Rondo refresh

Rondo refresh

Summer has ended, and we thought that it is the time to keep our promises in bringing some translation changes and features. However, first of all, let’s start with an announcement.

In old days we constantly had to repeat that translations into all other languages are not really possible at this moment, but after reaching the half milestone we got a contact from Knox Translations. The result with a promo video you can see yourself in our new dedicated Umineko multilingua section. We are very glad to see how this experiment progresses, and wish our new partners luck and patience.

As usual there is no reason to worry about our own progress. The work on Chiru is ongoing, and slowly brings its results. We would gladly support side projects but only if that does not steal our time from the main goal.

First 4 episodes released were satisfying, not only in terms of the work accomplished, but additionally in terms of quality and stability. Fortunately we faced no issues that could have spoilt the impression of the game. And now it is the time to get even less critical ones sorted out.

We greatly improved iOS support. Touch controls were revamped and redesigned. External bluetooth keyboards do work now. From this moment the game should not only launch on iPads but iPhones as well. Additionally we eased the installation procedure and improved game stability and visual quality.

We added a promised setting to enable certain Steam translation katakana conventions, mentioned on this page. To proceed add env[steam_conventions]=true to your ons.cfg file. Due to fan requests we additionally added the support of yu-yo opening video.

Speaking of the bugs with the help of our testers we managed to find a few rare crashes and fixed them. Starting with this update the engine is compatible with macOS Sierra.

If you are still reading, we suggest you to proceed to our Downloads section to read the changelogs or to our How to upgrade section to get the update.

Episode 4 (β release)

Nine years ago the Japanese speaking audience got an opportunity to try the first episode of Umineko. Five years ago, our team started the uneasy task of delivering the best ever English and Russian editions of Umineko. Today we proclaim that the first half is ready to be played by the general audience. Happy Birthday, Umineko!

We do our best to offer splendid quality. And that’s the reason it took us quite some time to deliver the question arcs. We feel proud of the result, both in visual and translation quality. We have deep respect for our α-testers. Many issues would not have been spotted without your attentive eyes. Regarding the English translation, we updated our FAQ where we cover its specifics. Have a look if you have any concerns.

We care about being able to play Umineko on any platform we use. We offer native Linux support including Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, SteamOS, and several others. We ensure wine compatibility in our releases. We support Windows starting with XP SP3, ignoring the claims it is dead :). We support macOS starting with 10.6 including the old macs with 32-bit CPUs. That’s not enough. That’s not enough if you want to take Umineko on a short trip or play it on the move. That’s why, with this release, we add iPad support starting from iOS 8.0.

Every story has its end, and so does Umineko. But not just yet. We have been silently working on Chiru since 2013, and we got it to launch with most of the visuals in 2015. As a present for you, we have Russian and English trailers for the upcoming Chiru release. Hopefully the most interested of you won’t have to wait much for the alpha with episode 5 included.

Episode 4 Private Alpha

Our apologies for the wait.
Episode 4 is available for testers as a private alpha on the forums. New testing requests are now available as well.
We still have work to do on this episode, and it is of a slightly greater amount compared to our usual alphas. However, we are not wasting time for nothing. A new platform is being added to our supported list — iOS. Even though it may not appear with the next β release, we are looking forward to get it ready. See the forum post for details.
As always, we would appreciate your help finding any issues we are not aware of.

Episode 3 (β release)

Good morning.

The Umineko Project team extends you our heartfelt greetings.

Episode 3 α-testing finished in an unexpectedly short timespan given the amount of work we had to accomplish, and we feel pretty satisfied with the results. Today we reached the third milestone towards a complete Umineko port. As usual we suggest to proceed to our How to upgrade page to read the details of the upgrade process. And for more patient players here comes a work summary.

Firstly, about the upgrade and installation specifics.
We got a few complaints about upgrades to newer versions resetting user preferences and breaking game configurations. The former issue was successfully resolved by us and it will no longer happen. But the latter is almost always the subject of a user mistake (we fixed all the other cases). Therefore, a number of precautions were added. From now on, the game will try to validate most critical resources, informing you about missing or corrupted files. Moreover, a 3-month warning message was added to unobtrusively remind you of the possible need to upgrade.

Secondly, about hardware/software compatibility.
A lot of work was done on improving game performance, and as a result system requirements lowered a bit. For example, we now support a 4096 pixel texture limit (GeForce 7xxx series, Radeon X series, various tablet GPUs). Workarounds exist for cards without non-power-of-two texture or standardised FBO support. A less performance-affecting workaround (instead of no-texture-reuse) for visual glitches was added for Intel GPUs — no-glclear ons.cfg option).
We significantly improved gamepad support adding SteamPad Controller and DualShock 3 rumble support on OS X and Linux. Current Linux builds were also tested on SteamOS, and so far no issues were reported (Debian is Debian :D).

Thirdly, about the changes in general.
— We started to unveil font customisation instructions starting with scaling.
— A long awaited option to prevent game from skipping the unread dialogues has just debuted as well.
— Background music files were reencoded with a proper sampling frequency, significantly improving sound quality and enlarging the upgrade size. Sorry for that, but previously it was not possible to do due to side compatibility issues.

What now? In front of us are multiple vast tasks affecting future episodes. Editing is progressing on the Episode 4 translation, and this will take a few months longer to complete (we hope you will use the time to look for issues, if there are any, and patiently wait for updates). We are working on expanding our list of supported platforms for technical users. And simultaneously, the engine and script are receiving the work they need to support our future ambitions.

Just a step forward

Hello, we are very welcome to see you again.

After more than a month of shadow work we are ready to give you two pieces of news.

— Firstly, we are starting a new α testing lap covering Episode 3.
— Secondly, we are rolling out an update for the public β branch.

These are available as of right now (episode 3 is only available to alpha-testers). You are warmly suggested to try it and enjoy.

If you are willing to give our brand-new third episode a try, but you have no Kuwadorian access, what about requesting it and helping us a little? Though remember not to do that if disappearing is your plan for the next couple of weeks.

Normally we do not push anything to stable between the episode releases. This time was different because a number of critical Linux-specific issues were reported and rapidly fixed by us. This includes fullscreen functionality, and certain annoying crashes. We did not stop at that point and added various usability tweaks/features/easter-eggs initially planned for Episode 3.

We are far from finished in regards to gamepad controls, but we have still made steps forward. The following work is ongoing and you can see it in the release:
— Unifying ingame navigation;
— Moving closer to PS3 controls style (about 40% done);
— Allowing custom button mapping (see this faq entry);
— Supporting more gamepads.
The full changelog is available on Downloads page as usual. A new “geek” configuration interface is described in this faq entry. You might like some features of it.

Episode 2 (β release)

A short while later, it’s time to roll the next episode out. This update not only adds the desired Turn of the Golden Witch to the game but includes a number of important bugfixes that will most likely affect you. We recommend you to proceed to How to upgrade page if you have Episode 1 installed or Downloads page in case you are installing from scratch.

We took good care of a number of graphical driver issues and improved support for low-end and old GPUs, which means the game may start to work properly even if it did not before. We updated our known issues page with new instructions and workarounds, please, check it out. A number of system ui improvements were made to polish the visual experience of the menus and controls. Typos and issues found in Episode 1 content were corrected as well. A more complete change log is available on Downloads page.

We are not stopping with this, episode 3 testing will start reasonably soon, stay tuned.

Episode 2 Private Alpha Start

It’s finally time to move on to Episode 2. :)

Alpha-tester applications have been re-opened on the forums.

This is not a general release — there will still be bugs and a small amount of missing content.

Those willing to contribute by pointing out the problems, please read the first post in the thread and apply :)

Episode 1 (β release)

18th July 2015, Umineko Project, formerly known as Umineko PS3Fication Project, without charge or trial sentences the culprit, Umineko no Naku Koro ni Rondo of the Witch and Reasoning EP1 β, to an immediate public release without a right to appeal.

We have been working for more than 4 years to be able to give a start to a release cycle of Umineko PS3 Port, and everybody in the team feels very very happy. We have a strong will to make Umineko as beautiful as it should be for English and Russian speaking audiences, and this will gives us strength to continue our work further and further. We do hope you are going to enjoy the first episode as much as we do, as much as our testers did, who spent their time seeking for the bugs and dealing with various horribleness we left. As a small gratitude we credited those who allowed us to in the credits (play ???? to the end). The community should know their heroes :D.

So, what does this mean. We have written a <big FAQ> answering most of your questions. Everybody is suggested to read that to avoid any issues. Some main questions are also answered below.

Many of you will wonder why just episode 1 after so long, some observant ones will even claim that we showed scenes from next episodes on YouTube videos. That’s a tough question, because at this step we indeed have the whole of Rondo (4 episodes) playable to some level. The last words mean that other episodes aren’t fully polished. Quality user experience is something we have always been targeting, and since we know that the game may freeze/crash show visual glitches at certain steps, we cannot release these episodes right now. But don’t worry. We will start to test the next episode in weeks and it should be ready in much (MUCH) less time than 4 years.

As you can see, the game is marked with a beta symbol. This means we are not fully complete and the following limitations exist in the game:
— Episodes 2—4 are not present;
— Alchemist’s edits cannot be disabled from the settings, the option is not working;
— Gamepad support is incomplete, some menus may not have pad-optimised ui and force-feedback may not work on some joysticks, a corresponding menu option is also useless;
— Russian translation is not fully reedited at the moment, we are working on that but there are human resource limitations;
— Message browser may be slow on mostly low-end PCs at first open and line jumping in particular;
— There may still be other issues, for some known technical ones refer to <Known issues> page.

Are you still reading? Sorry, what are you waiting for? Go to Downloads section.

P. S. If you notice an issue, i. e. a bug, a crash, a typo or something else, you are strongly encouraged to post in bug reports forum.

One more fragment

A small update post to keep our non-testers informed.

Life has kept us busy and so we haven’t been able to dedicate all of the past months to Umineko, but some progress has been made.

  • We fixed the lips issue by reconverting the voice files and changing the algorithm — it matches PS3 pretty much perfectly now.
  • We created a dynamically resizing textbox which becomes bigger when it runs out of room for text, so that in future you should be able to use your own fonts or increase the font size without worrying about the text not fitting. (It helps with the existing font size too… Some text already didn’t fit.)
  • The OP songs have optional subtitled lyrics and translations now!
  • We improved the text rendering system so that text breaks across lines more nicely.
  • We reworked the system menus to add more options and make them look more attractive.
  • We have successfully fought buggy Windows GPU drivers, and even though some old drivers give us bugs, new ones appear to work reliably.
  • Fixed bugs, crashes, sped the engine up, and a number of other things.
  • And of course more translation editing.

Our next goals are a fully-featured backlog and jump-to-any-line support. Wish us luck…

By the way, thanks for your interest, we were pleased to read some posts on the internet featuring our work. We were a little surprised to see so much people around wishing to take part in the testing process. But from now on, we will recommend most users to wait for a public beta release instead of applying to our Early Access program. It should happen some time, and we would dislike to spoil the experience for the masses. Testers with a lot of experience filing bug-reports are still very welcome though :)