Narcissu Afterwards - Translation at work

The biggest changes to the revised narcissu script is actually invisible. Instead, I merged in most of the comments that Haeleth and I had both written in while we were working on the scripts.

These notes and conversations with each other within the script wound up being 99.9% of the communication that went on between us, and I believe that releasing them would let the curious, and the aspiring game translator to see some of what was going on behind the scenes.

Opening the script

The 0.utf script file is simply a text file that can be opened in any text editor. The major requirement is that you need to be able to read UTF8 encoded text in order to see the Japanese text properly. Notepad++, gVim, emacs, and lots of editors can handle it (you may have to force them to use utf8). You can even open it in a browser and force it to use unicode/utf8 language encoding if you have to.


The nscripter language, upon which ponscripter was based, is a rather terse VN scripting language. It was extremely popular back in the day because it was free to use, even for commercial projects. The major downside was the code was very difficult to read, with most commands looking like strings of numbers and symbols, and there were many undocumented features.

Thankfully, for someone just reading the script educationally, there’s no real need to worry about most of those issues, but here’s a list of things that you’d need to know:

  1. semicolons at the head of lines denote comments, they might also mean coments in other places, but I forget the exact behavior
  2. in ponscripter, lines starting with ^ denote text to be displayed using the english text box (as opposed to commands which don’t have the ^). Note that this is different from the onscripter-en symbol which is `
  3. @ means pause for click before continuing
  4. \ means wait for click and clear the text (aka, turn the page)
  5. *foo creates a tag “foo” that you can use a “goto foo” later to jump to

For reading the Narci2 script comments, there’s a few conventions we more or less followed

  1. the original Japanese line is merely commented out and the English translation is nearby, it’s just easier to translate and check with it right there.
  2. English comments are just marked with a ; are comments by the translator of the section.
  3. Agilis habitually uses ;— to lead his statements in conversations
  4. Haeleth typically uses ;++ or ;== depending on the section
  5. Occasionally, there will be comment text with no leading — or ++/== symbols. Usually that is the translator writing notes to themselves.

Interesting parts

For the most part, if you open the file and just search for ;— ;++ and ;== you’ll come across a number of interesting discussions. There might be an occasional random comment without those marks, but they’re rare and not likely to be too interesting.

Sometimes it’s a bit unclear what the discussion is about because the changed lines might have been wiped out, but the general idea should come through. Hopefully this will provide a bit more of a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of a polished game.

Paste your favorites in the comments or something. I’m sure there’s things in the script that you people must find interesting.


  1. Magedark
    07/16/2010 04:54 PM | #

    “Go right ahead with the eye rolling. Yuka’s almost like a bulldog in pink frills anyways.”
    “… … … You’re probably going to burn in hell for this line…”
    “You guys really use ‘Ching’ for bell sounds? that’s spiffy”
    “O.o?! (Reference to danger stranger, but I thought it was stranger danger?)”
    “It’s important to give the fanboys something to whine about, don’t you think? Maybe the way my translation is “teh sux cuz she said arigado” will motivate them to actually learn Japanese properly… :)(LOL)”
    “People say OTT out loud? for half a second I saw OTL…”

    Just some tidbits of interesting comments I found. Haven’t ran through the entire script yet, but it’s a fascinating read, especially that OTT part…

  2. anomaly
    10/04/2010 01:00 PM | #

    Thought I would mention since you’ve brought up Haeleth…

    Did you see what happened to Haeleth’s website?

  3. 10/04/2010 02:58 PM | #

    I just saw the page this morning. I haven’t heard anything from Haeleth in the past ~1.7 years, so I don’t really know what prompted him to post that “retirement” message.

    I can only hope that he’s well.

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