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Posted by Cless on 12/5/2005
Well, here's a release out of right field! (maybe an early Christmas present for some?)

Almost four years ago, I released a document about PlayStation hacking. It quickly became out of date and was left neglected.

After about a week of on and off motivation, I present... version 2. It has about twice as much text as the first one and documents a lot of what I've experienced over the years.

If the document still has a weakness, it's the fact that I haven't actually done a whole lot of PSX hacking outside of Tales of Phantasia. As we know, games can often be very different from one another, so it's likely that some of what I've written may not apply to other games.

As should be obvious, go find it in the documents page!

Posted by Cless on 11/24/2005
On this fine Thanksgiving day, we bring you news and progress on the project nobody cares about!

After nearly five years of going absolutely nowhere, progress is being made on Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon!




First and foremost, I eliminated the awful font we were using before and replaced it with the same 8x8 we're using in ToP PSX. This made it possible to have some nice "squish" tiles. The only consequence is the awkward looking spacing in some cases, but with a game as tightly packed as this, neatness and uniformity is kind of not the highest priority.

Second, the main thing that put the project on indefinite hold was an odd issue with the menu. It's been figured out thanks to the assistance of Kajitani-Eizan. If it wasn't figured out, translations of various menu items would have had to look terribly abbreviated.

With what we have now, I think it's possible to put together a full patch of reasonable quality. But target, near flawless quality, will require quite of bit of ASM-level hacking:

Dual-Tile Encoding: I'm not sure how much of the translated story will fit back into the game. DTE should help a great deal if we could put it in.

Variable Width Font: May be difficult to do on Game Boy, but it's apparently possible. With so little screen space for things such as item names, this is absolutely the key to making the project look truly professional.

If a variable width font proves to be too much, we could always use an increase in the number of characters possible for a monster name. The game has an awful cap at 7 letters per monster name, and that's pretty darn annoying. I've got ideas to re-arrange things on the screen so that 8, 9, and even 10 letters could fit on the battle screen.

Two lines for item descriptions: One line is simply not enough for some item descriptions. May not be needed if VWF is implemented.

Well, anyway, ToP Narikiri Dungeon is back on the map again.

Posted by Cless on 11/3/2005
TALES OF PHANTASIA GAME BOY ADVANCE US (AND EUROPE) BOUND!

After all the denials, nobody ever expected it, but Tales of Phantasia is finally making it outside Japan officially in Game Boy Advance form!

I wanted to make a statement that this does not jeopardize the fate of our PS1 version translation. However, the official translation may influence it in some ways.

Posted by Cless on 10/30/2005
Holy crap, Batman! We're finally in the process in releasing episode 3 of the ToP OVA. Encoding a release candidate as I type this message. So hopefully we can expect a release in a week or sooner.

Project staff members who've been dormant for a while please come to the channel and help quality check soon, if possible.

Posted by Cless on 10/15/2005
Progress on ToP PSX has slown down a tad since the last update. Habilain is busy with university, so he won't have as much time on his hands. Klarth is doing his own thing, and I haven't heard from Skeud in awhile. Meanwhile, there's not a whole lot I'm capable of doing at the moment, and I'm trying to catch up on my huge video game backlog with my free time anyway.

However, as it stands, Habilain fixed the bug with his dual tile encoding scheme for dialogue and has also implemented DTE into the main menu. All translated menu text fits beautifully with DTE and there is still tons of room left over in case other languages require more space than english.

Much like Skeud's 8x8 variable width font, the menu DTE routine causes a black screen of death on real PlayStations and PlayStation 2s. Nobody knows exactly what's going on, so it's possible the first release (whenever it comes out!) may only work in emulators. Real console compatibility is something I'm definitely striving for, but it's possible that may not happen the first time around.

What I've currently got Habilain assigned to do when he's got time to work on the project is fix the 16 characters per line limit for dialogue as well as fixing a hard limit of 128 characters on-screen total (there are a couple menu screens that exceed 128 characters in the translation). All we need are these to get hacked, Klarth's scipt tools to be finished, and some translated text, and we could start inserting story dialogue...

Posted by Cless on 9/6/2005
Time for this month's status.

Tales of Phantasia PSX:

Well, where do we begin?

Skeud's 8x8 variable width font for the main menu is done, except for the fact that it doesn't quite work yet on real PlayStation hardware (black screen of death). It works fine in emulators. It rocks.

Habilain's dual tile encoding scheme is starting to come together. Currently it works on story dialogue only and currently has a couple little bugs that need working out. We dropped dictionary encoding due to the fact it seemed like overkill.

Klarth is finally back in action and slowly coding up some nifty, new utitlities for the project.

I've been quite busy myself. I've managed to pick up on some ultra-basic PSX ASM and with the help Klarth's PSX code tracer have at least been able to do a lot of simple things, such as...

1) 7 letter naming. Chester can now be named without any sort of abbreviation. Or you can rename anybody with any 7 letter name you want. It works perfectly and naturally.
2) Cosmetic hacks. Changes the way things are arranged on-screen. I've done tons of these hacks in the menu to accommodate for the translation.
3) Double byte text representation is mostly hacked out. I don't take all the credit for this though. Habilain figured out a way to disable it for dialogue text, and through some random chance I've disabled its use in the menu. This discovery gave enough room to insert most of the menu translation into the game howver we're still in need of menu DTE before we can fit it all in.
4) Monster name issue fixed. The game initially (and strangely) used double byte Shift-JIS encoding for monster names and left us with only 10 letter monster names. Then the game proceeded to run a routine to convert that Shift-JIS text to the standard single byte ToP table, and overwrite it. A carefully placed NOP disables this conversion/replacement and allows us to insert monster names using the standard single byte ToP table. Ergo, this means monster names can now be up to 21 characters in length. No monster in the game will need to be renamed for spacial reasons!

I've also elected to eliminate the original ToP PSX menu numbers and replaced them with 5-pixel width ones, corrosponding to the rest of the font. It gives us some much needed additional space in the menus to fit text.

Newer screens to follow shortly.. I've posted a ton in the forum, but I want to make some new, more refined ones. Here's one good enough for the front page, you could probably even call it final (and it's even better than the mockup!):

click for bigger

Although all this news may sound really great, we still have a long ways to go.

Tales of Phantasia THE ANIMATION (episode 3):

I've got all the materials necessary to start putting a final encode of this together now, but eh. I've got it on the backburner right now because I don't feel like working on it at the moment. Perhaps within the next few weeks... but I've also got to make it clear that the ToP PSX game translation by far has the greatest amount of priority of all Phantasian Productions projects.

Posted by Cless on 8/1/2005
The release date of the 4th ToP OVA episode DVD has been delayed... again. On top of the previous delay, there's another 3 months to wait. It's now scheduled for December 22, 2005.

Episode 3 is still on track for being released. The staffer mentioned in the previous update about it is still having trouble finding time to work on it. We can't release it without his input, so continue having patience.

On the ToP PSX front, I'm hoping to have a fairly big update about that in about a month or so. Skeud is gone from the internet for the next month, but has lots of free time on his hands during that period and said he will spend some of it on ToP ASM hacks. We should expect at least a bug-free 8x8 variable width font by then. Before leaving he already did start on that routine, but there were bugs with it. Here's a preview screen shot with the bugs (click for a bigger version):

On the other hand, Habilain is still working on dual-tile and dictionary encoding schemes to fit the script in. He also intends to try fixing the 16 character limit per dialogue line. Hope to have new screenshots in a month!

Posted by Cless on 7/11/2005
Pretty big Tales of Phantasia PSX news. We proudly announce we have not one, but two new ASM hackers for this project! They are both new to this and still learning, but they have shown promise. They are zqfmbg and Habilain. This project should finally be going through some major advancements pretty soon-- Habilain is already working on a dual-tile encoding and dictionary compression scheme which will basically result in us having plenty of space to fit translated text.

Also, our last translator, Xero is back in action. His disappearance was due to some very unfortunate events. He will be doing the major translation of the script. Shinhoshi has agreed to continue translating other parts of the game and proofread Xero's final translation.

Posted by Cless on 6/30/2005
The Tales of Phantasia PSX project page has been updated with some small, but new progress dealing with graphical text (if you read the forum you've probably already seen this stuff) and a hint of something good possibly happening soon.

Episode 3 of the OVA is taking a little longer than I had hoped but one of the key staffers of the project is currently too busy to work on it at the moment. Patience.

Posted by Cless on 6/13/2005
There's been a slight and sudden influx of downloaders on the Tales of Phantasia OVA episodes. The amount of bandwidth being put out by the connected seeders is a bit low. Anyone who still has the episodes handy and can do some seeding for awhile would be a good help. The torrent files can be found in the Tales of Phantasia OVA page.

Ep 3 is coming. Most everything is done besides the complete translation and script polishing. It shouldn't take us as long to get this out as episode 2, but I'm not going to try leaving any approximate dates this time. It'll be done when it's done.

Posted by Cless on 5/25/2005
Err... well, the waiting time for episode 4 has doubled. The release of the DVD was pushed all the way back to September 30th. I had a hunch this episode was going to get delayed like the second ep, but not this badly.

Posted by Cless on 5/25/2005
Well, I think I corrected the issue of the images of the front page not loading for IE users entering the page in a certain way. However at least one person has told me of an issue of the navigation buttons (that should be to the left) not loading in any browser for him. I've not a clue what's causing THAT.

Anyway, my DVD for episode 3 of the Tales of Phantasia OVA should be arriving either today or tomorrow. This is looking like a cool episode from the trailer so hopefully it won't take as long for us to get it out as the second ep!

Posted by Cless on 5/16/2005
And... welcome to the grand opening of Phantasian Productions 2.0! The whole site is nearly functional except for the FF6 HT page (gonna have to do that later). The site is fully compatible with any recent Mozilla-based browser and Internet Explorer. Opera works for the most part except for the table border colors, but I might be able to fix that with CSS later.

I really like this new design, however I suppose the only thing that could be considered bad is that it's probably little less friendly to dial-up people.

I pretty much cleaned out most of the ftp to the site. Some images might be broken on the forum.

Posted by Cless on 5/10/2005
UPDATE 5/12/05-- RE: Geneon license announcement

Although the OVA has technically been "licensed" by Geneon Entertainment USA ever since it went into production, it seems there has been an announcement they do indeed intend to distribute the OVA in region 1 territories.

I'm not really sure how credible the source of this news is-- I'd never heard of "Anime Galaxy" until this news broke.

But anyway, I DO intend to drop the distribution of subtitled video files when/if Geneon steps up and announces release dates for this stuff, or we do get a confirmation that I think is from a credible source. Until then, we will continue subbing and distributing video files.

Those who enjoy our translation though, fear not. If we discontinue releasing subtitled files, we have interest in continuing to release scripts, so those of you with the DVDs or raws can still see them.

Geneon is personally my favorite company in the R1 anime industry by far. Altough it's possible (and likely) they won't take the same translation approach as us (continuity with Tales of Symphonia US), they will undoubtably do a good job on the DVD(s) if they release it/them.

------------------------------------------

Oh my! ToP OVA episode 1 V2 and 2 have been released! To download you need a BITTORRENT CLIENT. When your client is installed, open these files in it:

Tales of Phantasia THE ANIMATION Episode 1 Version 2
Tales of Phantasia THE ANIMATION Episode 2

When the episodes finish downloading please keep your torrents running for awhile (until you have at least 1.000 share ratio) otherwise the torrent will die and go really slowly for other people trying to download.

And if the files won't play properly, be sure you have the XviD codec installed.

Hope you enjoy.


Posted by Cless on 4/25/2005
Sorry, the ToP eps have been delayed a little more. We need just a bit more time for further script polishing reasons.

By the way, Shinhoshi, when you've got a bit of time on your hands, please drop by the channel. Thanks.

Posted by Cless on 4/21/2005
Well, I hope you guys haven't given up on us yet. :P Episode 1 (version 2) and Episode 2 of the ToP OVA will be released simultaneously, hopefully sometime by the end of the week. A potential release candidate for episode 1 V2 has been encoded, and potential release candidate for episode 2 is being encoded as I type this. They will be analyzed under strict quality control before being released. We hope you will find it all worth the wait. These releases are going to be a massive technical improvement over what was seen with the first version of episode 1.

Also, I've been tinkering around the redesign of the Phantasian Productions website again. The basic layout is mostly done and I'm currently porting the information on this current design over to it. I think it looks a lot more attractive and cleaner, and there are no more weird bugs in standards compliant web browsers. I'm not sure when it'll actually launch, though.

Posted by Cless on 3/18/2005
Tales of Phantasia episode 2 teaser

Episode 2 is coming still, just be patient.

The annual webhosting bill is coming up soon and it's going to hurt. You can help pad this cost. I hate asking for donations, so if you could click this Play-Asia affiliate link and find some stuff you'd like and buy it, you'll support the site while getting something for yourself out of it.


Posted by Cless on 3/1/2005
Episode 2 of the Tales of Phantasia OVA was released on DVD a few days ago. I received mine yesterday and our fansubbing of it is underway. No date promises on release but we hope to \ have it done faster than the first episode.

Version 2 of the first episode will be released very shortly.

It seems that a great number of people have had performance issues with the 848x480 resolution format of the first episode, so the above and all other future releases are going to be put out in the more traditional 704x396. At least the tradeoff will be fewer artifacts in the video.

Posted by Cless on 1/13/2005
Tales of Phantasia THE ANIMATION tracker status:

Interestingly, the BitTorrent tracker is working again but there's no indication on the site of impatient to wait for V2 still, you can grab the torrent file here and start downloading away.

Posted by Cless on 1/11/2005
Tales of Phantasia THE ANIMATION:

Unfortunately, the release date for Tales of Phantasia THE ANIMATION episode 2 has been delayed. The front page of the official site is now saying the DVD is coming out on Feb. 25th, a month after the original date.

Tales of Phantasia PSX:

I made several mockup (read: fake) screenshots of Tales of Phantasia PSX. They reflect on how I'd like the final release to look. If the idea perks your interest, you can check out the thread. I'll probably make some more later, but they're kind of time-consuming to put together.

Posted by Cless on 1/7/2005
Okay, updates on two different projects here:

Tales of Phantasia THE ANIMATION

Yep, the tracker we changed to went down rather quickly after I posted the episode there, and it's still down as of this writing. That's why the download won't go through at all. Unfortunately we have no control over external trackers and can't set up a local one.

The reason we haven't seeked out another tracker already is because a version 2 release of the episode is in the air (making a few minor improvements, and making most of the fonts bigger and more readable when output to a TV). The only thing holding up the re-release is lack of an official lyric sheet-- while we're pretty confident we got the song lyrics down right, wanting to confirm them can't be a bad thing.

V2 is just going to be a fairly minor update, to simply go another step towards perfection. Chances are there will be no major dialogue changes, if any at all. This release should mainly appeal to those intending to archive our release and those who haven't yet seen it. But if you're really really impatient and still want to see version 1... Email or private message me on the forum for more details.

Tales of Phantasia PSX

It seems I'm getting of emails lately asking about this. The status has not changed since the last update about it was posted in the OLD NEWS. Reason being is that our advanced hackers have been too busy to work on the project, and what hacking work needs to be done is beyond any available staff member's capability. So therefore, we're stalled until they are able to come back.

However, once the script is finally translated and submitted, we might rework the plot parts into a translation guide to help tide people over until the project is done.

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