Hello! G. Panda again! For this Developer Diary, I’d like to introduce Jessica Chavez, resident robot, Rocket Panda Games localization editor and official thorn in my side. Take it away, Jess…
“Please kill me,” I asked Kana, the Localization Director at Rocket Panda Games. I added a smiling emoji to the Slack message to encourage her. This was QA, after all, and I needed to die many, many times and in many, many ways to see all the text in Phantom Breaker: Omnia.
Hi, everyone! My name is Jessica, and I’m a localization editor who’s been helping get PB:O ready for prime time. In order to do that, I’ve been knocked out, blown up, and set on fire*. I’ve had my wish granted, avenged my family, and become the best embodiment of destruction I could be. With four platforms, multiple languages, and dual audio, it’s been a journey of many moving parts over many different time zones as Rocket Panda’s very international team worked hard to get the game over the line. In today’s bug-focused blog, I’m going to share some tidbits and show some of the many ways text can fall through interdimensional cracks and never be seen again.
To begin, it is completely normal in the early days of LQA (Localization Quality Assurance) to have your game speak in tongues or behave in strange ways. This is the part where we pop the batter in the oven and see what comes out, after all. The implementation phase of game dev can be really exciting–as this is the stage where you start to see on screen the fruits of all the localization work–but there is always, always weirdness. In PB:O’s case, we had the usual run of the mill bugs but also a few less conventional hiccups.
One prominent example that cropped up almost everywhere after the text was implemented is something that happens pretty often when working on Japanese games–namely, the fickleness of double quotes. This localization bugbear stems from the inability to use double quotes in certain font sets. Double quotes will display fine in file, but once the text is inserted into the game, what shows up on screen is anything but. Here, you can see how the double quotes appeared as brackets in-game.
Another common issue during the final stages of the localization is missing characters. Special symbols, particularly ampersands, tend to be quite temperamental, and in Omnia, they’d disappear completely as if swallowed into the void.
Text display can also vary window to window, and where some lines might automatically wrap, other windows were discovered to require hard line breaks so that text wouldn’t spill over the borders. This kind of quirk often isn’t something the loc team will know ahead of time, and it only becomes apparent during the LQA phase when we’re able to evaluate the display window by window. Like with the brackets, menus and modes had to be combed through to check for overages such as in the window below.
One kind of adjustment we got to do that was particularly satisfying (I mean this in all sincerity. If you’re an editor, chances are you find straightening pictures on walls perversely thrilling.) was cosmetic work like making spacing uniform in menus. Sometimes this kind of uneven spacing is a result of the source text, a programming quirk, or even something as mundane as just having a double space in the text file itself. We pored through the menus and did our best to make sure that everything lined up nicely so that when you show off your rankings, your friends will be extra impressed (and I can sleep at night).
Other exciting QA work involved…
‘Rearranging the furniture’:
Locating and flagging all of the areas where the WIN/LOSE audio or lines had been swapped or repeated (it will never not be funny to hear Fin’s finishers on Tokiya):
And finally, in the mysterious and potentially haunted category, we had entire portraits disappearing from routes that needed to be retrieved:
All in all, with multiple modes, characters, story endings, and languages, QA-ing Phantom Breaker: Omnia was a challenge for the team, but I think we managed to get things in order, and it was a pleasure to be Geschwind Tobend-ed with a Ding Wham Thingy in my Future Gadget #5 Ver2.43. We hope you enjoy getting bodied by your fellows as well, and I especially hope that you make your way through the wonderful Story Mode because reading is an essential life skill.
Thanks for stopping by~!