Fifteen. That’s the number you’ve been asking for. The editing of Zero no Kiseki‘s scenario is currently for approximately 15% completed. If you have been hoping we would be further along, please make sure to continue reading.
What does that mean?
You see, it was no more than 2% until mid-May. From January until mid-May, I had been unable to do more than 2% of that — well, granted — enormous script. In addition to my frustration over my own lack of progress, omgfloofy’s (wise) decision to distance herself from the project and other (translation) projects piling up next to me left me in a highly demotivated state.
That’s when a miracle happened. Supremezerker contacted me to inform whether we could use an extra hand since he had time to spare anyway. Furthermore, he came fresh off Zero and was working his way through Ao, so his earnest offer was a blessing in disguise. That same afternoon, I introduced Zerker (or ‘Laurafag’ for friends) to our working environment and within those five weeks, he bumped that percentage from 2 to 15% pretty much on his own.
If it wasn’t clear from that progress, he thoroughly enjoys working on the game. And his enthusiasm is contagious.
How is it structured?
With nothing else to go by, many asking us this questions have assumed that the strings within the files are chronological and sorted by chapter. That is the case in the Zero no Kiseki spreadsheet by kitsune547, but the actual game files are a whole lot messier to work with. For example:
The strings are roughly split in two sections: the scenario and the text. Scenario encompasses everything that happens in the game world, primarily dialogues. Text contains the information you access through menu’s and your — in this case, detective — notebook, such as recipes and the monster guide. While that is a lot of work on its own, on which omgfloofy started, I started on exactly the ‘opposite side’ of the game.
The scenario is split into collections of areas, like Crossbell City, the towns you go to, the roads you traverse to get there, the dungeons you discover, et cetera. Crossbell City is further divided within its districts, such as the Station Street and Central Plaza, which you may have seen during Trails of Cold Steel II‘s Divertissement. And within those districts, there are separate rooms for buildings, like the S.S.S office (that’s the file — and by far the largest room in the game — I’m currently working on) and shops and restaurants. Each of these are further divided into day, night and a special event scenario.
All Kiseki games — from Trails in the Sky FC all the way up to Trails of Cold Steel II — are structured similarly. This is how you end up with hundreds of files. The team that worked on the translation already kindly sorted the sheets so we had no problem figuring out what is what.
Speaking of that team, what’s up with Ao?
After finishing translating Zero, the team (by which I mean hacker flamethrower and translator Guren no Heya Kara) continued working on Ao. At this very moment, the translation for Ao is for 43.82% completed. You can keep track of Guren’s progress on his blog. Guren has a donation button on his website, so if you appreciate his outstanding efforts, please let him through that button or at least a word of thanks.
Another common misconception is that these are all isolated efforts. That is actually really far from the truth. Before I joined and after I left the Zero fan translation group, I was already/still in touch with its team members to share Kiseki knowledge or terminology. I rolled back in to work on the translation of Ao’s prologue. Even now, I stay in touch with the team members working on Ao. And separately from us, another group has approached them to combine their efforts. How else can we overcome these barrie-*shot*
Wait. Hold that Justice Magnum. Before I forget: I’ve been thinking about renaming the game from Trails to Zero to Trails from Zero. I would like to ask those who already played the Crossbell duology to weigh in on this suggestion. If you wonder what led me on this path, allow me to remind you of the promotional trailer for Ao. I’m not linking the teaser here due to spoilers, and I’m expecting you to maintain a similar spoiler policy in your comments under this article.