With the campaign for post-apocalyptic adventure, Beautiful Desolation nearing its funding goal, Nic and Chris Bischoff of The Brotherhood are pretty busy. Fortunately, the team behind Stasis isn’t too busy to impart useful knowledge to other developers wishing to follow their success.
In an update on Febrary 7th, they detailed the localization efforts behind their previous titles and how they would utilize them for Beautiful Desolation. Their explanations ran pretty heavy on code, but even a layman like myself could appreciate their point. Multi-language support is essential when planning your game’s development.
“Allowing multiple translations opens up a much wider audience and makes it more likely that non-English speaking sites will feature the game,” the update explained.
Localization For A Global Audience
Bischoff noted that although an estimated 60% of his fans play in English, that still left a sizable audience unable to experience the game as intended without localization. To make their titles more accessible, the team didn’t hardcode any text into the game. Instead the engine reads all the strings (even the English ones) out of a language database on the initial load. By building this translation system into the engine early, The Brotherhood is able to avoid the hassle of replacing each string later in development.
“My advice to game developers is to separate language data from the main game engine and treat all text as external from the get go, don’t try and jam this into the engine at a later date – you will regret it.”
This unique system allows fan translations to be loaded into the string data as well. When loading, the engine can read any data with the correct formatting. The only difference is which folder the translations load from. Fan translations are pulled from a separate translation folder which is exposed to general users.
When running the game the user selects a language and only the data for that language is loaded. This treats all available languages as separate run-time data. This keeps text heavy projects (Stasis has 65,000 words) from causing issues later on.
So Easy A Game Dev Can Use It
It’s an intuitive system that has helped The Brotherhood maintain strong ties to their international community. The update goes into far more detail then I’m able to distill here. It’s worth reading if you’re interested in creating a similar system for your own projects.
Beautiful Desolation will have Russian, German, and French text translations available on release. The game’s translation files will be open so fans can share their own translations with just a few clicks. You can check out Chris Bischoff’s Kickstarter page for more insights and information into the development of Beautiful Desolation.