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Game Design

Blog 33: Excerpt of Article Featuring Seraphic Blue

Hi fans of Seraphic Blue,

Yes, today, I will be sharing with you an excerpt of an article that talks about Seraphic Blue. Before we get to that, though, let me explain what the article is.

This article is titled "Possibilities of Non-Commercial Games: The Case of Amateur Role-Playing Game Designers in Japan" by someone named Kenji Ito, and is featured in a book titled "Worlds in Play: International Perspectives on Digital Games Research". As the article's title suggests, the article talks mainly about RPG Maker 2000 (known as RPG Tkool 2000 in Japan) and things like how Japanese amateur game designers come together to create games, how they communicate with the community and release their games and how different amateur games are from commercial games.

Although this article is a tad outdated, it is interesting since it basically highlights how the Japanese RPG Maker community goes about and makes an interesting comparison to the international RPG Maker community (or more specifically, RMN community).

In any case, if you are interested in reading the full article, head down this link: http://www.digra.org/wp-content/uploads/digital-library/06278.00101.pdf

More importantly though is the section that talks about RPG Maker (Tkool) games and how different they are from commercial games. That being said, I'll quote the first three paragraphs of this section below:

Different mode of production, different economical and social dynamism leads to different products. Games of RPG Tkool, I claim, are not always crude imitations of commercial games. Being non-commercial allows freeware games to have more personal and artistic expressions of game designers. Although one might consider commercial and freeware video/computer games as the same digital medium, the messages that they convey often differ considerably.

Certainly, there are many that imitates popular titles of commercial games. There are many clones of "Dragon Quest" series, for example. Many RPG Tkool games were inspired by earlier titles of "Final Fantasy" series as well. There are action RPG's just like "the Legend of Zelda." There are even "Wizardry"-like games. Many games are, however, quite original and different from commercial games. Since the RPG Tkool does not allow its users to produce technically
impressive state-of-art graphic, users have to exploit other aspects of computer games in order to produce high-quality games. Narrative is one. Game design is another.

Since amateur game designers do not intend to make money, they do not have to conform to the taste of the mass. They can do whatever they want. Hence, they could include in their story, things many people might find unpleasant. For example, an RPG called "Seraphic Blue" by Tempura (pseudo.) is a recent masterpiece, which indicates the highest standard that an amateur game can achieve. Tempura is the author of two very long Tkool RPG's, "Sacred Blue," and
"Stardust Blue," both of which compete well with commercial role playing games in their play time, extremely complex story lines, and quality of game play. "Seraphic Blue" even excels these two in its innovative game design and masterful use of music and images. One of its most distinctive features is, however, the very pessimistic undertone of its narrative. The main character, Vene Ansbach, is a female seraph, and as the main character of an RPG always does, she is destined to save the world. In her case, however, she remains ambivalent about her mission throughout the story. When she was a human, she was psychologically abused by her father. After she was reborn as a seraph, she was treated like a lab animal again by her seraphic father. The latter attempted to train her to be devoid of any human feeling in order to best fulfill her role as the savior of the world. Resisting her determined role, she committed suicide by cutting her wrist, but she was forced to live. Throughout the game, a doubt lingers about the justice of saving the world at all. The game repeatedly asks its player whether the life is worth all the trouble it causes and whether we might actually be better off had we never been born at all. To average players, it is more depressing than fun to play this game. To some, however, this game conveys a very powerful message.


In any case, this article has already existed for quite a while, but I only share this now because it would be more meaningful to share it when the completed English game version is out for some time. That being said, it's always good to see that a game is featured in an article (or even a book for that matter).

Until next time, then!

eplipswich

Miscellaneous

Blog 32.75 Patch 1.75 For Seraphic Blue English

Hi fans of Seraphic Blue,

Okay, this patch is necessary because I discovered a game bug that exists in the original Japanese version (thanks to one of LunaticScreamer's videos). This bug is where the Disease negative status does not weaken Attack and Defense as it should. So I took the liberty of fixing this bug.

Also, in case you didn't see the updated blog last time, patch 1.75 also includes the updated files from patch 1.71 (namely the wrong name of one of Ende's abilities: Galatea's Oath should be Somber Destructive Breath. Galatea's Oath is the ability of another boss). Hence, download patch 1.75 below and extract the files into the Seraphic Blue English folder:

http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_175.zip

Previous patches have been compressed into one file and can be downloaded below as well in case you missed any:

http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_11to175.zip

And for those who have not downloaded the game as of this blog, you don't need to download any of the patches as the main game download has been updated with all patches, including the latest one :)

With this, I shouldn't have any more patches to upload (unless there are more glaring mistakes that I spot, I suppose?). So very sorry that there are so many patches to download. Thankfully, the patches are not too big, so it isn't too bad, I guess.

That being said, continue to have fun playing Seraphic Blue!

eplipswich

Miscellaneous

Blog 32.5 Patch 1.71 for Seraphic Blue English

EDIT: Patch 1.71 has been updated with another fix. For those who have download the patch prior to reading this edited message, please redownload the patch again.

Alternatively, to ensure that you have all the latest patches, do download from the link on the front page. Or you can click here: http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_11to171.zip
---------------------------
Hi fans of Seraphic Blue!

This is just a minor patch that includes some more improvements to several texts, particularly the change from "Seraphic Feather" to "Angelic Embrace". Extract the files into the Seraphic Blue English folder:

http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_171.zip

And for those who missed previous patches, you can download them below:

http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_17.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_11to16.zip

And for those who have not downloaded the game as of this blog, you don't need to download any of the patches as the main game download has been updated with the latest patch :)

With that said, continue to have fun playing Seraphic Blue!

eplipswich

Miscellaneous

Blog 32: Patch 1.7 for Seraphic Blue English

Hi fans of Seraphic Blue,

Okay, hopefully this will be the last patch, if not one of the last few. Went through an extensive round of looking through the files, particularly the picture files, and made changes/corrected/edited quite a number of them. That being said, extract the files into the Seraphic Blue English folder:

http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_17.zip

I have also compiled all previous patches into a single zip file so that it is easier for you to download in case you have missed any:

http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_11to16.zip

And for those who have not downloaded the game as of this blog, you don't need to download any of the patches as the main game download has been updated with the latest patch :)

With that said, really sorry for the inconvenience and continue to have fun playing Seraphic Blue!

eplipswich

Miscellaneous

Blog 31.75: Patch 1.6 for Seraphic Blue English + Hints to Puzzles

Hi fans of Seraphic Blue,

Yup, another patch, this time to fix more minor issues in the game. Extract the files into the Seraphic Blue English folder:

http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_16.zip

Previous patches can be found below:
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_155.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_15.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_14.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_13.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_Patch_12.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_Patch_11.zip

And for those who have not downloaded the game as of this blog, you don't need to download any of the patches as the main game download has been updated with the latest patch :)

Also, for those who aren't aware, since some players have already reached the late stage of the game and are stumped at the first of a number of tough puzzles to come, I have added a "Hints to Puzzles" page at the top of the Seraphic Blue main gamepage. And just for good ol' measure, I also added in hints for the Episode 27 riddle, even though I'm actually kind of surprised that many are able to figure this one out easily :) (For the record, of all the puzzles in the game, I only managed to solve one without referring to the walkthrough :p And it isn't the Episode 27 riddle.)

With that said, continue to have fun playing Seraphic Blue!

eplipswich

Miscellaneous

Blog 31.5 Patch 1.55 for Seraphic Blue English

Hi fans of Seraphic Blue!

Just another patch to fix a bug plus some other minor corrections. Extract the files into the Seraphic Blue English folder:

http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_155.zip

Previous patches can be found below:
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_15.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_14.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_13.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_Patch_12.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_Patch_11.zip

And for those who have not downloaded the game as of this blog, you don't need to download any of the patches as the main game download has been updated with the latest patch :)

With that said, continue to have fun playing Seraphic Blue!

eplipswich

Miscellaneous

Blog 31: How My Translation of Seraphic Blue All Began

Hi fans of Seraphic Blue!

How have you been doing in the game? Well, in any case, it's time I should share with all of you how my translation of Seraphic Blue all began.

About 5-6 years ago, I actually found out about this game called Seraphic Blue via rpgmaker.wikia.com. At that time, the wikia only had a few entries, and most of them were English releases that I was familiar with except for Seraphic Blue. So I went to check it out, downloaded it and played it. Of course, back then, I hardly understood the story.

Eventually, I completed it, taking me a whooping 120+ hours to finish (that's because I literally tried reading through the Japanese text even though I didn't understand most of the terms). During that time, though, I thought of maybe giving it a shot a translating this game despite the game being incredibly difficult to translate due to its intensive use of Kanji.

So, why did I go into Japanese translation in particular? Well, some time before this, I got into animes and became interested in the language, but of course, animes only help to understand Japanese via listening but not via reading, so I decided to self-learn Japanese myself, starting of course with the Hiragana and the Katakana. Eventually, I got a good grasp of both of them.

And why did I choose to translate a game? Well, the truth is, I wanted to feature a game here in RMN, but did not have the patience to create a game of my own, even though I graduated with a diploma in Game Design. So I figured the next best thing would be to translate a game.

And thus began my translation. My plan was to first translate the manual and all the misc. stuff like the interfaces, ability names, item names etc. before the story, since that is, after all the easiest. For that, I have to thank a particular website, Radical Discovery. That website provided lists of almost all the ability/item names, making my job easy.

So my translation went smoothly and eventually, all the misc. stuff was done. Then comes the toughest part: the story. When I first began the translation, oh, I can tell you that the intro was terrible to translate. I literally cannot understand what it was talking about lol. So most of the time, I had to crack my brain to translate. And besides the intro, the next hardest cutscenes to translate were the conversations between Ofa and Vene and the conversations between Vene and Er. Their conversations were so enigmatic and profound that I pretty much struggled with translating them. Especially since I don't understand the whole story just yet (the story, at any rate, contains a lot of forethought).

And so, when the Release Something Day (RSD) special was released and I got my first review, kumada offered to help me proofread my work. I accepted, and I have to thank him for all the help he has given me. I think, if he had not offered help to me, I probably wouldn't have gone back revising the text. That being said, as I went back to re-translating the text, I noticed just how horrible it was, so much so that I was kind of ashamed with my old work. If this game was like Romancing Walker, I probably would have gotten away with it. But this is Seraphic Blue, and the tone of the story is meant to be serious. To have a horrible translation would be somewhat of an insult to the game creator.

So thus began my re-translation, while kumada helped with the proofread. Since then, my translation skills gradually improved as I translated more. In the process, the translation goes on and off, but well, I ultimately made it.

Thinking back, I'm glad that I translated this game, so I hope that those who play this can enjoy it as much as I did in both playing and translating the game. The translation may not be perfect, but I believe I did my very best and the translation is as great as it can get. And once I embark on my next translation project (which most likely is Nocturne Rebirth), it will be of great quality :)

Well, that's all from me. See you again and have fun playing Seraphic Blue!

eplipswich

Miscellaneous

Blog 30: Patch 1.5 & History of Seraphic Blue

Hi fans of Seraphic Blue,

Okay, first of all, after comprehensively browsing through all the ability names and info, I've revised a few more, and so below is the link to download Patch 1.5 (only for those who have already downloaded the game before this blog) which mainly contains revisions of ability names and info plus some other fixes of minor issues. Extract the files into the Seraphic Blue English folder:

http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_15.zip

Previous patches can be found below:
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_14.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_13.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_Patch_12.zip
http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_Patch_11.zip

And for those who have not downloaded the game as of this blog, you don't have to download the patch as the game download has been updated with the latest patch.
-------------
That aside, I will now be talking about a brief history of Seraphic Blue. My account of how my venture into translating an RPG for the first time (which is Seraphic Blue, of course) began will have to wait until the next blog.

First off, as all of you know, Seraphic Blue is a game created by Tempura. However, this game is actually the 3rd game in the so-called "Blue series", which comprises of Sacred Blue, Stardust Blue and Seraphic Blue. Sacred Blue was made using RPG Maker 95, while Stardust Blue was made using RPG Maker 2000 like Seraphic Blue, albeit with the default battle system and a mix of custom and RTP graphics, but still of good quality nonetheless. I myself have not played Sacred Blue and Stardust Blue, but I remember reading that Sacred Blue was set 2000 years before the events of Seraphic Blue, while Stardust Blue was set around 1000 years before.

Anyway, below is a video of how Sacred Blue is like (and for those who have never seen a RPG Maker 95 game before, you get to see it now :))




Unfortunately, there are no YouTube videos on Stardust Blue, but I believe there are videos on Stardust Blue over at Nicovideo.jp. You will need to register an account if you want to watch any videos there, though. And there is a download for Stardust Blue if you are interested: http://blog.ruula-cheerful.net/2013/12/13/stardust-blue/. You can also Google Stardust Blue to see several images of the game.

And as far as I know, the downloads of Sacred Blue and Stardust Blue were removed from Tempura's website (which is now already defunct, btw). If I'm not wrong, he cited something about lack of quality with regard to these two games.

Anyway, Seraphic Blue is certainly vastly different from its predecessors in terms of graphics, battle system, interfaces etc. 99% of Seraphic Blue is basically custom. And all of you probably already know this, but the battle system of Seraphic Blue and all menus are entirely run by Common Events using RPG Maker 2000. Even the random encounter system is run by Common Events. That's how crazy the programming involved in this game is.

Also, Tempura actually had plans to make a 4th Blue game called Sadmire Blue, which was planned to be made in RPG Maker XP. Unfortunately, it didn't even make past the pre-production stage. Tempura has a blog documenting ideas and the script of the first scene of the game, but that's about it. In any case, below is how the title screen of Sadmire Blue would look like:



So there you have it, the history of Seraphic Blue. Next time, I will be talking about how my venture into translating a game for the first time began :) Until then!

eplipswich

Miscellaneous

Blog 29: 100 subscribers and Patch 1.4 for Seraphic Blue English

Hi fans of Seraphic Blue!

Okay, first thing's first. Wooot! Seraphic Blue now has 100 subscribers! I know this is late, but better late than never. Thanks for all the support, everyone!

Also, yep, I had to make a 4th patch, and there may be more to come, but hopefully not. This 4th patch addresses some translation mistakes, and the important changes are highlighted below:


- The name of Yangtze's ability, "Cry of Rage", has been changed to its correct version, "Chi Blast". As a result, its ability info has been changed as well.
- The info of Doris' "Pale Inverse" ability has been revised.

Note that the functions of the above abilities still work the same, just that the infos/name are revised to their correct versions.


The rest of the changes are really minor, either just a slight rephrasing of sentences, missing letters and enemy name changes and a few other minor corrections.

Hence, for those who have downloaded the game, please download the latest patch below and extract the files into the Seraphic Blue English folder:

http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_14.zip

And for those who haven't downloaded the game as of this blog, you don't need to download the patch. The game download has just been updated with the latest patch :)

Also, stay tuned for my next blog as I will talk about the brief history of Seraphic Blue, plus how my venture into game translation all began :)

Have fun playing Seraphic Blue!

eplipswich

Miscellaneous

Blog 28.75: Patch 1.3 for Seraphic Blue English

Hi fans of Seraphic Blue!

Well, they say that third time's a charm, so for those who have downloaded the game, please download the latest patch below which optimizes the game in addition to correcting some inconsistencies and adding a few more improvements. Extract the files into the Seraphic Blue English game folder:

http://rpgmaker.net/users/eplipswich/locker/Seraphic_Blue_English_Patch_13.zip

And as always, for those who haven't downloaded the game as of this blog, you don't need to download the patch. The game download has just been updated with the latest patch :)

With that said, have fun playing!

eplipswich