Sup everybody. Neko Len here, one of the testers for NNL that has been on the ef project for awhile. It has been quite the long road all of us. Great fun, and frustrating as hell at the same time.
My introduction to ef was the anime, which I fell in love with. This was also around the time that someone first introduced me to the world of visual novels (most likely to just watch as I got hooked irreversibly, and so that said person could see my spiral down into VN after VN, but that’s an entirely different story for another time.). One thing I noticed was that almost without question, if the anime was based off of a VN, the VN was the far superior medium (save for the original Shuffle! for me, I enjoyed the yandere bit of the anime).
Now, I pretty damn quickly learned that ef was a visual novel. This was back when the first season (memories) was airing. I discovered that there were a few projects translating it, but progress was… sketchy. So I despaired for a bit, and tried to put it out of my mind, and hoped by some miracle it would get done. …This was also my first taste of translations getting stalled for whatever reason. So actually having managed to put it out of my mind for a bit (mainly as I was devouring many games at a shocking rate), I make an offhand comment to a friend in irc about ef’s lack of progress. Then I was told the first chapter was out…so I grabbed it, and noticed that NNL was recruiting.
At the time iirc, they were trying to assign different people to different chapters, and Chihiro’s was in need of a tester. Chihiro was just adorable and also had her little (understatement) condition, so I wanted to see the source material. I had zero idea of what testing VN’s would be like, although I did pretty much assume it would be a pain in the ass at times. I figured I’d volunteer myself to assist. So I sent the email and was contacted back… pretty damn quickly. Got a rundown on how things were done (which was thankfully well explained and clear). Seemed like although the work would be a rather obvious pain at times, it was also fun (you will have to excuse me, this kitty is an old, grumpy one. I bitch a lot). I said to myself “it can’t be all THAT bad, could it? I mean, a largely branching text, cg, sprite and sound format must be far easier than what some friends I knew did… right? Sure it will be taxing… but what could possibly go wrong.?
Then I remembered the last time I said that, I ended up singing Anchors Aweigh in -5f weather in formation. Right after a visit to the gas chamber… I really must stop using that phrase.
Chapter 3 actually went fairly smooth. It was a bit more text than I expected, and we had various constant issues with word wrap and such, but not that bad. As I went along, I got a bit better and faster. One part of what I did was grammar checking. Mind you, even though I passed my required college English classes pretty easy, I had no real knowledge of any technical stuff. Basically I’d just speak stuff aloud, look at the context, who is saying and to whom it is being said to. Basically if it sounded not quite right, I’d offer a suggestion for change. I do the same thing nowadays as well. Quality standards were… pretty high in comparison to some other fan translation groups, at least from what I was seeing. When things got too stressful, I would begin to snark in my reports. Not too much, but it was a decent outlet for stress over what needed to be done.
Well, eventually the chapters merged (as in everyone worked on everything). And it was time to go check over the demo (the first chapter, Miyako’s) DS55 began to comb through it, seeing what needed work, As it was done quite a long time ago by this point, and his skills had improved in translating. So he starts going over it…
Saying that it needed some work was a mild understatement. The whole chapter basically ended up being redone. This was the point where I got my first taste of just how frustrating it can really get. This was also the point where I started adding beer, whiskey, or rum to my list of standard testing equipment. Oh boy. It was rather hectic. One trouble spot, if I recall, was a scene involving Hiro chasing Miyako down the beach… I don’t remember the specifics of how much it needed work… but lets just say it was… a challenging section. Especially for DS. But it was done in the end. The general pattern of frustration and relief would continue, but almost nothing else noteworthy on my end. Almost.
So we are testing chapter 5, and for me it was on the emotionally draining side for various reasons. I finally had my report near done, about to be right under the wire….
Then my laptop caught a nasty virus and I lost everything.
So I ended up re installing my OS and everything else. Good thing I saved my work on a flash-drive right? Sure …except the flash-drive died.
So I ended up marathoning the whole entire thing again. In one sitting. That was pure hell. I wanted back in the tear gas training room. But, in the end, I got that done. Late as hell to be sure, but I got it. After this I started backing up everything on cloud storage. Do not want to go through that again. And after that, everything else went relatively smooth. (As in, nothing caught fire or got wiped. That I am aware of.)
One thing this rather long road has done for me is to develop the ability to find stuff that’s wrong very, very fast, at a quick glance. This has been useful for… like everything else I’ve tested here at MG. One spot that gave me trouble was some of the splash screens and the way English is used. Sounded strange to me (you will see in Chihiro’s route. Not incorrect English, but… intentionally unique.).
The whole way this became a legit project with minori and Mangagamer I won’t go into. I am just really glad it happened. It has been a long road… And now as Christmas is drawing near, I can breathe a sigh of relief on my nice boat at my computer, and relax. While grinning. So this is Neko, signing out, and I truly hope you enjoy the tale that is ef!