Latest Updates [2017]

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Last update(s):
High School DxD: V22 Indra & Sūn Wùkōng (Part 1 of 1) (25/12)
Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha: V7 Chapter 3 (Part 1 of 18) (7/2)
Seikoku no Ryuu Kishi V7: Prologue (10/1)

Night mode now on the right sidebar, between email updates and archives – please test functionality and readability for me. Planning to add cookie support so that the setting is remembered.

Next update(s):
High School DxD V22 Life.5: Sorry. I think I’ll do all the translating and editing at once. Both the first and second parts will be done this week – most likely on the 23rd.
Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha V7 Chapter 3: On hold.
Seikoku no Ryuu Kishi V7 Chapter 1: On hold.

A foray into The Division

So last month, or earlier this month (I can’t exactly remember when), a friend and I decided to pick up a new game for some multiplayer entertainment. We used to play Halo a lot, but that was a while ago, and before the GameSpy servers were shut down. We happened across Tom Clancy’s The Division, an interesting new third-person shooter that happened to be on sale. While excited at first to try this new game out, I was devastated to find that it required an additional 13.67GB download after installing the nearly 40GB game from its 5 DVDs. So, I let the download run overnight once, and then from time to time again over the span of a few weeks – yes, evidently, my Internet speeds are horrible. I also left a not so nice message to the feedback team about this.

First Impression

The Division doesn’t really have much of a tutorial per se, but for anyone who’s played any kind of FPS before, its elements aren’t hard to grasp. The storyline seems to revolve around a biological weapon detonation which has caused mass deaths, and resulted in gangs and outlaws taking control over New York City – your goal is to take it back. Surely, there will be more to the plot, but for a game like this, it doesn’t really matter. The cover-based game mechanics are interesting, and feel somewhat realistic, but after a few hours of gameplay, I’ve realised that this game’s open-world nature is both a curse and a blessing.

Controls

I’m a PC gamer, most of the time. The default controls seem friendly and intuitive enough, and are easily re-mappable from the options menu.

Audio

While I have an annoying static-like noise constantly ringing throughout the game, it appears to be a common issue that I hope will be fixed without the need to download an excessively large update.

The soundtrack is decent, and matches well with the situation in most cases. It reinforces the tension when necessary, and suits the atmosphere of the setting.

Voice acting was generally good, and the actors were able to project their voice onto their actors without seeming too out of place. The people sound like what I would expect them to be, and while generic most of the time, it works.

Graphics

Now, I’m still on DirectX 11, so I wasn’t able to try out the DirectX 12 renderer, but the visuals are excellent. Having personally visited NYC myself, this open-world re-creation of it is certainly authentic. At the highest setting of ‘Ultra’, the world appears highly realistic and nothing less of what you would expect of a modern game. The world is most certainly immersive with its realism, and the graphical perks during a gunfight really enhance that. An example of this would be ‘status effects’, such as one of the best vision distortion effects I’ve seen which occurs when caught in a grenade blast.

Unfortunately, The Division requires a fairly beefed up PC to run at its maximum settings. The game still looks great at the medium and high settings though, so there’s nothing to worry about if you can’t run it smoothly on Ultra. As a reference, the listed ‘Recommended’ system requirements will probably have you running the game on ‘High’. Personally, it seems like my CPU (AMD Phenom II X6 1100T) is letting me down since there are many calculations and elements which require its time (almost constantly at 100% load on all cores), thus the best I can run it on is High (1080p), whilst still maintaining 40-60 frames per second. On the other hand, it isn’t as heavy on the GPUs as I would have thought, and my GPUs (2x Radeon HD 7950s) tend to average out at around 40% load.

Mechanics & Gameplay

The game starts off fairly difficult, and I personally found myself respawning quite a few times in one of the early missions. While a portion of the gameplay consists of hiding behind cover either alone, or with friends in co-op and shooting at enemies, it also has significant RPG elements. There are different unlocks and upgrades depending on your player level, and also various grades and levels of weapons and armour. In-game materials can also be used to craft items.

Despite being a shooter on the surface, this game is actually rather deep when it comes to the RPG side. Even just a few hours in, I felt that level-grinding and cash-grinding was going to be inevitable as most enemies, especially ‘bosses’ are bullet sponges, and this is where the RPG side takes control over the realism of the game. You’d think that a headshot would take someone out, but most enemies tend to require several headshots or body-shots to take out because of their insanely high armour spec, or health. As the game progresses, different regions with high-leveled enemies become safe to explore, which means that you’ll constantly be spending money to buy or upgrade weapons and armour, all to get higher attack or defense stats in order to survive. While it may keep you playing for longer, it detracts from the realism and rapid-fire action expected of a shooter.

That aside, the heavy emphasis and reliance on using cover enhances the atmosphere of the game’s urban combat and is something fresh in comparison to more traditional first-person shooter games. Something unique I found in this was the concept of ‘blind fire’, in which you could point your weapon out to fire whilst hiding behind cover, albeit with less accuracy. While this might have been possible in some other games, its execution was near-perfect in The Division.

As previously mentioned, The Division’s open-world nature has its pros and cons. There is an enormous map to play (most of Manhattan seems to be recreated down to the street level), which means that there is plenty to explore, and a fair amount of action since there are occasionally a few random raids, patrols, gunfights, and so on. The problem lies in the fact that there is no transport, and moving from place to place is entirely on foot. Despite the existence of checkpoints or safe houses which can be fast-traveled to and from, I found myself walking an awful lot (2-3 minutes of plain walking/running) to move between each encounter or mission.

Lastly, The Division is online-only. You can interact and group-up with other places at bases or safe houses, and I guess that adds to the realism of there being multiple agents in the field at once, but you become restricted to always having to be online, even if you aren’t playing co-op.

Conclusion

A decent game, and only worth a go if this is what interests you; the RPG and shooter combination will keep you going for a while to come, but I have a feeling that it can quickly become boring for some, especially since the plot is thin, and after establishing your base of operations in the early stages of the game, the rest is fairly similar, and less interesting than it was in the beginning. Even in the few hours that I’ve played, most enemies look fairly generic, and the boss gunfights become increasingly long because all of the bosses are like walking tanks with impenetrable armour. The nature of the game will either be addictive to you or they will bore you.

I’ve personally played things which have hooked me more with their gameplay and storyline than The Division has, but it seems to have all of a ruined New York City to explore in a virtual world, so at least that will keep you going for a decent amount of time.

Of course, I only started playing this yesterday, so take it with a grain of salt. There may be a lot more (or less) to the game than what I’ve experienced so far.

Latest Update [2015-2016]

Last update(s):
High School DxD: V22 Indra & Sūn Wùkōng (Part 1 of 1) (25/12)
Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha: V7 Chapter 2 (All 11 parts) (11/10)
Seikoku no Ryuu Kishi: V6 Chapter 6 (17/10) & Epilogue (17/10)

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Everyone!!

Night mode on the way – will need to find time to test CSS for it. Also planning to add some more interesting backgrounds. When I can find time 🙁

Next update(s):
High School DxD V22 Life.5: Translation will resume January.
Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha V7 Chapter 3: On hold until DxD V22 is complete.
Seikoku no Ryuu Kishi V7 Prologue: On hold until other translations are complete.

A quick guide to making PDFs

So while I was making the PDF for Seikoku no Ryuu Kishi volume 6 today, I thought I’d share my process of doing things since it’s evolved quite a bit since I first started, and I feel like it’s a pretty solid process now.

Requirements

  • Microsoft Word 2010 (cannot guarantee perfect functionality with other versions)
  • Adobe Acrobat X (again, cannot guarantee perfect functionality with other versions)
  • [Optional] Photo editing tool such as Adobe Photoshop. Any version will do.

Files

Process

  1. Copy and paste all of the text into the provided template. Update title, footer and last page information.
  2. Fix formatting and styling. Ensure references are formatted correctly.
  3. Remove any hyperlinks with [CTRL + A] to select all text, and then [CTRL + SHIFT + F9] to remove.
  4. Check that all chapter titles are set correctly. You can see this by pressing [CTRL + F] to bring up the search sidebar, and then click on the first tab to see the document outline.
  5. Set furigana readings if necessary using the Phonetics Guide tool and instructions given in the template.
  6. Leave blank pages for illustrations.
  7. Convert to PDF via MS Word ribbon, or open Adobe Acrobat and choose “Create” from the toolbar, and then select the MS Word file.
  8. Ensure chapter bookmarks are correct. Fix them if necessary.
  9. Resize illustrations (to scale) so that their widths are equivalent to the template. This should be 21cm or 8.27in. I find that Photoshop is the best tool for this because it does a good job of preserving image quality.
  10. Insert illustrations where you left a blank page, and then delete those blank pages.
  11. Select and right-click on each reference to “Create Link”, and then navigate to the corresponding note and click “Set Link”. See my video demonstration here. This needs to be done for both directions so that users can move back and forth.
  12. Go to File > Properties to fill out any details necessary. I like to put down the original author and illustrator.

That’s it! Save and you’re done…it probably took a lot longer than you might have expected, especially if there are a lot of references or illustrations. If you find that the file size is excessively large, you can try compressing the PDF by going to File > Save as… > Reduced size PDF. Anyway, hope that helps for anyone looking to make a few PDFs. If you’re an experienced PDF maker, feel free to share your thoughts.

Ah, at last…!

Hey everyone, thanks for sticking with me and being patient for so long!

Volume six of Seikoku no Ryuu Kishi is finally done. I’ll be uploading it to Baka-Tsuki along with Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha volume 7 chapter 2, and I will make a full-volume PDF a week after that.

This is supposedly Rebecca’s volume, and I feel like we’ve gotten some good character development out of it, especially when it comes to her more vulnerable side and her worries as a woman, rather than as the <Scarlet Empress> or Student Council President. Oscar’s identity was also a bit of a surprise for me, and now I’m curious to see how things will end up with her. I haven’t read ahead, despite having all of the volumes, but I get the faint feeling that she’ll be joining Ash’s list of admirers.

Only a few more hours left until the Hagure vs. Shinmai vs. neither poll closes, but it looks like the outcome is fairly clear. So there you go, thanks for voting. I’ll keep translating Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha, Hagure Yuusha no Aesthetica will be lined up behind it when I catch up to all current content. I think I’ll also make a start on the first chapter or so of Seikoku no Ryuu Kishi before I take a break. It’s almost the end of semester for me, which means exam time, so I’ll be taking a break throughout the end of October and most of November.

Some of you may also be wondering about High School DxD…I haven’t dropped it, and my tentative plan is to continue starting from Life.4, sometime in November most likely as that’s when I’ll be free.