Hello everyone! Our game is almost out (August 15th!), and that’s really exciting. We’d love for everyone to be able to play it, of course, so here’s some notes on how we’re trying to make that possible.
Gone Home has a lot of words in it, and the game is very much centered around understanding sometimes-subtle clues and artifacts. In order to make these things more accessible to players for whom English isn’t their first language, we wanted to translate the content – or “localize” it, in game-development parlance. However, we’re a tiny, four-person team. We don’t have a lot of resources, and I blew my opportunities and took Latin as my language in school, so there’s limited translation we can do in-house.
Our solution was to support a full framework for localization – we pull all the text in the game from various files, we support dynamically changing fonts, we have subtitles for audio content, we include text overlays for text-heavy objects, and we added many non-English characters to our standard fonts – so we could open our content up to the players for the actual translation! When the game ships, all of the text content will be available to anyone who would like to create their own translation.
I’m now going to go over some technical things for would-be localizers – feel free to stop reading now if you’re not interested, and go happily on your way with the knowledge that Gone Home will (hopefully eventually) be playable in your native language!
If you’re interested in translating Gone Home, here’s the information you’ll need:
- First, I would recommend playing the game fully and uncovering all you can of the story – Obviously digging through the text files will expose you to all of the content, and may spoil your enjoyment of discovery.
- The game will include a file with more detailed instructions on how to localize, including the location of the included text files, the process for using different fonts, and a walkthrough of the start of a translation.
- For writing content with non-English characters, you will need a text editor that can save UTF-8 encoded text files. I use Notepad++ for Windows, which works very well.
- The default fonts for the game support the English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Scandinavian alphabets, and should have most special characters available.
- We also include Korean, Japanese, Chinese (simplified), Greek, and Cyrillic fonts.
- We aren’t able to support resizing text areas to fit different languages’ length requirements. So if you’re localizing for a language that generally takes more space than English text, you may have to summarize or edit the text you present in order to fit the display area.
- Some miscellaneous pieces of text will not be localized, and only text that is story-relevant will be translatable, so things like soda cans and pizza boxes won’t apply.
- There may be bugs as the game hasn’t yet been tested with full translations. Let us know what bugs you find and hopefully we’ll be able to fix them!
- (Important) You can also localize the game to Klingon.