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Limerick
2006-04-11, 18:24
Okay, I've been here a while as a lurker, and now finally regged to ask whether something would be possible. Earlier today, I was using a firefox plugin (http://www.polarcloud.com/node/49) that a friend had recommended to me, and I wondered whether it would be possible to do a similar thing with Visual Novels. What it does is this:

If you hover over a Japanese word, it references it against a dictionary, and pops up a box giving possible dictionary meanings for the character you're hovering over as well as possible words that can be formed by that character and the following characters.

There is a screenshot on the site above if you want a visual understanding.

Now, I wondered whether it would be possible to patch the games to do something similar, i.e. display a box with the Visual Novel's rendering engine that lists possible meanings. For me, this would be of great help and make them far more playable, removing the cumbersomeness of a dictionary, while also allowing you to see multiple possible meanings and come up with your own feel for the situation.

Possible pitfalls I see is the fact that it would be a box that would contain both multi-byte and single-byte characters as well as the interface with a external dictionary.

I don't know, maybe it isn't possible, but I wanted to throw out the idea for I think it has great potential, both to give already translated games a new light to those who can't read Japanese, and to make some impossibly long games, read FSN, or just those games that will probably never be translated to the public in a way that might be comparatively simpler to implement.

(Yes, I know MirrorMoon is working on FSN atm, but that's just an example of the absolute monoliths some of these games can be ;p)

Here's another screenshot of the firefox plugin in action, wonder how many can recognize the site ;p

http://img104.imageshack.us/img104/6163/plugin3ab.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

zalas
2006-04-11, 18:57
The hover ability is probably a lot harder to implement, but there's stuff like Oh! Text Hooker and Anime Game Text Hooker which copy out the text from the game onto your clipboard every screen. Send that into your favorite Japanese word processor + dictionary and you're all set.

Limerick
2006-04-11, 19:10
Well, yeah, but those are hardly seamless and require minimizing out of the program which would drastically slow down the process.

As for hovering, I'm surprised that would be an issue. Is the menu system run on a different engine than the main game? Also, if it was required, would it then be possible to make it an on click event associated with each character?

Sorry, as you can see, I don't have a full (or probably even enough to be called partial ;p) understanding of the underlying engine, just a basic understanding of how other programs I've seen in the past have worked.

Anyways, just an idea, heh ;p

Roto
2006-04-11, 19:29
The solution that I (and others) generally use is to extract the script from the game (if possible) and convert it to an HTML document that can be displayed in Firefox with the rikaichan plugin. I just follow along in the script as I play the game.

procyon
2006-04-11, 19:32
Hovering is a fairly large problem actually, and a totally different kettle of fish than the firefox plugin. Firefox provides a documented interface for programs to access all its data, and a scripting language for which to write extensions, so coding the hover translator is fairly straightforward.

Visual novels run on a multitude of different engines, and most (all?) lack interfaces that expose its text/graphical outputs. They just weren't designed to allow the coding of external features the way firefox is.

For game engines that people have already written tools to extract and reinsert script files, it might be possible to implement something like you ask (though, having actual 'hovering' would depend on the capibilities of the game engine), but it seems to be like it would be a fairly complex undertaking, especially if you wanted your codebase to work on more than one game.

Carl
2006-04-11, 19:39
It's pie in the sky stuff, but a very delicious pie at that.

l|ammamama
2006-04-11, 22:30
The solution that I (and others) generally use is to extract the script from the game (if possible) and convert it to an HTML document that can be displayed in Firefox with the rikaichan plugin. I just follow along in the script as I play the game.

This is what I do, works well.

Roto
2006-04-11, 22:55
This is what I do, works well.

Yeah, I believe you're the one who suggested it to me ;)

Rasqual Twilight
2006-04-13, 17:16
I guess such a tool could be done using text output routines hooks and drawing an overlay window over the game window, assuming the game is running in windowed mode.

However, detecting the hovering would need to track the position of the text being drawn. The alternative being character recognition if hooking is a no-no.