Earthbound (SNES)

Tips for Buying EarthBound

March 4th, 2011 | Hacking, MOTHER 1+2

Been a busy week this week, but today I managed to get a lot of stuff done on this project, so a lot of stuff’s been crossed off the to-do list.

First, I made some suggested font changes and created this, which I hope will be the final font now:

If you think any of the international characters still need tweaking, let me know soon!

I’m not sure, but I think I might’ve fixed the text-input/table-related problem that would’ve made translations into other languages slightly annoying. So there’s a chance now that you’ll be able to enter things like ñ into the text files just fine, rather than something like [30], but I don’t make any 100% guarantees.

Anyway, next, I fixed an issue that happened when you would do something to heal a character or cause a character’s stats to change while the main dialog box is open. The game would reprint the character names in the bottom left area, overwriting the main dialog box. I expected it to be kind of tough to figure out how to do this while not breaking other windows in the game, but I got lucky, so that bug is out of the way now 😀 Here’s a before and after:

Expanding the main dialog box causes one other major issue in the game though, and that’s when you need to select a person from that bottom-left list when the main dialog box is up. This mainly happens in places like hospitals and healers and such. This is probably the ugliest thing to try to fix, so what I wound up doing was having the game use the expanded dialog box most of the time, but use the original size box for specific lines, mostly hospital lines. It’s not my ideal choice, but probably the easiest one to do without having to spend a buttload of time on it.

Now I just need to go into the script and manually identify all the lines that need the original size box and then reformat that text to fit in the original window size. Anyway, here’s a before and after:

Figuring out those two things was tough, I had even almost decided to give up and go with the original size boxes for all lines in the game.

Next, was just a little quirk I always thought was weird – in EarthBound, if you use a capsule item, it says you drink it. I always thought that was strange, though I figured maybe Ness opened the capsule up and drank what was inside it, or maybe he liquified it and drank it. The actual deal is that in Japanese, the word for “drink” is the same as the word for “swallow”. Since I’m mucking around with this game’s text engine already, I went and made it so that the capsule items in this translation will say “swallow”:

Next, I decided to tackle another thing that’s bugged me that other people have pointed out – the text in the battle window has a bunch of blank space that could be used. It took me forever, but I eventually found out this was caused by the auto-indenting that the main dialog uses. I undid that and voila, more text can fit in the battle windows now! I still need to format the battle text to use the new space, I’m even considering doing auto-formatting like I did with Mother 3, but I dunno yet.

Of course, undoing the auto-indent means the main dialog text needs manual formatting now too. But since I have to go through the text again at some point anyway, that’s okay.

Basically, the programming side of things is finally starting to wrap up. The issue is mostly just finding time, but the light is there at the end of the tunnel finally 😀


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38 Comments to M1+2 Translation Update (Mar. 4)

Rblacula said on Mar. 4, 2011


SomeUser said on Mar. 4, 2011

Even though this was actually someone else’s nitpick or whatever, I wish there was a way to make the special O and o characters have a difference.

SomeUser said on Mar. 4, 2011

(lolz moar duble post)

I was wondering, would it be time-consuming to make M2 use a VWF?
Assuming you’re even going to do the M2 part.

Because I remembered earlier you posted something about why it was impossible for NES games to use a VWF.

Mato said on Mar. 4, 2011

It’s possible to with M2, Jeff’s already done some early work for it a few years back:

It’s only one small piece in the huge messy text engine puzzle though.

Not sure what you mean about the normal/special O. What’s the special one?

Anonymous said on Mar. 4, 2011

In the 2nd set of screenshots, the hanging part of the “g” in “healing” makes “Super Heal” look like “Super Aeal”. There’s no way to fix that other than redoing the entire font, and that’s just too much.

This looks very nice so far. I’m excited to play this with a newly translated script!

Ice Sage said on Mar. 4, 2011

Every time you update the project, it makes me that much more excited for it. 🙂

The only thing that I’m going to ask about is the gamma symbol; it’s bothered me ever since I first played MOTHER. It really looks just like an ‘r,’ and I know a lot of people who look at it think the PSI techniques are really PK Beam r, Lifeup r, etc. The other Greek symbols look perfectly fine, but the gamma symbol just seems weird (if it wasn’t italicized it would be fine, I think). Maybe I’m just nitpicky…

And I think SomeUser is talking about how the international (special) O’s are the same size/height in both uppercase and lowercase.

SomeUser said on Mar. 4, 2011


Probably should’ve given an example, but what I mean are the O characters like Ó and ó.

SomeUser said on Mar. 4, 2011


AARGH, More double post! >.<

Yeah, you got it right Ice Sage.

GreenTL said on Mar. 4, 2011

Hey Tomato, I was thinking that maybe the level up screen could be changed a bit?
In Mother 1, the “HP went up by 1, PP went up by 1 etc.” text was next to eachother, you could see three different “Ups” at the same time, but in Mother 1+2, it only shows one “Up” at a time. This always bugged me.
I imagine it’s just a small change to fix it, so maybe you could take a look at that?

Brad64 said on Mar. 4, 2011

Can’t wait!

DBlue said on Mar. 4, 2011

Nice work so far! The new text looks pretty fitting and simple. I wish you luck…

KingMike said on Mar. 4, 2011

The problems with making a VWF on NES games:
-many games (Mother 1 included) use video ROM (aka CHR-ROM) for displaying graphics. That means all graphics must be drawn in ROM and can’t be modified as the game runs.
That makes VWF impossible because the font must be loaded then modified (which can’t be done with ROM-based video memory on the cart), as the game is running to squeeze the letters together before being drawn on the screen.
Even with games using video RAM (a requirement, there’s still a problem):
-As a VWF is pretty much a custom font that gets drawn as the game runs, there must be enough free space in the currently loaded tileset to write the entire screen’s worth of text at once. That can be tough to find with NES’ limited tile space if you have a lot of menus or other graphics on the screen at once.
-You’ll also need some free RAM space to draw a couple tiles worth of VWF data, which can be tough with limited RAM on the NES.
-Also, there might be timing problems. You can only transfer data to VRAM during limited time intervals. Transferring data to VRAM is kinda slow, and rest of the game’s code may not leave enough time left to do the VWF data transfer without causing glitches.

Halloween said on Mar. 4, 2011

I’m with the Teen Girl Squad on this one, it looks
The font is everything I could have hoped for; it’s so much easier to read. Coupled with the expanded text boxes, I can’t wait to read the better translation!

Tululia said on Mar. 4, 2011

The first time I played Earthbound I thought the gamma symbol was a sprout, like the sprout enemies. I already had knowledge of the greek alphabet and knew I was looking at it wrong, it just seemed kind of funny.

TheZunar123 said on Mar. 4, 2011

Looks awesome! BTW, don’t forget to edit the “たわ?” box to “Who?”! And also, are you going to use the M1/EB0 PSI types or the M1+2 types? What I mean is, in M1/EB0, most PSI are α, β, γ, and π, but in M1+2 they are α, β, π, and Ω. Which are you going to use?

TMMDI said on Mar. 5, 2011

The exciting is growing higher and higher. 😀

Anouki Agent Yellow said on Mar. 5, 2011

This is awesome!

TMMDI said on Mar. 5, 2011

I mean excitement. x.x

bfjk said on Mar. 5, 2011

Strawberry tofu or frozen trout yogurt

TheZunar123 said on Mar. 5, 2011

@bfjk: I’ll bet you anything he’s using TroutYogurt. Am I right, Mato?

TheZunar123 said on Mar. 5, 2011

^ Ooops, I got mixed up. TroutYogurt is the EarthBound thing. He’s probably going to use Berry Tofu.

TheZunar123 said on Mar. 5, 2011

Then again, EB0 used Berry Tofu, so Mato could be planning to use TroutYogurt (though it’s really supposed to be Berry Tofu)… Mato? What are you using?

Ricky said on Mar. 5, 2011

I’m sure most people would be happy with the game in whatever state you felt it was complete, we really appreciate your hard work on this and look forward to the end result (I think I posted this several years back when M3 was being worked on.. deja vu!)

Anyway, you da man and it is looking fantastic

Ice Sage said on Mar. 5, 2011


Both MOTHER 1 and MOTHER 1+2 use all five levels of PSI: α, β, γ, π, and Ω. Unless I’m horribly mistaken, I don’t think that they changed the PSI levels for different techniques between the two games – it’s just a port, after all.

SomeUser said on Mar. 5, 2011

MOTHER uses Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Pi, and Omega.

MOTHER 2 uses Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Sigma, and Omega.

I think that’s it, anyway.

Thanks for telling me why that wouldn’t work! I was wondering why, because I didn’t remember. 😛

Mato said on Mar. 5, 2011

Zunar: Like I mentioned, I haven’t decided what to do about naming issues yet. As it stands, I’m leaning more toward going with Itoi’s original intent and pretending EB0 never existed, which makes the whole naming issue easier to deal with. And then maybe I’ll have an alternate patch with the other names, I dunno.

Anouki Agent Yellow said on Mar. 5, 2011

^I’m sure someone else could make the naming patch

The Great Morgil said on Mar. 5, 2011

Someone said much higher up about the gamma symbol. I agree. It always bugged me how much it looked like an ‘r’.

The Great Morgil said on Mar. 5, 2011

Sorry for the double post, but i just thought of something. Can somebody make some ads for this fan-translation that i can use in a forum sig and link to here? I’m sur a lot of people would use them.

Mato said on Mar. 5, 2011

I changed the gamma just now, used the one from EB but had to cut a pixel row out of it. Still looks nice though.

Right now I’m trying to figure out a way to get the battle text to do auto-wrap like I did with the battle text in Mother 3, the problem is that this time the game prints each letter as it reads them from ROM, rather than preparing a finished string in RAM. It’s gonna be tough but it would make the battle text much nicer.

Zaxtur said on Mar. 5, 2011

I don’t see the problem with in extra space in the battle window. It seemed fine indented. Does the battle window text really need to make use of that little bit of extra space?

man said on Mar. 5, 2011


You’re really awesome

Just so you know

Nathalie said on Mar. 5, 2011

Ooo, scandinavian letters. Wow, I really can’t wait to play with this! 😀

Anon #413 said on Mar. 5, 2011

You mean the weird looking gamma that only looks like a gamma if you squint and turn your head?

Robo85 said on Mar. 5, 2011

this may just be the first game I’ll emulate that I already own.

Onion said on Mar. 5, 2011

So awesome. Thanks for all the hard work, Mato!

NewSupaLuigiBros said on Mar. 5, 2011

I think I can understand about ‘Ninten drank the capsule’.

If it’s translated into Korean, It will possibly say ‘Ninten ATE the capsule’.

Jason said on Mar. 7, 2011

It’s funny to think that they don’t have different concepts for drink and swallow (and eat in Korean). I guess they’re all the same thing though!

And I’m not sure, but I feel like there are games other than earthbound where you “drink” capsules.


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