I have revolutionized translating! Or, at least for myself. When I was translating the various chapters for the main script, I did so by hand and checking up occasional words with Google Translate. But, just for the shits of it, I tried to throw a large portion of today’s translation work into the magical machinery that is Google Translate. Lo and behold, magic was beheld on that fateful day. Religious b*s aside; I was surprised that the translation tool worked as well as it did. Sure, some parts of the grammar was straight-up shit but it did a rather solid job over all. So instead of using my old method and translate the majority of the text and then go back and fill in the words I was unsure about, I did it the opposite way and threw in the whole text (sectioned, though) into Google Translate and thereafter went back and fixed the grammar. At our morning meeting, I’d anticipated that the translation work would take almost the whole day (give or take 1-2 hours) but after using this revolutionary method (TV-shop commercial, anyone?) I was done with the entirety of the work in about an hour with the same, and even sometimes slightly better, result as when using the ”old” method. Of course I’m over-exaggerating my praises for Google Translate, but I just found it somewhat ironic that I hadn’t tried it before, it could have saved me over a days worth of work. Sigh.. Guess that my prejudice towards Google Translate got the better of me.
Following my remarkable discovery, the group spent the next two hours discussing the trailer that we were supposed to start working on yesterday. Me and Viktor started with watching a bunch of trailers for various other games. After a while I came to realized that we’d been looking in the wrong places. We had mainly searched for games with the same camera view as the one that we use (top-down isometric) in order to see what could be done with the intended camera angle. But the majority of the games, perhaps with the exception of Bastion (a game which I love, who have more of a 2D art-trailer with sections displaying the in-game combat) were heavily combat-focused RPG’s, which is a really long shot from Achanés. So I started looking for games that were less mechanic-heavy, such as LIMBO and Machinarium, who are working more towards setting the mood of their game as well as displaying the miscellaneous puzzle elements (of which we have none). So we started to drag the discussion more towards a concept of displaying the visuals of the game through other mediums than the game itself, since the static camera view we’re using isn’t the sexiest one in the context of a trailer, and someone came up with the idea of using 2D drawings of places in the game world, a concept that we played around with but abandoned rather early since, as I mentioned yesterday (I believe?) would take way too much time for our graphical artists. But this time, we altered the concept so instead of making the entire trailer in 2D, we wanted to use simple, hand-drawn sketches of places in the world and then fade over to the game for a panning of the area in question. Though, not in our usual fixed top-down camera, but more in a First Person-fashion. Sure, the detail level of the props in our game is rather low due to the camera view, but we decided that it still would give a more ”living” and less static and boring view of the game. So we’re taking the shot. We voted on the places that we are to involve and then went on to discussing how we’re going to present the story/voice over in question. And right about there, we ran aground.
The discussion that followed dealt with the story, the language, the voice actor and it was all rather messy. In the end (I think) that we settled on that unless we’d find an appropriate English voice actor by Friday we’re making the trailer in Swedish. Another issue following this was that the voice actors we’d talked to are all too young to voice the protagonist of the game, and neither were they intended for the role. When we started searching for English voice actors, their intended usage was to host as just some random voice in a non-personal trailer, but since this idea got flushed we had to re-think it all. Anyhow, some of the arguments pro making the trailer in Swedish were: that it’s such a large part of our concept, that it’s one of the game’s unique selling points, that we want to keep it personal (since the potential English voice actor in question wont be able to impersonate Isak, we would be forced to write the trailer script from a totally different perspective). Me, I don’t really know where I stand in the question. I agree with the others in that I want to keep the story as personal as possible since it’s largely what the game is about, but at the same time I really think that an English trailer would be better in that it broadens our potential audience. Sure, we can make subtitles for the trailer but, let’s be honest; how many people do actually read the subtitles for a sub-sixty second long trailer? I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes.
We did start to brainstorm for a potential slogan/tagline for the game though. It would be preferable to use an extract from the script, in the vein of quotes like ”No Gods or Kings, Only Man” or ”A man chooses, a slave obeys” from Bioshock. But, the harsh reality is that I’m not Ken Levine. Sure, I can write but that guy is a God compared to me. So we’ll probably have to resort to something else.
A final quote for the day. Not by me, but by Dan Pinchbeck, the lead writer at ”The Chinese Room”. A quote from the ending of the magnificent ”Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs” (which, by the way, probably is the best name for a game ever). A quote that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it:
”I have stood knee deep in mud and bone and filled my lungs with mustard gas. I have seen two brothers fall. I have lain with holy wars and copulated with the autumnal fallout. I have dug trenches for the refugees; I have murdered dissidents where the ground never thaws and starved the masses into faith. A child’s shadow burnt into the brickwork. A house of skulls in the jungle. The innocent, the innocent, Mandus, trod and bled and gassed and starved and beaten and murdered and enslaved. This is your coming century! They will eat them Mandus, they will make pigs of you all and they will bury their snouts into your ribs and they will eat your hearts!”
(Hear the quote in context: http://youtu.be/3IrE5NBm7ok)