Author Topic: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation  (Read 1410 times)

Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« on: 11 Dec 2018, 20:10 »
Ok, maybe everyone already knew about this, but unless this is a joke, there seems to be a bunch of people cracking open old and new AGS games to make Russian translations. - Which is no big deal, at least not for me, except for a couple of annoyances:
They don't contact the original authors.
They don't refer or link to the original work or author (as far as I can tell).
They ask for donations. - My game is completely free.

https://vk.com/adventuregamestudio

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #1 on: 11 Dec 2018, 20:36 »

No that's not a joke, they are doing this for many years. I had contacts with various people who were "unofficially" translating AGS games at least since before 2010. They have number of tools meant for unpacking AGS game resources developed by reverse-engineering and format guessing long before AGS became open-source, of course when AGS code was opened this became much easier.

This could have started by a group of russians, but I've seen people from other countries using these tools to translate AGS games. Sometimes they contact me asking for a help to understand how AGS translation works (for instance, about a year ago I had a long conversation with spanish translators, who are also registered on this very forum).

Which is no big deal, at least not for me, except for a couple of annoyances:
They don't contact the original authors.


I keep suggesting them contact authors first on many occasions when we had a conversation not only for legal reasons but also because there's always a chance this may make their own work easier, but my impression was that they don't trust this option, in the sense that there's a deep rooted belief that game author will refuse to cooperate. Perhaps they've got a lot of rejects in the past especially from commercial game authors who usually don't like having "fan" translations around for some reasons.
« Last Edit: 11 Dec 2018, 20:46 by Crimson Wizard »

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #2 on: 11 Dec 2018, 21:09 »
I noticed their posts to the Steam guides sections of AGS games.

Radiant

  • Return once more to the Two Kingdoms!
    • I can help with publishing
    • I can help with story design
    • Radiant worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Radiant worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #3 on: 11 Dec 2018, 21:14 »
Yes, I'm familiar with people like that. Somebody created a Russian fan translation of Heroine's Quest (which is the size of a pretty thick novel), including replacing the in-game bitmap such as graphical names as part of portrait pictures, and replacing the English bitmap fonts with Russian ones. He didn't contact me but one of the players did, and I decided to adopt this as official.

Of course, HQ was free in the first place; but if anyone wants to do this amount of work I'd welcome them and assist them as much as I can. YMMV.

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #4 on: 11 Dec 2018, 23:47 »
The problem there is that you can't know if it's a good or a barely serviceable translation, or absolute rubbish. Well, "better than nothing" has to suffice sometimes.

Danvzare

  • The Man with No Name
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    • I can help with proof reading
    • I can help with scripting
    • I can help with voice acting
Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #5 on: 13 Dec 2018, 14:01 »
Yeah, I've known about this for nearly a year now.
What completely amazes me is that I've actually seen a screenshot of the first game I ever uploaded onto AGS, being used as an example for room hacking or something.
This amazes me, because the game is completely and utterly terrible. Why anyone would want to hack into it to use it as an example is beyond me.
Of course if they asked, I would gladly hand over the source code.


Quite honestly though, I'd be willing to work with anyone wanting to translate any of my games. Even if they wanted to complete butcher it!  :D  And I'm not exactly difficult to get in contact with.
So I find it all a little odd. But hey, at least there's tools out there to translate games that people have long since lost the source code for.

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #6 on: 13 Dec 2018, 14:52 »
Personally speaking, I'd be happy anyone thought any of my games were good enough to be worth translating.


I did try finding people in the Recruitment section in this forum, though those who volunteered backed out after
seeing the volume of text that would need translating, so seeing this thread gives me hope that maybe someone
might pick it up by themselves eventually.

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #7 on: 13 Dec 2018, 15:43 »
Quote
I did try finding people in the Recruitment section in this forum, though those who volunteered backed out after
seeing the volume of text that would need translating, so seeing this thread gives me hope that maybe someone
might pick it up by themselves eventually.

They are just too shy :).

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #8 on: 15 Dec 2018, 03:50 »
I keep suggesting them contact authors first on many occasions when we had a conversation not only for legal reasons but also because there's always a chance this may make their own work easier, but my impression was that they don't trust this option, in the sense that there's a deep rooted belief that game author will refuse to cooperate. Perhaps they've got a lot of rejects in the past especially from commercial game authors who usually don't like having "fan" translations around for some reasons.
Well, as you said, they probably have got lots of rejects and kinda took the situation in their own hands. Since commercial games have more publicity there's more people wants to see those gets translated. So tools have been created to crack open AGS games, specifically to get fonts, graphics and text and put them back. As for free games, searching and trying to contact author when you already got everything you need, well... why bother, right?  :)

Jokes aside... It's nice to see people are willing to get their games translated. I've personally been in the situation when I just randomly stumbled upon someone is trying to make a "fan" translation of a game I worked on. I just contacted them and everyone was happy. So, maybe you should do the same? (roll)

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #9 on: 15 Dec 2018, 08:31 »
I'm unlikely to pursue translations on my games unless I was looking at making a commercial project.  It would be OK if someone wanted to translate my free game for me for free.

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #10 on: 16 Dec 2018, 21:57 »
It's nice to see people are willing to get their games translated. I've personally been in the situation when I just randomly stumbled upon someone is trying to make a "fan" translation of a game I worked on. I just contacted them and everyone was happy. So, maybe you should do the same? (roll)
My point is that noone is asking authors whether they are willing to have their games translated or not. I have personally received exactly zero (0) requests for or questions about localisation, which is why my game was never translated in the first place. Also, I don't really see the point in contacting these people at this point. Then again: No big deal.

The problem there is that you can't know if it's a good or a barely serviceable translation, or absolute rubbish. Well, "better than nothing" has to suffice sometimes.
Come to think of it, I think I would rather have nothing than something that totally ruins the game...
Has anyone actually played these translated versions and can tell whether they are any good?

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #11 on: 16 Dec 2018, 22:05 »
I meant "suffice for the players" who only speak the language the game was translated to.

Danvzare

  • The Man with No Name
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    • I can help with proof reading
    • I can help with scripting
    • I can help with voice acting
Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #12 on: 17 Dec 2018, 14:57 »
The problem there is that you can't know if it's a good or a barely serviceable translation, or absolute rubbish. Well, "better than nothing" has to suffice sometimes.
Come to think of it, I think I would rather have nothing than something that totally ruins the game...
And that's probably the exact reason why no one asks.

If you don't know if you can make a good translation or not, then when you ask, you suddenly have the pressure and responsibility to not only finish it, but to make it good as well. This is made worse, because most people believe that no translation is better than a bad translation (at least in my expereince).

But for the record, whether it's entirely in Google Translate, or the translator just wants to write their own text with no regard for the original. I don't mind how my games are translated. If someone wants to translate it, have at it. I'll help as much as I can.

selmiak

  • ǝsıɔɹǝxǝ ʞɔǝu puɐ uıɐɹq
    • I can help with play testing
    • I can help with proof reading
    • I can help with translating
    • I can help with web design
    • selmiak worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • selmiak worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #13 on: 18 Dec 2018, 22:44 »
they translated black morph... I hope the translation is any good! :P

scrolling through the site I found this, is this from an AGS game?
« Last Edit: 18 Dec 2018, 23:49 by selmiak »

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #14 on: 18 Dec 2018, 23:07 »
So weird!

I remember somehow finding a link to download A Date in the Park and the game had been completely translated into Italian... I had literally no idea who done it or how they did it. I guess this explains it!
Support Cloak and Dagger Games on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=460039

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #15 on: 24 Dec 2018, 11:23 »
Good morning, everyone!  ;)

By now I think you all know me: in Italy, together with a small group of other fans, we make the Italian translation of the fangames made with AGS (so NOT commercial), related to the famous games from LucasArts.

To achieve this goal, first we contact the specific author to ask him for permission to do our work.

In addition, we do not ONLY translate the text into Italian, but also the graphics, and in addition we test the game to find any programming bugs, implement the possibility of further translations into other languages, and update the game to the current version of AGS. And all for FREE!

Possibly all this with the active collaboration of the author himself.

Once finished the work, we submit the final result to the author, so that he can check it (maybe through a friend who knows the Italian language) and finally give us the final OK for the publication in favor of all fans!

Obviously, in the end we give back to the author the "new" source code with all the improvements and updates made!

To make a project as I've described it, it's obvious that we need the game's source code.

Unfortunately, that source code has often been lost (deletion, PC crashes, etc.).

With the author's permission, in some cases we were able to rebuild the original source code starting from what little we can decompile using AGS Tools.

But it is obvious that without the source we can' t have a result as we propose.

So it is NECESSARY that the author shares with us the source code of the game, when it still exists, or permission to rebuild it if it is feasible.

Spoiler: ShowHide
It 's also happened that some authors, although not pleased to share the source code, has however worked together with us for the realization of the multilanguage version of his game, providing to perform the various corrections and implementations suggested by us, in first person.


So it's the first thing we ask for, along with his authorization.

This is the practice we use for each work, and I think it is as ethical as possible, respecting both the author, the game, and the fans who use our work for free.

Spoiler: ShowHide
Also the care with which we test each game has meant that several new authors have asked for our collaboration for their NEW game in production! And this is ENORMALLY rewarding! But this is another speech...
And then lately, since we have built a certain "notoriety" between the various forums, the projects to do have accumulated, and then I apologize to the various authors who have not yet gratified of our work, since it is on the waiting list.


The experience we have gained in dealing with these objectives from time to time is always different.

- Several of the authors of those fangames are literally very enthusiastic about our idea of translating their game, and even felt honored that we had chosen their work for our goal.
- Still others have always been indifferent (especially for works made many years ago), and so while not denying permission, they are completely disinterested in the thing.
- Other people have declined our offer in case of demos of projects left in the drawer for many years, saying that the demo is not the complete game they have in mind, and then they would evaluate the thing ONLY after the completion of the work (which to date has never happened).
- Still others have told us that, having put so much energy and so much expertise into making the game, they would not be happy to share the source code with the fear that others might "steal" all that expertise.
- In addition, others have shielded themselves behind the "copyright" (???).
- Finally, others never answered.

Fortunately, the majority of authors fall into the first case, but I still can't explain the reasons for the other cases by the authors. After all, we're talking about amateur video games that are YEARS old! Who knows? Maybe some of you can give me some plausible explanations!

But if the Russian guys of the link posted by "StillInThe90s" would like to share with us their "secrets", or at least to extract for us the source code of each game that we would submit to them with the permission of the author (if they do not want to reveal us their secrets), this would make easier all the necessary work!

We would be very happy and grateful for that! In case, please, PM me, OK?

I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Holidays and a new FANTASTIC year 2019, full of games!  :-D

 :wink:
« Last Edit: 24 Dec 2018, 11:28 by Giocherellone »

Danvzare

  • The Man with No Name
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    • I can help with proof reading
    • I can help with scripting
    • I can help with voice acting
Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #16 on: 24 Dec 2018, 15:00 »
Maybe some of you can give me some plausible explanations!
Well I know that some people can actually become ashamed of their own past work. And would prefer it to be forgotten than translated and remembered.

Then of course there are those that have an "artistic vision" that can not be deviated from. It's why some people don't like the HQX filters on AGS. They believe it'll compromise their artistic vision. And handing off the source code is just inviting someone to come in and ruin your artistic vision.

Finally there are people who are just plain old paranoid. Paranoid about what? About you stealing what they made and claiming it as your own! Why? Because they're paranoid, that's why!

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #17 on: 25 Dec 2018, 21:06 »
But if the Russian guys of the link posted by "StillInThe90s" would like to share with us their "secrets", or at least to extract for us the source code of each game that we would submit to them with the permission of the author (if they do not want to reveal us their secrets), this would make easier all the necessary work!

There are no "secrets". AGS is an open-source project, so everyone can came up with their own AGS Tool (and even much better than existing one), it's just a matter of putting some work into it.

As for "extracting source code" there's no such thing as source code that is packed into AGS games (starting from version 2.72, if I'm not mistaken) that can be extracted. Instead, AGS games contain compiled versions of the source code that is interpreted by virtual machine. So in order to "extract source code" you have to decompile it, which should be relatively easy compared to decompiling native-code (let's say, initially written in C), but will still require some work and skill to implement. So the kind of a middle ground here would be writing disassembler\assembler for AGS compiled scripts. The good news is that such a thing was around for quite some time already (see https://github.com/rofl0r/agsutils). The bad news is the code is 6 years old from now and won't work with newer versions of AGS without some fiddling with it first. And as a minor issue I was able to compile it only under Ubuntu, because the build process also needs some work (and it's C99, gotta have some new fancy MS compilers or you're stuck with C89).

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #18 on: 27 Dec 2018, 07:16 »
WOW! :D

Thank you a lot for your replies, and THANK YOU for all your hints and for the link, adm244!

A big HUG for everyone from Italy!

Paolo  ;)

Re: Weird Russian piracy-ish localisation
« Reply #19 on: 27 Dec 2018, 07:39 »
By the way, I asked last developer of AGS Tools to put its source on github.
https://github.com/SileNTViP/AGS-Tool

It's written in Delphi (OO Pascal), which is somewhat uncommon today.
« Last Edit: 27 Dec 2018, 10:27 by Crimson Wizard »