Cosmic Zephyr 1.5.3 Update! Free Forever!

Updates

Download v1.5.3 here: http://dylanfranks.itch.io/cosmic-zephyr

The game is free now. There were a couple of factors to this decision:

1 the game doesn’t run well on mobile, which is its most suitable platform.
2 now that the game is in multiple languages, it can reach a wider audience.

The main goal for this update was to make the game playable to more people. I highly recommend this resource if you’re trying to make your games more accessible to disabled people. There are a lot of tips on this site, for example. Also, there is a wealth of localization tips on this website.

This new update includes:

  • 7 new languages
  • Brightness and gamma correction
  • More window resolutions for larger monitors
  • Changes to the GUI to fit the above

 

Translation Woes

This version includes French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese and Russian translations. The game was translated with the Polyglot Project, and a few other resources. I also had one friend help proofread the French and German translations, and another who helped with Spanish.

cz151-de1

If you ever make a racing game, the German word for “speed” may really trip you up. It’s “Geschwindigkeit”. I had to widen the whole GUI because of it.

In the menu, I opted to use the word Attacke for “Shoot” instead of Shießen, since my game’s font doesn’t support the German letter ß. Replacing the ß or eszett with ss is not officially allowed by Germany, though most other German-speaking countries use it (such as in Switzerland). If this were a more text-heavy game, I would obviously just change the font.

Russian was definitely the hardest language to add, given it uses another alphabet. Russian words can also be slightly longer than German or Italian, so the game uses a smaller font. The Unicode for the Cyrillic alphabet is 1024 to 1279, if you ever need to know.

In retrospect, I’m never making another menu that scrolls horizontally again.

cz151-ru5

It’s good to use a popular font as backup in case the more stylish ones don’t support foreign letters. I’m using Tahoma for Russian because it’s easy to read and similar to the fonts it replaces (Jet Set, FREEDOM).

Most of the Japanese, Chinese and Korean translations are actually already in the code. I just want to make sure they’re all correct before I officially release them. They also need their own fonts. With the way Game Maker Studio handles Unicode, the fonts may be hell to add, particularly Chinese with its +10,000 characters.

It’s ironic because this all kind of started when I found my game being pirated on several Chinese websites.

If you’re familiar with any of the languages I have added, I encourage you to go through and look for mistakes I can fix. This is a bit much for one person, I’ll admit. 55 words/phrases x 8 languages = 440 words/phrases.

 

Summary

There are a lot of issues that can come up when you think about translating for video games. It’s worth keeping in mind if you ever want to pursue making a story-driven game. English and Japanese versions of the same game can be very different because of the vast cultural differences regarding sex, violence and humor. In general, America is weirdly comfortable with violence and guns, while Japan is weirdly comfortable with sex. So that’s usually what gets changed or removed during translation.

When I play certain games like Paper Mario or Animal Crossing, I can’t help but think how different the experience might be in the original language.

Charlie Chaplin’s famous quote was “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long shot.” I would argue the reverse can also be true. Comedy, humor, what people consider funny can all change with geography and time. Jokes get old. Tragedy on the other hand can be a universal experience. Experiences of loss, betrayal and injustice all transcend individual cultures.

Tragedy never gets old for me, because when it’s good it’s like the first time all over again.

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About Dylan Franks

My name is Dylan Franks, and I'm a game designer and musician. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. View all posts by Dylan Franks

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