Gone Home Will Support Fan Translations

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.

Screenshot of text-heavy pamphlet

Lots of words, none of them Latin.

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.

Text Overlay!

Text Overlay!

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.
Christmas Duck with Klingon-font text

Klingon duck

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18 Responses to Gone Home Will Support Fan Translations

  1. Marty Runyon says:

    Someone needs to go full Airplane! and release a Jive translation.

  2. Daira says:

    I’d like to localize the game in spanish! :D

  3. drdeandarko says:

    This is such a good idea. It’s times like this that I wish I finished my French course in high school. How do you suppose these fan translations will be distributed so that other people can use them?

    • Steve says:

      You should just be able to put them in a zip file for distribution– they’re all .txt files. We’re considering at some point in the future seeking permission from translators to incorporate their translations into an official patch, so people can play the game translated without having to hunt down files online!

  4. Would I be able to change the story of the game for the lolz? :P

    • Steve says:

      Technically, you can change the text to say anything you want….! (The voice files won’t be editable :| )

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  6. Jesper says:

    This sounds fun. As soon as I’m done with the game, I could totally start working on a Swedish translation. (It would be great to have the experience, since I’m actually looking to work as a translator.)

  7. I was on the fence… but Klingon duck sold me.

  8. Leonardo Kamiya says:

    Hey, just finished the game on a Macbook and now I’m interested in taking a stab at translating it into Brazillian Portuguese. Where can I find the files with the game text?

    Congratulations on the release.

    • Steve says:

      Check your install directory for a localization readme that details the whole process!

      • Leonardo Kamiya says:

        Thanks for the attention,

        I’m on Macos X and bought the game on Steam. In the Gone Home folder I have Attributions.txt, steam_appid.txt and the Gone Home app package. Inside the package there’s a lot of stuff but no read me. :(

  9. Berzee says:

    MR. FULLBRIGHT!

    Are there any other files in the game that are moddable, images and sound files and such? Would be cool to have the option for the hand-writing and voice work to be translatable too. (But I’m guessing the answer is “No” because Unity is Unity? =T).

    • Johnnemann says:

      Hi Berzee,

      Text files are the only files we can support editing. But the voice diaries have subtitles that can be edited, and all the important text has editable text overlays, so you will be able to translate the whole story just through those files. :-)

  10. Konrad says:

    I will be posting a playthrough of your game within 1 episode tomorrow – with additional polish subtitles to all the letters from Sam. I’d be interested in doing Polish translation :-) http://www.youtube.com/vaulttvpl

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