New Discord Server for Harvest Moon / Story of Seasons Translation Projects

It’s recently come to my attention that some other projects are now using the tutorials I’ve written on this blog. This was always my intent and the primary reason why I’ve been documenting all of my findings while researching AWL.

I’ve now created a [Harvest Moon Translations Discord] where people can collaborate and discuss translating AWL, as well as other HM/SoS games into various languages.

I hope that having a dedicated server will offer people a common place to help work on these projects, and get in touch with others who might have helpful expertise, whether it’s knowing another language, or technical knowledge about the game in question.

Currently I’ve created channels for a few AWL, FoMT, and DS projects, but more will be added as they come up.

If you or someone you know would be interested in helping translate some of these games, feel free to [join]!

Dialog Editing with Sukharah’s MES Unpacker

Introducing Sukharah’s MES Unpacker

After months of painstakingly editing dialog using a combination of Harrison’s MES Editor, Hex Editing, and Spreadsheets, I’m happy to say that we now have a much easier method for editing dialog (mes) files from Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life and Another Wonderful Life.

Sukharah, the brilliant individual behind the CLZ Compression Tool, has created a new tool for manipulating MES files. This tool has been aptly named the MES Unpacker (although it can also repack).

Compiling the MES Unpacker

Prerequisites

The tool is released as source code, meaning you’ll need to have a C++ compiler such as g++ (included with MinGW, which can be installed using the mingw-get-setup.exe installer from the MinGW releases page.

Once you have MinGW/g++ installed, it’s just a matter of downloading the MES Unpacker repository, and building the program using your terminal of choice.

Compilation Options

There are 3 main modes you can use while compiling the MES unpacker.

The normal mode uses a fairly basic compilation command:

g++ -o mes.exe -std=c++11 -iquote header "source/main.cpp" "source/MES.cpp"

The next mode, known as ddupe, will allow the app to group sequential duplicate messages together in the final repacked .mes file. This is needed for certain dialog files (e.g. muumuu.mes) that approach the 73,376-byte file size limit. Attempting to load a .mes file larger than this in-game will result in a crash.

g++ -o mes_ddupe_seq.exe -DDUPE -std=c++11 -iquote header "source/main.cpp" "source/MES.cpp"

The final mode, known as ddupe2, will group together all duplicate messages from anywhere in the dialog file. This breaks compatibility with Harrison’s MES Editor, but should otherwise work in-game. It’s not advised to use this option unless you’re unable to get below the 73,376-byte limit after using ddupe.

g++ -o mes_ddupe2_nonseq.exe -DDUPE2 -std=c++11 -iquote header "source/main.cpp" "source/MES.cpp"

Precompiled MES Unpacker (Windows 10 only)

I have also created a compiled version. The limitation of this precompiled version is that it’s limited to Windows 10 systems, since that’s the type of system I compiled it on.

[Download]

mes.exe – Standard compilation

This version is recommended for almost all .mes editing use cases

mes_ddupe_seq.exe – Compiled with -DDUPE flag

This version is recommended for certain large .mes files that approach the 73,376-byte filesize limit.

e.g. muumuu.mes, son_talk.mes

It’ll group any sequential (appearing directly after one another) duplicate dialog messages together in the final output .mes file.

mes_ddupe2_nonseq.exe – Compiled with -DDUPE2 flag

This version is experimental. It’ll group any duplicate messages from anywhere in the dialog file.

This is only recommended if you’re having difficulty outputting a .mes file below the 73,376-byte file size after using mes_ddupe_seq.exe, which is possible if you plan on editing Muffy’s dialog (muumuu.mes).

Using Sukharah’s MES Unpacker

MES to TXT

Once you’ve compiled or downloaded the MES Unpacker, using it is fairly trivial.

Simply place your .mes file (e.g. badog.mes) in the same folder as your compiled program. Note this folder must also include the tool’s “data” folder and it’s contents.

Then, launch a command prompt in that folder. The simplest way to do this is by typing “cmd” in the navigation bar and pressing Enter.

From there, just type in the appropriate unpack command.

mes_program unpack file.mes file.txt

Where mes_program is either mes, mes_ddupe_seq, or mes_ddupe2_nonseq and file.mes is your dialog file.

Unpacking badog.mes and muumuu.mes using their respective builds.

Editing the TXT files

After you’ve run the commands, you should have some new text files in your folder.

You can edit these using any tool you like. Personally, I prefer Notepad++.

For this example, we’ll be replacing one of Dr. Hardy’s lines (badog.mes).

Simply locate your desired line in the appropriate text file, and edit it at will. Note that a single line (not counting actions like {PAUSE}, {WIPE}, {SOUND}, etc.) can only be 21 characters (letters) long. Anything beyond that will cause issues when displaying in-game.

TXT to MES

Once you’ve edited and saved the txt file, simply run the appropriate pack command.

mes_program pack file.txt file.mes

Where mes_program is your build of the tool, and file.txt is your edited dialog text file.

This will overwrite the mes file in your folder

You can then put the newly packed mes file back into your ISO or game folder, replacing the previous one.

From there, the game should load your new dialog in place of the old one.

And voila! You’ve successfully edited dialog.

The Unwritten Rules of .mes Files

Last time I went over dialog, I detailed how to edit index entries.

Upon review, I’ve found that there are some additional “unwritten rules” on how .mes dialog files in A Wonderful Life are structured.

Index Entries Aligned as Hex “Words”

After looking at the index values in any given .mes file, I began to notice a pattern.

Note every dialog index ends in a 0, 4, 8, or c

Every single message starts at a position ending in a multiple of 4 in hex (i.e. 0, 4, 8, c).

At first I thought this was a weird coincidence. However, upon review I’ve determined that this is not on accident.

Different Types of Hex Grouping

There are different ways of grouping hex values.

Bytes: A pair of hex values
Words: 2 bytes
Double Words: 4 bytes

Message #1 in badog.mes, illustrated as bytes, words, and double words

What this means for MES files

It seems that .mes files are read in memory as “double words”. This means that a new message needs to start at a double word position (i.e. a hex position multiple of 4).

Every message needs at least one “00” end-of-message {EOM} byte to tell the system that it’s the end of that message. Additional EOM bytes are then added to pad out the message so that the next message in the file is pushed to start at the next double-word position.

This explains why some messages seem to have only 1 {EOM} byte, while some messages can have up to 4 {EOM} bytes.

File Endings

The Double Words pattern above still didn’t explain why the last messages in each dialog file seemed to have a random number of EOM bytes.

After reviewing the file endings, I found that the last byte position in any .mes file was at the “f” position on an odd line.
i.e. 1f, 3f, 5f, 7f, 9f, bf, df, ff

The last bytes for carter.mes, badog.mes, and bahn.mes are all at an odd _f position

This means that each file is padded out with EOM bytes until they reach a valid ending position.

Why bother with any of this?

These groupings are both seemingly due to how the game stores dialog in memory.

If dialog files weren’t configured properly with these rules, there is potential for dialog to overflow into other areas of memory (or other areas of memory to overflow into allocated “dialog space”) and wreak havoc.

This was evidenced during a recent Twitch stream, in which the dialog for Muffy (muumuu.mes) was improperly configured.

In this case, the game would experience numerous glitches following any interaction with Muffy (e.g. random words/phrases showing up where they shouldn’t, freezing, crashes, etc.).

To prevent any of these types of issues, dialog files must follow the above positioning rules.

Opening Up Dialog for Community Collaboration

Dialogue Dumps

To help facilitate dialog review/editing, I’ve synced some of my work-in-progress dialog dumps via Google Drive.

This means that anyone interested in helping with the project can view .txt format dialog dumps, which will be continuously updated as I edit the dialog for the game.


Community Dialogue Review

I’ve also created some Google Docs listing any dialogue that I plan on editing, but haven’t gotten around to yet.

If you come across any dialogue in need of fixing (e.g. gender pronouns, grammatical/spelling mistakes), feel free to add it to these docs.

A screenshot of the Google Doc noting dialog from A Proud Life (A Wonderful Life) to be fixed

A Note About File Names

Note that the dialog file names are sometimes different from the in-game character names. This is because the files utilize the original Japanese character names.

English NameJapanese Name (name of dialogue file)
CeliaSepilia
ChrisKris
CodyGodey
FlakFlat
GalenGhali
GrantGurat
GriffinGarfun
HardyBadog
KasseyKesaran
MarlinMash
MuffyMuumuu
MurreyMoi
NakDavid
NicEbony
PatrickPasaran
RubyRou
SamanthaSan
TartanTsurutan
TimTai / Tay
VanBahn
WallySuary