Video Game Localization: Escape from the Tomb of Apep

As you can see, I recently added localization services and a specialization in video games to the website. The first is something I’ve been doing for a while, particularly software localization, whereas the second is one of my areas of interest that I’ve had some training on and recently began working in.

Today I’d like to talk to you a bit about a small video game development and localization project I’m very proud of: Escape from the Tomb of Apep.

What is Escape from the Tomb of Apep?

In addition to video game and board game localization (and playing them, of course), these strange times have sparked my interest in their development. I have no knowledge whatsoever of programming—something I hope to remedy little by little—so when I stumbled upon GB Studio, it really caught my eye. It’s a free tool for creating Game Boy games that has a simple interface any user can manage.

escape-from-the-tomb-of-apep-en1

I started to play around with it, see what worked and what didn’t, and I decided to challenge myself to develop a short game from start to finish. The result is Escape from the Tomb of Apep, a game in which you have to explore an ancient tomb, solve some puzzles, and find the way out. It’s obviously quite basic, but you have to start somewhere, right?

At the beginning, I wrote all the texts for the game in English. It wasn’t something I thought about too much. It just occurred to me that if I ever finished it, it would be easier for me to translate it into Spanish. So that’s what I did: once the version in English was ready to publish, I started the process of localizing it into Spanish. And just like that, I hired myself for my own video game localization project: after all, you’ve got to look out for number one.

Challenges in the localization of Escape from the Tomb of Apep

On this occasion, as I was working with a tool designed for beginning developers, I didn’t have to deal with lines of code. The main challenge in localizing it was the length of the texts. In general, translations into Spanish of English texts are about 20% longer than the originals, sometimes even more. Given that the story behind this game is very simple, I wanted to avoid creating endless lines of text. So, at times I needed to come up with creative solutions.

On the other hand, as I was translating it directly in GB Studio, I had to pay close attention so as not to forget any segment. The majority were easy to find, but the game does have its hidden secrets, with dialogs buried among variables and triggers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief summary of the development and localization process of Escape from the Tomb of Apep and that you give the game a shot! For me, it’s been a unique experience in a field I hope to continue advancing in by learning and collaborating with others.