While things are coming together with Trails to Azure, we’d like to go in depth on what the release will be like. Please enjoy as I try to keep this interesting and informative.
The Journey from Zero
First and foremost, all of the technical features from our Trails from Zero release will be returning. That is, it will have a message log, replaced save menu, turbo mode, updated graphics and videos, and movie subtitles. Countless technical enhancements were applied just as before, including 4K support, the custom cursors, dynamic cursors, MSAA, anisotropic filtering, the button prompt and button rebinding systems, and unlimited draw distance.
As before, all PSP and Joyoland PC save files (that were valid on creation) will be loadable. This includes chapter end saves, which were known to stop functioning with the pre-Geofront patches, should you have changed your scenario files.
Support for additional voices from Evolution or Kai, Evolution movies and BGM, and the music customization system all return. You’ll still have to obtain your own copy of the additional content, of course.
Like Trails from Zero, we support using the original game’s files and displaying it in its original form along with our enhancements. Unlike Trails from Zero, the original form wasn’t Japanese. So, with this release, the settings menu and mod will ship in such a way that you can play it in English (default), or the original Simplified Chinese that Joyoland released. We also leave the settings in such a way that you can provide your own Japanese text (or even assets) to play with Japanese text.
As this is the second game, Trails to Azure will support loading a save from Trails from Zero. Just like the unmodified game, you may copy your clear save to Joyoland’s provided SAV1###_1ST and SYSTEM_1ST folder. With our release, however, Trails to Azure will also check your installed Trails from Zero folder for clear saves!
This will only function if you have an existing install made with ZeroLauncher (or the unmodified physical or digital version of Japanese Zero no Kiseki from 2013). This will function regardless of the hard drive it was installed to. The easiest way to know if it’ll work is if ZeroLauncher locates the existing install.
Remember that if you’re transferring saves from another computer, you will need to copy the SAV1### and SYSTEM folders you want to your Azure install the old way (adding the text “_1ST” to both folder names). It may be more convenient to install Zero on your target system, then copy your Zero saves to that Zero install, then launch Azure.
Sound Test Update
The Sound Test got a small upgrade with Trails from Zero 1.1.0 which added disk/track numbers and improved the behavior in some corner cases. Notably, this was the update made to Trails to Azure first and backported at that time! We wanted a way to show off the variety of soundtracks from which Trails to Azure pulls its amazing bangers from, so we now provide a listing under each entry stating its source. It also mentions the few arrangements from Ys I and The Legend of Heroes III: White Witch, which make appearances!
Just like before, Sound Test still lets you customize and mix-and-match your experience, should you obtain the Evolution OST mod. Or, as in Zero, music-savvy among you can make your own customizations by editing the included music.json with files in .ogg format and providing their loop points.
The New Feature: BGM Title Popup
We teased in the trailer post that there was a new feature backported to Trails from Zero in 1.1.1. Introducing: BGM Title Popup. Since we know what track is playing in order to introduce our other BGM enhancements, you can optionally choose to have it shown for five seconds at the top left! This can be a useful tool for those of you always asking what the earworm of the hour is right while you play.
In our Trails from Zero 1.1.0 update, you may have noticed a number of changes to sprite errors and timing issues. With our move to the in-house scenario system (which applies patches directly to the open source project EDDecompiler‘s output), we now have complete control of the scenario’s opcodes. In Trails to Azure, we fixed and changed a lot more things. This was both because we found more things that were broken or nonsensical, and because we had the development time and means we didn’t before.
The PSP release seemed to lack a lot of polish in terms of excess sprites, wrong textures on cars, cutscenes that could break when loading a save from certain locations, flags that were incorrect or caused skipping of scenes, and more. Interestingly, some of these problems were found to be fixed in the PS Vita, PS4, and even the Chinese PC release. The issue is, we’re patching against the Japanese PSP scenario for our convenience. This has led to us re-introducing issues, but has also led us to this more complete understanding of the different versions of the game.
- There was a baffling and systemic issue with textures on the sides of cars in this game, where it would overlap one texture with another. The PS Vita release corrected all but one of them (which is notably not even visible on PS Vita’s small screen). We used this and some other maps for comparison to patch our release to behave correctly in all parts of the game.
- For reasons we still don’t fully understand, two cutscenes in the game lacked Lloyd sprites in any build we made, even though no original releases have this issue. We were able to fix them with a patch to reset his sprite at the start of these functions.
- When loading up a save in one of two locations in the game right after cutscenes, that cutscene would start and then soft-lock partway through. The first one became infamous as people thought it was a save corruption bug in the English-speaking fandom. It turns out that the cause is rather simple: previous teams have copied the Japanese PSP script to the Chinese PC version, without knowing that this would emerge. We determined that the Chinese PC release of the game already fixed this issue, and no original releases actually have it! So we applied the fix to our release: just a missing flag check. There was a similar issue found in the Harbor District later in the game we have also addressed.
- Another minor issue could be spotted in the original PSP release, where the flags on the first map outside the final dungeon were wrong, allowing weird sprite shenanigans when the player tried to use a field attack. It was actually pretty funny to watch, as it had the appearance of Lloyd coming in to do his field attack, regardless of the party leader, or even if he was in the active party. The fix for this could be found in the PS4 release.
- Three textures in the game are loaded as portraits during their events, and because of this, their resolution is fixed by the scenario…for some reason. This could lead to another particularly infamous issue only present in the English-patched-from-PSP versions out there: misaligned or giant, clipped textures in the terminal. Using the Chinese PC release’s changes, 176 coordinate values were copied to our release to go with PC’s higher resolution textures. This also includes a texture in the “dancing practice” minigame.
- Speaking of the dancing practice minigame, this entire event isn’t a real minigame, but a special event scene. Because of this, it had several glitches caused by the scenario, even on PSP. You could break the game with the CANCEL binding, and timing was affected by our FPS changes. We had to make several pretty technical fixes to both the scenario and our mod to make it behave correctly.
Trails to Azure, just like Trails in the Sky SC before it, features brand-new minigames over its predecessor. The first of which has been hinted at in Trails from Zero, for the astute among you.
Pom! Pom! Party! makes its debut in this game, combining Puyo Puyo gameplay with head-to-head action against the characters in this game. The button prompts are dynamically drawn for the attack, defend, and shortcut menus. Enjoy the game at the challenge level it was intended, with a few other fixes that we’ve done.
The Horror Coaster also makes its debut in this game, featuring a spooky ride through the Haunted Villa with the partner of your choice. Shoot the targets with the four controller face buttons, or what they are mapped to on your keyboard. Now with properly-implemented button prompts that are dynamically drawn depending on your settings! The particles, EXCELLENT/GREAT/GOOD/MISS text and “hit” visual effects, as well as fog effects have been restored (they were missing in the Joyoland PC release when compared to PSP).
Both minigames had excess debug functions that were removed to make the experience more true to the original PSP release, now in HD with the same 60 FPS, 120 FPS, and 144 FPS support shared across the game.
Speaking of minigames, the dancing practice minigame mentioned earlier also has a new feature! If you fall short of perfect, you’re given the chance to “Retry.” If you select “Continue,” the scenario will continue as normal. This was one minigame where we felt that the game was too unfair for perfectionists. We still set out to not alter the original intent of the game.
Zero 1.1.1 Changelog
To install the patch, download the installer again, extract it, and run the launcher. Please note that all past and current save files will continue to function, so long as you keep track of your savedata folder.
- Use a more thorough additional voice determining system on game start (from Azure).
- Implement “Show BGM title popup” feature (from Azure).
- Fix display of digital turbo at 1.5x (from Azure).
- Fix save list being able to lose focus (from Azure).
- Fix save list overwrite confirmation not supporting CANCEL binding (from Azure).
- Fix ability to load invalid saves (from Azure).
- Fixed typos on a couple of notebook pages.
- Improvements made to character bust, Camp Menu character, and character cut in textures.
- Corrected numerous text errors and typos.
- Editing for term, name, and other consistency with Trails to Azure and Trails of Cold Steel IV for PC.
- Fixed bug where ZeroLauncher was checking the default install path before the registry entry. If this was occurring with multiple copies of the game’s files, the install target could be different than expected.
- Mod files are now renamed zip files, discouraging players from extracting them. The launcher needs the unextracted files in the same folder, but cannot stay in the initial downloaded zip.