When I first started this project, the goal seemed simple: The English text in AMK is bad, so I should go in, replace the bad English text with newly rewritten text, and distribute the modified files to people. So that's exactly what I started to do.
For those who don't know, STALKER SoC's text is stored in (thankfully) unencrypted XML files and is organized mostly by region in the game. All the text in the Bar, for example, has its own file, while all the text in Agroprom is kept in a a different file. When the AMK guys went in and added their own text to the game, they mostly just appended their text to the end of these existing files. So all the AMK-specific text pertaining to the Bar is stuffed at the bottom of stable_dialog_bar.xml. When I first started replacing these texts with my own writing, I was simply going into these files and editing the text, finding all the AMK-specific string tags and editing the writing. This worked perfectly up until one point:
When you installed AMK, you were asked to configure your sleeping bag, choosing between two options: Sleep for 1, 3, or 5 hours, or sleep for 2, 5, or 9 hours. The way this is stored in AMK's files means that the way I was approaching the project before, I would have had to include a separate module that players would install over their AMK Retranslated installation specifically to configure the mod so that the correct hours display when you pull up your sleeping bag. My solution to this problem was simple: Instead of distributing edited versions of the old files with the AMK-specific text altered, I should be creating my own files, putting the edited text in them, and added them to the list of XML files the game will load! This way only the text I specifically designate to be changed will be overridden.
This has several effects on the way the mod functions:
- Any text that I don't specifically rewrite and place within a new file will remain unchanged, meaning that in cases where I can't be sure what the text will be for specific end users, I don't have to distribute compatibility patches. This makes installing the mod much simpler.
- The mod is now smaller. Before, all the files totaled approximately 600 KB. Now it takes up less than 300 KB.
- The only original AMK file that is actually altered is localization.lxt. This means that the mod should be compatible with ANY OTHER ADDON, SO LONG AS THEY DON'T ALTER THE LOCALIZATION.LXT FILE. And even if they do, localization.lxt is a very small file that is easy to alter. Compatibility patches between AMK Retranslated and other addons can be created in literally a matter of minutes, with only minimal bug testing required. Needless to say this is the most alluring aspect of changing AMK Retranslated to include its own files. A Narodnaya Soljanka compatibility patch, for example, is now not only feasible, but would be quite easy to make.
I wanted to write this article to explain why I'm going to be altering the "installation and compatibility" section of the mod's description in the near future, and why this is an exciting new development for the mod. One of my chief goals in making AMK Retranslated is to maintain as much compatibility with popular AMK addons as possible. If AMK Retranslated is to be become the definitive English text for the mod, then compatibility is key, and this is a development that will help immensely with that.