Issues about Chinese translation


I tried to do some Simplified Chinese translation for Frogatto and encountered some issues.

I was doing my translation on the windows binary release of r3785, believing this version has built-in gettext support already, but after I downloaded the official pot, generated a zh_CN po file, did some translation, put the compiled mo in locale/zh_CN/LC_MESSAGES/ and started the game, nothing new happened. The “translated” text were still in English, instead of “disappearing” because of a lack of Chinese bitmap fonts. Am I doing anything wrong?

And concerning the bitmap font, I can generate bitmaps for only the characters needed in the translation. However, it seems that frogatto does not allow two different bitmap font textures to have the same id in fonts.cfg, and I do not want to mess up dialog_font.png (This one is not open to modification and the Chinese texture may change as the translation text changes). Are there better solutions than concatenating Chinese glyphs with dialog_font.png? (I haven’t tried to concatenate them, but it is the only solution I can think of now.)

Thanks in advance.


For lack of need, we haven’t had that feature yet. As you say; it’s desirable to have chinese text in a separate image file. Indeed - possibly multiple files. Since we have someone now who wants to make a chinese translation, we’ll get on that.

Thank you, by the way. :wink:

Regarding needed glyphs, I understand entirely why you want to do only what’s necessary. I’m stuck in a bad position where, for the quality of the writing, I will occasionally have to edit the “canonical” english translation of the game just to fix stuff that sucks in my writing. Obviously in the short term that requires new characters, but in the long term, I’ve considered working with a site like, and raising money to fairly commission someone to do the grunt work of creating a (reasonably) complete chinese bitmap font; with the intent of completely public-domaining it, so that it’s useable by not just frogatto, but any game out there, period. Reasonably speaking, I’m guessing this would only be some 3,000-6,000 glyphs, from some off-the-cuff research.


Thanks. :slight_smile:

It’s a pity that I am no font designer and not skilled in arts. But we do have some fairly good open source Chinese bitmap fonts floating around, like wqy-bitmap-song (GPL2) and zpix2 (GPL3). These two are comprehensive. Though it’s not clear if they can be used by “any game out there” (even the authors of those fonts are somewhat puzzled by GPL regarding usage of GPL-ed fonts in closed-source applications), AFAIK Frogatto can certainly use them. So currently I am generating the needed bitmaps from those fonts.

It’s not hard to generate pngs containing the 3000-6000 frequently used characters, provided that I have a list of them, but in this particular case, I think they will waste space.

And for “any game out there”, we have fonts like Google’s Droid Sans Fallback which is under the Apache License. Though it’s not a bitmap font, textures can still be generated from it.

The problem is that those fonts are general purpose fonts and feel too “formal” when used in a comic style game like Frogatto. But back in the days when we were all playing consoles like NES/MD/SFC (and nowadays GBA/NDS), the Chinese versions of the games almost always used Song/Ming fonts (“standard” Chinese fonts), regardless of the game style, maybe because too much effort was (and is) needed to create a custom Chinese font (or because comic style Chinese fonts are ugly in low resolutions). Then it seems that for Chinese gamers “retro style” means “formal fonts” anyway, so I could get away with this … or not? :wink:


Yeah, we’ll want someone to try and make the glyphs look similar to our current style. In practice, it’s actually really easy to do this - people can make bitmap fonts with no artistic talent, and nothing fancier than MSPaint/Gimp, as long as there’s a good ‘sample’ of a font style to imitate. That said - I don’t want this to be a bottleneck to getting a translation, and I don’t want to saddle the first guy who offered (you) with doing this; we’ll start with a pregenerated font, and build up to having custom characters for it.

As long as you have these pregenerated characters for us to look at (and could review our work afterwards for oddness), we’ve got several people who can help make the custom “frogatto” styled characters. Myself included; I’ve made one aborted start at trying to learn chinese, so it’d be fun to do and good practice. (I know virtually none of the language; it was only a few weeks.)

For starters, anyways, once you have a modest bit of stuff done, we can get you svn access (we’ve very permissive about that). Marcavis/PH5 are kinda our key translation dudes, so I’ll have to work with them to figure out this translation code change.


I have done some work on a Chinese translation recently as I posted about here. But I missed the translation section of the forum, as well as this thread. I have mainly focused on the programming/scripting side, to automatically generate a font texture and get the Chinese characters to show up, and the quality of the actual translation is still lacking. The font I’m using also doesn’t fit well with Frogatto’s default font.

CloudiDust and anyone else, would you be interested in collaborating on the translation, and/or finding a more suitable font, or a better way to generate the font texture? The one I have now only works if glyphs are all equal width, and does not work with bitmap fonts.


Hi hagabaka,

I finished my version of text translation several days ago but haven’t had time to finish my generator scripts (or rather, to have a satisfying result). Busy with daily corporate staff.

My scripts took basically the same approach as yours. (Imagemagick rocks.) I always thought that full-width glyphs in Chinese fonts are all of the same size, but the generated texture proved me wrong. Oops, the punctuations are the biggest offenders here. I think special-casing those punctuations in the generation script may work. (But different font may need different special tweaking then.)

Imageshack is blocked in mainland, so I haven’t seen the screenshots yet. I don’t believe that we can find a ready-made Chinese font that suits the style of frogatto and that is open source, which means a custom font has to be made.

And yes, I am glad to collaborate on the translation, just check your gmail account. :slight_smile:


Almost everything works now for the Chinese translation!

I am using the translation text by CloudiDust, which is much better written than what I had. And there is no longer a problem with characters of different widths.

Here is a zip file containing all the files you need to try the Chinese translation – provided you use SVN, and can already use the other translations. Make a backup of data/fonts.cfg before overwriting it, and restore it when you want to go back to English or most other languages.


Here are the “TODOs” I can think of for the Chinese translation:

[ul][li]A way to generate the outline and label fonts that distinguishes them from the dialog font. I tried using “convert -stroke 1” to generate outlines around characters, but the result was very ugly. I also noticed that the label font has a little shadow, so maybe all generated fonts should have the same. The outlined characters on pH5’s Japanese translation screenshots look good, are they automatically generated?[/li]
[li]CloudiDust should be putting the translation on Transifex soon, so people can contribute to the translation easily[/li]
[li]A translated logo. The name “Frogatto” is translated, but the logo is still in image form. Would artists be interested in helping draw a logo after we could decide on a Chinese title?[/li]
[li]Getting the generated font to fit Frogatto’s style as much as possible. Maybe eventually we could create a Frogatto style bitmap font as Jetrel hopes, but for now I think we’re stuck with trying existing fonts.[/li][/ul]


Screenshots of running Frogatto using fonts generated from “Myuppy”:


This font looks nice. I didn’t know it existed at all!

The Chinese name of the game is “???” or “???”. Personally, I prefer the former.

The translation file is uploaded to Transifex and updated to match the current frogatto.pot in trunk.


Since you translated “Frogatto” to ??, I was going to suggest “???” as the title of the game, but I guess that’s a little cliche. :stuck_out_tongue: I’m fine with “???”, it should make it easier to match the layout of the English logo.

I changed the source font to MYuppy since marcavis, CloudiDust and I all think it’s more suitable. I’ve also implemented outline and shadow effects for outline and label fonts, respectively:

It doesn’t look as sharp as the latin font, I’m not sure if that can be improved by tweaking the ImageMagick options.Edit: I’ve fixed that issue.

I’ve also added a guide for the font generation system, for those interested in trying it with new languages.


I think both the Chinese translation and the font texture generator scripts are ready to be committed to SVN. The Chinese translation is currently complete (thanks CloudiDust!), and I feel the game is quite playable with it, and it no longer conflicts with the other languages. There are still things to be improved, but committing it to SVN will allow more people to test and improve it. What does everyone else think?


Sounds great to me!


By the way, I got translations working on iOS, and got the app name on the home screen to translate as well. :slight_smile:


Below is the Chinese translation for the iPhone/iPad App Store metadata. I am asking people for comments and will edit it here for revisions.




??? ???PC???

What’s New:

  • iPad???
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???OpenFeint??
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???



Here is translation for the Mac App Store metadata:




What’s New:

  • ???
  • ??
  • ???
  • ???
  • ???