll enjoy this labor of love!
Hello, everyone, Force here. I was the editor on Knot Fiction, and the third founder of Kakugo Translations. I’ll be curt. This VN was quite the ride to start with. Line matching, engine being a B, and the writing that didn’t make things easy. A limit to what you can put there makes it hard to write as you please. But even so, it was a valuable experience and a good start. May you thoroughly enjoy the fruits of our masochism!
And that’s it from the core Kakugo staff! 🙂 Now, that’s not to say that only the three of us helped bring this title to life. Special thanks go to the following people for their tremendous contributions:
- Icku, for his thorough QC of our work, and helping us polish the final script to the best of his abilities;
- Danshi, for helping us do the images, and editing some of the images himself;
- AtomCrafty, for giving us the converter to do the images;
- MarcusSacanna, for his SystemC Script Manager tool, without which this project couldn’t have been done;
- Kebab_Jesus, for fixing the word wrap and making text more readable;
- Anonymous, for finding a way to change the font and making text more readable;
- morkt, for his GARBro VN Resource Extractor, without which this project couldn’t have been done;
- dsp2003, for his AE VN tools, without which this project couldn’t have been done;
- Other, general utilities for working with text and images;
- And, of course, Hachimitsu Soft for making this VN in the first place 🙂
And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for, the link for the patch.
“How to install and play?”
As usual, just extract everything to the VN’s directory and overwrite when asked to.
Also, make sure you’re in JP locale before running the VN.
“Where to get the VN itself?”
We recommend buying it on DLsite.
Good folks over at Alka Translations have written a guide on how to buy VNs from DLsite.
The VN’s also being sold on DMM in case you’d prefer to buy from there instead.
And here’s the official website of the VN.
We won’t comment on the other, less legal methods to obtain the VN.
As an aside, we’ve started up our own Discord server (the link is in the menu at the top right corner), so feel free to stop by in case you want to thank us or just hang out with us. We’ll also probably be way more active there, so if you want to follow what we’re working on now, you may want to start lurking there (just don’t overdo it, we’d like our fans to say hi from time to time XD). Or if not, you can also brew yourself a nice cup of coffee, tea, or maybe teaffee (Is that even a thing? We hope not.)
Anyway, we hope you’ll enjoy our projects! Kakugo Translations signing off! 🙂