Changing Text in Games


New Member
I was just wondering if someone could tell me the exact steps to just lets say change a word or text that a character speaks in a game... Such as an RPG. What I need to do it, and such without being too technical. I have no experience in programming for games.


New Member
I can't explain it to you, because I know little of it myself, but I tell you one thing: it's nearly impossible for someone to explain how to do it for you without being technical.


Extra Hard Mid Boss
Basically, you must locate the data you want to change and figure out how to do it without breaking the program (this is of course a gross oversimplification). You don't necessarily have to be a programmer, but you do need some amount of technical knowledge. There are many old threads on translating here, and many sites dedicated to translations and romhacking which I suggest you check out.

Unfortunately CyberWarriorX abandoned the board as he was a good source of information on these types of things, but there are still some people here who might be able to help you.


Staff member
Basically, it goes something like this (still an oversimplification, but slightly more specific):

- Computers have no clue what text is. As a result, they don't care about text. For practical intents, computers deal in numbers.

- Thus, to store some text, each symbol/letter in the text needs a "code number" that refers to that letter/symbol. Some of these are "control symbols" that mark the end of a block of text, etc.

- Each game often has its own set of code numbers. This is done for several reasons that I won't get into here, but it's not quite as stupid as it sounds.

So, to change some text in a game, you need to:

1) Find out what the numbering system is.

2) Find the text you want to change.

3) Change the numbers so that they show the text you want.

Changing the length of text, or changing text to another script (writing system), involves more complex changes, because that relies on other information in the game program.


New Member
Yea I understand exactly what you mean ExCyber and I knew that... numbers are just the basis of everything :-/ I knew it would be hard to do... I just wanted to change one text in an RPG to say something outragous and then distribute the game out to everyone and when they play it they see it thinking "OMG" lol my masterplan... Sorry if you think that is dumb... It was interesting to me. But also it would be fun to change all of the script which would require soooo much time and your probably better off just writing your own game. But changing it all would be fun to mold your own RPG on saturn.


Staff member
hey Excyber, I thought most games used plain ASCII or sjis-encoding
That may be somewhat common in more recent games (which I'm not terribly familiar with), but it's common for older console games to use custom text encodings. The reason for standardized text encodings is to allow programs to exchange text. Console games rarely exchange text with other programs. Since that's virtually the only practical benefit of using a standard encoding in a proprietary product, developers often (if not typically) opt to write their own systems optimized for the needs of their game and the strengths of their target platform. The needs of the game may include embedding color, interface, timing, or other presentation elements into the text, supporting a synthetic/fictional language used by the game, etc. Doing this with standard encodings would either require keeping associated attribute arrays for each text string (which wastes memory and/or is a pain in the ass to implement) or developing a meta-encoding (in which case the standard encoding is just an obstacle to the overall goal).

FWIW, I don't speak from experience. This is just educated guesswork, but I'm pretty confident that it's accurate.