Author Topic: As a request, would you please implement Japanese text, characters?  (Read 414 times)

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Offline LittleGameFairy

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I am a big an of the Super Famicom primarily, and have begun collecting these games far more than games from other regions. For the past decade I have moved my preference from the Super Nintendo to Super Famicom. And am always collecting cartridges and other hardware.

And have been trying to avoid English patches wherever possible. Opting to use this as an opportunity to better learn Japanese myself. Getting a more 'authentic' Super Famicom experience, and enjoying games in the same way Japanese players would.

To better play games, I recently finally invested in a Super NT and SD2SNES Pro. And have been excitedly loading it with my favourite SFC games, or any I might even ever be slightly interested in playing. With 400 SFC games on it, now.

To compliment the Super Famicom, Japanese gaming theme I have been going for, I was hoping to use the original Japanese titles, with original Japanese characters: Kana. Or, better known as Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana. And sometimes, Romaji, or Roman characters, like I'm using right now, are used, usually in companion with Japanese characters.

And using the https://superfamicom.org/ database in order for me to better find the original, Japanese character titles for these games. I tried naming both roms and folders with these Japanese titles. But, disappointingly, neither work. The SD2SNES doesn't seem to support Japanese text.

I contacted StoneAgeGamer about my question and request, and they said they would try to get in contact with krikzz. But, after no response, they recommend I got to their forum.

So, in that order, here I am.

I would like to request, as a big fan of Super Famicom gaming especially. To make the experience feel more authentic, it would be very very nice to be able to have support for Japanese text if at all possible in the menu and supported by the file system. I have a fluent understanding of Hiragana and Katakana, and a growing understanding of Kanji. Thanks in part, due to playing Super Famicom games, and by necessity needing to translate and understand kanji.

This would go a long way to my enjoyment of my SD2SNES if I could give these games, whether the roms themselves, or folders they can be moved to, Japanese titles. These carts I own already have Japanese text on the labels, it would be nice enjoy the same experience with my SD2SNES.

I know this isn't as important as improving compatibility. But if at all possible, I would greatly appreciate this feature. I'm sure I can't be the only person who sees the appeal in displaying Japanese games, in this case, SFC games, in their original Japanese language.

And hopefully, adding JIS support would be fairly easy and simple? I would hope.

Offline Eyedunno

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Re: As a request, would you please implement Japanese text, characters?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2019, 02:21 AM »
This would probably not be anywhere near as trivial as you think to implement because Unicode and other East Asian character encoding systems (including Shift JIS) use two bytes per character for some characters and one byte per character for others (like the Latin alphabet you still need to support), plus you need to draw new tiles for each kanji (at least the ones that are used in existing games, so you could certainly get away with a subset of characters in practice--you can even find Japanese fonts that work like this, including only the joyo kanji, for example) and include that in the SD2SNES firmware.

Why, I remember when you had to find a Japanese version of Windows to get your computer to play well with Japanese, to say nothing of using Japanese on a flashcart for a 16-bit video game console. (Get off my lawn.)

All that said, kana would probably be easier to implement if you were willing to settle for only kana.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2019, 02:23 AM by Eyedunno »

Offline LittleGameFairy

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Re: As a request, would you please implement Japanese text, characters?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2019, 02:24 AM »
All that said, kana would probably be easier to implement if you were willing to settle for only kana.
I could happily settle for just Hiragana and Katakana!

Ideally, I would like to have support for kanji. As many games utilize it, like 聖剣伝説. Or Seiken Densetsu. But I would much rather name and display them as せいけんでんせつ than Seiken Densetsu. And this would be a lot better than not having any Japanese support.

I had a feeling it might not be so simply as I had hoped, since SD2SNES is hardware for a very old system, rather than a very new computer. And I don't know the method that krikzz uses to implement Roman characters. However, I do know that the games themselves utilize all sorts of Japanese characters. Since the Super Famicom is a Japanese system, without knowing the details, I figured there ought to be some way to display the same Japanese characters, the games themselves are using.

This is of course, way over my level of technical understanding. And I feared it might not be so simply. I would, nonetheless, greatly appreciate such a feature.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2019, 02:37 AM by LittleGameFairy »

Offline Eyedunno

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Re: As a request, would you please implement Japanese text, characters?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2019, 03:11 AM »
Krikzz doesn't make the firmware, ikari does (and very sporadically at that, as he has a day job and a family--most of the new updates have been thanks to a few other people). Games that implement kanji do it by literally using distinct tiles (and in many cases multiple tiles for a single kanji), and often representing the memory addresses that referenced those tiles in an arbitrary manner, and using whatever encoding scheme the programmers could come up with that saved the most memory. AFAIK, they didn't use any of the same encoding systems that are now universal. Anyway, it's not that it couldn't possibly be done, it's that it's nowhere near as easy as you seemed to think in your original post.

And the demand for it is not that high, honestly. I can read Japanese (and lived in Japan for five years) and also have a large collection (~100) of original Super Famicom games, but I used ZSNES (which also has its own font, so it didn't support non-Latin character sets) for so long that all my roms have been in romaji forever. Plus you literally select your game and then you don't have to look at it again until you go back to the menu. Besides, kanji in filenames are a PITA in terms of sorting when you have a large number of files. It's not as though you're gonna have 聖剣伝説2 and it'll magically fall under the さ行 (or under the 's'es), even on a modern PC.

Offline LittleGameFairy

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Re: As a request, would you please implement Japanese text, characters?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2019, 03:44 AM »
Krikzz doesn't make the firmware, ikari does (and very sporadically at that, as he has a day job and a family--most of the new updates have been thanks to a few other people).
Oh, well thank you for informing me of that.

Games that implement kanji do it by literally using distinct tiles (and in many cases multiple tiles for a single kanji), and often representing the memory addresses that referenced those tiles in an arbitrary manner, and using whatever encoding scheme the programmers could come up with that saved the most memory. AFAIK, they didn't use any of the same encoding systems that are now universal.
This is also very interesting to know!

Anyway, it's not that it couldn't possibly be done, it's that it's nowhere near as easy as you seemed to think in your original post.
I didn't necessarily think that at all! In fact, I was worried it might not be.

And the demand for it is not that high, honestly. I can read Japanese (and lived in Japan for five years) and also have a large collection (~100) of original Super Famicom games, but I used ZSNES (which also has its own font, so it didn't support non-Latin character sets) for so long that all my roms have been in romaji forever. Plus you literally select your game and then you don't have to look at it again until you go back to the menu. Besides, kanji in filenames are a PITA in terms of sorting when you have a large number of files. It's not as though you're gonna have 聖剣伝説2 and it'll magically fall under the さ行 (or under the 's'es), even on a modern PC.
I understand that it's a cosmetic thing, and once you're in game, it's no longer really a thought. I simply like it and like the idea of it. Much as many like cosmetic niceties for their games in general.

In terms of function, it only serves so much. It's moreso a form thing, and many would argue, that makes it not very important. And it isn't. I do think that many people like those kind of cosmetic niceties. It's why so many people like to have things like emulator frontends on PC and other hardware, to have a nice interface and feel, complete with coverarts and things like that. People will buy things like LaunchBox, simply to have a nice interface. And people go to a lot of trouble to make things like RetroArch look good.

And the morality of wanting to have a legitimate copy of these games isn't the only thing pushing me to buy and collect these games. When I have both two Super Famicoms and a Super NT, and a SD2SNES. I simply wouldn't have to any more, but I do anyway. And many people prefer to have physical versions of games rather than be limited to only digital goods. And the reason for that is games make for a nice physical object and look nice. In an age where buying digital is far more convenient and practical. And less burdensome.

It's not logical or practical, but it appeals to form rather than function. You could just buy all games digitally for Switch, and by all accounts, that is the most logical, function oriented approach. But buying games physically has a better form. It looks nice on your shelf.

We don't necessarily always enjoy these games on a simply logical level. Where it just works, and you don't worry about the form. Form and aesthetic matters a lot and has a lot of appeal, too.

I myself have taken a lot of time to make a customized menu for my SD2SNES. Because I want to really enjoy the menu selection process. And part of the reason I prefer the Super Famicom system, controllers, and cartridges, is simply because I like the way they look, better. I like the more rounded look of the Super Famicom and SFC carts, and I like the rainbow scheme of the SFC better, particularly in terms of the controllers!