Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

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Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Blaziken257 » October 14th, 2012, 3:03 pm

I have a great surprise for all DKL3 fans: a hack that translates the Game Boy Color version from Japanese to English! As some people know, there was an English version released for the Game Boy and the Super Game Boy, and three years later, there was a Japanese version released for the Game Boy Color. The GBC version was Japanese exclusive for more than a decade... until now!

This, honestly, is something that I've wanted to do for years, starting in late 2007, but at the time I was a very inexperienced hacker. I had not known anything about assembly, or even pointers, but I've since learned quite a bit and I've finally been able to complete this. And you all can now enjoy the colorful version in English!

This hack uses the Japanese version as a base (hacking the original GB version and making it work for the GBC would have been far too much work), but the text is heavily based off the original English script. So if you've played the original English version, it should be familiar to you. Nonetheless, I fixed some typos (namely the misspelling of "Kremlings", and the lack of punctuation in K. Rool's Last Stand, among other things) and tweaked a few other things, like changing "Select game" to "Select a file" (thanks to Gaz for suggesting the latter). I also used the DKC SNES font instead of the original DKL2/3 font -- I thought it looked much better, and it also has uppercase and lowercase. Yes, there's actually lowercase this time. I didn't like seeing it in ALL CAPS before.

The title screen was also changed -- basically the logo was reverted to the English 1.1 logo. I could have just as easily picked English 1.0 (see both title screens here), but I picked 1.1 due to personal preference. My English cart is version 1.1, so I'm completely used to its title screen. I can use the other one if there's a lot of demand for it, though... Also, I left the Press Start text alone -- I liked it better in the Japanese version than in the English version.

The newer patches also restore features that were missing in the Japanese version. First, the world map animations are now back, to everybody's delight. Second, the Time Attack screen was fixed -- you can see your most recent time on the bottom of the screen now, just as you could in the original Game Boy version. Lastly, Bear's animation has been restored, instead of being static like in the Japanese version. Hopefully people like these changes!

The newest patch also fixes a few bugs that were originally present in retail copies of DKL3 (and even DKL2 in some cases), such as the backup save restoration bug, the bonus counter bug, and the desynced Jetty Jitters demo.

I tested this hack thoroughly in the BGB emulator -- I completed a 103% run with it, so in theory there shouldn't be any bugs, other than what the original game already had (while I did fix some, fixing most of the others is a low priority due to the difficulty of doing so). I also tested this on real hardware using an Everdrive GB flashcart, as well as Lameboy for DS and VBA-GX for Wii (to a lesser extent), and I did not find issues in any of these.

This all sounds complicated, but this is the only translation hack that I've ever fully completed. Of course, there was already an English script, there isn't much text in the game (since it's a platformer), and the screens were practically designed for English text, so compared to other games, there wasn't too much ASM code that was necessary to change (and thus is one of the easiest games to hack as far as text goes), but at the same time, I don't think it's something that an ordinary hacker can pull off.

So, without further ado, here's the patch (IPS, BPS, and README files included):

10/13/12: Original patch (v1.0): http://www.mediafire.com/?633r85131g4adii
UPDATE 12/27/12: New patch (v1.1)! Download this instead:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/nnqhqiq76 ... h_v1.1.zip

UPDATE 11/17/14: Yet another new patch (v1.2) is released! Please download this instead of the other two:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/g0s90 ... h_v1.2.zip

Please apply the patch to a clean (i.e. unmodified) ROM only. Do not apply the patch to a ROM that's already patched -- this can cause unpredictable problems! You should especially be aware of this if you applied an earlier patch to your DKL3 ROM and wish to use a newer one.

And here are some screenshots:
Spoiler!
Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

More screenshots (Spoiler warning: Don't look at these if you haven't played the original game before, some screenshots are from late in the game, and even give away the ending...):
Spoiler!
Image Image Image Image Image Image


Outdated screenshots from an older patch (only here due to curiosity):
Spoiler!
Image Image Image Image Image Image
Enjoy playing DKL3 in color in English!!

(I have a couple other DKL-related surprises coming up soon, too!)
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Qyzbud » October 14th, 2012, 7:40 pm

Excellent work! :nicework: English-speaking DKL3 fans the world over will appreciate this.

If you do the Twitter thing at all, tweet about this and I'll retweet to spread the word, if you like. :)

I'll also plonk a news report on the Atlas linking to this topic... I should definitely do more to promote these excellent hacking/translation projects — no time like the present to start, eh? ;)
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Blaziken257 » October 15th, 2012, 2:00 am

Thanks! I'm glad you like it, because I put a lot of hard work into it. XD

Unfortunately, I don't have a Twitter account (I've never really been into social networking sites), so I can't really do anything about that. I've considered making a video about this on YouTube, though... although I realize that isn't the same thing.

And it would be cool if you can post a link to this from the Atlas! Only thing is... how often are we going to see translation projects? Nearly all the Donkey Kong games are already in English! But I guess it would be useful for translations into other languages, like Spanish... hey, now that's an idea...
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Gaz » October 15th, 2012, 2:34 am

Actually, I was the first one to recieve this all... through PM, as Blaziken 257 felt sorry that he was so busy and took him so long to reply to my PMs (profiles don't have messages). Thanks to Blaziken, I happen to have the early builds from one-two weeks old. Another is a near-public version that's about three days old or so.

EDIT: B257 requested I remove them so I did.
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Qyzbud » October 15th, 2012, 1:06 pm

CBFD, I'm sure Blaz would post those early builds himself if he wanted them to be widely available... did you check with him before posting them? There's probably a reason he only started a topic when he was ready with the final build. :roll: Releasing pre-release versions into the wild can muddy the waters, and leave people wondering why certain things are incomplete, when really they just have an early, incomplete build.

I appreciate your generosity and proactive archiving, don't get me wrong, but these are things to consider.

Blaziken257 wrote:I don't have a Twitter account


This surprised me, as there's an account with your exact username: twitter.com/Blaziken257

Then I realised that the number is probably Blaziken's Pokedex number, haha. Not such a coincidence after all. :lol:

I've considered making a video about this on YouTube, though... although I realize that isn't the same thing.


You're right, it's not the same thing... it's quite a bit better. ;)

[...]how often are we going to see translation projects?[...]


Not very often... I was really meaning hacks in general, I just think of hacks and translations somewhat separately, even though fan translations would typically fall neatly within the 'hack' category.
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Gaz » October 16th, 2012, 1:25 am

As Blaziken257 requested, I removed it. Sorry Blaziken. I have things I'm working on :\. Like asking first...

EDIT: Is it just me or is me, Blaziken257 and Qyzbud the only ones who notice/care?
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Blaziken257 » October 20th, 2012, 4:02 am

I'm a bit late, but I made a short YouTube video:



It doesn't show everything in the game, but it's enough to give people a good idea on what to expect. (And you can see "Kremlings" spelled correctly!)

(And yeah, that Twitter thing is purely a coincidence for reasons that Qyzbud already mentioned :P)
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Blaziken257 » December 28th, 2012, 4:12 pm

I have a new version of the English patch! It comes with numerous improvements, many of which have been backported from the Spanish patch.

  • The world maps are now animated! They were animated in the English GB version, but for some reason, this was removed in the Japanese GBC version. But now the animations are back! (This was backported from the Spanish patch.)
    Image
  • The "Last time" text on the Time Attack screen, originally from the English GB version but inexplicably removed from the Japanese GBC version, has now been restored. (Also backported from the Spanish patch.)
    (Recent patch to the left, old patch to the right)
    Image Image
  • The Jetty Jitters demo was desynched in the Japanese version (due to timing differences between GB and GBC hardware), but this patch fixes the problem so the Kongs can make it to the end once again. (If you compare this side-by-side with the English GB version, it's still off by a few pixels, but all that I care about is that it the Kongs make it to the end at all.) This fix is new to this patch and I'll have to add it to the Spanish patch one day. Also, I didn't fix the other three demos because they seem extremely broken, and they don't work properly in any known version of the game. (I guess there's some very early prototype where they did work? I dunno.)
  • The level Karbine Kaos is now in lowercase, which was both backported from the Spanish translation and is consistent with this article on Super Mario Wiki. The boss's name is still in ALL CAPS, though, like in the SNES version of DKC3.
    (Recent patch to the left, old patch to the right)
    Image Image
  • Bonus level descriptions are now in lowercase. This is backported from the Spanish version. What do people think of this capitalization where the "the" is in lowercase? This was hard for me to decide because none of the official games use lowercase letters for their bonus games.
    (Recent patch to the left, old patch to the right)
    Image Image
    Image Image
    Image Image
  • When you beat the card game very quickly, Bear congratulates you and tells you a code to use on the title screen. In the newest patch, I used arrows instead of uppercase letters. (Also backported from the Spanish patch.)
    Image Image
  • The Japanese version introduced a bug in Bear's, Wrinkly's, and K. Rool's dialogue where a glitchy tile would appear rapidly before the text would start to appear. This patch fixes the glitch by removing unnecessary newlines at the end of each of these text strings. (Again, backported from the Spanish patch.)
  • Credits were updated to include myself. (Once again, borrowed from the Spanish patch.)
  • The monochrome screen's text was changed slightly -- namely, the spaces are shorter because it looked weird to me before. (What do people think of this design, anyway?)
    Image Image

Without further ado, here is the patch!

http://www.mediafire.com/file/nnqhqiq76 ... h_v1.1.zip

(Apply to an unmodified Japanese ROM. If you are new to patching, use the BPS format.)

Now, having released this, I'm going to take a hiatus from ROM hacking for a while, except for maybe a few days once in a while. Don't expect much for at least six months unless there are game-breaking bugs in this patch. Although, I should restore Bear's animation one day, and fix the Jitty Jitters demo in the Spanish patch...
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Qyzbud » December 28th, 2012, 10:14 pm

Magnificent work!

I would love to know how much work goes into a project like this — pulling all the best features together from various sources (plus original work) to make the 'perfect' English DKL3 hack...

I applaud you, sir. :thumbs:
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Blaziken257 » January 5th, 2013, 9:02 am

Thanks!

While I can't say exactly how much time I spent on this, it's significant and I often spent at least 10 hours a week (sometimes even more) when I was working on this. It involves:

- Learning ASM (not that I did that just for this project, but it's still necessary).
- Finding the graphics for kana, and changing them into the English alphabet.
- Finding the text strings.
- Figuring out the text format. (DKL3 GBC's format is complicated -- it's designed to use as little VRAM as possible, and ends up being confusing as a result; not to mention there are slight inconsistencies in various parts of the game)
- Finding the text in the English version, and dumping it, so that I can base the script on that. (This was easy, as it's in ASCII and it's found easily in a hex editor.)
- Finding pointers for text. While level pointers aren't too complicated since they're in a pointer table, other screens, like the bonus screens, the K. Rool screens, etc. have pointers all over the place, so I had to use BGB's disassembler to find them. It also doesn't help that some pointers are big endian (which is very unusual for a Game Boy game), and others are little endian.
- Finding the graphics for the title screen -- luckily, it's uncompressed in the GBC version.
- Finding the data that arranges the tiles on the title screen (also uncompressed in the GBC version).
- Finding similar data for other screens, such as the logo screen, and the Game Boy screen.
- Finding palette data for the title screen, to accomodate the logo change.
- Finding data for the cast; naturally I used the English version as a base for the text.
- Repositioning text often, notably on the world maps (for the level names) and the bonus screens. I had to shift the text to the right for level names (to match the Game Boy version), and I had to shift it left for the bonus screens. The level names were especially annoying because I ran into lots of bugs initially. (For example, there were garbage tiles to the left of the level name; I had to replace them with blank characters. Also, shifting the text to the right caused the ! and DK icons to shift so much that they disappared from the screen, so I had to shift these to the left. This was annoying.)
- Finding the code for the Time Attack screen in both versions, and comparing differences between the GB and GBC versions. Eventually I found some code that was in the GB version but not the GBC version, and this turned out to handle the last time data on the bottom of the screen. So, I was able to add it back in the GBC version. (Makes me wonder why it was removed in the first place.)
- Spending hours finding code that would take care of the map animations in the GB version, and seeing what was missing in the GBC version. When I found that, I was able to add the code back in.
- Finding the code when a demo (from the title screen) starts, and eventually finding the button sequence data for Jetty Jitters. After experimenting, I was able to fix the desync by changing a single byte.
- Taking notes of all this data as I found it, so that I wouldn't have to spend significant amounts of time searching the data a second time when making the Spanish hack (or vice versa with features first in the Spanish hack, like map animations). Believe me, editing the Spanish text didn't take me anywhere near as long due to this.
- Testing the game from start to finish (this means getting 103%), and finding every text string so that I don't miss anything. This generally takes me about two hours each time I do this. And of course, I would have to fix whatever bugs I find. (Fun fact: I screwed up a pointer at one point when making the Spanish hack (where I messed up the endianness) in one string of K. Rool (when he's beaten for the last time), which caused the game to crash before it could get to the Time Attack screen. This caused me to discover this bug.)
- In the case of the Spanish hack, I had to send the dumped English text, with occasional annotations (for context, etc.) to Kiddy14 so that he could translate it to Spanish.
- Also in the case of the Spanish hack, I had to figure out how to shift the bonus text up to allow room for two lines. Since the game uses some raster scrolling effect where it shakes up and down, I changed a couple of values to make the text scroll higher up by 4 pixels.
- Writing the README files (which are lengthy), taking screenshots, making videos, etc. for the convenience of people using the hacks.

It's a long list, but I think covered everything.
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby ShaneM » June 27th, 2013, 12:10 pm

@Blaziken257

First, I wanted to let you know that I joined the forum just to tell you that I like you hack! Thank you. I am a fan of this game. :)

I just wanted to share my opinion with you. I think that the all-caps for bonuses is better, because the original DKC3 does that too. I also wanted to encourage you and let you know that I look forward to having the bear animation back. Any idea when you will get started on that? I am currently using your V1.1 ips.
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Blaziken257 » July 3rd, 2013, 11:57 am

Thank you for your feedback on this hack! I am glad you like it.

As for the bonuses, I can change them back to lowercase, although I would like to see additional opinions on this first. On one hand, none of the official DK games have ever used lowercase letters for bonus stage descriptions (not even the GBA games), so I can see where the lowercase letters are a bit out of place, but on the other hand, I felt it was odd to see the bonus stage descriptions in ALL CAPS while the rest of the hack uses lowercase letters for stuff. So... I am on a bind on this one.

As for restoring Bear's animation, I would love to do that, but I've been unable to figure it out so far. A while back, I tried to trace the code in both the English and Japanese versions (which I also did for the map animations, as well as the Time Attack last time text), but I have not had much luck yet. The code seems quite different in the Japanese version, which confounds things, and most of it is in a ROM bank which is nearly full (for a technical desciption, ROM banks on the Game Boy are 16KB, and a lot of code that I've seen for Bear's animation takes place in bank 0 (0x0000-0x3FFF in ROM), which always remains in the GB's memory). I will have a go at it again, but don't expect it to happen soon. I also need to say that for over a month now, I've been busier than I used to be, and I can't see that changing anytime soon, so generally I have less free time than I used to.
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby ShaneM » July 4th, 2013, 8:00 am

I actually know some GB Z80 ASM. I actually made an English Pokemon Green. I know that Rom0:40 is always vblank. But that does complicate things since the bear stuff is always loaded, and what it may affect since it is in bank 0. Maybe Nintendo did that because the the GBC hardware handles things differently. I wish there was a disassemble of DKL III so that I could help you. There was one on Pokemon, so making custom code was easy. If you find the function, is there a way that maybe you could do a jump to free space and make custom ASM code? Maybe there isn't space at the current spot. But this may require you to locate the code in English first. Sorry, I can't help you on this. But thanks for considering making bonuses upper case again.
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Gaz » July 17th, 2014, 7:14 pm

It's been a while since I was last here... Anyway, I'm sorry that I've bumped this topic, but I am going to diagnose a slight problem with the game:

You know how Knocka is called Kruncha in the ending credits of Donkey Kong Land III? Well, I expected that it would be fixed in this version, but it wasn't. Here's a screenshot:

vlcsnap-2014-07-17-01h41m14s12.png
vlcsnap-2014-07-17-01h41m14s12.png (13.94 KiB) Viewed 15493 times


Could you please fix this, Blaziken257? That would be nice if you could. :)
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Blaziken257 » November 10th, 2014, 5:14 am

So, after over a year since the last time I updated this patch, I have a new one coming out soon! This makes a few improvements over the last patch, and I'm sure that people will be happy with them.

The most notable change is that Bear's animation has been restored! It was originally only present in the Game Boy version, but Rareware removed it for some reason in the Game Boy Color version (more information here). Why, I don't know, and it's not due to technical limitations. It's just as baffling as the removal of world map animations and the most recent time in Time Attack mode. So, here's an animated GIF for your pleasure:

Image

Also, the "Sorry chimps, your credit won't stretch that far" dialogue that Bear randomly says when you don't have enough money was removed in the Japanese version (see here). So this patch adds that text back in! Here's a screenshot below...
Spoiler!
Image


Third, when Bear tells you how many bonus coins you need in Cape Codswallop, there is now a leading zero so that it says "08", just like in the original Game Boy version. In the Game Boy Color version, Rareware replaced the leading zero with a blank space so that it said " 8" instead. This patch makes it more like the GB version. Here are a few screenshot of the various versions to compare below.
Spoiler!
ImageImageImage


This patch also fixes some bugs. One of the bugs that I fixed is the bonus counter glitch, which first appeared in DKL2. This means that when losing to a bonus stage with at least one star or enemy remaining, defeating enemies in the main level will no longer cause the Bonus Coin sound effect to play in this patch.

The patch also fixes the backup save restoration bug, which also first appeared in DKL2. This means that if you have a corrupt save file but at least one functional backup copy (DKL2 and DKL3 store two backups per file), the game will properly load the first functional backup copy it finds. Due to this, you won't be seeing odd things like this or this anymore. This bug fix was originally a standalone patch here, but now has been part of this English patch.

Finally, the text for the level names on the world map screen prints a tiny bit faster, as it now uses the GBC's second VRAM bank (which Rareware never used for some reason until DKC GBC), and this allows the entire alphabet tiles to be loaded just once, instead of loading tiles every time you go from one level to another. This improvement wasn't as big as I had hoped, but it's better than nothing.

I've considered changing Krusha to Knocka, Rekoil to Re-Koil, and Niknak to Knik-Knak, but I wanted to make this patch closely resemble the original English version of the game. However, I may change my mind if I get a lot of requests to change this. (I did fix that "Kremling" typo, after all...)

I'm not ready to release the patch just yet, though. I need to do a 103% test run to make sure that I didn't break anything due to all of these changes. Once I do that and don't find any new bugs, I'll release this for everyone to enjoy! (It's a good month to do this, too, since DKC's 20th anniversary is this month!)
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Monkeyshrapnel » November 10th, 2014, 6:38 am

You've done so much works on this, it's extremely impressive! I actually plan on doing a Let's Play of Donkey Kong Land 3 soon and I'm going to use this patch for it.
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Blaziken257 » November 18th, 2014, 1:46 pm

I'm glad to hear it! Let me know when you get around to doing your Let's Play of this game. I am happy that people like my patch!

And now I have some good news -- the newest patch has been released! The link is on top of this page. Or if you don't feel like scrolling all the way up, you can click here instead: http://www.mediafire.com/download/g0s90 ... h_v1.2.zip

Make sure that you use this patch on a CLEAN Japanese ROM, not one that's already patched. I don't want to hear about it if you patched a ROM that's already patched, because that can cause unpredictable issues. Don't patch an English ROM either, for obvious reasons. (You'd be surprised how often I've seen this type of situation with other ROM hacking projects that I've been involved in.) If you are in doubt, use the .bps file, not the .ips one, since it's harder to accidentally apply the patch to the wrong file that way.

You can see a list of changes I made a couple of posts up. The most notable change is that Bear's animation is restored! And of course, there are other ones as well. So even if you played an earlier patch, I suggest you try this one!

Just in time for DKC's 20th anniversary too! I do realize that I released this a bit early (by about four days), but I did this on purpose. There are, coincidentally, two major games coming out on the 21st this year (namely Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire and Super Smash Bros. U), which is already a lot to begin with. I figured that if I also released my patch on the same day, nobody would notice it. So by releasing this a bit early, this gives people time to play DKL3 before the two aforementioned games. (Which should be enough, as the game only takes about 2 hours to beat anyway.)

Also, if you spot any bugs in this release, please let me know! But if you find a bug, make sure that the bug isn't already in a clean (i.e. unpatched) ROM. If that's the case, then that's not my fault. :D I only want to know about bugs that I introduced, if there are any.

Finally, I hate that Nintendo refuses to release the DKC and DKL games for the Virtual Console in North America while the rest of the world gets them, so I don't feel bad at all for continuing to work on this patch. This patch trumps any VC version of DKL3 anyway, because it's either in monochrome (in Europe) or in Japanese without map animations (in Japan).

That's all I have to say for now. Enjoy the newest DKL3 patch!
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Gaz » November 18th, 2014, 2:30 pm

Excellent job, Blaziken257. Have your 90th banana! :)

It's weird how you say that you have problems with the original DKL3 for its monochrome colors. I thought that was the version you grew up with. :scratch:
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Re: Donkey Kong Land III - GBC version in English

Postby Tailikku » November 19th, 2014, 4:19 am

This is Howard Donkey Kong Land III should be played, in Technicolor!
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