Friday, July 24, 2015

Antares: Übersetzungen

Translating one of the dungeon's many messages.

All right, we're trucking now. Some truly excellent readers managed to translate all the text in the game in a single day, making it go a lot faster, and also making it possible for me to play the game when I'm not online. As we're going to see, several things are still a bit lost in translation, but in general, I don't dread playing the game as much.

I also figured out how the in-game translation system works and used it to translate Kevin McFly's phrase into TOTE LACHEN NICHT ("the dead laugh not"?) and get the key to the game's first dungeon: Eriankeller. He also said something I don't quite understand about "the Krull" (the translation offered is: "And if you do not want to look after your adventure like this, than be on guard before the Krull..."), but it kind of became clear later.

This image is entirely out of context here, but I wonder where "tsirata" comes from.

But let me back up a bit. Having better translations of all the NPCs filled in a few of the holes. As you may recall from the back story, my characters' ship, Auriga, was shot down "by an unknown space station" while tracing a distress call from Hope, humanity's first interstellar ship. The planet we're marooned on is called Kyrion and the specific area (the first map) is called Lauree. The trenches I've been exploring were specifically built by the survivors of Hope, and they populate all the houses and shops. I guess there were quite a lot of them--enough to make a new society. 

With the key in hand, I returned to the store to purchase a lamp for the dungeon. The item in question is called a stablampe; Google Translate has issues with the "stab" part, but the "lampe" part seemed clear enough. I also bought aluminum-platte for my three lead characters and equipped it. 

Then I spent some time getting my characters fully rested and bought enough food to get the food meter up to about 2/3. At some point, completely without notice or fanfare, my characters leveled up from 1 to 2 and then from 2 to 3. These seem to have been accompanied by 1-point increases in a single attribute per level, and perhaps an associated skill increase. (I don't have any comparison shots from when my characters were at Level 1).

Ready to explore, I headed into the Eriankeller dungeon. I was surprised to find that it had typically fantasy-looking textures, but then again the entire game so far has been a fantasy RPG with a sci-fi framing story. The first level was 20 x 20, no space between walls, all squares used. It featured a dozen wall messages (something the developers picked up from The Bard's Tale), a couple of traps, a couple special encounters, and at least one fixed combat.

The first dungeon level.

It soon became clear that I hadn't brought enough stablampen because each one is only good for about 5 minutes. Rather than immediately return and buy more, I allowed myself the playing-like-a-jackass luxury of exploring and mapping the entire level first--running from every combat and reloading when my lamps died--and then going quickly through the dungeon for "real." I won't do this in subsequent levels, but doing it for the first one helped me establish the game's conventions.

I can't see "Willkommen" without singing the theme song to Cabaret.
 
There were messages everywhere, and most required me to use the game's translation system to render them from "Skrit" to German. This is accomplished by hitting the "translate" button and then typing the name of the origin language (and/or the name of the translation book that I'm carrying for that language). I don't know why the game couldn't just automatically translate if you have the book. Anyway, the messages:

  • "Welcome!  You have just gambled your life!" (Near the beginning.)
  • "Only perseverance leads to the goal--or to death" (You can just see this one on a motivational poster.)
  • "Dead can sometimes be quite useful." (No idea. I guess you can still stick them with inventory.)
  • "Someone has stolen my Thallium sword. The finder receives a reward!" (It amuses me that the translation both rhymes and has a near-perfect string of dactyls. I don't know if this is some kind of side-quest, or just a note to be on the lookout for a Thallium Sword.)

Would the reward be...a Thallium sword?
 
  • "The cross to quench your hunger." (This seems to have to do with a cross ring (kreuzring) that I found in the level's one fixed combat. I don't know how it works. Perhaps wearing it causes the hunger bar to go down slower. I know you can't cook it.)
  • "Do you own what 'nothing' is?" (No idea. Maybe a hint to keep an empty inventory space for some of the fixed encounters on the level.)
  • "Containers are not only good for waste." (Okay... I haven't found any containers yet. That would be really handy if the game had some, because my inventory is getting tough to manage.)
  • "Athindoar is the Umbekan Goliath." (Probably refers to some boss encounter later.)
  • "Reason is the seat of resistance." (Some reference to the friction between the Umbeken and the Vunorers? See below.)
  • "Enter at your own risk. In case of accidents, no liability is accepted." (This is at the entrance to the final area.)
  • "Attention! You enter the path of no return!" (Further along the path. You can, in fact, return.)
  • "This door carries death and destruction." (Just before the one fixed combat of the level.)

This is in contrast to all those games where you can sue someone if your characters get hurt.

There were also two fixed encounters with NPCs. The first was with a homeless-looking Umbeke. The game noted that his clothes were "shabby and torn" and that he "does not fit the description of the Umbeken from Dvorak," so I don't know how I knew he was Umbeken at all. Anyway, when I entered his room, he was ranting:

"...revenge. They shall die, these murderers. Yesss... I will have my revenge on each and every one of these dirty Vunorers! I'll send hordes of Questonants their way. I will order them to suck out the Vunorers' brains! Hehe hehehe... the Vunorers will beg me to leave them in peace. On their knees, they will ask for forgiveness for what they did to my children. And they will restore Lauree to what it used to be... and then they have to make me their ruler. I will have all the power, ALL OF IT! But first, I'll have my terrible revenge... Or I'll draw the Asthanes' attention to this system. They will trample the Vunorers with joy. They will make an example out of the Vunorers--so that no people ever again dares... anyway, this false friendship between us and the Vunorers will be at an end. Hmm, such a transmitter would..."

It's a trap!

So definitely some friction among the game's alien species. I don't know who the "Asthanes" are--some species from another planet I guess. The game noted that as I left the room, "one of your party remarks, in jest, that affairs here are worse than on Earth. You aren't in the mood for jokes, though." I'm not sure what bothers me more: the game putting words in my character's mouth, or the game telling me how another character felt about it.

Now we know what happened to the shadowlords when they left Britannia.

The second encounter was with a shadowy projection of "a mighty being in a brown tunic." It wished me better luck than "the fools who came before" and gave me something called a tokero (no German translation) which seems to be a weapon, although no one in my party has the skill to use it. It bade me farewell with "may the Tahun never leave you." Another reference to the "Tahun," which sounds like some kind of deity or religious system.

The level culminated in a battle with "Kruul," whom McFly had warned me about, albeit with a different spelling. A little flying impish creature, he destroyed me when I first encountered him, but then I was just screwing about.

My characters are actually refusing to fight because my morale bar is so low.

Later, exploring the dungeon for real, and having leveled up in between, I was able to defeat him. He left me 2000 experience points (the highest before him had been around 600), $600, and a few items including the "cross ring." Beyond him was a passage down.

The spoils of victory.

A few notes on what I've discovered of the game's mechanics:

  • When it comes to weapons and armor, characters are limited in what they can wield by their combat skills. When viewing items in the store or in inventory, a little symbol appears next to the item if the character can't use it. So far, my most skilled characters have eisenstangen (iron bars), and my weakest has to make do with a rippenknochen (rib bone). I assume that as I increase levels, these skills will increase.
  • The value of the weapon helps determine its damage rating. Current armor class is indicated by the letters "SW" in the character portrait. I don't know what "SB" means. It might have to do with mental defense. Are there any German phrases for which these letters would make sense for physical defense and mental defense, respectively?



  • You can have characters analyze items to find out what they do. They don't even have to have the items in their possession. You just click the little magnifying glass, type in the name, and the character comes back with something like, "you can cook that" or "I think that's a weapon." Very neat.


  • My inventory is getting very tight. Every character has only six slots, and between weapons, armor, quest items, healing items, and food, they go quickly.
  • The various commands to study your enemy before combat give you a decent sense of what attacks to use. You have to have fought the enemy previously, though.

Eva recommends psychological attacks.

  • As I mentioned in a previous post, the second bar under each character's portrait is his physical health. The third is his mental health. To heal characters, you have to use one of a variety of items that works on either type of health; for instance, bandages for physical damage and aspirin for mental damage. How much you heal depends on the healing skill of the character using the item.
  • You can't save in dungeons. I'm trying to force myself not to use save states to get around this.
  • I don't know if there's an absolute mapping system (i.e., if each square has fixed coordinates), but there's a relative one. You can use the "locate" button to set an origin point, and from there the game tells you how far you are from the point.

Checking my position before heading down.

  • You can talk to your characters! At any time, you can hit the "mouth" button and either cycle through all the characters or choose a specific one. So far, they haven't said much that was interesting.

Bio-splatter ragout will do that to you.

  • Restoring a character's energy by sleeping takes a long time--like almost 20 minutes of just sitting there. The android needs no sleep.
  • No food is consumed when resting in the landing craft, which is nice.
  • If you run out of food, a character immediately dies. That's pretty harsh. I'm not sure how long it takes to kill off other characters after that.

In short, there are some odd and interesting innovations in the game. In the last session, I finally settled into a comfortable groove, and I'm looking forward to what's next.

I did hear briefly from one of the developers, Kjell Droz. He confirmed that he and his friends ("school boys," but I don't know what age) were primarily influenced by The Bard's Tale on the Commodore 64, and he suggested that Antares includes "many labyrinths and five or six cities," so don't expect a quick end. I wrote back with some more questions, and I hope we can get some more development and background information from him.

Time so far: 9 hours
Reload count: 12

76 comments:

  1. Tsiratas are perhaps alien tsetse flies?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I guess "SW" could be Schutzwert (protection value) or Schildwert (shield value) and "SB" could be Selbstbeherrschung (self-control), but no immediately obvious phrases suggest themselves.

    In an earlier post you mentioned that the text scrolled by too slowly. There might be a way to adjust that with the vertical bar to the right of the text box (the one that looks a bit like a scrollbar).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IIRC thats the names they used in one Geramn RPG (Midgard?), so its likely.

      Being schoolbaoys would explain the "cool" phrasing and the names (Kirk Hammet and McFly from Back to the Future)

      Delete
  3. Eine Stablampe - I recommend www.leo.org for English/German translation. "Stab" is a bar, rod, or staff. Taschenlampe (literally "pocket lamp" or "purse lamp") is translated as "torch", which is British English for a flashlight. So possibly a "rod lamp" is simply a torch. Die Fackel would be a more common translation for "the torch", though. I'm guessing this mostly from the 5-minute duration.

    I haven't seen "Tsirata" before, but it reminds me of the word "Strige" (often misspelled as "Stirge" in early D&D books), which classically is a sort of Vampire, and which D&D used as effectively a vampire bat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A precise translation would be "tubular lamp". It refers to the kind of hand-held portable electric torch/flashlight mechanics or construction workers often use.

      Delete
    2. I would have guessed "Stablampe" to be a Maglite kind of flashlight - but yeah, such a "mechanic light" would fit as well.
      Oh, and regarding "Tsirata" - just read it backwards (and put a space between s and i)...:)

      Delete
    3. Why am I not conditioned to do that with EVERY word by now?

      I can only guess why they chose that and not "agima." Maybe they were planning an ST port back then.

      Delete
    4. To be honest, I have to thank endless hours of M.U.L.E. for that (whose setting is the planet Irata). :)

      Delete
    5. I don't think they planned a ST port - in that case, they wouldn't have named annoying mosquitoes after the other platform. I rather think that was a stab. ;-)

      Delete
  4. See also Google Image Search: https://www.google.com/search?q=stablampe&tbm=isch

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I second this recommendation. I use GIS (or Baidu) to search to make sure my Chinese words are what I think they are. Works best with concrete nouns, obviously. Although verbs and adjectives can be fun sometimes. I find it especially works well with foods, many of which don't make any sense when you translate them according to what the elements mean.

      Delete
    2. Thanks. But you guys really blew my hopes that it was a lamp you could stab people with. It sounded like something that the Janitor on Scrubs would have come up with. "Stab-LAMPE!"

      Delete
    3. Upon closer examination, the top-most icon in your list of active devices (the five boxes to the left of the viewport) probably represents your Stablampe.

      Delete
  5. So.. let's recap.

    ... gave me something called a tokero (no German translation) which seems to be a weapon, although no one in my party has the skill to use it. It bade me farewell with "may the Tahun never leave you."...

    Swap 'tokero' for 'lightsaber' and 'Tahun' for 'Force'. Obi-Wan's ghost in a hood. Ah, dammit, this is a Star Wars fanfic game. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the moment I saw "may the X never leave you" I jumped to "may the force be with you," too.

      Delete
  6. A "thallium sword"? I wonder what the imagined merits were of forging a sword out of a soft and incredibly toxic metal. (Probable answer: "Wir dachten, es klang cool.")

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same reason you might forge one out of uranium or sodium. You leave it lying around in your treasure horde so that any meddlesome adventurer who comes along and steals it gets what they deserve.

      Delete
    2. And if you pour some chlorine on that sodium sword, you're gonna get yourself surrounded by a deer pack trying to lick the sh!t out of your weapon.

      Delete
    3. Before or after the fireball?...

      Delete
  7. One of your party members is apparently cannibalized as soon as you run out of food. Brutal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reminds me of that one episode of Family Guy.

      Delete
  8. for the last picture in this post - it rather means "gut feeling" :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I preferred to think of it as "feeling in my gut."

      Delete
    2. You've got it right the first time. It's translated "I have such a queasy feeling in the stomach". Apparently Bio-splatter ragout is not the best dish in the game :-D

      Delete
    3. Sorry to correct you but the meaning of this sentence is "i have an uneasy feeling about this" and has nothing to do with the stomach feeling bad at all.

      Delete
    4. It's your language, but doesn't "magen" mean "stomach"?

      Delete
    5. Yes. But in this case it is Not to be understood literally but the way i posted above. This is a common phrase in german to describe that someone got an uneasy feeling about things to come.

      Delete
    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    7. I get that it's a metaphor. We have the same metaphor in English. The reason the joke is funny is that it pretends that the language is literal rather than metaphorical. You got that the caption was a joke, right?

      Delete
    8. I have to correct myself. Carl is right. Don't know why I didn't see it in the beginning. Maybe it was to late... :-(

      Delete
    9. I got it that it was a joke - it was mainly a response to captaingrog´s post. no worries, captain :)

      Delete
  9. I love that you track down the developers and find out some behind-the-scenes stuff reviewers back then never would have asked.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Removed my previous comment when I realised it technically violated rule 1...whoops...but the gist was that after a search apparently there is a Tokero horse riding school website in german. Don't know if its related...just thought it was interesting.

      Delete
    2. That wouldn't have bothered me so much, and it was relevant to the post. Rule #1 was meant to stop people from posting things like GOG sales on every article.

      Delete
    3. I was thinking... what if it's a sequel (actual/spiritual)? Or a remake/re-imagining/reboot? Do those still apply?

      Delete
    4. Sure. I guess. I mean, it's not like there aren't one billion other places to post the latest GOG sale or Kickstarter project, but if it's in any way relevant to the post, I'll probably leave it.

      Delete
  11. You need to take the initiative and come up with a taxonomy of dungeons. Make up some words. The first can be a dungeon with the walls touching, and then another word for a grid space between all the walls. A word for a dungeon that uses all the space available, and one that leaves empty spaces. Come on, innovate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't "need to" do anything but pay taxes and die.

      Delete
    2. But I'll think about it. My readers are more clever about such things than I am.

      Delete
    3. "Worms in dirt" versus "infinitesiwalls". (Proposal alternate 2b: razor walls.)

      Delete
    4. I like worm tunnels vs. razor walls. Please use these terms from now on. :D I bet they catch on, and they're needed vocabulary because they're concepts that keep coming up. The next time you're discussing dungeon maps, ask commenters to come up with a name for the other dungeon geomorphs where all available space is used vs. gaps are left. I'm sure they'll come up with something good.

      See, look? We're adding to the language. Papa Tolkien would be proud. :D

      Delete
    5. Block wall dungeon vs. Line wall dungeon.

      Delete
    6. Tolkien? ... "Worm Tunnels they were, known to the Dwarves as Block Wall Dungeons; the Men of Olde hight them as Questron style, but to the New Men they were called Maps of Antares, and the elves, well, let us light a pipe before we begin with the poetry of the elves ..."

      Delete
    7. Referring to Tolkien's career first and foremost as a linguist, not a "fantasy author". He produced nothing but a single trilogy and a prequel, a failure and a hack by modern standards of fantasy genre authors. He delighted in creating new words, eleventy-one is the one that I remember best.

      Delete
    8. Because triple-one sounds like jackpot. Also, I like razor-walls.

      There's also the "1 step per grid", "invisible & silent monsters until you bump into them in a straight corridor", "named monsters carrying around quest objects" and loads of other stuff.

      Delete
    9. Failure? Gave vitality to a whole genre. Not the finest author surely, but geez.

      Delete
  12. Kjell Droz and Michael Wyler both seem to be 44, so probably 18-19 at the time of the game's development, with Christian Wyler about 2 years younger than his brother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On a sidenote, have you also tried contacting the Wylers? The homepage of their game store would be at http://www.wog.ch/ and they at least still seem to be in the game business.

      Delete
    2. Their domain implies that they're Swiss.

      I wonder why this game is in German.

      At least it also explains why the lingo isn't really clear to our German readers as well.

      Delete
    3. > I wonder why this game is in German.

      Because a huge part of swiss speaks german?

      Delete
    4. Really? I heard more French when I was there. Then again, I was only there once and I only had time to visit Geneva.

      Delete
    5. The Swiss speak German (and Swiss German), French, Italian, and/or Romansh, depending on the region. German speakers are the vast majority, at about 2/3 of the population.

      Delete
    6. And the developers, given their current web sites, are clearly German speakers. I'm guessing there weren't many Swiss computer game publishers back then; Germany would have been the closest country with active publishers who spoke the same language.

      Delete
  13. The number left of the top character row (a blue "04" in your first screenie) shows maximum NPC level you encounter in a given area. The more it is red the higher NPCs aggressiveness. At night, in dark corners and deep in the dungeons the threat is highest, according to this short intro
    http://www.kmd-design.com/antares/anleitung.html

    This old report
    http://www.kultpower.de/external_frameset.php3?site=amigajoker_testbericht.php3%3Fim%3Dantares.jpg%26backurl%3Dindex_main2.php3
    shows a character screen, presumably aboard the Auriga as the headline says "crew members" . To the portraits right, you see gender and name, also SW and SB, plus "KHit" and "GHit" which probably mean physical and PSI hitting power (k=körperlich, g=geistig). If that's A+B+C at the bottom left, that probably means atomic, biological, chemical (as in ABC warfare, perhaps ability to defend against or resistance).

    The screenie says to take a speech robot along. Perhaps that's why translation doesn't happen automatically?

    Since SW and SB are grouped together with KHit and GHit, they must be very important. A few ideas:
    - they could stand for defense (S=Schutz, defense), un/dressing your equipment should make a difference. SW is on the same line as KHit, so could be something physical
    - SW could mean Schlagweite, distance you can hit at
    - considering the importance of sleep and their positioning close to KHit, the S could stand for sleep (Schlaf). SB = Schlafbedürfnis, need to sleep? If that's the case, sleeping should have them change radically, with a gradual reversion over time

    I don't know the game from experience. But since this appears to be inspired by Bards Tale/Wizardry, you may need two or so "physical" chars (like Petra in the linked screenie) in the front/top row, plus one cook and two PSI-based chars.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Decent speculations. SW and SB go up and down from equipping objects, so I think that limits their potential meanings, though.

      Delete
    2. Oh, and I guess I haven't made it clear in the posts, but in combat, everyone can engage in physical or melee attacks. There's no "formation" order like in Wizardry and The Bard's Tale, nor any consideration of distance in combat.

      Delete
  14. "Do you own what 'nothing' is?" sounds a bit like a reference to the Buddhist concept of "mu", the pop-cultural definition of which is usually "this question cannot be answered because it is fundamentally flawed" (the actual philosophical/religious concept is much more complicated).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it's because the grammar is fundamentally flawed.

      Delete
    2. The reason I thought it had something to do with inventory slots is that there's some alternate text from when you're supposed to get the "Tokero" that reads (in translation), "Unfortunately you do not have the space to take the object - not a sign of your intelligence! "

      Delete
  15. Any chance of making those translations available? I've done some rom hacking and such back in the day and unless this title uses some obtuse compression system (which isn't too common for non-rom titles of this vintage) tossing together a translation patch for future players shouldn't be too hard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They ARE available here.
      You will also be doing every English-only retro-CRPG player a great favor by making such a patch.

      Delete
    2. I see the translation, any word on the folks responsible? I'd hate to steal their work.

      Delete
    3. You can have my part, that's the pink one. ;-) Can't speak for anybody else, but I suppose the point of it was to make it widely available.

      There are still combat messages to do, and I think there are a lot of bad puns there - but translating them as well shouldn't be a problem.

      Delete
    4. I'll pull a tentative version together, cleaning up all the on screen and fixed test (SB > AC, etc) will probably be the only hurdle.

      Delete
    5. You're welcome to use any of the parts translated by me (the ones attributed to "Anym", i.e. 102, 1031-1431) as well. Do note though, that the translation is still a bit rough and in need of some editing, to e.g. unify different translations of the same term, and proof-reading by a native speaker.

      Delete
    6. Proof-reading by a native speaker? Only native speakers are supposed to translate into their own language.

      SOURCE language = translator's second/third/etc language
      TARGET language = translator's native language

      This is an established rule for translators, fail to adhere to it and that's where weirdness like Engrish and Chinglish come from.

      Delete
    7. What about American Born Koreans? Most of them are able to converse equally well in both Korean and English (which is the simplest language to learn IMHO).

      Delete
    8. It's far easier to find a German speaking English than the other way round. So I suppose proof-reading will help more than trying to find professionals instead of us readers...
      Also note that the original texts weren't exactly written by professionals either. If the translation is too good, it won't be true to the original. ;-) We are still in 1991, a time where many computer games were created in cellars and garages during free time and not by large companies.

      Delete
    9. You guys do what you want, but Harland's "established rule" aside, Antares even with the quality of English translation already in that document would be much easier for an English-speaker to play than Antares as it is now. Burzmali, if you think it's possible, I'd give it a shot with what's already in the document and see how it comes out.

      Delete
    10. Harland's rule is really the "native speaker principle", which is not a universal rule so much as an assertion. Here's a good common sense discussion.

      https://karenrueckert.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/should-i-only-translate-into-my-native-language/

      Delete
    11. I'm working on getting a copy of the game to work on, let me get that far before anyone worries about the fidelity of the translation.

      Delete
    12. Burzmali: My translations (with corrections through others) are as well free to use (10-102)

      Delete
  16. Someonw probably has mentioned this already:

    http://dict.leo.org/ende/index_de.html

    Is a very very good something-to-german and german-to-something translator. Much better than Google Translate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Much better than Google Translate" would mean that I could still translate entire paragraphs of text at a time. I wouldn't do this if I had to do it word-for-word.

      Delete

I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) THIS ALSO INCLUDES USER NAMES THAT LINK TO ADVERTISING.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters.

3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

NOTE: Spam has gotten so bad lately that I've had to turn on comment moderation for posts older than 10 days. I apologize if it takes a little while for your comment to appear.