Bulk Slash English localization project

Announcing an English localization of Sega Saturn cult classic action game Bulk Slash!

Developed by CA Production and published by Hudson in 1997, Bulk Slash is one of the Saturn's best games, combining impressive 3D graphics with fast gameplay that allows the player to switch between a bipedal robot on the ground and a fighter jet in the air at will. But one of its most distinctive features is the ability to find navigators in each mission and bring them aboard your mech. They speak to you throughout each mission — giving directions to the next target, cheering on the player for destroying a swath of enemies, informing the player how many mission-critical objectives remain, even yelling out when the mech takes damage. Each of the seven navigators has different personalities and provide different gameplay benefits when they level up through repeated playthroughs.

But there's one problem for non-Japanese speakers: The navigators speak Japanese, and there are no on-screen subtitles for their lines.

Much of the game's on-screen text is already in English, from the in-mission user interface to the options screen to graphical elements on the stage select and mission briefings. This has allowed English speakers to get through the game without too much trouble, but none of the mission briefings or navigator introductions are in English, and a lot of the game's charm is lost without knowing what the navigators are saying during each mission — choosing one you like and hearing how her lines change as you level up your relationship is a big part of Bulk Slash's unique appeal. Besides, the ability to read each mission briefing in English greatly increases this game's accessibility, allowing English-speaking players to understand the situation — no more referring to an online FAQ to figure out what the hell you're supposed to do!

Greg, Mampfus and I have been working for the last month to make this game as accessible as possible to English speakers. Thanks to Mampfus, we have the ability to swap any in-game Japanese text with English fonts that I created, and we can swap any Japanese voice file for a new one from an English speaker. Thanks to Greg's translations, we've got all seven mission briefings in English, all seven M.I.S.S. navigators' introductions in English, and soon we'll have the controller configuration screen and the end credits changed over to English in game, too. Greg is still working on translating all of the in-game voice lines but he's got nearly half of them finished already.

But there's one thing we can't do on our own, and that's record voiceovers for all the navigators in the game. We need eight female (including the player's childhood friend) and one male (the player) volunteer voice actors to finish this localization project. Each navigator has about 100 lines, although many of them are very short — things like "behind us," "one remaining" and "target set." The player and his childhood friend have just a handful of lines of lines each.

There are also a number of smaller roles for the ending cutscenes, should we go forward with dubbing over those instead of simply adding subtitles to the Cinepak video files — a male narrator, a female child, several male children, etc.

So if you're a voice actor or you know one who would be willing to help, please let us know here on SegaXtreme or by emailing us at Bulk_Slash_translation@online.de — we'd love to hear from you! We also hang out on Sega Saturn Shiro's Discord server, and we can be reached out to on Twitter @lacquerleaks (Greg) and @Danbo_4 (me).

To be clear, this is an unfunded fan project and we're relying entirely on volunteers. But that also means it would be perfect for aspiring voice actors looking for more experience, or for voice actors who would love to help bring this awesome game to a wider audience.

Special thanks to Knight0fdragon for technical assistance to get us started with poking around the code, to Malenko for his suggestions with the on-screen English fonts, and to Ghaleon for providing editing assistance. We really appreciate the help they've given us. And thank you to Sega Saturn Shiro for bringing all of us together in the first place!
 

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Announcing an English localization of Sega Saturn cult classic action game Bulk Slash!

Developed by CA Production and published by Hudson in 1997, Bulk Slash is one of the Saturn's best games, combining impressive 3D graphics with fast gameplay that allows the player to switch between a bipedal robot on the ground and a fighter jet in the air at will. But one of its most distinctive features is the ability to find navigators in each mission and bring them aboard your mech. They speak to you throughout each mission — giving directions to the next target, cheering on the player for destroying a swath of enemies, informing the player how many mission-critical objectives remain, even yelling out when the mech takes damage. Each of the seven navigators has different personalities and provide different gameplay benefits when they level up through repeated playthroughs.

But there's one problem for non-Japanese speakers: The navigators speak Japanese, and there are no on-screen subtitles for their lines.

Much of the game's on-screen text is already in English, from the in-mission user interface to the options screen to graphical elements on the stage select and mission briefings. This has allowed English speakers to get through the game without too much trouble, but none of the mission briefings or navigator introductions are in English, and a lot of the game's charm is lost without knowing what the navigators are saying during each mission — choosing one you like and hearing how her lines change as you level up your relationship is a big part of Bulk Slash's unique appeal. Besides, the ability to read each mission briefing in English greatly increases this game's accessibility, allowing English-speaking players to understand the situation — no more referring to an online FAQ to figure out what the hell you're supposed to do!

Greg, Mampfus and I have been working for the last month to make this game as accessible as possible to English speakers. Thanks to Mampfus, we have the ability to swap any in-game Japanese text with English fonts that I created, and we can swap any Japanese voice file for a new one from an English speaker. Thanks to Greg's translations, we've got all seven mission briefings in English, all seven M.I.S.S. navigators' introductions in English, and soon we'll have the controller configuration screen and the end credits changed over to English in game, too. Greg is still working on translating all of the in-game voice lines but he's got nearly half of them finished already.

But there's one thing we can't do on our own, and that's record voiceovers for all the navigators in the game. We need eight female (including the player's childhood friend) and one male (the player) volunteer voice actors to finish this localization project. Each navigator has about 100 lines, although many of them are very short — things like "behind us," "one remaining" and "target set." The player and his childhood friend have just a handful of lines of lines each.

There are also a number of smaller roles for the ending cutscenes, should we go forward with dubbing over those instead of simply adding subtitles to the Cinepak video files — a male narrator, a female child, several male children, etc.

So if you're a voice actor or you know one who would be willing to help, please let us know here on SegaXtreme or by emailing us at Bulk_Slash_translation@online.de — we'd love to hear from you! We also hang out on Sega Saturn Shiro's Discord server, and we can be reached out to on Twitter @lacquerleaks (Greg) and @Danbo_4 (me).

To be clear, this is an unfunded fan project and we're relying entirely on volunteers. But that also means it would be perfect for aspiring voice actors looking for more experience, or for voice actors who would love to help bring this awesome game to a wider audience.

Special thanks to Knight0fdragon for technical assistance to get us started with poking around the code, to Malenko for his suggestions with the on-screen English fonts, and to Ghaleon for providing editing assistance. We really appreciate the help they've given us.
This is great news!!!
 
Dream come true, one of my absolute favorites on the system. Thank you so much for taking the initiative!!!

I have one connection for a male voice actor that I could reach out to. I'll DM you if he shows interest.

I have a dream that all of these incredible translation patches (Grandia, Lunar, Sakura Wars, Cotton 2, hopefully Princess Crown) will eventually make their way to a Sega Saturn Mini.
 
OK, I suppose we're overdue for an update, so here goes. A lot has happened in the last two weeks!

We've gotten quite a few volunteers to lend their voices to the game and we're really excited about the applicants so far. We've had several men step forward to audition for Cress, the player character, but we're still looking for women to audition for the eight female characters in Bulk Slash. Well, seven — we've chosen an actress named Dark Mysty for Princess Metical and we hope to do a proper recording of all of her lines later this week. A few women have volunteered to audition for the other female parts and we'd love to hear from even more who might be interested.

We're still working on how to make voice clips sound as loud and clear as possible in the game, but Mampfus is finding that it does seem like recording at a frequency of 22050 hz in mono instead of stereo works best. He tried boosting the volume in post on some of Mysty's lines and our own test lines, and most of the lines seem pretty OK in-game. Sometimes they're a bit too quiet amidst all the sound effects, though.

A friend of Mampfus created a tool that makes it super easy replace in-game voice lines with new English ones as long as they're named the same thing and the English voice files aren't longer than the Japanese originals (which makes sense). It's going to really help us implement the voice acting quickly once we get rolling with the actors.

We're actually still working on the translations for the navigators' voice lines. Five of them are pretty much done, but Naira and Kina are still in progress. Our translator, Greg, is only one man! He's been working really hard to get through all the dialogue, though. After he finishes the voiced lines, he'll move on to transcribing and translating the eight ending cutscenes.

As for graphics, we implemented a translation of the controller setup screen. It uses the same set of fonts as the mission briefings during the game, so it was pretty simple for Mampfus to get this screen in shape.

BS_ControlConfig_Comparison.png


Translating this screen was tougher than actually implementing the translation — there's not enough room in some of these spots for the words we originally wanted to use, like "transform" for the A button, or "turn left" and "turn right" for the D-pad functions (in Type C ... those functions are on the shoulder buttons in the Type A configuration). We thought about using "transf." but Greg wants to avoid abbreviations if at all possible. So we settled for saying "morph" instead of "transform. And we put "rotate" and "strafe" and didn't specify "left" and "right" since that should be pretty obvious anyway.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the C button in robot mode says "jumpjet" instead of simply "jump" because it looked strange to have so much black space on screen for such a short word.

The other project for on-screen localization that we accomplished in the last two weeks was making edits to the Navigator Select screen. It's riddled with misspelled names — "Reone" instead of "Leone," "Meticul" instead of "Metical," "Lupia" instead of "Rupia" and "Coron" instead of "Colon." They're misspelled not only on the nameplates that you select on the left side of the screen but also in the biographical text on the right that appears when you highlight a character's name.

NavigaterMenuOld.png


Not to mention the word "navigater" at the top of the screen is a misspelling of "navigator."

This screen also has inconsistent naming — all the girls' home planets are given in English (Planet Red, Kingdom of Brown) but the very next screen, the Stage Select select, uses German words for those planet names (Planet Rot, Kingdom of Braun) and the planets show up elsewhere in the script as German words, too.

Oh, and how do we know the first names are misspelled? Because we realized that all the navigators are named after real-world currencies. Leone is the currency of Sierra Leone, Metical is the currency of Mozambique, etc. So we decided that we wanted to localize this game to use the correct spellings of those currencies.

I checked out this screen using the debugger tools in Yaba Sanshiro and spelunked through the code for a while, using Crystal Tile 2 to some extent to recognize where some of the graphics were (thanks to Knight0fdragon for teaching me a bit how to use CT2). Eventually I found the nameplates on the left. Each pixel is represented in code by a single digit that refers to a color on whatever palette is assigned to these nameplate graphics. When you line up the code to 16 lines of 64 digits each for Meticul/Metical's nameplate, for example, it looks like this:

BS_MeticulNameplateCode.png


If you squint, you can make it "METICUL" and you can kinda see the diagonal lines of the rainbow background behind the letters on the nameplate. "F" must be white's position in the palette because that's what's being used to form the letters here.

So to edit these nameplates, I painstakingly "redrew" the corrected letters using these palette numbers, being careful to maintain the diagonal rainbow pattern of the background, and reinserted those back into the code. It was super rewarding to see them show up in the game without an issue.

BS_NavigatorCorrected.png


I also edited "navigater" to "navigator" in this same way, and I changed "NO USE" at the bottom to "NO ONE" because it sounds better.

But the bio text on the right still has problems. Leone, Metical and Rupia's names are still spelled wrong (for some reason, Colon's was spelled right in the original bio text — another inconsistency!) and the planet names are in English.

Well it that turned out to be the simplest thing to change of all — it's written in plain English within the file, albeit using Shift JIS hex codes that convert to plain English. Using a Shift JIS to hex conversion tool online, we got the appropriate hex codes, changed them in the game's code and voila, the bios are fixed.

But one problem remained — Leone's home planet is Grün, putting in the hex code for ü was resulting in a blank space. I investigated the code and found that all of these little letters are drawn the same way the nameplates are, using a palette reference digit for each pixel, in a different part of the SEL_DEMO.ALL file. They're drawn one after the other, all taking exactly 32 bytes since they're 8 pixels by 8 pixels in size (64 pixels total). They seemed to be drawn in the order that they appear in the shift JIS table, but they only drew the characters they needed — some punctuation marks, a space, numbers 0 through 9 and letters A through Z.

After thinking through it a bit, I figured that some other part of the game had a table that's converting hex codes to shift JIS and redirecting to the exact spots in the code where each of those characters are. It probably starts with a beginning offset and then just multiplies a given hex value by 32 bytes. So I wondered if I drew my own ü character in some blank space in the file and then wrote the character into the script that would correspond to that space in the file, according to the shift JIS table, maybe the game would display my new ü graphic.

So after the letter Z I drew a ü in palette numbers. The character after Z in the shift JIS table is a left bracket character, [, so I put a [ in place of the ü in the game's script for Leone's bio.

Then I tried it out.

LeoneGrun.png


Boom! It felt so good to see this work.

I'm going to use this method to squish S.D.F.A so I can get a period after the A. Same thing for Naira and Colon, whose jobs are listed as "S.D.F Officer" and "S.D.F Sergeant" without periods after the F, which really grinds my gears. I'll draw bespoke tiles that eliminate all that space around the periods so I can fit in one more period.

Lastly, I made a couple changes to the Stage Select screen: I removed the hyphen in "Stage-Select" and I capitalized the planet name "braune" as well as removing the "e" from the end, which is a misspelling. These were accomplished the same way as the nameplates on the previous screen.

BS_StageSelect_Comparison.png


Making that blue background gradient behind braune/Braun look the same as the original after editing the word was ... hard.

OK, sorry for the long post but I hope it was an interesting read. Thanks for all the support! We can't wait to get this patch out there for everyone to enjoy.
 
Just want to say how awestruck I am by Dan's ingenuity in figuring out and executing all this stuff. These edits look so good and really bring a level of polish to this project I wasn't sure was at all possible. It certainly wouldn't have been if it were just me and my dusty old bachelor's degree in Japanese.

The entire project has been full of interesting little discoveries and challenges, so expect more updates from the team as we go!
 
A few updates in the last week or so ... We had our first recording session with a voice actress over the weekend. We chose Dark Mysty to play Metical Flair. It went great, we're very happy with her work, and now Mampfus is mastering the audio to include it in the game. He's already recruited a friend who created a tool that makes replacing the game's existing audio files with the matching English ones super easy.

We've brought Burntends (from the Sakura Wars Columns 2 team) onboard to help coordinate and communicate with voice actors and actresses, and to find more VAs willing to audition. He's already been a big help taking that load off the rest of the team's shoulders.

In other news, Lacquerware finished translating the last of the navigators' in-game dialogue. All that's left is the dialogue in the endings and the translation will be complete. We were planning on simply subtitling the endings because we don't have the source music used in them, but someone in our new Bulk Slash Discord server, Jiggle, volunteered to help rescore the music in the endings by ear! This is super exciting because it means we can mix that and recreated SFX with English dubs that we record with our VAs and add all of that to the original endings' videos! It'll be a completely dubbed English patch.

In graphics news, I'm looking into replacing the credits with Japanese translations. It's going to be a lot of work (the credits are 2,613 tiles long) but we should have no problem fitting English into it because the original credits waste about 1,120 tiles on blank spaces during line breaks. I think we can get away with reducing those line breaks to just one blank space tile each and use the other 1,056 tiles on English letters elsewhere. I'm also fairly sure that it doesn't matter where the lines end as long as the total length of the credits sequence remains the same. Wish me luck.
 
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OK, it's about time for some new updates on how things are going! The team has been a bit hampered at times over the last couple weeks because we've been getting our COVID vaccinations, which has put each of us out for a few days as we deal with the side effects. We still managed to get quite a bit done, though, and we're back at full strength now.

I'm happy to announce that Greg has finished translating everything in the game — all on-screen text and all voiced dialogue. We're just about finished editing it all, too.

Mampfus is underway on mastering Dark Mysty's completed voicework for Metical, including looking at compression to make sure the quality in-game is as best as it can be.

We added the English tiles of the poem at the end of the game into Bulk Slash after deciding which font to go with. We considered using the all-caps font used elsewhere in our localization, but instead are going with a lowercase italics font I drew just for this.

BS_Poem_V2.png
BS_Poem.png


We feel like it sets it apart, since it comes at the climax of the game. Everything has been leading up to the moment that this poem appears and the main character has to input a password to deactivate a deadly superweapon, and then this italics lettering appears. Hopefully players think it looks cool.

I've also begun tilesetting the credits, the last bit of on-screen Japanese text in the game that we haven't replaced with English yet. We plan on adding our localization team credits to the end, and it looks like it'll be a total of 200 lines of text for the finished credits. Since I have to produce individual graphics files line by line to send to Mampfus so he can work them in CrystalTile and insert them into the game, it's going to be a lot of work! So I'm pacing myself, doing about 10 lines per day. I've gotten 50 finished already.

We've had several more applicants for voice roles and I'm proud to announce that we've chosen Eri to voice Lira. We still have seven main roles to fill as well as about 14 smaller roles, but I'm confident we can fill them considering all the strong applicants we've had so far. We're just trying to do our due diligence in listening to each audition and carefully deciding who is perfect for which role.

One of the people in our new Discord server, Jiggle85, volunteered to recreate the music in the ending cutscenes so we can add English dubs to them instead of merely subtitling them. He and his brother finished one of the pieces and it sounds amazingly accurate to the original. We're super pumped! We asked him to go ahead and work on the other music in the endings — there are a total of three fairly short (30 seconds) pieces heard during the navigators' endings as well as a longer one (about 100 seconds) heard during the general ending.

Lastly, a member of our editing team, Ghaleon, imported a copy of Bulk Slash that comes with the manual. It's a fold-out poster rather than a traditional booklet. He's going to get us high-quality scans of it and then we'll use that to create an English version of the manual to distribute with the patch.
 
Hi everybody! Here's the latest on how the Bulk Slash English localization is going:

We've chosen voice actors for several more roles! I'm happy to announce that Diana Allocco will voice navigator Rupia Rude, PandaMonium will voice the narrator heard in the game's general ending, Luuzine will voice Riesen, and Jonathan Boncher will voice the player character!

Speaking of the player character, we've decided to localize the player character's name as Chris instead of Cress. The Japanese does seem to indicate that "Cress" was his intended name — or rather "Chres" if you go by the files in the original Bulk Slash website. But that's not a normal name for English speakers to see or hear, and it's so close to Chris that we decided to just go ahead and change it. We made this decision ahead of recording Riesen's lines with Luuzine, since that character says Chris' name several times.

Going with Chris instead of Cress also meant updating the one time that name appears on screen outside of the credits, which is Leone's introduction when you find her at the beginning of Stage 1.

Anyway, Luuzine already recorded his lines under Greg's direction on Wednesday, and the session went great. We're recording Jonathan's lines later today and then recording Diana this weekend. Mastering of Riesen's lines already has begun and Mampfus expects to replace the original Japanese voice clips with them soon.

As for the first set of lines we recorded, DarkMysty's performance as the navigator Metical, Mampfus and Greg tag-teamed on mastering those lines. They finished them up and inserted them into the game. It feels amazing to play Bulk Slash with English voices during gameplay and the team is really excited for everyone else to experience it.

Here's a little teaser for what Metical's English voice sounds like in the game...



Concerning graphics updates, I haven't tileset the 200 lines of credits as quickly as I wanted, but part of that was because I had my biggest project of the year at my real job, so I went about a week without being able to do much on Bulk Slash. Oh, and the PSO2 New Genesis closed beta test happened last weekend ... not gonna lie, that took up some of my time, too, heh. Nonetheless, I tried to make up for it in the last couple days and I'm now halfway finished with tilesetting the credits. Hopefully I can get back on track and have them finished in the next couple weeks.

Mampfus inserted the first few lines of the translated credits into the game as a test and he's working now to get a save state with Yaba Sanshiro where the credits are rolling so we can continue to see how the credits look as we insert translated ones into the game.

I also identified two signs in Stage 1's city that we wanted to edit. The first one says "Braune," which is what the developers named the Stage 3 planet, but we've changed that in the Stage Select screen to "Braun" to be more grammatically correct. Hence, we had to change this sign, too, of course:

BS_Braun_Comparison.png


The other sign says "Crean! Tokyo" which certainly was meant to say "Clean! Tokyo" so that was a pretty easy fix. Let's ignore the lore-breaking fact that this game's solar system isn't our own so Tokyo shouldn't exist at all, but whatever:

BS_CleanTokyo_Comparison.png


Knight0fDragon would be proud of me — I used CrystalTile 2 to edit those textures instead of finding the hex code, copying and pasting it into a Word document, editing it there, then copying and pasting it back into the code, haha. It was indeed much easier, even though I didn't bother setting the correct color palette when editing — I could have pulled it out of the game using Yaba Sanshiro and the CRAM2PAL utility but I didn't really need to. They were pretty simple edits to make.

We also fixed a typo we discovered in the on-screen text of Stage 2's briefing. (It said "Lila" instead of "Lira" ... whoops.)

My last bit of news is that we tried out making a patch with everything we've finished so far using Knight0fDragon's Sega Saturn Patcher. We had a bit of a hangup — the patcher refused to apply the patch it had just made because it allegedly was the "wrong version" even though the patcher itself just made it, heh.

Knight's workaround was for us to manually edit the patch's version number by opening up version.txt within the SSP file, which worked and was easy enough. I'm sure he'll figure out what's going on there for a future version of his patcher. In any event, we were very happy that we could make a patch so easily! We'll definitely be able to use the SSP to make the final Bulk Slash patch once we're all done.
 
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This looks awesome! I've never played this game, but I'm definitely going to when you guys are done - wow, I can't believe how awesome the Saturn community is after all of these years. Top notch work!
 
Thanks for another update, Dan! Not to jinx it, but I've just been floored with how well this has been going. Look forward to lots of translation notes from me when we're a little closer to the finish line. For now: "Straight ahead."
 
OK, I'm excited to announce several more VA roles cast! Edobean will voice Leone, the navigator found in Bulk Slash's first level! The role of Naira, the fourth stage's navigator, will be played by Raycher — and we've already recorded all of her lines! She did an awesome job. Two roles will be voiced by Cargodin (who, incidentally, is a big Bulk Slash fan!). She's been cast as adult Kina in Kina's ending cinematic as well as the computer voice heard after beating Bulk Slash's last boss. And lastly, Saskia will voice Colòn Steiner, the sixth stage's navigator! She'll help bring the character to life with her natural German accent — and a little broken Spanish. (It'll be great, you'll see.)

Mampfus and Lacquerware have mastered and implemented the newly recorded English voice lines for Chris and Riesen that are heard near the end of Bulk Slash — with a few tweaks here and there remaining. Now the drama surrounding the last boss will be understandable to English audiences.

A couple weeks ago, the Shiro Show was kind enough to feature our localization patch in its then-latest state, showing off our first fully voiced navigator, Metical, as well as all the on-screen translation we've implemented. They archived that livestream here:




A few days later, Lacquerware streamed a playthrough of the game with Metical on his Twitch channel, including reaching the end to show off the new English lines for Chris and Riesen. He uploaded an abridged version here:




The patch we generated for the Shiro Show using Knight0fdragon's Sega Saturn Patcher worked perfectly for them. In the days leading up to the show, we playtested the patch to make sure there were no crashes or bugs. This was essentially the project's first alpha sprint!

I made some last-minute graphics fixes before the Shiro Show, including changing an icon above the royal ship you protect in stage three from "Difense" to "Defend."

BS_Screen_DefendIcon_Comparison.png



I also changed "BOM" to "BOMB" in stage four and its briefing as well as "BOM SHIELD" to "BOMB ARMOR" when you're carrying a bomb in stage four. (There wasn't enough room in the sprite to just add a B to the end of BOMB and leave SHIELD, so we had to get creative.)

BS_Screen_BombShield_Comparison.png


BS_Screen_BOMiconBriefing_Comparison.png



As for Bulk Slash's credits lines, I'm still working on tilesetting them and I have about 50 to go. Mampfus has implemented everything I've done so far into the font file but still has work to do on referencing the new tiles in the code.

We found that the config menu's BACKUP SELECT screen had some Japanese text in it — whoops! We'd never looked in there before, heh. Greg has now translated it but I have not yet drawn English tiles for Mampfus to insert into the game.

BS_Screen_BackupSelect_JP.png



Back to some audio news, we've recorded all of Rupia's lines with Diana and the narrator's lines in the main ending cinematic with PandaMonium and we're working on mastering Rupia's lines now.

We'll be able to try inserting PandaMonium's narrator lines into the ending cinematic once Jiggle85 and his brother finish recreating the music for it, which is what they're working on now.

That's it for main project updates. Thank you to everyone for your support!
 
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I'd like to take a minute to shed some light on Bulk Slash's save file. I've been taking a look at it to see what it entails and I think I've mostly figured it out.

So if we open up Bulk Slash's save file in BUP format, it looks like this:

42 55 4C 5F 53 4C 41 5F 5F 30 31 2E 42 55 4C 4B 20 53 4C 41 53 48 00 01 01 4B EA 80 00 00 00 B0 00 04 00 00 01 4B EA 80 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 04 D1 49 07 04 44 41 4E 00 00 00 00 04 CD DF 07 00 44 41 4E 00 00 00 00 04 CB B6 07 02 44 41 4E 00 00 00 00 04 CA 3F 07 03 44 41 4E 00 00 00 00 04 C9 38 07 06 44 41 4E 00 00 00 00 03 99 BB 07 01 44 41 4E 00 00 00 00 03 73 65 07 05 44 41 4E 00 00 00 00 03 2A 67 07 02 44 41 4E 00 00 00 00 03 0A 16 07 03 44 41 4E 00 00 00 00 02 4D C4 07 02 44 41 4E 00 00 00 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 00 22 E5 21 1A 40 00 40 00 0B BB 11 94 02 E0 00 00 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 07 01 01 02 55 53 45 00

This is my somewhat complete save file, including all visual bonuses unlocked after I messed around with it.

So let's parse out what each section of this save file does with the help of viewing the BUP file in the HxD utility.

The first 22 bytes are the info displayed when viewing save files in the Saturn OS, Action Replay, etc., giving the name of the save file and the name of the game. It's followed by a terminating 00 byte.

BS_SaveFile1.png



The next five bytes are the save game's timestamp and datestamp, probably followed by three 00 terminating bytes.

BS_SaveFile2.png



I don't know what the next 17 bytes do. If I had to guess, the first 14 bytes probably keep track of something related to each navigator (two bytes per navigator) followed by three terminating 00 bytes.

BS_SaveFile3.png



After those, the high scores begin, which are a total of 120 bytes. The first four bytes of a high score entry are for the score, then the next byte indicates which stage you ended the game on (00 = stage 1, 07 = beat the game), then the next byte indicates which navigator the game was beaten with (00 = Leone, 01 = Lira, etc.), then the next three bytes store the three-letter name of the person who got the score in ASCII code followed by three terminating 00 bytes.

BS_SaveFile4.png


Fun fact: The high score can't show more than nine significant digits, counting a 0 that isn't stored in the high score table but is automatically put on the end of each score when displayed on screen — that means the highest score that can be stored in hex is 05 F5 E0 FF.


The high scores are followed by seven bytes that set whether you've unlocked a navigator to use at the beginning of a game (00 = not unlocked, 01 = unlocked) going in order from Leone to Kina, followed by a terminating 00 byte.

BS_SaveFile5.png



After that are 16 bytes that appear to keep track of how much you've leveled up each navigator — maybe two bytes per navigator, followed by two terminating 00 bytes?

BS_SaveFile6.png


Each navigator has different conditions that must be met to level them up, so there's probably a secret internal points system being used for that. Setting a pair of bytes to 40 00 seems to max out that character's level.


After those, the following 22 bytes each set which visual bonuses you've unlocked; 00 = you haven't unlocked that artwork, 01 = you have unlocked that artwork.

BS_SaveFile7.png



I have no idea what the next three bytes do, but the third is 00 in a clean save file and 07 in my most recent save file, so maybe it's just keeping track of how many navigators I've beaten the game with?

BS_SaveFile8.png



The next three bytes keep track of settings the player has set in the options screen. The first byte is the difficulty setting; 00 = easy, 01 = normal, 02 = hard. The byte after the difficulty setting is the audio preference; 00 = mono, 01 = stereo. The byte after the audio preference is the controller preference; 00 = Type A, 01 = Type B, 02 = Type C.

BS_SaveFile9.png


The bytes at the very end say "END" in ASCII code followed by a terminating 00 byte.


So that's the Bulk Slash save file! Now y'all can edit your own save files to bend the high scores table to your will or even unlock everything if you really want. Where's the fun in that, though? ;)
 

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Here's how the Bulk Slash English project has been progressing...

Greg and Mampfus finished mastering Rupia's English voice lines and added them to the game. That makes two (out of seven) navigators' audio in the bag!

I made a patch last week for the Shiro Show to debut Rupia's English dialogue, courtesy of Diana Allocco's voice talents. You can find that steam at

Greg then livestreamed it on his Twitch channel yesterday, with Diana providing commentary. You can find an archive of that stream at

We recorded Leone's lines with Edobean last week. It went really quickly and smoothly. Greg is mastering them and inserting them into the game now. We also asked Edobean to record one of the bullies' lines in the general ending and she obliged. (We still need a few more kids' roles for that ending video, though.)

Greg also recorded with Cargodin about a week and a half ago. Her lines are for adult Kina (in Kina's ending) and the computer voice heard after defeating the final boss.

In graphics news, I FINALLY finished tilesetting all 196 lines of the credits in MS Paint. Mampfus is still working on implementing the English credits in the game. He's gotta first convert all my image files to be palette-based in CrystalTile, then drop them into Bulk Slash's KANJI.FON file, then make note of the addresses where each line begins in that file and replace the existing addresses over in the END.ALL file with the new ones. For as big a project as it was for me to tileset these credits, it's just as much work (if not more) for him to get them into the game!

Lastly, Jiggle85 and his brother Patrick are still working on remaking the general ending's music. They expect to be finished in the next couple weeks. Then we can work on redubbing a cinematic in the game for the first time!

Things are going to be a bit slower over the next two weeks because Greg will be tending to real-life stuff, but we'll see how much the rest of us can get done in his absence. The project should pick up again in mid-July, and we hope to have the whole thing finished by the end of summer (so ... late Septemberish).
 
Time for another update on how the project is going. Greg mastered Leone's English voice lines (performed by Edobean) and inserted them into the game. They're going to debut live next Friday on the Shiro Show!

Leone is the first navigator most players encounter, since she's right in front of you when you start Stage 1, so getting her English lines into the game is big step.

BS_Screen_Leone_EN.png



We identified another bit of Japanese in the game that we needed to translate — the icon on the high score table when you end the game without any navigator on board. Instead of a face, it's a kanji that essentially means "hero."

HighScores_NoOneIcon.png



Since there isn't much space to write the English word "hero" in that icon, Mampfus suggested we use Chris' face there instead. He copied Chris' face from the communication screen before and after the end boss, then shrunk it down to the appropriate 24-by-24-pixel size and pasted it into Bulk Slash's RANK.ALL file:

ChrisFacePasted.png



Then I used CrystalTile to clean up the sprite's colors a bit and voila! I think it looks like it fits in with the other icons.

ChrisFaceAdjusted.png



Mampfus has inserted code for about 12.5% of all the translated credits graphics into the game. It's a big project so it's taking him some time. He got very organized by using a spreadsheet to reduce errors going forward, which should speed up the process. He's also has set up a virtual Mac OS 9.2 environment to work with Bulk Slash's video files. We need to use '90s software to convert them into something we can redub and then convert them back into files the game can use. He's been figuring out how to do that this week with Trekkies' help.

I fixed a bug where Leone's home planet wasn't showing up on the Navigator Select screen. It was caused by me putting a 00 byte instead of a 20 byte to represent a space — the game interprets a 00 to mean carriage return, which made it skip the next line completely. The bug has been there for like three months — I know a little more about how the code works now than I did then, heh.

Knight0fDragon poked around in the code and found that there are two more controller presets hidden in the game that are not selectable from the options menu's controller screen. (One of them seemed to just be a reversed Type B.) Greg has wanted to add Twin Stick controller support to the game and suggested a new button layout that would work well with the Twin Stick. So Knight managed to change one of the hidden controller presets to match Greg's Twin Stick configuration and then made it selectable from the in-game menu as a fourth option! We might have to release Twin Stick support as a second separate patch to make it work properly, though. It's exciting to add a new feature to the game nonetheless!

TwinStickConfigScreen.png



We haven't created new graphics for that Twin Stick option yet, so it still looks like a gamepad and instead of saying "Type-D" it displays a black 0 for some reason. We'll work on that soon.

In case you're wondering, these would be the Twin Stick controls:

Forward/Reverse/Strafe: Left Stick
Attack: Left Stick Trigger
Navigator: Left Stick Thumb & Right Stick Up
Rotate: Right Stick Left & Right
Morph: Right Stick Trigger
Jump/Throttle: Right Stick Thumb

That's all we've got for now. Next up, we need to tileset the English translations for the Backup Select screen, hopefully figure out the video stuff, and master and insert the English lines for Naira.
 
Last edited:

Ardiloso

Established Member
The twin stick is an amazing adition. Maybe you consider releasing this patch for the original jp one for the jp players?
Question: shouldn't rotate be on the right stick and strafe on the left? Just like any modern dual analog shooter.
 

Knight0fDragon

Established Member
The twin stick is an amazing adition. Maybe you consider releasing this patch for the original jp one for the jp players?
Question: shouldn't rotate be on the right stick and strafe on the left? Just like any modern dual analog shooter.
he has it backwards. Rotate is on right stick.
 
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