Sunday, June 27, 2010

The (International) Katawa Conspiracy

We seem to have gotten quite a few translations now, so it's probably time to talk about that for a moment (at least Aura has been prodding me to do so). Problem is, there isn't much to say - apart from the actual translation work being a lot of work, which is a given, the process itself is relatively painless. The KS engine extensions have been built from the start to make translations possible. The reason is that before I started working on KS, I was active in the VN translation scene and less than amused with how hard it can be to make Japanese engines work with non-Japanese text. So more or less out of spite (and because I don't just want Japanese-only thinking replaced with English-only thinking), I toyed with the idea of internationalizations from the beginning, and made it so that potential translators would at least have an easy time technology-wise. Of course, another reason for having an integrated multi-language engine is that we can keep closer to the translation effort and have at least some input on what happens, even though we obviously can't understand most of the actual translation. But at least translations don't depend on unauthorized patches, which we would have a hard time ignoring. It seems to have worked out alright, and I hope the French translation of Act 1 won't be the last. Of course, translation effort on the full game will be another thing entirely. But we'll tackle that problem when it's actually done.

By the way, besides Japan Expo in Paris, there is another con date that might be of interest: Our staffer pimmy and IRC/fanart regulars VCR and Doomfest have artist tables at Anime Expo from July 1st in Los Angeles. If you're there, say hello and maybe get one of VCR's limited edition pins. And get them signed by Nabeshin. Yeah, I really like the idea of KS-related things getting signed by completely unrelated Japanese nerd celebrities.

– delta

Friday, June 25, 2010

"Eh bien, eh bien" is the new "ara ara": A1v4 is out

Katawa Shoujo Act 1 v4 has been released. The biggest change is the addition of a French localization, courtesy of Kawa Soft. Kawa Soft will be officially presenting this at their table at Japan Expo (Hall 5A, Z457) in Paris on July 1st. If you're in the vicinity you may want to pay them a visit, and also check out their French translation of the quite excellent True Remembrance, to be released at the same time. They will have hardcopies available, and if you want to make my day, get a KS CD signed by Hideo "2mnywrd" Kojima, who is at the con. Take photos if you do.

V4 has no other new game content so if you have played v3 and can't read French, it's not the most exciting thing. However, the patch 3.0.1 for Chinese is included as are several system/UI improvements. For a list see the Changelog.

If Paris seems a little far, download Act 1 v4 from one of these links:

As always, this release supersedes the previous ones, so please help seed these new torrents if you can.

– delta

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Katawa Shoujo Panel at Manifest

Hey everyone. Crud and Suriko are going to be attending the Manifest anime convention, and will be doing a Katawa Shoujo panel there. We'd like to thank Cemex for inviting us to do the panel.

The convention will be held in Melbourne, Australia (at the Melbourne Showgrounds) on August the 20th to the 22nd, and the panel itself is on Sunday the 22nd of August.

Much more information about the convention can be found at their site, here:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Loss and Loneliness

An advice often given to a fledgling writer is "write what you know about". Well, I don't know disability. I am not disabled. Nobody I know is. Writing about disability is difficult. Even if I were to spend the rest of my life doing research on it, I can only approximately imagine what it might be like. So, it's easier to write about other things, and that's what I do. There are plenty of other things I write about when I write about Rin and Hisao, eventually even some things I actually do know. But still, I have to imagine loss, I have to imagine loneliness. I have to imagine disability.

Disability has certain characteristics. It's the lack of ability, the loss of limb, it categorizes of people whose bodies don't fill the qualifications of a complete human being. A harsh and unfair expression, sadly true yet not quite the truth. How big part of a human is defined by the body? It is an old problem.

Writing about how people experience this is a challenge. Even if they don't directly confront the issue, it slowly seeps out of the character. Entire time it's balancing on a rope. The characters certainly must be conscious about their disabilities, yet it seems too much if that's all they think about. The characters have extra trouble with various everyday things because of disabilities, but they should not prevent these activities completely. The characters are shaped by their disabilites, but not defined by them. Hisao lost something, but it's on a rather abstract level. You can't see his disability. He doesn't have much in the way of physical impediments as long as he remembers his limits. But he experiences great trouble adjusting to his new situation. He becomes depressed, anxious. His mood changes a lot as exhibited by some scenes that surprised a lot of readers in act 1. I also write one of the characters who have been disabled since birth. She never had arms or hands in the first place and doesn't seem to be particularly bothered about it. Her tranquility is an almost complete foil to Hisao. This is my problem: to what extent Rin experiences the loss of her limbs that never were there?

It's very hard to express the absence of something.

If I can't completely relate to my characters, could they possibly relate to each other? Technically that is a part of why the imaginary school our story takes place in exists. Is there loneliness in that place? I think there must be. And because our characters are teenagers, becuase they are human, there must also be weltschmerz, there must be the heaviness of existence. And this is something I can't avoid imagining: that these characters experience it in a more pure, stronger way than I do. I imagine the silence of dormitories of Yamaku at night. It's the absolute prime time to be melodramatically depressed by yourself. Moonlight illuminates a dorm room and its inhabitant, wrestling with dark thoughts and insomnia. In the next room, another watches the same moon, perhaps thinking about the same thoughts. In the room next to that, another. A hundred tiny rooms, a hundred tiny souls. All connected yet apart. It hits me that I might already have fallen off the rope with thoughts like these, and that maybe the true answer is that there was no rope at all. Maybe there are no disabilities. Maybe it's all a big metaphor of the hardships of life and the feeling of loneliness everyone experiences sooner or later.

"So that's how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing thats's stolen from us - that's snatched right out of our hands - even if we are left completely changed people with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence. We draw ever nearer to our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trails off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. Leaving behind a feeling of immeasurable loneliness."

- Aura

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Miracle of the Universe II

Emi path's second draft, like Lilly's, is now complete. As per Hivemind, the path's writer:
It took longer to do than I thought it would, but the end result is something that everyone ought to like, I hope. The path's not completely finished (revisions will doubtlessly occur), but it is nice to see a finished product of any sort. All downhill from here.
In other news, our Folding @ Home team has broken rank 250, being at rank 247 as of the writing of this post. Congratulations, guys.

As celebration for both, here is a sketch from Moekki of Emi folding: