[Editorial Warning, Wee-Ooo]
I’ve been getting lots of messages, which I occasionally forward to the team, and one of them decided to respond in (very) elaborate detail on the many complications and hang-ups involved in this project that got us to where we are today, so here you go.
Disclaimer: the words and sentiments conveyed therein do not necessarily convey my thoughts or Lain’s.
Well, maybe Lain’s.
Letter to the Community
Hello. My name is ItsumoKnight and I’m the lead translator of the Fate/Extra CCC translation project.
I understand you have complaints.
The translation of this game has been going on since September 29th, 2015 (5 freaking years) and you’re STILL not done? On top of that, we’ve only got scant updates here and there throughout the years and they look like crap? What the hell are you guys doing?!
Well boys and girls. Unwitting or not, I’m your culprit.
There have been concerns that we’ve been disingenuous. That’d be my fault.
I f***ing love keeping secrets. Talking to people is hard, and surprises are what I live for.
Talk to people before you do something, work together towards a common goal, have more than one or two friends? But I hate social media, I hated group projects in school, and I barely know how life works. Ideas that have changed over time but never fully disappeared. And let’s just say those weren’t the only problems I had along the way.
You remember that Extra patch we put out right after Last Encore started airing? No warning, just popped out. Prime example. I’m a secretive mofo.
So you know what happened, now you know who it was, and presumably you want to know WHAT happened. You ready for a sob story?
Firstly, the project did not start in 2015. No, I’m not talking about the previous CCC project. It actually started on January 8th, 2016, when I joined. And there were only 3 people, each with very specific skillsets. It was heavy for everyone. Up until that point the team was only staring at a 49,000 line main script and only making the first forays into the prologue. That may upset you, but the main translator was actively attending university so there was no helping that. When I showed up, I was fresh off Extra and really, really mad about the ending. Then I learned there was a sequel and that the effort was kinda stalled. I remember having a hell of a time finding CJ’s email address, cuz it wasn’t the hell on his site. I had never done fan translation before and I only had a passing familiarity with Japanese, but by god was I gonna power through it. Quote: “I’ll sub it if I have to.”
None of us had played (let alone finished) the game before and what we did know of the game files was what little the previous project left behind. When I learned the state of things, I decided that the first thing to do was to gain context and make research documents for reference. We should have at least one person who’s familiar with the story and gameplay, and someone who serve as lore consultant. That my role was to assist the main translator. Pretty straightforward, right? Hahahaha. No. God no.
If you thought the last project was troubled and broke up, listen to this: No one on the team knew what they were getting into.
I am not trying to blame people. To not know and to do other things is what people with lives do. But if you want to get the full picture, you have to understand not just whodunit but whydunit and howdunit.
Okay. So there were 4 people on our team. The main translator has hardcore school and we got to know each other, but we barely ever talked about CCC. CJ and our hacker Esper don’t know Japanese and were juggling projects left & right and, while we got to know each other, inevitably barely talked about CCC. They all have families, careers, and interests of their own. I recall Esper had at least 15 other projects, some of which were CJ’s. It’s not like I wasn’t guilty of the same thing since I totally did finish a few projects between then and now. Alright. Now we are left with me: the secondary translator who was hardly personable and a complete novice at all aspects involved. Cool.
“Let’s get cracking” I said. Here’s a good one: How much do you think we actually knew about Fate/Extra CCC at the time? Answer: Jack $#!t.
I did my preliminary research: Prologue, 7 Chapters, 5 hard Endings. Oh, there’s also a spinoff manga with Tamamo? Are there any chapters in English? …nope, all I can find are disparate Chinese raws. Ooh, there’s a forum where they were discussing this at length called Beast’s Lair. There’s…a link to where all the volume raws are like 20 pages back. Whoa. Gonna batch that, upload to mediafire and post. Hah, someone said “We’d get working on this but there aren’t any raws.” Better remind them. Heheh, they had a “Wait, what” double-take.
That was in February. I’m not saying the FoxTail effort wouldn’t have happened without me; but it would’ve taken significantly longer if one person didn’t point out a single fact to the right people. Funny how much one person can affect a fan project. Another thing I learned is that being short-staffed is always a problem. THAT one crushed me.
Where was I? Oh right: Jack $#!t.
Here’s the kicker: 49,000 lines and we have NO IDEA WHO’S SAYING WHAT.
I’m convinced of what I’m supposed to be doing and it’s mostly by myself. This was the first time I ever worked on a game translation. Not a VN, a Game. With gameplay and maps. I watched playthroughs of all routes and played through it once, CCC route. Now that I know the gist of everything that’s going to happen, let’s watch it again but take PAINSTAKING NOTES ON EVERY LINE. Yes I threw in the exact line #s. At least we’ll know the dang speaker for the majority of the lines. I’ll throw in some comedy on this reference doc too, just for the people who’re going to be reading it. I was…kinda preoccupied with doing my own thing.
Reference docs, reference docs, reference docs. You think this was a fast process? At some point, I noticed a pattern: There were some duplicates of lines with the exact same content. Better make a reference doc of that too. Better run this by the team. The hacker, Esper…makes a shorter version of the script that accounts for the dups. The real main script length is now 29,000 lines and I have 100+ pages of outdated documents. But I’ve made them so I’m still using them to this day. I have to stare at them. It was a real simple code job, just had to know the issue and ask. A single fact to the right people. H-Had I known, had I… See kids, keeping in contact is important. I pretended everything was fine, of course. But that was the first time I broke.
I don’t need to tell you this but I live and breathe too, ya know? I graduated high school as an idiot with very few friends and barely any plans, attended college with very few friends, dad was diagnosed and died of cancer within a month so those plans crumbled, graduated as an idiot with very few friends and barely any degrees, family had to move out a few times (it was not voluntary), got a dead-end entry-level job, got fired from entry-level job, got depressed, got the same dead-end entry-level job, succeeded at it by putting in way too much effort, a few friendships ended, stayed for a while before I realized what said job was doing to me, in-between jobs and I don’t need to tell you this because tens of thousands of people have the exact same story so it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. Some of the bad things that happened to me were my own fault, some weren’t. The bad things that happen to you don’t make you who you are, it’s what you do and don’t do; THAT’s what defines you.
It wasn’t like all that stuff ever stopped me from having hobbies, it just gave me less time and energy to do them. And it’s not like it was the fault of anyone else on the team, we’re all volunteers doing what we love. It was the display of my own raw incompetence, both to seek help and to do what I’m supposed to be doing, that did the trick.
Never was quite the same after that. Still rolled on, making docs. Uhh, I’ve been keeping in touch with the rest of the team. Yeah. Even tried getting everyone together over AIM, or Skype. Remember those? Dead like disco. Uhh, main translator’s been done with school, moved on to career and hasn’t had time to translate. At all. It was time for them to move on. As a person I entirely respect and applaud their choice…but as a team member, I was main translator now. I didn’t exactly sign up for that. Okay. We have outdated docs with funny comments no one’s gonna read, barely anything done, and now you’re up kid. Good luck! Same reasons: incompetence to seek help and do the thing. Pretended to be fine, broke a second time. Yada yada.
Alright, so the thing I love now evokes fear and trepidation. It’s kinda like setting your favorite song as your ringtone only to make you hate it due to operant conditioning. Investing so much into it caused massive burnout and works like Grand Order and Extella showed up so the fire’s gone baby. You’d think people who go into a passion project would have it together a bit better, right? Broke a few more times afterwards. It’s pretty bad. Project’s almost like a curse. Considering what happened to the previous project, it’s analogous to dat Scottish play. I still have mostly myself, the sole translator on a project I can’t put a dent into and the spirit of a puppy in the middle of a river. But you know what saves me? People.
Still never was quite the same. But slowly, yet surely, CJ and Esper brought me people who decided they wanted the same thing as us: to finish CCC…and make it dang pretty to boot. Of particular note was Kotcrab, who took over for Esper as main hacker. Boy did they pull open a can of whoop@$$ on the game files. Thanks to them, we have: easy access to data from other games like Extra and Extella, all the game audio, insertion of Extra’s font, neat things like ruby text/furigana, replacing textures, so so many cool things; not to mention moral support. Did you know the script was formatted in order of what maps show up first? Now I know, and that makes sense from a programming perspective. And now we know which character portrait gets pulled up with each line, so we know ‘who says what’ with a reasonable degree of accuracy. I am not kidding when I say they’re the one that makes the project even possible. And I did take time off from CCC to do other projects like: FoxTail (yes, I helped more than just the beginning), the Nanoha PSP games, the Blossom-sensei OAVs, and the FGOxCCC event (even if I didn’t approach it very efficiently)…not to mention that Extra patch we put out stealthily.
For everyone who has yet to suffer seeing crap like “Legendary Soul”, “formal wear” or “Hakuno Kisinami” over and over again. I’m still eyeing other spinoffs, but I’m wiping my drool. Funny enough, there was one time 3 translators volunteered in short succession. God, what? JS, Aria & khika. I love them all to bits plus they’re cool as heck but JS is a real trooper. They brought the entire project over to Python and is making tools to actually kill this beast, on top of taking sizable chunks out of the script themselves. Esper’s off doing their own thing(s) and barely having any time to themselves, and CJ’s still around shielding me from all the criticism I’ve been avoiding. There’s more members of the team, a good number either retired or are busy with their own stuff, but they did their thing and they rock.
Now we have a full team. If anything’s holding the project back, it’s my sob story. My weak @$$. But should I quit? Hell no, I want to do this.
Yes, of course we have stuff to show for it after ~5 years. Dang right I’m keeping important update information behind my nice arse curtains. I am a broken @$$ $#!tbag. I am questionable decisions. You want something shiny? Oh boy do we have something shiny. Look forward to it.
This post has been a gigantic excuse for why a years-old fan project still isn’t done yet, courtesy of me. By now you should understand I’m a master of self-depreciation. I learned that word from TWEWY. I’ve poured my heart out and now I bare my soul.
I hope that was a fun read, cuz even though that was painful I had fun too. Rants are fun.
If you have questions, I’ll try to get to them. We’ll be trying for monthly updates from now on but no guarantee. There’s no guarantee for anything in this world. But there’s no one who can live for you, breathe for you. I wonder what will define me at the very end? Stay tuned for more BB Channel, until the very end of that love story.
Short version: Hi I’m ItsumoKnight. I suck, team rocks. Ganbarimasu.