Monday, March 30, 2015

Prototype Time! | Mega Man Legends 2 (English Debug Prototype)

Last March, Protodude approached me with a few Mega Man prototypes he had on his possession. The first was a proto of Mega Man X5, the third being a "late"-English localization build of The Misadventures of Tron Bonne circa months before it's North American release, and the second in-between... English debug prototype of Mega Man Legends 2, dated July 12, 2000. This was by far, surprisingly, the most interesting of the three Mega Man prototypes that Protodude shared to me behind closed doors. I held onto this for a while before it was leaked onto the net, mostly due to video production reasons and to start writing a page for this at the The Cutting Room Floor.

So wait, wait, wait. What exactly does "debug" mean? What is it for and why should we care about this, aside of serving as a view of the game's development?

So (to my understanding) debugging basically means to look for bugs, meaning any defects, in the whole game's programing and fixing them all of them as much as possible. This particular debugging prototype was used to assess the programming of the game during Rockman DASH 2's localization process into Mega Man Legends 2.

Stuff like this, you gotta fix.
This means actually going over everything in the game from the English text being written and displayed on-screen, to the game's textures, collision, camera, and basically everything else you can think of. When you bring a game over from Japan, you have to go over and refine everything (and maybe even change some things) to make it a marketable, commercial product to another audience. And to do all that, you, the developer or programmer, need to have some handy debugging tools to do your job right and make the literal endgame fun and playable.

In that clip-show video I have above, I show all the bizarre shit you could ever do with the various in-game debug functions this prototype offers. You can access a level select, arm yourself with the ability to enable yourself with every single item and weapon in the game, in-game camera manipulation, and so forth. All spoken dialogue in the proto is in Japanese, making this a sort-of "undub" version for those who wish to experience this great game in its original Japanese performances.

My favorite debug function would have to be the ability to manipulate the game's camera in any moment of the game. I spent so much time taking fun screenshots while recording footage for the YouTube video above. I did this with the game's debug's Event Camera function. Photography is an acquired hobby of mine and I'd like to think I made neat camera angles.

My friend PixelButts has found his own discoveries in the proto too, and also edits the MML2 debug page at TCRF. You too are free to make your own observations of the proto, so go download the ISO at Protodude's Rockman Corner and give it a shot. If you can hit me up when you find anything awesome, that'd be great.

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