Translation (English) by Dynamic Designs / Stealth - v1.02
The background of the English version of Feda is really the story of one man's efforts that span a number of years, perhaps a decade or more. Along with many people in the 1980s and 90s, Bongo` (his translation community name) became enamored with video games, specifically role playing games (RPGs), and soon discovered that a treasure trove of outstanding Japanese RPGs would never be ported to the western world. Unlike most RPG players, however, Bongo` possessed a unique skill in computer code savvy and program writing, and putting himself in even rarer company, he dedicated those skills to endeavors such as creating an English patch for Feda, his long term signature project.
For those people likely to patch Feda and dive right into playing our English version, rather than reading documents first, we must offer these two essential bits of information:
Feda English is R-rated. The raw translation suggested that the Japanese author wrote the game in a much spicier style than the similar Shining Force series. Instead of cute and quaint characters who bond immediately, for the most part Feda features a gritty cast of grizzled war veterans, deserters, and survivors who demonstrate maverick attitudes, whose whole generation as well as their ancestors have endured a thousand years of near-genocidal warfare. This ambiance has created a battlefield saga in which soldiers speak and act as frontline troops on the cutting edge of disaster have frequently behaved in armies throughout history, when confronted with similar desperate situations. We at Stealth and Magic Destiny have followed that track faithfully wherever indicated and appropriate, so for those who might be offended by recurring ribald content, be advised that Feda is R-rated for language (profanity), gore, violence, and sexual innuendo.
A potential game loop may be avoided if a player camps and saves at the first opportunity. Shortly after meeting the fourth character who joins the team, a boy named Tom Woodland who occupies the camp tent, (A) save your game with Ain the Wolfling, (B) shut down your emulator, (C) restart your saved game in the menu options, and the game should play flawlessly from that point forward, as well as allow hard button presses to most screen transitions. If a girl named Eris Woodland (Tom's older sister) allows you to exit alone from her house in Bazel Village, to shop in the weapons store and conduct other independent actions, this camp save and restart workaround procedure has immunized your game against a possible game loop bug, a glitch we also observed in the Japanese ROM.
The "Healer Bug" locks the game if Nurses Aris and Aria cast level 3 healing spells while all friendly fighters remain uninjured (Remake 3). This happens because some players choose to "burn off" unneeded MP, hoping to "milk" experience points under circumstance in which the spell is not actually needed for its intended purpose.
Detailed Version Information
v1.02 includes significant additional character development by Taskforce, as well as some formatting adjustments, and it also adds some input from Red Soul, who we recruited into Stealth / Magic Destiny to assist with the Mystic Ark project. Later, we invited Red Soul to become a core member of our renamed organization, Dynamic Designs. v1.02 also incorporates a few small typo edits based upon feedback from players.
v1.01 is a compilation of between 25 and 30 changes, many of which are small edits based upon feedback from the game-playing community. Some of these fixes are simple typos. Others are portrait restorations of fighters in Camp. One portrait (Shishi) could not be restored for one occurrence. We also attempted to code a few additional portraits that were omitted in our original Japanese dump. Generally speaking, many enemy portraits do not appear in "battle message" dialogue while a boss is dying. We were unable to rectify two reports. One was missing MP for a character who appeared originally programmed to wield a special attack (Shelly). The other was the "Healer Bug", wherein Nurses (Aris and Aria) lock the game whenever they cast level 3 healing spells while all friendly fighters remain uninjured (Caveat #3). We have not documented the smaller fixes here, but all may be traced on our message board. Thanks to Red Soul and others who helped us keep track of the post-release bug reports, as well as running extensive tests of their own and submitting follow-up reports to help us compile most of the changes in v1.01.
Feda is either a strategy or a tactical role playing game (RPG), depending upon which article a player reads. In official military parlance, a tactic is a single procedure employed by a combat unit, calculated to bring about a desired effect; whereas a strategy is a complex set of tactical maneuvers and other proactive measures designed to meet long range goals and influence future events on a much broader scale, and in the ultimate sense, even forge a permanent resolution to a protracted conflict.
Thus, some tactical defeats can later be viewed as strategic victories, such as Rome's many setbacks during the Second Punic War that slowly offset Hannibal's superior forces and tactics by winning the battle of attrition (i.e. Rome, fighting on its own turf and more easily replacing defeated troops and other resources) and slowly choking the Carthaginians' lines of communication (logistical support).
Ergo, tactic is to strategy as weather is to climate. In Feda, which reminds me somewhat of the Second Punic War, a player may often feel that he is facing an insurmountable storm of odds or stunning reversals, but with sound decisions and good asset management he will find opportunities to keep advancing toward successful resolutions, such as consolidating gains in whole regions and ultimately whipping the Empire's evil strongman.
Within both military terminologies, Feda's game play provides examples of each. The player-controlled battle unit will employ up to 10 troops on various styles of battlefields and face up to 12 opposing enemy soldiers. With varying strengths and capabilities, character actions are turn based, similar to a chess match, but some battle units may execute two or more turns consecutively, based upon the proportion of troops each side has remaining in action on the field of combat.
Feda's style game play is very similar to the Shining Force series, and even shares some of the same programmers and character designers, but as mentioned earlier, Feda was written in a much darker style and saltier tone. As soon as the theme music joins the introduction visuals and narrative, the mood is set that Feda will likely be a slugfest bloodbath from beginning to end, and that is indeed the case! About the only cheery scene in the entire game appears in the latter half of the saga, and that is a flashback to the hero's village, just prior to his marching off to war.
As with many Japanese RPGs, reprogramming Feda to English proved to be quite challenging. We have documented some of the details that might assist those who are curious and maybe attempting a similar project.
Early on, Bongo` undertook the usual tasks of locating the fonts, building a table file, and programming a script dumper. Once he derived a script, the translators went to work while Bongo` continued to perform an impressive array of re-coding tasks. Many of the routines in Feda were convoluted, but piece by piece Bongo` traced the interlocking parts until he fully understood how the game was constructed.
Among these many tasks, Bongo` designed no fewer than seven assembly tools to accommodate the much larger space requirements of the English conversion. He also performed a myriad of non-assembly jobs, such as locating and redirecting pointers and building libraries to compress the large volume of English bytes he desired to re-insert. In the end, everything Bongo` designed meshed together well and created almost unlimited byte space for reinsertion. This was good, because Feda's script is enormous!
The task of building the storyline, however, turned out to be quite tedious because many of the segments in its variable plot displayed out of sequence in the dumped files, while multiple scenarios based upon player actions were all lumped together in many cases. With pointer issues occasionally misdirecting text runs from separate block files, writing Feda required countless replays and several spot re-translations until we could sort out what some ambiguous strings were actually speaking and where they should display in the game.
In toto, dumping the Feda script yielded 25 sizeable storyline and dialogue blocks and 27 additional miscellaneous files, such as weapons lists, battle messages, place names, and enemy rosters. As part of the complex structure of his insertion tool, Bongo` created 14 sub-patches that implemented features such as a custom variable width font, a thin 8X8 font to accommodate the full script of one and two line battle messages, a routine to utilize dual tile encoding and devise two-line names, and a "splash" page that we inserted into the game.
Completing most of these tasks prior to 2003, Bongo` formatted a rough English script consisting mainly of the raw translation and released a playable, albeit somewhat "glitchy" beta version. At least five more years passed before he devoted serious attention to refining the Feda storyline.
ASM Tools Developed:
vwf8_16.asm: A dialogue vwf routine
8x82Line.asm: Enabled double line text for 8x8 & DTE
RLEmenu.asm: Enabled RLE data support for menus
boxdata.asm: Stored all the editable textboxes
cobalt.asm: Fixed a routine that infrequently locked the final battle
itemNameFix.asm: Streamlined displays of item names
itemtext.asm: Adjusted spacing between items with two-word names
Sub-IPS Patches Created:
vwf_cust.ips: A new dialogue VWF with Dictionary and DTE table (Custom font routine)
RLEmenu.ips: Recode to use RLE data storage and usage for menus
8x82line.ips: Recode to use DTE and 2-line text
8x8stuff.ips: Most of the 8x8 text in the game
8x8font.ips: New 8x8 font data
Name_me.ips: Recode for 8-byte names and name table replacement
Tboxsize.ips: Changed the sizes of some menu boxes
Ailments.ips: Fixed character ailment names
compfill.ips: Added compression support the text
areaname.ips: Fixed the Area (Chapter) name boxes
months.ips: Changed the month sprite name and font data
Expand.ips: Expanded the ROM for dialogue space requirements
Title.ips: Added a splash screen
Itemname.ips: Adjusted 8x8 compressed names when used in dialogue
Bongo` also designed a debugging tool to assist tracing the numerous hangs, glitches, and misdirected text that we encountered during the production and refinement phases. To the best of our knowledge, we have located and fixed all of the show stoppers in Feda. If someone encounters a problem, however, please contact Stealth Translations or Magic Destiny immediately.
The full background of Feda (English) version 1.00 (and later revisions, if any) is intertwined with the story of Lennus-II's English patch, also a full release by Stealth and Magic Destiny. Around 2003, while Bongo` was assisting Magic Destiny with the extensive assembly recoding and dialogue compression requirements in Lennus-II, he mentioned his struggles with finishing the dialogue and storyline in Feda. We at Magic Destiny (Taskforce, Draken, and Wildbill) offered to assist once Lennus-II was released. About the midway point in Lennus-II, however, Bongo` departed from the translation scene for personal reasons. Thus, we shelved both projects for several years.
In December 2007, Bongo` posted a message on a community BBS that he had resumed work on Lennus-II and requested that members of the original team contact him if interested in completing the project. Draken answered that call, traced down Taskforce and Wildbill, and worked closely with Bongo` for several months until Lennus-II played flawlessly from start to finish.
Wildbill and Taskforce rejoined the Lennus-II effort in mid 2008 and contributed further refinements, leading to a full release later that year. Soon thereafter, Magic Destiny joined Bongo`s Feda team at Stealth Translations and went to work almost immediately, starting in October 2008.
Bongo`s interest in creating an English version of Feda was piqued a decade or more earlier when he played the Japanese game to completion. Translators Tomato, Yukiko, and Zackman assisted him during his early efforts. When work resumed in October 2008, because Feda possessed a formatted text that was already inserted, the new Feda team elected to have Wildbill commence script rewrites of the 25 dialogue blocks, then release chapter update patches to other team members who would edit the miscellaneous files, resolve screen overflows in battle messages, and fix other bugs encountered during game play.
"…[B]est laid plans…," as Shakespeare said.
Something came up that changed matters drastically. Magic Destiny and Stealth joined forces on two additional projects that we are still keeping under wraps at the time of Feda's release. Draken assumed the lead in regard to formatting the raw translated dialogue on one of them, and Taskforce commenced similar work on the other, plus rewriting the basic story.
Thus, Wildbill assumed almost the full production responsibilities for Feda, with Draken and Taskforce performing the lion's share of beta testing chapter by chapter so we could accelerate Feda's release timetable. This arrangement freed up Bongo`s time for debugging, reassembly, and code writing, as well as drafting and revising insertion packages for all three games, and laying the groundwork for two more, Chaos Seed for the Nintendo Super Famicom (SNES) and a monochrome version of Destiny of an Emperor for the Nintendo Gameboy.
Production and Beta Testing
All-in-all, our Feda work has proceeded on or ahead of schedule. We wrote the story between October 2008 and April 2009, completing approximately two of the 12 chapters each month. Anticipating a summer release, we have exceeded those expectations. This does not mean we cut corners, however, just that we worked very hard during the winter and spring.
The Introduction and first chapter required the longest time for Wildbill to construct, as the worst of the bugs appeared early. A special thanks goes out to Satsu, whose responses to spot translation requests on our message board cleared up several ambiguities that enabled us to fully unravel the basic plot and set the tone and direction of the entire storyline. Draken and Wildbill provided other (re)translation support during production, mainly adjustments to names of weapons, characters, places, and such.
Chapter Two and beyond was mainly just plain hard work and long hours, including as many as half a dozen rewrites and fixing the occasional bugs that popped up. Nevertheless, Wildbill found the writing labors stimulating, calling the finished story almost autobiographical in nature! Draken submitted no fewer than 600 hard fixes and recommendations in the game, most accompanied with screen shots, of which roughly 99% were implemented.
Taskforce, who possesses a natural feel for game flow and character interaction, lent considerable analysis to the early direction and tone of the game, and his inputs were incorporated almost fully. Bongo`, on the other hand, stuck mainly to coding tasks, announcing one day that he did not wish to play the game prior to its release. Lennus-II beta tester Clarphimous provided invaluable inputs to Feda's early chapters.
Thus, due to our heavy workload and self-imposed schedule for pacing the output, we provided most of the beta testing in-house so we could stay on task and maintain continuity with other projects. As is our customary goal, with Feda we strove to deliver a professionally completed result throughout all phases of the endeavor.
Feda takes place on Planet Mildras Garz, a war torn world that has suffered a thousand years of inter-species strife, referred to as the Millennium Nightmare. An evil Empire called Balformia is now exercising either totalitarian control or hegemony over the entire planet, but liberation movements are springing up in various regions, including the defunct Arcadian Republic, a fragmented multi-species culture that resides on the Skudelian Peninsula, a sizable sub-continent separated from the mainland by an isthmus that adjoins Balformia, the motherland of the Empire.
The tale begins when a young human officer named Brian Stelbart mutinies against his evil Captain, a Centaur called Alnos who orders a cargo dragon genocide raid against a helpless village named Badd. Before Brian can be executed, however, a Wolfling soldier, Ain McDougal, breaks him free from prison. With the aid of a Foxling archer, Dora Systeen, the trio embarks into the wilderness where they encounter other fighters and supporters who seek to accompany them.
Pursued relentlessly by elements of an imperial punishment unit called Tusk, Brian's group eventually reaches eastern Skudelia, entering territory controlled by a loosely-jointed organization called the Arcadian Liberation Army. As they continue to trek westward, seeking a sea lane escape route back to the mainland and hoping to find a place where they can reside in peace, Brian's small but growing band keeps colliding with forces from both sides until Ain and he are forced to make a decision.
A Mini-introduction to Feda (Non-Spoiler)
Feda is a dynamic game that provides numerous alternate consequences depending upon player decisions. Most importantly, battle choices will determine a player's relationship with many of the freelance fighters in this game. Therefore, the path through the twelve chapters, leading to one of four possible conclusions, will be guided by battlefield actions.
Accordingly, a player will carry one of nine emblems into each battle. These emblems are divided into three reputation categories, four Law emblems at the top (Feda, Valkyrie, Griffin, and Blade Eagle) one Neutral emblem in the middle (Viper), and four Chaos emblems at the bottom (Phantom, Balrog, Hellhound, and Genocide). Soldiers who can be recruited will be disposed toward one of these three reputations.
Neutral characters will fight on your team regardless of your reputation, but generally speaking, polarized fighters carrying Law or Chaos reputations will not join your party if you are bearing an emblem in a category opposite theirs, nor will they remain in your camp throughout the game if your reputation rises or dips beyond their tolerance levels.
Normally, a character will utter a cryptic statement or even issue a warning about leaving if the team emblem reaches the boundary of his or her tolerance. Once a soldier actually leaves, a player may see a notification of this decision immediately following the battle in which the emblem changed, but not necessarily in every case.
A few soldiers possess broader or narrower tolerances, such as Aris the Nurse (Chapter 1 – a Law character who will tolerate a dip to Balrog) and Teita the Griffin Princess (Chapter 3 – a Chaos fighter who prefers Hellhound and Genocide, but will depart forever if you rise above Balrog to Phantom).
Some Law characters may not even tolerate the Viper emblem (a Neutral reputation), therefore, unexpected departures of fighters in the game are pre-programmed consequences of a player's battlefield decisions. With only one exception that we know about (Ryoukhan, the renegade priest), players will have but a single opportunity to recruit and retain fighters.
Players will fight 77 mandatory battles in Feda, with options to engage in an unlimited number of optional Chaos battles but at a potential cost. If a player hopes to maintain a high Law reputation, he must avoid as many Chaos battles as possible. The determining factor affecting emblem assignment in all of the mandatory battles will be showing mercy to some of the enemy troops when the assigned objective may be achieved without killing every single opponent on the screen.
In addition, winning mandatory battles without annihilating the entire enemy unit will award significant bonus points to everyone, including fighters left in camp, the only way they may earn experience points and gain levels while inactive.
Another method for avoiding Chaos penalties (while striving to maintain a high Law reputation) is to not allow any friendly fighters to be put out of action. If this happens, incapacitated fighters will wind up inside the Empire's prison fort (accessible from a camp menu), and will require rescue missions to return them to the lineup. The battles with the prison guards are easy but count as Chaos missions, so rescuing your troops may lower your emblem or prevent you from advancing higher. Sometimes, players may escape from Chaos battles by using the Select key or avoid them altogether by watching how the enemy's symbols migrate on the map.
If players require additional assistance, visit our Feda page at Stealth-Magic Destiny for more information and links to additional resources, or post your questions in our Magic Destiny forum. You may also search for answers on the internet, including a sketchy but still useful Feda FAQ/Walkthrough.
10 Quick Feda Guidelines and Hints
This is Basic RPG advice to you veterans, but speak to everyone you encounter.
If the information appears inadequate in some areas, try speaking to NPCs twice.
Feda contains only a few hidden items compared to many RPGs, and all of these occur past the midway point in the game. Be alert for dialogue clues in a particular region that contains enemy warehouses and search similar locations thereafter.
A single carried weapon is auto-equipped in Feda, but if a soldier possesses two or more, these may be switched during battle for ranging purposes.
The few available pieces of armor in Feda may be used by everyone but unlike single weapons carried in individual inventories armor must be manually equipped in battle menus. This can be done without sacrificing a combat maneuver.
Since we lack a game manual translation, save your game frequently and experiment with the buttons until you feel comfortable with Feda's control systems.
Keep a game log to record important information that you cannot commit to memory.
Again, escaping from battle may be possible if you center the cursor on one of your soldiers and press Select. Try to escape and/or bypass Chaos battles if you wish to maintain a high Law reputation.
Killing everything on the screen when not directed by your field commander and rescuing your players from the prison fort will propel your unit away from the top Law reputations and closer to Neutral and/or Chaos ratings.
10. Try to complete the game without cheats so you may enjoy the full challenge. If you do load cheats, be advised that Feda appears more fragile and unstable than other games we have translated. Your game may lock or fail.
We at Stealth Translations and Magic Destiny believe this story and game will captivate players who love this genre, just as we have become enchanted by Feda: The Emblem of Justice, fully finished now and playable in English by using our free patch.
Remember, Feda is not real life, but a fantasy story that takes place on a fictitious planet. The members of Stealth Translations and Magic Destiny do not necessarily admire all of the behavior and mannerisms of the characters in Feda, nor do we advocate that gamers speak or conduct themselves similarly on Planet Earth.
If you happen to be a young person who someone has taught manners, do not toss them aside, simply because you decided to play our English translation of Feda. Otherwise, enjoy the game!
Written by Wildbill (May 02, 2009)
Finally, a few remarks concerning my role in the translation community and the relevance of the CTC...
As a co-founder of the Confederated Translation Center (CTC), I, Wildbill, have tried to remain positive through the years, but one of the reasons I left this hobby for a while was due to the fun "drying up". Originally, I became involved about 12 years ago because I wanted to contribute to the effort of translating non-exported Japanese RPGs into English.
I first learned of these endeavors by searching for a mythical cartridge of SNES Dragon Warrior V, said to be floating around somewhere between Redmond, Washington and Los Angeles. In the process, I discovered Demi's and Zophar's web boards.
Before long, Taskforce and I teamed up on SFC Villgust; and then he, I, Draken, Bongo`, Akujin, Faraday, Musashi, Jair, Necrosaro, Toma, and a host of like-minded individuals created the CTC for the purpose of bringing translators, coders, graphics specialists, and story writers together under one umbrella.
Our mission statement was simple, "…to speed up the translation process". We were so focused on this purpose; we helped translation teams that were not part of the CTC. The concept worked, for a while.
But growth brought bureaucracy, rules, and ultimately a number of people who contributed very little to the translation process, but plenty of negativity and even rancor. Moreover, these squeaky wheels drove away many creative folks who might have become productive had we had made the time to teach them and given them the latitude to learn.
Yes, a few rotten apples can certainly spoil the fun; and that is one reason why I feel the old CTC may be obsolete in 2009. Back in the day, the CTC's WWW boards bogged us down with endless moderator duties, keeping us embroiled in disputes over meaningless minutia, sapping our energies, and negating our original purpose.
When I drafted the first (unreleased) version of this statement half a year ago, following the release of Lennus-II, I speculated upon what the role of the CTC might be if we survived the release of that patch. Looking back, I am convinced that we did survive, not just in regard to today's release of Feda, but through our progress in many additional games these past six months.
Technically, the CTC consists of the remnants of three old groups, Stealth, Magic, and Destiny, plus a few translators behind the scenes who are in contact with one of our "companies". Even if we abandon the CTC imprint, I still believe we should cling to our joint labels of Stealth and Magic Destiny, even though specific projects appear to be manifested in terms of the varying rosters that create the patches.
Thus, we did not place the CTC logo on Feda. This was not a conscious decision, for we never even discussed the option of either including or omitting it. The fact that it never crossed our mind seems to bear out what I have been suggesting: the CTC title may no longer be relevant to our current day bare-bones structure.
What does relate is the fact that Feda is now available in English, and that propels the original purpose of our amazing journey and most recent success full circle again!
-Wildbill (May 11, 2009)
superfamicom.org UPDATE: Within the screenshots you will see 2 splash screens, a text editing variation and a different font. I decided to show the various versions of the patches but focus on the most recent. Every patch related to this development I could find is provided within the archive.
May 11th, 2009 - October 18th, 2010